Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 31, 2015

August 10, 2015

Ted Cruz Opens His Playbook for the ‘SEC Primary’

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Sen. Ted Cruz said the turnout and raucous reception he received Sunday at a pair of campaign rallies in Alabama reminded him of the Iron Bowl.

With Alabama and Auburn yet again predicted to be the cream of the crop in the Southeastern Conference, the Texas Republican’s 2016 presidential campaign might want to plan now for a tailgate at the college football classic.

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Milton Wolf, Jerry Moran Face Off Ahead Of Possible Primary Challenge (Updated)

Wolf and Moran went head-to-head for the first time on Monday. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Wolf went head to head with Moran for the first time on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update 4:13 p.m. | As conservative Kansas doctor Milton Wolf considers a Republican primary challenge to Sen. Jerry Moran, he confronted the incumbent Monday over Wolf’s beef with the state’s Republican Party from his last campaign.

Last week, Wolf was cleared by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts from a charge he had divulged privileged patient information on Facebook. That charge was first raised during his 2014 primary challenge to Sen. Pat Roberts, which Wolf believes was furthered by the party’s leadership and Moran.

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Katie McGinty Brings On Ed Rendell as Campaign Chairman (Updated)

Rendell encouraged McGinty to get in the race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rendell encouraged McGinty to get into the race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:56 p.m. | Democratic former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell will chair Katie McGinty’s Senate campaign, her team announced Monday.

“It is an honor to have Governor Rendell as the chair of my campaign. He knows how to win tough races and I appreciate his support and encouragement,” McGinty said in a statement emailed to reporters Monday morning.

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In Kansas, Milton Wolf Mulling a Second Conservative Challenge

Wolf is considering challenging another Senator from Kansas from the right.  (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Wolf is considering challenging another Senator from Kansas from the right. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In the view of Kansas doctor Milton Wolf, there might be an illness shared by his state’s two Republican senators: They’re not conservative enough.

Wolf has already once declared himself the cure: In 2014, he led an aggressive, but unsuccessful, primary challenge that placed him within 7 points of Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

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August 8, 2015

Rand Paul Makes His Pitch, Brushes Off Indictments

Paul speaks to supporters at the Pints for Liberty event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Paul speaks to supporters at a “Pints for Liberty” event. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sen. Rand Paul’s target audience is unique among the presidential contenders. It skews younger and more libertarian.

That may make the Kentucky Republican the ideal candidate to attend a “Pints for Liberty” event, as he did Friday, but Paul says he also thinks that appeal suits him for a long campaign slog. Full story

August 7, 2015

Party Politics: Washington Watches GOP Candidates Debate

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06:  Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush participate in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidates, from left, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Donald Trump listen as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush answers a question at the FOX News-Facebook GOP debate on Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While the Republican presidential candidates were on stage in Cleveland, several Washington clubs took on the air of sports bars at debate-watch parties scattered across the city.

Roll Call did the bar crawl and hit those at the National Press Club, the Union Pub and Johnny Pistola’s.

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At Debate Night at the Movies, Cheers for Candidates, and the Moderators

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 6: Charleston area Republicans watch the Republican primary debate at the Mount Pleasant Cinebarre theater during the Charleston County GOP debate watch party in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Charleston area Republicans watch the Republican debate on Thursday at the Mount Pleasant Cinebarre Theater in Mount Pleasant, S.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — It was a full house at a South Carolina movie house Thursday night for a special show: the first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 cycle.

The venue was perfect for a show with bombastic businessman Donald Trump.
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August 6, 2015

Rep. Corrine Brown Files Lawsuit Against Redrawn Florida Congressional Map

Brown filed a lawsuit to try and stop the implementation of a new Florida congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brown filed a lawsuit to try and stop the implementation of a new Florida congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging the validity of a proposed redraw of the state’s congressional map, alleging the draft plan violates the Voting Rights Act.

Brown’s lawsuit comes a day after the state legislature released a draft redistricting plan that completely changes her 5th District — a long, spindly seat that meanders from Jacksonville south to Orlando. The current iteration of the district initially sparked the court case that led the state Supreme Court to throw out the map last month.

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Democrats Seek to Turn Republican Debate Pain Into Their Gain

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the commercial time between jabs at Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, viewers watching in the Southern Maryland and Washington, D.C., media market will hear from a familiar Democrat.

Kathleen Matthews, the former television anchor turned Democratic candidate to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen as he runs for Senate, purchased ad time on Fox News and other cable networks for an ad she hopes will contrast herself and other Democrats with the mammoth GOP field.

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Planned Parenthood Gives DesJarlais Challenger an Opening

DesJarlais is again facing a primary challenge. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

DesJarlais, shown practicing for a football game between members of Congress and Capitol Police, again faces a primary challenge. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grant Starrett, 27, doesn’t think Rep. Scott DesJarlais has been conservative enough for Tennessee’s 4th District. DesJarlais thinks his voting record speaks for itself. “If he wants to run to the right, there’s not much room,” the Republican lawmaker told CQ Roll Call last week.

But there is room on one issue.

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August 5, 2015

Voting Rights Act Used to Strike Down Texas Voter ID Law

Veasey celebrated the ruling as a victory for all Texas voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Veasey celebrated the ruling as a victory for all Texas voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, a federal appeals court on Wednesday affirmed a lower court’s ruling that Texas’ strict voter ID law violates Section 2 of the landmark civil rights legislation.

Texas Rep. Marc Veasey, the lead plaintiff in the original suit brought against the photo ID law, heralded the ruling as a victory for Lone Star minority voters.

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Democrats Likely to Gain One House Seat in Florida Redraw

Graham's current House seat will become too Republican-leaning for a Democrat to carry. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Graham’s current House seat will become too Republican-leaning for a Democrat to carry. (File Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Florida Senate released a draft of a new congressional district map Wednesday that, if approved, would likely lead to Democrats netting one House seat in 2016.

The map must still be approved by the state Legislature in a special session, which is scheduled to begin on Aug. 10. But if the map released Wednesday is adopted for the 2016 cycle, Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham and Republican Rep. Daniel Webster are likely to have tough — if not impossible — roads to re-election.

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Rand Paul Allies Indicted in Iowa Campaign Fraud Case (Updated)

Two campaign operatives running one of Rand Paul's super PACs were indicted Wednesday along with a third person for charges related to his father Ron Paul's presidential campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two campaign operatives running one of Sen. Rand Paul’s super PACs were indicted Wednesday along with a third person for charges related to his father Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:25 p.m. | A longtime ally of Sen. Rand Paul who at one point served as the 2014 campaign manager for now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been indicted for alleged campaign finance fraud.

Louisville, Ky.-based political operative Jesse Benton was McConnell’s campaign manager until he abruptly resigned on Aug. 29, 2014, after former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson admitted to taking concealed payments from the 2012 presidential campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Benton was the campaign chairman.

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Sinema Tells D.C. Democrats ‘Not Yet’ on Senate Bid

Sinema represents a competitive Arizona House seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sinema represents a safe Arizona House seat. (File Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Among her peers in Arizona’s congressional delegation, there was a time when Rep. Kyrsten Sinema seen as a top prospect to carry the Democratic Party’s mantle against Republican Sen. John McCain when he seeks re-election next year.

But after a court last month upheld the state’s congressional map drawn by an independent commission and thus, the makeup of her Democratic-leaning House district, national Democrats think that Sinema, one of the party’s rising stars, might just wait for another opportunity down the road.

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August 4, 2015

Democratic Primary to Challenge Zeldin Will Be Competitive (Updated)

Lee Zeldin

Democratic groups have targeted Zeldin as a vulnerable incumbent Republican. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated August 4 11:05 a.m. | The Democrat who challenges GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin in New York’s 1st District will face a close race. But the eventual nominee will have a primary shaping up to be just as competitive, political handicappers say.

The only two declared candidates for the Democratic nomination are Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and former federal prosecutor and venture capitalist David Calone. They are locked in a tight race, with each candidate drawing on different bases of support in the Long Island district, and both having raised close to a half million dollars so far.

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