Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 13, 2015

December 10, 2012

NRCC Names Ryan Chairman of Annual Fundraising Dinner

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Monday that Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin will chair its annual fundraising dinner in March.

Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee and the House Budget Committee chairman, will headline the dinner, which brought in more than $12 million this year. It’s the largest annual fundraiser for House Republicans.

Co-chairing the event will be GOP Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, as well as Rep.-elect Roger Williams of Texas, a former top fundraiser for President George W. Bush.

“This powerhouse team, lead by Paul Ryan, will provide the leadership needed to make this annual fundraising dinner a huge success,” incoming NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said in a statement. “I’m proud to have Diane, Mike and Roger as co-chairs on the very important mission to secure funds to grow the Republican majority in 2014.”

December 8, 2012

Louisiana: Charles Boustany Jr. Cruises to Runoff Win Over Jeff Landry

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:30 p.m. | Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. defeated freshman Rep. Jeff Landry in Saturday’s GOP member-vs.-member runoff in the bayou forced by redistricting. The four-term lawmaker’s victory marks the last House race of 2012 to be decided.

Boustany had 61 percent to Landry’s 39 percent, with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

A GOP-controlled redistricting process placed both members into the same southern Louisiana 3rd District. But Boustany always had the edge: The new district was composed of about three-quarters of his old turf. That meant Landry had to both introduce himself to the majority of voters and convince them that he was a better choice than Boustany. Full story

December 7, 2012

Haley Will Not Run for Senate in 2014

South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley will not be a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat this cycle. “The governor will not run for the Senate in 2014,” spokesman Rob Godfrey told CQ Roll Call. “She absolutely loves the job she has.”

Sen. Jim DeMint announced Thursday that he would resign his seat in January, leaving Haley to pick a replacement to will serve through the 113th Congress. A special election will be held in November 2014 to fill the remainder of DeMint’s term, which ends in January 2017.

Palmetto State GOP operatives had floated the idea the first-term chief executive might run for the seat after appointing a placeholder candidate who would not run in the special.

The conventional wisdom among GOP operatives in the state remains that the top contender for the seat is conservative freshman Rep. Tim Scott.

Pennsylvania: Schwartz for Governor?

It's no secret Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz has statewide ambitions. She could run for governor in 2014 or for Senate in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz made waves Friday morning by picking up a new finance director with statewide experience. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Democratic lawmaker’s hire of Aubrey Montgomery fuels speculation she’s looking at running for governor of Pennsylvania in 2014.

Schwartz has long been discussed as a potential statewide candidate, although sources say she’s eyeing a challenge to Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., in 2016. She’s ascended the House leadership ladder, taking a prominent role as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s recruitment chairwoman last cycle.

But the Congresswoman’s top aide did nothing to tamp down the gubernatorial speculation when asked about Schwartz’s political future.

Full story

South Carolina: Haley to Move ‘Quickly’ on Appointing DeMint Replacement

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley will “quickly” appoint someone to fill the seat of resigning Sen. Jim DeMint, she said Friday morning.

“Appointing a new member of the U.S. Senate is a solemn duty, and I take this responsibility with utmost seriousness,” Haley said in a statement. “I will make this decision in a manner that is thoughtful and dignified, but also quickly.”

The first-term governor knocked down the possibility that she might appoint herself and said she would appoint a conservative. Full story

NRSC Funneled Money to Missouri GOP That Supported Akin

Updated 11:55 a.m. | In the last days of the 2012 campaign, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent $760,000 to the Missouri Republican Party, which appears to have used the money to run TV ads for Rep. Todd Akin’s ill-fated Senate campaign.

By not transferring the money until the first two days of November, people could only speculate as to the source of the cash infusion until after casting their ballots. Democrats would no doubt have targeted Republicans in other battleground states with ads and statements that the GOP was effectively backing Akin, despite indications to the contrary by the group’s chairman, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Democrats were quick to pounce on the news Friday morning after a report by the Springfield News-Leader outlining the apparent connection between the $760,000 transfer and an ad buy by the Missouri GOP for practically the same amount in support of Akin.

Full story

December 6, 2012

In Private Meeting, RNC, GOP Digital Strategists Look to Improve

Several dozen Republican digital strategists met at the Capitol Hill Club on Thursday to hear what worked and what didn’t from the digital heads of the Mitt Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.

According to three sources in the room, the two-hour meeting was a review of the key metrics from the campaign and a discussion about how the party can improve its digital strategies and prepare for 2016. It is widely acknowledged that President Barack Obama’s re-election victory was built in part on a vastly superior digital effort.

The “entire GOP digital world” was there, one source said, plus representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter. The meeting was led by Romney Digital Director Zac Moffatt, RNC Digital Director Tyler Brown and RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 5:41 p.m.

South Carolina: Who Will Haley Appoint to the Senate?

Scott is among the contenders in the mix to be appointed to the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The political question of the hour has become: Who will South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki R. Haley appoint to fill the open Senate seat held by resigning Sen. Jim DeMint?

There is a bevy of ambitious Republicans in the state, but a few names float to the top of the list. Conservative freshman Rep. Tim Scott, a favorite of the grass roots, is seen as a top contender. A number of GOP insiders in the state also mentioned Henry McMaster, the former state attorney general who ran against Haley in the 2010 gubernatorial primary but gave his strong support to her in the GOP runoff, campaigning for her around the state. Full story

DeMint Resigning to Head Heritage Foundation

Sen. Jim DeMint will resign from the Senate to take over a conservative think tank. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

UPDATED 10:53 a.m. | Sen. Jim DeMint will resign from the Senate early next month to take the helm of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday morning.

The South Carolina Republican, who was first elected to the Senate in 2004, has been a driving force among the conservative Republican Party base and the tea party movement. And he has often been a thorn in the side of Senate GOP leadership by supporting conservative primary candidates in 2010 and 2012 who later had trouble winning general elections.

“I’m leaving the Senate now, but I’m not leaving the fight,” DeMint said in a statement. “I’ve decided to join The Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas. No organization is better equipped to lead this fight and I believe my experience in public office as well as in the private sector as a business owner will help Heritage become even more effective in the years to come.”

The move came as a surprise on Capitol Hill, where the senator was in line to take over as ranking member of the Commerce, Committee next year, with aides already raising questions about how well he would work with Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

South Carolina law allows the governor, Republican Nikki R. Haley, to make an appointment to fill DeMint’s unexpired term, in a state that would be safe Republican territory either way.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal announcing the move, DeMint, who had already said he would not seek another Senate term, indicated he still had work to do politically, but thought that the timing was right.

“This really gets my blood going again thinking about the possibilities. This is the time to elevate the conservative cause,” he said.

“Jim DeMint has shown that principled conservatism remains a winning political philosophy. His passion for rigorous research, his dedication to the principles of our nation’s founding, and his ability to translate policy ideas into action make him an ideal choice to lead Heritage to even greater success,” Heritage Chairman of the Board Thomas A. Saunders told employees this morning, according to the organization.

Fellow conservative GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania was among the first offer words of encouragement.

“Jim is not just a colleague; he is a friend and a mentor, and his departure will be a tremendous loss for the U.S. Senate and for the conservative movement. In eight years, he has personally led the effort to change the composition of the Senate for the better, and provided consistent and principled leadership in the fight for liberty and limited government. He will be missed,” the former Club for Growth president said in a statement. “I’m confident he will continue to play an important role in the ongoing public debate about the future of this country, and I wish him the best in his new position.”

December 5, 2012

Illinois: Special Election Candidate Charged With Trying to Bring Gun on Plane

State Sen. Donne Trotter, a Democratic candidate in the 2nd District special election, has been charged with trying to bring a weapon onto a plane at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Trotter must appear in bond court Thursday morning to answer the Class 4 felony charge that carries from one to three years in prison, according to Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

A Transportation Security Administration agent found an unloaded gun with bullets in Trotter’s garment bag Wednesday morning while he was attempting to travel to Washington, D.C., according to local reports. He allegedly told the agent that he forgot to remove the weapon after his shift at a security job.

A favorite of local Democrats, Trotter was seen as having the inside track to win his party’s endorsement for the Feb. 26 primary. He’s a longtime state lawmaker, serving for more than 20 years.

Full story

Shop Talk: Jesmer Joins Washington Public Affairs Firm

Jesmer has served as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the past two election cycles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Rob Jesmer is leaving the NRSC to join FP1 Strategies, a Washington-based public affairs firm.

For the past two cycles, Jesmer has been in that post under its outgoing chairman, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. It was widely expected that he would not sign up for another cycle at the committee. The new NRSC chairman, Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, has been actively searching for executive director candidates.

At FP1, Jesmer willl hold the title of partner. The firm’s other partners are Danny Diaz, Jon Downs and Terry Nelson.

Jesmer is originally from St. Paul, Minn. He has previously worked on the House side on the Hill; on the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; at the Republican National Committee and at the National Republican Congressional Committee.

New Mexico: Weh Considering 2014 Senate Bid

Udall is up for re-election in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New Mexico business executive Allen Weh is considering a challenge to Democratic Sen. Tom Udall in 2014.

The former New Mexico Republican Party chairman and 2010 gubernatorial candidate said in a telephone interview with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday that he expects to decide by spring of next year.

“As anybody should do when considering a move like this, you do your homework … and gather enough information to make a sound decision,” Weh said. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 11:12 a.m.
N.M. Senate

December 4, 2012

Shop Talk: NRCC’s Brock McCleary Joins Pennsylvania Firm

Brock McCleary is leaving the National Republican Congressional Committee and headed to his home state of Pennsylvania.

The outgoing polling director/deputy political director will begin work in January for the Harrisburg, Pa., public affairs firm Long Nyquist & Associates.

“Brock McCleary is one of the brightest political minds in the nation. For the past two election cycles, we have been impressed with his innovative ideas, use of new technology and his polling expertise,” the firm’s owners, Mike Long and Todd Nyquist, wrote in a press release.

McCleary will help with the firm’s clients within the Pennsylvania delegation, and he will also focus on building a national portfolio of political and public affairs clients.

After two cycles at the NRCC and a few other Beltway gigs, McCleary will live in his wife’s hometown of York, Pa.

Here is the other latest news from within the political industry.

Colorado: State Party Chairmen React to Bennet DSCC Announcement

Sen. Michael Bennet is the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats reacted favorably Tuesday to news that Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado will lead the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2014 cycle. But Republicans were quick to criticize the DSCC’s new chairman.

“Unfortunately, Sen. Bennet’s decision to head the DSCC proves that his priorities now lie outside of Colorado and with the special interests of Washington, D.C.,” Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call wrote in a statement. “Sen. Bennet’s new role as head of the DSCC misplaces his priorities and obligations to the people of Colorado,” he added. Call also noted that Bennet’s 2010 campaign was focused on distancing himself from the image of a Washington insider.

Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio issued a crowing statement on Bennet’s new job.

“As Tea Party groups prepare to take over Senate seats in 2014, the American people will discover what Coloradans already know — voices for mainstream values can win out over shrill partisanship,” Palacio wrote. Like Call’s statement, the Palacio comment returns to  2010 campaign themes — in Bennet’s race, the Democrats used terms such as “extreme” in television advertisements to successfully tie his opponent to the tea party.

Sen. Bennet Named DSCC Chairman

Bennet will be the new chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update, 1:30 p.m. | Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet will chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2014 cycle, as Democrats look to hold their newly expanded majority.

“Michael is one of the brightest rising stars in the Democratic Party, and he is exactly the right person to lead our efforts over the next two years,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement Tuesday. “Not only does Michael know how to win tough races, he has the trust and loyalty of the entire Democratic caucus behind him.”

Bennet, who turned down the job two years ago, was the top choice, and Reid was expected to inform Senate Democrats of the decision Tuesday during the party’s weekly lunch. Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...