Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2014

May 19, 2014

DSCC, NRSC Top $6 Million Raised in April

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee narrowly outraised its GOP counterpart in April, with both bringing in more than $6 million.

The DSCC announced Monday raising $6.3 million and ending last month with $25 million in cash on hand. The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced Friday it just eclipsed $6 million for the month and ended April with $19.2 million on hand.

The committees’ monthly reports are due to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

The DSCC has now raised more than $80 million for the cycle, about $21 million more than the NRSC. The DSCC is investing heavily in field operations to motivate its base in this challenging midterm cycle, and this month it began its fall airtime reservations in Alaska, where Democratic Sen. Mark Begich faces a competitive race.

Since Senate Republican hopes of winning the majority increased at the start of 2014, the NRSC said it is outpacing its own election-year fundraising from 2010 and 2012 by about $3 million. Republicans must net six seats to win the majority.

May 17, 2014

Congress Races to Ralph Hall’s (Financial) Aid

Congress Races to Ralph Halls (Financial) Aid

Hall received financial aid from his friends on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rarely are Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and John A. Boehner of Ohio publicly on the same side of a GOP primary campaign. But a band of geographically and ideologically diverse Republicans are rallying behind Texas Rep. Ralph M. Hall, who is in danger of becoming the first incumbent defeated in 2014 later this month.

Hall’s political trouble initially caught many off-guard. Texas House members offered plenty of moral support in the days and weeks after Hall failed to secure the nomination in the March 4 primary. But, according to Hall’s recent fundraising reports, including his pre-runoff report filed May 15, his colleagues have backed up that talk over the past couple of months.

Nearly every Republican member of the Texas delegation, including Sen. John Cornyn, has donated to Hall’s campaign, which brought in $401,000 from April 1 to May 7, including a $100,000 loan from the candidate. Some members made multiple donations through both their campaigns and leadership PACs.

Full story

May 16, 2014

Perdue Attacks Kingston in New Ad (Video)

Perdue Attacks Kingston in New Ad (Video)

Perdue's new television ad attacks Kingston ahead of Tuesday's GOP primary. (Screenshot of ad)

Georgia Senate hopeful David Perdue is up with a new ad attacking his Republican primary opponent Rep. Jack Kingston.

“Jack Kingston’s been in Washington for more than 2 decades. But Georgia voters don’t want more big spending Washington experience,” the narrator says, as images of babies appear on the screen. One has a diaper bearing the name “Jack.” The ad accuses Kingston of backing “massive debt increases” and of supporting the “Cash for Clunkers” bill from the Obama administration.

The Perdue spot then shows an ad Kingston began running last week in which he portrays Perdue as a whiny toddler greedily stuffing his face with cake. That ad accuses Perdue of having “chewed up businesses” he took over and claims, “8,000 jobs were lost.” The narrator calls Kingston “desperate” and said he did “[w]hat all politicians do: he lashed out falsely at David Perdue. The truth is, David Perdue has saved and created thousands of jobs. We don’t need more Washington. We need a conservative outsider.”

The spot closes with Perdue approving the message and graphic declaring he is “The Outsider.”

This new ad was provided to Roll Call by a Georgia source who saw it running on the ABC affiliate in Atlanta as of Friday afternoon. The Perdue campaign, which has not sent the spot to the press or posted it on YouTube, did not immediately respond to requests about to the size of the buy.

Congressman Backs Ex-Hill Staffer for California Seat

Congressman Backs Ex Hill Staffer for California Seat

Royce endorsed a former Capitol Hill staffer on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce has endorsed former Capitol Hill aide Lesli Gooch, becoming the latest Southern California congressman to back the Republican seeking her former boss’ open House seat.

Gooch, one of several candidates vying for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller in California’s 31st District, worked for Miller as a senior policy adviser in the district, which is a top Democratic pick-up opportunity in November. Royce’s endorsement follows that of Miller and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Lesli Gooch and our delegation in the United States Congress to get things done for Californians,” Royce said in a statement Friday. “The Inland Empire needs Lesli Gooch’s strong conservative leadership in Congress to beat back the failed policies of Reid and Pelosi that are hurting our economy and crippling our national security.”

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Angus King Rolls Out Bipartisan Senate Endorsements (Video)

Angus King Rolls Out Bipartisan Senate Endorsements (Video)

King is backing Republican and Democratic Senate colleagues. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Maine’s Angus King, one of two independents serving in the Senate, is endorsing two colleagues on Friday: New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Maine Republican Susan Collins.

Collins, who lost to King in the 1994 gubernatorial race, is a solid favorite for re-election, despite the fact President Barack Obama carried Maine by double digits in both 2008 and 2012.

“I think she’s one of the Senate’s MVP’s — smart, tough, and always willing to listen,” King said in a statement shared with CQ Roll Call. “In my book, she’s a model senator and I’m delighted to support her re-election.”

Despite Collins’ advantage, the endorsement, which was first reported by the Associated Press, is nonetheless noteworthy because King caucuses with Senate Democrats. Collins is being challenged by Democrat Shenna Bellows, who released a statement Friday noting that King gave her a heads-up about his endorsement.

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Campaign Spot-Light: Landrieu Shoots Over the Moon

Welcome to the third edition of Roll Call’s feature that highlights the most interesting political ads of the week.

Here is what cut through the clutter:

Louisiana Senate: A Re-Election That Is Anything but the ‘Big Easy’

Ad buyer: Mary Landrieu for Louisiana
Ad buy: It is a $200,000 ad buy, per The Los Angeles Times.
The race: Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu is running in a November jungle primary. Unless she takes 50 percent of the vote, she will head to a December runoff against a to-be-determined Republican rival. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Landrieu is facing another competitive campaign, but her latest ad offers a glimpse of how she’s won multiple terms. In this spot, Landrieu’s father, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, makes the case that the stubbornness of his daughter, the Pelican State’s three-term senior senator, protected Louisiana from great villains of recent years: BP, President Barack Obama and the rest of the Senate. Full story

May 15, 2014

Democrats Dropping Like Flies in Race to Replace Moran

Democrats Dropping Like Flies in Race to Replace Moran

Beyer is one of a dwindling number of Democrats running for this open Virginia seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Seeing no path to victory, three of the 10 Democratic candidates looking to succeed retiring Rep. James P. Moran in Virginia dropped out in rapid succession in the past week — slightly dwindling a still-crowded field in next month’s primary.

Engineer Satish Korpe dropped out of the 8th District contest last week, followed by state Del. Charniele Herring on Monday and businessman Bruce Shuttleworth on Wednesday.

Their exits come too late for them to be removed from the June 10 primary ballot. Earlier this year, state Dels. Mark Sickles and Alfonso Lopez also dropped out of the race. Their departures came before ballots were finalized.

Full story

Tea Party Candidate Lags in New Jersey Primary Poll

The New Jersey Republican-machine-backed candidate in an open-seat primary led a prominent tea party candidate by 11 points in a Monmouth University Poll released Thursday.

In the race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Jon Runyan, former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur, who is backed by the county establishments of New Jersey’s 3rd District, had the support of 46 percent of likely primary voters, while 35 percent backed tea party favorite and ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, the party’s nominee in last year’s Senate special election. Twenty percent of those surveyed were undecided.

The outcome of the June 3 primary is highly consequential to the general. Most New Jersey and national Republican operatives are aiming for a MacArthur victory, fearing that a tea party candidate could lose the seat to Democrats. The Democratic candidate, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard, is a safe bet to win her party’s nomination, and at this point the race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

Howard Coble Endorses Successor in North Carolina

Howard Coble Endorses Successor in North Carolina

Coble has endorsed a candidate to replace him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Retiring North Carolina Rep. Howard Coble has endorsed Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. as his successor, touting the candidate’s experience and conservative credentials.

In last week’s primary, Berger and Baptist Pastor Mark Walker advanced to a July 15 runoff from a nine-candidate GOP field running to replace the longtime Republican lawmaker in the 6th District.

“It’s clear to me that Phil Berger is the right conservative for the job,” Coble, 83, said in a statement. “He has the experience, knowledge and determination to hit the ground running in Washington.” Full story

Georgia Democrat Awaits Crowded Republican Primary

Georgia Democrat Awaits Crowded Republican Primary

Barrow shakes hands last month at a law enforcement appreciation cookout in Glennville. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

GLENNVILLE, Ga. — At a law enforcement appreciation cookout last month, just within Georgia’s 12th District line, Democratic Rep. John Barrow back-slapped with the best of them as he made his way through a Republican-heavy crowd.

Barrow better be comfortable among GOP faithful, because his district is filled with them. After opting against a Senate bid last year, Barrow, a regular top target of national Republicans, is awaiting the conclusion of a GOP primary filled with candidates sure they should be able to pick off a district that President Barack Obama lost by 12 points in 2012.

And the incumbent is unlikely to find out his Republican opponent on Tuesday — two from the five-candidate primary field are expected to be forced into a July runoff, with no candidate likely to surpass the 50 percent threshold needed to win the nomination outright. This is the only district in the state that has the chance to flip party control.

In a mid-April interview outside a pond house with more than 1,000 potential voters filling the sprawling lawn and munching on barbecue, CQ Roll Call asked Barrow if a Democrat could win a Senate race in Georgia. His answer delved into his own race and explained how he’s held on for five terms in such a challenging district.

“If you reflect the kind of values that our parents did and are prepared to stand up for those kinds of issues, and vote for what’s in the best interests of the state and the district you represent,” Barrow said, “there’s no reason why someone can’t win no matter what brand that they run under.” Full story

May 14, 2014

For Democrats, It’s Déjà Vu in California’s 31st District

Democrats may have reason for concern about a replay from 2012, when the party fumbled a sure pickup opportunity in Southern California thanks to the state’s new top-two primary.

According to a poll conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call, former Democratic Rep. Joe Baca, who has raised little money and is not backed by the national party, is gaining on the two Democratic front-runners in the 31st District open-seat race. With a 5-point rise since last month, Baca is now tied for third with attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes, behind Republican businessman Paul Chabot and Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, who is backed by the DCCC.

Chabot led the primary field among likely voters with 23 percent, followed by Aguilar with 15 percent, and Reyes and Baca with 13 percent apiece. Should the three top Democrats splinter the vote nearly evenly in the primary, there is a possibility one of the other Republicans finishes second — again.

“This dynamic leaves the door open for a scenario in which two Republicans clear the primary and Democrats are shut out of the general election, as they were in 2012,” pollsters for California-based Tulchin Research wrote in a memo.

The pollsters found Baca was unlikely to finish in the top two, but “this development has further diluted the Democratic vote…”

Full story

U.S. Chamber Endorses Kerry Bentivolio’s GOP Challenger

U.S. Chamber Endorses Kerry Bentivolios GOP Challenger

Bentivolio is considered one of the cycle's most vulnerable candidates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed attorney David Trott in his Republican primary challenge to freshman Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan’s 11th District.

Bentivolio is one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the cycle. Many on Capitol Hill refer to him as an “accidental congressman” because he came to Washington, D.C., in the aftermath of ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s 2012 ballot implosion.

“On behalf of the U.S. Chamber, I am proud to support Dave Trott for Congress,” said Rob Engstrom, U.S. Chamber senior vice president and national political director. “Dave has a strong record of creating jobs and promoting the principles of free enterprise and leadership in the private sector.”

Full story

Pennsylvania Primary: Clinton Does TV Ad for Margolies

Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies’ latest ad in her comeback bid in Pennsylvania features former President Bill Clinton touting her accomplishments on camera, a potentially game-changing spot less than one week from the Keystone State’s primary.

“I’m not coming here saying vote for her because 20 years ago she saved the economy,” Clinton says of Margolies in the 30-second ad, referring to her vote in 1993 that saved Clinton’s budget and ultimately cost the Democrat her seat in Congress. “She’ll take initiative, she’ll do things and stand up when she needs to stand up and cooperate when we need cooperation.”

Margolies, who is former first daughter Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law, is looking to retake control of the race from her biggest opponent in the primary: state Rep. Brendan Boyle.

Full story

May 13, 2014

Nebraska Primary: Lee Terry’s Close Call

Nebraska Primary: Lee Terrys Close Call

Terry, seen here in 2012, is seeking a ninth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:35 p.m. | Republican Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska faced an unexpectedly close primary contest Tuesday night but prevailed to claim the GOP nod for re-election in the Cornhusker State.

Just after 11:30 p.m. the Associated Press called the race for Terry, who represents Nebraska’s 2nd District, over businessman Dan Frei. Terry had 19,823 votes, or 54 percent, and Frei had 17,088, or 46 percent.

For most of the night Terry led Frei by just more than 2,300 votes in spite of a huge cash advantage. According to pre-primary reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Frei had just less than $4,000 in cash on hand. Terry had slightly more than $600,000. The congressman issued a statement about winning the race after the Omaha World Herald tweeted he was the victor.

Full story

By Alexis Levinson Posted at 10:42 p.m.
Neb.-2

Nebraska Senate Race: Sasse Wins Republican Primary (Video)

Nebraska Senate Race: Sasse Wins Republican Primary (Video)

Sasse prevailed over two Republican rivals in the Nebraska Senate primary race Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ben Sasse pulled off a victory in Nebraska Tuesday night, winning the Republican Senate primary to become the nominee and likely the next senator from the Cornhusker State.

Sasse, president of Midland University and a former Bush administration official, bested former state Treasurer Shane Osborn and banker Sid Dinsdale to win the nomination for this open seat. Republican Sen. Mike Johanns is retiring.

Sasse had 44 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race just before 10 p.m. Dinsdale was in second at 26 percent, followed by Osborn with 23 percent.

Sasse benefited from massive spending by outside groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund. Those groups did a lot of the dirty work, running a barrage of negative ads bashing first Osborn and, later, Dinsdale, while Sasse’s own campaign only ran positive spots about the candidate.

With Sasse’s nomination, the tea party will claim its first big win of the cycle. Tea-party-aligned groups like the Madison Project — along with the club and SCF — backed him, along with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who traveled to Nebraska to rally for Sasse alongside former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

There is no serious Democratic contender. The race is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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