Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 28, 2015

May 21, 2012

Ohio: Majority PAC Extends Senate Race Buy to $600K

A Democratic super PAC spent an additional $300,000 in airtime to promote Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) this week — yet another sign that his race has become increasingly competitive.

The Majority PAC’s latest buy allows the group’s advertisement to stay on the airwaves a second week. The group has now spent $600,000 to air this spot on Brown’s GOP opponent, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel:

Outside groups have been pouring money into the race for months, but Democrats have been outspent by almost a 6-to-1 margin. The latest Majority PAC buy marks the largest investment to boost Brown’s re-election yet by an outside group.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

Ohio: Donations to Jim Renacci, Josh Mandel Part of Federal Probe

The campaigns of Rep. Jim Renacci and state Treasurer Josh Mandel, the GOP nominee for Senate, confirmed today that they are aware the government is investigating contributions they accepted from employees at a direct marketing firm.

Spokesmen for the two Ohio Republicans told the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Monday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was looking at money received from employees at a company called Suarez Corporation Industries.

“To our knowledge no donations made to our campaign were contributed improperly. If we find out otherwise, those donations will be returned. Our campaign is not now nor has ever been the subject of this investigation,” Renacci spokesman James Slepian wrote in an email response. He added that the campaign has not heard anything about the matter in several months and is not aware of whether the inquiry is still active.

“The campaign is aware of the investigation and is fully cooperating. Neither the campaign or anyone associated with it is a target of the investigation,” Mandel spokesman Travis Considine told Roll Call. He also pointed out that the campaign had set aside $100,000 in donations from Suarez employees pending the outcome of the investigation. Full story

Texas: Rick Perry and Sarah Palin Make the Case for Their Candidates

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have found themselves on opposing sides in the Texas Senate GOP primary.

Each has previously made an endorsement: Perry for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst; Palin for former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

And now they are going to bat for their candidates. Perry is featured in a new TV ad released Monday by Dewhurst. Perry vouches for him on fiscal policy and adds, “Our country needs him, and so does Texas.”

The Cruz camp also made news Sunday by releasing a robocall from Palin.

Full story

Florida: Ron DeSantis Gets FreedomWorks PAC Nod

UPDATED 5:27 p.m. | Congressional candidate Ron DeSantis today picked up the endorsement of FreedomWorks PAC in his race for the GOP nomination in Florida’s open and strongly Republican 6th district.

Ron DeSantis is the perfect example of a constitutionally-limited government candidate,” FreedomWorks PAC Executive Director Max Pappas said in a statement.

DeSantis, a retired active duty Navy JAG officer and current Navy reservist, faces a competitive primary with state Rep. Fred Costello, former Ruth’s Chris CEO Craig Miller, Jacksonville City Councilman Richard Clark and others.

Roll Call rates the district as Safe Republican. Much of the newly configured 6th district is currently represented by Rep. John Mica, who is running in a Member-vs.-Member primary in Florida’s 7th.

New Jersey: House Leaders, Reality Star Donate to Bill Pascrell

New Jersey: House Leaders, Reality Star Donate to Bill Pascrell

Rep. Bill Pascrell is facing off against a fellow Democrat in a primary next month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Two members of House Democratic leadership have donated to Rep. Bill Pascrell in his Member-vs.-Member fight against fellow New Jersey Rep. Steven Rothman.

Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) and Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) have sent checks to Pascrell, although one of the donations was much more recent than the other.

Clyburn donated a total of $7,000 through his PAC and campaign committee Friday, according to Pascrell’s latest 48-hour fundraising report. Larson’s campaign committee donated $2,000 Dec. 31, just days after it became clear that a Member-vs.-Member race was shaping up between the two men. Full story

Kentucky: Thomas Massie Picks Up Mike Lee Endorsement

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) endorsed tea-party-affiliated Congressional candidate Thomas Massie today, giving the local elected official a boost as he faces a too-close-to-call primary Tuesday in Kentucky’s 4th district.

“Tom understands the proper role of the federal government and that states possess certain powers on which the federal government may not intrude,” Lee said in a statement. “I trust he will be a faithful and effective representative for the people of Kentucky.”

Massie, who already has the backing of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R), faces state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Geoff Davis (R).

Webb-Edgington and Moore both have establishment backing, though Webb-Edgington is seen as the stronger candidate and is in a neck-and-neck contest with Massie. She has been endorsed by both Davis and former Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.).

Full story

Maine: FreedomWorks Endorses Bruce Poliquin for Senate

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(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Maine Treasurer Bruce Poliquin (R) today picked up an endorsement from the conservative group, FreedomWorks PAC.

It is an early indicator that he may be the next conservative Senate primary candidate that Washington, D.C.-based tea party groups coalesce around, although the window is narrowing. The primary is on June 12.

Full story

Montana: Jon Tester Launches Seventh TV Ad

Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) today launched the seventh television ad of his re-election campaign.

It’s yet another positive spot and highlights Tester’s relationship with a seriously injured veteran. A source tracking ad buys said the campaign is spending about $60,000 to run the ad statewide on cable and broadcast TV. Full story

Arizona: NRCC Releases New Negative Ad on Ron Barber

The National Republican Congressional Committee has released a new negative television ad against Democrat Ron Barber in the special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional district to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D).

Full story

Study: Democrats Must Win Moderates to Hold Senate

In a study that could annoy Democrats and perturb proponents of the “base election” theory, a centrist Democratic think tank is arguing that its party’s hold on the Senate hinges on political “moderates.”

Third Way, in a report set for release today, asserts not only that ideological moderates will determine control of the Senate in November, but that Democrats need to win more of these voters in 10 states with tossup Senate contests than do the Republicans. The think tank crunched exit polling data from recent presidential and midterm elections and concluded that Democrats face a significant challenge in their bid to retain their thin, four-seat Senate majority.

“Crucially for Democrats, they must garner a majority of moderates in nine of 10 toss-ups to win, and in seven of those the bar is even higher — Democrats must clear 60 percent [of moderates] to win,” Third Way policy advisers Michelle Diggles and Lanae Erickson write in the think tank’s report.

Third Way classifies 10 Senate races as Tossup; Roll Call currently rates eight races as Tossup.

Full story

May 19, 2012

Illinois: Republicans Pick Davis as Nominee in 13th

Local Republicans selected Rodney Davis, a top aide to Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), to be their nominee for the newly open House seat in downstate Illinois.

The 13th district county GOP chairmen picked Davis over three other candidates today, including Rep. Randy Hultgren’s (R-Ill.) chief of staff, Jerry Clarke.

Republicans were forced to pick a new GOP nominee following Rep. Timothy Johnson’s (R-Ill.)  sudden retirement after the March primary. His departure, plus a Democratic redraw of the district’s boundaries last year, make this seat competitive.

Full story

Arizona: New Barber Ad Criticizes Kelly On National Sales Tax

Update | 2:53 p.m. Democrat Ron Barber’s campaign put a new television ad on the air that criticizes his opponent, veteran Jesse Kelly (R), for supporting a national sales tax.

Full story

Connecticut: Linda McMahon Wins State GOP Endorsement

Connecticut: Linda McMahon Wins State GOP Endorsement

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As expected, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon topped former Rep. Chris Shays in the state convention fight for the Connecticut Republican Party’s endorsement Friday night.

McMahon picked up the support of 60 percent of the delegates at the state convention, while Shays got 32 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press. While the margin was significant, most political observers expected McMahon to win, and Shays met the 15 percent threshold to qualify for the primary on Aug. 14.

McMahon and Shays are running to replace retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I). McMahon also won her party’s Senate endorsement over former Rep. Rob Simmons in 2010. She went on to lose that race in the fall to now-Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D). Full story

May 18, 2012

Texas: David Dewhurst Puts $6 Million More Into Senate Campaign

Updated: 9:38 p.m. | Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has donated an additional $6 million to his Senate campaign since April 1.

The figure put his total personal donations to the campaign at $8 million, according to a source in the campaign.

The campaign made the announcement in a press release. It also noted that he had received $500,000 in individual contributions in the pre-primary reporting period beginning on April 1. Campaigns must submit federal election finance reports two weeks out from the primary date.

Full story

DSCC Outraised NRSC in April

DSCC Outraised NRSC in April

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee slightly outraised its Republican counterpart in April, bringing in $4.5 million.

It was the fourth straight month the DSCC bested the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which raised $4.25 million in April. The DSCC ended the month with $25.7 million on hand, compared with $21.6 million for the NRSC.

The DSCC is defending 23 seats — and a four-seat majority — compared with just 10 for Republicans. Roll Call rates eight races as Tossups and six as either Leans Democratic or Leans Republican.

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