Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2014

July 2, 2012

NRCC Hits California Dems in Ads; DCCC Robocalls on Health Care Repeal

The National Republican Congressional Committee will begin airing new ads Tuesday attacking California Democratic Reps. Lois Capps, John Garamendi and Jerry McNerney on the 2010 health care law, days after the Supreme Court ruled it to be constitutional.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began live-calling and robocalling residents in 10 targeted districts, knocking mostly Republican incumbents for wanting to repeal the health care law.

Full story

Jim DeMint PAC to Go Independent, Increase Fundraising

Jim DeMint PAC to Go Independent, Increase Fundraising

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is cutting official ties to his Senate Conservatives Fund leadership PAC to allow the fundraising outfit to form a super PAC. While DeMint may continue to attend fundraisers for the new super PAC — named Senate Conservatives Action — campaign finance laws prohibit him from asking donors for money directly.

The new structure will allow the group to raise and spend unlimited funds to support reliably conservative Senate candidates. It also ends the $5,000 limit on individual contributions. The group has raised $17 million since 2009, $8 million so far this year, under the limitations governing politicians’ PACs. Full story

June 29, 2012

Florida: Ron DeSantis Goes on TV

Congressional candidate Ron DeSantis, who has recently received a series of impressive endorsements in his bid for the GOP nomination in Florida’s open 6th district, went on TV recently with a simple direct-to-camera ad.

“Politicians play by their own set of rules, we pay the tab,” he says, standing in what appears to be a living room. “They spend us into oblivion, yet they give themselves generous pay and benefits. Worst of all, they disregard their oath to the Constitution. This has to stop,” he says, as light patriotic music begins to play.

Full story

June 28, 2012

Arizona: Trent Franks Endorses Two House Candidates

Arizona: Trent Franks Endorses Two House Candidates

(Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Trent Franks (R) doled out two more endorsements in Arizona GOP primaries.

Retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally and former state Sen. Jonathan Paton touted Franks’ nods Wednesday. Full story

Virginia: State Democrats Expand Campaign

The Virginia Democratic coordinated campaign, dubbed VA Victory 2012, announced this week an expansion of its organizing efforts in the battleground state.

The coordinated campaign announced nine new senior hires who will oversee a team of more than 30 organizers from around the state, as well as six new offices — including in Roanoke, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia — to go along with its three offices in Richmond, Alexandria and Virginia Beach.

State party Chairman Brian Moran announced the additions of Deputy Field Director Arthur Scott, Targeting and Data Director John Davis, and seven regional field directors, who all work under Keren Charles Dongo, the VA Victory 2012 director.

The commonwealth is home to tossup races at the presidential and Senate levels and at least one competitive House race.

NRCC Elevates Six Young Guns Candidates

The National Republican Congressional Committee has announced that six candidates have reached the committee’s “Contender” stage of the Young Guns program.

Four of those six are running in the same district: businesswoman Lisa Wilson-Foley, state Sen. Andrew Roraback, veteran Justin Bernier and real estate developer Mark Greenberg. All are vying for Connecticut’s 5th district GOP nomination.

The others are ex-Erie County Executive Chris Collins, who won a GOP primary Tuesday and is challenging Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) in New York’s 27th district, and former Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii). He is challenging Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), a rematch of their 2010 contest.

“These candidates have worked hard to meet the benchmarks that have been laid out before them and are determined to hold Washington Democrats accountable this November,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said.

The Contender level is the third of four steps to attaining Young Gun status at the NRCC.

Hawaii: Ed Case Agrees to General Election Debate

The Democratic primary might still be six weeks away, but former Rep. Ed Case (D) and former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) have already scheduled a general election debate.

The only thing stopping the two from debating on Aug. 15 is Rep. Mazie Hirono, who is challenging Case for their party’s nomination and is backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the Aug. 11 primary.

According to a release from Case, the Maui Chamber of Commerce is hosting the business-focused debate and has invited the primary winners. Case said he looks forward “to many real debates with Linda throughout the general,” should he make it there.

Meanwhile, a fundraising appeal from Hirono cites Lingle’s “vanity TV channel” and asks supporters to help match the $30,000 Lingle will spend on it over the next six weeks.

Arizona: Jeff Flake to Make $1.4 Million TV Ad Buy

Arizona: Jeff Flake to Make $1.4 Million TV Ad Buy

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jeff Flake is set to spend at least $1.4 million of his Senate campaign war chest on television advertising in his attempt to secure the Republican nomination.

Flake has found himself in a costly primary against self-funding real estate investor Wil Cardon. The ad buy is set to run from July 9 through the Aug. 28 primary.

Roll Call rates the general election as Leans Republican. Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona is the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Iowa: Rick Santorum Backs John Archer Against Dave Loebsack

Iowa: Rick Santorum Backs John Archer Against Dave Loebsack

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) backed John Deere executive John Archer’s (R) bid to unseat Rep. Dave Loebsack (D) on Wednesday.

This marks the former presidential candidate’s second Congressional endorsement in the Hawkeye State, where he focused much of his failed presidential campaign. Full story

June 27, 2012

Crossroads Launches TV Ads In North Dakota, New Mexico

American Crossroads and its nonprofit affiliate, Crossroads GPS, today launched new television ads targeting competitive Senate races in New Mexico and North Dakota.

American Crossroads, a GOP-aligned super PAC, went up with its second ad in New Mexico on behalf of former Rep. Heather Wilson (R), who is facing Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) in the race for the open Senate seat. The group spent $184,000 on the ad — its second to air this month — which airs statewide on broadcast and cable from today through July 7. Full story

Oklahoma: John Sullivan Loses Primary in Surprise Upset

Oklahoma: John Sullivan Loses Primary in Surprise Upset

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John Sullivan unexpectedly lost the GOP primary Tuesday night to U.S. Navy Reserve pilot Jim Bridenstine, a political newcomer who has tea party support.

The five-term Congressman trailed Bridenstine 46 percent to 54 percent, with 94 percent of precincts reporting at 12:30 a.m., when the Associated Press called the race. Sullivan, who was first elected to Congress in a 2002 special election, vastly outspent his challenger, the former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

During the campaign, Bridenstine attacked Sullivan as an out-of-touch politician and for his lackluster attendance record in Congress, saying he missed 9 percent of votes, according to local reports. Sullivan acknowledged he has missed votes because of his battle with alcoholism, for which he checked himself into a rehabilitation center in 2009.

“I’ve never had a race like this in all my life,” Sullivan told the Associated Press a few days ago. “The only mistake I made was I ignored it for too long.”

The 1st district, which includes Tulsa, is a solid GOP seat that only incurred minimal changes in redistricting. The district voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with 64 percent in 2008. Bridenstine will be the next Member representing this seat in all likelihood.

Sullivan is the eighth House Member to lose a primary this cycle, although four of those have lost to another Member in a race created by redistricting. To see who else isn’t returning to the 113th Congress, check out our Casualty List.

California: Norman Solomon Concedes, Paving Way for Jared Huffman

Democratic activist Norman Solomon conceded the 2nd district primary Tuesday, despite the difference between him and the second-place finisher narrowing as the count of outstanding votes continued.

“While the 172-vote gap is expected to narrow still further as Sonoma County processes its final outstanding ballots, it has become numerically very unlikely Solomon will overtake Roberts as these few remaining ballots are tallied,” a campaign release stated.

State Assemblyman Jared Huffman is now heavily favored to be the next Member of Congress from the Northern California coast. He faces investment adviser Dan Roberts (R) in a heavily Democratic district being vacated by retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D).

With the elections still not officially certified, this is one of five House races identified on the California secretary of state’s website as a close contest, which includes races where the second- and third-place finishers are separated by less than 2 points.

June 26, 2012

Utah: Orrin Hatch Cruises to Victory in GOP Primary

Utah: Orrin Hatch Cruises to Victory in GOP Primary

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Orrin Hatch handily won renomination in the Republican primary Tuesday night and is now heavily favored to win re-election to a seventh term, which he has said would be his last.

After entering the 2012 cycle as one of the Senate’s most endangered incumbents, the 78-year-old lawmaker survived a challenge from Dan Liljenquist, an underfunded former state Senator whose candidacy was ultimately undone by Hatch’s strong campaign and a lack of angst over the Senator’s voting record and length of service. Hatch led 69 percent to 31 percent, with 13 percent of precincts reporting.

The Associated Press called the race just after 11 p.m. Eastern time. Full story

New York: Grace Meng Wins Democratic Primary

State Assemblywoman Grace Meng won the Democratic primary in the open 6th district tonight.

She was strongly backed by Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party. His power and prestige in the district will be boosted from this victory, which he worked hard to make sure happened.

Meng, backed by most establishment political figures, including retiring Rep. Gary Ackerman, beat state Assemblyman Rory Lancman and New York City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, the Congressman’s cousin.

With 63 percent of precincts reporting, Meng had 53 percent to Lancman’s 28 percent and Crowley’s 15 percent.

The Queens-based district is safely Democratic, and if, as expected, Meng takes the oath of office in 2013, she will become the first Asian-American elected to Congress from New York. Full story

New York: Charlie Rangel Survives Primary Challenge

New York: Charlie Rangel Survives Primary Challenge

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Twenty-one-term Rep. Charlie Rangel, the Democratic icon who chaired the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, survived the fiercest primary challenge of his career Tuesday night.

Despite a seemingly perfect storm of circumstances that swirled against the New York lawmaker this cycle, the force of incumbency and his long history in the district propelled him to victory against his top challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

“No one was able to make a compelling case for why voters should take a chance and vote for someone different, which would mean the loss of seniority and perceived loss of power,” New York Democratic strategist Basil Smikle said. Full story

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