Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2015

October 19, 2012

Minnesota: Republican Group Invests in Hot House Race

Republican-aligned American Action Network is investing another $500,000 into Minnesota’s hotly contested 8th district race on behalf of freshman GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack, Roll Call has learned.

With the additional reservation, AAN is now scheduled to spend $1 million from today through Election Day to help Cravaack survive a stiff challenge from former Rep. Rick Nolan (D). That includes $700,000 in television time in Minneapolis, $200,000 in Duluth and $100,000 online. The group had already spent $700,000 on the race. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Forget gutter politics. One ad today is so nasty it is going straight to the toilet.

Here is what cut through the ad clutter today:

Florida 22

This ad is why we try to avoid labeling Daily Ad Track with words like “best.” At first, this ad from Republican Adam Hasner seems like a normal checklist of negative points against Democrat Lois Frankel. But at the end, it takes a grody turn. The Hasner camp did not immediately return a call requesting buy information, but the biggest question we have is, will this ad air during dinner time?

Full story

Illinois: NRCC Has No Plans to Dump Joe Walsh

The National Republican Congressional Committee has no plans to cancel an ad reservation supporting Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.), despite remarks made Thursday night that pregnancy never threatens the health or life of a woman.

“With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” of a woman’s life being endangered by pregnancy, Walsh said after a debate with his opponent, Democrat Tammy Duckworth. “There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.”

A spokeswoman for the NRCC, which has committed more than $450,000 for cable ads in the Chicagoland area, said the group will not cancel its buy through the election.

“We will continue to hold Tammy Duckworth accountable for cheating on her taxes while accepting millions in special interest cash.  That’s what our ad accomplishes, and it will remain on the air through Election Day,” NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said.

Full story

Tennessee: Democratic PAC on TV Against Scott DesJarlais

Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC announced this morning that it will begin running a stinging television ad in Tennessee’s 4th district against freshman Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

The ad highlights the barrage of negative headlines and TV news coverage after a Huffington Post report of a transcript from a more-than-decade-old phone call in which DesJarlais, then a doctor, urged a pregnant mistress to get an abortion. The woman was a patient of the conservative anti-abortion doctor-turned-lawmaker. Full story

DSCC Raises $15.6M in September

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised a whopping $15.6 million in September, a massive sum that elevated the committee to its best third-quarter haul ever.

In a final push to hold the party’s 53-47 Senate majority, the DSCC’s fundraising last month equaled about twice as much as it raised in the previous two months combined and boosted its third-quarter total to $29.2 million. The committee had $27 million in cash on hand left at the end of September.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has not yet released its September fundraising.

Illinois: Joe Walsh’s Todd Akin Moment?

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Joe Walsh asserted Thursday night that an abortion is “absolutely” never medically necessary to save a woman’s life because of “modern technology and science,” according to multiple local media accounts.

The Illinois Republican does not support abortion in any circumstance — including in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman — and the issue was a focus of his debate with Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth.

“With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” of a woman’s life being endangered by pregnancy, Walsh said after the debate in response to a reporter’s question. “There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.” Full story

October 18, 2012

Ohio: Sherrod Brown, Josh Mandel Get Testy and Personal in Debate

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) were alternately feisty and condescending in a debate tonight in the state’s capital city.

The two-term Senator defended his “pro-worker, pro-small business” record, while Mandel accused Brown of “gobbledygook” and “Washington speak”  that requires an online translator.

“You have my commitment for my second term to continue to fight for Ohio workers and Ohio companies and to continue to stand up for the middle class,” Brown said.

Sherrod Brown says one thing in Ohio and does another thing in Washington,” Mandel said several times throughout the hourlong debate. “We can’t change Washington by sending Sherrod Brown back there.” Full story

Missouri: Todd Akin, Claire McCaskill Reprise Familiar Themes

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and GOP Rep. Todd Akin used the final Missouri Senate debate to talk about issues close to home, but the exchange of the night came on foreign policy.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)  became a focus of the discussion, with McCaskill and Akin disagreeing on his proposal to restrict foreign aid to a variety of countries — even if neither candidate could quite remember which ones the Kentucky Republican meant to reference.

“I am, in fact, the one that’s supporting the fact that we should not be giving foreign money to a number of places, and that includes of course Libya and Pakistan and — let’s see, one other country as well …” Akin said.

McCaskill offered up “Syria,” in a moment reminiscent of when Mitt Romney pitched in to try to help Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) remember which Cabinet departments he planned to eliminate during a presidential primary debate earlier this year.

The third country on Paul’s list is Egypt.

Full story

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin, Tommy Thompson Stick to the Script in Debate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a rarely used debate format, Wisconsin Senate candidates Tommy Thompson (R), a former governor, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) were permitted to directly spar with each other in unmoderated six-minute chunks on topics picked by voters.

The result?

The hourlong debate in Wausau played very much like an extended, spliced-together greatest hits video of Thompson and Baldwin campaign ads, an at times heated back-and-forth defined more by established talking points than off-the-cuff remarks. Given that predictability, and in a race that’s too close to call 19 days before Election Day, it’s unclear whether either candidate was able to sway the few remaining undecided voters in ways their media operations can’t.

The debaters addressed the 2010 health care law, with Baldwin in favor and Thompson opposed; the deficit crisis, with Baldwin calling for higher-earning Americans to pay more and Thompson accusing the Democrat of being a tax-and-spender; and even Wisconsin’s own vice presidential candidate, with Baldwin calling Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget extreme and Thompson trying to distance himself after telling reporters in August that “most people know that Paul and I are close friends and that we teamed up on many issues, especially on Medicare.”

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released earlier this evening had Baldwin leading Thompson 49 percent to 45 percent. A Marquette University poll released Wednesday had Thompson leading Baldwin 46 percent to 45 percent. Sources on both sides of the aisle, in Wisconsin and in Washington, D.C., say that Wisconsin’s Senate contest is among the most competitive in the country and could be decisive in determining the chamber’s majority. Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup.

Full story

Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson Writes Big Check to His Senate Campaign

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) has contributed $832,000 in personal funds to his Senate campaign, according to an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Thompson, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush, has been relatively cash-strapped since surviving a bruising four-way August primary, during which he contributed more than $700,000 of his own money to his campaign via a combination of donations and loans in the closing days of that race.

Earlier in August, Thompson had told the Journal Sentinel that he didn’t think it was “right” for candidates to self-finance their campaigns, saying, “I don’t think that people should buy an election with their own wealth.” But in his meeting with the paper posted today, Thompson said his Democratic opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, has benefited significantly from raising money out of state and that he had no “power base” from which to fundraise.

Full story

Colorado: Chris Van Hollen Dials In for Sal Pace

A prominent House Democrat today came to the aid of Sal Pace, who is challenging Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in Colorado’s 3rd district.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, joined Pace on a conference call with reporters to attack Tipton’s support for the policies of House Budget Chairman and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.). Pace, who is in a competitive race with Tipton, has linked Tipton to Ryan’s budget because Tipton voted for it.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been talking about how disasterous the Tipton-Ryan budget would be,” Pace said during the conference call. He added that former presidential candidate and ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) referred to the budget as “right-wing social engineering.” Full story

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the ad clutter today:

California 30

The Berman-Sherman race has officially gone, like, mega-ballistic.

Two new ads from the costliest Member-vs.-Member race in the country were released on Wednesday, as Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman once again laid into each other. Berman’s campaign used clips from their debate last week, when Sherman wrapped his arm around Berman and the two had to be separated, as they were on the verge of engaging in a physical altercation.

Full story

Nevada: Shelley Berkley Camp Releases Internal to Combat Public Polls

Rep. Shelley Berkley’s Senate campaign released an internal poll this afternoon after two new public autodial polls found the Democrat down by at least 6 points.

A memo from the Mellman Group polling firm reported that Berkley led Republican Sen. Dean Heller, 41 percent to 38 percent, with 11 percent undecided. The campaign released a poll last week that had Berkley ahead by an identical margin.

“As you know, every public poll in the 2010 Senate race proved to be far off the mark,” the polling memo stated in reference to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) race last cycle. “So it is with the 2012 polling.” Full story

Missouri: Anti-Todd Akin ‘Talking Greeting Card’ Targets His Rape Comments

The liberal super PAC American Bridge is branching out into the talking greeting card business, sending mailers to Missouri voters featuring the controversial words of Rep. Todd Akin (R).

Todd Akin’s remarks on ‘legitimate rape’ are just a starting point for his extreme views,” American Bridge spokesman Matt Thornton said. “We figured there is no better way to show Missouri voters that Akin is unqualified to be a U.S. Senator than to let him speak for himself.”

The mailer was produced by MailPOW, a California company that got into the business of producing talking mailers in 2010. The company says the Postal Service, which is in need of new revenue streams, is promoting the product as part of a campaign to increase the number of political advertising materials sent through the mail.

Full story

Rhode Island: Brendan Doherty Cuts Back on TV

Updated 2:45 p.m. | Republican Brendan Doherty has reduced his television advertising reservations for the last weeks of his bid to oust Rep. David Cicilline (D) in Rhode Island’s 1st district.

Providence CBS affiliate WPRI first reported the news of the reservation reduction. The Doherty camp thinned its final two-week buy from $326,000 to $202,000, according to a GOP source. A Democratic source confirmed the cutback to Roll Call. This is not the same sort of ad movement as a committee pulling out of a race, but it does display a change in calculation on the part of the Doherty campaign.

The Doherty campaign could not immediately be reached for comment. Full story

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