Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 22, 2014

September 18, 2012

Daily Ad Track

Beginning today and continuing through Election Day, Roll Call will offer a daily smattering of campaign ads that the Politics Team finds worthy of highlighting. Look for the Daily Ad Tracker most week-day afternoons.

Today’s offering features a collection of television spots launched in House and Senate races and run by candidate’s campaigns, national party committees and third party groups, such as super PACS. The theme of today’s Tracker: “Firsts.” Full story

Florida: DCCC to Launch First Ad Against Allen West

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm on Wednesday is launching its first television ad of the election cycle against firebrand Rep. Allen West (R) in Florida’s newly configured 18th district.

The 30-second spot hews to the standard Democratic line of attack, knocking West for voting in favor of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would fundamentally change the way future seniors interact with Medicare. The Wisconsin Republican is GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate.

“I have to say it as it is,” West says in a clip at the beginning of the ad.

“But what’s behind the talk?” a female narrator asks. “Allen West voted for Paul Ryan’s plan that would essentially end Medicare,” she says. “And leave seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry.”

“Behind Allen West’s talk,” the narrator intones at the end of the spot, “a plan that ends Medicare and overwhelmingly benefits the rich.”

West faces political newcomer Patrick Murphy (D) in a battle that, at its essence, will be a referendum on the Congressman.

The DCCC ad, unlike some of Murphy’s most memorable ads, hits West for his votes, not his words.

The new spot is backed by about $250,000 on broadcast television in the West Palm Beach media market.

Roll Call rates the 18th district race as Leans Republican.

Potential 2016 Candidates Start Iowa Visits

Potential 2016 Candidates Start Iowa Visits

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is one of several potential 2016 presidential hopefuls — Democrats and Republicans — who have visited Iowa recently. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Forget 2012. Who’s ready for the next presidential race?

Quite a few people, actually. Several potential future presidential candidates — Democrats and Republicans —  visited Iowa in recent months, proving it’s never too early to start making friends in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. To wit:

The Democrats:

  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley headlined Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry Sunday. In previous cycles, Harkin’s event served as a proving ground for presidential prospects, including President Barack Obama in 2006.
  • In June, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was the keynote speaker for Iowa Democrats at their Hall of Fame Celebration dinner during the state party’s convention.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will headline the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Oct. 20.
  • Several oft-mentioned presidential prospects appeared at the state party’s breakfast at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.: Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Villaraigosa and O’Malley.

The Republicans:

  • Today, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum announced he’s headed back to the Hawkeye State on Thursday for an event in Sioux City with Iowa Rep. Steve King to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. In early August, Santorum headlined the Family Leadership Summit. Santorum narrowly won the 2012 caucuses after diligently working Hawkeye State caucus-goers for months on end.
  • Earlier on Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will headline a luncheon for King in Sioux City. Christie campaigned for Iowa Rep. Tom Latham earlier this year, according to the Congressman’s campaign staff. Latham and King face tough re-election fights this fall.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal campaigned last July on behalf of Mitt Romney in Iowa — one of several trips he’s made to the state as a surrogate. He also headlined an August rally to help Iowa Legislature candidates hosted by the National Rifle Association.
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry also appeared at the Family Leadership Summit in August, along with Santorum. He’s scheduled to return to the state Oct. 27 for the 12th annual Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Fall Dinner.
  • In July, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell appeared as a surrogate for Romney alongside Jindal.

The trips present a dicey situation for Republicans, who do not want to appear presumptuous about the 2016 cycle if Romney wins in November. Still, given today’s highly orchestrated campaign operations, it’s hard to see how any candidate visits the state by happenstance.

September 17, 2012

Dick Durbin Predicts Republicans Will Keep House

Dick Durbin Predicts Republicans Will Keep House

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today predicted that Republicans would maintain control of the House and Democrats would keep the Senate, according to a report in an Illinois paper.

“I think it’s likely we’ll see an outcome similar to what we have today,” he told the editorial board of the Daily Herald, a paper that covers the Chicago suburbs. “Democratic majority in the Senate but not 60 votes, and a Republican majority in the House but less than it is today.”

That’s a prediction in line with conventional D.C. wisdom, but it is at odds with messaging from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has been working hard to maintain that the House is in play for Democrats. Full story

Connecticut: WWE Scrubs YouTube of ‘Edgier’ Wrestling Footage

Connecticut Republican Senate nominee Linda McMahon’s former professional wrestling company, WWE, is seeking to remove what it considers “dated and edgier” footage from YouTube, according to an Associated Press report.

“To better reflect our current family-friendly brand of entertainment, WWE is removing some dated and edgier footage from digital platforms,” the company said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “Some of this footage has been misused in political environments without any context or explanation as to when it was produced. This damages the corporate reputation of our company. WWE is well within its rights to protect its intellectual property for fair use.”

Full story

Maine: Democrat Rails On Sierra Club’s Support for Angus King

Maine: Democrat Rails On Sierra Clubs Support for Angus King

(Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Sierra Club is happy with Maine Independent Senate candidate Angus King, but not everyone is happy with the Sierra Club.

The environmental group announced earlier today that it was endorsing King. The move is not completely conventional. Statistically, the group tends to favor Democratic candidates, but the Sierra Club extensively cited King’s environmental work as governor in its logic for endorsing him.

And the Democrat in that race, state Sen. Cynthia Dill, let her displeasure be known in a press release today.

Full story

For Obama, Ohio Is Ground Zero on China Trade Debate

For Obama, Ohio Is Ground Zero on China Trade Debate

(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama delivered a counter punch to GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s attacks on his China policy today, heading to manufacturing-heavy Ohio to tout a new trade action against Chinese auto parts subsidies and to blast Romney’s record on outsourcing.

“Now, I understand my opponent has been running around Ohio claiming he’s going to roll up his sleeves and take the fight to China,” Obama said. “But here’s the thing: His experience has been owning companies that were called ‘pioneers’ in the business of outsourcing jobs to countries like China.”

Obama said his administration has brought and won twice as many trade cases against China as the Bush administration did in two terms, including a case against Chinese tires that Romney criticized at the time.

“I like to walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” he said, accusing Romney of “taking advantage of unfair trade practices” while in business but talking tough with an election around the corner.

Full story

Maryland: Nancy Pelosi Fundraises for John Delaney

Maryland: Nancy Pelosi Fundraises for John Delaney

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hosted a fundraiser last Thursday evening on behalf of Democratic House candidate John Delaney.

Delaney is challenging Rep. Roscoe Bartlett for Maryland’s 6th district, and the Pelosi fundraiser is a sign of national Democrats’ determination to take the seat. In redistricting, Democrats dismantled Bartlett’s western Maryland district, adding liberal areas of the state around the Washington, D.C., suburbs that made re-election for the 10-term Congressman increasingly difficult.

That said, Bartlett has a rare across-the-aisle popularity among Democrats. Many state and national Democrats privately profess a personal affinity for him, but publicly, they are working overtime to help Delaney.

Full story

Republicans Launch New Round of Ads in House Races

The National Republican Congressional Committee and other GOP-aligned outside groups launched a new round of television advertising over the weekend in a bevy of House races.

With seven weeks to go until Election Day, the NRCC on Sunday released 10 new TV ads — six in districts the group is working to hold and four in districts the GOP hopes to pick up. Democrats must score a net gain of 25 seats in November to wrestle back control of the House majority. Full story

DSCC, NRSC Fuel Battle for Indiana Senate Seat

The Hoosier State officially became a Senate battleground last week as both parties dropped six-figure ad buys into the race.

During the weekend, the National Republican Senatorial Committee bought $650,000 worth of airtime for a week-long buy to boost its nominee, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, Roll Call confirmed.

Full story

September 16, 2012

Nancy Pelosi Maintains House in Play

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in an interview that aired this morning pushed back  against the growing consensus that Democrats have a difficult path ahead to win back control of the House of Representatives.

“So we have the message, we have the messengers, we have the money, we have the mobilization,” Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have a very excellent chance to take back the House.”

Democrats need 25 seats to gain control of the House.

Anchor Candy Crowley asked Pelosi if she agreed with a recent Roll Call story that stated that Democratic House chances are “theoretically possible but unlikely.”

“No. I think that, first of all, I don’t know what the source of that is,” Pelosi said. “But I do know what the source of our confidence is, and that’s the quality of our candidates. They’re just great, the fact that they are strong in terms of their grassroots mobilization and their resource raising and the rest.”

Full story

September 14, 2012

South Dakota: Mike Rounds Explores 2014 Senate Bid

Former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) is making moves to challenge Sen. Tim Johnson (D) in 2014.

Even though there are 53 days to go before Election Day, Rounds opened an exploratory committee to examine a Senate race more than two years away, according to the Argus Leader.

Full story

September 13, 2012

Mitt Romney Pitches for NRCC

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tonight pitched National Republican Congressional Committee supporters to give to the campaign committee and help the GOP keep control of the House.

Blaming President Barack Obama and his “liberal allies” for pushing the country “backward,” Romney asked for supporters to donate “$10 or more” in an email titled “Cleaning House.” Full story

Democrats Claim Advantage in House Races

Democrats Claim Advantage in House Races

(Bill Clark CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

Medicare. Medicare. Medicare.

Despite the steep uphill battle Democrats have in taking back the House, in a briefing today with reporters, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) was bullish about his party’s chances for winning the chamber.

And you can probably guess why.

“Paul Ryan has become a downballot disaster for Republicans across the country,” he said in a pen-and-pad briefing with the Washington, D.C., press corps at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

Full story

Kentucky: Mitch McConnell Hires Jesse Benton as 2014 Campaign Manager

Kentucky: Mitch McConnell Hires Jesse Benton as 2014 Campaign Manager

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) today announced he has hired Jesse Benton to manage his 2014 campaign.

Benton, who has deep ties to the tea party movement in Kentucky and around the country, led Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) White House bid and managed now-Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) general election campaign in 2010.

If McConnell accrues any political vulnerability on his right flank in Kentucky — and Bluegrass State GOP political operatives believe he doesn’t have much right now — having Benton as his top campaign aide is likely to help significantly reduce the threat of a serious primary challenge. But the move does more than just help in the primary. Full story

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