Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 1, 2014

August 7, 2012

Nevada: Harry Reid to Retire … in 2016?

Nevada: Harry Reid to Retire ... in 2016?

A Washington Post columnist wrote that Sen. Harry Reid (left) won't run for another term in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 4:42 pm | Did Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank accidentally announce Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s retirement in an appositive clause buried nine paragraphs down in his column today?

Maybe he was writing what everyone else has been thinking, but in a piece about Reid’s ongoing spat with Mitt Romney over taxes, Milbank wrote in authoritative terms that the Nevada Democrat would not seek re-election in 2016.

“Reid, who won reelection in 2010 and doesn’t plan to run for office again, is happy to absorb blows in return — and they have been ferocious,” Milbank wrote. Full story

RNC Spends $17 Million on TV Since Mid-July

RNC Spends $17 Million on TV Since Mid July

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican National Committee over the weekend reported spending another $3.8 million on independent expenditure television advertising to bolster Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, bringing its total to more than $17 million in less than a month.

Though hardly eyebrow raising compared with the investments of various pro-Romney and Republican-leaning super PACs, it is notable that the RNC chose to go on the air in July with significant buys to help counter President Barack Obama’s swing-state tsunami of television spots. The RNC tends to focus it resources on state party building and voter-turnout operations while leaving the air-war to the GOP nominee’s campaign.

Full story

August 6, 2012

Virginia: Paul Hirschbiel Launches First TV Ad for 2nd District

Businessman Paul Hirschbiel launched the first television ad of his campaign for Virginia’s 2nd district.

The ad begins airing Tuesday and is designed to introduce the Virginia Beach Democrat, whose first bid for public office is a challenge to freshman GOP Rep. Scott Rigell. The spot highlights Hirschbiel’s work in the community, specifically founding early childhood education programs in the Hampton Roads area. Full story

Mitt Romney, RNC Raise $101 Million in July

Mitt Romney, RNC Raise $101 Million in July

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign announced this morning that it raised $101.3 million in July and closed the month with $185.9 million in cash on hand.

Update 10:45 a.m. | The figures include money raised and banked by the Republican National Committee and Romney Victory Inc., a joint fundraising committee made up of Romney for President, the RNC, the state Republican parties of Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Full story

August 3, 2012

Florida: John Mica Maintains Big Cash Advantage Over Sandy Adams

Florida: John Mica Maintains Big Cash Advantage Over Sandy Adams

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In the nasty Member-vs.-Member GOP primary north of Orlando, 10-term Rep. John Mica maintained a sizable cash-on-hand lead over freshman Rep. Sandy Adams.

According to Federal Election Commission reports filed on Thursday, Mica ended July 25 with $960,000 to Adams’ $453,000. In the pre-primary filing period from July 1-25, Mica raised more than twice as much as Adams, but spent $431,000. Adams spent only $78,000 during that period. The majority of Mica’s expenditures were for media advertising.

Adams received July donations from the campaign accounts of GOP Reps. Austin Scott (Ga.) and Geoff Davis (Ky.), who has since resigned his seat, along with $2,000 from the political action committee affiliated with Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman (Ind.).

Adams also received $5,000 from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s PAC.

During the pre-primary period, Mica received $1,000 from the PAC affiliated with GOP Rep. Tim Murphy (Pa.).

Mica has an edge in the Aug. 14 primary, but GOP insiders are not counting Adams out.

Ranking the Potential GOP Convention Speakers

Ranking the Potential GOP Convention Speakers

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (center) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (right) both have a chance to be a prime-time speaker during the upcoming Republican National Convention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican National Convention kicks off in Tampa, Fla., in less than a month, and it’s time to answer the really big question: Who will presumptive nominee Mitt Romney choose to showcase in prime time with a coveted keynote speaking slot?

Using CQ Weekly’s 2008 Republican Convention Guide, I’ve identified at least 15 openings, including those reserved for the nominees for president and vice president. But we’ll round up to a “top 20” and try to determine who might help Romney draw a television audience, excite the Republican base, appeal to independents and soft Democrats and — most importantly — prime the pump for his candidacy and his message.

Full story

Barack Obama, Mitt Romney Spar Over Jobs, Taxes

Barack Obama, Mitt Romney Spar Over Jobs, Taxes

President Barack Obama was greeted by a crowd Thursday at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Va., as he delivered a speech on the middle class and the economy. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney sparred today over jobs and taxes — two words that are likely to dominate the remaining three months of the presidential campaign.

After yet another middling unemployment report, Obama appeared with 13 middle-class taxpayers at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, attempting to put a positive spin on the July unemployment numbers. The rate ticked up to 8.3 percent despite the creation of 163,000 new job, which was better than analysts expected. Obama noted that private businesses increased their payrolls by 172,000 jobs and 4.5 million over the past 29 months.

But, he said, “we’ve still got too many folks out there looking for work. … We knew when I started in this job that this was going to take some time.” However, White House projections from before the stimulus package passed suggested unemployment would be much lower by now, a stubborn fact that Romney has repeatedly used to attack the president.

“His team said that by now we’d have unemployment of 5.5 percent,” Romney said at a campaign appearance in Las Vegas where he accused the president of a failure of leadership and failed policies. Romney’s campaign called the unemployment report a “hammer blow” to families looking for work.

Obama, meanwhile, criticized House Republicans for heading home for the August break with middle-class tax breaks remaining in limbo.

The president said that middle-class taxpayers and small businesses should have “a guarantee that their taxes will not go up next year” and said the Senate’s bill passed last week would do that for 98 percent of households and 97 percent of small businesses. The House bill, he said, amounted to a tax hike for 25 million families even as it extended what would amount to $1 trillion in tax breaks over a decade on incomes of more than $250,000, he said.

“They want to give millionaires, billionaires, folks like me, tax cuts … even if middle-class families have to pick up the tab,” Obama said.

Romney, meanwhile, said it would be a terrible idea to raise taxes given the economy.

Neither party, however, has proposed eliminating all of the tax increases scheduled to take effect next year. Payroll taxes are scheduled to go up $120 billion next year, and neither party’s bill extends all of an assortment of other tax cuts that are set to expire as well. Romney this week also has endorsed  allowing a tax break for wind power to expire; Obama has proposed extending it.

Obama repeated his criticism of Romney’s tax plans, without naming Romney. He noted the Tax Policy Center study that found Romney’s plans would result in a net tax hike of $2,000 for families with children while cutting taxes for the top 5 percent of taxpayers.

Fact-checker PolitiFact labeled the charge “mostly true” today.

Romney’s campaign has dismissed the study as a “joke” but has not put out an analysis of its own or details of which taxpayers would pay more and which would pay less.

Romney also reiterated that he will not release more of his tax returns but denied charges that he has ever had a year in which he did not pay taxes.

West Virginia: Nick Rahall Way Up in Democratic Poll

West Virginia: Nick Rahall Way Up in Democratic Poll

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) led his Republican challenger, state Del. Rick Snuffer, by 28 points in a new Democratic poll.

In a horse-race matchup, Rahall, seeking his 19th term in the House, pulled 62 percent to Snuffer’s 34 percent. According to a polling memo released by Democratic firm Anzalone Liszt Research, which conducted the survey, ”Rahall leads every gender, age, and geographic subgroup — including men and women, Independents, and in the Charleston/Huntingdon and the Bluefield/Beckley media markets.”

The poll found 64 percent of likely voters in the 3rd district had a favorable view of Rahall, while 30 percent had an unfavorable view of him. Snuffer’s favorable/unfavorable numbers were not released.

Full story

August 2, 2012

House Majority PAC Makes More TV Reservations

The House Majority PAC, a super PAC created to support Democrats in House races, announced today that it has made $2.5 million more in television purchases for the fall campaign.

The advertising targets Republican incumbents and bolsters Democratic candidates. GOP Members in the markets include: Reps. Mary Bono Mack (Calif.), Brian Bilbray (Calif.) and Francisco “Quico” Canseco (Texas).

  • Palm Springs, Calif.: $285,000
  • Rochester, N.Y: $255,000
  • San Antonio: $415,00
  • San Diego: $1.2 million
  • Syracuse, N.Y.: $175,000

These buys are in addition to a previous announcement of $16 million in reservations.

Tennessee: Chuck Fleischmann Wins Primary

Tennessee: Chuck Fleischmann Wins Primary

CQ Roll Call File Photo

Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann won his contested primary tonight, dispatching dairy magnate Scottie Mayfield and 25-year-old Weston Wamp.

With 100 percent of precincts in the 3rd district reporting, Fleischmann got 39.1 percent to Mayfield’s 31 percent and Wamp’s 28.7 percent, according to the Associated Press.

The race presented some significant challenges for Fleischmann, a freshman. A lot of the redrawn seat was new turf to him, and both his opponents started with names that were familiar to voters. Mayfield was the longtime spokesman and CEO of a popular milk and ice cream company. Wamp is the son of former Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), Fleischmann’s predecessor.

Mitt Romney’s Camp Dismisses Tax Analysis, Dings Jim Messina

Mitt Romneys Camp Dismisses Tax Analysis, Dings Jim Messina

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mitt Romney’s campaign ripped a tax analysis that found his proposals would raise taxes on the middle class as “a joke” on a conference call with reporters today, while also suggesting that President Barack Obama’s campaign chief broke the law while he was a White House aide.

Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom dismissed the study by the Tax Policy Center, questioning its authorship and its methodology. But the campaign didn’t release new details of Romney’s plan to defend against the analysis, suggesting instead that the study failed to properly take into account the dynamic effects on the economy from lowering tax rates. A campaign aide said on the call that Romney’s tax proposal is a set of “parameters” that would guide the writing of a tax reform bill in the future, instead of a fully fleshed out plan. Full story

California: GOP Poll Finds 9th District Race a Dead Heat

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) and his Republican challenger, Ricky Gill, are in a dead heat in the 9th district, according to a poll conducted for Gill and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Full story

August 1, 2012

Michigan: Rick Santorum Endorses Pete Hoekstra in Senate Race

Michigan: Rick Santorum Endorses Pete Hoekstra in Senate Race

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) on Wednesday backed former Rep. Pete Hoekstra in his bid against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D).

Santorum’s endorsement comes a few days before Michigan’s Republican Senate primary, which is set for Tuesday. Hoekstra’s main competition in that race is charter schools executive Clark Durant. Republicans expect Hoekstra to win the nomination, but Durant has garnered endorsements from several nationally recognized conservatives, including Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

“It is clear that the people of Michigan have tremendous choices in the Republican primary that [would all] be superior to Debbie Stabenow, but there is only one candidate with a proven track record of conservative leadership,” Santorum said. “That is Congressman Pete Hoekstra.”

The winner of the GOP primary has a tough battle ahead. Roll Call rates this Senate race as Likely Democratic.

California: Jerry McNerney Leads Ricky Gill by 16 Points in Own Poll

California: Jerry McNerney Leads Ricky Gill by 16 Points in Own Poll

A poll conducted for Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney found him comfortably ahead of his GOP challenger in his California district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A poll conducted for Rep. Jerry McNerney found the Democrat ahead of his Republican challenger, Ricky Gill, 49 percent to 33 percent.

McNerney led Gill by 24 points among “decline to state” voters, according to the polling memo from Lake Research Partners. The firm conducted the poll of 504 likely voters from July 8-11, and it had a 4.4-point margin of error. Its sample included 45 percent Democrats, 38 percent Republicans and 18 percent DTS or other voters.

This is one of a number of competitive races in California this cycle. Roll Call rates it as Leans Democratic.

Rhode Island: David Cicilline Goes Up With First TV Ad

Rep. David Cicilline (D) went on the air with a positive TV ad that stresses his office’s work in constituent services.

The buy is at least five figures and will be on broadcast television during the Olympics.

Full story

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