Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 18, 2014

October 23, 2012

Romney Group Could Advertise in Maine

Romney Group Could Advertise in Maine

A super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering going on the air in Maine. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is considering going on television in Maine, the Portland Press-Herald reported. According to CNN, the pro-Romney group, Restore Our Future, has already reserved air time in the state.

Restore Our Future has identified Maine’s more rural 2nd district as a target for possible ad spending if funds become available, according to a recent email to the super PAC’s donors that was obtained by Time’s Mark Halperin. In Maine, (and Nebraska,) electoral votes are not awarded on a winner-take-all basis, but rather to the victor in each Congressional district.

“As the Romney-Ryan momentum grows, and more states become within reach, the needs list grows,” the email said, demonstrating that campaigns and outside groups are leaving no stone unturned in the search for electoral votes.

A Press-Herald poll released at the beginning of this month showed that while President Barack Obama had an insurmountable lead in Maine’s coastal 1st district, the story could be quite different in the 2nd district, which encompasses much of the state’s more rural, inland territory. There, Obama had a 5 point lead over Romney, the survey revealed, suggesting to Republicans that they have a chance to pick off an electoral vote in the state.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

It’s late October, and political ads today are scarier than Ethan Hawke’s new horror movie.

If political advertising is your source of information, the world is full of deadbeat dads, people who don’t care about 9/11 victims and folks who don’t protect children.

Here’s what cut through the clutter:

Wisconsin Senate

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s (R) campaign has accused Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) of not honoring 9/11 victims in a new statewide ad. The Baldwin campaign did not waste any time issuing a news release and pushing back on the matter.

“The fact that Tommy Thompson would question Tammy Baldwin’s patriotism and love of America is offensive and disgusting,” Baldwin spokesman John Kraus said. “Thompson’s fear mongering and scare tactics will be rejected by the people of Wisconsin.”

Illinois 8 

Everyone pretty much expected this ad to be in the can, but what makes it a bit surprising is that it actually hit the air. It is well-known that Rep. Joe Walsh (R) has had to deal with bad press because of allegations of not paying child support. His Democratic rival, veteran Tammy Duckworth, seemed to have put some serious distance between herself and Walsh, but the fact that she is going so negative is sure to raise some eyebrows.

Rhode Island 1

And on Monday, Rep. David Cicilline (D) was on the receiving end of one heck of a nasty ad from his challenger, Republican Brendan Doherty. Within 24 hours, his team turned around a response ad. Ad spending has been extremely heavy in this Providence-area district.

Meredith Shiner contributed to this report.

Pennsylvania: Bob Casey’s Team Disowns Media Consultant’s Comments

Pennsylvania: Bob Caseys Team Disowns Media Consultants Comments

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was recently criticized by a member of Sen. Bob Casey's team. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is distancing himself from his media consultant, Saul Shorr, and comments the adviser made criticizing former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

Rendell recently tweaked the Casey campaign, accusing it of taking Republican Senate nominee Tom Smith too lightly. Shorr didn’t take kindly to Rendell’s criticism, and let him know that publicly. But in a Saturday evening email to campaign contributors, Casey campaign manager Larry Smar attempted to put daylight between the Senator and Shorr.

“If you’ve ever met a media consultant, you will likely know that sometimes their words and combative instincts can get ahead of reality and better judgment,” Smar wrote.

Smar’s comments are the latest fallout from Rendell’s comments about Casey’s race — two sometimes competing forces in Pennsylvania Democratic politics. The exchange came just two weeks before Election Day, when Casey will attempt to fend off a challenge from Smith, a personally wealthy former coal company owner. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

So it didn’t help when Rendell told the Scranton Times-Tribune last week that Casey “hasn’t run a campaign. He’s run one ad, a stupid Tea Party ad.” He also called Casey’s effort a “non-campaign up until now,” but the outspoken former governor made it clear that he expects the Senator to prevail on Election Day.

Full story

Indiana: Internal Poll Shows Joe Donnelly Holds 2-Point Lead

Indiana: Internal Poll Shows Joe Donnelly Holds 2 Point Lead

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

MADISON, Ind. — Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) will release internal polling today showing him with a 2-point lead over his Senate opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R).

Donnelly leads Mourdock, 40 percent to 38 percent, in the survey paid for by the Democrat’s campaign. A Libertarian candidate, Andrew Horning, recieved 8 percent in that survey.

Two weeks before Election Day, the Indiana Senate race remains highly competitive. Roll Call rates it as a Tossup. On Tuesday night, the candidates will meet for their second and final debate in New Albany.

Public polling of the race is rare because of the Hoosier State’s restrictions on automated calls. But a mid-September, bipartisan poll from Howey Politics Indiana showed similar results.

Mourdock’s internal polling from early October showed the GOP nominee with a 3-point lead.

Global Strategy Group conducted Donnelly’s poll of 603 likely voters from Oct. 17 to 21. The margin of error is 4 points.

See Donnelly’s full polling memo here.

More coverage of the Rust Belt Road Trip here.

Age More Than Just a Number for Mandel, Brown in Ohio Battle

Age More Than Just a Number for Mandel, Brown in Ohio Battle

Though 35, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s age is often underestimated by even his supporters. But on the campaign trail, the Senate hopeful has been attacking his 59-year-old opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, for his alleged immaturity. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

MARIETTA, Ohio — Many Ohio voters describe Josh Mandel as a “young” 35. His hairless chin and wiry frame means even his supporters underestimate his age by a decade.

“He looks 25,” said John Walsh, 72, a retired businessman loafing at the Skyline Café on a Friday afternoon.

“Earlier, you said he looked 19,” called out Steve Barros, the 55-year-old coffee shop owner, across the counter.

“It’s a good thing,” explained Walsh, a registered Republican. “You don’t have to be old to be smart.”

But the state treasurer’s youthful appearance hasn’t made it easier for him in his race against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D). Image matters in politics, especially in a populous state such as Ohio, with 12 million residents. Most voters will never meet Mandel, but they will see his visage on television.
Full story

October 22, 2012

Virginia: Tim Kaine Up 4 Points in DSCC Senate Race Poll

Virginia: Tim Kaine Up 4 Points in DSCC Senate Race Poll

(Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) has the edge over fellow former Gov. George Allen (R) in their highly competitive race for the state’s open Senate seat, according to a poll conducted for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Kaine led 48 percent to 44 percent in the poll, which was conducted Oct. 15-18 among 802 likely voters and had a 3.5-point margin of error.

The race has been close throughout, though polling margins over the past month have been erratic. Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup.

California: Dueling Polls in Central Valley House District

State Assemblyman David Valadao’s campaign for the new 21st district released a poll last Tuesday that showed the Republican ahead of his Democratic opponent by 20 points.

On Friday, the campaign of John Hernandez, CEO of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, released its own poll that showed the Democrat much closer, with Valadao ahead 41 percent to 37 percent.

The Valadao poll, conducted Oct. 8-9 by Moore Information, surveyed 400 likely voters and had a 5-point margin of error. The Hernandez poll, conducted Oct. 13-15 by FM3, surveyed 400 likely voters and had a 4.9-point margin of error.

Until recently, the race had attracted little interest from outside groups. The GOP-aligned Crossroads GPS announced a significant buy last week in this

majority-minority district to assist Valadao. Neither national party’s House campaign arm has gone on the air here, though the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched robocalls last week.

Missouri: Todd Akin Calls Controversial Comments ‘Distractions’

Missouri: Todd Akin Calls Controversial Comments Distractions

Rep. Todd Akin (CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Todd Akin said today that many of the issues being debated in the Missouri Senate race are “distractions” from the topics voters most care about.

“If the race is going to be decided on distractions, then that’s not good for us,” Akin said in an interview with KMOV in St. Louis. “But if people take a look and say what kind of country do we want to live in for the next four years, they’re going to take a look at the record.”

Akin, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, has been plagued by a series of controversial statements. In an indication of the difficulty that Akin is having keeping the focus on his message, the portion of today’s KMOV interview that aired on the local 6 p.m. news in St. Louis pertained exclusively to the controversies, including one that took place Monday.

“If Claire McCaskill were a dog, she’d be a ‘Bullshitsu’,” top Akin adviser Rick Tyler said on Twitter. For now, McCaskill’s re-election campaign is content to allow Akin and his political adviser’s comments to speak for themselves.Missouri: Todd Akin Calls Controversial Comments Distractions

Full story

Daily Ad Track

What a difference a debate can make.

About a month ago, the biggest trend among Democrats was to tie Republicans to presidential nominee Mitt Romney in an effort to sink GOP Congressional candidates. Two weeks out from Election Day — guess what? Republican are employing that strategy in reverse as they seek to ride Romney’s coattails in certain states and House districts.

Here’s what cut through the ad clutter today:

Indiana Senate

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock earned a lot of attention this morning when he released an ad with Romney making a personal appeal on camera for Mourdock’s election to the Senate. The Mourdock campaign was not able to immediately return a request for buy information on the ad.

Full story

Minnesota: Democrat Holds 7-Point Lead in 8th District Race, Poll Shows

Minnesota: Democrat Holds 7 Point Lead in 8th District Race, Poll Shows

Rep. Chip Cravaack (above) trails opponent Rick Nolan in a poll released today. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) could have the edge over Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) in the 8th district, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune poll released today that showed the challenger with a 7-point lead.

Nolan led Cravaack 50 percent to 43 percent, according to the newspaper’s poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted Oct. 16. The poll has a margin of error of 3 points.

The new poll showing Nolan in the lead is in stark contrast to three polls released earlier in the month, each of which showed the race to be deadlocked. The Nolan campaign is claiming the momentum in this. The Cravaack campaign disputed the findings of the Star Tribune poll.

Full story

California: Crossroads GPS Helping Mary Bono Mack

Republican-aligned Crossroads GPS has added California’s GOP-held 36th district to its target list for television advertising spending over the final weeks of the campaign.

The group is spending a total of $2.2 million on TV this week across nine districts, part of an $8.1 million investment in 11 House races that it announced last week. The addition of Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s (R-Calif.) district increases that number to 12 and is further confirmation that the Palm Springs-based district is one of the top battlegrounds in the country.

Bono Mack is being challenged by physician Raul Ruiz (D).

Full story

Ohio: Josh Mandel Internal Poll Shows Tied Senate Race

Ohio: Josh Mandel Internal Poll Shows Tied Senate Race

Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel makes a stop on his bus tour at the courthouse in Caldwell. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

MARIETTA, Ohio  — State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s internal polling shows a statistically tied race with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), and the Republican says he has a path to victory even if Mitt Romney doesn’t win the crucial Buckeye State.

According to a Public Opinion Strategies poll taken Oct. 16-17, Mandel and Brown were virtually tied at 44 percent to 43 percent.

Most recent independent public polling shows Brown with a high single-digit lead, and Roll Call continues to rate this race as Leans Democratic. Republicans privately acknowledge Romney must win the Buckeye State for Mandel to succeed in toppling Brown.

But Mandel disputes that.

“While I believe he’s going to win and I’m doing everything I can to help him, we believe we have a path to victory, whether or not he wins,” Mandel said during an interview Friday on a downtown stoop in this river town bordering West Virginia. Full story

October 21, 2012

Maine: Negative Ads Dominate Senate Race

In Maine Senate’s race, unlike other contests across the country, most of the intrigue likely lies not in who will win, but what the winner will do once elected.

Former Gov. Angus King’s (I) lead has narrowed in recent polls and Roll Call rates the race as Leans Independent. But the flood of outside money that has been pouring into the state — and the negative ads that come along with it — could affect King’s thinking, if elected, on which party he might caucus with. King has not formally stated if he will join Democrats or the GOP if he wins the seat being vacated by moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce have sunk millions combined into Maine, almost exclusively on anti-King ads. Of course, the purpose of the spots are to give GOP candidate Charlie Summers a chance at winning and have made a dent in King’s high popularity in the state. But the side effect of such a campaign is that it might make it more difficult for King to choose to caucus with Republicans and is indicative of the assumption by national Republicans that King will choose the Democrats. Full story

Missouri: Todd Akin Analogizes Claire McCaskill to a Dog Fetching Federal Money

Missouri: Todd Akin Analogizes Claire McCaskill to a Dog Fetching Federal Money

Rep. Todd Akin (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Todd Akin made another impolitic statement Saturday that is gaining traction with national media outlets.

This time, the Missouri Republican, who is challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), made an analogy in which he compared his female opponent to a dog.

“She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, ‘fetch,’” Akin said at a campaign event Saturday in Springfield, according to PoliticMo, which obtained the audio clip. Full story

Max Cleland, Inspired by Bobby Kennedy, Looks to Young Joe

Max Cleland, Inspired by Bobby Kennedy, Looks to Young Joe

Joe Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for Massachusetts' 4th district, former Sen. Max Cleland and Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren appear at a rally at Laborers Hall in Hopkinton, Mass. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

HOPKINTON, Mass. — Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) told the story here on Saturday of how he came to politics. It began with an undergraduate, floundering at Stetson University, who came upon a picture of fellow students meeting then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

As Cleland, a triple-amputee Vietnam War veteran who served in the Senate from 1997 to 2003, spoke about the spark of inspiration that photo lit in his mind, Kennedy’s grandson, Congressional candidate Joe Kennedy III, stood behind him.

Cleland, 70, on a tour of events in support of Democratic Senate nominee Elizabeth Warren, took a few minutes to reflect on the meaning of Kennedy, 32, introducing him. And then he gave the candidate, running for the open seat in the 4th district, his endorsement.

“Hearing Joe talk about public service, I wouldn’t be here at all without some of his forebearers,” he told a rapt audience. Full story

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