Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

June 10, 2012

Wisconsin Recall Offers Strategic Lessons for Mitt Romney

Wisconsin Recall Offers Strategic Lessons for Mitt Romney

In five months, Republicans will learn whether Gov. Scott Walker’s victory foreshadowed something big for the party beyond Wisconsin.

But even if the June recall election proves less than a broad political harbinger, the Republicans’ rare opportunity to test-run their voter turnout operation this close to November could pay important tactical dividends in key battleground states that could decide the presidential race.

Before all of the votes were tallied last Tuesday, top Republican strategists were already crunching the data, and they believe what they learned on the ground in Wisconsin can help them elsewhere.

“We never dubbed it a dry run … But there is no better testing ground than an election,” said Rick Wiley, the Republican National Committee political director. “Now we have strategy teams in D.C. and Boston looking at how things are performing.” Full story

Massachusetts: New Super PAC Might Help Richard Tisei

Massachusetts: New Super PAC Might Help Richard Tisei

Massachusetts House candidate Richard Tisei may benefit from a super PAC started by a wealthy Republican who supports gay rights. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Top GOP donor Paul Singer is helping back a new super PAC “to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage,” according to a column in Sunday’s New York Times.

One race it might have an effect on: the re-election bid of vulnerable eight-term Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) against former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R), a longtime supporter of gay marriage equality.

“Tisei is one type of candidate who might draw financial help from Singer’s super PAC, which, according to Singer, will soon have a budget ‘of a few million dollars,’” columnist Frank Bruni wrote in the Times piece.

Tisei has outriased Tierney in both the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of this year. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently booked $3.67 million of television advertising in the Boston media market, which could be used to bolster Tierney. Full story

June 9, 2012

New York: Ed Koch Tells Obama to Go ‘Bold,’ Backs Charlie Rangel

New York: Ed Koch Tells Obama to Go ‘Bold,’ Backs Charlie Rangel

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NEW YORK — Former New York Mayor Ed Koch (D) strongly backed the re-election of Barack Obama in an interview Friday, but worried about the Democrat’s prospects if the president didn’t propose something big.

“Bold,” Koch explained. “That’s what’s required on the part of the president. Because there’s no question, at this moment, if Romney and he are neck and neck, which is what the polls show, the president is in trouble.” Full story

The 2012 Campaign Through the Eyes of ‘Walmart Moms’

Forget Seamus, the Ryan budget or even the “War on Women.” Undecided female voters didn’t even mention some of the 2012 cycle’s most-hyped news topics in a pair of  focus groups on Wednesday evening.

Walmart sponsored the 90-minute focus groups, which were organized by a bipartisan team of pollsters: Margie Omero of Momentum Analysis and Alex Bratty of Public Opinion Strategies. Moderators questioned two groups of “Walmart Moms” — self-described undecided voters who shop at the store at least one a month — in Richmond, Va., and Las Vegas.

It’s a surprisingly rare opportunity for inside-the-Beltway reporters to hear out undecided female voters at length. Even on the campaign trail, interviews often last a few minutes with the most quotable participants. Nonetheless, these women are exactly the fought-over voters for whom campaigns clamor in the final weeks of an election.

Full story

June 8, 2012

Kurt Bardella Leaving Darrell Issa to Join Abel Maldonado Campaign

Kurt Bardella Leaving Darrell Issa to Join Abel Maldonado Campaign

Kurt Bardella, seen here with one-time boss Rep. Darrell Issa, is moving on to work on a Congressional campaign in California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kurt Bardella, the senior adviser to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) with a colorful history and a reputation as an attack dog, is headed back to California to work for 24th district Congressional candidate Abel Maldonado (R).

Maldonado, the former lieutenant governor, is challenging Rep. Lois Capps (D) in a race that could prove competitive. Following redistricting, Capps’ district went from a 20-point registration advantage for the Democrats to a three point edge. In California’s June 5 “jungle” primary, the votes for Maldonado and a second Republican candidate combined to beat Capps’ 46 percent.

The GOP’s decision to tap Bardella for Maldonado’s campaign is viewed as further evidence of the party’s optimism about flipping the district. Bardella previously handled press for Rep. Brian Bilbray, working for the San Diego-area Republican on the campaign trail and in Congress.

Virginia: Eric Cantor, Bob McDonnell Hit the Trail for George Allen

Virginia: Eric Cantor, Bob McDonnell Hit the Trail for George Allen

Former Sen. George Allen (far right) is expected to win Tuesday's four-way GOP Senate primary in Virginia. But he's still getting some last-minute help on the campaign trail. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

George Allen is heavily favored to win Tuesday’s Republican primary in the Virginia Senate race, but the former governor and Senator is bringing out the state’s top GOP surrogates on Saturday to help him secure the nomination.

Allen will be joined on the trail by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) for a Saturday morning get-out-the-vote event in Rockville, which is in Hanover County just outside of Richmond. That afternoon, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will appear with Allen in Virginia Beach. Full story

Wisconsin: TV Ads Race Heats Up in Senate Primary

The race for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat heated up this week in the wake of Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde launched new television ads in their bids for the Republican nomination, while former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) announced that he would campaign with tea party favorite Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

In both spots, Thompson and Hovde portray themselves as Washington outsiders who would challenge the way business is done on Capitol Hill. Thompson’s statewide media buy for his new ad is his first foray into the contest’s television ads race. In the spot, the candidate lists a number of Washington policies that he would work to stop — including tax hikes and the 2010 health care reform measures.

“Stop,” Thompson, a former Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush, says at the beginning of the ad. “It’s an easy concept, but Washington politicians just don’t get it.”

Full story

NRCC Loads Second Clip of Young Guns Candidates

NRCC Loads Second Clip of Young Guns Candidates

North Carolina Congressional candidate David Rouzer is among the National Republican Congressional Committee's newest Young Guns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee today announced its second round of Young Guns — GOP candidates who have been placed in the top tier of the committee’s recruitment and candidate support program.

“These candidates have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in position to win on Election Day,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) said. “The momentum behind these campaigns is proof-positive that Americans are fed up with President Obama’s policies …” Full story

Kansas: Court Issues Map, Redistricting Over

The nation’s decennial redistricting process finished late Thursday night when a federal court in Kansas released the state’s new Congressional map.

Despite the political drama leading up to the court’s decision, the new Kansas map doesn’t make any sweeping changes to the state’s Congressional lines.

According to a source who examined the lengthy order, here are the changes to the state’s four House districts:

  • In the 1st district, freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R) picked up Riley, Geary and Pottawatomie coutnies. The 1st district needed to add about 60,000 in the redraw. It remains a solidly GOP seat.
  • In the 2nd district, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R) picked up Montgomery County and all of Douglas County, including Lawrence and the University of Kansas. That means this district became slightly less Republican and could be competitive.
  • In the 3rd district, freshman Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) now has all of Johnson County, Wyandotte County and a small piece of Miami County. As a result, the Republican performance in his district improved slightly. Yoder’s district needed to shed about 60,000 people in the redraw.
  • In the 4th district, freshman Rep. Mike Pompeo (R) dropped Montgomery County and picked up several rural counties on the west side of his Wichita-based district. His seat is now even more friendly to Republicans.

Kansas had been the only state without a new Congressional map. For months, Republicans squabbled in the state Legislature over a new map in what should have been a simple process. The GOP controls the governor’s mansion, both state legislative chambers and the entire Congressional delegation in this geographically rectangular state.

In late May, for the first time in state history, a federal court took up the mapmaking process.

June 7, 2012

Rand Paul Endorses Mitt Romney

Rand Paul Endorses Mitt Romney

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 11:02 p.m.| Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said this afternoon that he is “honored” to be endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Paul’s father, Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), had run for the Republican presidential nomination against Romney in 2008 and this election cycle, but he essentially conceded the race in an email to supporters today.

“When it is all said and done, we will likely have as many as 500 supporters as delegates on the convention floor,” he wrote, according to the Houston Chronicle. “That is just over 20 percent! And while this total is not enough to win the nomination, it puts us in a tremendous position to grow our movement and shape the future of the GOP!”

In response to Sen. Paul’s endorsement, Romney praised his record.

“Sen. Paul has been a leading voice in the effort to scale back the size and reach of government and promote liberty,” he said, adding that he looks forward to “working with him to get America back on the right track.”

Sen. Paul, himself, is widely thought to harbor ambitions for higher office. “The assumption throughout the political community in Kentucky is that he’s a one-term Senator who is running for president in 2016,” said a Republican consultant deeply familiar with Kentucky.

North Dakota: Senate Poll Shows Dead Heat

A new independent poll shows freshman Rep. Rick Berg (R) and former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) in a virtual tie for the open North Dakota Senate seat.

Heitkamp leads Berg, 47 percent to 46 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Mason-Dixon Polling and Research for KVLY and KFYR television stations. Just 7 percent of voters were undecided in the poll.

The survey comes as good news to Democrats, who hope to keep the seat of retiring Sen. Kent Conrad seat as part of their larger effort to maintain control of the Senate. The results are yet another sign that the race is competitive, although Roll Call continues to rate it as Leans Republican. Full story

Virginia: Jamie Radtke Going On TV Ahead of Tuesday’s Primary

Virginia: Jamie Radtke Going On TV Ahead of Tuesdays Primary

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:46 p.m. | Virginia Senate candidate Jamie Radtke will be on statewide TV in the days leading up to Tuesday’s Republican primary, the tea party leader said today.

“We’re shocking everybody, including the media,” Radtke told Roll Call.

Radtke is a heavy underdog against George Allen, a former governor and Senator who is expected to advance and take on former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) in the general. But she says her support has surged since last month’s second of three GOP debates. Full story

Michigan: Consensus for Nancy Cassis as Write-In

That was fast. Top Michigan Republicans decided to support former state Sen. Nancy Cassis (R) as their consensus write-in candidate for the 11th district GOP ballot.

A cadre of top local GOP leaders met again this morning to discuss potential candidates and settled on Cassis out of a handful of write-in hopefuls who expressed interest.

The decision follows a hectic couple of days for the local GOP since Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) dropped his own write-in bid Saturday after failing to make the Aug. 7 primary ballot.

There’s one Republican on the primary ballot, reindeer rancher Kerry Bentivolio, but GOP leaders opted to try to support a write-in candidate instead.

Full story

Mitt Romney Outraises Barack Obama in May

Mitt Romney Outraises Barack Obama in May

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney raised $76.8 million in May, easily surpassing the more than $60 million raised by President Barack Obama during the same period.

Romney’s May fundraising haul included funds contributed to his presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee and Romney Victory, a joint fundraising committee set up by the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign and the RNC. The Romney campaign and the RNC said they finished the month with a combined $107 million in cash on hand, according to a Romney campaign press release. Full story

Wisconsin: Sean Duffy Claims Post-Recall Momentum in House Race

Wisconsin: Sean Duffy Claims Post Recall Momentum in House Race

Rep. Sean Duffy is a top target for Democrats this fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. Sean Duffy’s re-election campaign quickly claimed to have seized the momentum in his competitive race for re-election following Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) easy victory in Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall election.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democrat who opposed Walker in the recall, won only three of the 26 counties in the 7th district, according to a Wednesday memo from the Duffy campaign. Voters in the counties that make up the district picked Walker over Barrett by a 17-point margin. Full story

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