Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 24, 2014

April 12, 2012

Pennsylvania: Bill Clinton Endorses Mark Critz

Pennsylvania: Bill Clinton Endorses Mark Critz

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bubba waded into da ‘burg’s most competitive House primary today.

Bill Clinton, who remains one of the most popular Democrats in western Pennsylvania, threw his support behind Rep. Mark Critz over fellow Rep. Jason Altmire in the primary for a House district north of Pittsburgh.

“I am proud to endorse Mark Critz for Congress,” Clinton said in a statement provided by the Critz campaign. “I know that Mark will continue his work to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, to protect Social Security and Medicare, and do what is right for western Pennsylvania and our nation.” Full story

North Carolina: Ex-Shuler Aide Raises Big Bucks in 11th District

Democrat Hayden Rogers, the former chief of staff to retiring Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), raised an impressive $301,000 in the first quarter of this year. Rogers, a conservative Democrat in the mold of Shuler, ended March with $281,000 in cash on hand.

“I have been truly humbled by the support our campaign has received, especially from so many friends across Western North Carolina,” Rogers said in a statement.

Rogers faces a steep uphill battle in North Carolina’s 11th district, the most Republican area in the state. In 2008, voters in the district would have voted only 40 percent for Barack Obama. In 2010, Sen. Richard Burr (R) would have gotten 61 percent of the vote in the redrawn district.

Republicans familiar with the race expect real estate investor Mark Meadows, the frontrunner, to be the GOP nominee.

Roll Call rates the race as Likely Republican.

Arizona: Jeff Flake, Matt Salmon Release Fundraising Numbers

Rep. Jeff Flake raised $935,000 for his Senate bid in the first quarter of the year and ended March with about $3 million in cash on hand.

It is a strong quarter, and Flake is the favorite to win the GOP primary. However, real estate investor Wil Cardon has shown a capacity to self-fund and has been on television with ads, including this one currently on the air funded with a $250,000 buy:

Full story

Shop Talk: House Majority PAC Adds Three to Staff

House Majority PAC, a Democratic-aligned super PAC, continues to expand its operation, announcing today the hiring of three Democratic operatives.

Gabby Adler and Jarrod Backous join the group as political desks, and Blake Williams will serve as a researcher. The new staffers join Executive Director Ali Lapp, Deputy Director Shannon Roche, researcher Matt Fuentes, finance assistant Kaitlyn Beck and Communications Director Andy Stone, who joined the group three weeks ago from the office of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Full story

Florida: Allen West Challenger Raises $350,000 in First Quarter

Businessman Patrick Murphy, the Democrat challenging outspoken Florida Rep. Allen West (R), pulled in $350,000 in the first three months of this year, his campaign said. Murphy ended the quarter with more than a million dollars in the bank.

“I am humbled by the support that I have received from contributors big and small,” he said in a statement. “Our campaign is growing every day, in part because the residents of the 18th district need a leader who is going to be a responsible, reasonable voice. They want someone who can not only get to work, but work together.”

West, who courted controversy in recent days by claiming there were scores of Communists in Congress, is one of the best fundraisers in the chamber.

In the off-cycle year of 2011, he raised $5.8 million, according to Federal Election Commission records.

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

Anti-Abortion Groups Rally Behind Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney will likely pick up two endorsements from national abortion-rights opponent groups today, two days after former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) ended his presidential bid.

The Susan B. Anthony List, which previously endorsed Santorum and had been campaigning for him, announced in a statement this morning that it is backing the former Massachusetts governor. National Right to Life is announcing its presidential endorsement at a press conference this morning at the National Press Club, and it is presumed the group will back Romney. Full story

Kentucky: John Yarmuth Says Health Care Law Probably Wasn’t Worth Political Cost

Kentucky: John Yarmuth Says Health Care Law Probably Wasnt Worth Political Cost

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Publicly meditating on the past is not a normal activity for vulnerable Members looking to get re-elected. But from his safe Louisville-based district, Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth (D) has the luxury of mulling about what could have been.

In an interview with Roll Call on Wednesday, the three-term lawmaker was asked whether the Affordable Care Act — which will be a burden to Democrats for the second consecutive cycle — was worth the political cost.

“Oh, politically? Politically?” Yarmuth paused for a moment. “Big picture, politically, it probably wasn’t worth it. Policy-wise, it was worth it because it’s going to move the country dramatically in the right direction,” he said. “Even if it were to fail [at the Supreme Court], it’s going to move the country dramatically in the right direction.”

It was a frank admission from a member of a class of House Democrats swept into power in 2006 but that lost its majority, in a large part because of the law that became known as Obamacare in 2010.

Full story

California: Dan Lungren Raises Half-Million in First Quarter

California: Dan Lungren Raises Half Million in First Quarter

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) will report raising a stunning $513,000 in the first quarter, according to numbers obtained by Roll Call.

The three-month haul is about three times what he raised in the prior quarter and marks the first time in nearly three years that he will have posted a stronger quarter than physician Ami Bera (D), a prodigious fundraiser whom Lungren defeated by 7 points in 2010 despite being outspent by $900,000. Full story

April 11, 2012

North Carolina: Mark Meadows Launches Ad in 11th District

Real estate investor Mark Meadows, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in North Carolina’s open and heavily Republican 11th district, is launching a simple biographical TV spot today that hits on potent Republican themes.

“I’m blessed with a business we started from scratch,” Meadows says, looking directly to the camera. “But what I value more is my wife and our two children.”

Continuing to look directly at the camera and backed by light piano music, he discusses themes that are likely to appeal to the conservative district.

“I’m driven by a moral obligation to stop Barack Obama’s assault on our values, to protect marriage between one man and one woman, and repeal Obamacare to preserve your right to see a doctor of your choice,” he says.

Full story

Fundraising Numbers Continue to Trickle In

First-quarter fundraising numbers continue to trickle in as the Sunday deadline to file reports with the Federal Election Commission approaches.

The first fundraising period of election years offers indications of which candidates are gaining momentum heading into primary season. It’s the last quarterly report before about half the states hold their Congressional primaries.

This is another daily roundup of candidates who released their numbers in the past 24 hours. It’s heavy on Democrats, who are looking to hold the Senate and win back the House majority.

Senate:

  • Arizona: Former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona raised $800,000 in his first full quarter as a candidate. He has $1.1 million in cash on hand. The large amount shows that the fundraising prowess he showed in the fourth quarter was more than just low-hanging fruit.
  • Connecticut: Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) brought in $855,000 for his Senate campaign to replace retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I). He will report about $3 million in the bank. Full story

NRSC Places $25 Million Ad Reservation for Fall Campaign

NRSC Places $25 Million Ad Reservation for Fall Campaign

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn is trying to win back the majority this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate GOP’s campaign arm reserved approximately $25 million in airtime today in six targeted Senate races — an early and aggressive move for a party looking to regain the majority.

The broadcast, cable and radio buy comes several months before the campaign committees’ independent expenditure arms typically start to reserve air time for the post-Labor Day campaign advertisement blitz.

“This is our first buy, not our last. But this foundation does ensure we will be heard through various channels as the electorate decides who they are going to vote for,” a National Republican Senatorial Committee official told Roll Call. Full story

Florida: Allen West Claims Communists in Congress

Florida: Allen West Claims Communists in Congress

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Florida Rep. Allen West (R) said Tuesday that “he’s heard” scores of Democratic Members of Congress are communists, according to the Palm Beach Post and confirmed by West’s campaign to Roll Call.

“I believe there are about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party: It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus,” West said at an event Tuesday, according to a partial YouTube video and his campaign manager, Tim Edson, who was there. West was responding to a question: “What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists?”

“He stands by his words,” Edson said. But Edson and West’s office clarified what he meant. Full story

April 10, 2012

Pennsylvania: Mark Critz, Jason Altmire Battle in Round 2

Pennsylvania: Mark Critz, Jason Altmire Battle in Round 2

Reps. Jason Altmire (left) and Mark Critz shake hands before the debate at the WPXI studio in Pittsburgh. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

PITTSBURGH — Reps. Mark Critz and Jason Altmire debated for the second time in as many days this evening, striving to define their differences ahead of the April 24 Democratic primary.

In an otherwise tepid exchange, Critz emphasized his support from local labor unions, and Altmire underscored his Congressional voting record as reason to keep him in office.

“Every major union that has endorsed, has endorsed me,” Critz, serving his first full term in Congress, declared. “What that tells people is there are groups that know both of us, and they know they can trust me.”

Altmire, meantime, cited the more than 4,600 votes he’s cast in Congress since his 2006 election.

“Most importantly, I work hard. I show up for work. I travel the district. I’ve never missed a vote,” he said.

But for the most part, the tone was congenial between two House Democrats, who were moved into the same southwestern Pennsylvania district when Republicans redrew the Congressional map last year.

Full story

Fundraising: Campaigns Begin to Release Numbers

Crowing campaigns are beginning to leak their first-quarter fundraising numbers. Generally, any campaign releasing its fundraising numbers this early is happy with its totals. Reports must be postmarked by midnight Sunday.

  • Mo. Senate: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) raised $2.3 million and has about $6 million in cash on hand.
  • Wis. Senate: Former Rep. Mark Neumann (R) raised $650,000. Although his campaign did not release cash on hand, the campaign noted that none of the money came “from Neumann himself.” Full story

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey Endorses Mitt Romney

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey Endorses Mitt Romney

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign today, becoming the 98th Member of Congress and the 20th Senator to do so.

“With his extensive private sector experience, his knowledge of economic issues, and his gubernatorial track record, Governor Romney is exactly the kind of leader our country needs to solve our fiscal crisis and restore American prosperity,” he said in a statement.

Toomey also praised former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who dropped out of the race this afternoon.

“I also congratulate Senator Santorum on a hard fought primary race,” he said. “He put up a valiant fight and deserves to be commended for his spirited effort.”

Toomey had a complicated history with Santorum. In 2004, Santorum endorsed then-Sen. Arlen Specter in a GOP primary race against Toomey.

In a Feb. 23 tweet, Toomey said that was “ancient history” and praised Romney’s “pro-growth tax reform plan,” but he had said he would not endorse in the presidential campaign.

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