Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

May 30, 2012

Several Texas House Races Headed for Runoffs

Several Texas House Races Headed for Runoffs

Former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (left) will face state Rep. Pete Gallego in the Democratic runoff for the 23rd district. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:10 a.m. | HOUSTON — With few House incumbents facing competitive primaries Tuesday in Texas, most of the action was in a handful of contests for safe open and new seats. As expected, almost all of those crowed races will be decided by July 31 runoffs after no candidate was able to get at least 50 percent of the primary vote.

Democrats were unable to avoid a runoff in the one district that is expected to be competitive this fall. State Rep. Pete Gallego will face former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic runoff in the redrawn majority-Hispanic 23rd district. The winner will take on freshman Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R), who is a top target for Democrats.

Rodriguez got 48 percent of the vote, nearly avoiding a runoff with Gallego, the favored nominee of national party operatives. Full story

New York: Gary Ackerman Backs Grace Meng in 6th

Retiring Rep. Gary Ackerman (D) endorsed state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D) on Tuesday in her competitive primary in the 6th district.

“Grace is without question the most qualified candidate in this race,” he said in a statement released by her campaign.

Meng, backed by Queens Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Joe Crowley and the local political establishment, faces a surprisingly tough race against ambitious state Assemblyman Rory Lancman. He has the backing of a number of local unions.

Also in the primary in the safe Democratic district: New York City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D), the cousin of the Congressman.

South Carolina: With Ted Vick Out, Preston Brittain Is the Leading Democrat

Attorney Preston Brittain, vying for the Democratic nod in the Palmetto State’s new 7th district, caught a huge break last week when the frontrunner, state Rep. Ted Vick, landed in jail.

Vick was arrested Thursday on suspicion of driving under the influence and possessing an illegal firearm, according to local media reports. Also in his vehicle: a 21-year-old woman who was not his wife.

Vick, who had been the party establishment favorite, dropped his Congressional bid Friday. Full story

New Jersey: Bill Clinton Holds Rally for Bill Pascrell

New Jersey: Bill Clinton Holds Rally for Bill Pascrell

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Bill Clinton will headline a Friday rally for Rep. Bill Pascrell, whom he previously endorsed over a fellow Democratic Member.

“I know Bill Pascrell, and he is the fighter we need to support President [Barack] Obama,” Clinton said in a statement offered by Pascrell’s campaign.

Pascrell faces Rep. Steven Rothman in next week’s primary after the Garden State lost a House seat in redistricting. Full story

May 29, 2012

David Dewhurst, Ted Cruz Headed to Senate Runoff in Texas

David Dewhurst, Ted Cruz Headed to Senate Runoff in Texas

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst did not garner the 50 percent of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff for the GOP Senate nomination. (Pat Sullivan/Associated Press)

HOUSTON — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz are headed to a July 31 runoff to determine the Republican nominee for Senate, igniting a showdown between the Washington, D.C., tea party community and the Texas GOP establishment.

With 35 percent of precincts reporting, Dewhurst led the primary field with 47 percent of the vote, followed by Cruz at 32 percent. But Dewhurst failed to garner 50 percent of the vote, giving Cruz another shot at upsetting the generally popular lieutenant governor. Dewhurst has been the favorite in this race throughout the campaign and has never trailed in polling of the contest.

Full story

Illinois: Democratic Nominee Brad Harriman Drops Off Ballot

The Democratic nominee for the seat of retiring Rep. Jerry Costello (D)  dropped out of the race suddenly on Tuesday, leaving the field for the competitive southern Illinois House seat in flux.

Citing health reasons, former St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Brad Harriman told reporters that “voters of Southern Illinois … deserve a candidate that can withstand the pace that this race will require.”

Harriman’s departure leaves Democrats searching for a nominee to face the GOP’s candidate, Jason Plummer, two months after the primary.

Local Democratic Party chairmen from the 12th district will select a replacement nominee in the coming weeks. Costello will reportedly head that selection committee.

Oddly, this isn’t the first time this cycle southern Illinois officials are in this position. Less than two weeks ago in a neighboring district, local Republican Party chairmen picked a new GOP nominee for the 13th district after Rep. Timothy Johnson dropped out of the race in April.

David Dewhurst: D.C. Insiders Can’t Buy Texas Senate

HOUSTON — Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst today likened attorney Ted Cruz to President Barack Obama, tarring his opponent in Texas’ Senate Republican primary as the Washington insiders’ bought-and-paid-for candidate who is practicing the same negative attacks that Obama is using against presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Meeting with voters lunching at a popular Jewish deli in the Galleria neighborhood just west of downtown, Dewhurst used his only campaign stop of primary day to stump for last-minute votes and make the case that he is the only candidate in the race with Texas’ interests at heart. Speaking to reporters before the made-for-local-TV-news event, a relaxed Dewhurst reaffirmed his conservative credentials and called Cruz a liar.

“What we’re seeing in Washington is President Obama, who can’t run on his record, is now running on the politics of personal destruction of Governor Romney. And I submit that Mr. Cruz has no record, and so he’s trying to run against me by impugning my fiscally conservative and social conservative record,” Dewhurst said, before speaking to voters inside Kenny & Ziggy’s Deli. “Mr. Cruz will lie and say one thing one day, and he’ll say something else the next.”

Full story

Arizona: Jesse Kelly Uncommitted to Vote for John Boehner

Arizona: Jesse Kelly Uncommitted to Vote for John Boehner

Republican Jesse Kelly is locked in a tight race to succeed ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Veteran Jesse Kelly (R) is noncommittal about how he would vote in party leadership races should he be in Congress after the November elections, much like his Democratic opponent in Arizona’s competitive special election.

“It depends on who is running,” he said in an email on Monday when asked if he would vote for Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) to lead his party in the new Congress.

Full story

New Mexico: Martin Heinrich, Heather Wilson Headed for Primary Wins

New Mexico: Martin Heinrich, Heather Wilson Headed for Primary Wins

Rep. Martin Heinrich is expected to face off against his predecessor, ex-Rep. Heather Wilson, in New Mexico's Senate race this fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The last two people to represent Albuquerque in Congress are likely to face off in the race for New Mexico’s open Senate seat, a new independent poll found — confirming an outcome that has been expected for weeks.

Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) and former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) held wide leads over their June 5 primary opponents in polls conducted for the Albuquerque Journal by Brian Sanderoff of Research & Polling Inc. They’re vying for the seat of retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) in what will be a top battleground for control of the Senate. Full story

Massachusetts: New Scott Brown Ad Focuses on Bipartisan Credentials

Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown launched a new positive TV spot today that emphasizes his folksy, bipartisan credentials. In the 30-second ad, filmed at a diner, he says he’ll “work with anyone to get things done.”

“I was the tie-breaking vote on Wall Street reform, led the way on a jobs bill for veterans and helped pass a strong new ethics law for Congress,” Brown says.

“You know what makes me really proud?” he says to camera from a booth in the diner, “Being called one of the most bipartisan Senators in the country.”

Full story

Michigan: Thaddeus McCotter to Run as a Write-In

Michigan: Thaddeus McCotter to Run as a Write In

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter will run a write-in campaign for the GOP nomination after botching the signature requirement to make the Congressional ballot in Michigan.

The five-term Republican announced Tuesday that he will launch a write-in bid while the secretary of state’s office continues its investigation into his ballot petitions.

“The buck stops with me,” McCotter, who ran a quixotic presidential bid earlier this cycle, said in a statement. “That’s why I urge the continued investigation into the petitions. Everyone deserves to know what happened regarding this filing.”

Full story

May 28, 2012

Arizona: Ron Barber Noncommittal on Vote for Nancy Pelosi

Arizona: Ron Barber Noncommittal on Vote for Nancy Pelosi

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Ron Barber, the Democrat running to succeed ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, remains noncommittal on whether he would vote for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to lead his party after the November elections.

“That’s a decision that’s way off in the future, and I wouldn’t know the answer to that question until we know who the candidates are for Speaker,” he said in an interview today. “I think it’s important to make decisions like that, or any decision, based upon what’s in front of you and what the facts are. I don’t know who will be up for Speaker in 2013, and I’ll reserve judgment on who I would vote for.” Full story

May 26, 2012

Michigan: Thaddeus McCotter Could Get Booted from the Ballot

Michigan: Thaddeus McCotter Could Get Booted from the Ballot

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) is at risk of losing his place on the Aug. 7 primary ballot because of problems with his petition signatures, wreaking havoc on the GOP’s once-secure hold on his seat.

In a Friday statement, McCotter announced the secretary of state had questioned whether he collected sufficient signatures to make the ballot.

“I have been apprised my campaign may have submitted insufficient petition signatures to appear on the August primary ballot as a candidate for the 11th Congressional District’s Republican nomination,” he said in the late-night statement.

If the five-term Congressman gets booted from the ballot, Republicans will be forced to nominate a perennial candidate or mount a challenging write-in campaign for McCotter or another candidate.

Full story

May 25, 2012

California: DCCC, Members of Congress Aid Julia Brownley in 26th District

National Democrats are rushing to the aid of California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley as the party faces the realistic possibility of being left off of the general election ballot.

Brownley is one of a handful of Democrats running in the top-two primary June 5 in the open 26th district. State Sen. Tony Strickland (R) is favored to advance, while Brownley and Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks (I) are angling for the second spot. A splintered Democratic vote could help Parks finish ahead of Brownley. Full story

May 24, 2012

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Launches New TV Spot

Sen. Claire McCaskill is set to launch a new television ad across Missouri on Memorial Day that emphasizes her record on veterans issues.

The spot highlights the Democrat’s work to address mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery and seeks to bolster her credibility as a government watchdog. Visuals of headlines about the scandal at the hallowed burial ground fade on and off the screen over B-roll of gravestones.

Full story

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