Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

April 9, 2013

Kentucky: McConnell Campaign Notified FBI About Secret Recording

McConnell will seek re-election. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:15 a.m. | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., re-election campaign says they are working with the FBI to take action against a secret recording taken at the campaign headquarters and published in Mother Jones on Tuesday.

The recording revealed a campaign strategy session during which McConnell and his campaign aides plotted to run against potential opponents — including actress and activist Ashley Judd, who decided against a bid last month.

“Senator McConnell’s campaign is working with the FBI and has notified the local U.S. Attorney in Louisville, per FBI request, about these recordings,” McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said in a statement. “Obviously a recording device of some kind was placed in Senator McConnell’s campaign office without consent. By whom and how that was accomplished will presumably be the subject of a criminal investigation.”

Updated 11:15 a.m.

“We’ve always said the Left would stop at nothing to attack Sen. McConnell, but Watergate-style tactics to bug campaign headquarters are above and beyond,” Benton added.

(See also in Roll Call: Goodbye, Ashley Judd? Why McConnell Might Be More Worried)

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By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 10:35 a.m.
Ky. Senate

EMILY’s List Adds Six to House GOP Target List

EMILY’s List will add six House GOP members to its “On Notice” status Tuesday, signaling the group will make each of them a priority target in 2014:

  • Joe Heck in Nevada’s 3rd District
  • John Kline in Minnesota’s 2nd District
  • Tom Latham in Iowa’s 3rd District
  • Tom Reed in New York’s 23rd District
  • Scott Tipton in Colorado’s 3rd District
  • David Valadao in California’s 21st District

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April 8, 2013

Illinois: Kelly a Shoo-In for Special Election

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats expect Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly to coast to Congress in Tuesday’s special election.

They’re confident in part because her GOP rival, Paul McKinley, is a convicted felon, according to numerous reports.

Also, the 2nd District, which includes Chicago’s south side and suburbs, traditionally elects Democrats by a wide margin. Former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. won re-election there with at least 80 percent of the vote in all but one of his elections. Jackson resigned a few days after the 2012 election in the face of a corruption investigation, spurring a special election to replace him earlier this year.

In February, Kelly won a contested Democratic primary for his seat, defeating former Rep. Debbie Halvorson. Much credit for Kelly’s win went to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His super PAC invested more than $2 million to boost Kelly in the primary because she supported gun control measures.

Polls close Tuesday at 7 p.m. Central time.

Arizona: Ex-ASU Quarterback Files to Challenge Sinema

Sinema has already attracted a couple of GOP challengers. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Arizona State University quarterback Andrew Walter filed a statement of candidacy last week to challenge freshman Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

The Arizona Capitol Times first posted the news on Monday that Walter had formed a campaign committee. He is a credit analyst at MidFirst Bank and an owner at an eponymous LLC, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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California: Panetta Fundraising for Farr as Son Eyes His Seaside Seat

Farr will seek re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will headline a June fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Sam Farr in the coastal California district that the former congressman’s son is now eyeing.

The June 8 Pacific Grove event will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Farr’s special-election victory to replace Panetta, who had resigned from the House to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Meanwhile, James Panetta, a Monterey County deputy district attorney, said recently he is considering running for his father’s former seat when Farr, 71, retires. Farr filed for re-election five months ago and is planning to serve at least one more term.

(See also in Roll Call: Many Democrats Size Up Increasingly Tempting House Seats in California)

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Pennsylvania: Schwartz Officially Enters Race for Governor

Schwartz will run for governor in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, D-Pa., has officially entered the race for governor, filing paperwork Monday to run against GOP Gov. Tom Corbett.

If Schwartz wins a contested Democratic primary and topples Corbett later in 2014, the five-term congresswoman would be the Keystone State’s first female governor.

“I’m running to be governor, not the ‘first woman’ governor,” Schwartz told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “But the fact that I am the only woman in the congressional delegation and in a senior policymaking role means people know I can beat the odds. I have brought a different perspective. … It does change the dynamic.”

(Which other members of Congress are running for another office or retiring in 2014? See Roll Call’s Casualty List.) Full story

Pennsylvania: Democrats Continue to Line Up for Schwartz Seat

It’s quickly getting crowded in the Democratic primary to replace Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz — and she hasn’t even officially announced her campaign for governor yet.

But state Rep. Brendan Boyle announced his candidacy for her House seat on Monday, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

He joins at least two other Democrats already running for the 13th District in suburban Philadelphia: Valerie A. Arkoosh, a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and state Sen. Daylin Leach previously announced their campaigns. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 12:16 p.m.
Open Seat, Pa.-13

Iowa: Democrat to Challenge Steve King

King will attract a Democratic challenger soon. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jim Mowrer, a special assistant to the undersecretary of the Army, is all but certain to run for the seat held by GOP Rep. Steve King, according to a source close to his thinking.

Mowrer has met with staff at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and, per the source, will run regardless of whether King seeks the open Senate seat or re-election to the 4th District.

Democrats competed fiercely for the 4th District in 2012, but King won by a resounding 8 points. But an open-seat race would likely make it easier for Democrats to pick up the seat.

Full story

April 5, 2013

Rand Paul Gets Presidential Profile Treatment From CBN

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Host David Brody explained at the outset of his Christian Broadcasting Network show that he doesn’t usually spend an entire half-hour on a single subject, but that Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul merited a closer look  — and that’s exactly what Paul got.

“The Special Rand Paul Edition of The Brody File,” as Brody described it, has the look and feel of the kind of profiles that are given to serious presidential candidates — including questions about Paul’s favorite bands, an interview with his wife, Kelly, and b-roll of the couple bird-watching near their Kentucky home.

The topics centered on Paul’s religious faith as well as his plans for a possible White House bid in 2016. Paul said he hasn’t yet decided whether to run for president, but he reaffirmed his desire to still be in politics three years from now.

“I think I’m in a position to be part of the solution to help the country grow again and to find its way. I do want to be part of that,” Paul said. “We don’t have an answer yet on whether that means I’ll do it still as a senator for Kentucky or whether it might be running for president. I haven’t sorted that out yet.” Full story

New Hampshire: Local Republicans Skeptical on Scott Brown

Brown did not rule out running for Senate in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:14 p.m. | National Republicans are encouraged by former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown’s interest in the New Hampshire Senate race.

But Granite State Republicans are surprised and, in some cases, privately skeptical about him challenging Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2014.

“It was a big surprise to me,” former state GOP Chairman Jack Kimball said. “I saw the article. I read it. It was the last thing on my mind with Scott Brown being a Massachusetts resident.”

“He wasn’t even on the radar,” Kimball added, echoing comments from multiple conversations with Granite State GOP strategists.

(See also in Roll Call: New Hampshire: Democrats Use Brown to Fundraise)

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New Hampshire: Democrats Use Brown to Fundraise

Brown did not rule out a comeback bid in New Hampshire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Regardless of whether former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., actually runs for Senate in New Hampshire, local Democrats are capitalizing on his recent stated interest in the race.

Both Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and the New Hampshire Democratic Party are using the prospect of a Brown bid for Senate in the Granite State to try to fundraise.

“This is serious: Brown’s campaign spent $40 million in 2012,” a Shaheen email stated. “Most of that went to lie-filled attack ads. He’ll try the same thing against Jeanne — and with Wall Street bankers Karl Rove and the Tea Party Super PACs behind him, he could raise even more.” Full story

Kentucky: Bourbon and a Ballot?

When many Kentucky voters head to the polls for next year’s Senate primary and general elections, they’ll for the first time be able to make their next stop a local watering hole or liquor store.

On Thursday, Democratic Gov. Steven L. Beshear signed a package of liquor law changes that included a repeal of the antebellum-era prohibition of alcohol sales while polling places are open on Election Day in Kentucky.

“My administration, working cooperatively with the General Assembly, is taking an important step toward improving the business structure of alcohol sales and licensing in Kentucky. Not since the days of Prohibition has Kentucky undertaken such a comprehensive rewriting and modernization of our laws governing alcohol,” Beshear said in a statement.

Full story

April 4, 2013

Pennsylvania: Fitzpatrick Gets Democratic Challenger

Democrat Kevin Strouse, a former Army Ranger, announced on Thursday that he will challenge GOP Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 8th District.

The district, which almost evenly split its vote in the 2012 presidential contest, is one of the Democrats’ best pickup opportunities. Democrats need to net 17 seats in 2014 to win back the House, and they’ll likely need districts like this one in suburban Philadelphia to get there.

Full story

Louisiana: Fleming Opts Out of Senate Race

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. John Fleming announced  Thursday he would not join the Louisiana Senate race, saying his entrance into the contest could thwart a GOP pickup of the Democratic-held seat.

Fleming said he decided to opt out of the race after fellow Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy announced Wednesday that he would be challenging vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

“For me to enter the race now would risk a contest between two experienced Republican Congressmen, potentially offering Senator Landrieu a path back to Washington,” Fleming said in a statement. “I can’t let that happen.”

Fleming’s announcement is a shift from his tune earlier in the week, when he said “I haven’t ruled anything out.” Full story

NRSC to GOP Consultants: Got Any Better Ideas?

Want a lucrative consulting contract from the National Republican Senatorial Committee or one of their top candidates this cycle? First, a few questions.

After tensions between GOP officials and consultants bubbled over in 2012, top NRSC aides are in the process of revamping their relationship with the hired hands who might work with their spending arm and candidates this cycle.

On Tuesday, NRSC Political Director Ward Baker sent the following memo to more than 250 GOP consultants and vendors:

TO: Prospective Vendors

FROM: Ward Baker

DATE: April 2, 2013

RE: NRSC IE Program Revitalization

Victory in 2014

The NRSC is full steam ahead prepping and planning for victory in 2014 to take back the majority in the U.S. Senate. Part of that preparation is revitalizing and reimagining the IE program to ensure wins in crucial battleground states. We believe this can be accomplished through new ideas and innovative strategies from not only the new leadership at the NRSC, but from you as well.

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