Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

October 13, 2014

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.

Full story

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.

Full story

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.

Full story

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.’”

Full story

Poll: Democrat Opens Lead in Top Iowa House Race

Poll: Democrat Opens Lead in Top Iowa House Race

Young hopes to keep Iowa's 3rd District in the Republican column. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Former state Sen. Staci Appel has opened up a significant single-digit lead over her Republican opponent in a competitive open-seat race in Iowa, according to a tracking poll conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call.

Appel led former Capitol Hill aide David Young, 49 percent to 42 percent, according to the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll. Nine percent of respondents were undecided.

The poll showed Appel increasing her lead from the DCCC’s last poll on Sept. 15, when Appel led Young 47 percent to 44 percent. 

Full story

Democrats Cut Bait in Virginia to Save California House Seat

Democrats Cut Bait in Virginia to Save California House Seat

Bera is getting some on-air backup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has canceled its television advertising in a competitive northern Virginia House district and will shift most of that money to help an incumbent in northern California, according to a Democrat who monitors media buys.

The sum of the DCCC’s cancellation in Virginia’s 10th District was $2.8 million, according to the source. Democrats were on the offensive in the open-seat race to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va. Full story

Meet the House Republican Still Sweating the Shutdown

Meet the House Republican Still Sweating the Shutdown

Terry is a vulnerable Nebraska Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

OMAHA, Neb. — Mention Rep. Lee Terry’s name in this town, and almost everyone has an opinion about the embattled Republican.

“I know I was not happy with the shutdown and his comments,” said Patrick Ryan, a veteran of the Air National Guard turned Burke High School social studies teacher, before a Friday night football game. “I was kind of taken aback by it, thinking it was kind of arrogant considering the kind of job he’s in.”

Meet the House Republican Still Sweating the Shutdown

“There’s a litany of times when he has literally stuck his 10.5 [size shoe] in his mouth,” state Sen. Bob Krist, a Republican backing Terry’s Democratic opponent, told CQ Roll Call in his colleague’s kitchen on Sunday morning. “Which time do you want to apologize for?”

“Don’t get him started,” said a woman seated at the bar at The Drover on Oct. 3, an old school downtown steakhouse, pointing to her husband, who regurgitated an unprompted verbatim account of the exact words dogging Terry’s quest for a ninth term.

More than a year ago, when the federal government shuttered and federal employees — including active military service members and civilian contractors — feared they wouldn’t get their paychecks, Terry was adamant he would keep his own.

“Dang straight,” Terry told the Omaha World Herald for an Oct. 4, 2013, story. “I’ve got a nice house and a kid in college, and I’ll tell you we cannot handle it. Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That’s just not going to fly.”

He’s apologized for the remarks, but the 16-year incumbent can’t seem to get out from underneath them. It’s an example of how just a few ill-suited words can ruin a congressional career — and the key reason Terry is struggling for re-election in this GOP-leaning district against state Sen. Brad Ashford.

Full story

Al Franken Up 7 Points in Republican Poll

Al Franken Up 7 Points in Republican Poll

Franken is running for a second term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken led by 7 points in an internal poll conducted on behalf of the state Republican Party.

The Democrat, who is favored to be re-elected to a second term, led Republican finance executive Mike McFadden 46 percent to 39 percent.

It was a more favorable result for McFadden than the state party’s previous internal poll in August, which showed Franken up 49 percent to 38 percent.

“Bottom line — the race is still advantage Franken, but the Senator’s margin has closed over the past few weeks,” Public Opinion Strategies pollster Robert Blizzard wrote in a memo obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

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