Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 27, 2015

March 31, 2015

Special Election Dates Set to Replace Aaron Schock

Special Election Dates Set to Replace Aaron Schock

Tuesday was Schock’s last day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Voters in Illinois’ 18th District will select a replacement for Rep. Aaron Schock this summer, but exactly when remains unclear.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner set the dates for the special elections Tuesday night, just a few hours before Schock’s resignation was official. He chose June 8 for the primary and July 24 for the general. But a release from Rauner’s office said the dates are likely to change to comply with the federal timeline mandated for military absentee ballots.

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GOP Pollster: ‘Transformational’ Nominee Helps Blue State Senators

GOP Pollster: Transformational Nominee Helps Blue State Senators

Ayres speaks to Reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast. (Courtesy Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor)

A prominent Republican pollster sounded warning bells about the shifting demographics of the American electorate at a breakfast with reporters Tuesday morning, saying his party must be more inclusive of minority voters if it wants to win the White House in 2016.

Whit Ayres, founder of the Republican polling firm North Star Opinion Research, said the GOP must win more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, as well as appeal to younger voters, in order to be successful at the presidential level in 2016. To do that, he said the party needs to change its messaging and tone on issues such as immigration and same-sex marriage.

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Bill Clinton Endorses Strickland in Ohio

Bill Clinton Endorses Strickland in Ohio

Clinton endorsed Strickland for Senate in Ohio. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former President Bill Clinton made his first endorsement of the 2016 cycle Tuesday, backing former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in his bid for Senate.

Strickland is the front-runner for the nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Rob Portman. One other Democrat is also running — Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld.

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Democrat Announces Bid to Succeed Tammy Duckworth (Updated)

Democrat Announces Bid to Succeed Tammy Duckworth (Updated)

Duckworth is running for Senate, opening the 8th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update 12:44 p.m. | Raja Krishnamoorthi, the former Illinois deputy treasurer, announced Tuesday he will run for Congress in Illinois’ 8th District — an open-seat race thanks to Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s Senate bid.

“Tammy has been an excellent Representative for this district,” Krishnamoorthi said in a release.  “I want to continue Tammy’s advocacy for working families, with a focus on helping more people to succeed in the new economy.”

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March 30, 2015

Tammy Duckworth Announces Illinois Senate Bid (Updated)

Tammy Duckworth Announces Illinois Senate Bid (Updated)

Duckworth announced her run for Senate on Monday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:52 a.m. | Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth announced Monday she will run for Senate, giving Democrats a top-tier candidate in a must-win seat in 2016.

“I’m running for the United States Senate in 2016 because it’s time for Washington to be held accountable, and to put Illinois families and communities first,” Duckworth said in a video announcing her candidacy.

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DCCC to Hit Republicans on College Campuses

DCCC to Hit Republicans on College Campuses

Luján is chairman of the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats will launch a series of attacks on Republicans over college affordability over the next two weeks, when members of Congress will fan out across the country for the Easter recess.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will hit 15 Republicans via advertisements in student newspapers at colleges and universities in their districts, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call. The ads attack these Republicans for not supporting Pell Grants — which provide funding for low-income students working toward undergraduate degrees.

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Titus Senate Bid Could Shake Up Nevada Races

Titus Senate Bid Could Shake Up Nevada Races

Titus is considering a bid for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:38 p.m. | If Nevada’s lone Democratic House member decides to run for Senate, she could scramble the state’s Democratic field up and down the ballot.

Rep. Dina Titus is considering a bid to replace Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who made a surprise announcement Friday he is not seeking re-election.

“This is a decision I will make carefully after talking with family and close friends to ensure it is in the best interest of District One and the people of Nevada,” she said in a statement.  Full story

March 27, 2015

Democrats Maneuver for Illinois House Seat

Democrats Maneuver for Illinois House Seat

Duckworth is mulling a Senate bid in Illinois. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth has not officially announced her 2016 intentions, but the behind-the-scenes jockeying to replace the two-term congresswoman in her suburban Chicago House district should she run for Senate has already begun in earnest.

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Reid Plans Senate Exit: Not Running for Re-Election (Video)

Reid Plans Senate Exit: Not Running for Re Election (Video)

Reid is retiring. He’s been in the Senate since 1987. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Longtime Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid will not seek re-election, he said Friday.

Reid, who sustained face and rib injuries earlier this year in an exercise accident, made the announcement in a video to supporters.

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March 26, 2015

Vulnerable Senators Switch Votes on Paid Sick Leave (Updated)

Vulnerable Senators Switch Votes on Paid Sick Leave (Updated)

Toomey voted in favor of a fund for paid sick leave. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:20 p.m. | Two of the most vulnerable Republican senators, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, switched their votes Thursday on an amendment that would allow workers to earn up to seven days of paid sick time annually.

A “no” vote on the amendment would have likely drawn criticism from Democrats, who have, in the past, attacked Republicans as being unconcerned about pocketbook issues such as paid leave, minimum wage and equal pay.

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Coats’ Top Aide Enters Indiana Senate Contest

Coats Top Aide Enters Indiana Senate Contest

A top aide to Coats, right, is running for his Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated, 12:35 p.m. | Eric Holcomb, a congressional staffer and former Indiana GOP chairman, announced a bid Thursday to succeed retiring Sen. Dan Coats, becoming the first Republican to enter what could be a crowded primary field.

“This campaign will be about what we’re for, not simply what we’re against,” Holcomb said at a campaign announcement in Indianapolis. “This campaign in short will be about Indiana’s voice.”

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Vote-a-Rama Presents Political Peril for Vulnerable Incumbents

Vote a Rama Presents Political Peril for Vulnerable Incumbents

Burr is among the senators up for re-election facing a gauntlet of politically charged votes in the vote-a-rama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators aren’t making law as they complete work on the budget resolution, but for those facing the voters in 2016, the affair is riddled with political landmines, often set deliberately by the other party.

Of the 34 senators up for re-election in 2016, 24 are Republicans, several in highly competitive swing states. Just two Democratic incumbents are running in competitive states. Democrats need a net gain of five seats to secure the majority.

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March 24, 2015

Coats Retirement Sparks Hoosier State Free-for-All

Coats Retirement Sparks Hoosier State Free for All

Coats chats with Sen. Lamar Alexander not long after announcing his retirement plans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An open Senate seat in Indiana could lead to a GOP free-for-all in 2016, with nearly every Republican member of the Hoosier State’s congressional delegation showing interest.

Of the seven Republicans in the House delegation, five are at least giving a bid consideration.

GOP Sen. Dan Coats’ Tuesday retirement announcement sparked a behind-the-scenes frenzy, as Reps. Jackie Walorski, Marlin Stutzman, Todd Young, Todd Rokita and Susan W. Brooks all contemplated jumping in the race to succeed him. Eric Holcomb, Coats’ chief of staff in the state, and state Speaker Brian Bosma also are weighing runs, according to Indiana GOP operatives.

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Benishek to Seek Fourth Term, Break Term-Limit Pledge (Updated)

Benishek to Seek Fourth Term, Break Term Limit Pledge (Updated)

Benishek will seek a fourth term after all. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:20 p.m. | Michigan Rep. Dan Benishek said Tuesday he has decided to break a self-imposed term limit and run for re-election next year.

The Republican set a three-term limit during his first bid for Congress in 2010, when he won an open-seat race to replace Democrat Bart Stupak.

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Coats Not Seeking Re-Election in Indiana

Republican Sen. Dan Coats will not run for re-election in Indiana next year, opening up his Senate seat to a wide group of hopefuls.

“This was not an easy decision,” Coats said in a statement of his decision not to seek another term. “While I believe I am well-positioned to run a successful campaign for another six-year term, I have concluded that the time has come to pass this demanding job to the next generation of leaders.”

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