Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 29, 2015

October 16, 2012

Hawaii: Don Young Backs Linda Lingle After Supporting Mazie Hirono, Pushes Oil Exploration

Hawaii: Don Young Backs Linda Lingle After Supporting Mazie Hirono, Pushes Oil Exploration

Rep. Don Young of Alaska is endorsing former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) is endorsing former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) in the race to fill Hawaii’s open Senate seat, even though he appeared in an ad backing Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) during primary season.

Young made the announcement in a letter on Monday, endorsing Lingle because her victory — as unlikely as it seems to be — could help Republicans take control of the Senate. The campaign is not close, with polling showing Lingle trailing Hirono by double digits. But it continues to generate strange side stories far from the mainland.

“As the only noncontiguous states in the union, Alaska and Hawaii are connected through a unique set of issues facing each state. Energy is on the minds of both Alaskans and Hawaiians,” Young wrote. “Harry Reid and his cohorts — continue to stand in the way of responsible development of Alaska’s resources.”

Full story

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Closing In on Bob Casey

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Closing In on Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey doesn't have as large of a lead as he had in earlier polls. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Casey’s Republican challenger continues to close the gap with the incumbent in two new polls.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning found the Pennsylvania Democrat leading Tom Smith, a former coal company executive, by only 3 points in a horse-race matchup, 48 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters, with 7 percent undecided. That’s down from the 18-point lead Casey held in a Quinnipiac University survey from August.

In a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released Monday, Casey led Smith by 2 points, 41 percent to 39 percent, with 18 percent of those likely voters polled undecided. That’s down from Casey’s double-digit lead in a September Muhlenberg College poll. Pennsylvania does not permit early voting, allowing a candidate who surges late to be competitive on Election Day.

Full story

October 15, 2012

Connecticut: SEIU Gives Elizabeth Esty Post-Primary Support

The Service Employees International Union Connecticut State Council endorsed Democrat Elizabeth Esty on Monday in the 5th district.

“We endorse Elizabeth Esty for Congress because our members are confident she will stand up and fight the radical right wing tea party agenda,” said Paul Filson, director of the SEIU’s state branch. “We know she will champion rights for workers and their families. She will fight to protect the promise of Social Security and Medicare. She will push for common sense investments in education, services and vital infrastructure improvements for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional district.”

While at first glance it would seem unremarkable that a union endorsed a Democrat, the unions strongly backed state Speaker Christopher Donovan in the Democratic primary.

According to an August Hartford Courant article, Esty “hasn’t always agreed with labor’s agenda,” and a decision to sit out this race would “undercut the Democratic Party.”

Esty is in a tough general election battle with state Sen. Andrew Roraback, a moderate Republican.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

California: Democratic Polls Offer the Party Good News

California: Democratic Polls Offer the Party Good News

Raul Ruiz, Democratic candidate for California's 36th district, speaks during his campaign rally in Palm Desert on Saturday. Ruiz is running to unseat GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two internal Democratic polls released today offered the party good news in both defensive and offensive territory in California.

In the Palm Springs-based 36th district, the campaign of physician Raul Ruiz (D) released a poll that found him ahead of Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R), 46 percent to 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided. The poll also offered this encouraging sign: President Barack Obama led Republican nominee Mitt Romney by 5 points. Full story

Nevada: Harry Reid Ridicules Danny Tarkanian’s Financial Woes

Nevada: Harry Reid Ridicules Danny Tarkanians Financial Woes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized the finances of GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian (above), who is running in Nevada's 4th district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 7:12 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) continued in his chosen role of Democratic attack dog today, this time entering the fray in a House campaign in Nevada and criticizing GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian’s finances.

Following a failed real estate deal, Tarkanian and his family are facing a $17 million judgement from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Tarkanian has said his family is the victim of fraud in the California project. Reid, however, has other ideas. He called the real estate deal a “ridiculous loan.”

“His judgment was so bad that he gambled and lost his family’s entire nest egg because he failed to do his homework,” Reid said on a conference call today.

Full story

Michigan: Facing Stiff Challenge, Strong 3rd Quarter for Benishek Coffers

Michigan: Facing Stiff Challenge, Strong 3rd Quarter for Benishek Coffers

Rep. Dan Benishek reported raising $510,000 in the third quarter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek is losing his grasp on Michigan’s 1st district, his campaign coffers don’t show it.

His campaign announced its best fundraising quarter ever today, raising a total of $510,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30 to close the period with more than $570,000 in cash on hand.

His opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D), reported raising just $400,000. But heading into the final weeks of the campaign, he is sitting on $600,000.

Recent polls suggest McDowell has gained ground on Benishek, a tea-party-backed physician who rode the 2010 Republican wave to Congress and is one of his party’s most vulnerable lawmakers. The Detroit Free Press endorsed McDowell on Sunday.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

Campaigns, committees and outside groups are flooding the airwaves with negative television ads. A common hit to those who have held public office is a vote to increase one’s own salary.

American Action Network, a Republican super PAC, announced this morning that it was targeting four House races — California’s 10th, Minnesota’s 8th, New Hampshire’s 1st and New York’s 27th. The new ads released will have $5 million behind them, and more money and ads are expected to come in the closing weeks.

But it was a rare positive ad that best cut through the clutter today:

North Dakota Senate

This new statewide broadcast ad, which features former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) swinging away at a batting cage, created angst among female members of the Washington press corps who participate in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

The game annually pits female reporters against female Members. The Member roster is postured to lose its best hitter in Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), who was recently named Roll Call’s most endangered incumbent. If Heitkamp is able to pull out her Tossup race against Rep. Rick Berg (R), it is a safe bet to assume that two of her first congratulatory calls will be coming from Member team captains Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) looking to recruit her for their team.

Wasserman Schultz, who does double duty as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, jokingly tweeted on the ad, “I cannot confirm nor deny that batting average is a question on our candidate recruitment forms!”

Full story

Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren Raises $12.1 Million to Scott Brown’s $7.45 Million

Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren Raises $12.1 Million to Scott Browns $7.45 Million

Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren outraised Sen. Scott Brown in the third quarter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) raised $7.45 million in the third quarter, while Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic opponent, pulled in an eye-popping $12.1 million from July 1 through Sept. 30.

Brown’s campaign said he ended the quarter with $10.2 million in cash on hand. Warren’s campaign did not say how much cash she had in the bank at the end of last month.

Quarterly fundraising reports are due to the Federal Election Commission today.

Recent polls have shown the Bay State Senate contest to be close. Roll Call rates the fiercely fought race as a Tossup.

DCCC Outraised NRCC in September

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee in September. The DCCC raised $15.3 million to the NRCC’s $12.4 million. The DCCC ended September with $26.4 million in cash on hand, while the NRCC had $29.5 million in the bank.

Both committees, tasked with winning or keeping control of the House, have spent heavily over the last month as TV ad spending has ratcheted into top gear. Republicans are poised to maintain control of the House, but the margin remains unclear with just over 20 days to go before Election Day.

October 14, 2012

NRCC Launches More Than $6 Million Worth of Ads

NRCC Launches More Than $6 Million Worth of Ads

Former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) speaks during his debate with Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) at the Carsey-Wolf Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara on Tuesday. The NRCC went on the air Friday in the 24th district with a television ad attacking Capps. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The independent expenditure arm of the National Republican Congressional Committee launched 16 new ads Friday backed by a combined total of more than $6 million.

Republicans are poised to comfortably keep control of the House, but how much the chamber’s margin shifts will largely depend on the way competitive races swing over the next 23 days.

The NRCC is on television — playing both offense and defense — in the following districts: Full story

California: Scott Peters Hits the Road in Tight Race

California: Scott Peters Hits the Road in Tight Race

Scott Peters (center), Democratic candidate for California's 52nd Congressional district, shakes hands with supporters at a pre-canvassing labor rally in San Diego on Saturday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SAN DIEGO — Democrat Scott Peters on Saturday rallied more than 400 labor volunteers who were preparing to canvass for voters across the city to support his bid to oust Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) in California’s newly drawn 52nd district and to help Democrats running in other local races.

Before setting out on a chilly (for this city) morning, state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (I), who made national headlines earlier this year when he left the GOP during his run for mayor, introduced Peters to the large labor council gathering in a parking lot near Qualcomm Stadium, home of the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers.

With early voting under way in the Golden State, it was part of Peters’ initial push in this Tossup race — one that he participated in as he knocked on doors in the company of Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) to ask voters for their support. Full story

October 13, 2012

Springsteen to Campaign for Obama in Ohio With Clinton

Bruce Springsteen is set to team up with President Bill Clinton to campaign for President Barack Obama in Parma, Ohio, on Thursday.

Even as October Springsteen appearances have become something of a Democratic tradition since 2004, this was not exactly an expected development. Back in February, Springsteen had expressed a reluctance to campaign and disappointment with some of Obama’s economic policies.

Up until this announcement, Springsteen had been largely quiet about the election. He rarely, if ever, mentioned Obama in recent appearances on his current world tour.

The pairing with Clinton is further evidence that wounds from the 2008 primary have healed. Then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was forced to cease playing “The Rising” at campaign stops because Springsteen endorsed Obama during one of the most heated moments of that campaign — the lead-up to the Pennsylvania primary.

In the past, Springsteen campaign appearances are as much about organizational strategy as they are about boosting excitement. As Springsteen plays, campaign workers use the opportunity to campaign, register voters and to collect contact information. However, Ohio’s voter registration deadline has passed.

Full story

October 12, 2012

Shot Fired Into Obama’s Denver Campaign Office

Denver police say that a shot was fired into a busy Barack Obama field office earlier this afternoon, according to an account in the Denver Post.

People were inside the office at the time of the incident, but no one was hurt, per a police statement issued to the Post. The shot was fired around 3 p.m. local time, and police have a “possible vehicle of interest” but are not releasing further details pending an ongoing investigation.

The Post has a photo of the boarded-up, large storefront window here, and Sam Levin, a reporter for the Denver Westword, posted a picture of the window to his Twitter account here.

The Obama campaign declined to comment when contacted by Roll Call and referred inquiries to the Denver Police Department.

Massachusetts: Tierney Cuts Back on TV Before Election Day

Massachusetts: Tierney Cuts Back on TV Before Election Day

Rep. John Tierney (left) is among the more vulnerable Members on the ballot in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 8 p.m. | Embattled Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) no longer has advertisements on the books for Oct. 23 through Election Day in the pricey Boston market, according to two GOP sources who track media buys.

Tierney’s campaign manager, Matt Robison, confirmed the move but said the campaign would be making additional buys next week. “We’ve relocated some of our resources among weeks based on our communications strategy,” he said.

Media buys are public information, so Tierney’s move means he could be signaling for help from an outside group in the final two weeks. But his shift comes just a couple of days after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee cut $650,000 worth of reservations for that week in the Boston market. Full story

House Majority PAC Releases New Ad Buys in Competitive Races

The Democratic-affiliated group House Majority PAC has made new investments in seven contested Congressional races.

The group made the following new buys from Oct. 17 to 23:

  • $115,000 in California’s 7th district, where Rep. Dan Lungren (R) faces physician Ami Bera (D)
  • $130,000 in Illinois’ 17th district, where Rep. Bobby Schilling (R) faces former East Moline Alderwoman Cheri Bustos (D)
  • $200,000 in Michigan’s 1st district, where Rep. Dan Benishek (R) faces former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D)
  • $175,000 in Indiana’s open 2nd district, where former state Rep. Jackie Walorski (R) faces Iraq War veteran Brendan Mullen (D)
  • $500,000 in Colorado’s 6th district, where Rep Mike Coffman (R) faces state Rep. Joe Miklosi

House Majority PAC also made a new buy for the week before Election Day in Connecticut’s open 5th district, where state Sen. Andrew Roraback (R) faces former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D).

And the group boosted their already hefty buy in New York’s 27th district by $150,000. In that seat, Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) and businessman Chris Collins are squaring off in a competitive and testy contest.

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