Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 30, 2015

October 1, 2012

People for the American Way Airs Hispanic Ads in Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia

People for the American Way will launch a $1 million Hispanic ad campaign during the next five weeks in a trio of unexpected battleground states.

Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia are known for their competitive presidential politics — but not for their strong Latino voting populations. PFAW is betting that, in a tight race, these votes will prove pivotal.

The liberal group’s first spot, “Somos El 47 percent,” targets GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s surreptitiously recorded comments to a private fundraiser in Florida last May. The campaign includes television, radio and direct mail.

“Mitt Romney recently said that 47 percent of us are dependent on the government, and that we think of ourselves as victims,” according to a PFAW translation of the 30-second Spanish spot. “He also said that we come here for a free deal.”

Many well-funded Democratic groups have been on the air for months with Spanish-language ads in key presidential states with burgeoning Latino voter populations, such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado.

Relatively, the trio of states receiving PFAW’s new campaign have smaller Latino voting populations, with estimates in the single digits. But historically, all three states have featured close presidential campaigns. In 2004, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) carried Wisconsin by about 12,000 votes.

Iowa: GOP Stops Airing Spots in Bruce Braley’s District

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee ceased its advertisements in the 1st district last week, according to two Democratic sources monitoring ad buys in the state.

The ads had targeted Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.

“We believe Ben Lange is in a strong position, and we are watching this race very closely,” NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said. “Make no mistake, Braley is a gamble Iowans can’t afford.”

The GOP campaign committee has invested $400,000 in the race since it started airing spots there in September. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not spent any funds there on Braley’s behalf.

The northeastern Iowa district is the most Democratic in the state. Roll Call rates the race as Likely Democratic.

Illinois: Poll for David Gill Shows Single-Digit Race

The campaign of emergency room physician David Gill (D) released a poll Monday showing him in a dead heat with his opponent, Republican Rodney Davis, a former top aide to Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).

Gill leads Davis, 40 percent to 39 percent, in a statistical dead heat. An independent candidate, John Hartman, receives 8 percent of the vote.

The 13th district in southern Illinois is competitive — especially so since Rep. Timothy Johnson (Ill.) suddenly announced his retirement after the GOP primary. In May, local Republican officials selected Davis to be their nominee instead.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

Gill’s campaign pollster, Victoria Research and Consulting, took the opinion of 400 likely voters Sept. 26-27. The margin of error is 4.9 points.

Arizona: DSCC Makes a Move in Race Between Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona

Arizona: DSCC Makes a Move in Race Between Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going up with a $526,000 weeklong ad buy in support of Arizona Senate nominee Richard Carmona.

The money is set to cover this week only and is part of the first independent expenditure the committee has made in the race.

Carmona, a former surgeon general, faces Rep. Jeff Flake (R) in what has become a competitive race. The Washington Post first reported the news of the DSCC’s move.

Carmona has spent heavily on advertising in September in an effort to define himself in a positive light. According to a recent Carmona internal poll, he has narrowed the race’s margin.

But the next couple of weeks are crucial to the trajectory of this race. Early voting is only nine days away, and Flake just went up with negative advertising against Carmona. Outside groups are also expected to jump into the race to support Flake. Politicos are watching closely to see how Carmona holds up against the barrage.

Full story

Maine: Angus King Goes Up With Ad Attacking Charlie Summers

Independent Senate candidate Angus King has made a $105,000 ad buy in Maine painting Republican opponent Charlie Summers as too conservative for the state.

The 32-second contrast spot features King — Maine’s governor from 1995 to 2003 — looking straight into the camera and questioning whether Summers’ positions on the deficit and global warming are in line with the voters in the state, where he’s running to replace retiring moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R).

Full story

Colorado: Steelworkers Back Pace, Appear In New Ad

The United Steelworkers Union today endorsed Sal Pace, the Democrat who is running against Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in the state’s 3rd district. And Pace went up with a new ad, his campaign’s third, that features a local steelworker.

“Sal Pace has always fought to keep good-paying jobs right here in Colorado,” said the union’s Bob LaVenture in a statement announcing support for Pace. “Our action will extend to reaching out in our Pueblo neighborhoods and community to advocate his candidacy for family-supportive industrial jobs.” Full story

North Carolina: DCCC Cancels Yet Another Week of Ads for Larry Kissell

North Carolina: DCCC Cancels Yet Another Week of Ads for Larry Kissell

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It looks more and more like Nov. 6 will be curtains for North Carolina Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell.

Today the independent expenditure arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee canceled a third week of advertising in Kissell’s 8th district. Roll Call has learned that more than $180,000 worth of advertising in the Charlotte media market from Oct. 16-22 was canceled by the DCCC.

The move is as clear a sign as any that national Democrats, who have not yet aired any TV advertisements for the vulnerable incumbent, no longer see the race as winnable.

Kissell faces Republican Richard Hudson, a former aide on Capitol Hill, on the ballot next month. The 8th district was redrawn to be substantially more Republican during redistricting, which was controlled by the GOP-majority state Legislature. Full story

Daily Ad Track

A little over a month out from Election Day, television ads are increasingly negative. Over the weekend, Democrats and Republicans alike used tracker video, humor and even Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) to hammer away at the opposition.

Massachusetts’ 6th

A new ad from former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei (R) against Rep. John Tierney (D) essentially gives voters in the Democratic district permission to cross the ballot because of Tierney’s ongoing ethical issues. The ad assumes the viewer knows Tierney’s problems; it is part of a $600,000 buy over 15 days in the heavily saturated Boston media market. It debuted before Sunday’s New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game.

New York’s 24th

Former Rep. Dan Maffei (D) is up with an ad tying Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle to Akin, who became a national figure with his “legitimate rape” comment. It is reasonable to assume that Akin will probably surface in other Democratic advertisements. The Maffei campaign did not immediately respond to a query on the buy information behind this advertisement. 

Full story

Texas: Francisco Canseco Internal Poll Showed Him With 10-Point Lead Over Pete Gallego


Texas: Francisco Canseco Internal Poll Showed Him With 10 Point Lead Over Pete Gallego

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Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco’s (R) campaign released an internal poll today that showed he had a 10-point lead over state Rep. Pete Gallego (D).

The poll, conducted Sept. 23-25, showed Canseco up over Gallego 47 percent to 37 percent. Eight percent said they would support “other” and 8 percent were undecided.

Forty percent of respondents had a favorable impression of Canseco, while 31 percent viewed him in a negative light. As one would expect in a race with an incumbent, Gallego lags behind in name identification. But like Canseco, he has a net favorable rating. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed viewed him favorably, while 27 percent viewed him unfavorably.

A source in the Gallego campaign seemed surprise with the poll and said their own internal polling shows “a tight race.”

Full story

Voters Blame Both Parties for Big Money in Politics

Democrats enjoy no advantage over Republicans when it comes to public opposition to big money in politics, but the issue resonates with key voting blocs, according to a new survey of voters in 54 battleground House districts.

“Candidates avoid this issue to their detriment,” said David Donnelly, executive director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, which backs a campaign finance overhaul. “There’s an incredible opportunity to be leaders on this issue, on what has become a leaderless field.”

The poll released today found that more than half of voters surveyed “overwhelmingly” believe that money corrupts politics, and 78 percent want Congressional candidates to propose ways to “dramatically reduce the amount of money in politics and super PACs.”

The poll was the third in a series by Public Campaign Action Fund and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted for the Democracy Corps, a nonprofit run by Democratic strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg.

A striking finding, Greenberg said, was that a full 43 percent of respondents said neither Democrats nor Republicans would do a better job “cleaning up corruption in Washington, D.C.,” an option not even offered by the poll, which instead asked voters to choose between the parties.

“I’m struck by the fact that the Democrats have no advantage on the question of changing the corruption in Washington,” said Greenberg, CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

But Greenberg said linking policy issues to political corruption intensified voter responses, particularly among seniors, independents and suburban voters. For example, 55 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who backed the plan to partially privatize Medicare offered by GOP vice presidential candidate and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

But asked in a follow-up question whether they would vote for that candidate if he or she backed Ryan’s Medicare plan and “took thousands in campaign donations from insurance executives, lobbyists and PACs,” a full 70 percent of voters answered “less likely.”

“If you’re looking for an extra shot, this is where your extra shot is on that issue,” Greenberg said, describing the issue’s potential resonance in battleground House districts.

September 30, 2012

Roy Blunt: Missouri Senate Race Is More About Senate Majority Than Todd Akin

Roy Blunt: Missouri Senate Race Is More About Senate Majority Than Todd Akin

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Missouri GOP Sen. Roy Blunt today offered a lukewarm defense of his decision to campaign for embattled Senate nominee Rep. Todd Akin, saying the debate in the Show-Me State is more about who should control the Senate.

In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Blunt said that Republicans still have a 50-50 chance of retaking the Senate and that the Missouri race to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill will “largely become a debate about the majority in the Senate.”

In August, Blunt called on Akin to step out of the race after the conservative lawmaker defended his opposition to abortion in cases of rape and incest by erroneously saying that a woman’s body is able to prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.” But last week, after Akin let a state deadline to withdraw from the ballot pass without resigning the nomination, Blunt said he would work to elect him.

“I think anybody else would have been a candidate that clearly would have won, and Todd very well may win,” Blunt told CNN. “He’s on a ticket at a time when people look at a Senate that’s not doing its work, and the only way to change that is to change the majority in the Senate.”

When accused by co-panelist Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) of flip-flopping and now endorsing Akin’s candidacy, Blunt attempted to clarify: “What I said was that the national issues are big enough that we need to have a discussion of these issues rather than those that Todd managed to bring to the table.”

September 28, 2012

Iowa: Leonard Boswell Files Lawsuit Against Former Primary Foe

Iowa: Leonard Boswell Files Lawsuit Against Former Primary Foe

Rep. Leonard Boswell is in a very competitive race against a fellow Member. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) will sue liberal activist Ed Fallon over his recent bribery accusation, the lawmaker’s aide confirmed today.

Earlier this week on his website, Fallon accused Boswell of “sending an aide to bribe me with the offer of an $80,000 a-year job to not run against him.”

Boswell spokesman Kevin McTigue confirmed to Roll Call in an email that the lawsuit was “being filed today” in response.

The timing is less than convenient for Boswell, who faces Rep. Tom Latham (R) in a highly competitive race for the 3rd district. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup. Full story

Maine: DSCC Moves in With Ad Buy

Maine: DSCC Moves in With Ad Buy

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has bought $410,000 worth of television time in Maine, where a political triangle in the Senate race has created an unpredictable dynamic.

The DSCC ad was not immediately available, but the committee is likely to use the Oct. 2-12 buy to directly target Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R), who has been climbing in the polls in the race for the seat of retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R). The DSCC ad is not expected to mention either former Gov. Angus King (I), who is expected to caucus with Democrats, or state Sen. Cynthia Dill, the Democratic nominee. King is the frontrunner but has seen his lead shrink in the past few weeks as the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have spent money on advertising. Full story

New Mexico: Could Third-Party Candidate Play Senate Spoiler?

New Mexico: Could Third Party Candidate Play Senate Spoiler?

Updated 4:45 p.m. | A new poll conducted for former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) shows the New Mexico Senate race could be more competitive than currently believed — if a third-party candidate does well on the November ballot.

In the survey, Wilson was in a virtual tie with Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), who took 43 percent to Wilson’s 42 percent. But Independent American Party candidate Jon Barrie took 9 percent, and 6 percent of respondents were undecided. The poll, conducted by GOP pollster Glen Bolger, was in the field Tuesday through Thursday and sampled 500 likely voters. The margin of error was 4.38 points.

Full story

Massachusetts: New GOP Poll Has Richard Tisei Leading John Tierney

Massachusetts: New GOP Poll Has Richard Tisei Leading John Tierney

Rep. John Tierney (left) is among the more vulnerable Members on the ballot in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new Republican poll commissioned by YG Action Fund, a super PAC created by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), found Republican Richard Tisei leading Rep. John Tierney (D) in Massachusetts’ 6th district.

The poll, in the field Sept. 25-26 and conducted by respected GOP firm North Star Opinion Research, found Tisei ahead of Tierney 45 percent to 37 percent. An August poll conducted by the same company found Tierney ahead of Tisei 45 percent to 43 percent. Negative advertising against both candidates has been plentiful in the district over the past month. Full story

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