Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

October 31, 2012

Indiana: Dueling Internal Polls Show Different Races

Indiana: Dueling Internal Polls Show Different Races

Rep. Joe Donnelly is running for Senate in Indiana. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What’s the effect of state Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s (R) week-old debate comment that pregnancy from rape is something “God intended”?

Depends on whom you ask.

Today, Mourdock’s campaign released a second poll showing his race versus Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) as a statistical tie. His own campaign survey showed Mourdock leading Donnelly, 45 percent to 44 percent.

It’s safe to say, Donnelly’s team sees the race differently. His campaign released its own survey today that showed him leading Mourdock, 43 to 36 percent, among 600 likely voters.

Either way, the race for Indiana’s Senate seat remains highly competitive. Roll Call rates it as a Tossup.

Mourdock’s pollster, John McLaughlin and Associates, conducted his campaign poll Oct. 29-30. Donnelly’s pollster, Global Strategy Group, conducted his campaign poll Oct. 28-30.

Both surveys interviewed 600 likely voters and had a margins of error of 4 points.

David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

David Axelrod Wagers Mustache on Winning Expanded Battleground States

Top Democratic strategist David Axelrod bet his mustache that President Barack Obama will win Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania next week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s campaign claimed today that Mitt Romney’s campaign is “flailing” in the final days, with senior strategist David Axelrod betting his mustache that Obama will win the newly minted battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.

Axelrod and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters dismissed the Romney campaign’s late charge into those states, despite persistent polling leads for Obama, as a sign that it is losing in the existing battlegrounds and is increasingly desperate to expand the map.

“It’s break glass time in Boston,” Axelrod said. “I’ve put my mustache on the line.”

Messina said Democrats are piling up big leads among early voters in key battleground states including Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado and Florida.
Axelrod dismissed a question about Obama consistently trailing significantly among independents in polling. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the clutter today.

National

Not everyone agreed with us when we declared a spot from former Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R) as one of the best of the cycle. It was a static camera shot of the beach with almost no political messaging beyond his campaign logo. It reminded us of the annual Corona palm tree Christmas ads.

But if you need any better understanding of why we liked that spot, well, we’ll let this 4-year-old Abby do the talking for us.

Full story

Changed Politics and District Haunt Judy Biggert in Illinois

Changed Politics and District Haunt Judy Biggert in Illinois

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

LEMONT, Ill. — Rep. Judy Biggert built a reputation as a genteel Republican willing to work across the aisle during her 14 years in Congress.

But politics has changed, and Biggert has not.

“The last time I went to the Civility Caucus, there were three people there: the two co-chairs and me,”  Biggert recalled to a roundtable of local business leaders last week.

Today, one of those co-chairmen is the head of the organization that has already spent $1.35 million to defeat her next week: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.).

Biggert has never faced a race like this — and it shows. Now there’s a good chance her hesitance to embrace the aggressive tactics of today’s politics could cost her in her race against former Rep. Bill Foster (D). Full story

October 30, 2012

California: Raul Ruiz Up 6 Points in Internal Poll

California: Raul Ruiz Up 6 Points in Internal Poll

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A poll conducted for the campaign of Raul Ruiz found the Democrat up 6 points in his challenge to California Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R).

Ruiz led 48 percent to 42 percent in the Lake Research Partners poll, with 7 percent of voters undecided. The poll was taken of 409 residents of the 36th district who are either likely to vote or have already voted. It was conducted Oct. 20-22 and had a 4.9-point margin of error.

The polling memo stated that both candidates’ unfavorable ratings have increased over the past few weeks, as both sides have stepped up attacks. So, “in the final weeks of the race, it is important for the Ruiz campaign to introduce Ruiz to the 33% of voters who have not already voted and still have no impression of Ruiz,” the memo stated. Full story

Arizona: Republicans Spend Big in Final Week; Democrats Go For the Jugular

Arizona: Republicans Spend Big in Final Week; Democrats Go For the Jugular

Republicans are spending big in their effort to defeat Richard Carmona, who is running for the Senate in Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

During the final week of the Arizona Senate race, supporters of Rep. Jeff Flake (R) and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) are expected to spend almost $7.5 million, according to a Republican source who tracks media buys.

Both sides are investing heavily, although Republicans are slated to outspend Democrats by about a 2-to-1 margin. But the Democrats are packing a punch with this new spot:

Republican sources interpret the heavier GOP spending in the final week as a lack of Democratic confidence Carmona’s ability to defeat Flake. But Democratic sources say the Republican spending advantage is a sign of concern on the GOP side.

Full story

Robert Dold Fights District, Party Label in Bid for Second Term

Robert Dold Fights District, Party Label in Bid for Second Term

Rep. Robert Dold and his 5-year-old daughter, Honor, greet a supporter at his campaign headquarters in Highland Park, Ill. (Shira Toepliz/CQ Roll Call)

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Freshman Rep. Robert Dold boasts the dubious distinction of representing the most Democratic district of any Republican Member of the House.

If he’s lucky, Dold will keep that title next year in this redrawn district north of Chicago.

“Where is Zion?” asked his daughter Harper, 10, studying an atlas from the front seat of Dold’s blue, decorated campaign bus early Saturday afternoon. “Is this the right map?”

That’s probably the same question Dold asked himself 16 months ago, when Democrats redrew the Congressional map in Illinois. Democrats unsuccessfully dumped millions into the 10th district during the past three cycles, so Dold began his first term as a top target, even before the redrawn map made his road to a second term more challenging. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Here is what cut through the clutter today:

Massachusetts 6

This is, perhaps, the best ad of the entire cycle from former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R). He is giving Rep. John Tierney (D) a very serious challenge, but we cannot imagine a better way to close out a campaign in the overloaded Boston TV market, even if it is a small cable buy:

Full story

Illinois: Democrats’ Redistricting Crown Jewel Not as Royal as Expected

Illinois: Democrats Redistricting Crown Jewel Not as Royal as Expected

Rep. Jan Schakowsky campaigns with Democratic House hopefuls Tammy Duckworth and Brad Schneider at Harmony Park in Arlington Heights, Ill. (Shira Toeplitz/CQ Roll Call)

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Democratic hopes of winning the House majority have been quashed, but in this northern Chicago suburb’s crowded village hall on a Saturday morning, one can see the glimmer of what might have been.

At this single location, early voters wait an hour to cast ballots in one of three redrawn Congressional districts. The hall serves as a symbol of the extent to which Democrats redrew the lines of the state’s map to their advantage.

Throughout the cycle, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) repeated these words: “The road to the majority runs through Illinois.” But less than week before Election Day, it’s clear that Democrats won’t net the 25 seats needed to regain the Speaker’s gavel, and it’s equally clear they won’t make as many gains in Illinois as they had hoped. Full story

Massachusetts: New Poll Has Elizabeth Warren Up 7 Points Over Scott Brown

Massachusetts: New Poll Has Elizabeth Warren Up 7 Points Over Scott Brown

A new poll in the Massachusetts Senate race showed Sen. Scott Brown down by 7 points. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll in the Massachusetts Senate race found Sen. Scott Brown (R) trailing Democrat Elizabeth Warren by 7 points in this horse-race matchup.

Warren, a Harvard University professor and consumer advocate, led Brown 53 percent to 46 percent in a newly released Suffolk University/7News poll. About 1 percent were undecided.

The survey found 45 percent had a favorable opinion of Brown, while 42 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him. Fifty-one percent had a favorable opinion of Warren, while 36 percent had an unfavorable opinion of her.

The Suffolk University poll — which is well respected in the Bay State — seemed to paint Monday’s Boston Globe poll, which showed the race tied, as something of an outlier. An average of recent polls showed Warren leading Brown by more than 4 points, a tough gap for the Senator to make up in the final week.

The Suffolk University poll surveyed 600 likely voters using live interviewers to call land lines and cellphones from Oct. 25 through Oct. 28. The poll’s margin of error was 4 points.

American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS Make Gargantuan Final Senate Ad Push

The Republican-affiliated sister groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS will begin a massive $10.5 million Senate ad blitz today and Wednesday, blanketing competitive Senate races, including those in Maine, Montana and New Mexico, with hard-hitting attack ads.

With control of the Senate in the balance, the deep-pocketed groups are making a concerted final push to help put GOP candidates over the line.

The ads that begin today are in the following Senate races:

Full story

House Majority PAC Airs Final Spots in Nine Races

Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC today will announce its final flight of advertisements in nine key races.

According to a copy of the spots provided early to Roll Call, House Majority PAC will target the following districts with six-figure buys:

In Arizona’s 1st district, the Democratic group and EMILY’s List will jointly air “Why” through Election Day in the Phoenix market for $120,000:

In Arizona’s new 9th district, it will join with EMILY’s List to air “About Women” through Election Day in the Phoenix market for $120,000:

Full story

Arizona: Barbs Turn Personal Among Richard Carmona, Jon Kyl and John McCain

The Arizona Senate race has taken a nasty and personal turn in the final days, highlighted by increasingly sharp barbs between GOP Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D).

Arizona: Barbs Turn Personal Among Richard Carmona, Jon Kyl and John McCain

The spat caps a tumultuous year for the Arizona delegation and politics in the state, and there is little to indicate relationships will improve in the next Congress — especially if Carmona wins the Tossup race.

Carmona faces Rep. Jeff Flake (R) in the race to replace Kyl, who is retiring. But recently Kyl and McCain have played starring roles in battering Carmona, while Flake is hardly in the fray at all. Full story

October 29, 2012

Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Touts Endorsements From Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles

The bipartisan leaders of President Barack Obama’s deficit reduction commission today endorsed former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) in his uphill bid against GOP candidate Deb Fischer for the open Nebraska Senate seat.

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles “are supporting Bob Kerrey because he has told Nebraskans the honest truth about the critical necessity of assuring the 75 year solvency of the Social Security system, and stabilizing Medicare and Medicaid in a way that preserves and strengthens the needed protections for seniors and the most vulnerable in our society,” Simpson said in a statement released by the Kerrey campaign. Full story

Campaigns: Save Our Signs!

Campaigns: Save Our Signs!

Early voting at the Washington, D.C., Board of Elections was suspended on Monday because of Hurricane Sandy. Many candidates in the mid-Atlantic region called for supporters to remove their yard signs during the storm as a safety precaution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

During the past two days, a handful of committees and campaigns have sent emails to supporters asking them to put away yard signs as Hurricane Sandy makes landfall.

The guidance was of a safety-first nature, but there was also some strategic value: safety and ensuring that signs will be available once the storm has passed. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and his challenger, veteran Steve Obsitnik (R), wrote a joint note to supporters.

“A reminder to please bring in lawn signs as a safety precaution,” they wrote. The sentiment was echoed by campaigns throughout New England. But many campaigns urged supporters to hold onto the signs and to roll them out as soon as the storm passed.

“Ever wondered what a 50 mph wind will do to a campaign sign? Let’s not find out!” Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers’ (R) team wrote to his supporters. “If you have lawn signs out, please bring them in until Sandy blows over. We’ll need the support once the storm rolls out of town.”

An added note on campaigns working around Sandy: Don’t expect ads to be pulled from television airwaves. Sources say that doing so at this point in the election cycle would be politically untenable.

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