Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 2, 2015

December 28, 2012

Massachusetts: National Democrats Coalesce Behind Markey

National Democrats moved swiftly on Friday to close ranks behind Rep. Edward J. Markey as their candidate to run to succeed Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry upon his confirmation as the next secretary of State.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet of Colorado released a statement endorsing Markey shortly after Kerry did the same on Friday afternoon.

“Ed Markey always remembers where he came from and will continue the hard work needed to turn our economy around,” Bennet said. “He is exactly the kind of leader Massachusetts needs in the U.S. Senate.” Full story

Report: Trotter Quits Special Election in Illinois

State Sen. Donne Trotter will drop out of the special election for ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat, according to a report from NBC Chicago.

A Democrat and longtime local lawmaker, Trotter faces charges for attempting to bring a weapon onto a plane at O’Hare International Airport in early December. He told law enforcement officials he forgot the gun was in his bag. He is scheduled to appear in court in January to contest the charges.

Trotter leaves a crowded and complicated primary for the 2nd District, which includes the south side of Chicago, southwestern suburbs and some rural territory west of the stateline. It’s a heavily Democratic district, and the winner of the Feb. 26 primary is expected to be the next member of Congress.

Full story

December 27, 2012

Markey Running for Senate in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Rep. Edward J. Markey on Thursday became the first prominent Democrat to announce his intention to run in the expected special election to replace Democrat John Kerry, who was nominated last week to be the next Secretary of State.

The Boston Globe first reported that Markey will seek the seat but not the temporary appointment by Gov. Deval Patrick, who is likely to select a caretaker until a special election can be held.

“With Senator Kerry’s departure, Massachusetts voters will decide once again whether we want a Senator who will fight for all our families or one who supports a Republican agenda that benefits only the powerful and well-connected,” Markey said in a statement. He already has a Senate campaign website up. Full story

December 26, 2012

Hawaii: Abercrombie Appoints Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to Senate

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday appointed his lieutenant governor, Democrat Brian Schatz, to fill the state’s vacant Senate seat for the next two years.

Schatz surprisingly got the nod over Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who was endorsed by Sen. Daniel K. Inouye just before he died last week. The choice of Schatz means Democrats will not have to hold a special election for Hanabusa’s seat, which Republicans briefly won control of in a 2010 special election. The appointment is good until the 2014 elections, when another election will be held for the right to serve out the final two years of Inouye’s term, which expires in 2016.

In an afternoon press conference, Abercrombie, a former congressman and colleague of Inouye, said he “of course” took Inouye’s wishes into account but felt he had to act “in the overall best interest of the party.” He said he also took into account Hanabusa’s placement on the House Armed Services Committee, a vital post for the military-heavy state.

“No one and nothing is preordained,” he said. Full story

December 22, 2012

Hawaii: Reid Wants New Senator for Fiscal Cliff Votes

Hanabusa is considered the favorite to replace the late Inouye. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Aware that he may need every vote possible to advance legislation in the days after Christmas, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is calling on Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie to appoint a successor to fill Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s seat in time to vote this year.

Aloha State Democrats appear prepared to cooperate with the request. The state central committee will meet at 8 a.m. on the day after Christmas to select three names from which Abercrombie, a fellow Democrat, will make his selection, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Saturday. The meeting had originally been scheduled for the end of the week, after the Senate plans to reconvene.

“With the passing of my dear friend Senator Daniel Inouye, I have asked the governor of Hawaii to appoint Senator Inouye’s successor with due haste,” Reid said Saturday in a statement. “It is critically important to ensure that the people of Hawaii are fully represented in the pivotal decisions the Senate will be making before the end of the year.”

The Nevada Democrat’s statement came just one day after a moving memorial service for Inouye at the National Cathedral in Washington and the day before a formal service at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Full story

December 21, 2012

Massachusetts: Long Line for Special Senate Election

Brown, above, could run in the special election that will be held to succeed Kerry, who has been tapped by Obama to serve as secretary of State. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. John Kerry’s nomination for secretary of State will open the flood gates of ambitious Bay State Democrats looking to succeed him.

In fact, the list of potential Democratic candidates grew in the week leading up to today’s White House confirmation that President Barack Obama would nominate the Foreign Relations Committee chairman and five-term senator to the post.

Three longtime Democratic members of the Massachusetts House delegation — Reps. Michael E. Capuano, Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey — have expressed interest in the Senate seat. Markey has even polled the race, according to the Boston Globe. Earlier this week, Boston media outlets reported businessman Edward M. Kennedy Jr. — the son of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. — is also interested in running.

The winner of the Democratic nomination could face exiting Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., who lost re-election last month, in what many national operatives believe would be a competitive race. A Brown aide told Roll Call earlier this week that it’s too early to speculate on another run. Brown’s father died on Thursday, and the Republican was in Massachusetts on Friday and unavailable for comment.

And then there’s actor and director Ben Affleck.

Full story

December 20, 2012

Report: Mark Sanford to Run for House

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford plans to run in the special election for Rep. Tim Scott’s seat, CNN reports.

The Republican’s entrance into the race shakes up a field that could include his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, among other candidates.

Scott’s seat will be vacant soon because Gov. Nikki R. Haley appointed the GOP congressman to the Senate following Sen. Jim DeMint’s announced plans to resign in January to join The Heritage Foundation.

A few days ago, Roll Call reported Sanford was “studying” a comeback bid in Scott’s district.

Full story

NRSC Hires Rob Collins as Executive Director

Rob Collins will serve as the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s executive director for the 2014 cycle under incoming Chairman Jerry Moran of Kansas.

A former top aide for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Collins currently works at Purple Strategies. He served as president of the American Action Network during during the 2010 cycle.

Collins was one of three finalists for the gig. His appointment marks the final executive director hire announced by a congressional campaign committee for the coming cycle.

Full story

DCCC’s Israel Cautious About Whether House Is in Play

Israel, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said he's not sure what the 2014 cycle will bring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Rep. Steve Israel hesitated Thursday when asked if Democrats could win back the House in 2014.

“I’m not willing to say that. It’s way too early. We’ll pick up seats in 2014,” the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in an extended interview with CQ Roll Call. “If we do win the House back in 2014 — and I’m not saying we will — it will be because of the infrastructure that we put in place before the end of 2012.”

The typically bullish Israel repeatedly declared that his party could win the speaker’s gavel in the months leading up to the November elections. They fell woefully short of doing so, although the DCCC netted a respectable eight seats.

But 2012 proved to be a damaging cycle for House Democrats in another way.

Full story

New Jersey: Booker Explores Senate Bid

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker is exploring a run for the Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg. Booker posted a video with an announcement Thursday morning.

“Let there be no doubt. I will complete my full second term,” the Newark mayor said. “I will explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate in 2014.”

In that same video, he gave a nod to Lautenberg. The incumbent has given no indication that he plans to do anything other than run for re-election in 2014.

“As I explore a run for the United States Senate, I look forward to consulting with Sen. Frank Lautenberg. It would be a privilege and honor to continue his legacy of service.”

Shop Talk: NRCC Fills Out Senior Leadership Team

The National Republican Congressional Committee has staffed up its senior team for the 2014 midterm election cycle.

NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon previously hired Liesl Hickey to run the committee as executive director. The new senior team, being announced Thursday, includes a few familiar names as well as some new ones.

Here are the new hires, along with their official biographies, as provided by the committee:

  • Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Jessica Furst’s “role at the NRCC is elevating after serving as General Counsel this past cycle. Jessica previously worked as an associate in Foley & Larder LLP’s Washington office in the Political Law Practice Group, where she represented various U.S. House and Senate candidates and national party committees. Prior to that experience, Jessica served as Communications Director to Congresswoman Katherine Harris’ successful 2004 Congressional campaign. Jessica also regularly appears as a panelist on the Hannity show on FOX News.”
  • Political Director Rob Simms “is a veteran political operative and brings a wealth of valuable experience to our political division. Most recently, Rob has been a senior consultant at Red Maverick Media. Before that, he was chief of staff to Rep. Bill Shuster and president of Persuasion Public Strategies, a political consulting firm. Rob was Georgia’s deputy secretary of state from 2007 until 2009. His vast experience spans from congressional to senatorial to gubernatorial campaigns.”
  • Communications Director Andrea Bozek “got her start at NRCC during the 2006 cycle. She later worked as a research analysis and regional coordinator on John McCain’s presidential campaign, was press secretary for Congressman Tom Reynolds and served as communications director for Chris Lee’s campaign and official office. A Buffalo native, Andrea returned to the NRCC in 2011 as a regional press secretary and rose to Deputy Communications Director.” Full story

December 19, 2012

Hawaii: Hanabusa Will Apply for Appointment to Inouye’s Seat

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, will apply for an appointment to succeed the late Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who died Monday.

A Hanabusa aide confirmed that she plans to submit an application to the state party, which will select a slate of three potential candidates for the post. Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie will select someone from that trio to serve the next two years of Inouye’s term.

As long as Hanabusa makes the short list — a near certainty — Abercrombie will likely pick her to be the Aloha State’s next senator. In the final days of his life, Inouye sent a message to Abercrombie saying he would like his political ally, Hanabusa, to succeed him.

The appointee will serve until after the November 2014 elections, when voters will elect a senator to serve out the remaining two years of Inouye’s term. Candidates will run for a full term in 2016.

New Jersey: Pascrell Calls Idea of Being Governor ‘Intriguing’

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. hinted at interest in running for higher state office and he conveyed frustration that Newark Mayor Cory Booker is taking too long decide whether he will run for governor in 2013 or Senate in 2014.

A few weeks ago, New Jersey Democrats forwarded around a curious story from The Bergen Record pushing the idea of a Pascrell gubernatorial run.

“We’ll see what other people have to say about that. I’ve got more on my plate than I can think of,” he said when asked about the idea of running against Republican Gov. Chris Christie. “There’s always been something intriguing about the position, always intriguing.”

At first glance, it would seem odd that Pascrell’s considering a gubernatorial bid.

He fought hard to hold onto his seat in a member-vs.-member primary against fellow Democratic Rep. Steven R. Rothman and has finally built up enough seniority to secure a seat on the powerful Ways and Means Commitee, which he touted in his 2012 campaign.

Full story

Shop Talk: Lugar Will Head to German Marshall Fund

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Outgoing Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., will join The German Marshall Fund of the United States as a senior trans-Atlantic fellow when his term expires early next year.

The German Marshall Fund is a “non-partisan, non-profit organization” that was created “through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance,” according to the group’s website. Its mission is to strengthen “translatlantic cooperation on regional, national and global challenges and opportunities in the spirit of the Marshall Plan.”

“It is an honor to welcome Senator Lugar to GMF,” the group’s president, Craig Kennedy, said in a written statement. “He is a distinguished lawmaker whose service in the United States Senate is greatly admired around the globe. His expertise on international affairs and national security will be a tremendous asset to GMF’s work.”

Lugar, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, lost his bid for re-election last spring when he was defeated in the GOP primary by Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who eventually lost the general election to Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly.

December 18, 2012

New Jersey: Reports Say Cory Booker Signaling Senate Run

Lautenberg may face a primary challenge from Booker should the 88-year-old decide to seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Those close to Newark Mayor Cory Booker telegraphed to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that the Democrat will run for Senate in 2014, rather than challenge Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2013.

Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg currently stands in Booker’s way, and the 88-year-old has given zero indication that he plans to retire and clear the way for the popular mayor. Lautenberg was one of the few members to come out forcefully for gun control in the hours after the Dec. 14 shootings in Connecticut.

That means that as it stands, Booker is challenging an active, albeit elderly, incumbent from his own party. Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., is also said to be eyeing a Senate run in 2014.

Full story

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