Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 21, 2014

May 12, 2014

Pennsylvania Primary: Margolies Comeback Bid Faltering

Pennsylvania Primary: Margolies Comeback Bid FalteringGLENSIDE, Pa. — A week out from Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary, former Rep. Marjorie Margolies is no longer the front-runner in a race Democratic operatives doubted she could ever lose.

Less than one year ago, Margolies’ commanding lead in the polls, familiarity with voters thanks to her one term in Congress in the early 1990s, and her ties to the Clinton dynasty as Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law made her a seemingly untouchable foe. Yet Democratic operatives say Margolies has run an astonishingly poor campaign in the 13th District, an open seat thanks to Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz’s gubernatorial bid in the Keystone State.

That has shifted the focus from Margolies, 71, to state Rep. Brendan Boyle, 37. As he gains traction, the other Democrats in the race have stepped up to paint him as anti-abortion because he voted for a state law that required stricter regulations and inspections of abortion clinics. But Boyle, who  supports abortion rights, says his record has been twisted.

“I’ve been a supporter of Planned Parenthood,” Boyle told CQ Roll Call on May 9. “On 14 votes that I’ve cast related to women’s health, I’ve voted with Planned Parenthood on 12 of the 14. Unfortunately … when you have a record, opponents can misleadingly point to one or two votes, completely mischaracterize it and paint a picture that’s false.”

Full story

Capito Leaves Vacuum in Race to Replace Her

Capito Leaves Vacuum in Race to Replace Her

Republicans hope to find the right candidate Tuesday to replace Capito, who is running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is a safe bet to win the Republican Senate nomination Tuesday in West Virginia, but what happens to her 2nd District seat is far more unsettled.

Capito’s reluctance to anoint a successor has unleashed a gold rush for Republicans in the district, where the president took just 38 percent of the vote in 2012. Seven GOP candidates are running for the party nod in a nasty, disorganized May 13 primary, which has left presumptive Democratic nominee Nick Casey free to spend the past year fundraising and quietly campaigning.

Even as the odds favor Capito’s Senate run on Tuesday and in November, the seven-term congresswoman leaves behind chaos and uncertainty — and even a Democratic opening — in the race to replace her. Observers from both parties agreed: This seat is in play for Democrats, and it shouldn’t be. Full story

Is Sid Dinsdale the Next Deb Fischer in Nebraska?

Is Sid Dinsdale the Next Deb Fischer in Nebraska?

Sasse is the frontrunner heading into Tuesday's primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

History could repeat itself in Nebraska on Tuesday as voters choose a Republican Senate nominee among three legitimate contenders.

In 2012, now-Sen. Deb Fischer pulled off an unlikely, come-from-behind victory in a GOP primary she was trailing heading into the final week. Fischer had less money and was less well-known, but she rose to the top after two other candidates spent the campaign aggressively bashing each other.

Two years later, Sid Dinsdale, the president of Pinnacle Bank, has run third in the Senate primary. But as outside groups supporting Midland University president Ben Sasse and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn have relentlessly attacked their leading opposition, Dinsdale saw a spike in his poll numbers.

“Dinsdale spent enough money … that with the negatives that the other two have given each other, he’s been able to rise up and become a very serious factor,” said Chris Peterson, an unaligned Nebraska Republican consultant. Full story

Meet the NRCC’s New Young Guns

Meet the NRCCs New Young Guns

Dold, seen at the Capitol in 2012, was selected to be of the NRCC's Young Guns this cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden on Monday unveiled the first round of House GOP candidates elevated to “Young Gun” status.

The NRCC’s Young Guns program is the highest designation for recruits in either open-seat races or in districts where the GOP is on offense. The program allows the party to communicate to donors and the political world who are the most organized recruits of the cycle.

Candidates earn this status by demonstrating “their ability to build a formidable campaign structure and achieve important goals and benchmarks,” according to a news release.

“Candidates that reach ‘Young Gun’ status have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in a position to win on Election Day,” Walden said in a statement. “Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama Administration.”

The new Young Guns are:

Full story

Kingston Hits Obama, Lauds Georgia Military Bases

Kingston Hits Obama, Lauds Georgia Military Bases

Kingston released a TV ad with one week to go in Senate primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston’s latest TV ad ahead of next week’s Republican Senate primary takes a shot at President Barack Obama over military cuts and touts his own support for the state’s many military installations.

In the opening seconds of the ad, Kingston says the president “has it all wrong” by “growing government with wasteful spending while drastically cutting our military.”

Kingston utilizes the ad to highlight his opposition to an unpopular president, while also giving a specific example of how the state benefited from his many years in Congress — something he has been attacked for. Full story

May 9, 2014

Attack of the Babies in Georgia Republican Senate Primary (Video)

Attack of the Babies in Georgia Republican Senate Primary (Video)

Kingston speaks to attendees at a law enforcement cookout in Georgia last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston is up with a new TV ad targeting David Perdue, the front-runner for the Republican Senate nomination.

The ad uses the Perdue campaign’s baby imagery from previous ads to attack the former Dollar General and Reebok CEO’s past business dealings. Both are among the top three contenders, along with former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, to advance beyond the May 20 primary into the runoff.

“Perdue chewed up businesses,” the narrator says, as a toddler eats cake. “8,000 jobs were lost, he took a million-dollar bonus, and also millions more from Obama’s stimulus.” Full story

Sasse Launches Closing Argument TV Ad

Sasse Launches Closing Argument TV Ad

Sasse is airing his final TV ad before Tuesday's primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ben Sasse’s final TV ad ahead of Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary in Nebraska touts his big-name endorsements, his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and his campaign’s decision not to run negative advertising.

The spot lands amid a crush of ads run by outside groups backing Sasse and one of his opponents, former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, in the final week before the May 13 primary.

Sasse’s spot is running statewide on broadcast and cable, part of a 1,500-point buy for the final week of the campaign, according to a campaign spokesman. Full story

Mike Simpson Out-Raised Tea Party Primary Opponent

Mike Simpson Out Raised Tea Party Primary Opponent

Simpson outraised his primary opponent in April. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson out-raised his tea-party-bolstered Republican primary opponent in the final fundraising period of the contest.

According to pre-primary reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, Simpson raised $193,000 from April 1 to April 30 and ended the month with $566,000 in cash on hand. Attorney Bryan Smith, who is backed by well-financed outside groups like the Club for Growth, raised $104,000 in April and had $231,000 in cash on hand.

Simpson and Smith will face off in a May 20 primary in Idaho’s 2nd District. More than $1 million from outside groups has been spent on the race in support of both candidates.

Full story

Campaign Spot-Light: The Only Job Worse Than Being an Incumbent, Cheap Dads and Alligator Wrestling (Video)

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

Here is what cut through the clutter:

What’s Worse Than Being an Incumbent? Bein’ a Trial Law-yur

The first half of the montage features ads attacking tea party challengers as “trial lawyers.” Incumbents and friendly super PACs are making the calculation that labeling a tea party insurgent as a “trial lawyer” is a more lethal attack line than “Washington insider.”

Full story

Democrat Injects $700,000 Into Pennsylvania Primary Campaign (Updated)

Democrat Injects $700,000 Into Pennsylvania Primary Campaign (Updated)

Former Rep. Margolies, pictured above in 2005, will get fundraising help from Hillary Clinton next week. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update 9:45 a.m. | Democrat Val Arkoosh loaned her Pennsylvania congressional campaign $700,000 with weeks to go in a competitive primary, according to her pre-primary report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Between April 1 and April 30, the physician, one of four Democrats seeking an open Philadelphia-area House seat, brought in $773,000 — including the sizeable personal loan — and reported $430,000 in cash on hand for the final days before the May 20 primary.

Thanks to her personal funds, Arkoosh’s haul far outpaced the other three candidates in the 13th District contest, including former Rep. Marjorie Margolies, state Rep. Brendan Boyle and state Sen. Daylin Leach. However, Boyle and Leach both filed 48-hour reports with the FEC May 8 — a week after the closing of the pre-primary period — showing Boyle giving $40,000 and Leach $250,000 out of pocket to their respective campaigns.

Full story

May 8, 2014

Vulnerable Democrats Vote for Benghazi Committee

Vulnerable Democrats Vote for Benghazi Committee

Barber is one of several vulnerable Democrats who voted with Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Six House Democrats facing competitive challenges in November voted Thursday evening in favor of creating a special committee to re-investigate the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Five of the seven Democrats who voted with the GOP are part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program, which supports the party’s most vulnerable incumbents. Full story

Sid Dinsdale Fires Back in TV Ad (Video)

The latest tea party target is wasting no time in responding to recent attacks.

Nebraska Republican Senate hopeful Sid Dinsdale is firing back at outside groups hitting him on the airwaves in the final days before the primary. According to his campaign, Dinsdale will be on the air tonight with a response TV ad. The campaign declined to provide specifics on the buy.

“Desperate Washington special interests are spending dark money falsely attacking Sid Dinsdale and his family, telling you who to vote for,” the ad’s narrator says. “Nebraskans are self-reliant people who don’t need to be told what to do from special interests.”

Full story

House Democratic Women to Headline Rangel Fundraiser

House Democratic Women to Headline Rangel Fundraiser

Rangel faces a competitive June 24 primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A little more than a month out from New York’s primaries, three female House Democrats are hosting a New York City fundraiser on behalf of Rep. Charles B. Rangel, who is again facing a stiff intraparty challenge.

New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney emailed Rangel’s supporter list Thursday with the subject line, “Women Can Count on Charlie Rangel.” The postscript read: “On May 22, I’m hosting a fundraiser at my house for Charlie with Congress Members Nita Lowey and Terri Sewell. Will I see you there?” Full story

Outside Groups Target Dinsdale Ahead of Nebraska Primary

Five days before the Nebraska Republican Senate primary, outside groups are beginning to train their sights on self-funding banker Sid Dinsdale, who has run third in the polls.

Dinsdale faces Midland University President Ben Sasse and former state Treasurer Shane Osborn in the May 13 primary in this safe Republican seat; the winner of the GOP primary will likely be the next senator from Nebraska.

A TV ad released Thursday by the Club for Growth, which is backing Sasse, attacks Dinsdale for being too liberal, saying he donated money to Democrats and said the Affordable Care Act had some “good aspects.”

“That’s really liberal,” the narrator says. “That’s the real Sid Dinsdale.” Full story

Simpson Gets More Air Support in Competitive Primary

Simpson Gets More Air Support in Competitive Primary

Simpson faces a competitive May 20 primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A super PAC supporting members of Congress targeted by the tea party is launching its second TV ad in Idaho on Thursday.

Defending Main Street PAC, led by former Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Ohio, has now spent around $500,000 to help Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, who is facing a significant primary challenge.

In the group’s latest ad, a narrator labels Simpson a “conservative fighting for Idaho” and says he “supports tax cuts that lower energy costs and reduce our dependence on oil from hostile nations, while protecting and creating jobs at the Idaho National Labratory.” Full story

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