Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 4, 2015

February 9, 2013

Illinois: Rush, Davis to Endorse Kelly in Special Election for Jackson Seat

Davis is expected to endorse Kelly in the coming days. She is one of a handful of Democratic candidates running to replace Jackson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Reps. Danny K. Davis and Bobby L. Rush are wading into the crowded special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

The Democratic duo will back Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly in the coming days, according to two sources with close knowledge of the situation.

Their support caps several strong days for Kelly, who received the Chicago Tribune’s endorsement last night. The winner of the Feb. 26 Democratic primary will come to Congress in all likelihood, given the district’s heavy Democratic composition.

This week, Kelly became the first candidate in the race to hit the airwaves. She released a poll showing her leading the Democratic field in the 2nd District. She’s benefited from more than $820,000 in spending from a super PAC run by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Independence USA PAC.

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February 8, 2013

Iowa: King Waits on Senate Bid, Disputes Criticism on Viability

King has been criticized by some conservatives, but it doesn't appear that it will keep him out of the race for Senate. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BALTIMORE — Rep. Steve King hinted Friday that a run for the Iowa Senate may be imminent, but said he does not want to announce in the wake of GOP strategist Karl Rove’s attacks on him.

Since American Crossroads President Steven Law attacked him in The New York Times last weekend, King, a Republican, said he continues to consider a run to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

“It’s under deliberation of course, and it’s something that I had been looking at before Tom Harkin announced his retirement and now that that has happened, of course it accelerated the decision making process,” King said as he was leaving a Heritage Foundation-sponsored retreat for conservative Republicans in Baltimore.

“I don’t want to step into this thing and make an announcement in the face of the issue that Karl Rove has raised,” he continued. “We’ve got to decide first who’s going to nominate people for public office in America: Somebody outside the state with a big checkbook, or the people of Iowa.”

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Bill Clinton Offers Dose of Reality, Warning to House Dems

(Pool Win McNamee/Getty Images)

LEESBURG, Va. — At a retreat here that has been notable for the improbable exuberance of an energized House Democratic Caucus, President Bill Clinton offered doubt.

Drawing on lessons from his own presidency, Clinton said 2014 poses a more difficult challenge than 2012 and urged lawmakers to tread carefully on the issues of health care, gun control and the economy.

“I can’t tell you how many nights — countless nights in the White House. Every single night before I went to bed for months and months and months after the 1994 election, I thought about the people who were defeated because they voted for the economic plan, I thought about the people who were defeated because they voted for the assault weapons ban. I knew exactly what had happened. And I thought a lot about those who survived and why they did,” Clinton told lawmakers, referring to the 1994 midterm elections that were a GOP landslide.

“I think it’s important to take some action now that it is possible on the issue of gun violence, but it’s important to do it right,” he added. Full story

Massachusetts: State Representative Announces for Markey Seat

Democratic state Rep. Carl Sciortino today announced a bid for Massachusetts’ 5th District seat.

“I am really proud of the progressive leadership that Ed Markey has brought to our district, and I’m looking forward to continuing that leadership in Washington for communities here,” Sciortino said in a telephone interview with CQ Roll Call.

Rep. Edward J. Markey currently serves the safely Democratic 5th District, which includes suburbs to the north and west of Boston. Markey is the frontrunner in the Senate special election.

Sciortino cited “equality, reproductive health and the future of our environment” as issues that he is focused on and would emphasize if he gets to Capitol Hill.

Sciortino first ran for state representative in 2004 at age 25. The race pivoted on same-sex marriage, which the openly gay Sciortino supports. He faced an incumbent who opposed it. After a hard-fought race, Sciortino won the primary by 93 votes. He took office in 2005 and has been re-elected ever since.

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Obama to Help House Democrats Recruit Candidates

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:30 p.m. | LEESBURG, Va. — President Barack Obama has agreed to do more than just raise money for House Democrats’ effort to win back the majority in 2014: He is also going to help with candidate recruitment.

Obama will headline eight fundraising events in 2013 for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and more fundraisers are planned for 2014. But Obama’s agreement to help DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York make the sell to would-be candidates in targeted districts is also significant.

“It’s transformational,” Israel said in an interview, adding that House Democrats are “firing on all cylinders like I’ve never seen before.”

The president’s efforts to assist House Democrats politically are more than Israel initially even asked for.

Obama initially reached out to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Israel just after leaving the stage where he delivered his victory speech in Chicago on election night. Four years into his presidency, and after keeping the DCCC practically at arm’s length as he focused on his own re-election in the 2012 cycle, he was finally turning his gaze toward winning back the House. Full story

Iowa: Vilsack Would Be Potent Senate Candidate, Poll Finds

Not so fast, Rep. Bruce Braley. There’s another Iowa Democrat with plenty of goodwill awaiting him if he runs for Senate: former Gov. Tom Vilsack.

That’s according to a new poll of 802 Iowa adults conducted by Ann Selzer on behalf of the Des Moines Register. It was fielded Feb. 3-6 and released Friday — one day after Braley announced he would seek the seat.

With Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin retiring, poll respondents were read a list of possible candidates and asked whether each would be appealing. Fifty-six percent said Vilsack would be an appealing candidate, and 36 percent said the same of Braley, who represents a northeastern Iowa district. Rep. Tom Latham received the best score among the Republicans, with 40 percent viewing him as an appealing candidate. Full story

February 7, 2013

Massachusetts: Republican Winslow Officially Joins Senate Race

Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow made his campaign for the Senate official Thursday.

Winslow, a former judge and legal counsel to Mitt Romney and ex-Sen. Scott Brown, is the first GOP candidate to get in the race.

“I ask your prayers and good will for my family and me in this effort,” he wrote in a letter to local activists. “I will give it everything I have.”

In a short interview, Winslow said his campaign would be focused on the deficit and the economy. Asked about his close ties to Romney and Brown, two Republicans who lost Bay State electoral contests last November, Winslow replied: “I am my own man. I have a record of being socially moderate and fiscally conservative.”

He is one of four Republicans who have pulled nominating papers from the secretary of state’s office. As of Thursday afternoon, papers have been pulled for Winslow, MBA student Joshua Hill, former Ashland Board of Selectman Chairman Jon Fetherston and Therese M. Rohrbeck.

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Iowa: Potential Candidates Named for Braley’s 1st District

Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley opened the floodgates of ambitious pols eyeing his Iowa district when he announced his Senate bid Thursday.

Hawkeye State operatives expect a deep and competitive field for the Democratic-leaning 1st District, which is anchored by Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo in eastern Iowa.

The dominoes tipped last month when Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin announced he would not seek a sixth term, creating the first open-seat Senate race in Iowa in four decades. Braley is the only announced candidate, but GOP Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham are considering bids.

Here’s a look at the early names Democrats floated for Braley’s House seat:

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By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 4:55 p.m.
House 2016, Iowa-1

Illinois: Kelly Releases First TV Ad in Special Election

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly will air her first television spot, marking the first Democratic candidate to hit the airwaves in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.

Her ad buy is for “at least” five figures on cable television in the 2nd District, according to a Kelly spokesman. The spot highlights Kelly’s support for gun control, a pivotal issue on Chicago’s South Side.

“In the legislature, she worked with Barack Obama to crack down on illegal gun sales,” a male narrator says. “In Congress, Kelly will keep taking on the NRA, fighting to ban assault weapons and outlaw high-capacity ammunition clips.”

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Iowa: Braley Announces Bid for Senate

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, told supporters Thursday he is running for Senate.

The four-term congressman’s entrance into the race gives Democrats a top-tier candidate to hold the seat of retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who announced last month he will not seek a sixth term.

“It’s a big responsibility to represent the people of Iowa in the United States Senate, especially after Tom Harkin has shown us how for the last 30 years,” Braley said in the email. “But, if you are willing to help me, I’m ready to go.”

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Obama to Fundraise for House, Senate Committees

Updated: 1:09 p.m. | President Barack Obama will hold at least 14 fundraisers this year to support Democratic efforts to take control of the House and keep the majority in the Senate.

They include five outside-D.C. events for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and five outside-D.C. events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, along with separate and joint appearances for the committees in Washington, D.C.

As the country’s best fundraiser, Obama’s appearances will boost both committees as they stockpile resources this year for competitive races in 2014.

House Democrats must win a net of 17 seats to take the majority. Senate Republicans need to net six seats to take back control of that chamber.

The news of the Obama-led fundraisers is a particular boon for the DCCC, which will be primarily on offense this cycle. Obama-Biden 2012 Campaign Manager Jim Messina told DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York the good news earlier this week.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is also expected to do fundraising events for the DCCC.

The New York Times first reported the Obama fundraisers, which were confirmed to CQ Roll Call by a Democratic official.

Walker to Headline NRCC Dinner March 20

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will headline House Republicans’ major fundraising dinner March 20.

Walker, who has been hailed as the conservative, collective-bargaining-busting hero, will deliver the keynote address at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual event at the National Building Museum.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the dinner, will work with Walker and other members on fundraising.

In 2012, South Carolina Gov. Nikki R. Haley headlined the dinner, which brought in a hefty $12 million.

The news of Walker headlining the dinner was first reported by Yahoo News.

February 6, 2013

Illinois: New Kelly Poll Shows Her Leading Special Primary

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly released an internal poll today that showed she has moved to the front of the Democratic pack in the crowded special primary to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.

Kelly garnered 26 percent in the poll among the top Democrats, according to a survey memo released by the campaign.

Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill, picked up 22 percent, while state Sen. Toi Hutchinson had the backing of 20 percent of those surveyed, and Alderman Anthony Beale had 10 percent.

The winner of the Feb. 26 Democratic primary will likely win the seat given the South Side district’s deep blue composition. But Chicago Democrats see the special primary as unpredictable because of the large number of candidates.

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New Jersey: Geraldo Talks Senate Run on Facebook

Television personality Geraldo Rivera took to his Facebook page to clarify the legal ends of his Senate candidacy contemplations.

“Despite my constitutionally protected musings on whether to seek that high office, I am taking no formal steps to initiate the electoral process, making no declarations, forming no committees, raising no money and hiring no campaign aides,” Rivera wrote. “Therefore, there is no [Federal Communications Commission] complication regarding equal time.”

Rivera is getting at the fact that he hosts a radio program and is stating that he is still in compliance with the “equal time rule.”

Rivera has floated his name as a Republican contender in the 2014 Senate race in New Jersey. Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg has yet to announce whether he will seek re-election. Rivera’s recent comments have mostly been met with eye rolls, but according to The New York Times, Fox News “is taking it seriously.”

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Georgia: Broun Files Senate Paperwork Ahead of Afternoon Campaign Launch

Rep. Paul Broun

Broun is expected to announce his Senate bid on Wednesday afternoon. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun filed a federal statement of candidacy Wednesday to run for Senate.

The paperwork comes ahead of Broun’s expected 4 p.m. announcement in Atlanta that he will seek retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat.

The Republican senator announced last month he would not run for another term in 2014, kicking off a scramble among ambitious members of the Peach State delegation. Republican Reps. Jack Kingston, Tom Price and Phil Gingrey are all seen as likely to get into the race to succeed Chambliss. But Broun got the jump on his colleagues.

Broun is one of the chamber’s most socially and fiscally conservative members. He had a lifetime score of 99 percent from both the American Conservative Union and the anti-tax Club for Growth at the end of 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.

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