Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 25, 2015

November 28, 2012

Walden Taps Liesl Hickey to Be NRCC Executive Director

Walden has selected an executive director to run the National Republican Congressional Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)


Liesl Hickey has been appointed as the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2014 cycle.

Newly elected NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon tapped Hickey to direct the powerful committee, which is tasked with defending a sizable majority in the next election cycle.

Hickey, 38, served as the head of the NRCC’s incumbent retention Patriot Program during the 2012 cycle, a position she was appointed to in January 2011.

“Liesl Hickey gets it,” Walden said in a statement. “She understands how Republicans can win in competitive districts. She has sharp political instincts and led our Patriot Program to help the House retain the second largest GOP majority since the 1940s. With this solid base in place, she will lead our team forward to gaining ground in 2014.”

Full story

By Joshua Miller Posted at 3:10 p.m.

Tennessee State Representative Mulls Primary Run Against DesJarlais

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican state Rep. Kevin Brooks confirmed to CQ Roll Call that he is seriously eyeing a bid against embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.

“We’re in the exploration/prayer mode,” he said. “We are gauging our support, which is growing. And that’s the reason I’ve decided to publicly state that this is something that we’re looking at.”

DesJarlais has taken a number of political hits recently, as records from a decade-old divorce have become public.

Full story

Illinois: Ex-Rep. Reynolds to Run for Former Seat in Special Election

Disgraced former Rep. Mel Reynolds, a Democrat, will announced Wednesday afternoon that he’s seeking the Illinois 2nd District seat he once held, according to The Associated Press.

Reynolds resigned in 1995 after he was sentenced to prison for a sexual relationship with a teenage campaign worker.

Accordingly, local Democrats do not view him as a viable candidate in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.

Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Alderman Anthony Beale and former NFL Linebacker Napoleon Harris have announced campaigns, and several more Democrats are expected to join the field in the next week. (See a full list of potential candidates here.)

Jackson announced his resignation from Congress last week, and officials have scheduled a special primary for his seat on Feb. 26. In this heavily Democratic district, the winner of the primary will serve in Congress in all likelihood.

Jackson won the special election to succeed Reynolds in 1995.

Romney to Meet With Obama, Ryan on Thursday

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mitt Romney will sit down Thursday for a private lunch at the White House with President Barack Obama.

The White House announced Wednesday that the two will meet in the private dining room for their first visit since Obama defeated the former Massachusetts governor just more than three weeks ago. The White House is not allowing press coverage.

While in town, Romney will reportedly also meet with his former running mate, Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., who will again chair the House Budget Committee in the 113th Congress.

November 27, 2012

Illinois: Harris to Play Ball in 2nd District Special Election

Count former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris in for Illinois’ 2nd District special election.

Harris, a Democrat, won a state Senate seat earlier this month. But on Tuesday morning, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Harris will run for the seat held by former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. until last week.

Harris joins two fellow Democrats, Alderman Anthony Beale and former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, in the race. Democrats expect an extremely crowded field (for a full rundown of potential candidates, see Tuesday’s Roll Call story).

The 2nd District south of Chicago is a heavily Democratic district. The Feb. 26 primary victor is expected to serve in Congress.

Harris dumped more than $200,000 of his own cash into his state legislative bid. His deep pockets could prove to be an even greater asset in this short, 16-week special election because raising cash is at a premium.

Harris played defensive end for Northwestern University’s football team. He later played for the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings. Harris also owns two Beggars Pizza franchises.

Illinois: Beale Joins Special Election for Jackson Seat

Alderman Anthony Beale has filed paperwork to run in the special election for former Democratic Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s 2nd District seat on Chicago’s South Side.

The Democrat’s campaign announced that he “officially formed a political committee” late Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Beale marks the second Democrat to officially jump into the race, following former Rep. Debbie Halvorson’s Monday morning announcement. The district is heavily Democratic, and the winner of the primary will serve in Congress in all likelihood.

Jackson announced his departure from Congress last week. His resignation was reportedly part of a plea deal with federal investigators for allegedly spending his campaign funds on personal purchases.

The special election primary is scheduled for Feb. 26.

Tuesday’s Roll Call includes a rundown of all of the potential and announced candidates for the special election.

Westmoreland Named NRCC Deputy Chairman

Westmoreland has been appointed deputy chairman of the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia has been appointed deputy chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2014 election cycle by incoming NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

Westmoreland oversaw a very successful nationwide redistricting effort for the NRCC during the 2012 cycle, helping the GOP keep control of the House on Nov. 6.

The decennial redraw of maps helped push a number of vulnerable GOP-held seats into the safe Republican category, creating a map that would likely require a wave election if Democrats are to be successful in taking back the House.

“Lynn is savvy, thoughtful and a hard worker.  He knows what it takes to win elections,” Walden said in a statement.

November 26, 2012

Georgia: Chambliss and Norquist Fight Over Tax Pledge

Se. Saxby Chambliss

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who faces a likely primary challenge in 2014, said last week he could abandon the Grover Norquist-backed Taxpayer Protection Pledge he signed if it meant moving the country forward.

“I care more about this country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” he told Georgia TV station WMAZ on Nov. 21. “If we do it his way, we’ll just continue in debt.”

Chambliss, who said he was against raising taxes, explained he wasn’t worried about the political ramifications of potentially bucking the pledge and crossing Norquist.

“I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do about Grover Norquist,” he said. Full story

New Jersey: Christie Running for Second Term as Governor

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday that he will run for re-election next year, when New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states holding gubernatorial elections.

The gubernatorial elections in the two states, which are always held in the year immediately following a presidential election, are often seen as bellwethers for the following midterms.

“The people need to know I’m in this for the long haul,” Christie said at a news briefing in Middletown, according to The Associated Press. The state is just beginning to recover from the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute was scheduled to release results of a survey in New Jersey on the response to Sandy, which should provide evidence for Christie’s standing heading into next year.

The Virginia race will likely be between former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and one of two Republican statewide elected officials, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling or Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, a former governor, considered running for the governorship but announced last week that he will not seek another term.

North Carolina: Shuler to Run Government Affairs for Energy Giant

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the country, announced Monday that retiring Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., will be a senior vice president for federal government affairs for the behemoth utility.

The company said Shuler will work on building the D.C.-based federal affairs team and help inform employees about federal issues.

“Though I will be leaving public office, my family and I remain committed to public service,” Shuler said in a statement. “As a private citizen, I will also continue to promote deficit reduction efforts, increasing domestic energy production to put our country on a path to energy security and breaking through the hyper-partisan gridlock that plagues our great nation.”

Utah: Matheson Won by 768 Votes, Final Count Shows

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson won by just 768 votes, according to final election returns announced last week.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, that was just outside of the margin that would have allowed Republican Mia Love to request a recount.

One of the most vulnerable members of Congress in 2012, the Blue Dog Democrat has said he faced the “perfect storm” by running against a strong challenger and in a district carried overwhelmingly by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Matheson has always run in a Republican-leaning district, but the Republican redistricting mapmakers ensured his path will get no easier in the next decade.

GOP Pollster: More Cellphones Needed in Surveys

A top pollster to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Republicans must include more cellphones, young and Hispanic voters in their surveys to achieve more accurate results, a costly venture.

Veteran GOP pollster Glen Bolger argued that the 20 percent sample of cellphone users was not enough.

“It will increase costs, but as a party we have no choice,” Bolger wrote on his website Monday.

Republican pollsters were criticized this cycle for their surveys, which inaccurately predicted the results of many battleground states. In the wake of Romney’s loss, even the most prominent GOP survey gurus questioned their samples. Full story

Illinois: Governor Schedules Feb. 26 Special Election Primary

A special election primary has been set for Jesse L. Jackson Jr.'s 2nd District seat. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has scheduled a Feb. 26 special election primary for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.

In this heavily Democratic, South Side Chicago district, the primary victor in all likelihood will win the general election and serve as the next member of Congress from the 2nd District.

Jackson, an eight-term Democrat, announced his resignation from Congress last week. His departure was reportedly part of a plea deal for allegedly using campaign funds for personal purchases.

His vacancy sets up a crowded field to replace him. Jackson’s former primary foe, ex-Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill., announced her bid for the seat Monday morning — and many more are expected to follow in the coming days.

Full story

lllinois: Halvorson Jumps Into Jackson Special

Former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Ill., will run in the special election to replace her former political nemesis, former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

Halvorson declared herself “the only candidate who could avoid freshman orientation and hit the ground running,” in a statement to local reporters Monday morning.

Jackson announced his resignation from Congress last week amid reports that he had negotiated a deal with federal investigators for alleged campaign fund misuse.

Full story

November 25, 2012

West Virginia: Capito Running for Senate

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito plans to run for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will announce a bid for the Senate on Monday, taking aim at Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Roll Call has confirmed.

Rockefeller, 75, and a West Virginia institution first elected to the Senate in 1984, is considered a top potential Senate retirement.

Full story

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