Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 22, 2014

June 26, 2012

Utah: Orrin Hatch Cruises to Victory in GOP Primary

Utah: Orrin Hatch Cruises to Victory in GOP Primary

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Orrin Hatch handily won renomination in the Republican primary Tuesday night and is now heavily favored to win re-election to a seventh term, which he has said would be his last.

After entering the 2012 cycle as one of the Senate’s most endangered incumbents, the 78-year-old lawmaker survived a challenge from Dan Liljenquist, an underfunded former state Senator whose candidacy was ultimately undone by Hatch’s strong campaign and a lack of angst over the Senator’s voting record and length of service. Hatch led 69 percent to 31 percent, with 13 percent of precincts reporting.

The Associated Press called the race just after 11 p.m. Eastern time. Full story

New York: Grace Meng Wins Democratic Primary

State Assemblywoman Grace Meng won the Democratic primary in the open 6th district tonight.

She was strongly backed by Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party. His power and prestige in the district will be boosted from this victory, which he worked hard to make sure happened.

Meng, backed by most establishment political figures, including retiring Rep. Gary Ackerman, beat state Assemblyman Rory Lancman and New York City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, the Congressman’s cousin.

With 63 percent of precincts reporting, Meng had 53 percent to Lancman’s 28 percent and Crowley’s 15 percent.

The Queens-based district is safely Democratic, and if, as expected, Meng takes the oath of office in 2013, she will become the first Asian-American elected to Congress from New York. Full story

New York: Charlie Rangel Survives Primary Challenge

New York: Charlie Rangel Survives Primary Challenge

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Twenty-one-term Rep. Charlie Rangel, the Democratic icon who chaired the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, survived the fiercest primary challenge of his career Tuesday night.

Despite a seemingly perfect storm of circumstances that swirled against the New York lawmaker this cycle, the force of incumbency and his long history in the district propelled him to victory against his top challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

“No one was able to make a compelling case for why voters should take a chance and vote for someone different, which would mean the loss of seniority and perceived loss of power,” New York Democratic strategist Basil Smikle said. Full story

Oklahoma: Runoffs Set in Second District

No Democrat or Republican garnered enough of the vote tonight to avoid a runoff for the “Little Dixie” district of retiring Rep. Dan Boren (D).

On Aug. 28, plumbing company owner Markwayne Mullin and state Rep. George Faught will face off for the GOP nomination.

Two Democrats, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Wallace and seed company owner Wayne Herriman, will also head to a runoff on the same date. Full story

Colorado: Doug Lamborn Survives Primary

After a late scare, Rep. Doug Lamborn won the Republican primary in the 5th district and should win re-election in the fall.

Around 9:30 p.m. the Associated Press called the race for Lamborn, who had 69 percent to self-funding challenger Robert Blaha’s 39 percent with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

Blaha’s early spending was enough to make some of Lamborn’s backers nervous and the Blaha team confident. There was little in the way of public polling, and Blaha’s spending raised eyebrows. Still, in the end, it was not enough. (Except for a brief period when a snafu with AP results accidentally flipped the percentages, causing some confusion among close watchers of the race.)

Blaha heavily outspent Lamborn in the first quarter of the year. But by the time of the pre-primary Federal Election Commission reporting period, Lamborn matched Blaha’s rate of spending.

Lamborn should win re-election in the fall as Roll Cal rates this seat as Safe Republican.

South Carolina: Tom Rice Likely Next Member From New District

Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice beat former Lt. Gov. André Bauer in GOP primary runoff in South Carolina’s new 7th district. In November, he’ll face economist and former Georgia state Rep. Gloria Bromell Tinubu, who won the Democratic primary runoff against attorney Preston Brittain.

Shortly after 9 p.m., the Associated Press called the race for Rice. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, he had 56 percent to Bauer’s 44 percent.

Around the same time, the AP called the race for Bromell Tinubu. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, she had 73 percent to Brittain’s 27 percent.

Democrats and Republicans in the state do not believe Bromell Tinubu can win the race in the Myrtle Beach-anchored district. Roll Call rates the 7th district race as Safe Repubican.

Since the 7th is a new district granted to the Palmetto State in reapportionment, if Rice wins, as expected, this will be a pickup for Republicans.

Fundraising: Campaigns Send Last-Minute Appeals

With the June 30 second-quarter campaign fundraising deadline looming, House and Senate campaigns sent out a flurry of emails to supporters today seeking donations.

They included:

  • Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson‘s (R) campaign manager Ryan Burchfield sent out an appeal that made no mention of Thompson’s GOP rivals. Burchfield did, however, mention the word “liberal” three times and “Madison” five times in reference to Democratic presumptive nominee Rep. Tammy Baldwin. Full story

Michigan: Freshman Justin Amash Backs Kerry Bentivolio

Reindeer rancher Kerry Bentivolio (R) picked up the backing of freshman Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) today in the primary race in the 11th district.

“Having spent time with Kerry over the last few weeks and having listened to his vision for our country, I believe that Kerry is someone we can count on to do what’s right, not just what’s easy,” Amash said in a statement released by Bentivolio’s campaign.

The endorsement comes one day after Bentivolio’s campaign announced it was on the air with a TV ad. It’s yet another sign the once-unknown Republican aims to run a competitive race for the GOP primary against former state Sen. Nancy Cassis, a write-in candidate.

Earlier this month, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) dropped his re-election bid after his campaign submitted ballot petitions filled with errors and duplicate names. Bentivolio was then the only Republican left on the party’s ballot, but local GOP officials started searching for a new write-in candidate to support in the Aug. 7 primary.

Michigan GOP officials settled on Cassis, who sources say plans to put $200,000 of her own money into the race.

DSCC Reserves $1.2 Million in North Dakota

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reserved $1.2 million in fall airtime in North Dakota today.

The buy caps the committee’s first wave of ad investments in five key states with top Senate races, including $4.5 million in Missouri, $3.2 million in Montana, $7.5 million in Virginia and $5.1 million in Ohio.

According to a source familiar with the buy, the North Dakota reservation is for Oct. 2 through Nov. 5. But committees can change the reservation at any time without financial penalty — and they often do just that in the final months before Election Day depending on the competitiveness of a race. Full story

Minnesota: Michele Bachmann Opponent’s Poll Shows Competitive Race

Minnesota: Michele Bachmann Opponents Poll Shows Competitive Race

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A newly released Democratic poll shows Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) could face a competitive race in November, although there is little other evidence at this point that she is in danger.

Bachmann led businessman Jim Graves (D) 48 percent to 43 percent, according to a survey paid for by the likely Democratic Farmer Labor nominee’s campaign. Nine percent of respondents were undecided.

The survey marks the first public indication that the 6th district race could be competitive. Democrats unsuccessfully targeted Bachmann in the 2008 cycle, but they argue the Congresswoman is more vulnerable than ever following her failed presidential bid. Full story

North Carolina: Candidate Appears to Flirt With Birtherism

North Carolina: Candidate Appears to Flirt With Birtherism

Congressional candidate Mark Meadows made comments about President Barack Obama and Kenya in recent weeks. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Congressional candidate Mark Meadows, likely to be the GOP nominee in the heavily Republican 11th district of North Carolina, appears to have flirted with birtherism on at least two occasions in recent weeks.

“2012 is the time we’re going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is,” Meadows said to applause at a June 9 tea party rally. “We’re going to do it!”

At an appearance at a tea party forum on June 12, Meadows said, “we” will send Obama “back home to Kenya or wherever it is.”

In an interview with Roll Call today, Meadows clarified his remarks. “I think it’s a non-issue,” he said. “Obviously bringing it back is probably a poor choice of words on my part more than anything else. I believe he’s an American citizen and I believe, in my district, he is going to lose overwhelmingly.”

Both are true.

Full story

Colorado: Doug Lamborn Vulnerable in GOP Primary

Colorado: Doug Lamborn Vulnerable in GOP Primary

Rep. Doug Lamborn faces a primary against a self-funding opponent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is facing the toughest primary of his House career today.

His challenger, wealthy businessman Robert Blaha, has outspent Lamborn in the race for the 5th district over the course of this year. Running as an “outsider,” Blaha charges that while Lamborn has been a reliable conservative, Blaha would be a more effective Member.

Full story

Florida: Ron DeSantis Gets Club for Growth Endorsement

If endorsements equal momentum, Florida Congressional candidate Ron DeSantis has it.

Running for the GOP nomination in the open coastal 6th district, he picked up the nod from the PAC of the powerful anti-tax Club for Growth today. On Monday, tea-party-affiliated Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) gave DeSantis his endorsement. Last week, former Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), now the Sunshine State’s commissioner of agriculture, gave DeSantis his endorsement. And last month, FreedomWorks gave DeSantis its nod.

“Ron DeSantis is a principled conservative and America desperately needs him in Washington,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement. “Ron will fight to cut spending, balance the budget, and reform our nearly bankrupt entitlement system. We need more citizen-legislators like Ron who will stand up to both parties and make the hard choices to save our country from fiscal ruin. The Club for Growth PAC strongly endorses Ron DeSantis for Congress.” Full story

New Mexico: Enviro Groups Launch New Ad Against Heather Wilson

The League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife Action Committee launched a new round of television advertising in New Mexico against Republican Senate nominee Heather Wilson.

The former Congresswoman, who is running for the open Senate seat against Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), has been the target of a coalition effort from several environmental and conservation groups in recent weeks. The two groups responsible for the latest ad have already spent $700,000 in independent expenditures on the race this month, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Full story

VoteVets Action Fund Runs Ads in Montana, Hawaii

VoteVets Action Fund is spending $200,000 to air an attack ad against the Republican Senate nominee in Montana and to continue an ad buy on behalf of a Democratic House candidate in Hawaii.

VoteVets, a progressive veterans organization, announced a $100,000 ad buy for a television spot slamming Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg, who is challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D) in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. The dark ad in Montana takes a critical look at Rehberg’s voting record on veterans issues.

Full story

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