Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

September 20, 2012

Club for Growth Open to Spending in Indiana, Ohio and Florida

Club for Growth President Chris Chocola left the door open to investing resources into the Senate races of GOP candidates in Indiana, Florida and Ohio. (CQ/Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Senate nominees in Indiana, Florida and Ohio could get a needed cash infusion from the conservative Club for Growth before Election Day.

In an interview following this morning’s Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting with reporters, Club for Growth President Chris Chocola left the door open to investing resources into those three Senate races, where candidates endorsed by the cash-flush group continue to struggle in public polls.

“We’re watching the race,” Chocola said about Ohio and Florida. “We’re raising money for both [Ohio Treasurer Josh] Mandel and [Florida Rep. Connie] Mack through bundling. If we think there is a message and a market where we can help, we will.”

Full story

DCCC Shifts Resources, Going After Mary Bono Mack

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is shifting ad dollars to target Republican Rep. Mary Bono Mack. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has begun shifting advertising dollars and is now targeting a California Congresswoman not originally included in its television reservations while canceling buys in two districts — one each in Ohio and North Carolina.

The DCCC is set to launch its first independent expenditure advertisement against Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), but has pulled a week of advertising it had reserved in the districts of Reps. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) and Michael Turner (R-Ohio). The committee won’t be running any ads in those districts during the week of Oct. 2-8. Full story

September 19, 2012

Connecticut: Newest Poll Shows Race Statistically Tied

A new poll from the University of Connecticut and the Hartford Courant show the Connecticut Senate race in a statistical tie.

Thirty-seven percent of those who responded said they backed Rep. Christopher Murphy (D), while 33 percent supported former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R).

There is still a great deal of room for either candidate to grow — 29 percent of those surveyed were undecided.

The poll was conducted among 500 likely voters Sept. 11-16 and had a margin of error of 4.4 points — slightly more than the margin that separated the two candidates.

Maine: Angus King’s Lead Narrows in Fresh Senate Race Polls

(Joshua Miller/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two new polls found former Gov. Angus King (I) leading his Democratic and Republican competitors, but by a smaller margin than he was before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Republican Senatorial Committee launched attack ads to undermine his Senate candidacy.

Both polls were done using robocalls to landlines only, a polling strategy that is not considered as accurate as using live interviewers to call cellphones and landlines. Still, the new data offer a revealing view into a race that is thought to be King’s to lose.

The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found King leading GOP nominee Charlie Summers by 8 points among likely voters. King got 43 percent to Summers’ 35 percent. Democratic nominee Cynthia Dill pulled 14 percent.

The nonpartisan Maine People’s Resource Center found King leading Summers by 16 points among registered voters. King took 44 percent to Summers’ 28 percent and Dill’s 15 percent. Full story

Virginia: Tim Kaine Leads George Allen in Two Polls

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two new polls released Wednesday showed former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) had a lead outside of the margin of error in his campaign against former Gov. George Allen (R) for Virginia’s open Senate seat.

A new Washington Post poll showed 51 percent of likely voters said they supported Kaine, while 43 percent backed his Republican rival. The economy was the dominant issue on respondents’ minds.

Both men have left favorable impressions on registered voters, each topping 50 percent in their favorability ratings.

Thirty-two percent of registered voter respondents identified themselves as Democrats, while 24 percent stated they were Republican. Thirty-five percent were independent.

A Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS poll, also released Wednesday, showed almost the exact same results in Virginia. In that poll, Kaine led Allen 51 percent to 44 percent. Full story

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin Moves Up in Polling

(Tom Williams CQ/Roll Call File Phorto)

Two polls released Wednesday show Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) has made progress in her race against former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) for the state’s open Senate seat.

A Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday showed Baldwin leading Thompson by a 9-point margin. Fifty percent of likely voters said they favored her, while 41 percent said they backed Thompson. It is a complete reversal from Marquette’s mid-August poll, which showed Thompson with a 9-point lead. Republicans contend that this latest Marquette poll oversamples Democrats. Full story

Wednesday Ad Track

In today’s Ad Tracker, there are a couple of interesting television spots, including one that features President George W. Bush in a positive light, and one poll. Enjoy.

The Big Buy:

Rep. Jim Gerlach’s (R-Pa.) first spot of the cycle is an attack ad against his Democratic opponent, physician Manan Trivedi. Gerlach’s campaign told PoliticsPA that advertisement will only run on cable.

McMahon Alludes to the Other Chris’ Problems:

Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon has a smart new television ad in which she defends her ability to self-fund her Connecticut Senate bid by saying, “In the Senate, I will owe you, not the special interests who corrupt so many career politicians from Hartford to Washington.”

It is a subtle allusion to the political problems of state House Speaker Chris Donovan (D), not her opponent Rep. Christopher Murphy. Donovan had the inside track to succeeding Murphy in Congress until an alleged quid pro quo scandal involving tobacco interests deep sixed his campaign and he lost the Democratic nomination.

A difference in Chris-es, yes, but it plays into fears that some Democrats had over the summer — that even if Donovan did not get his party’s nomination, his woes could spread to other Democrats on the ballot.

Kaine Features Bush and Obama:

How many Democratic Senate candidates this cycle (or ever) have featured President George W. Bush in an ad in a positive way? Likewise, how many in swing states have featured President Barack Obama? It’s likely that former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) is the only one to have done both in a single ad.

“I don’t agree with any president all the time, but I know that when our nation succeeds, Virginia succeeds,” Kaine says into the camera. He’s running against George Allen (R), a former governor and Senator, for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D).

The Big Number:

Retired Maj. Gen. Bill Enyart (D) led businessman Jason Plummer (R), 49 percent to 41 percent, in a new poll of the open Illinois 12th district from House Majority PAC and Service Employees International Union. Also in the 12th district, the poll showed President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney, 50 percent to 41 percent.

The Benenson Strategy Group memo surveyed 400 likely general election voters from Sept. 11-13. The full memo can be viewed here.

It’s worth noting that in early August, Plummer’s campaign released its own internal poll that showed the Republican with a double-digit lead.

Lindsey Graham: Mitt Romney Should Stop Fundraising and Get Out There

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweaked Mitt Romney’s campaign today for spending too much time fundraising and not enough on the campaign trail.

“I think what Romney needs to do is get into Virginia and run for sheriff,” Graham told reporters after a noontime vote on Capitol Hill. “This is not rocket science. ”

Full story

September 18, 2012

California: Former Republican Backs Scott Peters

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters (D) announced Tuesday the endorsement of state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who left the Republican Party in March to become an independent during his run for San Diego mayor.

“If you backed me for Mayor because you want leaders who put people ahead of party politics, then I urge you to vote for Scott Peters, too,” Fletcher said, according to a campaign release.

Peters, who is challenging Rep. Brian Bilbray (R), hopes the Fletcher endorsement will help him win over some of the large chunk of “decline-to-state” voters in the 52nd district.

Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren Leading Scott Brown in Recent Polls

Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren

(By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In an email to supporters in February, Sen. Scott Brown (R) wrote: “I know I am the underdog in this race.” For the first time in his fiercely fought contest with Democratic nominee Elizabeth Warren, the data supports his assertion.

Warren led Brown in a series of recent polls. A nonpartisan Western New England University poll of likely voters conducted Sept. 6-13 found Warren leading by 6 points, 50 percent to Brown’s 44 percent. A nonpartisan Suffolk University poll of likely voters conducted Sept. 13-16 found Warren leading Brown by 4 points, 48 percent to 44 percent. And a poll from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling conducted Sept. 13-16 found Warren leading by 2 points, 48 percent to 46 percent. Full story

Ohio: Charlie Wilson Poll Shows Tied Race With Bill Johnson

The campaign of former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D) released a poll Tuesday showing him in a dead heat with freshman Rep. Bill Johnson (R).

Wilson tied Johnson at 46 percent, with 8 percent of the electorate still undecided, according to the Democrat’s internal campaign survey.

Wilson, a two-term Democrat, lost re-election in 2010 to Johnson in a marginally Republican district.

But Buckeye State Republicans redrew the district to include more GOP voters when they overhauled the state’s Congressional map last year after reapportionment.

Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.

The Anzalone Liszt Research survey sampled 500 likely 2012 voters Sept. 9-12 and had a 4.4-point margin of error.

New England Republicans, More Democrats Decry Mitt Romney’s Comments

At least two Republican Senate candidates have publicly disagreed with their presidential nominee’s view that the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes consider themselves “victims” and are “dependent upon government.”

“That’s not the way I view the world,” Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said, joining a chorus of Democrats who chided Romney’s comments.

“I disagree with Gov. Romney’s insinuation that 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care,” former World Wrestling Executive Linda McMahon (R) said in a statement for her Connecticut Senate bid.

Earlier this week, the liberal magazine Mother Jones released a surreptitiously recorded video of Romney speaking to donors during a May fundraiser in Florida. The GOP nominee’s casual comments reverberated throughout the political world and down the Congressional ballot. Full story

Daily Ad Track

Beginning today and continuing through Election Day, Roll Call will offer a daily smattering of campaign ads that the Politics Team finds worthy of highlighting. Look for the Daily Ad Tracker most week-day afternoons.

Today’s offering features a collection of television spots launched in House and Senate races and run by candidate’s campaigns, national party committees and third party groups, such as super PACS. The theme of today’s Tracker: “Firsts.” Full story

Florida: DCCC to Launch First Ad Against Allen West

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm on Wednesday is launching its first television ad of the election cycle against firebrand Rep. Allen West (R) in Florida’s newly configured 18th district.

The 30-second spot hews to the standard Democratic line of attack, knocking West for voting in favor of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would fundamentally change the way future seniors interact with Medicare. The Wisconsin Republican is GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate.

“I have to say it as it is,” West says in a clip at the beginning of the ad.

“But what’s behind the talk?” a female narrator asks. “Allen West voted for Paul Ryan’s plan that would essentially end Medicare,” she says. “And leave seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry.”

“Behind Allen West’s talk,” the narrator intones at the end of the spot, “a plan that ends Medicare and overwhelmingly benefits the rich.”

West faces political newcomer Patrick Murphy (D) in a battle that, at its essence, will be a referendum on the Congressman.

The DCCC ad, unlike some of Murphy’s most memorable ads, hits West for his votes, not his words.

The new spot is backed by about $250,000 on broadcast television in the West Palm Beach media market.

Roll Call rates the 18th district race as Leans Republican.

Potential 2016 Candidates Start Iowa Visits

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is one of several potential 2016 presidential hopefuls — Democrats and Republicans — who have visited Iowa recently. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Forget 2012. Who’s ready for the next presidential race?

Quite a few people, actually. Several potential future presidential candidates — Democrats and Republicans —  visited Iowa in recent months, proving it’s never too early to start making friends in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. To wit:

The Democrats:

  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley headlined Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry Sunday. In previous cycles, Harkin’s event served as a proving ground for presidential prospects, including President Barack Obama in 2006.
  • In June, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick was the keynote speaker for Iowa Democrats at their Hall of Fame Celebration dinner during the state party’s convention.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will headline the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Oct. 20.
  • Several oft-mentioned presidential prospects appeared at the state party’s breakfast at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.: Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Villaraigosa and O’Malley.

The Republicans:

  • Today, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum announced he’s headed back to the Hawkeye State on Thursday for an event in Sioux City with Iowa Rep. Steve King to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. In early August, Santorum headlined the Family Leadership Summit. Santorum narrowly won the 2012 caucuses after diligently working Hawkeye State caucus-goers for months on end.
  • Earlier on Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will headline a luncheon for King in Sioux City. Christie campaigned for Iowa Rep. Tom Latham earlier this year, according to the Congressman’s campaign staff. Latham and King face tough re-election fights this fall.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal campaigned last July on behalf of Mitt Romney in Iowa — one of several trips he’s made to the state as a surrogate. He also headlined an August rally to help Iowa Legislature candidates hosted by the National Rifle Association.
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry also appeared at the Family Leadership Summit in August, along with Santorum. He’s scheduled to return to the state Oct. 27 for the 12th annual Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Fall Dinner.
  • In July, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell appeared as a surrogate for Romney alongside Jindal.

The trips present a dicey situation for Republicans, who do not want to appear presumptuous about the 2016 cycle if Romney wins in November. Still, given today’s highly orchestrated campaign operations, it’s hard to see how any candidate visits the state by happenstance.

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