Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

March 15, 2013

Louisiana: Dardenne Not Running Against Landrieu

Landrieu is a top GOP target in 2014. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a popular local GOP official, will not take on Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in 2014.

“I’m not going to run for the U.S. Senate,” he told Friday.

George C. Kennedy, Dardenne’s longtime strategist, confirmed the news.

Landrieu is a top GOP target in 2014. Her state has increasingly voted for Republicans in recent years, including for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Dardenne first publicly floated the idea of Senate run in an interview with CQ Roll Call earlier this month.

Other potential Republican candidates for Senate include Reps. John Fleming and Bill Cassidy, as well as former Rep. Jeff Landry.

New York: Recchia Meets With DCCC Officials to Plot Grimm Challenge

Israel met with a recruit this week to discuss his challenge to a New York Republican representative. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:26 p.m. | A trio of top-ranking Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee officials huddled with New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia on Thursday to plan a challenge to Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.

According to a senior national Democratic strategist, Recchia met in Washington with two fellow New Yorkers, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, as well as DCCC Recruitment Chairwoman Donna Edwards.

They discussed strategy and Recchia’s “path to victory” in New York’s 11th District, the source said. Recchia declared his candidacy in mid-February. Full story

CPAC: Romney Urges Republicans to Learn From His Mistakes

Romney addressed CPAC on Friday (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Two weeks after giving his first television interview since losing the presidential election, Mitt Romney returned to the spotlight again Friday to deliver his first major public speech.

Over the course of the 2012 campaign, Romney seemed more able to win over the heads — not hearts — of conservatives, yet he received a boisterous response from a crowd of a few thousand conservative activists in this hotel ballroom.

Romney urged attendees at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference “to learn from our mistakes and my mistakes” to help win back the White House and Senate.

“As someone who just lost the last election, I’m probably not in the best position to chart the course for the next one,” Romney said before offering advice anyway.

The former Massachusetts governor urged the Republican Party, which has undergone some soul-searching since its November losses, to look to the party’s 30 sitting governors for lessons on how to win elections and govern successfully. Romney name-checked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, neither of whom were invited to CPAC after receiving heat from conservatives recently.

Full story

CPAC: Santorum Unmoved By Portman Gay Marriage Reversal

Former Sen. Rick Santorum offered a steadfast defense of his position when questioned about Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s decision to support gay marriage.

In a room filled with social conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the failed 2012 presidential candidate said, “Just because someone changes their mind doesn’t change things.” He added that, in law, “bad facts make bad laws” and that some Republicans are confronting “very difficult facts” in their lives.

Santorum said the importance of traditional marriage is in using the institution to promote the “best platform to raise our children.”

If marriage were just about “two adults who love each other,” “then let anybody get married,” or “three or four people,” for that matter, Santorum said to loud applause.

Additionally, gay marriage opponent Maggie Gallagher responded to Portman’s stance in a release, “While I understand Sen. Portman’s love for his son, we can love each other without abandoning core principles like marriage and life. If Republican elites continue the process of attempting to get rid of social issues, we are going to go back to being the party of Gerald Ford, a permanent minority that can occasionally elect a President.”

Portman announced Friday that he had decided to support laws that would allow gays to marry after finding out two years ago that his son is gay.

Portman Announces Support for Gay Marriage

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman, a possible 2016 presidential contender, announced Friday that he now supports gay marriage rights — a “change of heart” he arrived at after his son Will confided that he was gay.

The Ohio Republican, who was vetted as a possible GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, revealed his position change in an interview with CNN and a newspaper opinion piece.

“My son came to Jane — my wife — and I, told us that he was gay and that it was not a choice,” Portman said in the interview, adding that the news led to a very personal process for the senator that included discussions with clergy. “During my career in the House and also the last couple years here in the Senate, you know, I’ve taken a position against gay marriage,” he said.

Portman also wrote an opinion piece in Friday’s Columbus Dispatch to expand on how his position has evolved, saying that he heard from his son two years ago. He acknowledged that younger people overwhelmingly support gay marriage. “In some respects, the issue has become more generational than partisan,” Portman wrote. Full story

March 14, 2013

Pennsylvania: Democrat Files to Run For Schwartz Seat

University of Pennsylvania medical professor Dr. Valeria A. Arkoosh filed a statement of candidacy to run in what will most likely be an open race for Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz’s 13th District seat.

Schwartz has all but announced her campaign to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, in 2014. Last month, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee replaced her as committee’s national finance chair.

Arkoosh was not immediately available for comment. But PoliticsPA, a Keystone State political blog, noted Arkoosh is a Schwartz ally and her husband is the congresswoman’s campaign treasurer.

Schwartz’s suburban Philadelphia district will likely attract several Democratic candidates once it officially becomes an open seat. Schwartz won re-election in 2012 by more than 37 points. Her successor would likely be determined in the Democratic primary.

Full story

Arizona: GOP Challenger to Sinema Kicks Off Campaign on Sunday

Sinema (right) will get a challenger this week, when an retired Air Force colonel announces a bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a freshman Democrat in one of Arizona’s most competitive districts, will get her first GOP challenger on Sunday.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers emailed supporters earlier this week announcing a St. Patrick’s Day campaign kickoff in Phoenix.

“She will become Arizona’s first Republican congresswoman ever elected,” the invitation read. “Climb aboard to become a part of Arizona history in the making!” Full story

Senate Conservatives Action Launches Radio Ad Linking Pryor to Obama

Senate Conservatives Action launched a 60-second radio spot Thursday linking Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., to President Barack Obama, who remains deeply popular in the Razorback State.

The conservative, GOP-aligned group’s spot, backed by $35,000 in the Little Rock and Fort Smith markets, will air through March 26. The ad opens with a man and woman watching TV together and disagreeing about what show to watch.

“You think it’s possible for a couple to agree 95 percent of the time?” the woman asks.

“Ninety-five percent of the time?” the man says, chuckling. “No way!”

“Well, Mark Pryor voted with Barack Obama 95 percent of the time,” the woman replies.

Full story

March 13, 2013

West Virginia: Snuffer Mulls Another Campaign for Rahall Seat

State Del. Rick Snuffer is considering a third campaign against Democratic Rep. Nick J. Rahall II.

“I’m very interested,” confirmed Snuffer, a Republican, in a phone interview with CQ Roll Call. “It’s a matter of what’s right for my family.”

If Snuffer runs again, it would mark a third rematch with Rahall. Rahall stomped Snuffer by a 30-point margin in 2004.

But Rahall’s margin of victory narrowed to 8 points when he faced Snuffer again last year. It was the congressman’s smallest winning margin since 1990. Full story

Shop Talk: Gingrey Puts Together Team for Likely Ga. Senate Bid


Gingrey might run for Senate in Georgia. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., has started to assemble a political team for his increasingly likely bid for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat.

CQ Roll Call has learned that if he runs, Gingrey’s team will very likely include respected Georgia operative Chip Lake as a general consultant, Sonny Scott of Rising Tide Media Group for media, and the Stoneridge Group for direct mail.

Republican Rep. Paul Broun is the only declared candidate in the race. CQ Roll Call rates this race as Likely Republican.

Full story

Shop Talk: Democrats Devine Mulvey Expand Firm

Democratic consultants Tad Devine, Julian Mulvey and Mark Longabaugh announced Wednesday the formation of a “media consulting partnership” named Devine Mulvey Longabaugh.

This signals an expansion of the Devine Mulvey firm, which the two Democrats founded in 2007. Longabaugh was previously with Wild Bunch Media, a firm he founded in 2006.

“I’m thrilled to join Tad and Julian,” Longabaugh said in a release. “They have a great practice and share my progressive values. I’ve admired their work from a distance over the last few cycles and look forward to combining our talents.” Full story

DCCC Trumpets Recruitment Strategy for ’14

Israel leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Bill Clark CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

Recruitment matters for House Democrats, who are already aggressively pursuing potential candidates in order to the expand the congressional playing field and put House control in play, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said Wednesday.

“We will win in 2014 in 2013,” he said in a briefing for reporters and groups allied with the party.

Israel ticked through a number of internal DCCC recruiting programs which he said would put his party on a strong footing for the mid-term elections. In 2014, the party must net 17 seats to take control of the House.

Among handful of potential candidates he floated: Gwen Graham, the daughter of former Florida governor and Sen. Bob Graham, in Florida’s 2nd District, currently held by two-term Republican Rep. Steve Southerland II; and Brendan Mullen, a 2012 nominee who fell short against now-freshman Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican, in Indiana’s 2nd District. Voters in both districts tend to lean Republican.

“We will make 2014 a referendum on the tea party and we will win that referendum by recruiting. deploying and fielding candidates who run as solutionists and problem solvers,” Israel said.

Full story

New Jersey: Poll Shows Booker Boosted After Lautenberg Retirement Announcement

Booker's position in the polls has improved.

A new poll shows Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s commanding lead in the 2014 primary in New Jersey has increased since Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg’s retirement announcement.

Half of the respondents said they would back Booker in a new Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind survey — a score that’s increased by 8 points since a similar January poll.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., another Democrat who has expressed interest in the Senate race, picked up 4 percent in the poll. Meanwhile, 7 percent supported Democratic Rep. Rush D. Holt, who has also floated his name as a contender. Thirty-two percent of respondents were undecided.

Full story

House Democrats Outraise GOP Counterparts by $1.3M in February

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee in February and ended the month with more money in the bank.

The DCCC took in $6.3 million in February to the NRCC’s $5 million haul. The DCCC had $7.6 million in cash on hand as of the end of last month, while the NRCC had only $4.4 million.

The NRCC had slightly less debt though: $10 million to the DCCC’s $10.9 million. The DCCC announced its fundraising totals earlier on Wednesday.

The DCCC also outraised the NRCC in January.

Kentucky: McConnell Wife Elaine Chao Stars in His Campaign Ad

Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, stars in a 30-second television spot released by the Kentucky Republican’s campaign.

In the spot set to air on Thursday, Chao pushes back against attack ads that have targeted her husband and references tweets from the liberal group Progress Kentucky about her Chinese ancestry.

“You’ve seen the ads attacking my husband. As Mitch McConnell’s wife, I’ve learned to expect them,” Chao says, with soft music in the background. “Now far-left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity. Even attacking Mitch’s patriotism, because he’s married to me. That’s how low some people will stoop.”

Full story

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