Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 20, 2014

August 1, 2012

Arizona: Ron Barber Up Over Martha McSally in Internal Poll

Arizona: Ron Barber Up Over Martha McSally in Internal Poll

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

An internal poll that Rep. Ron Barber’s (D-Ariz.) campaign released today showed the incumbent has a solid lead over retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally as they head into the fall election.

Barber has the support of 53 percent of respondents, while 40 percent said they backed McSally. Both are their parties’ likely nominees.

Full story

New York: DCCC Poll Has Bill Owens Up 12 Points Over Matt Doheny

Updated, 6:25 p.m. A new poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee found vulnerable Rep. Bill Owens (D) ahead of Republican Matt Doheny by 12 points in a horse-race matchup.

In a head-to-head ballot test in the newly configured 21st district, Owens got 50 percent to Doheny’s 38 percent. Green Party candidate Donald Hassig pulled 4 percent, while 8 percent were undecided.

Redistricting did no favors for Owens, who won in 2010 against Doheny and a third candidate with only 48 percent of the vote. The partisan tilt of the upstate district remained about the same: tossup territory. Full story

DSCC Chairwoman Patty Murray Confident, Won’t Provide Odds

DSCC Chairwoman Patty Murray Confident, Wont Provide Odds

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) expressed confidence in her party’s ability to hold the majority this fall, but also bemoaned the influence of outside of money in Senate campaigns.

“Despite the difficult and very tough map and despite the fact that everybody wrote off our chances when I took on this task almost two years ago, we are doing really great and I feel confident going into the election,” Murray told reporters this morning. “The only thing that stands between me and a long good night of sleep is the outside money that is coming from Karl Rove and the right-wing billionaires that are funding these races and campaigns across the country.”

Full story

July 31, 2012

Georgia: Ninth District Race Heads to Runoff

Updated 11:56 p.m. | The Republican primary is not over in a key Congressional race in Georgia.

In the new ultra-Republican 9th district, neither radio talk-show host Martha Zoller or state Rep. Doug Collins came close to the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff in a three-way race.

With 90.6 percent of precincts reporting, Collins had 41.9 percent, Zoller had 41.3 percent and retired educator Roger Fitzpatrick was a distant third with 16.9 percent.

With support from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Zoller cast herself as the insurgent candidate against Collins, who is close with Gov. Nathan Deal and the Atlanta Republican establishment.

Even though Zoller was a terrible fundraiser, insiders believe she was boosted by her longtime presence on airwaves in the district. Her radio show was broadcast to most of what became the 9th district, anchored in Hall County in northeastern Georgia.

The winner of the Republican primary is widely expected to be elected in November, given the deep red hue of the district.

The primary runoff will be held Aug. 21.

Updated 11:56 p.m.

State Rep. Lee Anderson and businessman Rick Allen are headed for an Aug. 21 GOP runoff to see who will take on vulnerable Rep. John Barrow (D) in the reconfigured 12th district.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Anderson had 34.2 percent, followed by Allen with 25.7 percent. Attorney and retired Navy fighter pilot Wright McLeod came in third with 24.8 percent and attorney Maria Sheffield got 15.3 percent.

Anderson was likely helped by his base and his name ID as an elected official.

It’s unclear who has the edge in the runoff.

Roll Call rates the general election race as a Tossup.

Minnesota: Mark Dayton Endorses Rick Nolan in 8th District

Gov. Mark Dayton (D) endorsed former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) in his comeback bid in the 8th district.

“I am proud to endorse and I enthusiastically support Rick Nolan for Congress,” Dayton said in a statement. “We need more than a ‘good vote’ in a Congress. We need a proven leader who can get past the partisan gridlock and get things done.”

Nolan is engaged in a spirited primary with former state Sen. Tarryl Clark. The winner will face Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) in the fall. Clark picked up an endorsement from President Bill Clinton last week.

Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Ohio: Steven LaTourette Jolts GOP; Democrats Are Hopeful

Ohio: Steven LaTourette Jolts GOP; Democrats Are Hopeful

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Both parties scrambled Tuesday to assess their prospects in the 14th district in the wake of Rep. Steven LaTourette’s surprise retirement.

With the GOP Congressman’s decision to delay his retirement long enough to avoid a special primary, Republicans were confident that they could choose a successor capable of holding the moderately GOP-leaning district in November.

But Ohio Democrats are moving to replace their nominee, Dale Blanchard, with a top-tier contender, and whether they’re successful could determine their ability to put this winnable seat in play.

The district’s county GOP chairmen are expected to select a ballot replacement. If LaTourette’s retirement is official on or just after Aug. 8, county GOP leaders would have until the middle of this month to make their choice. Full story

Texas: House Runoff Roundup

Updated 12:07 a.m.| Next to the Senate GOP runoff, the most closely watched race in Texas was the Democratic runoff over who would challenge Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) in the fall.

State Rep. Pete Gallego defeated former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic runoff for the Texas 23. The Associated Press called the race with 84 percent of precincts reporting, as Gallego had 53.6 percent.

It is an enormous relief to national Democrats. While Rodriguez is personally popular, Democrats were concerned about his ability to run a serious campaign in the fall. Democrats said they were prepared to invest in the race but acknowledged it would have been a drain on resources that could be deployed elsewhere.

Gallego ran a flawed campaign in the primary. He brought in new team early in the runoff. The move worked.

Democratic Races

  • Texas 33: State Rep. Marc Veasey defeated former state Rep. Domingo Garcia. Veasey will almost certainly be coming to Congress in November.
  • Texas 34: Attorney Filemon Vela defeated former Congressional staffer Denise Blanchard. Filemon will most likely be coming to Congress in the fall.

Republican Races

  • Texas 14: State Rep. Randy Weber defeated Pearland City Councilwoman Felicia Harris. Weber will face former Rep. Nick Lampson (D) in the fall. Roll Call rates that race as Likely Republican.
  • Texas 25: Former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams defeated tea party candidate Wes Riddle. Williams will most likely be coming to Congress in the fall.
  • Texas 36: Former Rep. Steve Stockman appeared to defeat financial adviser Stephen Takach. With 74 percent of precincts reporting, Stockman had 55 percent, indicating that he will most likely be returning to Congress in the fall.

Texas: Ted Cruz Defeats David Dewhurst

Texas: Ted Cruz Defeats David Dewhurst

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Updated 9:43 p.m. | Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, a virtual political unknown only a year ago, has shocked the Texas political system and defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP primary to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, according to the Associated Press.

Cruz had 53.6 percent of the vote to Dewhurst’s 46.4 percent at the time the AP called the race, with just 22.5 percent of precincts reporting. Although that result was widely anticipated in the final days of the campaign, it cannot be emphasized enough how much of a stunning development this is.

Texas is not akin to GOP Sen. Dick Lugar’s loss in Indiana or in states where a tea party insurgent knocked off a party favorite in 2010.

The media market is one of the most expensive in the country, and the money needed to travel the geographic expanse sets the Lone Star State apart from other states. And yet, Cruz and his coalition of national tea party figures and groups such as the Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund beat the odds.

Nearly every GOP state Senator and Gov. Rick Perry (R) backed Dewhurst. Perry campaigned vigorously on his behalf. Republicans in the state disagree over whether Perry’s failed effort for Dewhurst will show weakness.

Cruz is all but assured he will be elected to the Senate in the fall.

Updated 9:43 p.m.

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, praised Cruz in a press release shortly after the race was called.

“Ted believes, as I do, that we need to make Washington DC look a little more like the great state of Texas, and that starts with restoring common-sense, conservative values in our nation’s Capital,” he said.

“With a strong, hard-working ally in Ted Cruz, we will work to pass a balanced budget amendment, remove the federal government’s boot off the neck of our small businesses, and repeal-and-replace ObamaCare,” he added.

Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, said in a press release that Cruz “clearly articulated the pro-growth message that Republican voters across the country have responded to.”

The Club for Growth PAC spent more than $5.5 million in independent expenditures on the campaign, according to the release.

New York: Conflicting Polls Released in 19th District

It’s the battle of the polls in upstate New York.

This morning, a Republican poll showed freshman Rep. Chris Gibson (R) leading his Democratic challenger, Julian Schreibman, by 17 points. This afternoon, Schreibman’s campaign released a poll showing the Republican up by 10 points.

The Democratic poll found Gibson leading Schreibman, 42 percent to 32 percent. (The Republican poll found Gibson leading Schreibman, 53 percent to 36 percent.)

The second poll, conducted by respected pollster Jefrey Pollock of the Democratic firm Global Strategy Group, found Schreibman to be largely unknown, with significant room to grow his name ID. It also found that Gibson was only familiar to 46 percent of voters in the district. Full story

Breaking: Geoff Davis Resigns From Congress

Breaking: Geoff Davis Resigns From Congress

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), who had already announced his retirement, announced late today that he would resign immediately to deal with a “family health issue.”

Gov. Steven Beshear (D) can call a special election as early as five weeks after the seat is certified as vacant, but given that the general election is less than 100 days away, insiders expect him to call the special election for Nov. 6, the same day as the general election.

Davis’ resignation is thus likely to leave the northern Kentucky seat vacant until November, when Thomas Massie, the GOP nominee for the safe Republican 4th district, will likely to be elected both in the special and general elections. That would allow him to be seated immediately.

“There won’t be a primary,” former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson explained to Roll Call. “Both parties will pick their nominees based on party rules.”

Insiders see the GOP picking Massie, the tea party-aligned winner of a contentious May primary.

Davis is the 8th House Member to resign this Congress. To see a full list of the Members who left check out our Casualty List.


Obama Team Criticizes Mitt Romney Trip

Obama Team Criticizes Mitt Romney Trip

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s campaign torched Mitt Romney’s foreign policy trip as a disaster today, contending that the Republican frontrunner embarrassed himself and failed to show he was ready to be commander in chief, although the campaign stepped gingerly into the controversy over Romney’s comments about the importance of “culture” in the wealth of nations.

Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to the campaign, said the trip was an audition to be commander in chief and ended up as nothing short of “an embarrassing disaster” for Romney and noted that Romney took just three questions from reporters on the trip, compared with 25 questions at four press conferences by then-candidate Obama during a foreign trip in 2008.

Colin Kahl, a former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for the Middle East, said Romney whiffed on a series of statements in a trip that was designed to be easy, with gaffes including questioning London’s readiness for the Olympics.

“Here he struck out playing T-ball,” he said. “It should have been easy for him.” Full story

New Mexico: DSCC Targets Wilson in TV Ad

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee slammed the voting record of former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) in its first TV ad in the New Mexico Senate race.

The spot, launched today, accuses Wilson of supporting corporate tax breaks that helped to send jobs to China and India. Wilson faces Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) in a competitive race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D). Full story

North Carolina: DCCC Releases Poll Showing Mike McIntyre Ahead

A new poll commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee found vulnerable Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) leading his Republican challenger, state Sen. David Rouzer, by 19 points. That’s a very different image than the one painted by a GOP poll released Monday, which found McIntyre leading Rouzer by only 4 points.

The Democratic survey found McIntyre led Rouzer 53 percent to 34 percent, including those who were undecided but leaned toward one candidate or the other. Full story

Democratic House Majority Super PAC Releases Polls Showing Leads in Utah, Maryland

Democratic House Majority Super PAC Releases Polls Showing Leads in Utah, Maryland

Rep. Jim Matheson (right) leads Mia Love in Utah's 4th district race, according to a poll released by the House Majority PAC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, released two polls this morning that indicate Democrats are well-positioned in high-profile races in Utah and Maryland.

In the tossup race for Utah’s 4th, 51 percent of respondents said they would vote for Rep. Jim Matheson (D), while 33 percent supported Mia Love (R). In the Maryland 6th district survey, businessman John Delaney (D) had the support of 44 percent of those polled, while 42 percent said they would vote for Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R). The difference is within the poll’s margin of error.

Full story

Rising Star Julian Castro Gets Prime Speaking Slot at DNC

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will deliver the keynote address on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, making him the first Latino to receive that assignment.

Castro will share the Sept. 4 speaking duties in Charlotte, N.C., with first lady Michelle Obama. President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren will speak Wednesday night, followed on Thursday by Vice President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama.

Castro’s prominent role, announced today by the the convention committee, is the latest evidence that Castro and his twin brother, state Rep. Joaquin Castro, are rising stars in the Democratic Party.

Joaquin Castro, who is running to replace retiring Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), did not face a runoff today and is likely headed to Congress next year.

“Having both the First Lady and Mayor Castro speak on the opening night of our convention will bring together two incredible leaders whose life stories both embody the promise of America, that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention chairman.

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