Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 3, 2015

October 30, 2012

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

Illinois: Democrats Redistricting Crown Jewel Not as Royal as Expected

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.

Wisconsin: More Negative Ads Out to Shape Senate Race

Wisconsin: More Negative Ads Out to Shape Senate Race

Welcome to the kitchen sink, Wisconsin.

“Nuclear Iran.” … “Uranium.” … “Big oil.” … “Body armor.”

Feeling scared? Because it seems the Senate campaigns of former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) hope so, at least if you’re a Wisconsin voter.

With about a week left before Election Day, Baldwin and Thompson are continuing to pursue an advertising strategy, implemented last week, that seeks to spook Wisconsonites with negative spots that deal with 9/11 and the Iranian nuclear threat and bolster the existing themes of the election. Baldwin’s campaign has been running on “Tommy: He’s just not for you anymore,” and Thompson’s campaign has been running on Baldwin being “too extreme for Wisconsin.”

Today, Thompson’s camp unveiled another brutal ad, this one called “Body Armor,” which accused Baldwin of fighting to “block funding that provides body armor for our troops just to make a political point.”

Full story

Georgia: John Barrow Bullish on His Chances and Blue Dogs

Georgia: John Barrow Bullish on His Chances and Blue Dogs

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The numbers alone mean Rep. John Barrow should be a goner.

The Georgia Democrat is running in a strongly Republican district that would have voted 60 percent for President George W. Bush in 2004 and 56 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008.

The decennial redistricting process in the Peach State, controlled by Republicans, was meant to eliminate Barrow. It transformed his 12th district into distinctly Republican turf.

But with less than a week to go before Election Day, there’s a growing sense among those watching the race that Barrow, known as a wily political survivor, might be coming back to Congress.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the clutter today:

Missouri Senate

The newest in a series of ads from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) featuring Missouri voters attacking Rep. Todd Akin (R) over the issue that gave McCaskill a chance to hold her seat.

A woman opens the ad saying, “Todd Akin is scary,” with a second criticizing his comments about “legitimate rape.” The ad also replays August video of Akin making those comments on a St. Louis TV station. Following that statement, Akin lost support of most national Republicans and conservative activists, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Full story

Massachusetts: New Poll Shows Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren Tied

Massachusetts: New Poll Shows Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren Tied

A new poll showed Sen. Scott Brown tied with his Democratic challenger as the campaign winds down. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll in the bitterly fought Massachusetts Senate race found Sen. Scott Brown (R) tied with Democrat Elizabeth Warren. In a horse-race matchup among likely voters, including those who lean toward Brown or Warren, each candidate took 47 percent.

The survey, conducted for the Boston Globe by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, found 54 percent of those polled had a favorable impression of Brown, while 37 percent saw him unfavorably. Forty-nine percent saw Warren, a Harvard University professor and consumer advocate, favorably while 42 percent had an unfavorable view of her.

A number of earlier polls found Warren leading.

Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup.

The poll surveyed 583 likely Bay State voters by live telephone interview from Oct. 24 to 28.  It had a margin of error of 4.1 points.

Hurricane Sandy Disrupts Campaigns, but Supreme Court Keeps Working Monday

Hurricane Sandy Disrupts Campaigns, but Supreme Court Keeps Working Monday

President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One this morning upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 12:50 p.m. | Not many events could keep a president from campaigning for re-election one week before Election Day, but the hurricane threatening the Eastern Seaboard and nearing landfall is exactly that kind of disaster.

President Barack Obama is off the campaign trail and will be at least through Tuesday because he needs to monitor storm response to Hurricane Sandy. On Sunday night, the president left Washington, D.C., for Florida to attend a campaign rally, but by 7 a.m today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced the president would skip the rally and return to the capitol this morning. The White House and the Obama campaign also announced this morning that a scheduled campaign trip to Green Bay, Wis., on Tuesday was canceled.

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney went to Ohio, a battleground state away from the storm, instead of Virginia as previously planned. But by late morning, Romney’s campaign had decided to cancel all campaign events through Tuesday.

Full story

Minnesota: Chip Cravaack Leading in GOP Poll

Minnesota: Chip Cravaack Leading in GOP Poll

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Updated 11:55 a.m. | With a week to go before Election Day, two competing polls from Minnesota’s 8th district show vastly different pictures of the tossup race between Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) and former Rep. Rick Nolan (D).

An internal poll conducted by Cravaack’s campaign showed the Republican incumbent ahead of Nolan by 10 points. The poll of 400 likely voters had Cravaack with 50 percent of the vote to Nolan’s 40 percent. The poll’s margin of error was 4.9 points and it was conducted Oct. 24 and Oct. 25.

At the same time, a Public Policy Polling survey of 1,020 likely voters showed Nolan in the lead with 48 percent to Cravaack’s 44 percent, just slightly outside of the 3.8 point margin of error. The poll was conducted Oct. 25 and Oct. 26.

Full story

Virginia: Tim Kaine Up 7 in New Poll

Virginia: Tim Kaine Up 7 in New Poll

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A new poll from the Washington Post found that former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine led by 7 points in the open-seat Senate race.

The Democrat and fellow former Gov. George Allen (R) are battling in one of the most competitive contests of the cycle in a state that could go either way in the presidential race. And after a year of running even, polling results over the past six months have been as mixed as they once were steady.

However, the Post’s polling has not changed over the past month. In the latest survey, Kaine led 51 percent to 44 percent, a nearly identical result from the Post’s September poll. Full story

October 27, 2012

Rhode Island: GOP Poll Shows Brendan Doherty Leading David Cilcilline

A new GOP poll found Republican Brendan Doherty leading Rep. David Cicilline (D) by 6 points in the hard fought and bitterly nasty race for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional district.

The respected Republican firm OnMessage conducted a survey of likely voters for Doherty, which found him leading Cicilline 45 percent to 39 percent in a horse race matchup. Six percent of those polled said they would vote for independent candidate David Vogel, while 11 percent remained undecided.

Forty-two percent had a favorable view of Doherty, a retired state police officer, while 33 percent had an unfavorable view. Thirty-nine percent had a favorable view of Cicilline, while 46 percent had an unfavorable view of him.

President Barack Obama received 55 percent to Mitt Romney’s 34 percent in a ballot test in the poll, underscoring the district’s Democratic leanings.

The race appears to have turned significantly more competitive in recent days. The independent expenditure arms of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee have both bought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ad time covering the final days of the campaign.

Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers said the poll was a distraction.

“Brendan Doherty has run one of nastiest and negative races in recent memory,” he wrote in an email. “He is trying to distract from the fact he is a Romney Republican who has the backing of national Republicans, and will, as President Bill Clinton said today in a robo-call, ‘be just another vote for those Republicans.’  That poll resembles nothing we have seen, and actually every public poll done so far has shown David ahead.”

Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.

The GOP poll, conducted by live telephone interview on Oct. 24 and 25, surveyed 400 likely voters in the district. It had a margin of error of 4.9 points.

Here is the full GOP polling memo:

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