Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 1, 2014

July 21, 2014

The Re-Education of Rick Nolan

The Re Education of Rick Nolan

Nolan came back to Congress in 2012 — three decades after his first stint in the 1970s. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minnesota Democrats have two problems: The 8th District has changed, and Rep. Rick Nolan doesn’t want to.

The Gopher State Democrat returned to Congress in 2012 after a three-decade hiatus. This November, Nolan faces first-time candidate and wealthy businessman Stewart Mills in a historically strong Democratic district that encompasses Minnesota’s Iron Range.

But the district has become increasingly competitive in recent years, and sources from both parties question Nolan’s willingness to adapt to the requirements of a high-stakes, 21st century re-election campaign. Democrats highlight Nolan’s strong retail campaign skills and say they admire his principles — but others say a modern re-election requires more than that.

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Super PAC Targets Democrat in Georgia

Super PAC Targets Democrat in Georgia

Nunn is being targeted on TV as the GOP primary concludes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the Georgia Republican Senate runoff ending Tuesday, an outside group focused on eradicating wasteful government spending launched a TV ad against Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn.

The group, Ending Spending Action Fund, spent more than $200,000 to produce and place the ad, according to an independent expenditure report filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission. It also spent more than $28,000 on opposition research.

The 30-second ad, which is running statewide and kicked off over the weekend, was timed to run just as either Rep. Jack Kingston or former corporate CEO David Perdue wins the Republican nomination and the general election officially begins. The seat in this Republican-leaning state is one of Democrats’ only pickup opportunities. Full story

Florida Congressman Makes $1.4 Million Ad Buy for Re-Election

Florida Congressman Makes $1.4 Million Ad Buy for Re Election

Patrick Murphy is a Democrat from Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Patrick Murphy’s campaign made its first ad buy Monday in Florida’s 18th District, reserving $1.4 million in cable and broadcast in the West Palm Beach-Treasure Coast media market, according to figures shared first with CQ Roll Call.

The Democrat’s buy runs through the summer and into the fall in this district, located in the northeast corner of Palm Beach County, according to his campaign.

The freshman is a fundraising powerhouse, bringing in $759,000 in the second quarter and reporting more than $2.6 million in cash on hand as of June 30.

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July 20, 2014

Megachurches Prove Mega-Influential in GOP Primaries

Megachurches Prove Mega Influential in GOP Primaries

Collins, left, is a Georgia Republican and former senior pastor at his church. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The influence of religious conservatives might be waning nationwide, but the movement only stands to grow in Congress.

Already this year, three candidates with close ties to massive churches won decisive Republican primaries. A fourth — Pastor Jody Hice — could win a Tuesday GOP primary runoff in Georgia and come to Congress in November.

Their victories come as public opinion has shifted dramatically on some social issues, notably same-sex marriage, denounced by most religious conservatives. The rise of the tea party and libertarian factions in the Republican Party has also diluted the influence of social conservative activists in the GOP.

But in the case of these faith-figures-turned-pols, the candidates’ close relationships to their churches played a factor — perhaps the deciding one — in their victories.

“People generally like their pastor, and in politics it’s always good to be liked by voters,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

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July 18, 2014

DCCC Adds Congressman to Endangered Incumbent Program

DCCC Adds Congressman to Endangered Incumbent Program

Nolan is a Minnesota Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee moved Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota to its Frontline program — a reflection of growing concern over his re-election prospects.

The Frontline program is for House Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents.

Nolan’s opponent for Minnesota’s 8th District is GOP businessman Stewart Mills. The move came after second-quarter campaign fundraising reports revealed that Mills raised more money than Nolan in April, May and June.

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Chris McDaniel Estimates More Than 10,000 Voting ‘Irregularities’

Chris McDaniel Estimates More Than 10,000 Voting Irregularities

Chris McDaniel is a Republican from Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel said in a Friday radio interview that he expects to find over 10,000 voting “irregularities” in his campaign’s investigation of the June GOP runoff.

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was officially declared the winner of that runoff by a margin of more than 7,600 votes. But McDaniel has not conceded the GOP nomination, and his supporters are examining ballots in every county in Mississippi to determine if there was any deliberate voter fraud or if anyone voted in the runoff who was ineligible to do so.

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DSCC Raised More Than NRSC in June

DSCC Raised More Than NRSC in June

Sen. Michael Bennet is chairing the DSCC in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced raising $7.2 million in June — just about a million dollars more than its Republican counterpart.

As the party fights to maintain its majority in the Senate, the DSCC has brought in about $25 million more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee to date this cycle. It raised about $21.7 million total from April through June and had $30.5 million in cash on hand as of June 30. Full story

Republicans Bet Housework Over NRCC Dues Collection

Republicans Bet Housework Over NRCC Dues Collection

Brady, left, and Scalise, right, live in the same townhouse. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four House Republicans — who are also roommates — aren’t messing around with collecting dues for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Earlier this week, Republicans named Reps. Kevin Brady of Texas, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, John Shimkus of Illinois and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the incoming House majority whip, as chairmen of the campaign committee’s latest push to get members to pay their dues. The men also live together in a Washington, D.C., townhouse when Congress is in session.

“It’s a competition,” Brady said. “And the loser each period has to do chores around the house.”

“I know one week is washing dishes. Another one is taking out the trash,” he said. “The third is, heaven forbid, vacuuming. Which we don’t have a vacuum.” Full story

July 17, 2014

U.S. Chamber Backs Justin Amash Primary Opponent

U.S. Chamber Backs Justin Amash Primary Opponent

Amash faces a primary opponent in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed GOP Rep. Justin Amash’s primary challenger in Michigan’s 3rd District.

The group’s support could translate into television airtime for Brian Ellis, a former East Grand Rapids School Trustee, before the Aug. 5 primary. The primary has become one of this cycle’s top battles inside the GOP, with the party’s libertarian wing backing Amash and national business interests boosting Ellis.

“The U.S. Chamber is proud to endorse Brian Ellis’ congressional campaign to represent Michigan’s 3rd congressional district. Both candidates in the primary sought our endorsement, and the choice in support of Ellis on pro-growth issues was clear,” U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President and National Political Director Rob Engstrom said in a Thursday statement.

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DNC Chair Predicts Party Will Exceed Expectations in 2014

DNC Chair Predicts Party Will Exceed Expectations in 2014

Wasserman Schultz is a Forida Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the strength of individual candidates will help her party outperform expectations in the upcoming midterms.

“Pundits are wildly misinterpreting or over interpreting,” the Florida Democrat said, specifically responding to a projection published by the Washington Post that gives Republicans an 86 percent chance of taking control of the Senate.

“Models don’t elect candidates. Voters do,” she said, speaking at a Thursday morning event organized by centrist Democratic think tank Third Way. Full story

Kingston Counts on Hill Connections in Senate Runoff

Kingston Counts on Hill Connections in Senate Runoff

Kingston, seen here campaigning in Glennville, Ga., this spring, is not shying away from his Washington ties ahead of the Georgia runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston’s Senate campaign is benefiting from the help of countless friends on Capitol Hill, eschewing the relentless efforts of David Perdue to paint him as a big-spending insider.

The primary runoff campaign will end next week, amid a torrent of negative advertising and after a heated debate Sunday. The nine-week overtime race between Kingston and Perdue, a former Reebok and Dollar General CEO, concludes on July 22.

Perdue once again highlighted Kingston’s 22 years in Congress in the campaign-closing TV ad he released this week. But Kingston, a veteran congressional appropriator, is hardly running from his record or his connections.

“Rarely have I seen two candidates more comfortable with their respective positions,” said Randy Evans, a Republican National Committeeman from Georgia. “Jack is more than comfortable being the insider, trying to make the case that with his experience he can make an immediate difference. And Perdue is comfortable being the outsider, saying D.C. is broken and it’s time to send someone new.” Full story

Oregon Republican Raises $955,000 for Senate Bid

 

Oregon Republican Raises $955,000 for Senate Bid

Wehby is challenging Merkley, above. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Oregon Republican Monica Wehby will report raising more than $955,000 in her bid for Senate in the second quarter, according to fundraising figures provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon, is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley. She raised most of that haul — $846,000 — since May 1. Full story

July 16, 2014

Chris McDaniel Attorney: Mississippi Election Challenge Coming

Chris McDaniel Attorney: Mississippi Election Challenge Coming

Chris McDaniel is preparing to challenge the Mississippi runoff results. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorneys for state Sen. Chris McDaniel said Wednesday they have sufficient evidence to challenge the results of Mississippi’s Republican Senate runoff — which McDaniel lost to Sen. Thad Cochran last month — and expect to do so in the next 10 days.

“We’ve heard it our entire life in Mississippi,” McDaniel campaign attorney Mitch Tyner said at a press conference in Jackson. “Votes are being bought. Ballot boxes are being stuffed. … Personally, I’m 51 years old, it’s the first time I saw it up close and personal. And it exists. And we are committed to finding it and rooting it out and stopping it.”

Cochran was declared the winner of the June 24 primary runoff by a margin of 7,667 votes. McDaniel has refused to concede, and his campaign is now reviewing the voting records in all 82 counties of Mississippi. Full story

House Democrats Bank on Fundraising in 2014

House Democrats Bank on Fundraising in 2014

Steve Israel of New York is the chairman of the DCCC. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats don’t have much in their favor in the upcoming elections — except their bank accounts.

There’s a sour national political environment, a history of the president’s party losing seats in midterms and an unfavorable congressional map drawn mostly by Republicans. But less than four months before Election Day, it’s clear that House Democrats have a major financial advantage among their candidates and committees that is already translating to television airtime for the fall.

On average, Democrats in competitive House races have more than one-third more in the bank than their Republican opponents, according to a CQ Roll Call tabulation of the most recent fundraising reports due Tuesday to the Federal Election Commission. Across 59 House races considered remotely competitive by CQ Roll Call, Democratic candidates and incumbents had, on average, $955,000 in the bank, while Republicans had an average of $667,000 in the bank.

It’s unlikely Democrats can net the 17 seats necessary to take control of the House this November, so party operatives are trying to mitigate any massive losses this year as part of a long-term, multi-cycle plot to win the majority. Meanwhile, Republicans aim to extend their majority to a modern-history record of 245 seats — and they believe the financial gap could leave a handful of seats on the table this year. Full story

July 15, 2014

Alabama Runoff Results: Gary Palmer Wins Republican Nomination (Video)

Alabama Runoff Results: Gary Palmer Wins Republican Nomination (Video)

Bachus, right, is not seeking re-election. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Conservative activist Gary Palmer defeated state Rep. Paul DeMarco Tuesday to win the GOP nomination in Alabama’s 6th District.

Palmer defeated DeMarco, 62 percent to 38 percent, with 50 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

GOP operatives say DeMarco’s loss is partly a result of the Club for Growth’s barrage of spending in the final weeks of the runoff. The GOP nominee will almost certainly succeed Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who is retiring from this conservative district.

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