Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 2, 2014

August 7, 2012

Missouri: William Lacy Clay Shellacs Russ Carnahan in St. Louis-Area Democratic Primary

Missouri: William Lacy Clay Shellacs Russ Carnahan in St. Louis Area Democratic Primary

Rep. William Lacy Clay steamrolled over a fellow Democratic Member in today's primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

You can’t say Rep. William Lacy Clay (D) isn’t a man of his word.

In May 2011, after redistricting put him and fellow Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan in the same urban St. Louis district, Clay was direct when asked about the potential primary: “I will run, and I will win decisively,” he promised at the time.

Today, Clay beat Carnahan in the Democratic primary, and his win was indeed decisive. With 60 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Clay, who had 65 percent of the vote. Carnahan only had 35 percent.

Carnahan, a four-term Congressman and son of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan (D), never really had a clear shot at winning the newly configured seat, which only included about one-third of his constituents. Carnahan, who is white, also faced tricky racial dynamics running in a majority-minority district against Clay, who is black. Full story

Michigan: Gary Peters Prevails Over Hansen Clarke in Democratic Primary

Michigan: Gary Peters Prevails Over Hansen Clarke in Democratic Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Gary Peters easily defeated fellow Rep. Hansen Clarke in a Democratic primary created by the redrawing of Detroit-area districts.

Peters led Clarke in the 14th district, 47 percent to 35 percent, with 89 percent of precincts reporting. Peters, who came to Congress after winning a competitive race in a suburban Detroit district in 2008, will be the Motor City’s first white Congressman in several decades. Full story

Michigan: John Conyers Wins; Pete Hoekstra to Face Debbie Stabenow

Michigan: John Conyers Wins; Pete Hoekstra to Face Debbie Stabenow

Rep. John Conyers easily held off multiple primary challengers. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 12:06 a.m. | Michigan Rep. John Conyers held off a crowded field in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, paving the way for the second-longest-serving House Member to cruise to a 25th term in November.

Conyers had 54 percent of the vote in the 13th district against a field of challengers that included state Sen. Glenn Anderson, with 86 percent of precincts reporting. Anderson was in second place with 19 percent.

As a result of redistricting, Conyers sought re-election in a Detroit district of mostly new turf for him, including some suburbs in the western part.

The victory of Conyers, 83, means he will serve for a 25th term in this heavily Democratic district. Conyers is second in seniority behind fellow Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell, who is the dean of the House and now serving in his 29th term. Full story

Missouri: Todd Akin Wins GOP Nod to Face Claire McCaskill

Missouri: Todd Akin Wins GOP Nod to Face Claire McCaskill

Rep. Todd Akin is the GOP nominee Democrats wanted to face in the Missouri Senate race. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Todd Akin won a tightly contested GOP primary for Senate today and advances to face vulnerable Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in November.

The six-term conservative Member beat out businessman John Brunner and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman for the Senate nomination. Akin had 36 percent of the vote, with 74 percent of precincts reporting. Brunner and Steelman followed and were separated by less than 1 point.

In Akin, Democrats get the nominee they hoped to face — in fact the party played some part in pushing him to victory. Full story

Minnesota: State Democratic Party Buys Airtime for Rick Nolan in Primary

Former Rep. Rick Nolan’s cash-strapped campaign received a boost this week from the state party.

The state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party bought $120,000 in airtime to help Nolan in the Aug. 14 competitive primary to decide who will challenge vulnerable Rep. Chip Cravaack (R).

Two other Democrats are running in the primary: former state Sen. Tarryl Clark and Duluth City Councilmember Jeff Anderson. The state DFL endorsed Nolan during its convention in May. Full story

Hawaii: Harry Reid Endorses Mufi Hannemann in 2nd District

Hawaii: Harry Reid Endorses Mufi Hannemann in 2nd District

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid endorsed in Hawaii's 2nd district Democratic primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) endorsed former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann for Hawaii’s open 2nd district.

In a statement, Reid said that the two “go back many years” and that he worked with Hannemann and Democratic Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka on securing funding for Hawaii. Full story

California: Barney Frank Tees Off on Brad Sherman

California: Barney Frank Tees Off on Brad Sherman

Rep. Barney Frank (above) has endorsed Rep. Howard Berman over Rep. Brad Sherman. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Financial Services ranking member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) today heavily criticized Rep. Brad Sherman for comments the California Democrat made about his role in the construction of two major pieces of legislation: the financial reform bill that Frank authored with then-Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

On a conference call with reporters set up by the campaign of Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who is facing Sherman in a redistricting-forced matchup in November, Frank said Sherman has been inflating his role. The call was part of an effort by the Berman campaign to discredit Sherman’s legislative record.

He described Sherman’s claims as “appallingly off of the mark” and “fantasies.” Full story

Oklahoma: Ex-Sen. David Boren Backs Rob Wallace to Succeed Son

Oklahoma: Ex Sen. David Boren Backs Rob Wallace to Succeed Son

Ex-Sen. David Boren (left) endorsed a Democrat running to succeed his son, retiring Rep. Dan Boren (right). (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Assistant District Attorney Rob Wallace today picked up the support of one of Oklahoma’s best-known Democrats: former Sen. David Boren.

Democrats expect Wallace to be their nominee after the Aug. 28 runoff, when he faces seed company owner Wayne Herriman. Boren’s seal of approval only helps Wallace’s endeavor.

The 2nd district seat is open following the retirement of the former Senator’s son, Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.). National Democrats face an uphill race to hold this “Little Dixie” House seat in November, and Roll Call rates this contest as Leans Republicans. Full story

Nevada: Harry Reid to Retire … in 2016?

Nevada: Harry Reid to Retire ... in 2016?

A Washington Post columnist wrote that Sen. Harry Reid (left) won't run for another term in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 4:42 pm | Did Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank accidentally announce Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s retirement in an appositive clause buried nine paragraphs down in his column today?

Maybe he was writing what everyone else has been thinking, but in a piece about Reid’s ongoing spat with Mitt Romney over taxes, Milbank wrote in authoritative terms that the Nevada Democrat would not seek re-election in 2016.

“Reid, who won reelection in 2010 and doesn’t plan to run for office again, is happy to absorb blows in return — and they have been ferocious,” Milbank wrote. Full story

RNC Spends $17 Million on TV Since Mid-July

RNC Spends $17 Million on TV Since Mid July

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican National Committee over the weekend reported spending another $3.8 million on independent expenditure television advertising to bolster Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, bringing its total to more than $17 million in less than a month.

Though hardly eyebrow raising compared with the investments of various pro-Romney and Republican-leaning super PACs, it is notable that the RNC chose to go on the air in July with significant buys to help counter President Barack Obama’s swing-state tsunami of television spots. The RNC tends to focus it resources on state party building and voter-turnout operations while leaving the air-war to the GOP nominee’s campaign.

Full story

August 6, 2012

Virginia: Paul Hirschbiel Launches First TV Ad for 2nd District

Businessman Paul Hirschbiel launched the first television ad of his campaign for Virginia’s 2nd district.

The ad begins airing Tuesday and is designed to introduce the Virginia Beach Democrat, whose first bid for public office is a challenge to freshman GOP Rep. Scott Rigell. The spot highlights Hirschbiel’s work in the community, specifically founding early childhood education programs in the Hampton Roads area. Full story

Mitt Romney, RNC Raise $101 Million in July

Mitt Romney, RNC Raise $101 Million in July

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign announced this morning that it raised $101.3 million in July and closed the month with $185.9 million in cash on hand.

Update 10:45 a.m. | The figures include money raised and banked by the Republican National Committee and Romney Victory Inc., a joint fundraising committee made up of Romney for President, the RNC, the state Republican parties of Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Full story

August 3, 2012

Florida: John Mica Maintains Big Cash Advantage Over Sandy Adams

Florida: John Mica Maintains Big Cash Advantage Over Sandy Adams

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In the nasty Member-vs.-Member GOP primary north of Orlando, 10-term Rep. John Mica maintained a sizable cash-on-hand lead over freshman Rep. Sandy Adams.

According to Federal Election Commission reports filed on Thursday, Mica ended July 25 with $960,000 to Adams’ $453,000. In the pre-primary filing period from July 1-25, Mica raised more than twice as much as Adams, but spent $431,000. Adams spent only $78,000 during that period. The majority of Mica’s expenditures were for media advertising.

Adams received July donations from the campaign accounts of GOP Reps. Austin Scott (Ga.) and Geoff Davis (Ky.), who has since resigned his seat, along with $2,000 from the political action committee affiliated with Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman (Ind.).

Adams also received $5,000 from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s PAC.

During the pre-primary period, Mica received $1,000 from the PAC affiliated with GOP Rep. Tim Murphy (Pa.).

Mica has an edge in the Aug. 14 primary, but GOP insiders are not counting Adams out.

Ranking the Potential GOP Convention Speakers

Ranking the Potential GOP Convention Speakers

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (center) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (right) both have a chance to be a prime-time speaker during the upcoming Republican National Convention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican National Convention kicks off in Tampa, Fla., in less than a month, and it’s time to answer the really big question: Who will presumptive nominee Mitt Romney choose to showcase in prime time with a coveted keynote speaking slot?

Using CQ Weekly’s 2008 Republican Convention Guide, I’ve identified at least 15 openings, including those reserved for the nominees for president and vice president. But we’ll round up to a “top 20” and try to determine who might help Romney draw a television audience, excite the Republican base, appeal to independents and soft Democrats and — most importantly — prime the pump for his candidacy and his message.

Full story

Barack Obama, Mitt Romney Spar Over Jobs, Taxes

Barack Obama, Mitt Romney Spar Over Jobs, Taxes

President Barack Obama was greeted by a crowd Thursday at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Va., as he delivered a speech on the middle class and the economy. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney sparred today over jobs and taxes — two words that are likely to dominate the remaining three months of the presidential campaign.

After yet another middling unemployment report, Obama appeared with 13 middle-class taxpayers at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, attempting to put a positive spin on the July unemployment numbers. The rate ticked up to 8.3 percent despite the creation of 163,000 new job, which was better than analysts expected. Obama noted that private businesses increased their payrolls by 172,000 jobs and 4.5 million over the past 29 months.

But, he said, “we’ve still got too many folks out there looking for work. … We knew when I started in this job that this was going to take some time.” However, White House projections from before the stimulus package passed suggested unemployment would be much lower by now, a stubborn fact that Romney has repeatedly used to attack the president.

“His team said that by now we’d have unemployment of 5.5 percent,” Romney said at a campaign appearance in Las Vegas where he accused the president of a failure of leadership and failed policies. Romney’s campaign called the unemployment report a “hammer blow” to families looking for work.

Obama, meanwhile, criticized House Republicans for heading home for the August break with middle-class tax breaks remaining in limbo.

The president said that middle-class taxpayers and small businesses should have “a guarantee that their taxes will not go up next year” and said the Senate’s bill passed last week would do that for 98 percent of households and 97 percent of small businesses. The House bill, he said, amounted to a tax hike for 25 million families even as it extended what would amount to $1 trillion in tax breaks over a decade on incomes of more than $250,000, he said.

“They want to give millionaires, billionaires, folks like me, tax cuts … even if middle-class families have to pick up the tab,” Obama said.

Romney, meanwhile, said it would be a terrible idea to raise taxes given the economy.

Neither party, however, has proposed eliminating all of the tax increases scheduled to take effect next year. Payroll taxes are scheduled to go up $120 billion next year, and neither party’s bill extends all of an assortment of other tax cuts that are set to expire as well. Romney this week also has endorsed  allowing a tax break for wind power to expire; Obama has proposed extending it.

Obama repeated his criticism of Romney’s tax plans, without naming Romney. He noted the Tax Policy Center study that found Romney’s plans would result in a net tax hike of $2,000 for families with children while cutting taxes for the top 5 percent of taxpayers.

Fact-checker PolitiFact labeled the charge “mostly true” today.

Romney’s campaign has dismissed the study as a “joke” but has not put out an analysis of its own or details of which taxpayers would pay more and which would pay less.

Romney also reiterated that he will not release more of his tax returns but denied charges that he has ever had a year in which he did not pay taxes.

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