Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 26, 2014

April 27, 2012

DSCC Places First IE of ’12 Cycle in North Dakota

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has bought television air time in North Dakota to bolster former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, a Democratic source confirmed this afternoon.

The DSCC has placed a buy worth about $76,000 that was set to run beginning Wednesday of this week through next Friday.

The DSCC’s spot becomes the first independent expenditure spot of the campaign from a national party committee and was placed specifically to answer an ad being run by Crossroads GPS, a Republican-aligned nonprofit affiliated with the American Crossroads super PAC.

Democrats have high hopes for Heitkamp, although Rep. Rick Berg (R) remains favored in the contest to succeed retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D). Roll Call rates this contest as Leans Republican. However, a poll conducted for the North Dakota Democratic party had Heitkamp up 5 points over Berg.

Full story

Between the Lines: Then There Was One

Kansas is now the only state in the country with an outstanding redistricting map.

New Hampshire’s new map became law on Monday when Gov. John Lynch (D) signed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Reps. Charles Bass and Frank Guinta ultimately agreed to the map after some earlier tension over moving voters between the two districts.  Both Congressmen are being targeted by Democrats in an effort to defeat them this cycle.

Indiana: Sarah Palin Backs Richard Mourdock for Senate

Indiana: Sarah Palin Backs Richard Mourdock for Senate

(Shira Toeplitz/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated | 5:41 p.m. BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin threw her support behind Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s (R) bid to unseat six-term Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) today.

It’s a rare endorsement this cycle from the former Alaska governor, who has been notably less aggressive with her Congressional endorsements than in 2010.

“I join commonsense conservatives in endorsing Richard Mourdock to be the next Senator from Indiana,” Palin wrote on her Facebook page. “Richard Mourdock is the conservative choice for Indiana. Senator Lugar’s 36 years of service as a Senator are appreciated, but it’s time for the torch to pass to conservative leadership in Washington that promises to rein in government spending now.”

Palin’s endorsement puts her at odds with her 2008 runningmate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz). Lugar’s campaign started airing a radio advertisement this week touting McCain’s support in his own words.

“Indiana is fortunate to have a Senator like Dick Lugar,” McCain says in the radio spot. “Yet, some in Indiana are claiming Dick Lugar is [President Barack] Obama’s friend. That’s ridiculous. And I know it firsthand. Because I fight alongside him every day in the Senate. Dick Lugar is a patriot and a hero, and we need him in the United States Senate.”

Palin’s backing comes less than two weeks before the May 8 primary and after momentum has clearly shifted in Mourdock’s favor. During the last four weeks, national conservative groups, such as the Club for Growth, rallied to Mourdock’s campaign by buying millions in television advertisements on his behalf.

“I appreciate the support of Governor Palin and her endorsement of my campaign to bring conservative values to the U.S. Senate,” Mourdock said in a statement. “Her support will go a long way toward mobilizing conservatives to vote on May 8.”

California: Liberal Group Backs Lori Saldana in Competitive District

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee today will make its first endorsement in California this cycle, backing Lori Saldana in the 52nd district top-two primary.

Saldana, a former state Assemblywoman, and San Diego Port Commission Chairman Scott Peters are the two leading Democrats running to take on Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) in this San Diego district. They will all compete on June 5 to advance to the general election in one of several districts in the state Democrats hope to pick up. Full story

April 26, 2012

Blue Dogs Endorse Three More Candidates

The fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition will add three more candidates to its roster of endorsed candidates today, Roll Call has learned.

The Blue Dogs, who lost two Pennsylvania Members in Democratic primaries Tuesday, endorsed former state Rep. Dave Crooks in Indiana’s 8th district; former state Rep. Pam Gulleson in North Dakota’s at-large district; and former state Rep. Gary McDowell in Michigan’s 1st district.

“In Dave, Pam, and Gary, the Blue Dogs have added three impressive candidates with a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility and representing the commonsense center of American politics,” Blue Dog PAC co-chairman Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) said in a statement. “Each of them brings unique backgrounds and experiences to the Blue Dogs, and we look forward to working with them in the our efforts to streamline government and encourage business growth and job creation.”

The Blue Dog PAC has endorsed eight other candidates this cycle: former Reps. Nick Lampson (Texas) and Charlie Wilson (Ohio) and Leonard Bembry (Fla.), Clark Hall (Ark.), Brendan Mullen (Ind.), Hayden Rogers (N.C.), Ted Vick (S.C.) and Rob Wallace (Okla.).

Indiana: Senate Race Sees $3.5M in Outside Spending

Indiana: Senate Race Sees $3.5M in Outside Spending

The majority of outside groups spending money in Indiana's Senate race are boosting state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. (Shira Toeplitz/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Outside groups have made almost $3.5 million in independent expenditures so far in the competitive Indiana GOP Senate primary, according to online data from the Federal Election Commission.

The bulk of the spending, about $2.3 million so far, has been by groups supporting state Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s effort to defeat six-term Sen. Dick Lugar. For example, in the past 24 hours, the Club for Growth put down a $421,000 media buy blasting the Senator.

But it’s still not more money than Lugar’s campaign has spent so far. His most recent fundraising report showed his campaign had spent $5.4 million through April 18. Meanwhile, Mourdock’s campaign will report spending just more than $2 million through the same date, according to his spokesman. Full story

Pennsylvania: Matt Cartwright Misses Call From Vice President Joseph Biden

Pennsylvania: Matt Cartwright Misses Call From Vice President Joseph Biden

Attorney Matt Cartwright received congratulatory calls from top Democrats after Tuesday's primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s the one call that attorney Matt Cartwright, the Democratic nominee in Pennsylvania’s 17th district as of this week, wished his cell phone would have picked up. Instead, Vice President Joseph Biden had to leave his fellow Scrantonian a voice mail Wednesday. Full story

North Carolina: Mark Meadows Picks Up Jeff Duncan Endorsement

Real estate investor Mark Meadows, the apparent frontrunner in the crowded GOP primary in North Carolina’s open 11th district, picked up the endorsement of Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) today.

“Mark Meadows will fight for what’s right, because he understands that higher taxes and more regulations are not the way to solve our country’s problems,” Duncan said in a statement released by the Meadows campaign. “Conservatives of Western North Carolina should send Mark Meadows to Congress. We need his help.”

Duncan’s spokesman confirmed the endorsement. Duncan, along with Reps. Tim Scott, Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney, make up a group of strongly conservative freshman Republicans from the Palmetto State. Full story

Arizona: NRCC, DCCC Going on the Air in Giffords Special (Updated)

Updated 6:40 p.m. | The National Republican Congressional Committee will begin a $150,000 ad buy beginning Friday in the Arizona special election to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a GOP source confirmed to Roll Call.

The party’s nominee is veteran Jesse Kelly. He will face former Giffords staffer Ron Barber, who went up on the air the day after the primary earlier this month. Kelly narrowly lost to Giffords in 2010. Much of Barber’s political inner circle was involved in Giffords’ campaign that year, and he has the support of the ex-Congresswoman and her husband.

The House campaign committees, as well as outside groups, have been closely watching and preparing for the race and will play dominant roles in the June 12 special election.

Full story

Florida: Vern Buchanan Has 22-Point Lead in GOP Poll

Florida: Vern Buchanan Has 22 Point Lead in GOP Poll

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) led former state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald (D) by more than 20 points in a GOP poll of 16th district voters obtained by Roll Call.

The three-term Congressman led 58 percent to 36 percent. Six percent of the 400 likely voters polled were undecided in the survey conducted by respected GOP pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies. Full story

Utah: Orrin Hatch Picks Up Chamber Endorsement

Utah: Orrin Hatch Picks Up Chamber Endorsement

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Although Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) still has to get through his primary challenge from state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, he picked up a big endorsement Wednesday. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced the group is endorsing Hatch in his re-election bid. Full story

Mitch Daniels: No One Should Rule Out VP Bid

Mitch Daniels: No One Should Rule Out VP Bid

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) said no one should ever turn down an offer for the vice presidential nomination, which is why he hopes no one ever asks him to join the national ticket.

“The one thing I don’t think you should say is, if asked to serve the country, ‘No’. I don’t think anybody should say that,” Daniels said in a wide-ranging interview with Roll Call.  “But other than that, [I] don’t want to, don’t intend to, hope not to,  don’t expect to, and I think there are better choices.”

Days after Mitt Romney became the GOP’s presumptive nominee for president, several of the most-mentioned vice presidential contenders told media outlets that they’re not interested in the gig — statements widely interpreted by insiders as political deflection. Daniels came close to shutting the door himself last weekend, telling “Fox News Sunday” that, if asked to be Romney’s running mate, he’d urge the White House hopeful to reconsider.

But on Wednesday afternoon, during an interview with Roll Call in his expansive office at the state Capitol, Daniels explained his own ambitions in more detail.

Full story

April 25, 2012

California: Internal Poll Shows Close 2nd District Race

An internal poll commissioned for Democratic activist Norman Solomon in California’s open 2nd district found him in position to advance beyond the June 5 primary, with several other Democrats close behind.

The race to replace retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D) will most likely be between two Democrats under California’s new top-two primary format, in which two candidates no matter their party may advance to the general election. Full story

Arizona: Richard Carmona Poll Shows Competitive Race

Arizona: Richard Carmona Poll Shows Competitive Race

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A poll done for former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) shows the Arizona Senate race is competitive for Democrats this fall, an argument national party strategists have been working to make.

The Anzalone Liszt Research survey found Rep. Jeff Flake (R) ahead of Carmona 43 percent to 39 percent in a general election matchup. The poll did not test Carmona against Flake’s GOP primary rival, real estate investor Wil Cardon.

Carmona, who has never run for office before, had a much lower name identification than Flake, who was first elected to the House in 2000. Twenty-two percent of those surveyed were able to identify Carmona, while 48 percent said they knew who Flake was. Full story

Texas: GOP Senate Candidates Place Major Ad Buys

Texas: GOP Senate Candidates Place Major Ad Buys

Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz has spent more than a half-million dollars on his Senate bid and has support from outside groups. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The air war in the Texas Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) has ramped up. With the primary on May 29, April was when most Texas political observers expected ad spending to begin in earnest. The campaigns have not disappointed.

A source who closely watches Lone Star State media buys says the campaigns have cumulatively spent the following in the GOP primary:

Full story

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