Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 6, 2015

August 22, 2012

Democrats Continue to Invoke Todd Akin in Push for Cash, Women’s Votes

PLANTATION, Fla. — There are more than 1,200 miles between the home of Rep. Todd Akin (R) and this city just west of Fort Lauderdale, but at a Democratic meeting here Tuesday night, the Missouri Senate candidate’s presence loomed large.

Mitchell Ceasar, the chairman of the Broward County Democratic Party, fervently invoked the GOP lawmaker in his remarks before about 150 people at a meeting of the county’s Democratic Executive Committee.

“We can talk all night about the war on women. We saw it again [Monday] and that candidate has reaffirmed that he’s still in the race,” Ceasar said to a smattering of applause and troubled murmurs from the people sitting on folding chairs.

Standing behind a podium with an Obama campaign sign on it, Ceaser told the group that Akin “is symptomatic with his extremism” of what a lot of Republican candidates actually believe. “Obviously none have ever passed a high school biology class,” he said. The crowd chuckled in affirmation.

In Washington, D.C., and all around the country, Democrats have pounced on the white-hot furor over Akin’s inflammatory comments about rape and abortion to rally the base and reinforce the message that there’s a Republican “war on women.”

Full story

Michigan: Kerry Bentivolio’s Teaching Troubles

Kerry Bentivolio, the GOP nominee in Michigan’s 11th district, had trouble as a high school teacher, according to a new Detroit Free Press report.

Fowlerville High School officials reportedly reprimanded Bentivolio for telling students they were “just a paycheck to me,” threatening to make them cry and pounding on their desks.

Bentivolio faces internist Syed Taj (D) this November in the suburban district west of Detroit. Republicans viewed the district as a safe bet until recently, when a strange series of events made this the most unpredictable House race of the cycle. Roll Call rates the contest as Leans Republican. Full story

Missouri: Todd Akin Out at GOP Convention, Leaves Door Open to Exit

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Embattled Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) hit the morning talk show circuit today, continuing his media redemption tour, justifying his rebuke of Republican leadership and announcing he will not attend next week’s GOP convention in Tampa, Fla.

He also gave Republicans a sliver of hope that he might eventually do what most have urged him to: drop out of the race.

“I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen,” Akin said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I don’t know the future, but I do know this. I knew that the party voters took a look at our hearts, understood who we were, had a chance to meet us in many, many different ways and made a decision. And it makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs as opposed to the election process.” Full story

Montana: DSCC Launches Second Ad Against Denny Rehberg

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today launched its second TV ad in Montana, where Sen. Jon Tester (D) is fending off a challenge from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) in what is expected to be one of the closest races in the country. Full story

August 21, 2012

Georgia: Doug Collins Wins House Race, Likely Headed to Congress

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:32 p.m. | State Rep. Doug Collins won the GOP runoff today in Georgia’s 9th district and is almost certain to be coming to Congress from the ultra-Republican seat in the northeast portion of the state. Close with Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and backed by the Atlanta Republican establishment, Collins easily won the runoff, besting conservative talk radio host Martha Zoller by almost 10 points.

With 98.1 percent of precincts reporting, Collins had 54.6 percent to Zoller’s 45. 4 percent, the Associated Press reported.

With support from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), and former GOP presidential contender Herman Cain, Zoller cast herself as the insurgent tea party candidate against Collins, who has establishment roots. Full story

Mitt Romney to Todd Akin: Drop Out of Senate Race

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Presumptive GOP White House nominee Mitt Romney today called on Rep. Todd Akin to drop his bid for Senate in the Show-Me State.

“As I said yesterday, Todd Akin’s comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country,” Romney said in a statement.

“Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race,” Romney said, referring to a joint statement from Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Missouri GOP Sens. Kit Bond, John Danforth and Jim Talent.

The pressure from Romney is probably the final twist of the GOP establishment vice trying to squeeze the embattled Congressman from a race that he is no longer seen as able to win after making inflammatory comments about rape. Akin has until 5 p.m. local time today to remove himself from the ballot without penalty.

California: Mark Takano Up by 4 in Internal Poll

In a California House race targeted by both parties, Riverside Community College Board Trustee Mark Takano (D) led by 4 points in a poll conducted for his campaign.

According to a polling memo obtained by Roll Call, the poll, conducted by EMC Research of Oakland, Calif., found Takano ahead of Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione (R), 42 percent to 38 percent, with 20 percent undecided. Tavaglione enjoys a 15-point name identification advantage, 55 percent to 40 percent. Full story

Todd Akin Staying Put, as Top Missouri Republicans Tell Him to Exit

(Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Associated Press)

Updated 2 p.m. | Rep. Todd Akin said he is staying in the Missouri Senate race despite the national firestorm sparked by his controversial comments about rape and calls from the Republican Party establishment in his own state for him to step aside.

“We are going to continue with this race,” the GOP Congressman told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in a radio interview this afternoon.

Akin’s decision comes as Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt issued a joint statement with former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Sens. Kit Bond, John Danforth and Jim Talent — all Republicans from Missouri — calling on Akin to drop out of the race. Full story

Virginia: Tim Kaine Cites Bipartisan Record in First TV Ad

Updated 2:30 p.m. | Tim Kaine launched the first television ad of his Senate campaign in Virginia today, a positive spot highlighting his record as governor.

The ad is part of the Democrat’s $4.5 million TV time buy placed between now and Election Day. It comes amid a flurry of outside spending — and direct attacks of his record — which his campaign said has already reached $8.5 million worth of advertising against Kaine.

Full story

Pennsylvania: Kathy Boockvar on the Air Against Mike Fitzpatrick

Attorney Kathy Boockvar (D) will start airing advertisements today in her bid to unseat Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R) in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The $38,000 buy will run an introductory, semi-biographical spot this week.

“It’s just common sense — work together, make smart decisions and improve our bottom line,” Boockvar says in the spot. “That’s what I’ve done at work, as a mediator and at home, as a wife and mother. And it’s what I’ll do in Washington.”

Fitzpatrick is seeking re-election in the competitive 8th district. The seat represents Democrats’ best shot to pick up a seat this November in Pennsylvania, although Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

The Congressman has a major financial advantage over Boockvar. He reported $1.2 million in the bank at the end of June, while the Democrat had $421,000 in the bank at the same time.

NRCC Outraised DCCC by $3.5 Million in July

The National Republican Congressional Committee outraised the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee by some $3.5 million in July.

The NRCC raised $11.7 million and ended the month with $48.9 million in cash on hand, while the DCCC raised $8.2 million and closed the month with $36.2 million in cash on hand.

Last month, the NRCC topped the DCCC in fundraising. For the cycle to date, the DCCC has maintained the fundraising edge.

August 20, 2012

Missouri: Todd Akin Stands Up Piers Morgan

In the most recent chapter of the bizarre saga surrounding embattled Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri Senate GOP nominee ducked out of a prime-time interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, leading the host to dub him “a gutless little twerp.”

Akin had been attempting a restorative media tour today, agreeing to be interviewed earlier by conservatives Mike Huckabee and Sean Hannity. But facing pressure from top GOP leaders, as well as from some of the hosts themselves, the Missouri Republican — who said Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy — apparently got cold feet.

“Congressman, you have an open invitation to join me in that chair whenever you feel up to it because if you don’t keep your promise to be on the show, then you are what we would call in Britain, a gutless little twerp,” said Morgan, who showed an empty chair throughout his program. Full story

Indiana: Senate Majority PAC Boosts Joe Donnelly With $500K Buy

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Democratic super PAC is set to swoop into Indiana on Tuesday to boost Rep. Joe Donnelly with a $500,000 ad buy for the increasingly competitive Senate race.

Majority PAC will air this spot targeting Donnelly’s Republican opponent, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, on Social Security:

Full story

Missouri: What Happens if Todd Akin Drops Out

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

If Rep. Todd Akin (R) does drop his Missouri Senate bid within the next 24 hours, as the GOP establishment is pressuring him to do, at least his timing will be impeccable.

Missouri state law allows a nominated candidate to withdraw his or her bid for office by 5 p.m. on the 11th Tuesday before the election which, as it turns out, is tomorrow. If Akin does drop his bid before tomorrow’s deadline, the state’s GOP central committee would pick his replacement.

This statutory fact alone is why Republicans — from National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — are coalescing around a 24-hour ultimatum. Full story

DSCC Raised $5.8 Million in July

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $5.8 million in July, leaving it with $32.4 million in cash on hand as of July 31.

The DSCC has now raised $83.6 million for the cycle, as the committee looks to hold on to the party’s 53-47 Senate majority.

The DSCC outraised the National Republican Senatorial Committee in June, $8 million to $4.5 million. The NRSC has not yet released its July fundraising figures. Reports are due to be filed today.

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