Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 14, 2016

July 19, 2013

Another Super PAC Ad Targets Grimes #KYSEN

A Republican super PAC is taking another swipe on the airwaves at the Kentucky Democrat challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, which launched its first ad against Alison Lundergan Grimes on June 25, is up with a new ad tying the Kentucky secretary of state to President Barack Obama and the national party. The group spent $270,000 to run the spot statewide on cable and broadcast, according to a released statement.

“Obamacare; the war on coal; big spending; higher taxes. That’s Obama’s platform, and Alison Lundergan Grimes supports it,” says the ad’s announcer. Full story

July 18, 2013

Shane Osborn on Steak, Football and Being ‘Beautiful’ | The Candidate #NESEN

Osborn is running for Senate in Nebraska. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Every year, scores of congressional candidates visit the CQ Roll Call offices to meet with reporters and Contributing Editor Stuart Rothenberg. This feature, “The Candidate,” will ask these congressional hopefuls five questions about their campaigns. Responses and questions have been edited and condensed.

The candidate: Former Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn, a Republican
The member: Retiring GOP Sen. Mike Johanns
The state: Nebraska has voted Republican in all but one presidential election since 1936.
The candidate’s team: Dave Boomer (campaign manager), Brad Todd of OnMessage Inc. (media and general consultant), Sam Fischer of Meridian (direct mail), Dean Dennhardt (finance)

1. Governors, including one in your own state, are turning down opportunities to be one of 100 in the Senate. As someone with a record of running things on your own, why does it interest you?

All my life passions have been fixing things that were broken, and I can’t think of anything more broken than the U.S. Congress.

2. You’re running in part on your credentials as an elected state treasurer. Why would that make you a good senator?

The biggest problem America faces in the future is problems with the debt. My background can provide great value in the U.S. Senate as we try to get the country back on track.

3. What’s the best thing about, or favorite place to go, in your hometown of Waterloo?

Farmer Browns Steak House. You can get a huge steak for $11 or $12.

4. You attended the University of Nebraska on an ROTC scholarship. How are they going to do in football this year?

I think we’ll continue to improve, but our defense is going to have to step up this year. My junior and senior years [1994 and 1995] we won back-to-back championships.

5. Not many candidates can say this: You were featured in People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2001, fresh off playing a central role as a naval aviator in an international incident between the United States and China. How did that come about, and can you talk about the experience?

People did a whole thing on the crew called, “Born to Fly,” which is what I titled my book. They took a bunch of pictures, and then there it was. … By the time I got back, there were copies hung up all over the base. While some people may like to be named in People’s “Most Beautiful” list, I took a beating. [Editor’s note: Osborn was flying a combat mission in Afghanistan following 9/11 on the night of People’s gala to celebrate the issue in New York.]

House Democrats Land Michigan Recruit #MI07

Democratic former state Rep. Pam Byrnes announced Thursday she’ll challenge Republican Rep. Tim Walberg in Michigan’s 7th District.

“Washington is broken and Rep. Tim Walberg is part of the problem,” Byrnes said in a release. “Michigan’s middle-class is paying the price for his partisan politics that put special interests and corporation before working families.”

The recruit, and the district, had not previously been prominent going into the 2014 cycle. Mitt Romney carried the district by 3 points in 2012, while President Barack Obama carried it by the same margin in 2008. This race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Byrnes was a member of the state House until 2010, when she was term-limited out of office. She lost a state Senate bid that cycle, according to AnnArbor.com.

July 17, 2013

Democrats Eye Baucus Aide for House Seat #MTAL

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is eyeing Sen. Max Baucus’ state director to run for Montana’s at-large seat.

John Lewis, a top aide to the Montana Democrat, has met with DCCC Chairman Steve Israel to discuss a campaign, according to two Democratic sources.

Baucus is retiring, and the at-large seat’s current member, GOP Rep. Steve Daines, is seriously thinking about running for his Senate seat. The House race is currently rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

Senators Pick Up Fundraising Pace — Except Enzi

Sen. Michael B. Enzi’s sluggish fundraising over the first six months of the year wasn’t a problem until Tuesday, when Liz Cheney announced she would challenge the Wyoming Republican in a primary.

Suddenly the third-term incumbent, who has spent a total of $4.2 million in three drama-free elections to the Senate, is among a cadre of vulnerable incumbents preparing for costly contests in 2014.

Besides Enzi, who tied with another senator on retirement watch for the lowest second-quarter haul among incumbents, the rest of the targeted senators in the class are fundraising aggressively. In fact, most are keeping up with and, in some respects, surpassing the torrential fundraising pace of the 2012 cycle.

(See also: Roll Call’s 2014 Senate FEC Fundraising Chart)

Full story

Low Fundraising Hauls Hint at House Retirements

Peterson did not raise much in the second quarter, raising questions about his future. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Recently filed fundraising reports give some clues this week about which House members are gearing up for re-election fights — and who might be ready to call it quits after this term.

Small hauls are often the first indication a member is preparing to leave Capitol Hill. Members are not motivated to raise big bucks if they know they won’t need a war chest for another electoral battle.

A CQ Roll Call review of second-quarter House fundraising reports, which were due Monday, showed several longtime House members posting meager sums.

Full story

House Republicans Raised More Than House Democrats in June (Updated)

Updated 11:19 a.m.  | The National Republican Congressional Committee raised more than Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in a single month, June, for the first time this cycle.

The NRCC raised $7.1 million in June and finished the month with $11.3 million in the bank and $2.25 million in debt.

The DCCC raised $6.7 million in June and paid off all of its remaining debt from the 2012 cycle, an aide confirmed on Wednesday.

Only last week, NRCC Chairman Greg Walden conceded that the fact that Democrats have come out ahead month after month was a “concern” and he pledged to beef up his team’s online fundraising efforts.

The DCCC still holds on to the cash-on-hand advantage with $13.2 million in the bank. Last cycle, the DCCC did not get rid of its debt until December 2011.

Full story

House Fundraising Winners and Losers

Love is a fundraising winner in the second quarter of this year. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Now that all of the House fundraising reports are due, here is CQ Roll Call’s look at the winners and losers in the fundraising game.

Quarterly fundraising offers a quantitative window into the efficiency of a campaign — as well as a candidate’s drive to win. A number of challengers raised more money than incumbents this cycle, while other incumbents are racking up huge sums.

To see a full rundown of the House fundraising landscape, check out CQ Roll Call’s House fundraising chart. Even better: Bookmark it.

Winners:

Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., in the 26th District
$442,000 raised, $801,000 in cash on hand

Garcia’s strong fundraising might be the best news he’s had in a few months. Two members of his official staff resigned during the second quarter amid an investigation into alleged corruption. But despite his legal troubles, he proved to be one of the top House fundraisers in the second quarter.

Former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican in California’s 52nd District
$488,000 raised, $470,000 in cash on hand

DeMaio raised nearly a half-million dollars to challenge freshman Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat who brought in $363,000 for this competitive district. Peters still holds the cash-on-hand edge with $526,000 in the bank. Full story

July 16, 2013

Liz Cheney to Primary Enzi #WYSEN

Enzi has a primary challenger. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Liz Cheney, the eldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced on Tuesday that she will challenge Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi next year in the Republican primary.

Cheney’s decision sets up what will undoubtedly be a spirited primary with Enzi, 69, who confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that he will indeed run for a fourth term. Full story

DesJarlais’ Paltry Fundraising Raises Doubts About Re-Election #TN04

DesJarlais had a tough fundraising quarter, taking in just $39,000. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais, the anti-abortion Republican physician accused of encouraging his wife and mistress to have multiple abortions, raised just $39,000 in the second quarter, according to his most recent report to the Federal Election Commission. It’s a paltry sum for an incumbent member and signals more trouble for his re-election prospects in 2014.

DesJarlais’ weak fundraising quarter and measly $88,000 in cash on hand casts doubt on whether he can run a competitive campaign against two well-funded Republican primary challengers. His 4th District is the state’s largest and most expensive congressional district in which to run a television campaign.

DesJarlais’ primary opponents — state Sen. Jim Tracy and state Rep. Joe Carr — raised $303,000 and $100,000, respectively, in the second quarter and count former DesJarlais supporters among their donors, according to sources from both campaigns.

“The question from Republican viewers of the race isn’t just, ‘Where does he go for the money?’ but, ‘Where does he go for the support from voters?’” an unaffiliated Tennessee GOP operative said of DesJarlais. Full story

Another Democrat Opts Against Senate Bid in Montana #MTSEN (Updated)

Updated 4:20 p.m. | A second Democrat in the last four days has announced he or she will not seek Montana’s open Senate seat.

According to local reports, state Auditor Monica Lindeen took her name out of the running on Tuesday for the seat of retiring Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

Lindeen’s name popped up along with a few other Democrats on Saturday after former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the likely front-runner for the nomination, declared he was no longer considering a bid. Like Schweitzer, Lindeen said she did not want to leave Montana. Full story

House Democrats Help Aguilar Raise Big Money in Primary #CA31

Baca is running for Congress again. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It pays to have the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on your side — at least for fundraising.

Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar — the DCCC’s chosen candidate for the targeted 31st District in California — brought in the most cash in his crowded primary, with $300,000 raised in the second quarter of this year.

Aguilar’s Democratic opponents did not fare so well. Former Rep. Joe Baca, who touted support from many of his former House colleagues, raised just $38,000 in the second quarter. It’s a small haul for any House candidate, but especially for a former member.

Full story

July 15, 2013

Monday Fundraising Roundup: Deadline Day

The second-quarter reporting due date arrived Monday, spurring a flurry of fundraising announcements ahead of the midnight deadline.

Look for CQ Roll Call’s fundraising charts to detail counts from every 2014 Senate race, as well as dozens of top House races, in the coming days.

In the meantime, here’s a round up of Monday’s second-quarter fundraising announcements.

Full story

The Senate Majority Fight in Post-Schweitzer World

Senate Democrats’ inability so far to lure top-tier talent to run for their three most vulnerable open seats shifts the spotlight to recruits in its two most promising pickup opportunities — a relative term in this lopsided landscape.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s decision this weekend to eschew a Senate race came as an unexpected boon for the GOP’s hopes of netting the six seats necessary to win the Senate majority next year. Pulling off that feat would be an accomplishment for Republicans, even if they are waging war in friendly GOP territory.

But there is a realistic scenario that could force Democrats to rely on two first-time federal candidates in states where the party has enjoyed little success in recent years. If Montana moves off the competitive playing field and Republicans are also favored to pick up the open seats in West Virginia and South Dakota, the GOP would need to pick up just three more seats from their most promising targets in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina.
Full story

Special Election Scheduled for Markey’s House Seat #MA05

Massachusetts election officials have scheduled a Dec. 10 special election to fill the soon-to-be-vacant 5th District.

The primary — which will likely pick the next congressman in this strong Democratic district — is set for Oct. 15.

Longtime Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., will be sworn into the Senate on Tuesday, succeeding Secretary of State John Kerry after the congressman’s  special election victory last month. But Markey’s election creates another special election for his House district.

Full story

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