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

August 16, 2014

Montana Democrats Nominate John Walsh’s Replacement

Montana Democrats Nominate John Walshs Replacement

Montana Democrats replaced Walsh on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Montana Democratic Party nominated state Rep. Amanda Curtis on Saturday to replace retiring Sen. John Walsh on the ballot in November.

Curtis, a 34-year-old, first-term state legislator and high school math teacher from Butte, enters the contest a heavy underdog against Republican Rep. Steve Daines — as was Walsh. The race is rated Favored Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Walsh, appointed to the Senate in February but plagued by a plagiarism scandal, announced on Aug. 7 he would not seek a full term. Since the primary had already passed, state Democrats held a convention Saturday morning at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena to select a new nominee. Full story

Schatz Defeats Hanabusa in Hawaii Senate Primary

Schatz Defeats Hanabusa in Hawaii Senate Primary

Schatz won the Hawaii Senate primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nearly a week after most of the state voted, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz has now defeated Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary.

A final count was delayed when the state rescheduled voting to Friday for a few thousand people on the Big Island, where storm damage had closed two polling places on the original primary day, Aug. 9. Schatz led by 1,635 votes coming out of last weekend, giving him a significant edge that Hanabusa was unable to overcome.

According to the state Office of Elections tally, Schatz won with 48.5 percent to 47.8 percent for Hanabusa — a margin of 1,769 votes out of more than 233,000 cast. Full story

August 15, 2014

Joni Ernst Tells TIME She Was Sexually Harassed in the Military

Joni Ernst Tells TIME She Was Sexually Harassed in the Military

Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican Senate Candidate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst told TIME Friday that she was sexually harassed in the military. Separating herself from many of her fellow Republicans, Ernst also said she would support taking sexual assault cases out of the military chain of command.

Ernst, a 20-year veteran, said in the interview with TIME that there are situations when soldiers may be hesitant to report sexual harassment.

“I had comments, passes, things like that,” Ernst said. “These were some things where I was able to say stop and it simply stopped but there are other circumstances both for women and for men where they don’t stop and they may be afraid to report it.”

After reports of high levels of sexual assault in the military, lawmakers worked to address the issue last spring. A main point of contention was whether such cases should be handled by military officers. Full story

Revised Election Schedule Submitted in Florida Map Case

Revised Election Schedule Submitted in Florida Map Case

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., represents one of the seven districts affected by the proposed new map. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Florida Secretary of State submitted an alternative election schedule Friday to a state judge who is considering whether or not a redrawn congressional map should apply to the midterms.

According to Secretary of State Ken Detzner, should the new map apply to this cycle, the earliest possible primary date for the seven districts affected by the new map would take place on March 17, 2015. The general election would follow on May 26, 2015. Full story

August 14, 2014

Judge Denies Hanabusa’s Request to Postpone Election

 

Judge Denies Hanabusas Request to Postpone Election

Hanabusa's argued that the election should be postponed due to storm damage. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated: 8:18 p.m. | A state judge denied Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s request to postpone voting in Hawaii’s Democratic Senate primary, where voters in a couple precincts are scheduled to cast ballots Friday.

Hanabusa filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking that special extended voting hours in two precincts on the Big Island be pushed back further. The make-up date was scheduled by the state Office of Elections after a hurricane shut down the precincts’ polling places Aug. 9, when the rest of the state voted.

Currently the primary race is too close to call, with Hanabusa trailing Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,635 votes. The remaining precincts will decide the outcome.

Hawaii News Now and other outlets reported the news of the Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura’s ruling Thursday. Full story

Harry Reid to Fundraise for Two Democrats in Lake Tahoe

Harry Reid to Fundraise for Two Democrats in Lake Tahoe

Harry Reid of Nevada is the Senate Majority Leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will hold a retreat in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, this weekend with donors to boost two Democratic Senate campaigns: Rep. Gary Peters’ bid in Michigan and Sen. Al Franken’s re-election in Minnesota.

According to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call, the Lake Tahoe Retreat runs from Aug. 15 through 17 at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino in Incline Village. The required contribution to attend is $10,000 with checks made payable to Searchlight Lake Tahoe Victory Fund, Reid’s joint fundraising committee. Full story

NRCC Names Four More ‘Young Guns’

House Republicans rolled out another round of Young Guns, the party’s designation for top-tier candidates in open and Democratic-held seats.

None of the four Republicans in this round are running in districts where Republicans have much of a shot, according to the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race ratings.

In order to earn the title of Young Gun, a House Republican candidate must meet internal committee benchmarks, including fundraising. The designation telegraphs to donors and the press which candidates the National Republican Congressional Committee takes seriously.

All the following candidates are in races rated Safe Democratic by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

New Democratic Poll Shows Florida Congressman in Peril

New Democratic Poll Shows Florida Congressman in Peril

Steve Southerland is vulnerable in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new Democratic poll shows Gwen Graham with a slight lead over Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., but still within the margin of error.

Graham, the likely Democratic nominee, had the support of 45 percent of survey participants, while Southerland trailed with 43 percent. Eleven percent of respondents were undecided.

Ocean Champions, an environmental group that endorses Democratic candidates, commissioned the poll.

The margin of error is 4.4 points, which means the survey reinforces the view of many national operations hold on Florida’s 2nd District race: It’s a dead heat. The race is rated Tossup/Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, and Southerland is on Roll Call’s most recent list of the 10 Most Vulnerable MembersFull story

August 13, 2014

Hanabusa Files Lawsuit Against Hawaii Office of Elections

Hanabusa Files Lawsuit Against Hawaii Office of Elections

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Democratic Senate primary in Hawaii too close to call and several thousand votes on the line, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, has sued the state’s Office of Elections to postpone Friday’s special election date.

hurricane descended on Hawaii during last weekend’s primary, forcing officials to postpone elections in two precincts on the Big Island. They decided Monday to hold special elections on Friday.

Hanabusa currently trails Sen. Brian Schatz, also a Democrat, by 1,635 votes.

Hanabusa filed the lawsuit with the third circuit court Wednesday, roughly 36 hours before the Friday special election. The two precincts include an estimated 8,000 voters. Full story

Back Home, Top Senate Democrats Upbeat About Holding Majority

Back Home, Top Senate Democrats Upbeat About Holding Majority

At an event in Springfield, Ill., Durbin was optimistic about the Senate majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., — Back in their home states for the August recess, the Senate’s two top Democrats said Wednesday they are optimistic about the prospects of maintaining control of the chamber in November.

Back Home, Top Senate Democrats Upbeat About Holding MajoritySenate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a union audience in Nevada that he believed Democrats would keep the Senate if the elections were held today, while also pushing steelworkers to work to get out the vote. And in Springfield, Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin spoke to a gaggle of reporters outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and other statewide elected officials spoke to mark Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair.

The Senate leaders discussed the state of play with each other as recently as Tuesday, Durbin said.

Democrats face a challenging map and are likely to lose at least three open seats, but they are optimistic about their most-endangered incumbents and not allowing Republicans to pick up an additional three.

“Right now we have 55 seats. We lose six and we lose the majority,” Durbin said. “There are two or three that are tough, tough states, but the rest of them we feel pretty good about.” Full story

Wisconsin Primary Now Too Close to Call

Wisconsin Primary Now Too Close to Call

Joe Leibham's late election night surge means the race is now too close to call. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

The Associated Press has rescinded its call in Wisconsin’s 6th District GOP primary after announcing that state Sen. Glenn Grothman won the GOP race last night.

The race is now too close to call, with Grothman garnering 36.2% of the votes and State Sen. Joe Leibham with 35.8% of the votes. Just 214 votes separate the contenders.

After the AP called the race for Grothman a few hours after the polls closed last night, observers noted that the votes were still not counted in Leibham’s base of Sheboygan.  Full story

Senate Democrats Launch $9.1 Million Ad Buy in North Carolina

 

Senate Democrats Launch $9.1 Million Ad Buy in North Carolina

Tillis is hit by a TV ad from national Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a hard-hitting ad Wednesday against the Republican challenger to Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., the first spot of a $9.1 million investment in the state through Election Day.

The spot attacks state Speaker Thom Tillis on education, saying the budget passed by the state Legislature last year had negative impacts. Hagan has leveled similar attacks against Tillis, tying him to laws that emerged from last year’s legislative session.

“House speaker Thom Tillis drew a bull’s-eye on public schools, cutting nearly $500 million,” a female narrator says. At the same time, the narrator says, he gave “tax breaks to yacht and jet owners.” Full story

It’s the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Its the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State Fair

Grassley hams it up in the pork tent at the Iowa State Fair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — At the Iowa State Fair, the walk from the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building to the swine barn should take about five minutes.

But with Sen. Charles E. Grassley, it takes 45.

Its the Chuck Grassley Show at the Iowa State FairSince the Republican was first elected to the Senate in 1980, Grassley, the Hawkeye State’s senior senator, has never been re-elected with less than 64 percent of the vote. At the Iowa State Fair, it is easy to see why.

On Friday, Grassley could not travel more than 10 feet without people stopping to shake his hand, get a picture or tell him how he great he is. GOP candidates agree with that sentiment: He was at the fair to campaign with Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for Senate to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

“I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Joni Ernst, she’s running for Senate,” Grassley says, time and time again. Full story

Wisconsin Primary Results: Republicans Nominate Grothman in 6th District

Wisconsin Primary Results: Republicans Nominate Grothman in 6th District

The winner of the Wisconsin primary will succeed Petri. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:40 a.m. | State Sen. Glenn Grothman has won the GOP  primary by a slim margin in the only open House district in Wisconsin.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the 6th district primary race for Grothman, who garnered 36.2 percent of the vote in the four-way contest to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Tom Petri.

State Sen. Joe Leibham trails Grothman with 35.8 percent — or by 215 votes.

Full story

August 12, 2014

Minnesota Primary Results: Republicans Pick Michele Bachmann Successor

Minnesota Primary Results: Republicans Pick Michele Bachmann Successor

Michele Bachmann is retiring, and Republicans have nominated a successor for her seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Former state Rep. Tom Emmer decisively defeated Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah Tuesday in the GOP primary for Minnesota’s open 6th District, putting him on a near certain path to Congress this fall to succeed retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

Emmer bested Sivarajah, 76.5 percent to 23.5 percent, with 28 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Full story

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