Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 5, 2015

October 3, 2012

Daily Ad Track

Live in a competitive district? It is nearly impossible to turn on the television and not see ads with seniors, tying a candidate to President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) or Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

But not all ads took the cookie-cutter approach. Here is what cut through the clutter today:

Wisconsin’s 7th

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is using Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R) 2010 ad footage against him. Duffy earned attention in 2010 for the ads that showed him hacking away as a lumberjack. The DCCC has a new ad up that uses the old footage metaphorically. Ex-state Senate President Pro Tem Pat Kreitlow has also played on the lumberjack theme in his own campaign ads. The DCCC did not immediately respond to a request for ad buy information.

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By Abby Livingston Posted at 2:15 p.m.
Ads, Mich.-3, N.C.-11

NRCC Cuts $780,000 in Philadelphia Buys Aimed for Jon Runyan

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans cut $780,000 of ad reservations in the Philadelphia broadcast market today intended for Rep. Jon Runyan’s (R-N.J.) re-election, according to a Republican source familiar with the move.

The cancellation for Oct. 5-18 signals the National Republican Congressional Committee is confident Runyan will defeat attorney Shelley Adler (D) and believes that chunk of money is better spent in other races.

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Colorado: Poll Shows Narrow Lead for Scott Tipton

A new poll shows Democratic challenger Sal Pace in a close race with Rep. Scott Tipton (R) in Colorado’s 3rd district, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The poll, conducted by the Democratic firm Grove Insight, showed Tipton leading with 42 percent, while Pace was at 39 percent. Full story

DCCC Cancels Three Weeks of Buys in Seats It Feels Are Safe

House Democrats have canceled advertisement buys in three House races where the party’s nominee is on a clear path to victory.

In Arizona’s 2nd district, New Mexico’s 1st district and Florida’s 26th district, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee cut its weeklong reservation starting Oct. 18, according to a Democratic source with firsthand knowledge of the changes.

Campaign committees continue to shuffle funds among House races, often moving resources away from hopeless campaigns to more competitive ones in the weeks leading up to Election Day. But committee officials argue these cancellations target races where they are sure the Democrat will prevail:

  • In Arizona’s 2nd district, the DCCC canceled $85,000 worth of  Tucson broadcast television. Rep. Ron Barber (D) faces retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally (R) in this district, which Roll Call rates as Likely Democratic.
  • In New Mexico’s 1st district, the DCCC canceled $135,000 worth of Albuquerque broadcast television. Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and former state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones (R) are vying for this open seat, which Roll Call rates as Safe Democratic.
  • In Florida’s 26th district, the DCCC canceled $280,000 worth of Miami broadcast television. Rep. David Rivera (R) is reportedly under federal investigation (although the Congressman denies any wrongdoing). Polls show the Republican trailing his opponent, former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chairman Joe Garcia (D). Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

The National Republican Congressional Committee had not reserved any airtime for these three House races.

Earlier this week, the DCCC trimmed $260,000 in ad time in another safe seat: Rep. Tim Walz’s district. Roll Call rates this race as Safe Democratic.

Florida: NRCC Lends a Hand to Steve Southerland

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s independent expenditure arm will soon begin airing ads in Florida’s 2nd district, the Panhandle seat of freshman Republican Rep. Steve Southerland.

The Democratic nominee in the district is former state Sen. Al Lawson, a folksy and  affable candidate who beat the party’s choice in the primary. Lawson was originally written off but appears poised to at least have a shot — if still quite long — at coming to Congress.

The NRCC has bought about $85,000 of airtime on broadcast television in the Panama City media market and about $75,000 on broadcast television in the Tallahassee media market from Oct. 5-18. Full story

October 2, 2012

Florida: DCCC Cancels Buy Against Allen West

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has cut its advertising in Florida’s 18th district, the home of a fiercely competitive race between Rep. Allen West (R) and Democrat Patrick Murphy.

The independent expenditure arm of the DCCC had originally reserved about $96,000 in the West Palm Beach media market from Oct. 16-22. That reservation has now been canceled, a Democratic source familiar with the buys told Roll Call today.

The move comes after House Majority PAC, the Democratic-aligned third-party group, boosted its presence in the district from about $1 million to about $1.5 million.

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Daily Ad Track

In our unscientific ad-track survey from today, we caught almost no new advertisements that could be classified as positive. Lots of cookie-cutter negative ads are surfacing, slamming the other campaign over Medicare, Congressional pay raises and information that appears culled from opposition research. Grainy footage and clipped out-of-context sound bites are also increasingly common.

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Wisconsin: Paul Ryan to Fundraise for Tommy Thompson

Wisconsin Senate candidate Tommy Thompson will get a helping hand from GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan next weekend. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.) is holding a private fundraiser Oct. 14 in Milwaukee for Senate candidate and former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R).

The event, billed as a “reception” by the campaign in a blast statement earlier today, is a closed-door fundraiser hosted by Romney Victory, a joint fundraising committee made up of Romney for President, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and a handful of state party organizations.

Tickets to the fundraiser, according to an invitation obtained by Roll Call, range anywhere from $250 per person to $100,000 per couple.

Obama Campaign Responds to Mitt Romney on Deferred Action

The Obama campaign today took aim at GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's position on the status of some undocumented immigrants. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s campaign today ridiculed GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s newly announced position on the status of some undocumented immigrants, as Senate Democrats again touted the DREAM Act.

Romney told the Denver Post that he would not take administrative action to invalidate work permits issued to undocumented immigrants as part of the Obama administration’s deferred action policy, which allows people who entered the United States illegally when they were young to work legally in the country under certain conditions.

“The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I’m not going to take something that they’ve purchased,” Romney told the newspaper. “Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed.”

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Utah: Another Poll Finds Mia Love Ahead

A new poll in Utah’s only competitive House district found Rep. Jim Matheson (D) trailing his Republican challenger by 6 points. Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love led in the Deseret News/KSL-TV poll, 49 percent to 43 percent, with 8 percent still undecided. Full story

Liberal Super PACs Announce New House Race Advertising

A super PAC led by Jonathan Soros, the son of liberal financier George Soros, today announced the eight lawmakers it will target via direct mail, phone contact and Internet advertising.

The New York Times has described the group, Friends of Democracy, as “The Super PAC That Aims to End Super PACs.” Earlier this year, the Times reported that the group was targeting “10 to 15 House lawmakers whose records and public statements have not been supportive of what Mr. Soros calls a system of ‘citizen-led’ elections.”

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October 1, 2012

John McCain Hits the Campaign Trail for Fellow Republicans

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It is a busy week on the campaign trail for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Except this time around, he is hitting the trail in support of others in his party.

On Monday, he endorsed former WWE CEO Linda McMahon in Danbury, Conn., for her Senate bid to replace McCain’s friend, retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I), according to the Hartford Courant. McMahon faces Rep. Christopher Murphy in a race that Roll Call rates as Leans Democratic.

Today and Wednesday, McCain will campaign across Florida on behalf of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. That tour will include mostly veterans events in Pensacola, Niceville, Panama City and Tallahassee.

California: Howard Berman Targets Brad Sherman’s Finances

Rep. Howard Berman is accusing his Democratic colleague and competitor Rep. Brad Sherman of using his political campaigns as a vehicle for personal profit.

The Berman campaign launched a website,, to highlight the legal practice of charging interest on personal loans to his campaign, which it says helped Sherman make a profit of $461,000. The campaign also plans to deliver this message to San Fernando Valley voters in the redrawn 30th district with television, radio, print and online advertisements.

The Sherman campaign called the attack “false at worst and highly misleading at best” and cited the hundreds of thousands of dollars Berman paid his brother, Democratic consultant Michael Berman, to run his campaign until this cycle.

Neither practice is illegal, but both campaigns want to help voters decide which candidate is the most ardent defender of the Valley’s interests.

Montana: Jon Tester Rocks Out in Tight Senate Race

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jon Tester’s longtime family friend happens to be Jeff Ament, bassist for Pearl Jam, who played their lone nonfestival show of the year Sunday in Missoula to benefit the Democrat’s re-election campaign.

According to the Missoulian newspaper, Tester and Ament rallied hundreds on the University of Montana campus in the afternoon before attending a pre-show fundraising reception. The band also performed on Tester’s behalf in 2005 during his successful challenge to Republican incumbent Conrad Burns.

The Tester campaign released a picture of the Senator with the band and a succinct statement from the Senator: “Rock on. And go vote.”

The Pearl Jam show came two days after GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg’s campaign released a blistering television ad against Tester. The ad paints a picture of Tester not living up to the promises he made during the 2006 campaign, specifically tying Tester to forthcoming environmental regulations that forced the mothballing of a coal-fired power plant in Billings.

Meanwhile, the League of Conservation Voters on Friday released a Global Strategy Group poll that found Tester ahead with 44 percent, Rehberg with 42 percent and Libertarian Dan Cox with 7 percent. The poll was conducted Sept. 23-25 of 606 likely voters with a 4-point margin of error.

People for the American Way Airs Hispanic Ads in Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia

People for the American Way will launch a $1 million Hispanic ad campaign during the next five weeks in a trio of unexpected battleground states.

Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia are known for their competitive presidential politics — but not for their strong Latino voting populations. PFAW is betting that, in a tight race, these votes will prove pivotal.

The liberal group’s first spot, “Somos El 47 percent,” targets GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s surreptitiously recorded comments to a private fundraiser in Florida last May. The campaign includes television, radio and direct mail.

“Mitt Romney recently said that 47 percent of us are dependent on the government, and that we think of ourselves as victims,” according to a PFAW translation of the 30-second Spanish spot. “He also said that we come here for a free deal.”

Many well-funded Democratic groups have been on the air for months with Spanish-language ads in key presidential states with burgeoning Latino voter populations, such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado.

Relatively, the trio of states receiving PFAW’s new campaign have smaller Latino voting populations, with estimates in the single digits. But historically, all three states have featured close presidential campaigns. In 2004, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) carried Wisconsin by about 12,000 votes.

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