Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 24, 2014

November 6, 2012

Independent Angus King Wins Maine Senate Race

Independent Angus King Wins Maine Senate Race

(Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Popular former Maine Gov. Angus King (I) tonight comfortably won the Pine Tree State’s open Senate seat, currently held by moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who is retiring.

The Associated Press called the race. King beat Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) and state Sen. Cynthia Dill (D).

King hasn’t said with which party he will caucus, but he is widely expected to cast his vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The National Republican Senatorial Committee spent a not insignificant amount of money against King, lobbing potent attack ads his way. National GOP third-party groups also tried to knock King down and boost Summers.

Full story

John Boehner to Address RNC Party

John Boehner to Address RNC Party

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John Boehner will address the crowd at the Republican National Committee party in Washington, D.C., tonight according to a late news release from his office.

The Ohio Republican’s comments will come around 9:50 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, after remarks from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas).

Although many elections results should be in by that time, it is unlikely the presidential race will be decided by that hour. As a result, it remains unclear what tack Boehner will take in his speech. In recent interviews from the campaign trail, Boehner has been saying he wants to delay until the new year several issues that Congress could consider during the lame-duck session and that he sees raising tax rates on the highest earners — a stated priority of the Obama administration — as a nonstarter.

Senate Update: Democrats Retain Majority

Senate Update: Democrats Retain Majority

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:37 a.m. | As Election Day folded into Nov. 7, the only question remaining in the fight for the Senate was the size of the Democratic majority.

Democrats were looking at a net gain of two seats, with just two Democratic-held seats and one Republican seat left to be called. That meant the Democratic majority could be no lower than 53-47, exactly where it was at the beginning of the cycle.

“When we started this campaign, no one, and I mean no one gave us a chance.  But we went out and built the best Senate campaigns in the history of the country,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) said in a statement. “We recruited some of the highest quality candidates, including a record number of women. Democrats never let up, and now we will retain our majority in the United States Senate.”

The Associated Press called the Wisconsin Senate race after midnight, with Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) topping former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) for the seat of retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D). That left two Democratic-held seats yet to be called: in Montana, where Sen. Jon Tester (D) faced Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), and in North Dakota, where former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) faced Rep. Rick Berg (R) for the seat of retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D).

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R) was looking to hold on against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D), even as President Barack Obama carried the state.

 

Updated 11:25 p.m. | Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

Tim Kaine’s (D) victory in Virginia and Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) re-election took two more pickup opportunities off the map for Republicans and left the GOP without enough states left to complete its quest for the majority.

With the presidential contest now called for President Barack Obama, Democrats would control the Senate even in the event of a 50-50 tie, as Vice President Joseph Biden would cast the deciding vote. Full story

House Update: GOP Holds Majority as Incumbents on Both Sides Fall

House Update: GOP Holds Majority as Incumbents on Both Sides Fall

From left: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel address the crowd at a Democratic election night party in Washington, D.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:45 a.m. | House Republicans were wiped out in the Northeast in Tuesday’s elections, especially in New England, where there won’t be a single GOP Member returning to Congress next year.

A Democratic duo, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and attorney Ann McLane Kuster, won House seats in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Reps. John Tierney (D-Mass.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) fended off tough challenges from GOP opponents. Former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty narrowly won an open-seat race in Connecticut’s 5th district, holding the seat for Democrats.

In the Empire State, two Republican freshmen lost re-election: Nan Hayworth and Ann Marie Buerkle. Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), who won a special election last year, lost her bid for a full term, marking one of her party’s only disappointments in the region.

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Sheriff Sees No Signs of Political Motivation in Pelosi Burglary

Sheriff Sees No Signs of Political Motivation in Pelosi Burglary

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There were no signs of a political motive for a break-in Monday at one of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s California homes, Capt. Tracey Stuart, a spokeswoman for the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, told Roll Call.

The perpetrators did not vandalize the residence or leave behind anything that pointed to a motive beyond burglary, Stuart said. There was nothing obviously missing, although the Pelosis have not been at the residence to check if anything is gone. Their belongings had been rifled through to “some” degree, Stuart said.

Police were alerted to the break-in by an alarm system at 2:53 p.m. Monday. Arriving on the scene, they found two glass doors broken, one to the main residence and a second to the pool house.

The house that was broken into was in St. Helena, Calif., in the heart of wine country in the Napa Valley.

Pelosi’s office did not reply to a request for comment. The Napa Valley Register first reported the incident.

Voters Face Language Barriers in Virginia, New Mexico

After months of courting, some Spanish-speaking voters encountered problems casting a ballot today.

Voters exiting the Bailey’s Community Center in Falls Church, Va., one of Northern Virginia’s more ethnically diverse areas, said the morning was particularly challenging for elderly and Hispanic voters.

Speaking in broken English, Manuel Matamoros, a middle-aged Hispanic man, said a poll worker declined to help him with comprehension questions about the ballot — assistance he had no trouble getting in 2008.

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‘Massive Confusion’ in Pennsylvania, New Jersey a ‘Hot Bed’ of Problems

A representative from the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition told Roll Call this afternoon that there were reports of “massive confusion” in Pennsylvania, voting-machine problems in Ohio, long lines in southern Virginia, technical problems in Texas and difficulties in New Jersey.

Tanya House, one of the attorneys working with the group, said there are reports that voters in Pennsylvania are showing up at the polls and being told they need photo identification, even though a recent court ruling delayed implementation of the commonwealth’s new voter ID law until after Election Day. Voters there were also receiving mailings as late as Friday that referenced the need for a photo ID.

“Massive confusion in Pennsylvania,” House said. “The state did not do a good job about informing people that they do not have to show photo ID in order to vote. Poll workers are telling them they do and people are being turned away.”

The coalition has received multiple reports of issues with voting machines in Ohio. Voters at multiple precincts there are being directed to cast emergency ballots because of technical problems. The coalition is concerned that these ballots are being placed in the same boxes as provisional ballots, which won’t be counted until 10 days after Election Day.

Though lines in the Virginia suburbs around Washington, D.C., had subsided by midday, House said there were reports of long lines in the southern part of the state.

And near Galveston, Texas, House said there were multiple reports that polling places did not open on time because workers had improperly booted up machines. “Clearly that’s not a voter error, that’s an administrative error” that needs to be remedied, House said.

She also said New Jersey, where voters are struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is a “hot bed” of reported problems.

The coalition is “trying to get someone on the ground there to assist” voters who are having trouble sending ballots by email and who are being evacuated from their towns on the day they are supposed to vote, House said.

New Jersey announced earlier today that as long as voters requested an application for a mail-in ballot by email or fax by 5 p.m. today, county clerks will continue processing those requests until Friday at noon. The voter must return the special ballot by fax, email or to the appropriate county board of elections by 8 p.m. Friday.

K Street Lobbying for Votes

Empty offices. Lobbyists scattered across the country volunteering on campaigns. This is K Street on Election Day.

Take the Podesta Group. Many of the bipartisan firm’s staffers spent the day working at phone banks from Arizona to Virginia or knocking on doors, urging voters to turn out.

“I did phones this morning, then I walked some neighborhoods as well,” said Arlington, Va., resident Josh Holly, a principal at the lobby firm.

Full story

New York Voters Compare New System to ‘Third-World Country’

Even as some New York City residents waited in lines to take buses to the polls, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today there’s a bigger problem: the state’s new voting machines.

“The system that we now have in place, instead of you going to one place to get your card and then into a booth, you go to one place, you get a folder, a card, a ballot, then you have to go to another place to fill it out while people look over your shoulder, then you’ve got to go to another place to stick that piece of paper into a scanning machine,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.

Bloomberg said he encountered delays and confusion at his own polling place today, with many voters unsure of the traffic flow to voting machines and the extra steps required to cast a ballot.

“They were just stunned, and I kept hearing, ‘What’s this, a third-world country?’” Bloomber said. “We did have machines incidentally that worked; they worked fine. You could go in, you closed the curtain behind you, you pulled the levers.”

Full story

Lines, Provisional Ballots Greet Voters on Election Day

Lines, Provisional Ballots Greet Voters on Election Day

Crowds line up around the block for a long wait to vote at the Noyes Elementary School in Northeast Washington, D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The lines that greeted early morning voters in Virginia, Ohio and Washington, D.C., today seem to have, by many accounts, subsided until people leave work and there’s another influx at the polls.

Some of the longest lines were reported by District voters at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus on 16th & Irving streets Northwest, where multiple people told Roll Call they waited two or more hours to cast a vote this morning.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

On Friday, we noted the 10 toughest ads of the cycle. For our last Daily Ad Track here on Election Day, we take a look at the best ads of the cycle. Some are negative, some are positive, some are defensive. But all cut through the clutter this year:

10. New Hampshire 1

Group sponsoring the ad: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Women’s testimonials have cluttered television screens, but there was something about a montage of tough guys with facial hair talking about “women’s medical issues” that made us stop.

Chris Christie Criticizes ‘Know-Nothing Romney Staffers’

Chris Christie Criticizes Know Nothing Romney Staffers

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ripped into campaign aides for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a news conference this morning to discuss the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.

Christie fired back at a story published Monday evening by the Huffington Post, which cited an unnamed Romney campaign source saying that Christie rejected a request from the Romney campaign to appear at a campaign event in Morrisville, Pa., not far from Trenton, N.J.

Christie said there was no such invitation. Moreover, he said that he spoke directly with Romney the weekend before Sandy made landfall to say that his responsibilities as governor would preclude him from making any more campaign trips. Christie had been a leading Romney surrogate.

“All this other noise, I think, are coming from know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who — you know — don’t like the fact that I said nice things about the president of the United States. Well, that’s too bad for them,” Christie said.

Full story

Barack Obama Plays Basketball, Mitt Romney Barnstorms in Ohio and Pennsylvania

Barack Obama Plays Basketball, Mitt Romney Barnstorms in Ohio and Pennsylvania

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a campaign rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The campaign may have slowed down for Election Day, but it hasn’t stopped, as both presidential contenders make their last ditch pitches to voters heading to the polls today.

After casting his ballot in Bedford, Mass., the state’s former governor and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was en route to Ohio and Pennsylvania to urge voters to head to the polls. President Barack Obama planned to spend the day close to his Chicago home conducting television and radio interviews — many with stations in swing states.

Obama, who will participate in what has become a traditional Election Day basketball game, this morning made an unscheduled stop at a small Chicago campaign field office at the corner of Harper Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard, according to pool reports. He was greeted by applause from his campaign aides and volunteers. He helped the get-out-the-vote effort by calling voters personally.

“This is Barack Obama. You know, the president?” he said, according to pool reports. “She was very nice to me even though she initially didn’t know who I was,” Obama said after the call ended.

Obama voted early in Chicago on Oct. 25, and the first lady cast her vote by mail on Oct. 15.

But like Romney, the vice presidential contenders — Joseph Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — cast their ballots today.

Biden voted at Alexis I. DuPont High School in Greenville, Del., along with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and other family members.

“Oh, I’m feeling pretty good,” Biden said after voting. When asked if this was the last time he expected to vote for himself, the vice president said with a grin, “No, I don’t think so.”

Biden then made an unannounced visit to Cleveland, Ohio, where his plane parked next to Romney’s. According to CNN, the vice president then headed over to the GOP challenger’s plane to greet Romney.

Ryan and his wife, Janna, voted this morning at the Janesville, Wis., library. They were photographed with their young children accompanying them. Ryan was then scheduled to head to campaign stops in Virginia and Ohio before meeting up with the top of the GOP ticket for an election night rally in Boston.

Obama, according to reporters traveling with him, planned to eat dinner at his home before delivering a speech at an unspecified time from Chicago’s McCormick Place.

November 5, 2012

Andrew Cuomo Clears Way for Statewide Voting for Displaced New Yorkers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed an executive order Monday allowing voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote at any polling place in the state, with some limitations.

At a press conference late Monday, Cuomo announced that he would allow voters in affected areas to cast ballots by affidavit for president and statewide races at any polling place in the state. Voters using this option will not be able to vote in local races, including for Members of the House.

Unlike in New Jersey, New York voters will not be allowed to cast absentee ballots by email or fax.

Full story

Candidates Make Last-Minute Loans to Campaigns

A slew of Congressional candidates dipped into their own wallets over the past week to fund one final push in their campaigns.

Here’s Roll Call’s running tally, according to local reports and online filings with the Federal Election Commission:

Senate races:

  • Last week, former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) guaranteed a $500,000 loan for his campaign against former Gov. Tim Kaine (D). An Allen aide described it as a bridge loan to ensure available funds while the campaign processed credit card donations. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.
  • Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) made a last-minute, $250,000 loan to aid her bid against Sen. Dean Heller (R). Roll Call rates this as a Tossup.
  • Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R) continued to fund much of her campaign against Rep. Christopher Murphy (D). As of Oct. 17, she had contributed $40 million of her own funds to her race. Roll Call rates this as Leans Democratic.

House races:

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