Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

June 12, 2012

Montana: Pearl Jam Rocks for Jon Tester

Two lucky Pearl Jam fans and supporters of Sen. Jon Tester (D) will sit in recliners onstage for the famed Seattle rock band’s only non-festival concert in the country this year, set for September.

The Tester campaign announced today that supporters can be “automatically entered for a chance to win the Best Seats in the World by simply donating $10, or any other amount, at jontester.com.” The winner and a guest will also be admitted to pre-show events with Tester and members of the band and will receive travel and hotel accommodations. Full story

New Hampshire: Ex-Sen. John Sununu Could Eye Comeback

Former Sen. John Sununu (R) will headline an afternoon fundraiser on June 23 for the New Hampshire GOP. The appearance has caught notice among Granite State Republicans as a possible first step back into electoral politics, perhaps to challenge to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in 2014.

Should Sununu run, it would be a rematch of his 2008 race with Shaheen. The former governor beat Sununu after he had served just one Senate term, joining the ranks of many other Democrats who won that year in what was a wave election for the party.

In March, Shaheen’s office confirmed to Foster’s Daily Democrat that she plans to run for re-election, despite raising very little money at this point in her first term.

So far in this cycle, Shaheen has raised about $265,000, and she had about $150,000 in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter.

New Hamsphire is a swing state. Two years after Shaheen beat Sununu by 7 points, Granite State voters supported now-Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R). Sununu is the son of former Gov. John Sununu, an influential figure in New Hampshire Republican politics and top adviser to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

By Abby Livingston Posted at 12:51 p.m.
New Hampshire

June 11, 2012

Arizona: Jeff Flake Apologizes to Wil Cardon for Mistake in Web Video

Arizona: Jeff Flake Apologizes to Wil Cardon for Mistake in Web Video

Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake apologized to his Republican Senate primary opponent for a mistake in a Web ad. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 8:03 p.m. | The Arizona Republican Senate primary is getting nasty.

Rep. Jeff Flake has issued an apology to real estate investor Wil Cardon for a Web ad the Flake campaign produced accusing Cardon of failing to file company income taxes.

Full story

Utah: Freedom Path Ad Hits Dan Liljenquist for Missed Votes

A Utah nonprofit organization supportive of Sen. Orrin Hatch is airing a television ad that criticizes his Republican primary opponent, former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, for missing nearly a quarter of the floor votes held during the 2011 legislative session.

The group, Freedom Path, spent $60,000 on the spot, which began running in the middle of last week and is set to run through the end of next week. The primary is scheduled for June 26. Full story

Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren Launches New TV Ad

Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren launched a new television ad today, highlighting how the sluggish economy has affected many middle-class families.

“You work your heart out to buy a house, then watch its value disappear,” Warren narrates over B-roll of a pipe fitter at work. “You save to put your kids through school, then the debt just about crushes you,” she says to out-of-focus B-roll of what appears to be a family in front of a house.

“Families are getting hammered and Washington’s got it all wrong,” the consumer advocate and Harvard professor says directly to the camera.

“They give out billions to oil companies, the most profitable corporations on earth, then try to slash students loans and Medicare. We’re supposed to help our kids and honor our parents,” she says over images of her on the trail with senior citizens and children.

“I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message. We can make this right,” she says.

Full story

North Dakota: New Poll Shows Kevin Cramer Surge for House Seat

Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer (R) could upset his party-backed opponent in the Tuesday primary for North Dakota’s open at-large seat, a new poll suggested.

Cramer led fellow Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, 60 percent to 21 percent with 19 percent undecided, in a Mason-Dixon poll sponsored by the local Valley News Live/KFYR-TV. The poll surveyed 625 likely voters from June 4 to 6. It had a margin of error of 4 percent.

A Cramer victory would make history in North Dakota GOP politics. It’s rare for anyone to mount a significant challenge against the GOP’s endorsed candidate in a primary — let alone win the GOP nod.

Full story

Massachusetts: Scott Brown Launches New TV Spots Featuring His Wife

 

Sen. Scott Brown (R) is set to launch two new television ads today featuring his wife, journalist Gail Huff, who is a familiar voice to most Boston-area TV viewers. In the ads, Huff delivers a softer, family- and female-friendly portrait of Brown.

“I was a reporter on Boston TV for many years,” Huff says to camera in the first ad, entitled “Dad.”

“I don’t know how many husbands would want their wives getting up at 1:30 in the morning to go to work,” she says to footage of her on local TV. “Scott did all the morning routine: get the girls up, get them fed, get them dressed, get them off to school. He did everything with the kids, and he was the one that was always there during the day,” she narrates to footage of Brown doing laundry and bills and to photos of Brown with his children when they were younger.

“If the kids had a problem,” Huff says, “they didn’t call me, they called Dad, because Dad was the one that was always there. And he still is.”

Full story

Hawaii: Linda Lingle Launches Own Cable TV Channel

Hawaii: Linda Lingle Launches Own Cable TV Channel

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) today launched her own cable television channel, which is dedicated solely to providing information about her Senate campaign and the issues facing Hawaii.

LL2012 can be found on digital channel 110 for Oceanic Time Warner subscribers. According to the cable company, this is the first time a U.S. political candidate has used a dedicated cable channel, the campaign said. Full story

June 10, 2012

Wisconsin Recall Offers Strategic Lessons for Mitt Romney

Wisconsin Recall Offers Strategic Lessons for Mitt Romney

In five months, Republicans will learn whether Gov. Scott Walker’s victory foreshadowed something big for the party beyond Wisconsin.

But even if the June recall election proves less than a broad political harbinger, the Republicans’ rare opportunity to test-run their voter turnout operation this close to November could pay important tactical dividends in key battleground states that could decide the presidential race.

Before all of the votes were tallied last Tuesday, top Republican strategists were already crunching the data, and they believe what they learned on the ground in Wisconsin can help them elsewhere.

“We never dubbed it a dry run … But there is no better testing ground than an election,” said Rick Wiley, the Republican National Committee political director. “Now we have strategy teams in D.C. and Boston looking at how things are performing.” Full story

Massachusetts: New Super PAC Might Help Richard Tisei

Massachusetts: New Super PAC Might Help Richard Tisei

Massachusetts House candidate Richard Tisei may benefit from a super PAC started by a wealthy Republican who supports gay rights. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Top GOP donor Paul Singer is helping back a new super PAC “to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage,” according to a column in Sunday’s New York Times.

One race it might have an effect on: the re-election bid of vulnerable eight-term Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) against former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R), a longtime supporter of gay marriage equality.

“Tisei is one type of candidate who might draw financial help from Singer’s super PAC, which, according to Singer, will soon have a budget ‘of a few million dollars,’” columnist Frank Bruni wrote in the Times piece.

Tisei has outriased Tierney in both the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of this year. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently booked $3.67 million of television advertising in the Boston media market, which could be used to bolster Tierney. Full story

June 9, 2012

New York: Ed Koch Tells Obama to Go ‘Bold,’ Backs Charlie Rangel

New York: Ed Koch Tells Obama to Go ‘Bold,’ Backs Charlie Rangel

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NEW YORK — Former New York Mayor Ed Koch (D) strongly backed the re-election of Barack Obama in an interview Friday, but worried about the Democrat’s prospects if the president didn’t propose something big.

“Bold,” Koch explained. “That’s what’s required on the part of the president. Because there’s no question, at this moment, if Romney and he are neck and neck, which is what the polls show, the president is in trouble.” Full story

The 2012 Campaign Through the Eyes of ‘Walmart Moms’

Forget Seamus, the Ryan budget or even the “War on Women.” Undecided female voters didn’t even mention some of the 2012 cycle’s most-hyped news topics in a pair of  focus groups on Wednesday evening.

Walmart sponsored the 90-minute focus groups, which were organized by a bipartisan team of pollsters: Margie Omero of Momentum Analysis and Alex Bratty of Public Opinion Strategies. Moderators questioned two groups of “Walmart Moms” — self-described undecided voters who shop at the store at least one a month — in Richmond, Va., and Las Vegas.

It’s a surprisingly rare opportunity for inside-the-Beltway reporters to hear out undecided female voters at length. Even on the campaign trail, interviews often last a few minutes with the most quotable participants. Nonetheless, these women are exactly the fought-over voters for whom campaigns clamor in the final weeks of an election.

Full story

June 8, 2012

Kurt Bardella Leaving Darrell Issa to Join Abel Maldonado Campaign

Kurt Bardella Leaving Darrell Issa to Join Abel Maldonado Campaign

Kurt Bardella, seen here with one-time boss Rep. Darrell Issa, is moving on to work on a Congressional campaign in California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kurt Bardella, the senior adviser to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) with a colorful history and a reputation as an attack dog, is headed back to California to work for 24th district Congressional candidate Abel Maldonado (R).

Maldonado, the former lieutenant governor, is challenging Rep. Lois Capps (D) in a race that could prove competitive. Following redistricting, Capps’ district went from a 20-point registration advantage for the Democrats to a three point edge. In California’s June 5 “jungle” primary, the votes for Maldonado and a second Republican candidate combined to beat Capps’ 46 percent.

The GOP’s decision to tap Bardella for Maldonado’s campaign is viewed as further evidence of the party’s optimism about flipping the district. Bardella previously handled press for Rep. Brian Bilbray, working for the San Diego-area Republican on the campaign trail and in Congress.

Virginia: Eric Cantor, Bob McDonnell Hit the Trail for George Allen

Virginia: Eric Cantor, Bob McDonnell Hit the Trail for George Allen

Former Sen. George Allen (far right) is expected to win Tuesday's four-way GOP Senate primary in Virginia. But he's still getting some last-minute help on the campaign trail. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

George Allen is heavily favored to win Tuesday’s Republican primary in the Virginia Senate race, but the former governor and Senator is bringing out the state’s top GOP surrogates on Saturday to help him secure the nomination.

Allen will be joined on the trail by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) for a Saturday morning get-out-the-vote event in Rockville, which is in Hanover County just outside of Richmond. That afternoon, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will appear with Allen in Virginia Beach. Full story

Wisconsin: TV Ads Race Heats Up in Senate Primary

The race for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat heated up this week in the wake of Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde launched new television ads in their bids for the Republican nomination, while former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) announced that he would campaign with tea party favorite Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

In both spots, Thompson and Hovde portray themselves as Washington outsiders who would challenge the way business is done on Capitol Hill. Thompson’s statewide media buy for his new ad is his first foray into the contest’s television ads race. In the spot, the candidate lists a number of Washington policies that he would work to stop — including tax hikes and the 2010 health care reform measures.

“Stop,” Thompson, a former Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush, says at the beginning of the ad. “It’s an easy concept, but Washington politicians just don’t get it.”

Full story

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