Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2015

December 11, 2014

Club for Growth President Steps Down

club for growth

Chocola is photographed in his downtown office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, a former Indiana congressman, announced his retirement Thursday from the conservative outside group that often serves as a thorn in the side of Republican leadership.

Former Rep. David M. McIntosh, also a Hoosier State Republican, will take over for Chocola, who led the group for six years. Full story

December 10, 2014

Lame Duck Offers Brief Fundraising Respite, Sort Of

It's the season for a (temporary) break from fundraisers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A handful of Democratic House female members did an absurdly normal thing together one night last week: Instead of splintering off to fundraisers, the group of perennially vulnerable incumbents met for a laid-back dinner at a Thai restaurant on Barracks Row after evening votes.

For a couple of weeks every other December, the lame duck takes hold of (and relieves campaign obligations from) members of Congress. Some rush to pass last-minute legislation, while other lawmakers just catch a breath after having endured months of the campaign ringer.

Full story

Exclusive: DSCC Chairman Makes Recruitment Pitch for 2016

Tester talks in his Capitol office Tuesday about his role as DSCC chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Montana Sen. Jon Tester sees a world of opportunity when he looks at the 2016 Senate map — and a mountain of work to capitalize on it.

Democrats are entering an election cycle in the minority for the first time in a decade, yet the field of competitive states provides avenues back to Senate control, particularly with presidential-year turnout that historically favors the party.

In Tester’s first extensive newspaper interview since becoming chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the farmer from Big Sandy, Mont., emphasized the need to motivate voters to turn out and the challenge of recruiting strong candidates in an atmosphere of unlimited outside spending.

“We’ve got to get a good, clear message that focuses on the middle class, we’ve got to have some deliverables that we can talk about, and we’ve got to have good candidates, maybe most importantly of all,” Tester told CQ Roll Call Tuesday from his hideaway office in the Capitol basement. Full story

By Kyle Trygstad Posted at 5 a.m.
Democrats, DSCC

Congressman ‘Very Interested’ in David Vitter’s Senate Seat

david vitter

Fleming in a Louisiana Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., is “very interested” in running for Senate in 2016 if Republican Sen. David Vitter is elected governor next year.

Louisiana only wrapped up the 2014 Senate race a few days ago, but soon state operatives may start thinking about another race. Vitter has already announced an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2015. If Vitter wins, Fleming said, he wants to succeed him in the Senate.

“I’m very interested in that possibility,” he told CQ Roll Call Tuesday during votes at the Capitol. “I think that we need, you know, Sen. Vitter is quite conservative, and I think we need to replace a good strong conservative with another conservative.” Full story

December 9, 2014

House Conservative Faces Primary Peril in 2016

tim huelskamp

Huelskamp is a Kansas Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the House’s top troublemakers could be in trouble in 2016.

Kansas conservative Rep. Tim Huelskamp has angered fellow Republicans with his politics and personality in Congress. If he chooses to seek re-election in 2016, some of his detractors see an opportunity to oust him for good in a primary.

This year, Huelskamp’s primary challenger, Alan LaPolice, held the congressman to a 10-point primary win — with the help of some outside spending on the tyro’s behalf. Huelskamp’s opponents saw that as an indication of discontent with the two-term House Republican — and an opportunity.

In 2016, Kansas Republicans say, the congressman will have a far more credible primary opponent. What’s more, the campaign against Huelskamp, according to one person involved in challenging him this year, will likely be more organized and could start as early as next year. Full story

December 8, 2014

Democratic Staffer Killed During Louisiana Canvass, Ernst Hires New Spokeswoman

A staffer for the Louisiana Democratic Party died Saturday while canvassing for Landrieu. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

SeDestini Fields, a staffer for the Louisiana Democratic Party, died at 11 a.m. on Dec. 6 after a motorist struck her while she was canvassing for the Pelican State’s runoff elections, officials announced in a statement.

Fields, 23, was struck by a pickup truck at while working to get out the vote in Shreveport, La., for Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu.

Landrieu, who lost to now Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy, asked for prayers for Fields’ family during her concession speech, The Times-Picayune reported.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 2:05 p.m.
NRSC, Shop Talk

What’s Next for Michelle Nunn?

michelle nunn

What's the next move for Michelle Nunn? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Michelle Nunn strolled through the Capitol basement last week alongside outgoing Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet — just a month after her loss in the Georgia Senate race.

Nunn, the former CEO of the Points of Light Foundation and daughter of a revered former senator, was the party’s top recruit in 2014. Despite an 8-point loss to Sen.-elect David Perdue, the first-time candidate had brought in more than $14 million by the end of the campaign and her retail skills were polished enough to impress operatives in both parties.

Her overall performance was strong enough to keep her at the top of the list of potential candidates for any statewide race in Georgia in the next few years, according to multiple Democrats in the state. Her level of interest in a future bid remains unknown, but Bennet told CQ Roll Call not to read too much into Nunn’s visit to Capitol Hill last week, including speculation she’s considering a next-cycle challenge to Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.

“We had talked after the campaign was over about her just coming for a visit, and that’s what it was, just a friendly visit,” Bennet said. “I can tell you what we didn’t talk about: The subject of 2016 did not come up in the conversation at all.” Full story

December 6, 2014

Louisiana Runoff Results: Mary Landrieu Loses

runoff results

Cassidy was elected to the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:23 a.m. | Republicans capped their Senate sweep Saturday night, when Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., defeated Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., in a Senate runoff.

Cassidy, a doctor who still practices, was leading Landrieu, 65 percent to 35 percent when the Associated Press called the race 30 minutes after polls closed. Republicans also retained two House seats in additional runoff races.  Full story

December 5, 2014

3 Things to Know About the Louisiana Runoff

louisiana runoff

Landrieu rallies supporters in Shreveport, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Louisiana Senate runoff, we don’t blame you. The race between Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy could have been a defining contest that determined which party held a majority in the Senate.

Instead, Republicans swept the Senate in November, and the Louisiana race has become an afterthought.

To be sure, Landrieu has a history of pulling off unlikely wins. But when voters go to the polls Saturday, she is expected to follow suit of most southern Democrats who faced re-election this year. Democrats have been dramatically outspent in the runoff, and Landrieu trails in polls.

In addition to Landrieu’s race, voters in The Pelican State will also cast ballots Saturday in 5th and 6th District races. House Republicans are expected to retain both seats.

Polls close at 9 p.m eastern. Here’s what you need to know before that happens: Full story

December 4, 2014

DCCC With $12 Million Debt After Midterms

house races 2014

House Democrats ended the 2014 cycle with a $12 million debt. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ended the midterm election cycle $12 million in debt, $3.2 million more than its Republican counterpart.

The committees released the figures ahead of filing their post-general election reports, which are due Thursday to the Federal Election Commission.

The DCCC’s debt is $2.3 million less than it took out in the 2012 cycle, when it picked up more than a half-dozen seats. But it’s more than the $8.8 million debt the National Republican Congressional Committee announced earlier in the day.

This cycle, House Democrats may lose as many as 13 seats, depending on the outcome of a recount in Arizona.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 5:42 p.m.
DCCC, Fundraising, NRCC

NRCC Ending 2014 With $8.8 Million Debt

House Republicans' campaign committee ended the midterms with an $8.8 million debt. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee will report ending the 2014 election cycle with an $8.8 million debt, according to figures released by the committee.

After picking up at least a dozen seats in 2014, that’s some $3 million less than the hole the committee found itself in following the 2010 and 2012 cycles. The NRCC ended both with $12 million in debt.

Post-general election reports, which cover Oct. 16 to Nov. 24, are due to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday. Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 3 p.m.
DCCC, Fundraising, NRCC

Pennsylvania Democrats Hesitate on Sestak Senate Bid

pat toomey

Toomey is a Pennsylvania Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been more than four years since former Rep. Joe Sestak narrowly lost his bid for Senate — and the Pennsylvania Democrat hasn’t stopped running since. After his 2010 loss to Republican Patrick J. Toomey, Sestak continued to traverse the state to raise cash before officially filing for a rematch against the senator in September.

“We’ve done 400 events in two years for other candidates,” Sestak said in a Wednesday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. “I’ve put a quarter-million miles on my car.”

Keystone State Democrats laud Sestak for coming within 2 points of defeating Toomey in an otherwise miserable year for the party. But some privately question whether he’s the party’s best bet for a high-stakes Senate race. Full story

December 3, 2014

Democratic Leaders Court Candidate for House Rematch

emily cain

House Democrats are recruiting Cain for another bid. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 8:22 p.m. | Former Maine state Sen. Emily Cain is on Capitol Hill this week being recruited by House leadership to run again in 2016.

According to a Democratic source, Cain is meeting Wednesday and Thursday with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján to discuss a potential rematch with GOP Rep.-elect Bruce Poliquin.

Poliquin beat Cain by 5 points in the open-seat race for the 2nd District, located in the northern half of the Pine Tree State.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 4:46 p.m.
DCCC, Democrats, Maine-2

Congressman Considering Rob Portman Challenge in 2016

rob portman

Ryan is a Democrat from northeast Ohio. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said he is considering a challenge to Republican Sen. Rob Portman in 2016.

“We’re certainly looking very closely at it,” the Democrat told CQ Roll Call in a Wednesday phone interview.

Earlier this week, Portman announced he would seek re-election, foregoing a bid for president. His declaration marked good news for Senate Republicans, who view him as the top contender to keep his seat in the GOP’s hands in 2016. Portman boasts a formidable fundraising network and, as of the end of September, had $5.5 million in his campaign coffers.

Ryan had $441,000 as of his most recent filing but said he felt he could compete with Portman. Full story

By Alexis Levinson Posted at 4:29 p.m.
Ohio

NRCC Names New Executive Director for 2016

nrcc

Walden is the NRCC's chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee has promoted Rob Simms to serve as executive director in 2016.

Simms — who served as the NRCC’s political director in the 2014 cycle — will take over for Liesl Hickey as the top staffer at the committee. He will be tasked with helping protect the GOP’s record-breaking wins from last cycle.

“Rob was instrumental in helping us win this historic majority and now he’s going to lead our efforts to keep it and help Members build the best campaigns possible,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said in a release.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 8:49 a.m.
NRCC, Republicans

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