Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

October 11, 2012

Race Ratings Changes: Less Than One Month to Go

Race Ratings Changes: Less Than One Month to Go

Rep. Dan Benishek increasingly looks like he won't return for the 113th Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One year ago it would have been hard to picture both the Arizona and Connecticut open-seat Senate races as Tossups with less than a month to go before Election Day. But funny things can happen to the Senate battleground map based on candidates and the campaigns they run — just ask Republicans this cycle about Missouri.

The open-seat Senate races in the Nutmeg State and the Grand Canyon State are thousands of miles apart, yet share some distinct similarities. Both feature House Members who began the race as the heavy frontrunner and challengers who have surged based on the strength of their campaigns. Those challengers will still have to overcome a heavy partisan disadvantage at the presidential level, but that prospect seems to be increasingly possible. Therefore, we are moving both races into the tossup column, even though in both races, the party that currently holds the seat still has a very small advantage. Full story

California: Howard Berman, Brad Sherman Joust on Valley Values

California: Howard Berman, Brad Sherman Joust on Valley Values

Rep. Brad Sherman (right) speaks during a candidate forum with Rep. Howard Berman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

RESEDA, Calif. — There was far more space between the green armchairs that Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman sat in during Wednesday’s debate than there was on the range of issues the two longtime Congressmen discussed.

But in a duel between two incumbents from the same party, it’s not so much the issues that voters will use to set them apart on Election Day but temperament and which Democrat will better represent their values in Washington, D.C. Full story

Minnesota: Polls Show 8th District Race Deadlocked

Minnesota: Polls Show 8th District Race Deadlocked

Rep. Chip Cravaack (above) faces former Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota's 8th district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The battle for Minnesota’s 8th district is deadlocked, according to three polls released since Oct. 1, although survey data suggest that the Democratic challenger in this race has the momentum.

The nonpartisan SurveyUSA poll conducted Oct. 7-9 found the contest statistically tied, with former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) garnering 46 percent of the vote to Rep. Chip Cravaack’s (R) 45 percent. The poll surveyed 700 registered voters, including 578 who were also classified as likely to vote, and the poll had a margin of error of 4.2 points.

Of the people who said they would vote for President Barack Obama, 88 percent said they would vote for the officially endorsed Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate, who happens to be Nolan. In the Democratic-leaning 8th district, this could mean trouble for Cravaack, who will need split-ticket voters to tip the scales in his favor.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

Bolt down that kitchen sink.

This week marks the point where campaigns begin to unleash their devastating ads — the ones they have planned to use all along if necessary but have held back for timing. On Tuesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and others went there with a series of ads featuring survivors of sexual assault criticizing Rep. Todd Akin (R). It turns out, it was only the beginning.

Here are the newest ads in this vein to cut through the clutter.

Arizona Senate

There is no doubt momentum has been with former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) in his Senate bid against Rep. Jeff Flake (R). But all along, Arizona Republicans insisted that a negative barrage was coming Carmona’s way and that there was plenty in his record that could come into play. The negative ads against Carmona began a few weeks ago, but this new one from the Flake campaign is simple and brutal. This is part of a major statewide broadcast, cable and radio buy.

Full story

Wisconsin: Paul Ryan’s House Opponent Traveling to Ky. for Debate

Democrat Rob Zerban, who is challenging vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R) in Wisconsin’s 1st district, will travel to Kentucky today for the vice presidential debate, his campaign announced.

Ryan, who is running simultaneously for the House and the White House, is still heavily favored in the race. But Zerban has proven to be a formidable candidate, outraising the well-funded Ryan in the third quarter by more than $200,000, bolstered by the support of liberal groups such as former Sen. Russ Feingold’s Progressives United and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. As Roll Call recently reported, Ryan has made ad reservations in the state to boost his re-election cause.

Roll Call rates this race as Safe Republican.

California: Howard Berman Endorsed by 10 GOP Members

California: Howard Berman Endorsed by 10 GOP Members

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ENCINO, Calif. — In yet another unprecedented moment in California House races this cycle, 10 Republican members of the state’s Congressional delegation have endorsed Democratic Rep. Howard Berman.

The Foreign Affairs ranking member is running in a highly competitive race against fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman in a San Fernando Valley district that the two were merged into during redistricting. The endorsements are part of Berman’s outreach across the political spectrum in a district where Republicans could make up about a quarter of the vote in November.

According to a release the Berman campaign will roll out today, the Republicans endorsing him are: Reps. David Dreier, Wally Herger, Dan Lungren, Elton Gallegly, Buck McKeon, Ed Royce, Jerry Lewis, Ken Calvert, Mary Bono Mack and Darrell Issa. Full story

October 10, 2012

Arizona: Jeff Flake, Richard Carmona (Politely) Rumble in Debate

Rep. Jeff Flake (R) and former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) engaged in a vigorous but respectful debate Wednesday night in their closely watched contest to replace retiring Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R).

The contest has in recent weeks moved to the forefront of battleground races that could determine which party will control the Senate in the next Congress.

Right off the bat in his opening statement, Flake sought to counter to Carmona’s biography by accusing his foe of being unwilling to take concrete positions on issues.

“My opponent has a great résumé, but a résumé is not a plan,” Flake said. “He’s been running for nearly a year now, and we still don’t know where he stands on the major issues of the day.”

Carmona repeatedly referred to a national “infrastructure” that provided him opportunities for education and to move up the socioeconomic ladder. The term was as much of a subtle criticism of Flake as it was about the American Dream — the underlying charge being that Flake’s fiscal conservatism will inhibit Arizona from obtaining its share of federal infrastructure funds. Full story

NRCC Raised $12.4 Million in September

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $12.4 million in September and ended last month with $29.5 million in cash on hand.

The NRCC ended August with $49.8 million in the bank, meaning it spent much of its money in September working to defend its majority in the House. The GOP is widely expected to hold the chamber but net a loss of a handful of seats.

Both the NRCC and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have been adjusting where money is spent as races across the country evolve.

The DCCC declined tonight to release its fundraising numbers for last month.

Arizona: NRSC IE Poll Shows Jeff Flake Ahead

Arizona: NRSC IE Poll Shows Jeff Flake Ahead

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A second Republican poll today showed Rep. Jeff Flake (R) leading former surgeon general Richard Carmona (D) in the open-seat Senate race in Arizona.

Flake takes 47 percent to Carmona’s 41 percent, with undecided voters accounting for 12 percent in the survey paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s independent expenditure unit.

The survey marks the second GOP poll and third internal poll released today. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a survey showing Carmona with a 4-point lead. But Flake’s own campaign polling gave him a 6-point lead in surveys taken the same days, Oct. 7-9.

Regardless, the dueling numbers are a sign of an increasingly competitive race. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

In the NRSC’s IE poll, respondents reported a more favorable impression of Flake. Forty-five percent deemed Flake favorable, while  36 perent gave Carmona a favorable rating.

GS Strategy Group conducted the poll of 500 likely voters Oct. 8-9. The margin of error is about 4.4 points, according to the polling memo obtained by Roll Call.

New York: NRCC Cancels Buy After IE Group Moves In

New York: NRCC Cancels Buy After IE Group Moves In

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The independent expenditure arm of the National Republican Congressional Committee has canceled three weeks of television in the Buffalo media market that would have been aimed at vulnerable Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) after the GOP-aligned American Action Network came into the district with $600,000 worth of television time from Oct. 12 through Election Day.

The NRCC has canceled time from Oct. 16 to Nov. 6 worth about $375,000.

Full story

DCCC Cancels Three Big City Buys: Philly, Boston and Chicago

House Democrats cut more than $1 million in television time in the Philadelphia market today in addition to eliminating major reservations in Boston and Chicago, according to a Democrat who tracks media buys.

The Philadelphia cancellation for Oct. 25-29 isn’t good news for two Democratic challengers running in districts covered by that pricey television market: Pennsylvania’s 8th district and New Jersey’s 3rd district.

The elimination comes just a week after the National Republican Congressional Committee cut its big buy in the Philadelphia market, too. It’s a sign these House races aren’t as competitive as party officials anticipate (Roll Call rates both as Leans Republican).

DCCC officials countered that challengers to GOP Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Jon Runyan (N.J.) didn’t need the help.

Full story

Virginia: NRSC Launches First IE Ad in Senate Race

The National Republican Senatorial Committee kicked off its independent expenditure spending in Virginia today by launching a television ad that criticizes former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) for supporting increased federal spending.

Full story

EMILY’s List: Women Remain Key

Amid polls showing that women may be drifting away from President Barack Obama, EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock told reporters that women will still help Democrats prevail on Election Day, particularly in key Senate races.

“Women voters are going to vote for Democrats because they know what’s at stake,”  Schriock said in a conference call today. The Democratic women’s PAC has shattered its previous fundraising records and will spend more in this election cycle than at any point in its 27-year history, she said.

Schriock assailed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s record on women’s issues, called on Vice President Joseph Biden to challenge House Budget chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) on those issues in Thursday’s vice presidential debate and touted her PAC’s record 2012 spending on behalf of female Democrats.

Romney knows he needs women to win the election and has decided that “his best strategy for getting their votes is to lie to them,” Schriock said. She quoted Romney’s recent statement to the Des Moines Register that “there’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Full story

Tennessee: Transcript Reveals Scott DesJarlais Urged Mistress to Have Abortion

Tennessee: Transcript Reveals Scott DesJarlais Urged Mistress to Have Abortion

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) was at work on Capitol Hill today despite the media firestorm that was unfolding around him.

According to parts of a transcript from a more-than-decade-old phone call published by the Huffington Post, DesJarlais, then a doctor, urged a pregnant mistress to get an abortion. The woman was a patient of the conservative anti-abortion doctor-turned-lawmaker.

“You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one,” DesJarlais says at one point. He also suggests heading to Atlanta to “solve” the issue.

“Well, we’ve got to do something soon,” he says. “And you’ve even got to admit that because the clock is ticking right?” Full story

Colorado: Incumbents Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman Blast Challengers in New Ads

The airwaves in Colorado are ablaze with a duo of new ads in two competitive Congressional districts.

Democratic challenger Sal Pace is attacking a recent ad by Rep. Scott Tipton (R) as the two battle for their state’s 3rd Congressional district. And a new ad from the campaign of Rep. Mike Coffman (R) in the tossup race for Colorado’s 6th district calls statements from Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi’s camp “false” and “misleading.”

The Tipton ad says Pace supported “cutting Medicare by over $70 billion” and that the state lawmaker “cast the deciding vote to raise seniors’ property taxes by $90 million.” It concludes: “Hurting seniors, raising taxes. We can’t afford Sal Pace.” Full story

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