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

December 6, 2014

Louisiana Runoff Results: Mary Landrieu Loses

Louisiana Runoff Results: Mary Landrieu Loses

Cassidy was elected to the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:23 a.m. | Republicans capped their Senate sweep Saturday night, when Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., defeated Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., in a Senate runoff.

Cassidy, a doctor who still practices, was leading Landrieu, 65 percent to 35 percent when the Associated Press called the race 30 minutes after polls closed. Republicans also retained two House seats in additional runoff races.  Full story

December 5, 2014

3 Things to Know About the Louisiana Runoff

3 Things to Know About the Louisiana Runoff

Landrieu rallies supporters in Shreveport, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Louisiana Senate runoff, we don’t blame you. The race between Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy could have been a defining contest that determined which party held a majority in the Senate.

Instead, Republicans swept the Senate in November, and the Louisiana race has become an afterthought.

To be sure, Landrieu has a history of pulling off unlikely wins. But when voters go to the polls Saturday, she is expected to follow suit of most southern Democrats who faced re-election this year. Democrats have been dramatically outspent in the runoff, and Landrieu trails in polls.

In addition to Landrieu’s race, voters in The Pelican State will also cast ballots Saturday in 5th and 6th District races. House Republicans are expected to retain both seats.

Polls close at 9 p.m eastern. Here’s what you need to know before that happens: Full story

December 4, 2014

DCCC With $12 Million Debt After Midterms

DCCC With $12 Million Debt After Midterms

House Democrats ended the 2014 cycle with a $12 million debt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ended the midterm election cycle $12 million in debt, $3.2 million more than its Republican counterpart.

The committees released the figures ahead of filing their post-general election reports, which are due Thursday to the Federal Election Commission.

The DCCC’s debt is $2.3 million less than it took out in the 2012 cycle, when it picked up more than a half-dozen seats. But it’s more than the $8.8 million debt the National Republican Congressional Committee announced earlier in the day.

This cycle, House Democrats may lose as many as 13 seats, depending on the outcome of a recount in Arizona.

Full story

NRCC Ending 2014 With $8.8 Million Debt

NRCC Ending 2014 With $8.8 Million Debt

House Republicans' campaign committee ended the midterms with an $8.8 million debt. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee will report ending the 2014 election cycle with an $8.8 million debt, according to figures released by the committee.

After picking up at least a dozen seats in 2014, that’s some $3 million less than the hole the committee found itself in following the 2010 and 2012 cycles. The NRCC ended both with $12 million in debt.

Post-general election reports, which cover Oct. 16 to Nov. 24, are due to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday. Full story

Pennsylvania Democrats Hesitate on Sestak Senate Bid

Pennsylvania Democrats Hesitate on Sestak Senate Bid

Toomey is a Pennsylvania Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been more than four years since former Rep. Joe Sestak narrowly lost his bid for Senate — and the Pennsylvania Democrat hasn’t stopped running since. After his 2010 loss to Republican Patrick J. Toomey, Sestak continued to traverse the state to raise cash before officially filing for a rematch against the senator in September.

“We’ve done 400 events in two years for other candidates,” Sestak said in a Wednesday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. “I’ve put a quarter-million miles on my car.”

Keystone State Democrats laud Sestak for coming within 2 points of defeating Toomey in an otherwise miserable year for the party. But some privately question whether he’s the party’s best bet for a high-stakes Senate race. Full story

December 3, 2014

Democratic Leaders Court Candidate for House Rematch

Democratic Leaders Court Candidate for House Rematch

House Democrats are recruiting Cain for another bid. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 8:22 p.m. | Former Maine state Sen. Emily Cain is on Capitol Hill this week being recruited by House leadership to run again in 2016.

According to a Democratic source, Cain is meeting Wednesday and Thursday with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján to discuss a potential rematch with GOP Rep.-elect Bruce Poliquin.

Poliquin beat Cain by 5 points in the open-seat race for the 2nd District, located in the northern half of the Pine Tree State.

Full story

Congressman Considering Rob Portman Challenge in 2016

Congressman Considering Rob Portman Challenge in 2016

Ryan is a Democrat from northeast Ohio. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said he is considering a challenge to Republican Sen. Rob Portman in 2016.

“We’re certainly looking very closely at it,” the Democrat told CQ Roll Call in a Wednesday phone interview.

Earlier this week, Portman announced he would seek re-election, foregoing a bid for president. His declaration marked good news for Senate Republicans, who view him as the top contender to keep his seat in the GOP’s hands in 2016. Portman boasts a formidable fundraising network and, as of the end of September, had $5.5 million in his campaign coffers.

Ryan had $441,000 as of his most recent filing but said he felt he could compete with Portman. Full story

NRCC Names New Executive Director for 2016

NRCC Names New Executive Director for 2016

Walden is the NRCC's chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee has promoted Rob Simms to serve as executive director in 2016.

Simms — who served as the NRCC’s political director in the 2014 cycle — will take over for Liesl Hickey as the top staffer at the committee. He will be tasked with helping protect the GOP’s record-breaking wins from last cycle.

“Rob was instrumental in helping us win this historic majority and now he’s going to lead our efforts to keep it and help Members build the best campaigns possible,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said in a release.

Full story

December 2, 2014

Rand Paul Adviser Talks 2016 Plans

Rand Paul Adviser Talks 2016 Plans

Paul is a Kentucky Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Tuesday he will seek re-election to the Senate, while weighing a run for president as well.

That decision will likely come in early spring, said Paul adviser Doug Stafford in an afternoon conference call with reporters.

Earlier Tuesday, one of Paul’s Republican colleagues in the Senate, Rob Portman of Ohio, announced he would not run for president, citing his Senate duties. Stafford brushed off such concerns on Paul’s part. Full story

Portman Will Seek Re-Election Instead of Running for President

Portman Will Seek Re Election Instead of Running for President

Portman will not run for president. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will not run for president in 2016, and instead plans to seek re-election to his Buckeye State Senate seat.

“With the new Republican majority, I see a real opportunity over the next two years to break the gridlock in Washington and actually get things done to help Ohioans and all Americans,” Portman said in a statement Tuesday morning. “That’s where I believe I can play the most constructive role.”

Portman’s official re-election announcement likely makes the seat harder for Democrats to pick up in 2016. With Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu projected to lose re-election in this weekend’s runoff against Rep. Bill Cassidy, Democrats will need to pick up five seats to reclaim control of the chamber.

Full story

November 24, 2014

Democrats Announce Finalists for 2016 Convention (Updated)

Democrats Announce Finalists for 2016 Convention (Updated)

Columbus, Ohio, is one of three possible locations for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:15 p.m. | The Democratic National Committee announced Monday that Philadelphia, New York and Columbus are the three finalists to host its 2016 national convention.

Two cities, Phoenix and Birmingham, Ala., were knocked from contention after party officials conducted a series of visits to assess whether they could withstand the thousands of elected officials, delegates and media expected for the event. A final decision on location will come early next year.

Democrats also narrowed down the timing for the convention: It will be held during the week of July 18, July 25 or Aug. 22 of 2016. Full story

Bill Cassidy Utilizes Weekly GOP Address, Again

Bill Cassidy Utilizes Weekly GOP Address, Again

Cassidy gave the weekly Republican address again last weekend. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Heading into a Dec. 6 runoff in Louisiana against Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Rep. Bill Cassidy took a second crack at the Republican weekly address to make his case for election to the Senate.

Just as in his first address in June, the doctor by trade recalled interactions with patients as a prominent forum to hear constituent concerns on the direction of the country.

“When my patients tell me about their health concerns,” Cassidy said, “they also tell me they are worried about the economy, their jobs, the direction of our country.” Full story

Roger Wicker Looks for Fast Start at NRSC

Roger Wicker Looks for Fast Start at NRSC

Wicker sat down in his office on Nov. 19 for an exclusive interview. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Twenty-one Republican senators up for re-election in 2016 filed into the National Republican Senatorial Committee on the morning of Nov. 19 to meet with party strategists about campaign preparations.

Leading the confab with the incumbents and their chiefs of staff were incoming NRSC Chairman Roger Wicker, the Mississippi senator elected to the position a week earlier, and Ward Baker, the 2014 political director who was promoted to executive director for the new cycle. Unlike the past four NRSC administrations, this one is charged with defending a Senate majority.

Later that day, in his first newspaper interview since being elected chairman, Wicker spoke candidly about the challenges ahead. He declined to detail the meeting but said, “I guarantee you the issue of fundraising arose.” While Republicans are primed to net nine seats in 2014 with a win next month in Louisiana, the party faced two noteworthy hurdles in the midterms: a late organizational start and being significantly outraised by Democrats.

With Baker in place — about two months earlier than when Rob Collins took the helm of the committee in 2013 — Wicker already has avoided the first issue. Now, his goal is to overcome the financial disparity.

“It’s all about putting together a good staff and fundraising,” Wicker told CQ Roll Call. “And getting the right message, and more fundraising. And it all comes back, every other day, to fundraising — then spending it smart.” Full story

November 21, 2014

New DCCC Chairman Rides on Air Force One

New DCCC Chairman Rides on Air Force One

Luján was named DCCC chairman on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Four days after being named chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján was among several lawmakers who flew to Las Vegas Friday on Air Force One with President Barack Obama for an immigration event.

Obama, who unveiled an executive action on the issue Thursday night, was set to speak at a high school “to talk about the actions that he’s taken,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters during the flight. Full story

DSCC Announces 2016 Staff Roster

DSCC Announces 2016 Staff Roster

Tester was appointed DSCC chairman Nov. 13. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced on Friday its top staffing decisions for the 2016 cycle.

Many of the key staffers have previously worked for incoming DSCC Chairman Jon Tester of Montana, who is tasked with helping win back a Democratic majority. The party would need to net five seats to ensure a majority if Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu loses the runoff next month in Louisiana.

“This is an experienced team with a long history of winning incredibly tough races,” Tester said in a statement.

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