Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

September 28, 2012

Nebraska: Bob Kerrey Targets Deb Fischer on Balanced Budget Amendment

Looking to make up ground, Democratic Nebraska Senate nominee Bob Kerrey attacked Republican candidate Deb Fischer on her support of a balanced budget amendment in their second debate today.

“I do worry about this balanced budget amendment,” said Kerrey, a former Nebraska governor and U.S. Senator. “It’s going to have a terrible impact on Nebraska.”

“We are not going to be able to invest in our universities. We are not going to be able to provide the Pell grants that our students need. We are not going to be able to have the kind of research that needs to occur to develop” partnerships with private-sector businesses, he said. Full story

Daily Ad Track

All over the country, biographical television spots are giving way to negative attack ads.

The Susan B. Anthony List announced Thursday the initiation of a $150,000 TV ad campaign against President Barack Obama in Ohio. It intends to include in that campaign an ad it previously aired in Missouri, which featured an abortion survivor.

But the ad that caught our attention was a negative spot from Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.).

Here are some of our other favorite ads from today:

Florida 18

The West spot sparked a frenzy on Twitter this morning. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil tweeted, “FL Rep. Allen West attacks his opponent for fighting in a bar. Has he met #FLSencandidate Connie Mack??” Bar brawls have surfaced in a Florida Senate race ad as well.

Meanwhile, supporters of House Democrats are going negative on West. House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, announced it was increasing its investment in the district to more than $1.5 million. This comes after the news that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was canceling a week of airtime starting Oct. 9.

Full story

California: AFSCME Hits Dan Lungren, Chamber Slams Ami Bera

Outside groups continue to rain dollars on California, the new home of Congressional competition.

This week the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a national labor union both hit the airwaves with significant buys in California’s 7th district. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees dropped $800,000 on an ad that ties Rep. Dan Lungren (R) to Wall Street.

Lungren is among several Golden State incumbents in competitive races this year. Roll Call rates his race a Tossup.

Full story

Florida: New Allen West Ad Blasts Patrick Murphy for Arrest

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) today released a blistering contrast ad against his Democratic opponent, businessman Patrick Murphy. The 30-second spot compares what West and Murphy were both doing on Feb. 16, 2003.

The ad zooms across a satellite map of the United States to southern Florida. “That night, South Beach, Miami: Patrick Murphy is thrown out of a club for fighting, covered in alcohol and unable to stand,” the narrator says. “Murphy then confronts and verbally assaults a police officer.”

Murphy’s mugshot, in which he appears quite discombobulated, appears on screen.

Full story

By Joshua Miller Posted at 9:14 a.m.
Ads, Fla.-18, House 2012

September 27, 2012

Dueling Internal Polls in Iowa and Pennsylvania House Races

A Democratic poll showed Rep. Steve King in a competitive race in Iowa. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

‘Tis the season for dueling internal polls.

In Iowa, former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack (D) released a survey today showing her trailing Rep. Steve King (R) by 2 points in the first public poll of this race in several weeks.

A few hours later, the conservative group American Future Fund put out a poll showing King ahead by several points, 48 percent to 41 percent. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican. Full story

Hawaii: Senate Candidates Appropriating Daniel Inouye, Barack Obama

(Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Unlike many Democratic Senate candidates this cycle, Rep. Mazie Hirono seems eager to run on the coattails of her fellow Democrats — namely President Barack Obama and Hawaii’s senior Senator, Daniel Inouye.

Obama is expected to easily prevail in his native state, and Hirono, the Democratic Senate nominee, is embracing her support of Obama in a new ad hitting her opponent, former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, for supporting GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

A release from the Hirono campaign characterized the ad as a statewide buy. If the past is any indication, then Hawaiians will see it on their TVs with some frequency.

Full story

Colorado: Three’s a Crowded TV Market

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter's new district is deemed competitive by Republicans. (Tom Williams CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

As triage news trickles out of the national committees, it is highly doubtful any of it will be about a Colorado House race. The reason? The three competitive House races in the state share the Denver media market.

If one of the committees opts to pull the plug on a candidate, evidence of the move will be subtle. Instead of canceling an ad-buy altogether, the money will most likely stay in Denver, but be directed toward another candidate.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has about $2.9 million in ad reservations in Denver. The National Republican Congressional Committee has about $2.2 million.

The state’s three competitive races are in the 3rd, 6th and 7th districts. There is no indication coming out of the committees or their independent expenditure units of how much they plan to earmark for each race. Rumors abound that one campaign or another is about to get “triaged,” but no credible evidence has surfaced about any committee’s intentions to cut off a candidate.

Full story

Race Ratings Changes: Indiana Senate Moves to Tossup; Mix of House Moves

Rep. Leonard Boswell has been helped by spending from outside groups in his Iowa race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This is arguably the most volatile period for the House battleground map, as partisan operatives are making their final ad spending decisions and beginning to move money away from some races to put more resources into other contests.

The Senate map is much less fluid, yet this is the time when some races begin to fade in terms of their competitiveness and others become more so. In recent weeks we’ve seen the New Mexico Senate contest move to the less competitive category, while Connecticut and Indiana are now fully in play. We are still monitoring developments in Connecticut (and could make another ratings change there soon), but new polling in Indiana confirmed for us that a ratings change was due. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Here are the most noteworthy television ads we have seen today.

Missouri Senate

EMILY’s List and the Service Employees International Union have combined for an ad campaign against Rep. Todd Akin (R). It hits the usual criticisms that have been leveled at Akin since he made his “legitimate rape” comment in August. But it goes a step further, with one of the most vicious, perennial accusations that can be made against a politician — not taking a hard line against pedophilia. It is part of a $1 million ad buy.

Full story

Indiana: New Independent Poll Shows Tied Senate Race

A new poll showed Rep. Joe Donnelly ahead of Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock by 2 points. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) led state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) by 2 points  — a stastical dead heat — in a new bipartisan poll of the Indiana Senate race released today.

Donnelly led Mourdock 40 percent to 38 percent in the Howey/DePauw University Indiana Battleground Poll. Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning received 7 percent in the survey.

The results mirror several Democratic internal polls released over the past several months. Sensing an opportunity, Democratic groups spent heavily to boost Donnelly’s campaign over the summer. Full story

September 26, 2012

NRCC Buys Cable Time to Help Boost Joe Walsh

National Republicans are reserving TV airtime to help freshman Rep. Joe Walsh. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

So much for the National Republican Congressional Committee leaving Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) out to dry.

The committee reserved about $457,800 on cable stations in Illinois’ 8th district for spots to run Oct. 5 through Election Day, multiple sources confirmed to Roll Call. It’s a significant buy, but it doesn’t reach saturation level.

For months, national GOP operatives privately conceded Walsh would lose his re-election bid against Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth (D) in the suburban Chicago, Democratic-leaning district. Duckworth is still favored to win, but there are signs the race has become more competitive. Full story

DCCC Moving TV Resources to More Competitive Races

House Democrats shifted resources away from six races as the party continues to move money to more promising targets.

According to two sources who monitor ad buys, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee cut its reservations in the following GOP-leaning House districts during the week of Oct. 9:

  • Florida’s 16th district, where the DCCC originally reserved $229,800 in the Tampa market. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.
  • Indiana’s 2nd district, where the DCCC originally booked $56,300 in the South Bend market. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.
  • North Dakota’s at-large open seat, where the DCCC originally reserved $76,600 in the Fargo market. Roll Call rates this race as Likely Republican.
  • Ohio’s 10th district, where the DCCC originally reserved $66,100 in the Dayton market. This is the committee’s second cancellation in this market in as many weeks. Roll Call rates this race as Safe Republican.
  • Virginia’s 2nd district, where the DCCC originally reserved $77,700 in the Norfolk market. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.
  • The DCCC trimmed — but did not cancel — in Pennsylvania’s 12th district, where Rep. Mark Critz (D) is in a tough race. The committee plans to continue with $160,000 worth of advertisements that week. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup. Full story

New Hampshire: Rematch Between Charles Bass and Ann McLane Kuster Gets Rough

A newly surfaced tracker video shows attorney Ann McLane Kuster (D) verbally and physically engaging with a staffer to the campaign of her rival for New Hampshire’s 2nd district, Rep. Charles Bass (R).

As has been increasingly common in recent cycles, the context of the video is an annoyed Congressional candidate and a persistent videographer. For 30 seconds, Kuster and the videographer tussle over the camera, and the clip concludes with Kuster saying, “Eff him.”

The video first surfaced Tuesday on the New Hampshire Journal, a conservative website. The incident took place on Friday in Concord at an event with Vice President Joseph Biden.

The New Hampshire Union Leader confirmed that the tracker was Bryan Klepacki, a staffer for the Bass campaign. Kuster campaign manager Garrick Delzell described Klepacki as an “aggressive tracker.” He said there were several minutes in which Klepacki had pestered Kuster leading up to that point in the video.

Full story

Daily Ad Track

A “great wall” of ads continues to slam voters in competitive districts, especially on the topic of China.

But the biggest news today in political ads is that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is no longer keeping her powder dry in the Missouri Senate race. She went right for the jugular with a new statewide television ad almost as soon as it was certain Rep. Todd Akin (R) was her general election opponent. On the House front, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has canceled a week of airtime in Florida’s 18th district, where Rep. Allen West (R) is seeking re-election. Officials said they were shifting resources to other races because House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, has reserved ad time in West’s district. House Majority PAC is also shifting resources, as the House battleground map continues to come into sharper focus.

Here are the other best TV ads and trends we saw today:

Parents of the Deceased

Two Senate campaigns put up ads offering testimonials from the parents of someone who is deceased. In each, the parent vouched for the character of the candidate.

Ohio Senate

A father of a deceased young man described the work Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) did to increase bus safety. The ad is on Ohio airwaves, which includes some of the most saturated markets in the country.

Virginia Senate

A mother described former Sen. George Allen’s (R) sympathetic reaction to the death of her son, who died was serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq. Ad spending is saturating Virginia airwaves, and this new ad is part of ongoing statewide ad buys.

China, China, China

At least there is one thing the two parties can agree on — that China is an issue to use against the other side. It is a way to attack one’s opponent on the outsourcing and deficit fronts. China was similarly prominent in 2010 general election ads. China has been raised as an issue in the presidential campaign as well.

Full story

Missouri: NRSC Expresses Hope Todd Akin Will Defeat Claire McCaskill

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans continued to circle the wagons behind Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.) in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill Tuesday, but it remained unclear if they would reverse course and put money behind his candidacy.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee was the latest to issue a statement today, following an endorsement by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) this morning and a statement of support late Tuesday from Missouri’s other Senator, Republican Roy Blunt.

“There is no question that for Missourians who believe we need to stop the reckless Washington spending, rein in the role of government in people’s lives, and finally focus on growing jobs in this country that Todd Akin is a far more preferable candidate than liberal Senator Claire McCaskill,” NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer said.

Full story

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