Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 5, 2015

December 19, 2012

Hawaii: Hanabusa Will Apply for Appointment to Inouye’s Seat

Hawaii: Hanabusa Will Apply for Appointment to Inouyes Seat

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, will apply for an appointment to succeed the late Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who died Monday.

A Hanabusa aide confirmed that she plans to submit an application to the state party, which will select a slate of three potential candidates for the post. Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie will select someone from that trio to serve the next two years of Inouye’s term.

As long as Hanabusa makes the short list — a near certainty — Abercrombie will likely pick her to be the Aloha State’s next senator. In the final days of his life, Inouye sent a message to Abercrombie saying he would like his political ally, Hanabusa, to succeed him.

The appointee will serve until after the November 2014 elections, when voters will elect a senator to serve out the remaining two years of Inouye’s term. Candidates will run for a full term in 2016.

New Jersey: Pascrell Calls Idea of Being Governor ‘Intriguing’

New Jersey: Pascrell Calls Idea of Being Governor Intriguing

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. hinted at interest in running for higher state office and he conveyed frustration that Newark Mayor Cory Booker is taking too long decide whether he will run for governor in 2013 or Senate in 2014.

A few weeks ago, New Jersey Democrats forwarded around a curious story from The Bergen Record pushing the idea of a Pascrell gubernatorial run.

“We’ll see what other people have to say about that. I’ve got more on my plate than I can think of,” he said when asked about the idea of running against Republican Gov. Chris Christie. “There’s always been something intriguing about the position, always intriguing.”

At first glance, it would seem odd that Pascrell’s considering a gubernatorial bid.

He fought hard to hold onto his seat in a member-vs.-member primary against fellow Democratic Rep. Steven R. Rothman and has finally built up enough seniority to secure a seat on the powerful Ways and Means Commitee, which he touted in his 2012 campaign.

Full story

Shop Talk: Lugar Will Head to German Marshall Fund

Shop Talk: Lugar Will Head to German Marshall Fund

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Outgoing Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., will join The German Marshall Fund of the United States as a senior trans-Atlantic fellow when his term expires early next year.

The German Marshall Fund is a “non-partisan, non-profit organization” that was created “through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance,” according to the group’s website. Its mission is to strengthen “translatlantic cooperation on regional, national and global challenges and opportunities in the spirit of the Marshall Plan.”

“It is an honor to welcome Senator Lugar to GMF,” the group’s president, Craig Kennedy, said in a written statement. “He is a distinguished lawmaker whose service in the United States Senate is greatly admired around the globe. His expertise on international affairs and national security will be a tremendous asset to GMF’s work.”

Lugar, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lost his bid for re-election last spring when he was defeated in the GOP primary by Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who eventually lost the general election to Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly.

December 18, 2012

New Jersey: Reports Say Cory Booker Signaling Senate Run

New Jersey: Reports Say Cory Booker Signaling Senate Run

Lautenberg may face a primary challenge from Booker should the 88-year-old decide to seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Those close to Newark Mayor Cory Booker telegraphed to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that the Democrat will run for Senate in 2014, rather than challenge Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2013.

Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg currently stands in Booker’s way, and the 88-year-old has given zero indication that he plans to retire and clear the way for the popular mayor. Lautenberg was one of the few members to come out forcefully for gun control in the hours after the Dec. 14 shootings in Connecticut.

That means that as it stands, Booker is challenging an active, albeit elderly, incumbent from his own party. Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., is also said to be eyeing a Senate run in 2014.

Full story

December 17, 2012

Hawaii: Inouye Asked Governor to Appoint Hanabusa in ‘Last Wish’

Hawaii: Inouye Asked Governor to Appoint Hanabusa in Last Wish

Hanabusa is viewed as a leading contender for the Hawaii Senate appointment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a letter delivered just hours before his death, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, wrote to Gov. Neil Abercrombie asking him to appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to succeed him.

An Inouye aide described this as the senator’s “last wish” as a political figure. Inouye was a larger-than-life figure in Hawaii, suggesting that his dying request could carry tremendous weight with Abercrombie, a former 10-term House member. The Inouye endorsement should make Hanabusa the favorite for the seat.

Full story

Illinois: Democrats Still Divided on 2nd District Candidate

Southside Chicago Democrats have failed to agree on a consensus candidate for the 2nd District special election.

This weekend, a panel of party leaders led by Thornton Township Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli met with the intention of slating a candidate for the Feb. 26 special primary. But they could not agree.

Democrat Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s resignation spurred a free-for-all Democratic primary for his seat. The winner will likely be the next member of Congress from this heavily Democratic district.

The burgeoning field of Democrats include Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly, former Rep. Mel Reynolds and state Sen. Donne Trotter.

Michigan: Republicans Looking to Primary Reindeer Rancher

Rep.-elect Kerry Bentivolio has not even been sworn in to Congress yet, but Republicans are already discussing a potential primary challenge this cycle.

Bentivolio, a reindeer rancher and veteran, won the GOP nod in August after Rep. Thaddeus McCotter dropped his re-election bid in this district northwest of Detroit.

“I’m sure he’ll get a primary,” said one Michigan Republican who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “He’s new, and people perceive him as untested. It’s a great seat.” Full story

Iowa: King Considering Run for Senate Seat

Iowa: King Considering Run for Senate Seat

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve King, a Republican, is not actively organizing a Senate bid — but he’s still looking at running.

“Before I could say ‘yes’ to something like that, I’d have to see a lot of the money would be lined up and a lot of the support would be lined up,” King said in a phone interview last week. “I’ve taken no steps in that direction.”

The 2014 cycle kicked off with Republican challengers announcing campaigns in West Virginia and South Dakota just weeks after Election Day in November. King said he would hold off making a decision about running for the seat.

“Anyway you make a decision like this, there are a lot of complexities that come into it,” King added.

Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, has not said yet whether he will seek re-election. If he retires, the race to replace him would be competitive. Democrats say Rep. Bruce Braley would seek their party’s nod.

In addition to King, Republicans have mentioned Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds as possible candidates.

But as long as Harkin seeks re-election, CQ Roll Call rates this race as Likely Democratic.

Hawaii: Governor to Appoint Democrat to Serve Until 2014

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, will have a limited choice of successors to appoint to succeed the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

According to Hawaii election official, the governor will choose from a list of three candidates submitted to him by the state Democratic Party. The appointee will serve until November 2014, when a special election will be held to fill the final two years of Inouye’s current term.

Abercrombie is not required to make the appointment by any particular date.

On Monday, Democratic sources in the Aloha State and in Washington, D.C., talked up the following potential candidates for the seat:

  • Irene Inouye: The late senator’s widow serves as president of the U.S.-Japan Council, according to her biography.
  • Rep. Colleen Hanabusa: The one-term Democrat toyed with running for Senate this past cycle but deferred to Sen.-elect Mazie K. Hirono in the primary.
  • Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz: The former party chairman is an establishment favorite. He has also demonstrated an interest in coming to Capitol Hill from his unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2006.
  • Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann: He’s run for Congress three times, including most recently in 2012, when he lost to Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat. He also challenged Abercrombie in the gubernatorial primary in 2010, which makes the governor less likely to appoint him.
  • Former Rep. Ed Case is not a party favorite since he challenged Sen. Daniel K. Akaka in 2006. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try to be considered for the appointment — or run in the special election in 2014.

Although Hawaii remains a staunchly Democratic state, Republicans could try to make a play for the 2014 special election by attempting to recruit former two-term Republican Gov. Linda Lingle to run. Lingle lost badly in her 2012 Senate bid, but she is one of the few Hawaii Republicans to have had success in the Aloha State in recent years.

South Carolina: Sanford ‘Studying’ Run for Scott’s Seat

South Carolina: Sanford Studying Run for Scotts Seat

Sanford formerly represented the 1st District in Congress. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated 6:33 p.m. | Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is being approached by local conservatives to run for Republican Rep. Tim Scott’s soon-to-be-vacant House seat — and is considering it — according to two sources in the state. Sanford previously occupied the same Charleston-based seat in the 1990s.

The Republican ex-governor is “studying” a run for the 1st District and making a political comeback, according to one well-placed South Carolina source.

Scott will vacate the staunchly Republican district in January to move to the Senate. Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley announced Monday that she has selected Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, who announced his resignation almost two weeks ago. Full story

Rehabbing Nevada GOP a Priority for Priebus in 2nd RNC Term

Rehabbing Nevada GOP a Priority for Priebus in 2nd RNC Term

Priebus is running for a second term as Republican National Committee chairman. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Reince Priebus sketches his agenda for another term as chairman of the Republican National Committee, rehabilitating a set of dysfunctional state parties has emerged as a top priority, particularly in key battlegrounds such as Nevada.

In an interview, Priebus confirmed that he has held multiple conversations with the Nevada Republican Party chairman and other Silver State GOP officials, with meetings planned in January to discuss how the RNC might help the Nevada GOP transform itself. The party was so organizationally debilitated throughout 2012 that it was incapable of performing even basic party-building activities, causing the RNC and top state Republicans to form a shadow party to run essential operations such as voter turnout.

“Clearly being successful at the RNC requires having state parties that are extremely successful as well,” Priebus told CQ Roll Call late last week. “That means raising funds and building armies and doing all the work on the ground and on the financial sides to be successful, and we recognize that in some areas we need to make improvements.”

Full story

South Carolina: Haley’s Senate Appointment of Scott Draws Wide Praise

South Carolina: Haleys Senate Appointment of Scott Draws Wide PraiseTim Scott" src="" alt="" width="445" height="316" />

Scott will succeed DeMint in the Senate in January. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley, flanked by the Palmetto State’s GOP congressional delegation, officially appointed Republican Rep. Tim Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint on Monday.

“It is a great day in South Carolina,” Haley said at a news conference at the state capitol in Columbia. “It is a historic day in South Carolina.”

Scott is expected to be sworn into the Senate when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3. He will run in a November 2014 special election to fill out the remainder of DeMint’s current term, which runs through 2016. His appointment means that the chamber will once again have African-American representation. The last black senator was Illinois Democrat Roland Burris, an appointee who served from 2009 to 2010. Scott will be the first black GOP senator from the South since 1881.

“This man loves South Carolina and he is very aware that what he does and every vote he makes affects South Carolina and affects our country,” Haley added. “And so it was with that that I knew that he was the right person. I have no doubt that he will fly through 2014.”

Full story

South Carolina: Haley to Appoint Scott to Fill DeMint Seat

South Carolina: Haley to Appoint Scott to Fill DeMint SeatTim Scott" src="" alt="" width="445" height="316" />

Haley is expected to choose Scott, above, to take DeMint's Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley is set to appoint Republican Rep. Tim Scott to succeed Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., according to several news reports. The official announcement is expected to come at noon Monday.

Scott would immediately be up for re-election in 2014 to finish the rest of DeMint’s term, which expires in 2017.

DeMint announced plans to resign from Congress a week and a half ago to take the reigns of The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

December 14, 2012

Some Democrats Want to Talk Gun Control, but Many Don’t

Some Democrats Want to Talk Gun Control, but Many Dont

Steve Israel" src="" alt="" width="445" height="301" />

Democrats all over Washington issued statements Friday expressing sympathy and dismay over the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. But amid the sadness, grief and shock one thing was clear — most in the Democratic Party did not want to inject a discussion of gun control into the day.

Many Democrats blame gun control for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential loss and there has been an increasing reluctance over the past decade to push the issue to the forefront of American politics. In 2006, Democrats won a majority in Congress in part by winning in conservative areas with candidates who were proudly pro-gun rights.

President Barack Obama alluded to gun control in his statement Friday, calling for “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of politics.” Full story

Massachusetts: Assessing the Would-Be Candidates for a Senate Special Election

Massachusetts: Assessing the Would Be Candidates for a Senate Special Election

Markey is among those interested in moving to the Senate if there is a vacancy to be filled. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:35 p.m. Dec. 15 | Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is set to be nominated as the next secretary of State, according to news reports Saturday evening.

It became clear in the wake of Susan Rice’s withdrawal from consideration on Thursday that Kerry was the leading contender for the position, touching off a theoretical chess game of speculation about who will fill his Senate seat.

If Kerry resigns to move to the State Department, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) will appoint a short-term successor to serve until a special election can take place. More on the politics of that after the jump, but first, here are the names being mentioned for a special election.


One plugged-in state Democratic operative laid out the different categories for possible Democratic candidates.

Group One — Current House Delegation 

A 2013 special election would essentially be a free run for any House member because he or she wouldn’t have to give up his or her current seat. Here are the names being floated around Boston on Friday morning. Also, if it is a Member of Congress who succeeds Kerry either by appointment or election, the same succession laws apply to that House seat as a Senate vacancy.

  • Rep. Edward J. Markey: “I heard that Markey is trying to clear the field. Good luck,” the operative said.
  • Rep. Michael E. Capuano: He ended up being the only member to run in the Senate special election that resulted from the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He finished second in the primary and is viewed as almost certain to run again if there is a vacancy.
  • Rep. Stephen F. Lynch: He eyed running in the 2010 special election but opted against it.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...