Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

June 13, 2012

New American Crossroads Ads Target Six States

American Crossroads is targeting six Senate races in a new round of television ads set to hit the airwaves today.

The Republican super PAC and its nonprofit arm, Crossroads GPS, has invested a combined $4.6 million in this buy, set to run statewide on broadcast and cable television in Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia. Except for Nevada, all of the seats are held by Democrats and considered top Republican pickup targets.

The spots include three attack ads from American Crossroads that are worth $2.6 million and critical of the Democratic nominees in Nebraska, Nevada and Virginia. The three issue ads from Crossroads GPS are running in Missouri, North Dakota and Ohio and focus on spending, debt and President Barack Obama’s health care law.

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Illinois: William Enyart Jumps Into Open-Seat Race for Jerry Costello Seat

Retired Army National Guard Maj. Gen. William Enyart has jumped into the race for retiring Rep. Jerry Costello’s (D-Ill.) seat, giving Democrats a much-needed boost in their search for a candidate for this competitive race.

“Today I am proud to rise to the challenge before us and heed the call to serve by fighting for good jobs and a responsible way to reduce the deficit to build a strong middle class and protect the Southern Illinois way of life,” Enyart said in a statement released Tuesday evening.

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Arizona: Ron Barber Wins Special Election to Replace Gabrielle Giffords

Arizona: Ron Barber Wins Special Election to Replace Gabrielle Giffords

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrat Ron Barber, a staffer for ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, won the highly competitive Arizona special election to succeed his former boss Tuesday.

Barber defeated Republican Jesse Kelly, 53 percent to 45 percent, according to the Associated Press. Giffords, a Democrat, resigned in January in order to focus on her rehabilitation after an assassination attempt in January 2011. Barber was also seriously wounded in the shootings.

The victory means more than saving a single House seat for Democrats. On a personal level, it means Giffords’ chosen candidate will succeed her in Congress. On a national level, it gives Democrats some much-needed good news.

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Wisconsin: Candidates Boycott ‘Beer and Brats Summit’

Wisconsin Democratic Assembly members Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys, candidates in the August primary to replace Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), declined to attend Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s “Beer and Brats Summit” held Tuesday.

The legislators said that while they appreciate bipartisan efforts, they believed this particular event was frivolous and insincere.

“I think we should focus on passing public policy to help those struggling Wisconsinites,” Roys told Roll Call. She said that only after significant bipartisan policy efforts are made would she be willing to attend such an event.

Pocan raised similar doubts about Walker’s outreach. Full story

North Dakota: Kevin Cramer Upsets Party-Backed Candidate

Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer upset the North Dakota Republican Party-backed candidate for at-large Representative on Tuesday night. With 84 percent of precincts reporting, Cramer had 53 percent to Brian Kalk’s 46 percent.

Cramer is running for the House seat vacated by freshman Rep. Rick Berg (R), who easily won his Senate primary Tuesday against businessman Duane Sand (R).

Earlier this year, North Dakota Republicans picked Kalk, also a public service commissioner, as their endorsed candidate in the GOP primary. A former state party chairman, Cramer ran outside the party endorsement system, giving the GOP’s chosen candidate a significant challenge for the first time in recent history.

National conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks boosted Cramer with independent expenditures on his behalf.

This November, Cramer faces the newly minted Democratic nominee, former state Rep. Pam Gulleson. Roll Call rates this seat as Likely Republican.

Berg faces former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp in November. Roll Call rates the North Dakota Senate race as Leans Republican.

NRCC Names New Vanguard Candidates

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced today that four House candidates have moved up to the Vanguard level of the committee’s Young Guns program.

The newly upgraded candidates include attorney Tom Cotton, who is running for Arkansas’ 4th district; state Sen. Doug LaMalfa, who is running for California’s 1st district; Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie, who is running for Kentucky’s 4th district; and foot surgeon Brad Wenstrup, who is running for Ohio’s 2nd district.

All four have won their primaries and are likely to become Members of Congress in the fall. Three of the four seats are open because of House retirements. Wenstrup defeated Rep. Jean Schmidt in the Republican primary.

The Vanguard designation is intended for candidates running in Republican-leaning open seats.

Hawaii: Mazie Hirono, Ed Case Meeting Three Times This Week

The state’s two Democratic Senate candidates are scheduled to debate three times this week, although it could be the last time they meet face-to-face in front of the voters before the Aug. 11 primary.

Rep. Mazie Hirono and former Rep. Ed Case were to appear jointly at an AARP-sponsored issue forum Tuesday morning, at a Hawaii Public Radio debate on Wednesday evening and on PBS Hawaii on Thursday evening. The latter two events were scheduled to be broadcast live.

Case said in a release that Thursday will be the last time they meet because Hirono “has refused all other debates including four primetime statewide debates on our main television stations.”

The winner will face former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) in November in a race Roll Call rates as Leans Democratic.

June 12, 2012

Maine: Charles Summers, Cynthia Dill Win Maine Primaries

Maine Secretary of State Charles Summers (R) and state Sen. Cynthia Dill (D) won their party primaries in Maine on Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press.

The two will go on to face the race frontrunner, Independent former Gov. Angus King, in the contest to replace retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe.

The Snowe retirement caught Republicans off guard and resulted in a short and scrambled primary. Low voter awareness of the race, a lack of television advertising and the short window made the GOP side highly unpredictable.

Summers defeated former state Senate President Rick Bennett and state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, with 29 percent of the vote, with 75 percent of precincts reporting.

On the Democratic side, Dill defeated former Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap by 44 percent to 37 percent. Dill and Dunlap were not blue-chip recruits. The A team of Democratic candidates avoided the race after King’s candidacy became clear. National Democrats paid scant attention to the primary.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Independent.

South Carolina: André Bauer, Tom Rice Head to Runoff

South Carolina: André Bauer, Tom Rice Head to Runoff

Former Lt. Gov. André Bauer is headed to a runoff in South Carolina's new 7th district. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:59 p.m. | Colorful former Lt. Gov. André Bauer and Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice are headed to a runoff in the GOP primary in South Carolina’s new 7th district. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Bauer had 32.1 percent and Rice had 27.4 percent, according to the Associated Press. On the Democratic side, long-shot candidate Gloria Bromell Tinubu, an economist, had a much stronger-than-expected showing and squeaked out a victory over the establishment-backed Preston Brittain.

The candidates who didn’t make the GOP cut include attorney Jay Jordan and Chad Prosser, former director of the state’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. GOP operatives in the state widely expected this result. Rice has the edge in the runoff. But Bauer, a through-and-through conservative who marches to his own drum, should not be underestimated. Full story

Virginia: George Allen Wins GOP Senate Primary

Virginia: George Allen Wins GOP Senate Primary

Former Sen. George Allen casts his vote today in northern Virginia. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 9:40 p.m. | Former Sen. George Allen easily won the Virginia Senate Republican primary today, putting him one step closer to reclaiming the seat he lost in 2006.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Allen led with 65 percent, followed by tea party leader Jamie Radtke with 23 percent, state Del. Bob Marshall with 7 percent and minister E.W. Jackson with 5 percent. Full story

Oklahoma: Markwayne Mullin Internal Poll Shows Him Ahead in GOP Primary

A new survey from plumbing-company owner Markwayne Mullin’s campaign shows him leading the GOP field for retiring Rep. Dan Boren’s (D) competitive southeastern Oklahoma seat.

Mullin had 30 percent in the poll, state Rep. George Faught had 15 percent and former state Rep. Wayne Pettigrew had 7 percent. Thirty-four percent of voters were undecided in the survey, which was paid for by Mullin’s campaign.

There’s a good chance the winner of the June 26 Republican primary could come to Congress. Oklahoma’s 2nd district leans Republican, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won it with 66 percent in 2008 even though Boren has always won re-election by substantial margins.

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Arizona: Trent Franks to Back Wil Cardon

Updated 6:29 p.m.: Rep. Trent Franks (R) will endorse Wil Cardon over fellow Rep. Jeff Flake today in the Republican Senatorial primary.

Franks is scheduled to co-host a campaign style meet-and-greet with Cardon this evening in Phoenix, and earlier today he released a statement that was complimentary of the wealthy businessman and his Senatorial candidacy.

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Montana: Pearl Jam Rocks for Jon Tester

Two lucky Pearl Jam fans and supporters of Sen. Jon Tester (D) will sit in recliners onstage for the famed Seattle rock band’s only non-festival concert in the country this year, set for September.

The Tester campaign announced today that supporters can be “automatically entered for a chance to win the Best Seats in the World by simply donating $10, or any other amount, at jontester.com.” The winner and a guest will also be admitted to pre-show events with Tester and members of the band and will receive travel and hotel accommodations. Full story

New Hampshire: Ex-Sen. John Sununu Could Eye Comeback

Former Sen. John Sununu (R) will headline an afternoon fundraiser on June 23 for the New Hampshire GOP. The appearance has caught notice among Granite State Republicans as a possible first step back into electoral politics, perhaps to challenge to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in 2014.

Should Sununu run, it would be a rematch of his 2008 race with Shaheen. The former governor beat Sununu after he had served just one Senate term, joining the ranks of many other Democrats who won that year in what was a wave election for the party.

In March, Shaheen’s office confirmed to Foster’s Daily Democrat that she plans to run for re-election, despite raising very little money at this point in her first term.

So far in this cycle, Shaheen has raised about $265,000, and she had about $150,000 in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter.

New Hamsphire is a swing state. Two years after Shaheen beat Sununu by 7 points, Granite State voters supported now-Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R). Sununu is the son of former Gov. John Sununu, an influential figure in New Hampshire Republican politics and top adviser to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

By Abby Livingston Posted at 12:51 p.m.
New Hampshire

June 11, 2012

Arizona: Jeff Flake Apologizes to Wil Cardon for Mistake in Web Video

Arizona: Jeff Flake Apologizes to Wil Cardon for Mistake in Web Video

Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake apologized to his Republican Senate primary opponent for a mistake in a Web ad. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 8:03 p.m. | The Arizona Republican Senate primary is getting nasty.

Rep. Jeff Flake has issued an apology to real estate investor Wil Cardon for a Web ad the Flake campaign produced accusing Cardon of failing to file company income taxes.

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