Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2014

April 15, 2014

Congressman Who Threatened Reporter Rakes in Campaign Cash

Embattled Rep. Michael G. Grimm of New York raised $346,000 in the first quarter, a large haul despite swirling controversy after the Staten Island Republican threatened to throw a reporter off of a balcony after the State of the Union address.

Grimm’s haul brings his total cash on hand to $1.17 million, according to his filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Included in Grimm’s first-quarter filing is $50,000 in legal fees to the law firm Patton Boggs. Grimm is currently under investigation for alleged campaign finance violations tied to his 2010 campaign.

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Bachmann Endorses Emmer as Successor in Minnesota

Bachmann Endorses Emmer as Successor in Minnesota

Emmer is sporting a new endorsement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., on Tuesday endorsed former state Rep. Tom Emmer as her successor in her soon-to-be former House seat, according to a local report.

“I will give Tom every measure that I possibly can. Whether it’s fundraising, whether it’s personal help, whatever I can do I’m there more than 100 percent to ensure that Tom Emmer is the next member of the United States Congress,” Bachmann said at a news conference Tuesday, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Over the weekend, Emmer received the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota in the Gopher State’s 6th District. He defeated Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah and former state Rep. Phil Krinkie to earn the state party’s seal of approval.

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Democrats Lose Top Recruit in Florida House Race

Democrats Lose Top Recruit in Florida House Race

(Tim Boyles/Getty Images)

Alex Sink, the Democratic nominee in a recent high-stakes special election in Florida, will not challenge GOP Rep. David Jolly to a rematch in the 13th District this November.

“I am so honored and humbled by the outpouring of support our campaign received, but after reflection with my family I have made a personal decision not to run for the 13th Congressional District seat in the 2014 election,” she said in a statement released Tuesday. Full story

Clay Aiken Reports Fundraising for North Carolina House Campaign

Clay Aiken Reports Fundraising for North Carolina House Campaign

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images File Photo)

Clay Aiken, an “American Idol” runner-up and Democratic long-shot running for Congress in North Carolina, reported raising $233,000 in the first quarter of this year.

Aiken’s haul includes a $23,000 loan to his campaign, according to his campaign finance report filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission. Aiken reported $125,000 in cash on hand as of March 31.

The haul is smaller than expected for a celebrity candidate; they often rake in huge hauls thanks to deep-pocketed Hollywood connections. Full story

April 14, 2014

Rand Paul Endorses in Race to Replace Trey Radel

Rand Paul Endorses in Race to Replace Trey Radel

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has endorsed in another GOP primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed Republican businessman Curt Clawson in the upcoming special election for a House seat in Florida.

Clawson, who has loaned his campaign more than $2.6 million and released a TV ad Monday, is running in the highly competitive April 22 primary to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. His chief rivals are state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.

“Washington is desperate for outside leadership, Curt Clawson is an outsider who will bring refreshing ideas to the halls of Congress,” Paul said in a statement. “I urge the voters of Florida’s 19th Congressional District to send Curt to Washington.” Full story

GOP Candidate’s Response to Attacks? Silence and Ocean Waves

In the final week before a special primary in Florida, businessman Curt Clawson has a message for his opponents: silence.

Clawson, who is running in the GOP primary to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., has released a new television spot featuring a silent shot of the ocean’s waves rolling up over the shore. Without a narrator, title cards over the sea state the ad is a 30-second respite from negative “attacks” from his GOP opponents, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.

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Club for Growth Hits Simpson on Bailout Vote in TV Ad

Club for Growth Hits Simpson on Bailout Vote in TV Ad

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, faces a competitive May 20 primary (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Club for Growth’s political action arm released a TV ad Monday against Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson, hitting the eight-term Republican on his vote for the Wall Street bailout in 2008 — a key point of contention for the conservative outside group.

Simpson faces attorney Bryan Smith in a competitive May 20 GOP primary. Smith is backed by the club and other tea party-affiliated groups.

The 30-second spot is a fact-check on Simpson’s claim in a recent ad that he voted to repeal the Troubled Assets Relief Program, better known as TARP. The ad utilizes video footage of Simpson speaking at an event in 2010, telling an audience that he voted for TARP.

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Honda Challenger Releases Second Spot in California Race

Honda Challenger Releases Second Spot in California Race

Honda, left, has a challenge from another Democrat this cycle. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney Ro Khanna, a Democrat seeking to defeat longtime Rep. Michael M. Honda, D-Calif., has started to air his second advertisement of the race — a sign the challenger is becoming more aggressive ahead of a June primary.

In the 30-second ad, released on Monday, Khanna broadly describes a few of his policy proposals if elected to Congress. For example, he suggests adding computer coding to the curriculum in public schools – an issue that could resonate in the Silicon Valley-based 17th District.

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April 13, 2014

Israel: Elements of Republican Base ‘Animated By Racism’

Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Sunday “not all” of his Republican colleagues are racist.

In a joint appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union“ with National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon, the New York Democrat was asked by host Candy Crowley whether he agreed with recent comments by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that race played a factor in an immigration overhaul not being brought up for a vote in the House and whether he thought his GOP colleagues are racist.

“Not all of them, no, of course not,” Israel said. “But to a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism. And that’s unfortunate.”

Asked if comments about race by Pelosi and Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as the “war on women” rhetoric from Democrats last week, were about getting the base out to vote in November, Israel said, “We don’t need to get our base out, because frankly, we’re ready to pass an immigration bill. We’d rather pass an immigration bill than worry about the election.”

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By Emily Cahn Posted at 3:10 p.m.
DCCC, House 2014, La.-5, NRCC

April 11, 2014

Tom Petri Announces Retirement

Tom Petri Announces Retirement

Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., will not seek re-election this year (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wisconsin Rep. Tom Petri will announce Monday he is not seeking re-election this year, according to his office.

First elected in 1979, the Republican is in his 18th term representing the 6th District, based in Oshkosh and Sheboygan.

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Gwen Graham Turns in Strong Fundraising Quarter

Gwen Graham, an attorney and daughter of former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., raised nearly half a million dollars in the first three months of the year for her congressional bid in Florida.

According to figures provided first to CQ Roll Call, the Democrat raised $485,000 in the first quarter and had $1.4 million in cash on hand at the end of March.

Graham is challenging GOP Rep. Steve Southerland II in Florida’s 2nd District, a top target for national Democrats.

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Freshman Democrat Topped $400,000 for Illinois House Rematch

Freshman Democrat Topped $400,000 for Illinois House Rematch

Rep. Cheri Bustos faces a rematch in her first re-election bid. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos raised $403,000 in the first quarter, according to figures provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The freshman Democrat banked much of that haul, increasing her cash on hand to $1.1 million as of March 31, according to her campaign.

Bustos faces a rematch with Republican Bobby Schilling, the congressman she ousted last cycle. Bustos won by 6 points as President Barack Obama carried the district with 57 percent of the vote.

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First Karen Handel TV Ad Features Sarah Palin

Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, one of about a half-dozen Republicans running in the Peach State’s open Senate contest, will hit the airwaves Monday with a new ad that prominently features former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The 30-second ad, which is narrated with audio from the April event where Palin endorsed Handel, will air statewide on cable and broadcast, according to Handel’s campaign.

“You know her background, you know her record, the conservative who has walked the walk cutting budgets,” Palin says of Handel in the ad.

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Alabama Hopeful Raises $484,000 in Open-Seat Contest

State Rep. Paul DeMarco, one of seven Republicans running for Alabama’s open 6th District, raised $484,000 in the first quarter, according to numbers provided first to CQ Roll Call.

DeMarco’s haul brings his total in cash on hand to $650,000.

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April 10, 2014

Top Arizona Republican Recruit Raised $449,000 in First Quarter

Top Arizona Republican Recruit Raised $449,000 in First Quarter

Martha McSally hopes the second time is the charm against Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally, a Republican challenging Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in Arizona’s 2nd District, raised $449,000 in the first quarter, according to figures provided first to CQ Roll Call.

McSally, touted as a top recruit by national Republicans, did not release how much cash she had on hand at the end of the quarter. As of Dec. 31, she had $548,000 in the bank.

Part of McSally’s first-quarter haul includes money from a fundraiser headlined by Speaker John A. Boehner in Tucson, Ariz., just before the end of the quarter.

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