Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

April 22, 2014

Internal Poll: GOP Primary Wide Open in Alabama Race

A new internal poll shows the crowded primary in Alabama’s open 6th District is wide open less than two months before the primary, according to information provided first to CQ Roll Call.

The poll, conducted for GOP surgeon Chad Mathis’ campaign, found two of the six candidates in a statistical dead heat, with the third- and fourth-place contenders not far behind, and a large portion of respondents remain undecided. Full story

Front-runner Emerges in GOP Special Election for Trey Radel Seat

Front runner Emerges in GOP Special Election for Trey Radel Seat

Radel pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in November. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Republicans head to the polls for a special election Tuesday to pick a nominee to succeed former Rep. Trey Radel, who exited Congress earlier this year following his arrest for cocaine possession that culminated in a national scandal for Republicans.

The 19th District marks safe GOP territory, so whomever wins Tuesday’s primary will likely become the next member of Congress after the June 24 special election. Polling results — public and internal — have varied for the GOP contest.

But many Florida Republicans wager that a self-funding businessman, Curt Clawson, boasts an advantage over his top two primary rivals, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel. Full story

Leach, Boyle Go On Air in Philly-Area House Race (Updated)

Leach, Boyle Go On Air in Philly Area House Race (Updated)

Leach is the first Democrat to hit the airwaves in the Pennsylvania primary. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:26 a.m. | Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach and state Rep. Brendan Boyle, two of the four Democrats vying for a Philadelphia-area House seat, launched the first TV ads of the race on Tuesday — one month out from the hotly contested primary.

Both ads highlight the candidates’ working-class upbringings, which they say is their motivation for public service.

Leach’s ad features his childhood in the state’s foster care system, while Boyle references his father’s career as a janitor for Philadelphia’s commuter rail system.

Full story

April 21, 2014

Republicans Spend Millions on TV in Primary for Trey Radel Seat

Republicans Spend Millions on TV in Primary for Trey Radel Seat

Radel resigned from Congress earlier this year, prompting a special election for his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans have spent millions ahead of Tuesday’s special primary to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. — and the 19th District television airwaves show it.

Three of Radel’s potential successors boast at least $1 million in airtime behind each of their efforts — both from their own campaigns and outside groups boosting them. It’s a staggering number for an otherwise under-the-radar primary in a special election.

The spending leader is businessman Curt Clawson, who has loaned $2.65 million of his own funds to his campaign, according to his most recent campaign fundraising report. But outside groups have helped two other GOP candidates, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, stay in the game.

Whomever wins the GOP primary on Tuesday is all but certain to carry the seat in the June 24 special election. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Here’s a look at how much campaigns and outside groups have spent on television in the race, according to two GOP media buying sources monitoring the race. Numbers are approximated. Full story

Romney Endorses in Targeted Arizona Race

Romney Endorses in Targeted Arizona Race

Mitt Romney endorsed in an Arizona House race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mitt Romney threw his support behind Arizona state Speaker Andy Tobin on Monday, marking the latest candidate Romney has  endorsed in the midterm elections.

Other Republicans backed by Romney this cycle include Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson, who is facing a competitive GOP primary next month, state Del. Barbara Comstock in Virginia’s open 10th District, and state Sen. Joni Ernst for Iowa’s open Senate seat, among others.

“I am proud to support Andy Tobin for Congress,” Romney said in a statement. “Andy is a proven conservative whose leadership in Arizona has been crucial to cutting state government spending, lowering taxes and fighting to stop ObamaCare.” Full story

Mitch McConnell Launches Ad for Final Month of Primary

Mitch McConnell Launches Ad for Final Month of Primary

McConnell has one month left in his primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest TV ad kicks off his closing argument for the final month of the Kentucky Republican primary and sets up his message for the start of the general election.

The positive spot, launched Monday and running for an undetermined amount of time, paints McConnell, a five-term incumbent, as “a genuine Kentucky workhorse.” It highlights his work in the Senate against the president’s health care law and “war on coal,” as well as his efforts against tax increases and on a local fishing issue.

“Mitch McConnell fights for our values, our future and our jobs,” the ad’s narrator says.

Full story

Republican Marks First TV Foray in Hollywood House Race

A Republican candidate in the crowded race to replace Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., went on the air Monday with the first television spot of the ultra-competitive contest.

Six weeks before the primary, Elan Carr, a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles and president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, released a biographical spot touting his legal experience.

Full story

April 20, 2014

House Democrats Raise More Money Than GOP in March

House Democrats Raise More Money Than GOP in March

Steve Israel of New York is the chairman of the DCCC. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Democrats’ political arm raised about $400,000 more than its GOP counterpart in March — although both committees posted strong fundraising last month.

The National Republican Congressional Committee will report raising $9.9 million in March and had $31.2 million in cash on hand at the end of the month. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $10.3 million during the same month and had $40.2 million in the bank. Full story

Georgia Republicans Brawl for Conservative Mantle in Senate Debate

Georgia Republicans Brawl for Conservative Mantle in Senate Debate

Handel, left, and Perdue, right, debate for the Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Republicans Brawl for Conservative Mantle in Senate DebateAUGUSTA, Ga. — Seven Republican Senate hopefuls stood before a mammoth American flag Saturday afternoon for the sixth of seven debates hosted by the state GOP.

In front of a couple hundred voters at the Columbia County Exhibition Center just outside Augusta, the candidates sought to fortify their conservative credentials on immigration, the Second Amendment, abortion and what can be done to improve confidence in the economy.

With so many candidates running for the state’s open Senate seat, none are expected to win a majority of the vote in the May 20 primary. They’re fighting to finish in the top two and advance to the July 22 runoff, when all bets are off.

Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee, wasn’t mentioned until the final three minutes of the 90-minute debate — symbolic of where the GOP’s focus still is in the race to replace retiring GOp Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel first uttered the Nunn name in her closing remarks, as she portrayed herself as the most electable conservative on the stage.

“I would just love to see Michelle Nunn try to drop the ‘war on women’ on me,” Handel said.

Handel is the only woman in the field of GOP candidates, five of whom have at least an outside shot at making the runoff. Former Reebok and Dollar General CEO David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, continually pitches himself as the outsider with the business background, grouping Handel in with the three members of Congress as the “career politicians.”

“Sometimes real change takes an outsider’s perspective,” Perdue said. “Fresh eyes, determination and a bucket-load of common sense. That’s what I will bring to the United States Senate.”

Full story

April 18, 2014

Michele Bachmann Endorses in Florida Special Election

Michele Bachmann Endorses in Florida Special Election

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., endorsed in a Florida special election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has endorsed businessman Curt Clawson with days to go in the Republican primary race to replace former Florida Rep. Trey Radel.

Clawson’s announcement of the endorsement offered no statement from the retiring congresswoman, but the candidate heaped praise on Bachmann, the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus.

“Congresswoman Bachmann was tea party before there was a tea party, and after this year she will be missed in Congress,” Clawson said. “With a victory next Tuesday, we can continue the work she has started to protect our Constitution and restore fiscal integrity to Washington.”

Clawson faces a competitive primary on Tuesday. His chief rivals are state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.

Bachmann joins several national Republicans who backed candidates in the race for Florida’s 19th District. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also endorsed Clawson. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and two members of Congress recently backed Benacquisto.

The winner of the primary is likely to win the June 24 special election. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Jack Kingston Works His Base at Rural Cookout

Jack Kingston Works His Base at Rural Cookout

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., greets supporters as he arrives at an annual cookout. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jack Kingston Works His Base at Rural CookoutGLENNVILLE, Ga. — Rep. Jack Kingston, who’s represented Savannah in Congress for the last two decades, was at home Thursday evening in nearby Tattnall County, where elected officials and candidates streamed in to put their face in front of the loads of sheriffs, police and first responders gathered on the grounds of a rural pond house.

The Republican was one of three candidates vying for the party’s Senate nomination to attend the 27th annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Cookout, held just outside Kingston’s district. More than 1,000 people from around the state were on hand, sipping light beer and munching on pork barbecue, smoked chicken, Cadillac rice and Brunswick stew. Kingston, the only candidate with a campaign booth, could barely turn around without running into someone he knew, inevitably wearing his campaign sticker.

Southeast Georgia is Kingston country. His campaign has been working for months to broaden his brand beyond this area and into vote-rich Atlanta ahead of the competitive May 20 primary. But on this day, the congressman was sewing up his base.

Full story

Where Is Democratic Super PAC Spending Money? These 24 Districts Get Fall TV Reservations

Where Is Democratic Super PAC Spending Money? These 24 Districts Get Fall TV Reservations

Raul Ruiz, seen here during his 2012 campaign in California, is among the freshmen Democrats getting a boost from a super PAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, a super PAC with the aim of electing House Democrats, announced its first round of television reservations for the fall.

The reservations, totaling about $6.5 million, are for “the final weeks of the election in 24 districts,” a news release stated.

The super PAC during the 2012 cycle made its first round of reservations in early July in partnership with the Service Employees International Union.

“By placing these reservations early, we will make our dollars go further and ensure we have the air time to effectively fight back against the flood of Koch brothers’ dollars,” House Majority PAC Executive Director Alixandria Lapp said in a statement.

The super PAC is on offensive in six Republican-held districts and on defense in 18 Democratic districts. Often, releasing ad reservations to the press is a means to telegraph to allies, like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, how outside groups intend to spend money.

Below is a breakdown of the buys, categorized by offensive and defensive targets:

Full story

April 17, 2014

Republicans Prepare for Primary Fight in Wisconsin House Race

Republicans Prepare for Primary Fight in Wisconsin House Race

Petri is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the first time in 35 years, Wisconsin Republicans are gearing up for a divisive primary in the 6th District.

GOP Rep. Tom Petri’s retirement announcement last week has made the district more competitive, but Republicans are expected to hold the seat. (The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates this race as a Safe Republican contest.)

Two Republicans have thrown their hats into the ring so far.

Full story

Republican Hits Vulnerable West Virginia Democrat in First TV Spot

Updated 5:48 p.m. | State Sen. Evan Jenkins, a Republican challenging Rep. Nick J. Rahall II in West Virginia, is up with his first ad — an attack on Democrats’ attack on Jenkins.

Dizzy yet? Just wait.

The Jenkins spot seeks to tie Rahall to a flare up between the Jenkins campaign and House Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to electing Democrats to the House.

“Nick Rahall, a lying politician, just like Obama,” the male narrator says.

Runoff Likely in Crowded N.C. Open-Seat Race

Runoff Likely in Crowded N.C. Open Seat Race

Coble will leave Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican nominee in the crowded race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Howard Coble likely won’t be known until mid-summer.

Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., the son and namesake of one of North Carolina’s most powerful Republican officials, has a firm grip on the front-runner position. But GOP operatives in the Tar Heel State said Berger, whose father Phil Berger Sr. is president pro tem of the state Senate, is unlikely to surpass the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff in the May 6 primary.

“I believe [Berger Jr.] has a name ID advantage just because of who his dad is,” said Matt Bales, a researcher with the non-partisan FreeEnterprise Foundation in North Carolina.

The primary has become a race for second place, and many North Carolina operatives said the rest of the nine-candidate GOP field is largely unknown, unwieldy and hard to assess.

Full story

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...