Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 2, 2014

June 19, 2012

New York: Bill Clinton Robocalls for Sean Patrick Maloney

It’s the New York Times versus former President Bill Clinton in the race to take on freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth (R) in the Empire State’s 18th district.

Robocalls with Clinton’s voice begin going out tonight to Democratic primary voters on behalf of attorney Sean Patrick Maloney, a former Clinton aide who is running for the Democratic nomination in the district.

On Saturday, the New York Times endorsed Maloney’s top opponent, physician Richard Becker. There are three other candidates on the Democratic ballot. The winner will take on Hayworth, who is vulnerable in a redrawn district that would have voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Full story

Nebraska: Deb Fischer Has Wide Lead Over Bob Kerrey in Internal GOP Poll

Nebraska state Sen. Deb Fischer’s (R) campaign released an internal poll today that showed her ahead of former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) by a large margin in the race to replace retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D).

The poll showed Fischer at 58 percent while Kerrey garnered 33 percent.

A source from the Kerrey campaign told Roll Call that other private polling shows a much tighter race, and the source stressed that Fischer is widely unknown in the state.

Full story

Report: Mitch Daniels to Become President … of Purdue University

Report: Mitch Daniels to Become President ... of Purdue University

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Is it finally time to count Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) out of the veepstakes?

The Indianapolis Star confirmed the popular outgoing governor will become the next president of Purdue University.

Early this year, Republicans often mentioned Daniels as a potential running mate for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. But in recent interviews, Daniels never seemed too jazzed about the possibility of coming back to Washington, D.C., to serve in his administration. Full story

North Dakota: DSCC Invests More Ad Time in Heidi Heitkamp

National Democrats upped the ante in the North Dakota Senate race with a second ad buy to boost their nominee, former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp.

This week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee placed another $86,000 statewide ad buy through their independent expenditure arm. The 30-second spot, which runs from today to July 2, blasts Heitkamp’s opponent, freshman Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.).

Full story

Arizona: Martha McSally Aide Resigns

An aide to Martha McSally, the presumptive GOP nominee in Arizona’s 2nd district, has resigned from the campaign.

McSally’s communications director, Sam Stone, stepped down after he reportedly approached an aide to the campaign of Democrat Ron Barber and offered advice on how to beat Republican Jesse Kelly in the special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D).

“Members of my campaign team are representatives of who I am, what I stand for and why I am running for Congress,” McSally said in a statement. “Because of that, my communications director, Sam Stone, has resigned his position with the campaign effective immediately.”

Full story

DCCC Outraises NRCC in May

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee by $680,000 in May.

The DCCC raised $6.68 million last month and had $27.5 million in cash on hand. The NRCC raised $6 million in May and reported $33.8 million in cash on hand.

The official fundraising reports of both committees are due to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.

In April, the NRCC outraised the DCCC.

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Makes $3 Million Ad Buy

Missouri: Claire McCaskill Makes $3 Million Ad Buy

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), facing a tough election in November, has placed a $3 million ad buy on statewide broadcast television for the final weeks of her campaign.

Roll Call has learned that McCaskill made the considerable reservation early in the cycle to lock in discounted rates and snag the best placements two months before her Republican opponent is chosen by voters.

At the end of March, McCaskill had more than $6 million in cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The Senator’s early buy is a way for her to leverage the campaign’s considerable bankroll into a more potent position on TV than she would be able to get later in the election cycle. Full story

June 18, 2012

Three Top West Virginia Democrats to Skip Convention

Three Top West Virginia Democrats to Skip Convention

Sen. Joe Manchin won't be attending the Democratic National Convention later this summer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Three high-profile Democrats from West Virginia are not planning to attend the Democratic National Convention in September.

Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Nick Rahall and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin have opted not to go to the convention in Charlotte, according to a West Virginia Democratic Party press release.

President Barack Obama is not popular in the state, and in 2010, Manchin ran a TV ad openly attacking the administration on cap-and-trade. Manchin, who is on the ballot again in November and does not face a difficult race, had already said this spring he wasn’t sure he would vote for Obama’s re-election.

In the state’s May 8 Democratic presidential primary, a federal inmate took more than 40 percent of the vote and won 10 counties over the president. In the 2008 Democratic primary, Obama lost to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton by a 40-point margin in West Virginia.

The state’s other Democratic federal elected official, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, does plan to attend the convention.

Montana: Democrats to Launch TV Ad Hitting Denny Rehberg

The Montana Democratic Party will begin running a television ad on Tuesday accusing Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) of protecting Wall Street’s interests over Montana’s.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee directed funds to the state party, which paid $400,000 to air the spot from Tuesday to July 9.

Full story

Nevada: Dean Heller Launches First TV Ad

There has been a flurry of activity on the Nevada airwaves in recent weeks, with the presidential campaigns, outside groups and now both Senate campaigns on the airwaves.

Sen. Dean Heller (R) launched the first TV ad of his bid for a full Senate term on Sunday. It’s a positive spot that urges the Senate to pass a budget, and Heller closes the ad by saying: “It’s time Washington delivered on something.” The campaign has so far placed about $160,000 to air the ad statewide on broadcast and cable for the next 10 days, with further placement possible.

Full story

Maine: Angus King Way Up in New Poll

Former Maine Gov. Angus King (I) topped a Pine Tree State Senate horserace matchup in a new poll released today.

In a survey of likely voters, King received 50 percent, GOP nominee Charlie Summers got 23 percent and Democratic nominee Cynthia Dill picked up just 9 percent. Seventeen percent of those polled didn’t know or were undecided.

King, elected to his first of two consecutive terms as governor in 1994, is highly regarded. A whopping 60 percent had a favorable impression of him while 21 percent had an unfavorable impression of him. Thirteen percent of those polled were undecided, and only 5 percent said they had never heard of him.

Full story

North Dakota: New Heidi Heitkamp Spot Tackles Health Care

Just days before the Supreme Court is expected to make a highly anticipated ruling on the health care law, former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) took on the controversial issue in a new television advertisement.

Heitkamp, who faces freshman Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) this November, invokes her personal experience beating breast cancer 12 years ago in the 30-second spot.

“When you live through that, political attack ads seem silly,” she says in her straight-to-camera appeal. “I would never vote to take away a senior’s health care or limit anyone’s care. There’s good and bad in the health care law, and it needs to be fixed. But Rick Berg voted to go back to letting insurance companies deny coverage to kids or for pre-existing conditions.”

The advertisement is notable because Democratic candidates running in Republican states typically avoid discussing the health care law altogether — let alone pay for airtime promoting it. Additionally, Republicans have criticized Heitkamp for championing the legislation a couple of years ago.

But the spot also gives hints at how Democrats will discuss the controversial law during 2012 campaign in wake of the high court’s upcoming decision. A top Senate Democratic aide confirmed they expect more candidates to discuss the individual negative effects of repealing parts of the health care law — no matter how the Supreme Court rules.

Full story

June 15, 2012

South Carolina: Election Commission Says No Dem Runoff in 7th District

The South Carolina State Election Commission today confirmed that there would be no Democratic runoff in the state’s new 7th district, virtually ensuring that the district will be won by a Republican.

The commission certified Gloria Bromell Tinubu, an economist and former Georgia state Representative, as the winner of Tuesday’s primary.

At issue was whether she had received more than 50 percent of the votes cast. Originally, according to the Associated Press’ count on election night, she did not, and was poised to go to a runoff with attorney Preston Brittain, who received the second highest number of votes. Brittain was backed by the South Carolina Democratic establishment and was seen as having a shot of winning the GOP-leaning district. Full story

New York: Alan Grayson Pitches for Charlie Rangel

Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), running in a Democratic-leaning district in a bid to return to Congress, today emailed supporters soliciting donations for vulnerable Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).

In the June 26 Democratic primary, the 82-year-old Rangel faces the most difficult election of his career since he unseated longtime Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (D-N.Y.) in 1970.

Grayson recounted Rangel’s biography, from his tough childhood in poverty to his heroic service and wartime injury during the Korean War.

“Charlie Rangel, that child of the ghetto, that fatherless dropout, that juvenile delinquent, that bedridden, wounded, crippled young man, is now the 20th longest-serving Member of Congress in history,” Grayson wrote. “Anybody can do anything.”

Full story

Ohio Duel: What Obama, Romney Speeches Revealed

Ohio Duel: What Obama, Romney Speeches Revealed

After speaking in Ohio on Thursday, Mitt Romney kicked off a campaign bus tour Friday in New Hampshire. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Despite complaints from journalists and pundits that Thursday’s dueling Ohio speeches offered nothing new, the events actually revealed quite a bit about President Barack Obama’s strategy and the state of the race between himself and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Obama clearly recognizes that Romney is a threat — at least as long as the economic recovery struggles. For the first time since the former Massachusetts governor essentially wrapped up the GOP nomination in April, Obama called him out in a speech — almost 10 times according to a transcript of the address. The president did not get caught up in the moment; this was planned. Full story

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