Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

October 18, 2012

Ohio: Sherrod Brown, Josh Mandel Get Testy and Personal in Debate

Ohio: Sherrod Brown, Josh Mandel Get Testy and Personal in Debate

Vicki Kuhn (right), of Wapakoneta, Ohio, and other GOP supporters cheer in the streets before the second of the three campaign debates between Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and his Republican challenger Josh Mandel. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) were alternately feisty and condescending in a debate tonight in the state’s capital city.

The two-term Senator defended his “pro-worker, pro-small business” record, while Mandel accused Brown of “gobbledygook” and “Washington speak”  that requires an online translator.

“You have my commitment for my second term to continue to fight for Ohio workers and Ohio companies and to continue to stand up for the middle class,” Brown said.

“Sherrod Brown says one thing in Ohio and does another thing in Washington,” Mandel said several times throughout the hourlong debate. “We can’t change Washington by sending Sherrod Brown back there.” Full story

Missouri: Todd Akin, Claire McCaskill Reprise Familiar Themes

Missouri: Todd Akin, Claire McCaskill Reprise Familiar Themes

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and GOP Rep. Todd Akin used the final Missouri Senate debate to talk about issues close to home, but the exchange of the night came on foreign policy.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)  became a focus of the discussion, with McCaskill and Akin disagreeing on his proposal to restrict foreign aid to a variety of countries — even if neither candidate could quite remember which ones the Kentucky Republican meant to reference.

“I am, in fact, the one that’s supporting the fact that we should not be giving foreign money to a number of places, and that includes of course Libya and Pakistan and — let’s see, one other country as well …” Akin said.

McCaskill offered up “Syria,” in a moment reminiscent of when Mitt Romney pitched in to try to help Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) remember which Cabinet departments he planned to eliminate during a presidential primary debate earlier this year.

The third country on Paul’s list is Egypt.

Full story

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin, Tommy Thompson Stick to the Script in Debate

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin, Tommy Thompson Stick to the Script in Debate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a rarely used debate format, Wisconsin Senate candidates Tommy Thompson (R), a former governor, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) were permitted to directly spar with each other in unmoderated six-minute chunks on topics picked by voters.

The result?

The hourlong debate in Wausau played very much like an extended, spliced-together greatest hits video of Thompson and Baldwin campaign ads, an at times heated back-and-forth defined more by established talking points than off-the-cuff remarks. Given that predictability, and in a race that’s too close to call 19 days before Election Day, it’s unclear whether either candidate was able to sway the few remaining undecided voters in ways their media operations can’t.

The debaters addressed the 2010 health care law, with Baldwin in favor and Thompson opposed; the deficit crisis, with Baldwin calling for higher-earning Americans to pay more and Thompson accusing the Democrat of being a tax-and-spender; and even Wisconsin’s own vice presidential candidate, with Baldwin calling Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget extreme and Thompson trying to distance himself after telling reporters in August that “most people know that Paul and I are close friends and that we teamed up on many issues, especially on Medicare.”

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released earlier this evening had Baldwin leading Thompson 49 percent to 45 percent. A Marquette University poll released Wednesday had Thompson leading Baldwin 46 percent to 45 percent. Sources on both sides of the aisle, in Wisconsin and in Washington, D.C., say that Wisconsin’s Senate contest is among the most competitive in the country and could be decisive in determining the chamber’s majority. Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup.

Full story

Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson Writes Big Check to His Senate Campaign

Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson Writes Big Check to His Senate Campaign

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) has contributed $832,000 in personal funds to his Senate campaign, according to an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Thompson, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush, has been relatively cash-strapped since surviving a bruising four-way August primary, during which he contributed more than $700,000 of his own money to his campaign via a combination of donations and loans in the closing days of that race.

Earlier in August, Thompson had told the Journal Sentinel that he didn’t think it was “right” for candidates to self-finance their campaigns, saying, “I don’t think that people should buy an election with their own wealth.” But in his meeting with the paper posted today, Thompson said his Democratic opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, has benefited significantly from raising money out of state and that he had no “power base” from which to fundraise.

Full story

Colorado: Chris Van Hollen Dials In for Sal Pace

Colorado: Chris Van Hollen Dials In for Sal Pace

Rep. Chris Van Hollen participated in a conference call for the Democratic candidate in Colorado's 3rd district. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)

A prominent House Democrat today came to the aid of Sal Pace, who is challenging Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in Colorado’s 3rd district.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, joined Pace on a conference call with reporters to attack Tipton’s support for the policies of House Budget Chairman and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.). Pace, who is in a competitive race with Tipton, has linked Tipton to Ryan’s budget because Tipton voted for it.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been talking about how disasterous the Tipton-Ryan budget would be,” Pace said during the conference call. He added that former presidential candidate and ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) referred to the budget as “right-wing social engineering.” Full story

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the ad clutter today:

California 30

The Berman-Sherman race has officially gone, like, mega-ballistic.

Two new ads from the costliest Member-vs.-Member race in the country were released on Wednesday, as Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman once again laid into each other. Berman’s campaign used clips from their debate last week, when Sherman wrapped his arm around Berman and the two had to be separated, as they were on the verge of engaging in a physical altercation.

Full story

Nevada: Shelley Berkley Camp Releases Internal to Combat Public Polls

Nevada: Shelley Berkley Camp Releases Internal to Combat Public Polls

Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley take their place for an Oct. 11 debate at Vegas PBS for Nevada's Senate race. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Shelley Berkley’s Senate campaign released an internal poll this afternoon after two new public autodial polls found the Democrat down by at least 6 points.

A memo from the Mellman Group polling firm reported that Berkley led Republican Sen. Dean Heller, 41 percent to 38 percent, with 11 percent undecided. The campaign released a poll last week that had Berkley ahead by an identical margin.

“As you know, every public poll in the 2010 Senate race proved to be far off the mark,” the polling memo stated in reference to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) race last cycle. “So it is with the 2012 polling.” Full story

Missouri: Anti-Todd Akin ‘Talking Greeting Card’ Targets His Rape Comments

The liberal super PAC American Bridge is branching out into the talking greeting card business, sending mailers to Missouri voters featuring the controversial words of Rep. Todd Akin (R).

“Todd Akin’s remarks on ‘legitimate rape’ are just a starting point for his extreme views,” American Bridge spokesman Matt Thornton said. “We figured there is no better way to show Missouri voters that Akin is unqualified to be a U.S. Senator than to let him speak for himself.”

The mailer was produced by MailPOW, a California company that got into the business of producing talking mailers in 2010. The company says the Postal Service, which is in need of new revenue streams, is promoting the product as part of a campaign to increase the number of political advertising materials sent through the mail.

Full story

Rhode Island: Brendan Doherty Cuts Back on TV

Rhode Island: Brendan Doherty Cuts Back on TV

Democratic Rep. David Cicilline is facing a spirited challenge from Republican Brendan Doherty. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:45 p.m. | Republican Brendan Doherty has reduced his television advertising reservations for the last weeks of his bid to oust Rep. David Cicilline (D) in Rhode Island’s 1st district.

Providence CBS affiliate WPRI first reported the news of the reservation reduction. The Doherty camp thinned its final two-week buy from $326,000 to $202,000, according to a GOP source. A Democratic source confirmed the cutback to Roll Call. This is not the same sort of ad movement as a committee pulling out of a race, but it does display a change in calculation on the part of the Doherty campaign.

The Doherty campaign could not immediately be reached for comment. Full story

Ohio Members Drowned Out by Ads

MEDINA, Ohio — Parking officer Bud Haynes can’t be bothered to remember any candidates he watches on local television commercials anymore.

“I counted 12 in a half-hour a couple days ago,” Haynes, 78, said while on a coffee break from chalking tires in the town square here Tuesday morning. Full story

October 17, 2012

California: Janice Hahn Up Double-Digits in Internal Poll

California: Janice Hahn Up Double Digits in Internal Poll

A poll for Rep. Janice Hahn (above) showed she was up double-digits over fellow Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A poll conducted for Rep. Janice Hahn’s campaign found the freshman up double-digits against fellow Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson in one of two intraparty Member-vs.-Member races happening in Los Angeles.

The FM3 poll obtained by Roll Call found that Hahn led Richardson, 43 percent to 27 percent, with 30 percent undecided. Full story

Nebraska: John McCain, Joe Lieberman Pick Their Horses

Nebraska: John McCain, Joe Lieberman Pick Their Horses

Nebraska Senate candidate Deb Fischer was endorsed by Sen. John McCain today. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) weighed in on the Nebraska Senate race today, with respective endorsements of GOP hopeful Deb Fischer and former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D).

“I’m proud to support Deb Fischer in this important election for U.S. Senate,” McCain said in a release on Fischer’s campaign website. “She has the character and commitment to change Washington.”

“She will work to eliminate wasteful spending, balance the budget, and grow the private sector economy,” McCain’s statement continued. “Facing an ever-growing debt, we need fiscally conservative leadership like Deb’s in the U.S. Senate to get our nation back on the right track.” Full story

NRCC Pulls Final Reservations Out of Philadelphia TV Market

The National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled its remaining reservations out of the Philadelphia television market, according to a Republican source who tracks media buys.

The news is of no dramatic consequence to the House race chess game. Rather, it is a sign of Republican confidence in response to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s decision to cancel reservations in the same market last week.

The DCCC move effectively pulled the plug on its efforts to unseat Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Jon Runyan (N.J.).

Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report. 

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Takes Advantage of National Trends With Deep Pockets

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Takes Advantage of National Trends With Deep Pockets

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo) Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (above) has watched his lead over former coal company owner Tom Smith shrink in recent months. A Quinnipiac University poll showed the Democrat with a 3-point lead this week — down from 19 points in June.

SHELOCTA, Pa. — Atop hundreds of acres of lush farmland, a bold white sign directs visitors to the “Smith Complex” — the hilltop home of wealthy former coal company owner Tom Smith.

The rise of Smith’s campaign against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is, indeed, complex.

While some of his fellow Republican Senate nominees sunk in September, Smith shrank Casey’s lead down to low single digits. A Quinnipiac University poll showed the Democrat with a 3-point lead this week — down from 19 points in June. Full story

Daily Ad Track

The news on the TV advertising front today has more to do with resource strategy rather than content. As time runs out to book TV reservations, what is most interesting today is where committees and super PACs are spending, rather than the actual ads.

Here is what cut through the clutter:

Full story

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