Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 27, 2015

June 7, 2012

Montana: Jon Tester, Denny Rehberg to Debate Twice in June

Fresh off securing their nominations on Tuesday, Sen. Jon Tester (D) and his challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), are set to debate twice in the next two weeks.

The Tester campaign announced that the first debate will take place June 16 in Big Sky and will also include Libertarian candidate Dan Cox. They will meet at Buck’s T-4 Lodge at 4 p.m. ET. The Montana Broadcasters Association is sponsoring a second debate between Tester and Rehberg on June 24 in Whitefish.

Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

June 6, 2012

Arizona: Democrats Outspending Republicans On TV in 8th District

Six days out from the special election in Arizona’s 8th district, television spending in Tucson has surpassed the $3 million mark.

Those supporting Democrat Ron Barber have outspent their Republican counterparts backing veteran Jesse Kelly by about $200,000, according to sources who track television buys in the state. The two candidates are locked in a tight race to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D).

Full story

Pennsylvania: New Poll Gives Bob Casey Double Digit Lead

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) held a commanding lead over Republican Tom Smith in a new poll released by Franklin & Marshall College today.

The poll, which surveyed 412 registered voters from May 29 to June 4, showed Casey leading Smith 42 percent to 21 percent. More than a third of voters said they still remain undecided.

Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed said they did not know enough about Casey to have an opinion about him, despite serving five years in the Senate and coming from a family that has been prominent in Pennsylvania politics for decades.

Smith — a former executive at a coal company — spent more than $3 million of his own money to win the Republican primary in April over the candidate endorsed by the state party. The poll suggested that Smith’s name recognition remains low across the state. More than 75 percent of poll respondents said they did not know enough about him to view him favorably or unfavorably.

Roll Call rates the Pennsylvania Senate race as Likely Democratic.

The poll also gives President Barack Obama a healthy lead over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Obama would win Pennsylvania 48 percent to 36 percent if the election were held today, the poll found.

Mitch McConnell: Scott Walker’s Victory a GOP Blueprint

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s successful defense of his Republican administration in a recall election could set the gold standard for GOP campaigns nationwide.

Full story

Connecticut: Christopher Murphy, Linda McMahon Close in Senate Poll

Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon and Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) could see a tough general election fight to replace retiring Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I), according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.

In a test of a November matchup between the two, Murphy took 46 percent to McMahon’s 43 percent, a result within the poll’s 2.6-point margin of error.

Full story

Florida: Connie Mack IV Scores Jeb Bush Endorsement

Florida: Connie Mack IV Scores Jeb Bush Endorsement

Rep. Connie Mack (above) received the endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) today endorsed Rep. Connie Mack IV for Senate.

Mack has scored some big endorsements in his bid for the GOP Senate nomination, from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). But Bush’s nod may be the most important of all.

“Connie Mack is the principled conservative that the people of Florida deserve representing them in the U.S. Senate,” Bush said in a statement released by the Mack campaign. “Connie has the courage, conservative values, experience and determination to confront the tough issues facing our nation. We must return conservatives to the majority in the U.S. Senate. Connie is the person Floridians need in Washington working with Senator Marco Rubio to reduce our national debt and limit out-of-control spending.”

Mack is the strong frontrunner in his primary race against former Sen. George LeMieux.

The GOP nominee will take on tw0-term Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in the fall. Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.


Michigan: Republicans Will Vet Write-In Hopefuls, Make Decision by Monday

Influential Michigan Republicans agreed today on a vetting process to find a consensus write-in candidate for the GOP primary in the 11th district.

After huddling during an early morning meeting attended by potential write-in candidates, top local GOP leaders moved forward with a plan to back a preferred candidate no later than Monday after reviewing questionnaires scheduled to be submitted to a handful of hopefuls, according to a source with close knowledge of the 7:30 a.m. gathering.

Republican leaders decided against supporting reindeer rancher Kerry Bentivolio, the only  GOP candidate who is on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) announced over the weekend that he would retire after a major petitions snafu unexpectedly kept his name off the primary ballot.

Full story

California: Year of Change Kicks Off in Jungle Primaries

The year of change in California’s Congressional delegation officially kicked off on Tuesday.

It was the Golden State’s first regularly scheduled “jungle” primaries in a federal election cycle, and there was no lack of interesting finishes. Along with redistricting and retirements, it led to some contested primaries in a state unaccustomed to competitive House races. Under the new format, each district held only one primary contest, with the top two vote-getters — regardless of party — set to advance to the general election.

In the biggest shock of the night, it appears that the Democrats will not have a candidate on the general election ballot in the 31st district, where the party was poised to score a pickup. While the race hasn’t officially been called, Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) finished behind Rep. Gary Miller (R) and state Sen. Bob Dutton (R) thanks to three other Democrats taking a combined 25 percent of the vote.

Many had thought Miller could become the first California Member to lose this cycle. But with 100 percent of precincts reporting, the Republican was in first place with 27 percent of the vote, followed by Dutton with 25 percent and Aguilar with 23 percent. This one could hurt in the Democrats’ hopes of regaining control of the House, with the Republican dodging a major bullet.

Here are the other highlights, by district (candidates certain to advance are in bold): Full story

Montana: Steve Daines, Kim Gillan Win House Seat Primaries

Montana: Steve Daines, Kim Gillan Win House Seat Primaries

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Businessman Steve Daines easily won the Republican nomination Tuesday night and is now the favorite to win Montana’s House seat in November.

In the race to replace Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), who is running for Senate, Daines will face state Senate Minority Whip Kim Gillan, who won a crowded Democratic nomination fight. Full story

New Mexico: Michelle Lujan Grisham Wins 1st District Democratic Primary

Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham won New Mexico’s 1st district Democratic primary and is now favored to be the next Representative for the Albuquerque-based seat.

In a three-way primary that got nasty in the closing weeks, Lujan Grisham won with 40 percent of the vote, followed by state Sen. Eric Griego with 35 percent and former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez with 25 percent. Full story

Michigan: Write-In Field for Thaddeus McCotter’s Seat Grows

Another candidate is considering a write-in bid for the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R), stoking speculation that Republicans will not be able to settle on a consensus successor.

Former state Sen. Nancy Cassis told the Associated Press on Tuesday that she’s interested in running as a write-in on the Aug. 7 GOP primary ballot, joining a burgeoning field of potential candidates.

McCotter announced his retirement on Saturday after he failed to make the GOP primary ballot. There were so many errors with his signed petitions that the Michigan attorney general launched a criminal investigation.

McCotter’s withdrawal left an unknown Republican as the sole candidate on the primary ballot: reindeer rancher Kerry Bentivolio. Michigan Republicans are trying to decide whether to support Bentivolio or back a write-in candidate with more political experience. Full story

EMILY’S List Membership Triples

EMILY’s List announced Tuesday that it has more than tripled its membership since Republicans assumed control of the House 17 months ago.

The group, which works to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, started 2011 with fewer than 400,000 members. That number jumped to 1 million by the end of the year, with 500,000 more added during the first five months of 2012.

EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock credited the “Republican war on women” with the group’s spike in membership, which will increase its ability to mobilize voters and funnel donations to preferred candidates. The group this cycle has endorsed 11 women who are running for Senate and 33 who are running for the House, including incumbents.

“Women want representatives who will stand up to the right and build a more progressive America,” Schriock said in a statement. “EMILY’s List is supporting a remarkable number of candidates who fit that bill perfectly and our 1.5 million members can’t wait to see them change the face of power in Washington.”

June 5, 2012

New Mexico: Martin Heinrich, Heather Wilson Win Senate Primaries

New Mexico: Martin Heinrich, Heather Wilson Win Senate Primaries

Rep. Martin Heinrich will face his predecessor, ex-Rep. Heather Wilson, in New Mexico's Senate race this fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) and former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) easily won their respective primaries and will now face off in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

Wilson, who preceded Heinrich in the House and lost her first primary bid for Senate in 2008, defeated wealthy businessman Greg Sowards, 70 percent to 30 percent, with 48 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. Heinrich dispatched with state Auditor Hector Balderas, a rising star in the party, 59 percent to 41 percent. Full story

New Jersey: Bill Pascrell Wallops Steven Rothman in Primary

New Jersey: Bill Pascrell Wallops Steven Rothman in Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bill Pascrell trounced fellow Democratic Rep. Steven Rothman in New Jersey’s 9th district primary today, in what was the fourth Member-vs.-Member race to be decided this redistricting cycle.

Pascrell won a lopsided 70 percent to 30 percent victory over Rothman, with 78 percent of the vote counted, according to the Associated Press.

Full story

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker Survives Recall Attempt

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker Survives Recall Attempt

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall attempt tonight.

Though early exit poll results appeared to show a tight race, the major news networks called the election for the first-term Republican within an hour of the 9 p.m. poll closing.

With 31 percent of the vote in, Walker had 59 percent to Democratic opponent Tom Barrett’s 41 percent.

The race had become something of a proxy for the presidential election, with labor activists hoping their get-out-the-vote efforts could offset Walker’s financial advantage.

Still, President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney mostly stayed away from the fray, with the president only sending a tweet Monday that said Barrett would “make an outstanding governor.”

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