Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 31, 2015

August 19, 2012

Missouri: Todd Akin’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment Ignites Firestorm

Missouri: Todd Akins Legitimate Rape Comment Ignites Firestorm

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, justified his opposition to all abortion, even in instances of rape, by saying that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy — comments that have set off a media firestorm in an already contentious race.

In an interview with a St. Louis television station posted today, Akin said that female bodies “[have] ways to try to shut that whole thing down” and that only rapists, and not unborn children, should be punished.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV, in an interview first reported nationally by Talking Points Memo. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Full story

College Republicans Launch GOTV Program

The College Republican National Committee on Monday is set to launch “Operation Red November,” a $2 million voter turnout program focused on the presidential contest as well as gubernatorial and Congressional races.

The effort calls for dispatching 63 paid, full-time field staff to 25 states to boost support among younger voters for Republicans running in 111 targeted races. The plan, overseen by a national field director and four regional field directors, has set a goal of 6 million live voter contacts in 15 presidential battlegrounds, 16 Senate races, 73 House races and seven gubernatorial contests.

“The CRNC’s quarter million members provide the boots on the ground for the Republican Party. We will utilize our existing membership and our trained field staff to mobilize a youth effort that has never been seen before in our organization’s history,” CRNC Chairman Alex Schriver said in statement included on the press release outlining the group’s effort.

“We’ve specifically chosen battleground states where winning the youth vote will make or break this election,” he added.

Full story

August 17, 2012

North Carolina: New DCCC Ad Hits Mike McIntyre Opponent on Medicare

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will begin airing an ad today knocking North Carolina state Sen. David Rouzer, the Republican opponent of Rep. Mike McIntyre in the Tar Heel State’s 7th district.

It’s the DCCC’s second independent expenditure ad of the election season and follows their standard messaging playbook, implicitly hitting GOP candidates for support of Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, while explicitly hitting them for wanting to “essentially end Medicare.”

The anti-Rouzer ad begins with a clip from one his own ads in which he tells viewers “we need more North Carolina values in Washington.” The ad then relies on moving graphics and a young- and hip-sounding male narrator backed by synthesized music.

youtube.com/watch?v=t0Az58Q19a0

David Rouzer’s budget would essentially end Medicare,” the narrator says. “That’s not a North Carolina value.”

“Seniors would pay $6,400 a year for their health care and David Rouzer would use that money to give millionaires another tax cut: that’s definitely not a North Carolina value,” the narrator says. “Seniors pay more so millionaires can pay less? David Rouzer sounds like he’s in Washington already.”

The ad is backed by a buy of $50,000 through Aug. 27.

McIntyre is one of the more vulnerable Democratic Members in the country, but recent Democratic polling found him leading Rouzer by 19 points. Democrats hope an early ad push will shore up McIntyre even more and make him a less enticing target for Republicans. McIntyre has been on the air with ads as well.

The GOP, not surprisingly, has a different view on the race. A recent Rouzer campaign survey had McIntyre up by only four points. Republicans are confident McIntyre can be knocked off this November and the National Republican Congressional Committee has already started airing ads against him.

Roll Call rates the 7th district race a Tossup.

August 16, 2012

Arizona: John McCain Officially Endorses Ben Quayle

Arizona: John McCain Officially Endorses Ben Quayle

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) officially endorsed Rep. Ben Quayle in his Member-vs.-Member primary against fellow Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert on Wednesday.

“I strongly recommend that he be re-elected,” McCain said at a Wednesday news conference.

The Quayle campaign posted the full video online:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thqaURn3x50&feature=plcp

Full story

Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson Says He Won’t Release Tax Returns

Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson Says He Wont Release Tax Returns

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Senate nominee Tommy Thompson said Wednesday that he would not release his personal tax returns as part of his bid for office.

“When I was governor and I was employed [by] the people of the state of Wisconsin, I released my tax returns. But I’ve been in the business world and the question is, am I going to release my tax returns? The answer is no,” Thompson said in his first media availability since winning a closely contested four-way primary Tuesday.

When pressed again, Thompson pushed back: “No. The answer is N-O. What part don’t you understand?”

Full story

Illinois: New Democratic Poll Shows Robert Dold and Brad Schneider Tied

Illinois: New Democratic Poll Shows Robert Dold and Brad Schneider Tied

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Updated 1:30 p.m. | Freshman Rep. Robert Dold (R) and businessman Brad Schneider (D) are in a dead heat in the race for an Illinois House seat, according to a new Democratic poll released today.

Dold and Schneider each received 46 percent in the survey conducted for the Service Employees International Union and House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC.

The 10th district presents Democrats with one of their best pick-up opportunities this fall. Currently, Dold represents the most Democratic district held by a GOP House Member. What’s more, Democrats improved the 10th for their party in their redraw of the state’s Congressional map last year. Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.

Democrats argue the poll is further evidence Dold is in trouble going into November.

“Bob Dold is in serious trouble because he is seriously out of step with Illinois,” said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of House Majority PAC.

Full story

Virginia: Outside Group Ad War Continues in Senate Race

The League of Conservation Voters and Majority PAC, a Democratic-aligned independent expenditure committee, have teamed up for a $1.6 million ad campaign against Republican George Allen, who is seeking his former Senate seat in Virginia. Full story

Michigan: DCCC Starts Airing Ads in 1st District

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will air its first spot of the fall election season today, when it targets freshman Rep. Dan Benishek (R) with an independent expenditure.

House Democrats beat the National Republican Congressional Committee to the punch in the fall advertisement wars. The NRCC confirmed last week it would start airing advertisements for the fall campaign on Friday in four House districts.

Benishek faces his 2010 opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D), this November. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

The committee will spend $73,000 to air this spot through Labor Day, according to a source familiar with the buy. This buy is in addition to the DCCC’s $515,000 reservation in television time in the 1st district through Election Day.

August 15, 2012

Cliff Stearns Concedes Defeat

Cliff Stearns Concedes Defeat

UPDATED 1:15 p.m. | Rep. Cliff Stearns, who was first elected to the House in 1988, conceded defeat to tea-party-affiliated veterinarian Ted Yoho today. Yoho upset the longtime Member in Florida’s 3rd district GOP primary Tuesday.

“Based upon the results from last night, it would appear that there are not enough provisional ballots to make up the difference for me to win this primary election,” Stearns said in a statement. “Therefore, I am conceding the election to Ted Yoho and I talked with him wishing him the best in his effort to represent the wonderful people of north central Florida. I have had an excellent and rewarding experience working in Congress for my fellow Floridians.”

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Yoho had 34 percent to Stearns’ 33 percent. Yoho had a more-than-800-vote advantage, according to the Associated Press, though the AP had not yet called the race because of pending overseas and provisional ballots.

“I stand proud of my 24-year record of conservative leadership and of defending our traditional values in Congress,” the Congressman said. “It has been an honor, privilege, and the high calling of my life to serve the many outstanding citizens of Florida in our nation’s capital. I will leave the House of Representatives with a joyful heart and the satisfaction that I did all I could to advance the conservative cause.”

Florida: Cliff Stearns Losing but Refuses to Concede

In a possible stunning upset, veterinarian Ted Yoho is poised to oust 12-term Rep. Cliff Stearns in Florida’s 3rd district GOP primary.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Yoho has 34 percent of the vote to Stearns’ 33 percent, putting the Congressman at a deficit of just more than 800 votes. But the Associated Press has yet to call the race since provisional and overseas ballots could change the results. Stearns is refusing to concede, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“Since this is a close primary vote and we still need to make sure all voices are heard, we are awaiting the certified results. Congressman Stearns deeply appreciates the support and hard work of the voters who share his commitment to creating jobs, limiting government, and reducing the debt,” the Florida Republican’s campaign said, according to the paper.

But Yoho is claiming victory. And in part because of the support he received from tea party activists, he could be on his way to taking out the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

“You’ve got your Ted Cruz story of Florida,” one Florida Republican operative said, referring to the Texas Senate GOP primary victor who upset the establishment pick.

On July 25, Yoho had only $130,000 in cash on hand, according to a Federal Election Commission filing. Stearns ended July 25 with more than $2 million in the bank, which left Florida Republicans scratching their heads.

“If Stearns loses, it should be a case study for incumbents who bank a shit-ton of money and then don’t do anything with it,” the operative said.

Stearns was first elected to Congress in 1988. Starting in 1990, he never fell below 59 percent of the vote in winning re-election in the general. But this time the threat came from his primary, and it’s clear, whatever the final result, he didn’t take it seriously enough.

Minnesota: Rick Nolan Wins Democratic Nod in Comeback Bid

Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) this evening came one step closer to returning to Congress after a 32-year hiatus when he won his party’s nomination in the 8th district.

Nolan led former state Sen. Tarryl Clark, 40 percent to 32 percent, with 80 percent of precincts reporting.

Nolan’s victory sets him up to face freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) this November. The 8th district is highly competitive, and both parties have reserved millions of dollars in airtime for the Minneapolis market for this contest and adjacent races.

Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

Nolan struggled with fundraising throughout the primary but prevailed in part with some financial help from the state party. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party aired almost $160,000 in television spots on Nolan’s behalf.

The party backed Nolan over Clark earlier this year.

August 14, 2012

Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson Wins GOP Senate Primary

Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson Wins GOP Senate Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson has clinched Wisconsin’s Republican Senate nomination, narrowly defeating two tea-party-backed opponents.

With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Thompson led with 35 percent of the vote over conservative businessman Eric Hovde and former Rep. Mark Neumann at the time the race was called by the Associated Press. Hovde received 30 percent of the vote, while Neumann pulled 23 percent. A fourth opponent, state Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, came in fourth with 12 percent.

Hovde trailed by five points on the night, even after spending more than $4.94 million through the end of July and having contributed $4.85 million of his own money to the campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission. Neumann had the support of the conservative Club for Growth and tea party kingmaker Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

The establishment favorite in the race, Thompson is widely considered the GOP’s best chance to beat Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in November’s general election for the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D). He served as governor of the Badger State from 1987 to 2001 and then as secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005.

In a poll released earlier this month by the Marquette University Law Center, Thompson led Baldwin by 5 points, with a 2.9-point margin of error.

Florida: David Rivera to Face Joe Garcia — Again

Florida: David Rivera to Face Joe Garcia — Again

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It’s rematch time in South Florida.

Former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chairman Joe Garcia won Florida’s 26th district Democratic primary tonight and will challenge Rep. David Rivera (R) in November. Rivera, the embattled freshman lawmaker, beat Garcia by more than 9 points in 2010.

This evening, Garcia beat Gloria Romero Roses, a political newcomer, by a comfortable margin. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Garcia had 53 percent to Romero Roses’ 31 percent.

Full story

Wisconsin: Mark Pocan Wins Primary to Succeed Tammy Baldwin

State Rep. Mark Pocan handily defeated fellow state Rep. Kelda Helen Roys tonight. He led 70 percent to 23 percent when the Associated Press called the race.

Pocan was widely expected to win the primary for the Madison-based 2nd district and will almost certainly come to Congress in the fall. The two were vying for a safe Democratic open seat to replace Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), who is running for Senate.

Florida: Big Win for Alan Grayson in Tonight’s GOP Primary

Florida: Big Win for Alan Grayson in Tonights GOP Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sunshine State voters chose their nominees for the House today. And although former Rep. Alan Grayson didn’t have a primary opponent in the 9th district, the Democratic nominee for the Orlando-area seat came away a winner.

The outspoken former Congressmen and his Democratic allies have worked hard and spent good money to ensure he faces an opponent other than Osceola County Commissioner John “Q” Quinones, who would have been the strongest GOP candidate in the Democratic-leaning district. Their work paid off.

Attorney Todd Long won tonight’s GOP primary. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Long had 47 percent of the vote to Quinones’ 28 percent, the Associated Press reported.

Full story

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