Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 21, 2015

May 7, 2012

Montana: Jon Tester’s Fifth TV Ad Focuses on Ethics

Sen. Jon Tester (D) today launched his fifth television ad of the campaign — a positive spot that highlights his ethics record.

The ad features three voters touting their support for Tester, including a retired federal prosecutor, a teacher and former Rep. Pat Williams (D-Mont.). It’s a follow-up to Tester’s 2006 campaign, which focused on the ethics issues of then-Sen. Conrad Burns (R). However, the ad mistakenly tells viewers to go to for more information. The actual address is

Jon Tester promised us he’d be a different kind of Senator, and he is,” retired federal prosecutor Sherry Matteucci says in the ad. Full story

Obama Campaign to Go After ‘Contract-Killer’ Super PAC Ads

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign strategist David Axelrod warned today that the president’s campaign would respond aggressively to the “Karl and Koch brothers’ contract killers in super PAC-land” and treat their ads as if they came from Mitt Romney himself.

Axelrod was referring to GOP strategist Karl Rove’s group American Crossroads and the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, who have bankrolled several conservative political action committees. Both are expected to play a large role in attacking Obama and other Democratic candidates this year.

On a conference call with reporters during which the campaign detailed a $25 million positive ad buy in swing states during the next month, Axelrod said Romney can’t sell his policy prescriptions, which the strategist ripped as backward-looking and as a doubling down on tax cuts for the wealthy.

“He’s basically reduced to running a negative campaign, just as he was in the primaries,” Axelrod said. “We have a different approach.”

Full story

South Carolina: André Bauer Launches Ad in New District

Former two-term Lt. Gov. André Bauer (R) today launched a campaign ad to boost his Congressional bid in South Carolina’s new 7th district.

Backed by uplifting music and patriotic imagery, the ad outlines his accomplishments in eight years as lieutenant governor.

“In these uncertain times, we need a leader we can count on. André Bauer is a proven conservative who blocked over $2 billion in tax increases, kept property tax relief alive, reformed the state’s office on aging, while cutting his own pay,” a male narrator says. “Think what he could do with this place,” he says, as an image of the U.S. Capitol comes on screen.

Bauer faces a competitive primary for the nomination in this likely Republican seat. Among other opponents, he will be on the ballot with Florence attorney Jay Jordan, Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice, and Chad Prosser, the former director of South Carolina’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

The Bauer ad is backed by a $40,000 buy in the Myrtle Beach-anchored district on broadcast and cable television over two weeks.

May 5, 2012

Obama Kicks Off Campaign With a Roar

Obama Kicks Off Campaign With a Roar

(Brendan Smialowski / AFP/ Getty Images)

President Barack Obama today cast himself once again as the candidate of hope and change as he kicked off his re-election campaign by trying to recapture the magic of his run four years ago.

“You tell them, it’s still about hope. It’s still about change. …We can make a difference in the life of this country,” Obama exclaimed toward the end of an impassioned, 40-minute speech in Columbus, Ohio. Full story

May 4, 2012

Virginia: Majority PAC Follows Crossroads GPS On the Air

The airwaves are heating up in what could be among the nation’s biggest 2012 battlegrounds.

A Democratic-aligned outside group announced today it is going on the air in the Senate race, targeting former Virginia Sen. George Allen. The ad comes one week after a GOP-aligned outside group took on Allen’s opponent, former Gov. Tim Kaine. Full story

California: House Majority PAC on TV for Julia Brownley

House Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting Democratic House candidates, hit the airwaves today in support of Assemblywoman Julia Brownley in California’s 26th district.

This is a top pickup opportunity for Democrats, who are looking to capitalize on Rep. Elton Gallegly’s (R) retirement and a more favorable district following redistricting. However, with multiple Democrats running in the all-party primary, there is a chance the party’s vote splinters, allowing state Sen. Tony Strickland (R) and Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks (I), a former Republican, to advance to the general. Full story

New Jersey: Bill Clinton Endorses Bill Pascrell

New Jersey: Bill Clinton Endorses Bill Pascrell

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 2:36 p.m. | President Bill Clinton has done it again.

Today he announced he is backing Rep. Bill Pascrell (D) over fellow Democratic Rep. Steven Rothman in their New Jersey primary. This is the third Member-vs.-Member race the former president has waded into — and in each case he has backed the lawmaker who supported his wife in the 2008 presidential race.

Full story

Indiana: New Independent Poll Gives Richard Mourdock a 10-Point Lead

Indiana: New Independent Poll Gives Richard Mourdock a 10 Point Lead

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) trailed his primary opponent by 10 points in a new independent poll released today.

In what will likely be the final independent survey released before Tuesday’s GOP primary, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) led Lugar, 48 percent to 38 percent, in the Howey/DePauw University Indiana Battleground Poll.

The numbers showed Lugar’s dire straits in his quest for a seventh term. A similar poll from late March gave Lugar a 7-point lead over Mourdock, 42 percent to 35 percent.

The poll surveyed 700 likely Indiana GOP primary voters on April 30 and May 1. The margin of error was 3.7 points. Here’s a copy of the full polling memo below:

Rep. Joe Donnelly is the likely Democratic nominee. He’ll face the winner of the GOP primary.

May 3, 2012

Nebraska: Rick Santorum Backs Jon Bruning for Senate

Nebraska: Rick Santorum Backs Jon Bruning for Senate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) threw his support behind state Attorney General Jon Bruning’s (R) primary bid for the open Nebraska Senate seat today.

The endorsement marks the former presidential candidate’s first foray into Congressional politics since dropping out of the national race in April, and it puts him at odds with some conservatives and tea party champions in Washington, D.C. — including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) — who have backed state Treasurer Don Stenberg. Full story

Arkansas: Tom Cotton Gets John McCain Endorsement

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) today gave his endorsement to Tom Cotton, who is running for the GOP nomination in Arkansas’ 4th district. Cotton, an Army reservist with an impressive biography and a Harvard Law School degree, may get a boost from the endorsement in his competitive primary with 2010 GOP nominee Beth Anne Rankin.

Tom Cotton volunteered to fight for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan when he could have continued a promising legal career,”  McCain said in a statement. “We badly need this kind of courage and selfless service in Congress — particularly to address our economic challenges. I’m asking the voters of the Fourth District to send Tom to Congress so he can join the fight for freedom there.” Full story

New Jersey: Steven Rothman Notes Past Loyalty to President Bill Clinton

New Jersey: Steven Rothman Notes Past Loyalty to President Bill Clinton

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. —Rep. Steven Rothman isn’t losing sleep over President Bill Clinton and the possibility that he might endorse Rep. Bill Pascrell in the contentious Democratic primary.

It has been widely noted that the 2008 Democratic presidential primary has come back to haunt several House candidates who backed now-President Barack Obama over then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, as did Rothman. The former president, in some cases to devastating effect, has waded into redistricting-generated Member-vs.-Member Democratic primaries on behalf of the individual who backed his wife for president in 2008.

But Rothman, now embroiled in a bitter primary with 2008 Clinton-backer Pascrell, points to a loyalty to the former president that goes back a decade before 2008, when his political survival was on the line. Rothman emphasized his “very strong defense of him when I was on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings” in explaining why he doesn’t fear Clinton or expect him to get involved in this race.

Full story

Mark Kirk Released From Rehab, Moves Home With Family

Mark Kirk Released From Rehab, Moves Home With Family

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) reached a new milestone in his recovery today, when his family announced that the first-term Senator would move home to continue his recuperation from a January stroke.

In a statement provided by Kirk’s office, the Senator’s family said he will continue his recovery as an “out-patient” at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He will live with various members of his family during this time, his office confirmed. Full story

Nevada: Shelley Berkley Launches First TV Ad

Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley began her on-air introduction to Washoe County voters today with her first TV ad of the Senate campaign.

In the 60-second ad, the Democrat highlights a piece of legislation she sponsored that ensures all Veterans Affairs medical centers are outfitted with substance abuse treatment services. The ad features the father of Iraq War veteran Justin Bailey, whose death following a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder led to the passage of the bill. Full story

May 2, 2012

Arizona: DCCC Ad Buys Reach Almost $500K for Special Election

House Democrats have purchased a total of $473,000 in ad time for the June 12 special election for Arizona’s 8th district, a committee official confirmed to Roll Call today.

That sum includes a previous $150,000 buy from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for advertisements running through May 10. The new ad reservation targets airtime for the final two weeks of the race.

The large purchase is a symbol of just how competitive the race for the seat of retiring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) has become. The DCCC’s reservation marks the largest buy from a candidate or campaign so far in the race. Full story

New Mexico: Rand Paul Backs Greg Sowards in GOP Primary

New Mexico: Rand Paul Backs Greg Sowards in GOP PrimaryRand Paul" src="" alt="" width="445" height="295" />

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul today endorsed a heavy underdog in the New Mexico Republican Senate primary.

Paul, a tea party leader in Congress, is backing businessman Greg Sowards, who has an uphill climb against former Rep. Heather Wilson in the June 5 GOP contest.

“I’m calling on conservatives, libertarians, and Tea Party activists in New Mexico and across the nation to support Greg Sowards,” Paul said in a statement. “He will stand for the Constitution and I’m proud to stand with him.” Full story

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