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

September 15, 2014

Democrats Sound the Alarm on Southern California Race

Democrats Sound the Alarm on Southern California Race

Brownley is a freshman Democrat from California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are sending warning signals on a previously sleepy southern California House race — a tangible sign of an increasingly tough midterm for the party.

Freshman Rep. Julia Brownley is one of three House Democrats receiving extra and early help from the national party. A year ago, her district was barely on the party’s radar of competitive races, after President Barack Obama carried it by 10 points last cycle.

“This is a tight race and a difficult seat, and we are committed to hanging onto it,” said Matt Thornton, a spokesman for House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC aiding Brownley’s re-election.

Full story

Democratic Poll Shows Dead Heat in New Jersey Race

Democratic Poll Shows Dead Heat in New Jersey Race

MacArthur is running for the House in southern New Jersey. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll shows a dead heat in a competitive New Jersey House race.

In the survey, obtained first by CQ Roll Call, insurance company owner Tom MacArthur, the Republican nominee, leads the Democrat, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, 46 percent to 43 percent. The results are within the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error.

New Jersey’s 3rd District is open this cycle because GOP Rep. Jon Runyan is retiring. The district, which starts in the Philadelphia suburbs and runs east to the Garden State’s coastline, picked President Barack Obama by a 5-point margin in 2012.

But the president’s unpopularity has shifted the national political climate to increasingly favor the GOP in the midterms. Full story

Rand Paul Sets Timeline to Decide Presidential Bid

Rand Paul Sets Timeline to Decide Presidential Bid

Rand Paul has said he's considering running for president in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul will announce whether he’ll run for president by next spring, the Kentucky Republican said Monday.

“Next spring we’ll probably — our decision — when we’ll make our final decision,” Paul told anchor Charlie Rose on “CBS This Morning.”

Paul is one of a handful of Republican senators mulling a national bid in 2016. Full story

Kay Hagan Holds Small Lead in New Poll

Kay Hagan Holds Small Lead in New Poll

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new poll showed Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, holding a small lead over Republican Thom Tillis in the contested North Carolina Senate race.

The Elon University poll found Hagan ahead of Tillis, 44 percent to 40 percent, among likely voters. The margin of error for the poll is 3.91 points.

Republicans must pick up a net of six seats to gain control of the Senate, and the Tar Heel Senate race is one of their top targets in the midterms. Hagan has held a narrow edge in most polls over the past two months.

You Decide: Where Should Roll Call Travel for the Midterm Elections?

You Decide: Where Should Roll Call Travel for the Midterm Elections?

Associate Politics Editor Kyle Trygstad, left, interviews GOP Senate candidate David Perdue on the campaign trail in Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In our unprecedented effort to cover the midterm elections, Roll Call has hit the campaign trail in 14 states so far this year, covering 24 congressional races and writing 36 datelined stories from Adel, Iowa, to Tallulah, Louisiana.

We’ve written about House and Senate races in ArizonaGeorgiaIllinoisIowaMassachusettsMississippiNew HampshirePennsylvania, TexasWest Virginia and more. Later this week, we’ll head back to Louisiana to cover this cycle’s most vulnerable senator.

You Decide: Where Should Roll Call Travel for the Midterm Elections?

Unfortunately, there are still a few races we haven’t covered yet from the ground — and we’re running out of time. We’d like help from you, our readers, to pick two of Roll Call’s final campaign stops this cycle.

Vote for your race by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19. Readers will pick two races from the finalists next week. Full story

Alison Lundergan Grimes Shoots Skeet in New Ad (Video) (Updated)

Alison Lundergan Grimes Shoots Skeet in New Ad (Video) (Updated)

McConnell, center, is the minority leader. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:57 p.m. | The latest television spot from Alison Lundergan Grimes shows her skeet shooting on a farm as part of the Senate nominee’s attempt to create distance with an unpopular president in the midterms.

The Kentucky Democrat will face Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in November. In the spot, after firing a few rounds at clay pigeons, Grimes looks at the camera and says “I’m not Barack Obama. I disagree with him on guns, coal and the EPA.”

Full story

Democrats Have a Plan to Overcome Obama in Red States

Democrats Have a Plan to Overcome Obama in Red States

Hagan is a North Carolina Democrat seeking re-election this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As national analysts say the odds are increasingly against them, Democratic senators and senior operatives remain optimistic the party’s most vulnerable incumbents can survive stiff re-election challenges, even in red states where the president’s popularity is sunk.

With his national approval ratings mired in the low 40s seven weeks out from the Nov. 4 elections, Senate Democrats are well aware of the anchor President Barack Obama is proving to be in the midterms. It’s clear party strategists have had to tailor their red-state strategies around that reality on a map already tilted against them, with three principles at the crux of Democrats’ path to defend seats in GOP-leaning and solidly Republican states where the majority will be won or lost.

As Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil outlined in an interview last week with CQ Roll Call, it’s imperative for Democrats in these states to remind voters why they supported the incumbent in the first place, to over-perform generic Democratic numbers and continue to fund persuasion efforts — along with getting out the vote — through Election Day.

“The president’s ratings are a factor in our elections, but they are not the only factor in our elections,” Cecil said, noting the tens of millions of dollars being spent on advertising and the DSCC’s field campaign efforts. Full story

September 12, 2014

Polls Show Two Democrats Trailing in New York

Polls Show Two Democrats Trailing in New York

A new poll showed Gibson ahead of his Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two new polls showed a duo of House Democrats trailing in competitive races in upstate New York.

In the Empire State’s 19th District, GOP Rep. Chris Gibson leads his Democratic challenger, venture capitalist Sean Eldridge, by 24 points, according to a Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll released Thursday.

North in the 21st District, a similar survey from WWNY-7 News/Siena College showed Republican Elise Stefanik leading Democrat Aaron Woolf by 13 points. Woolf and Stefanik are competing to succeed Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., who is retiring.  Full story

National Democrats Respond to Thom Tillis Education Ad

National Democrats Respond to Thom Tillis Education Ad

Tillis is the Republican nominee for Senate in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s latest ad in North Carolina continues to pummel state Speaker Thom Tillis on education.

Tillis faces Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in one of the most competitive Senate races.
The committee’s new ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, is a direct response to one of Tillis’ ads, which was a rebuttal of a DSCC’s ad attacking him on the same issue. The DSCC ad uses video from the Tillis’s ad, Math, where he stood in front of a classroom white board and talked about how often Hagan voted with President Barack Obama. Full story

Michelle Nunn Hits David Perdue on Equal Pay (Video)

Michelle Nunn Hits David Perdue on Equal Pay (Video)

Nunn's Senate campaign launched a new TV ad Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn launched a TV ad Friday asking whether women can trust David Perdue, Nunn’s GOP opponent for the state’s open Senate seat.

The ad, shared first with CQ Roll Call, is part of a continued effort to highlight Perdue’s corporate past. It states Dollar General was sued by female employees for discrimination while he was serving as CEO and that the company paid a multi-million-dollar settlement.

“If David Perdue didn’t do right by women at his company, why would he do right for Georgia?” the ad’s announcer says. Full story

September 11, 2014

Rob Portman Will Look at Presidential Bid After Election

Rob Portman Will Look at Presidential Bid After Election

Portman is a Republican from Ohio. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday he would consider a presidential bid, but only after the elections in November.

“Yeah, I’ll take a look at it after the election,” the Ohio Republican told reporters at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast, when asked if it was still something he was considering. Full story

September 10, 2014

John McCain’s Fall Campaign Schedule Includes Pat Roberts

 

John McCains Fall Campaign Schedule Includes Pat Roberts

McCain stumped for Virginia Senate candidate Ed Gillespie Sept. 3. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona Sen. John McCain is planning a trip to Kansas to assist fellow Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, who is locked in a surprisingly competitive re-election battle.

In a brief interview with CQ Roll Call on Wednesday, McCain said he’ll stump for “an old Marine” — Roberts — at one of several stops the former presidential nominee will make across the Senate map over the final eight weeks of the cycle. He’s already been to New Hampshire and Virginia on behalf of Republican challengers, and that’s just the start.

“I’m going to Oregon. I’m going to North Carolina. I’m going to a couple other places,” McCain said. “You know how it is these last couple of months.” Full story

Iowa Poll: Democrat Leads in Top House Contest

Iowa Poll: Democrat Leads in Top House Contest

Young is a Republican running in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new poll found former state Sen. Staci Appel, a Democrat, with a 6-point lead over GOP nominee David Young in a top-target House contest in Iowa.

Appel leads Young, 40 percent to 34 percent, just outside the poll’s margin of error, with 24 percent of voters undecided, according to the independent survey conducted by Loras College and released on Wednesday. Full story

DSCC Blasts Ernst on Social Security Comments in New Ad

DSCC Blasts Ernst on Social Security Comments in New Ad

Ernst is in one of the cycle's tightest races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is going up with a new ad in Iowa attacking Republican Joni Ernst for talking about privatizing social security and tying her to the Koch Brothers.

Ernst faces Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in one of the most competitive races this cycle. The two are vying for the open seat currently held by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

In the ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, a male narrator attacks Ernst as “too extreme.”

“Joni Ernst is talking about privatizing Social Security. Risking it on the stock market,” the narrator says. Full story

How to Lose a Primary in 10 Days

How to Lose a Primary in 10 Days

Tierney lost his primary Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By the time Massachusetts Rep. John F. Tierney knew he had a real primary race on his hands, it was too late.

The nine-term lawmaker lost Tuesday night to fellow Democrat Seth Moulton, an Iraq War veteran who latched onto frustration with Tierney’s past ethical troubles and an anti-incumbent sentiment to win by a stunning 8-point margin.

Multiple Democratic operatives in the Bay State and the District say the race shifted quickly in Moulton’s favor in the final week and a half, as voters ended summer vacations, kids returned to school and the electorate as a whole began to finally pay attention to the race.

By that point, Moulton had been on air for weeks with hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising that Tierney declined to match. Moulton ran spots painting himself as the more electable Democrat in the 6th District, located in the suburbs and towns northeast of Boston. The region’s biggest newspapers, including the Boston Globe, endorsed Moulton, which he touted in his closing ads as a final sell to remaining undecided voters.

“It just moved faster than I think anyone thought it would,” said a Democratic operative privy to internal polling in the contest. “It closed quickly, but that’s what a million dollars in unanswered spending does.”

Full story

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