Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 2, 2015

September 11, 2012

Wisconsin: Paul Ryan Goes on Air to Boost His House Race

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R) has made television advertisement reservations in the 1st district, where he is running for re-election even as he simultaneously campaigns for vice president.

Ryan’s 1st district ad buy is set to run for the next two weeks and dovetails with Wisconsin television ads being run by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Romney/Ryan ticket. Businessman Rob Zerban is challenging Ryan in the 1st district.

Zerban is Ryan’s most organized Democratic challenger in recent memory. But Ryan has a daunting amount of money stockpiled and newfound national notoriety, and redistricting improved the lines for him.

Roll Call currently rates this race as Safe Republican.

Rhode Island: David Cicilline Wins Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. David Cicilline won the Democratic primary tonight in his bid for re-election in Rhode Island’s 1st district.

Businessman Anthony Gemma challenged him for the party nomination. At the time the Associated Press called the race, Cicilline was beating Gemma by a 2-1 margin, 62 percent to 31 percent. Full story

Massachusetts: John Tierney Releases First TV Ad

Rep. John Tierney (D) will launch his first television ad of the election season Wednesday. It attacks his Republican opponent, former state Sen. Richard Tisei, for being “too extreme.”

“The tea party Republican agenda: outlaw abortion, restrict birth control, billionaire tax cuts, middle-class tax hikes,” a female narrator says over spooky music and desaturated slow-motion images of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

“And Richard Tisei?” the narrator continues over unflattering slow-motion video of Tisei. “He calls the tea party ‘a godsend’ to Republicans; defends extreme anti-choice Republican views, saying, ‘It is what it is.’ Republicans plan to gut Medicare? Tisei calls it ‘a good starting point.’

“Tea party Republicans and Richard Tisei: What it is is too extreme,” the narrator says.

Tisei’s campaign immediately hit back.

Full story

September 10, 2012

Texas: AARP, Univision Set to Host Debate

AARP and a local Univision affiliate are set to host a Spanish-language debate between Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R) and his Democratic challenger, state Rep. Pete Gallego, on Sept. 25.

The two candidates are battling it out for the 23rd district, which Roll Call rates as a Tossup.

The debate will take place at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, and topics addressed will be about “retirement security — particularly Social Security and Medicare,” according to an AARP press release.

Maryland: Independent Raises Eyebrows in Senate Bid

An Independent Senate candidate from Montgomery County named Rob Sobhani has caught the attention of several Maryland Democrats with a major television advertising blitz in a challenge to Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D).

According to the Maryland political blog “Maryland Juice,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) sent out a concerned fundraising solicitation to Cardin supporters about the $700,000 ad buy.

Several of those Sobhani spots aired Sunday night on broadcast television.

Democratic sources on the ground say that $700,000 warrants attention, but they maintain that Cardin should still coast to re-election. Former Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino is the Republican nominee. Roll Call rates this race as Safe Democratic.

New Mexico: Martin Heinrich Up 7 Points in Senate Poll

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) held a 7-point lead in the state’s open-seat Senate race and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) led by 12 points in the race to replace Heinrich in the House, according to a new independent poll conducted for the Albuquerque Journal.

Heinrich led former Rep. Heather Wilson (R), 49 percent to 42 percent, and Lujan Grisham led Janice Arnold-Jones (R) in the Albuquerque-based 1st district, 46 percent to 34 percent.

The polls were conducted Sept. 3-6 by Research & Polling. The Senate poll included a sample of 667 likely voters with a 3.8-point margin of error. The 1st district poll surveyed 409 likely voters with a 4.8-point margin of error.

In the state’s two less competitive Congressional districts, Reps. Steve Pearce (R) and Ben Ray Luján (D) each led by 26 points over their respective challengers.

Maine: NRSC Sees Opening Against Frontrunner

(Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee bought almost $600,000 in television time here, believing that popular former Gov. Angus King (I) is more vulnerable than the available polling suggests.

King is the frontrunner and is expected to caucus with the Democrats if he wins the Senate seat in November. But in a complex three-way race with Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) and state Sen. Cynthia Dill, the NRSC senses opportunity. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has not invested in Dill, but Republicans say that if her numbers can be elevated, she and King might divide the vote of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, allowing Summers to win with a plurality.

The NRSC ad buy, which is built around that strategy, is scheduled to last two weeks, according to sources who monitor Maine ad spending. The news of the NRSC offensive was first reported by the Hotline. Full story

Iowa: Chris Christie to Campaign for Steve King

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will campaign in the first-in-the-nation caucus state next week to boost Iowa Rep. Steve King (R).

King’s campaign announced today that Christie will “keynote” King’s Defenders of Freedom luncheon on Sept. 20 in Sioux City, Iowa.

King is seeking re-election in a competitive race against former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack (D). Both parties are targeting the northwestern Iowa district and Roll Call rates the race as Leans Republican. Full story

California: John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman Endorse Howard Berman

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Howard Berman, running against a fellow Democrat in California’s redrawn 30th district, today announced endorsements from Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), plus Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Drawn together with Rep. Brad Sherman, Berman is hoping to pick up as many non-Democratic votes as possible in the heavily Democratic district in the San Fernando Valley. The endorsements from the three Senators focused on Berman’s foreign policy chops as ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and his ability to work across the aisle. Full story

Barack Obama, DNC Outraise Mitt Romney, RNC in August

(Douglas Graham CQ/Roll Call)

President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee outraised GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee in the month of August.

The combined efforts of Obama For America and the DNC raised $114 million during the month of August. Romney For President, Romney Victory  and the RNC raised about $112 million to close the period with about $169 million in cash on hand. The Obama camp did not provide its cash on hand total in its early numbers release.

Romney and Republicans outraised Obama and the Democrats in July.

September 7, 2012

Steve Israel Says House Remains in Play

Rep. Steve Israel

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said Thursday that control of the House remains within his party’s reach.

“It’s absolutely in play and more so at the beginning of September than at the beginning of August,” he told Roll Call in an interview here a few hours before President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic re-nomination for president.

Israel said Democrats left Washington, D.C., early last month “in a fairly static and neutral environment.” But, he argued, their prospects improved last month for several reasons.

“I think we got our mojo back in August,” he said. Full story

September 6, 2012

John Kerry, Jennifer Granholm Give Surprisingly Strong Speeches at DNC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) assailed the Republican presidential nominee from his home state for his lack of foreign policy tonight, giving one of the most energetic and blistering critiques of Mitt Romney so far.

“Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now that he was four years ago,” Kerry called out to a cheering crowd.

It was as if these words were on the tip of the collective crowd’s tongue: Where was this guy in 2004?

Kerry’s spirited speech embodied the kind of gusto Democrats yearned to see in his own presidential bid eight years ago. He delivered zinger after zinger, such as Romney “talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.” Full story

Massachusetts: Joe Kennedy III Wins Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney Joe Kennedy III tonight won the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 4th district. He easily dispatched his two opponents and is very likely to become the next Congressman representing the comfortably Democratic seat now held by retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D).

Full story

John Lewis Attacks Republicans on Voting Rights

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rep. John Lewis (Ga.) delivered a blistering critique of new GOP-backed voter identification laws, weaving in his personal civil rights story to emphasize to a packed convention crowd, “we have come too far together to ever turn back.”

On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, Lewis called it “unbelievable that there are Republican officials still trying to stop some people from voting.”

“They are changing the rules, cutting polling hours and imposing requirements intended to suppress the votes,” Lewis said. “I’ve seen this before. I’ve lived this before. Too many people struggled, suffered and died to make it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote.” Full story

Gabrielle Giffords’ Pledge Provides Touching Moment Amid Partisan Jabs

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) recited the Pledge of Allegiance tonight at the Democratic National Convention, igniting a crowd chanting, “Gabby! Gabby!”

Delegates continued to cheer Giffords as her friend Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) guided her onto the blue stage. Giffords recited the pledge perfectly, calling out at the end, “Liberty and justice, for all!”

As Giffords walked off the stage, she blew the audience a kiss. Her appearance — and the audience’s excitement — marked one of the most sincere moments of the back-to-back party conventions.

Giffords’ touching words came halfway through a star-studded lineup on the final night of the convention, culminating with President Barack Obama accepting his party’s nomination for re-election. Roll Call first broke the news Giffords would deliver the pledge. Full story

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