Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2015

June 5, 2012

New Mexico: Martin Heinrich, Heather Wilson Win Senate Primaries

Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) and former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) easily won their respective primaries and will now face off in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.

Wilson, who preceded Heinrich in the House and lost her first primary bid for Senate in 2008, defeated wealthy businessman Greg Sowards, 70 percent to 30 percent, with 48 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. Heinrich dispatched with state Auditor Hector Balderas, a rising star in the party, 59 percent to 41 percent. Full story

New Jersey: Bill Pascrell Wallops Steven Rothman in Primary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bill Pascrell trounced fellow Democratic Rep. Steven Rothman in New Jersey’s 9th district primary today, in what was the fourth Member-vs.-Member race to be decided this redistricting cycle.

Pascrell won a lopsided 70 percent to 30 percent victory over Rothman, with 78 percent of the vote counted, according to the Associated Press.

Full story

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker Survives Recall Attempt

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall attempt tonight.

Though early exit poll results appeared to show a tight race, the major news networks called the election for the first-term Republican within an hour of the 9 p.m. poll closing.

With 31 percent of the vote in, Walker had 59 percent to Democratic opponent Tom Barrett’s 41 percent.

The race had become something of a proxy for the presidential election, with labor activists hoping their get-out-the-vote efforts could offset Walker’s financial advantage.

Still, President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney mostly stayed away from the fray, with the president only sending a tweet Monday that said Barrett would “make an outstanding governor.”

New Jersey: Donald Payne Jr. On Track to Win Late Father’s Seat

Donald Payne Jr. is on track to succeed his late father in Congress. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

Newark City Council President Donald Payne Jr. easily won today’s Democratic primary to replace his father, the late Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), and will likely become the district’s next Member of Congress in November.

Payne was well out in front in both the regularly scheduled and special election primaries that were held concurrently today. With 79 percent of precincts reporting, he took 60 percent of the vote, while Newark Councilman Ron Rice Jr. and state Sen. Nia Gill followed with 20 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Payne began the race as the prohibitive frontrunner because of his name identification and establishment support, and he never lost that position.

Payne will appear on the ballot twice on Election Day in November. One contest will be to fill out the remainder of his father’s term this Congress and the other will be for the full two-year term that begins in January 2013. This is a heavily Democratic district, and he should be able to hold this seat for as long as he wants it.

Indiana: Marco Rubio Stumps, Fundraises for Richard Mourdock

Sen. Marco Rubio stumped for state Treasurer Richard Mourdock on Monday evening in Indiana, marking the sought-after Florida Republican’s second road trip to campaign for a Senate candidate this cycle.

The GOP duo stopped by Shapiro’s Deli in Carmel on Rubio’s Indiana swing, which also included some fundraising.

Mourdock will face Rep. Joe Donnelly, the Democratic nominee, in November. The Treasurer defeated six-term Sen. Dick Lugar in an early May GOP primary.

The Indiana race is competitive, but Republicans have the advantage given the state’s GOP-leaning political composition. Accordingly, Roll Call rates this race Leans Republican.

Earlier this year, Rubio traveled to Ohio to campaign with state Treasurer Josh Mandel, the GOP’s nominee against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).

According to an aide, Rubio has bundled at least $30,000 for Mandel and about $20,000 for Mourdock. Those figures do not include any money Rubio raised for the candidates during his trips to their respective states.

Missouri: John Brunner Goes Negative Against His GOP Foes

Businessman John Brunner, running in a tight GOP Senate primary in Missouri, launched an attack ad on his Republican opponents today.

The ad knocks the voting records of Rep. Todd Akin and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who also served in the Missouri Senate.

“While John Brunner was creating jobs and manufacturing products, Todd Akin and Sarah Steelman were manufacturing debt,” a female narrator says.

Full story

Crossroads Up With New Ad Backed by Big Money

The juggernaut pro-Republican organization Crossroads GPS launched a new ad today in key presidential swing states backed by $7 million.

“Why isn’t the economy stronger?” a throaty male narrator asks at the beginning of the ad over an image of an old-fashion stopwatch. “In the seconds it takes to watch this, our national debt will increase 1.4 million.”

The ad then shows a 2008 clip of President Barack Obama in which he says, “We can’t mortgage our children’s future on a mountain of debt.” Full story

North Dakota: Rick Berg Backs Brian Kalk for His House Seat

Rep. Rick Berg (R) endorsed Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk in the competitive GOP primary for the state’s at-large House seat, putting him at odds with some tea-party-affiliated groups.

“Obviously I’m supporting the candidates that were endorsed by the state convention,” Berg said in a wide-ranging interview with Roll Call last week.

Berg is leaving the House after a single term to run for an open Senate seat. A recent poll showed the GOP primary to succeed him is competitive. His endorsement doesn’t come as a big surprise. The state GOP convention also backed Berg for Senate over his primary competition, businessman Duane Sand, a frequent statewide candidate. In endorsing Kalk he’s sticking with the state GOP’s preferred ticket. Full story

Arizona: Club for Growth Targets Wil Cardon on TV

The Club for Growth is targeting Republican Senate candidate Wil Cardon with $500,000 in radio and television ads.

The club, which has endorsed Rep. Jeff Flake (R), has begun a series of ads targeting Cardon, a wealthy real estate investor.

This latest blitz includes two 15-second television ads and a 60-second radio ad. Each questions Cardon’s fiscal conservative credentials.

Cardon spokeswoman Alyssa Pivirotto wrote in an email statement that the club is “hell-bent on using an onslaught of attack ads to distract voters.” She questioned the truthfulness of the ads’ content and added, “Clearly these are desperate times at Flake headquarters and for the out-of-state wealthy interests who have used him to carry their water in Congress.”

Cardon and Flake are vying to succeed Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R), who is retiring. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican. Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona is the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Connecticut: Chris Donovan Facing Campaign Scandal

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Speaker Chris Donovan, the Democratic frontrunner in the 5th district, is in a heap of political trouble.

On Wednesday, his campaign aide Robert Braddock Jr. was arrested and charged with improperly concealing campaign contributions ostensibly solicited to kill state legislation to regulate tobacco, according to the Connecticut Mirror.

Donovan has denied any awareness of the activity and promised to press on with his campaign. Full story

June 4, 2012

Minnesota: James Oberstar Endorses Rick Nolan in Democratic Primary

Former Rep. James Oberstar (D) has endorsed an old friend to take back his seat in Congress.

Today, he announced his official endorsement of former Rep. Rick Nolan in the Democratic primary for the chance to challenge Rep. Chip Cravaack in the general election.

Oberstar’s statement was a veiled message to Democrats to coalesce around Nolan over his primary opponent, former state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Full story

Michigan: DCCC Sends Staffer to 11th District

National Democrats dispatched a staffer to Michigan’s 11th district this week — a sign that they believe their candidate, internist Syed Taj, could be competitive in the race for GOP-leaning open seat.

Taj’s race wasn’t on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s radar until about a week ago, when Rep. Thaddeus McCotter failed to make the ballot because he didn’t have enough valid signatures.

But McCotter announced his retirement over the weekend after briefly attempting a write-in campaign.

Now Republicans must decide whether to support Kerry Bentivolio, a libertarian-leaning reindeer farmer and their only candidate on the GOP ballot, or another Republican’s write-in campaign for the Aug. 7 primary.

Full story

New York: Retiring Rep. Ed Towns Endorses Charles Barron

Retiring New York Democratic Rep. Ed Towns today endorsed New York City Councilman Charles Barron (D) to be his successor in Congress.

It may give a boost to Barron, seen as the underdog in the Democratic primary against state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in the Brooklyn-based 8th district, most of which is currently represented by Towns.

“Independent voices are needed more than ever in today’s political environment,” Towns said in a statement. “That’s why I am giving my support to Charles Barron who has been an independent voice over the years. He is unselfish and is definitely has the interests of the people of this district at heart.” Full story

Illinois: Democrats Set Up Application Process in 12th District

Illinois Democrats this weekend set up their process to select a new nominee in the open 12th district seat. Meanwhile, at least one more potential candidate emerged.

William Enyart, the adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard, is the newest name to express an interest in running for retiring Rep. Jerry Costello’s (D) seat.

Democrats were forced to fill a vacancy on the ballot after their nominee unexpectedly dropped out of the race for health reasons. Local county party leaders will pick a replacement candidate in the coming weeks to face businessman Jason Plummer, the GOP nominee. Full story

Arizona: House Majority PAC Airs TV Ad Against Jesse Kelly

With about a week left to vote, the Democratic group House Majority PAC has gone on the Tucson airwaves with a television ad that includes a clip of veteran Jesse Kelly (R) personally attacking then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in the 2010 campaign.

The ad is backed by a six-figure buy. Kelly is running against former Giffords aide Ron Barber in the 8th district special election to replace the former Congresswoman, who resigned earlier this year to focus on recovering from being shot.

The ad comes one day after it was announced that Giffords will appear at a “Get Out the Vote Concert and Rally” to support Barber ahead of next week’s special election. Saturday’s event at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson will include artists such as Salvador Duran and the Kevin Pakulis Band. Full story

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