Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 2, 2015

September 21, 2012

California: House Majority PAC Targets Jeff Denham

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, a Democratic-aligned group, is going on the air in California’s 10th district against freshman Republican Rep. Jeff Denham.

The group is launching a Medicare-themed television ad that targets “Denham’s plan” for Medicare and states that his Democratic opponent, astronaut Jose Hernandez, would strengthen the program. The ad hits the Sacramento airwaves Saturday and will run for a week and a half behind a six-figure independent expenditure. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Congressional Republicans are using their 2010 playbook in ads today, as they go on offense and play defense in various races around the country. Meanwhile, Democrats are picking up on 2012 trends: personally criticizing one’s opponent and going creative.

Indiana Senate

To fend off accusations of gutting Medicare in 2010, many House Republicans ran ads featuring their own parents vouching for their Medicare bona fides. State Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s (R) new spot features his dad. The campaign announced that it will run on statewide broadcast.

Full story

DSCC Outraised NRSC in August

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart by almost $2 million in August, as both parties fight for control of the Senate.

According to figures released by the committees, the DSCC raised $7.7 million and ended last month with $31 million in cash on hand. The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised about $6 million last month, ending August with close to $29 million in the bank.

September 20, 2012

Wisconsin: Top Mitt Romney Surrogate Says Tommy Thompson Sounds Like Barack Obama

Wisconsin: Top Mitt Romney Surrogate Says Tommy Thompson Sounds Like Barack Obama

Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson blamed the GOP presidential nominee for his losing significant ground in multiple polls to his Democratic opponent. (Bill Clark CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been a rough week for former Wisconsin Gov. and GOP Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, who learned tonight that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has friends who are unafraid to lash out at other Republicans in his defense.

On Wednesday, Thompson blamed Romney for his losing significant ground in multiple polls to Democratic opponent Rep. Tammy Baldwin,  including a Marquette University poll that flipped from him leading by 9 points last month to trailing by the same margin this month. Thompson told a Madison TV station, “Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, if you’re a standard-bearer for the presidency is not doing well, it’s going to reflect on the downballot.”

Top Romney surrogate and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu struck back at Thompson, who has created friction between himself and the presidential campaign, by telling CNN tonight that Thompson “sounds like Barack Obama trying to blame it on somebody else.” Full story

DCCC Outraises NRCC in August

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee significantly outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee in August, although the GOP still has more money in the bank.

The DCCC raised $11.6 million last month and had $40 million in the bank. The NRCC raised $6.8 million in August and ended the month with $49.8 million in cash on hand.

In July, the NRCC significantly outraised the DCCC.


Missouri: Overseas Ballots With Todd Akin’s Name Mailing Friday

Missouri: Overseas Ballots With Todd Akins Name Mailing Friday

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are nervously awaiting the Tuesday deadline for Rep. Todd Akin (R) to drop his Missouri Senate bid. But Friday is a big day, too.

The first wave of ballots is set to be mailed to Show-Me State voters living overseas, including those serving in the military. And if any change to the ballot occurs after those ballots are sent out, voters who received them could be disenfranchised — a factor that could motivate a Missouri court to block any request by Akin to remove himself from the ballot, according to one state official. Full story

Virginia: Tim Kaine, George Allen Debate With Remaining Undecideds in Mind

Virginia: Tim Kaine, George Allen Debate With Remaining Undecideds in Mind

McLEAN, Va. — Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen met today in their third debate of the long campaign for Virginia’s open Senate seat.

The two former governors touched on themes prevalent on the campaign trail — health care, defense sequester cuts, taxes and the economy — and drew a clear line in the sand for the independent Northern Virginia voters, who will play a determinate role in the outcome of the race.

“Folks, there’s a clear choice in this Senate election, in which approach is going to be best for jobs here in our country,” Allen said in his closing remarks.

The debate, hosted by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and NBC-4, came a day after two public polls showed Kaine for the first time pulling out to a significant lead over his Republican opponent. The two have been tied since Kaine entered the race about 17 months ago, and both Allen and Kaine downplayed the polling results to reporters after the event. Full story

Illinois: Does Joe Walsh Have a Shot at Coming Back to Congress?

Illinois: Does Joe Walsh Have a Shot at Coming Back to Congress?

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not everyone thinks Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is a political goner. There are some signs his re-election race could be competitive.

This week, Now or Never Super PAC dropped $810,000 worth of television advertisements into the 8th district to boost Walsh’s uphill re-election bid against Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth (D).

For more than a year, there was consensus among Democrats and, privately, Republicans that Walsh stood very little chance of winning the redrawn, Democratic-leaning district. The controversial conservative barely won a first term, and now he’s facing one of Illinois Democrats’ most-beloved candidates.

The super PAC’s spot “displays a positive side of the Congressman,” according to a press release. Walsh attracted a fair amount of poor press during this term for a six-figure child support lawsuit eventually settled outside court.

Joe Walsh is a different kind of Congressman,” the spot says. “He turned down his Congressional health care and pension so the taxpayers didn’t have to foot the bill.”

Full story

Massachusetts: Harry Reid Cancels Votes So Scott Brown Can Debate

Massachusetts: Harry Reid Cancels Votes So Scott Brown Can Debate

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today accused his GOP counterparts of trying to hold votes later this evening to shield Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) from debating his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren.

“I’m sorry. We have no more votes today. It’s obvious to me what’s going on. I’ve been to a few of these rodeos,” Reid said. “It’s obvious there’s a big stall taking place. One of the Senators who doesn’t want to debate tonight won’t be in the debate. Well, he can’t used the Senate as an excuse. There will be no more votes today.”

Brown and Warren, whom Reid urged to run for Senate, are set to debate each other for the first time at 7 p.m. today.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

Nasty, negative television ads with grainy, unflattering, black-and-white images and ominous music seem to be falling out of fashion this cycle.

Instead, the velvet glove is the preferred weapon. Campaigns and third-party groups are more inclined of late to make spots that stand out rather than blend in.

Full story

Senate Democrats Optimistic About Keeping Majority

Senate Democrats Optimistic About Keeping MajorityPatty Murray, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Dick Durbin" width="445" height="299" />

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democratic leaders today expressed optimism about their prospects of holding on to control of the chamber in November.

The grandest pronouncement came from Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

“For this entire Congress, Republicans thought if they blocked anything helping the economy and deprived the president of any accomplishments, it would deliver them a huge political victory in November. Then they could deal with all of the nation’s challenges entirely on their own terms,” Schumer said. “The strategy is backfiring on them.”

A day after the Democratic Conference met with Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina, Schumer argued that recently revealed comments by GOP nominee Mitt Romney about 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income taxes are having downballot effects that bolster Democratic chances of at least holding the Senate by a thread.

“Their presidential nominee just offended half the country,” Schumer said of Romney. “His flailing campaign is now having a drag effect for Republican Senate candidates across the country, and this has them a little cranky.”

Schumer then pointed to the coordinated speeches this morning by about 30 Republicans on the Senate floor, criticizing Obama and Senate Democrats on a slew of issues including the economy and gasoline prices.

“We have recruited amazing people to run in these Senate races,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Murray name-checked as strong Senate candidates Rep. Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. While North Dakota is a Republican majority state, Heitkamp is running to succeed a Democratic Senator, Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad.

“I have been so impressed with the people who have stood up to say yes, I do want to serve my country at a difficult time and run in what is an easy thing to do for the United States Senate,” Murray said.

Candidate recruitment has helped the Democrats in some states, along with perceived weakness on the Republican side in some races, but the inverse is sometimes true as well.

For instance, Democrats have a real race on their hands in Connecticut between Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) and Republican Linda McMahon to fill the seat being vacated by Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Nonetheless, “This is not where Republicans thought they’d be with 50 days left before election,” Schumer said.

Massachusetts: Boston Mayor to Endorse Elizabeth Warren

Massachusetts: Boston Mayor to Endorse Elizabeth Warren

UPDATED 4:30 p.m. | Boston Mayor Tom Menino (D) will endorse Democratic Senate nominee Elizabeth Warren Friday, the Boston Globe reports.

For months, Menino had been mum on his decision about an endorsement in Warren’s race against popular Sen. Scott Brown (R). But according to local media reports, he will support his party’s nominee.

Menino, Boston’s longtime mayor, controls a juggernaut get-out-the-vote operation in the state’s largest city. Earlier this month, he told reporters that when he backs a candidate, he gives it his all.

“When I get [into] a campaign, I never do it half-baked,” he said. “I do it all the way.”

And, in the end, Menino and Warren belong to the same party.

“He’s going to pull out all the stops because it’s good for the Democratic party,” said Massachusetts Democratic consultant Scott Ferson.

Roll Call rates the Massachusetts Senate race as a Tossup.

Club for Growth Open to Spending in Indiana, Ohio and Florida

Club for Growth Open to Spending in Indiana, Ohio and Florida

Club for Growth President Chris Chocola left the door open to investing resources into the Senate races of GOP candidates in Indiana, Florida and Ohio. (CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Senate nominees in Indiana, Florida and Ohio could get a needed cash infusion from the conservative Club for Growth before Election Day.

In an interview following this morning’s Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting with reporters, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola left the door open to investing resources into those three Senate races, where candidates endorsed by the cash-flush group continue to struggle in public polls.

“We’re watching the race,” Chocola said about Ohio and Florida. “We’re raising money for both [Ohio Treasurer Josh] Mandel and [Florida Rep. Connie] Mack through bundling. If we think there is a message and a market where we can help, we will.”

Full story

DCCC Shifts Resources, Going After Mary Bono Mack

DCCC Shifts Resources, Going After Mary Bono Mack

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has begun shifting advertising dollars and is now targeting a California Congresswoman not originally included in its television reservations while canceling buys in two districts — one each in Ohio and North Carolina.

The DCCC is set to launch its first independent expenditure advertisement against Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), but has pulled a week of advertising it had reserved in the districts of Reps. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) and Michael Turner (R-Ohio). The committee won’t be running any ads in those districts during the week of Oct. 2-8. Full story

September 19, 2012

Connecticut: Newest Poll Shows Race Statistically Tied

A new poll from the University of Connecticut and the Hartford Courant show the Connecticut Senate race in a statistical tie.

Thirty-seven percent of those who responded said they backed Rep. Christopher Murphy (D), while 33 percent supported former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R).

There is still a great deal of room for either candidate to grow — 29 percent of those surveyed were undecided.

The poll was conducted among 500 likely voters Sept. 11-16 and had a margin of error of 4.4 points — slightly more than the margin that separated the two candidates.

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