Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 23, 2014

October 14, 2014

The 9 Biggest Candidate Flameouts

The 9 Biggest Candidate Flameouts

Walsh will not run for re-election to a full term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meet the cycle’s biggest candidate disappointments.

They are the congressional hopefuls who just didn’t live up to their hype. Once touted as top recruits, these House and Senate candidates are headed for defeat on Election Day in all likelihood. Some of these candidates tanked so early in the cycle, their races never got off the ground.

The reasons for their declines vary — from poor fundraising and stalking allegations to plagiarism and missteps on the trail. Whatever the reason, don’t expect to see these faces when the 114th Congress is sworn into office next year.

To be sure, there are a few more candidates who could have easily made this list, but they’ve been boosted by districts or states that favor their parties, as well as outside spending keeping them afloat. The prime example is Arizona Speaker Andy Tobin, a poor fundraiser who barely won his August primary but is nonetheless in a strong position to challenge Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the 1st District, which slightly favors the GOP.

In alphabetical order, here are the rest of the 2014 cycle’s most disappointing candidates:

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Democrats Hit Alaska Republican on ‘Women’s Privacy’ (Video)

Democrats Hit Alaska Republican on Womens Privacy (Video)

The DSCC is targeting Sullivan in a new ad. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching a TV ad Tuesday hitting Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan on women’s rights issues.

The spot, shared first with CQ Roll Call, is part of the DSCC’s more than $4 million reservation in the state from Labor Day through the election on behalf of Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Alaska is one of the several states President Barack Obama lost in 2012 in which Republicans are now vying to pick up a Senate seat. The GOP needs a net gain of six seats to win the majority. Full story

October 13, 2014

North Carolina: The GOP’s Expensive Gamble

North Carolina: The GOPs Expensive Gamble

Tillis is the GOP's nominee in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has plans to pour another $6 million into the North Carolina race — already the most expensive this cycle, and a contest that hasn’t shaped up the way the GOP had hoped.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate, and a year ago, that math almost always included a victory in the Tar Heel State by defeating Sen. Kay Hagan. But less than a month before Election Day, the North Carolina race still eludes the GOP’s grasp — and has put a massive dent in the party’s wallet.

On Monday, the NRSC confirmed to CQ Roll Call it had reserved another $6 million in television ad time in the state to help Tillis. Until now, the party had not reserved airtime for the final two weeks of the race, even as the NRSC announced increased investments in other states, signaling it was still weighing whether to send in the cavalry.

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House Majority Pac Shifts Ad Time in New Jersey Race

House Majority Pac Shifts Ad Time in New Jersey Race

MacArthur is a Republican running for the House in the Garden State's 3rd District. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Majority PAC, a super PAC that boosts House Democrats, recently delayed a week’s worth of advertising in New Jersey’s 3rd District in the final stretch of the campaign.

Democrat Aimee Belgard and Republican Tom MacArthur are running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Jon Runyan in one of a few races left on the map where Democrats remain on offense. The district, which is reached via the pricey Philadelphia media market, is rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

House Majority PAC moved a massive broadcast television reservation for the week of Oct. 14, pushing it back and splitting it in half over broadcast airwaves for the two final weeks of the midterms, according to the super PAC’s Executive Director Ali Lapp. She told CQ Roll Call it is undetermined if the group will follow through with its Philadelphia ad reservation through Election Day.

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DSCC Raised $16 Million in September

DSCC Raised $16 Million in September

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is chairman of the DSCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Monday that it raised $16 million in September, leaving it with $14.2 million in cash on hand for the final month before Election Day.

That monthly haul brought the DSCC’s total raised this cycle to $127.1 million. The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced last week raising more than $97 million cycle-to-date after bringing in $15.5 million in September.

With about three weeks to go, both committees are spending heavily in an ever-shifting slate of competitive states. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take control of the Senate. Full story

October 10, 2014

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

Roberts, left, greets Moran, the NRSC chairman, at an event in their home state of Kansas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated, 9:04 a.m. | TOPEKA, Kan. — With less than four weeks until Election Day, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s independent expenditure arm is shifting resources to increase its investment in six states, including South Dakota and Georgia.

The NRSC has moved $1 million to South Dakota, plus another $1.45 million to Georgia.

In South Dakota, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made a $1 million television ad buy this week, on the heels of tightening poll numbers that showed its candidate, Rick Weiland, gaining ground. In Georgia, a new poll suggests a runoff is likely.

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DCCC Cuts Ad Time in Top Colorado Race

DCCC Cuts Ad Time in Top Colorado Race

Romanoff, left, toured the theater catering to the Latino community. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is cutting its ad reservations for the last two weeks of the campaign in a race that represents one of its top offensive opportunities this cycle.

According to a committee aide, the DCCC has pulled $1.4 million in airtime in Colorado’s 6th District, where Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is facing off against former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

The committee will partner with Romanoff in ads next week, said the aide, but the DCCC’s portion of the buy was not immediately available.

“This is still a very winnable race, and Romanoff is well-funded and in a competitive position to bring it across the finish line,” said the aide, who stressed the committee still views the race as top target. Full story

Carl DeMaio Sexual Harassment Allegations Threaten to Derail Bid (Updated)

Carl DeMaio Sexual Harassment Allegations Threaten to Derail Bid (Updated)

DeMaio is a California Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:40 p.m. | In one of the hottest House races in the country, a top Republican recruit has become mired in a dispute over sexual harassment allegations, presenting the GOP with a high-profile distraction in one of its best pickup opportunities.

Former San Diego Councilmember Carl DeMaio is a Republican running against freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in a San Diego-based district. One of DeMaio’s former staffers, Todd Bosnich, sat down for an interview with CNN in which he described in vivid detail his harassment allegations. DeMaio has denied Bosnich’s allegations.

“I came over to his office, door was open. And he was masturbating,” Bosnich told CNN in an interview that aired Friday. “I saw his hand, his penis in his hand and he had a smile on his face. And as soon as I came over, he was looking at me.”

CNN’s Chris Frates confronted DeMaio, who reportedly offered to provide evidence to refute the former aide’s allegations. But the reporter said DeMaio only offered to share the documents if CNN did not report on the situation, and “on its own, the material did not appear to refute Bosnich’s claims.” At one point, CNN was contacted by Washington attorney Ben Ginsberg. After requesting more time, he eventually directed the reporter back to the campaign manager.

Bosnich also told CNN that after he confronted DeMaio about the alleged harassment, he was let go from the campaign and offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

National Republicans are standing by their candidate.

“We fully support Carl DeMaio and we don’t make decisions based on unsubstantiated claims,” said Andrea Bozek, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

But the allegations surfaced just as vote by mail ballots were sent to thousands of voters in the district. And if the dust-up gains traction, DeMaio could see the ground shift from underneath him. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

Confident With House Race, NRCC Cuts TV Time in Northern Virginia

Confident With House Race, NRCC Cuts TV Time in Northern Virginia

Comstock in the GOP nominee in Virginia's 10th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The National Republican Congressional Committee has canceled its broadcast television for the final two weeks of the campaign in northern Virginia’s 10th District race — a sign the GOP is confident they will keep this highly competitive seat.

In the race to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., the NRCC cut $1 million in the pricey Washington, D.C. market, according to a Republican tracking media buys, who confirmed the move is a reaction to Democrats moving money out of the race earlier this week.

The shifts signals the Republican nominee, Barbara Comstock, is in a strong position to defeat the Democratic nominee, John Foust.

“Barbara Comstock is a terrific candidate who has worked very hard and put together a fantastic campaign and is in a great position to win on Nov. 4th,” said NRCC Communications Director Andrea Bozek when reached for comment.

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Steve King Tops NumbersUSA Scorecard

Steve King Tops NumbersUSA Scorecard

NumbersUSA likes what it sees in King. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call)

NumbersUSA, the conservative group that wants to reduce immigration, has graded members of Congress on its signature issue and its scorecard sees an institution with overall average marks.

The downloadable survey lists yes-or-no questions on topics, such as whether a member supports reducing “unnecessary foreign workers” and reducing “anchor baby citizenship.” The Senate got a “C,” while the House scored a “C-,” bringing the overall congressional score to “C.”

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, had the highest score of any member of Congress, 98 percent, good for an “A+.” Eighteen members, all Republicans, scored in the “A+” category, which had a range of being simpatico with 95-100 percent of NumbersUSA’s positions. Seven Democrats and six Republicans scored an “F-.” Rep. John Barrow of Georgia was the highest-scoring Democrat, getting an 89 percent on the scorecard, or an “A-.”

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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Independents Could Control Power in Senate

Independents Could Control Power in Senate

Roberts, left, debates Orman during a luncheon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The power in the Senate could increasingly flow not to Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell, but to a few independents who could hold the keys to the majority — and they know it.

The two unexpected GOP trouble spots in the Midwest feature independent candidates who are making noise about not joining either side in a divided Senate. In Kansas it’s Greg Orman, who is challenging long-time GOP incumbent Pat Roberts. Republicans are extremely dubious of Orman, pointing to campaign dollars he’s given to top Democrats, although Orman is fond of pointing to contributions to Republicans as well.

“I think what I’ve said and what I’ve been clear about since the beginning, is if one party or the other is in the majority I will seek to caucus with the party that is in the majority. But that if I get elected, and neither party is in the majority, then what I’m going to do is sit down with both sides, propose a pro-problem solving agenda and ask both sides, whether or not they’re willing to support that agenda. And we’re going to be likely to support the agenda, and the party that’s most likely to embrace a pro-problem-solving agenda,” Orman told reporters gathered after Wednesday’s debate. Full story

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz-Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo

Cruz, left, campaigned for Roberts, right, in Wichita. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

TOPEKA, Kan. — Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., threatened Friday to hold a Ted Cruz-style filibuster on the Senate floor to prevent President Barack Obama from bringing the prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay into the United States.

Pat Roberts Threatens Cruz Style Filibuster Over Guantanamo Obama is reportedly considering shutting down Guantanamo Bay by executive order, which could potentially mean transferring the prisoners held there on terrorism charges to prisons in the continental U.S. Roberts, whose state is the home of the Leavenworth penitentiary, said he would not abide that.

“I stopped him once from trying to send a Gitmo terrorist to Leavenworth,” Roberts told supporters on a rainy morning at his campaign headquarters here. “I shall do it again. I shall do it again, and if he tries it, I will shut down the Senate.”

Speaking to reporters after, Roberts said he was proposing a potential filibuster in the model of Cruz’s 21-plus hours on the Senate floor last year protesting funding Obamacare. Full story

Gallup: Georgia Runoff ‘Likely’

Gallup: Georgia Runoff Likely

Nunn (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Gallup said Friday runoffs are “likely” in Georgia’s Senate and gubernatorial races, citing the high rate of independents in that state.

A Senate runoff in Georgia would be held Jan. 6 — potentially leaving control of the Senate in limbo into the next session of Congress.

Gallup didn’t post direct poll results in the hotly contested race between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue, but the polling showed Georgia has trended slightly less conservative in recent years. Full story

Pelosi to Democrats: Pay Up

Pelosi to Democrats: Pay Up

Pelosi is pushing House Democrats to pay up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel urged senior House Democrats Thursday to reinforce the House political arm’s financial position in the campaign’s final stretch.

The DCCC, the envy of the political committee fundraising world, is feeling the pinch thanks to a flood of money coming from Republican-affiliated outside groups. Plus, there is increasing ire within the caucus at Democratic outside groups that are focusing their financial resources on Senate campaigns.

Pelosi and Israel held a Thursday afternoon conference call with ranking members of House committees. Pelosi said that if Democrats lose seats, the party also will lose committee assignments, according to several Democrats who were on the call or briefed about it later.

She further impressed upon the “rankers” — those top minority party members on House committees — the need to push rank-and-file members to pay their assigned party dues.

“Clearly they need money, and they’re putting the heat on,” a Democrat who was on the call told CQ Roll Call.

There is little time left.

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October 9, 2014

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts

Roberts, center, got some help Thursday from colleagues Cruz, left, and Coburn, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WICHITA, Kan. — Pat Roberts has served Kansas in the Senate for nearly 18 years, but freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had all the political clout at a Roberts campaign event Thursday.

Ted Cruz Goes to Bat for Pat Roberts The conservative icon and potential presidential candidate’s support could be crucial for Roberts, who faces a challenge from independent candidate Greg Orman in a suddenly competitive race that has implications for the Senate majority.

Here to kick off his statewide bus tour, Roberts took the stage with Cruz, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp — three allies on hand to provide support and additional enthusiasm. Roberts got solid applause, but the crowd erupted when Cruz, who had the final speaking slot, was introduced — yelling and cheering, longer and louder than for any other speaker.

“I’m here in Kansas because I know Pat. The two years I’ve served in the Senate, over and over again on fight after fight for conservative principles, Pat Roberts has shown up and reported for duty,” Cruz told the crowd. “A year ago last week, when I was standing on the Senate floor filibustering on Obamacare, Pat Roberts was one of a handful of senators who came down and stood by my side and said, ‘Obamacare is a disaster, and we’ve got to stop it.’”

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