Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

September 13, 2012

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

September 12, 2012

Nebraska: Deb Fischer, Bob Kerrey Commit to Third Debate

State Sen. Deb Fischer (R) and former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) have agreed to a third debate, according to the Associated Press.

The debate will take place on Oct. 1 and will air statewide on public television, radio and online.

The pair have squared off once before. The Omaha Chamber of Commerce will host the second debate on Sept. 28 in Omaha; it will be broadcast on an affiliate the following Sunday.

Roll Call rates this race as Likely Republican.

North Carolina: GOP Super PAC Boosts Anti-McIntyre Ad Buy

The Republican-aligned YG Action Fund, a super PAC formed by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), boosted its TV advertising against Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) on Tuesday by almost $200,000.

The group now has $734,000 backing its TV spot in the Raleigh-Durham media market from Sept. 7 through Oct. 12.

The current spot — and others could be rotated in — is entitled “Two Mikes.”

Full story

New Jersey: Shelley Adler Pokes Fun at Jon Runyan

Attorney Shelley Adler (D) has put up an off-beat television ad poking fun at Rep. Jon Runyan’s (R) past as a professional football player. Adler is looking to unseat Runyan in New Jersey’s 3rd district.

Full story

California: Scott Peters Launches First TV Ad

In a top pickup opportunity for Democrats in California, San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters (D) launched the first television ad of his bid to defeat Rep. Brian Bilbray (R).

The clever ad features young children sitting around a boardroom table arguing, screaming and pounding their fists. Full story

Pennsylvania: Mark Critz Airs First Spot Against Keith Rothfus

Rep. Mark Critz (D) hit the airwaves for the first time today in his heavily targeted race to fend off a challenge from attorney Keith Rothfus (R).

The spot focuses on Critz’ conservative credentials, highlighting his opposition to President Barack Obama’s energy policies.

Full story

Pennsylvania: Mike Fitzpatrick Airs First TV Spot

Updated | 2:06 p.m. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) will air his first television advertisement of the general election today against his opponent, attorney Kathy Boockvar (D).

Fitzpatrick’s first spot focuses on his daughters.

“As parents, my wife and I worked to give our kids a strong future,” Fitzpatrick says. “But if our country doesn’t change course, our kids won’t have the same opportunities we had.”

Full story

Massachusetts: John Tierney Ahead by 12 Points in Independent Poll

Massachusetts: John Tierney Ahead by 12 Points in Independent Poll

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) led his Republican challenger, former state Sen. Richard Tisei, by 12 points in a new independent poll. But Tierney, who has suffered politically from revelations about his wife’s family’s gambling ring, is burdened with some significant weaknesses, the survey showed.

Tierney got 46 percent compared with Tisei’s 34 percent in the WBUR poll of likely voters that included leaners conducted by the MassINC Polling Group. Eleven percent were undecided, and 7 percent said they would vote for the Libertarian candidate.

When leaners were not included, Tierney’s lead over Tisei was 7 points.

But red flags abounded for the eight-term Congressman in this poll. Only 35 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of him — a low number for a longtime Member — while 30 percent had an unfavorable view. Twenty-one percent had heard of him but were undecided, and 10 percent had never heard of him. Full story

House Majority PAC Hits Six Districts With Negative Ads

A Democratic super PAC will blitz six House districts with $2.2 million worth of television advertisements starting today.

House Majority PAC’s buy targets competitive races in California, Iowa, North Carolina, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin with tailored spots for each race.

The spending spree marks this super PAC’s largest flight of advertisements yet in the 2012 cycle. Most importantly for Democrats, the spots will help the party stay competitive on the air in races where Republicans already reserved a significant amount of ad space.

Full story

September 11, 2012

Oklahoma: Markwayne Mullin Treated for Tear in Esophagus

Plumbing company owner Markwayne Mullin made an unexpected trip to the hospital over the weekend to treat “a small tear” in his esophagus, according to the 2nd district GOP nominee’s Facebook page.

“I’m feeling much better now and the Doctors and Nurses are doing a great job,” Mullin wrote on Sunday. “I’ll be in the hospital until about the end of the week as they keep an eye on me but then I’ll be back on the campaign trail.”

Mullin faces former Assistant District Attorney Rob Wallace (D) in an open-seat race generated by Rep. Dan Boren’s (D) retirement.

Mullin is favored to win the seat despite his brief break from the campaign trail.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

Connecticut: DSCC on Air; Linda McMahon Gets Independent Line

Connecticut: DSCC on Air; Linda McMahon Gets Independent Line

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has committed to a six-figure television ad buy to support Rep. Christopher Murphy’s campaign to replace retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I).

Murphy is running against former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R), who according to the Hartford Courant has qualified for the Independent line and, consequently, will appear twice on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Sources who track Connecticut television advertising say the DSCC has purchased $320,000 in broadcast and cable television spending that begins today and will last until Sept. 18.

McMahon has spent heavily on her campaign so far this cycle.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

Virginia: Tim Kaine Rebukes Negative Ads on 9/11 Anniversary

Virginia: Tim Kaine Rebukes Negative Ads on 9/11 Anniversary

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who is running for an open Senate seat, issued a harsh rebuke of a Republican-aligned outside group that launched three ads against him Tuesday, the anniversary of 9/11.

A Crossroads GPS spokesman said in a release that the $1 million ad campaign highlights the areas in which Kaine is out of step with Virginia, including on issues such as education and the defense industry.

In response, the Kaine campaign released a statement regarding the timing of the latest round of ads, rather than its routine fact-check. Full story

Wisconsin: Paul Ryan Goes on Air to Boost His House Race

Wisconsin: Paul Ryan Goes on Air to Boost His House Race

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R) has made television advertisement reservations in the 1st district, where he is running for re-election even as he simultaneously campaigns for vice president.

Ryan’s 1st district ad buy is set to run for the next two weeks and dovetails with Wisconsin television ads being run by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Romney/Ryan ticket. Businessman Rob Zerban is challenging Ryan in the 1st district.

Zerban is Ryan’s most organized Democratic challenger in recent memory. But Ryan has a daunting amount of money stockpiled and newfound national notoriety, and redistricting improved the lines for him.

Roll Call currently rates this race as Safe Republican.

Rhode Island: David Cicilline Wins Primary

Rhode Island: David Cicilline Wins Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. David Cicilline won the Democratic primary tonight in his bid for re-election in Rhode Island’s 1st district.

Businessman Anthony Gemma challenged him for the party nomination. At the time the Associated Press called the race, Cicilline was beating Gemma by a 2-1 margin, 62 percent to 31 percent. Full story

Massachusetts: John Tierney Releases First TV Ad

Rep. John Tierney (D) will launch his first television ad of the election season Wednesday. It attacks his Republican opponent, former state Sen. Richard Tisei, for being “too extreme.”

“The tea party Republican agenda: outlaw abortion, restrict birth control, billionaire tax cuts, middle-class tax hikes,” a female narrator says over spooky music and desaturated slow-motion images of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

“And Richard Tisei?” the narrator continues over unflattering slow-motion video of Tisei. “He calls the tea party ‘a godsend’ to Republicans; defends extreme anti-choice Republican views, saying, ‘It is what it is.’ Republicans plan to gut Medicare? Tisei calls it ‘a good starting point.’

“Tea party Republicans and Richard Tisei: What it is is too extreme,” the narrator says.

Tisei’s campaign immediately hit back.

Full story

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