Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 1, 2014

June 4, 2014

Joni Ernst Money Chase Starts Now (Updated)

Joni Ernst Money Chase Starts Now (Updated)

Braley won the Democratic nod for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:10 p.m. | State Sen. Joni Ernst posted a resounding victory Tuesday with 56 percent of the Republican primary vote, handily winning the GOP nod for Senate in Iowa.

Now Ernst must run up a different number: Her bottom line.

After a grueling and costly primary, Ernst — who already struggled with campaign fundraising — starts a general election campaign against a cash-flush Democratic nominee, Rep. Bruce Braley. Ernst’s primary bid was heavily boosted by third-party groups — support Republicans hope will resume as quickly as possible.

For example, less than 24 hours after the Republican’s win, Braley debuted a statewide television ad attacking her for being all talk about cutting spending without having the legislative record to back it up. Full story

Fellow Mississippi Senator Says Thad Cochran is ‘Best Bet’ to Hold Seat

Fellow Mississippi Senator Says Thad Cochran is Best Bet to Hold Seat

Cochran, above, trails McDaniel by less than 2,000 votes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Roger Wicker offered encouragement to his home-state colleague, Sen. Thad Cochran, on Wednesday, calling the Mississippi Republican’s re-election essential to the party’s effort to reclaim the Senate majority.

“He’s our best bet to hold the seat for a Republican majority,” Wicker said.

Asked if Cochran’s GOP opponent, Chris McDaniel, would be a viable candidate if he wins the runoff, the Mississippi Republican said, “I think if Thad Cochran is nominated three weeks from now — and I think he will be nominated — I don’t think the Democrats will play in Mississippi, I think they will spend their money elsewhere.”

His comments came hours after Cochran and his tea party opponent were in a virtual tie in the primary for the Republican nomination. McDaniel had a lead of less than 2,000 votes, with 99.8 percent of precincts reporting.  Full story

Florida Redistricting Trial to Conclude Wednesday

Florida Redistricting Trial to Conclude Wednesday

Jolly represents a legally controversial district in a Florida redistricting trial. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A congressional redistricting trial in Florida was scheduled to conclude Wednesday afternoon, the results of which could force the legislature to redraw the district boundaries before November, throwing current congressional campaigns into chaos.

“I don’t think there’s any congressional campaign here that’s discounting that possibility,” said one Florida Democratic insider, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the ongoing case.

The issue in the trial, known locally as Florida’s “Game of Thrones,” is whether the GOP-led Legislature violated the state’s new Fair Districts Amendment during redistricting following the 2010 U.S. Census. A verdict is expected by the end of the month.

Full story

Wendy Greuel Concedes California House Contest

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu is poised to become the next member of Congress from Hollywood’s House seat — California’s 33rd District.

Lieu advanced to the general election Tuesday, and in November he will face a Republican opponent in a strong Democratic district.

In California’s primary, the two highest vote recipients regardless of party advance to the general election. Full story

California Democrat Endorses Republican Opponent

California Democrat Endorses Republican Opponent

Rogers backed one of his former Republican opponents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With two Republicans advancing to the general in California’s 25th District open-seat race, the losing Democrat conceded the race on Wednesday and backed one of his two former GOP opponents.

Podiatric surgeon Lee Rogers, the top Democrat in the race, finished third behind two Republicans, former state Sen. Tony Strickland and state Sen. Steve Knight. In a Wednesday morning statement, Rogers recommended Democrats in the district back Knight — a rare endorsement from a member of an opposing party.

Rogers called Knight “an honest man with integrity” before going on to take jabs at Strickland.

“To the contrary, Tony Strickland is a politician in search of a district,” Rogers continued. “Recommending a Republican for Congress may not sit well with some in my party, but I didn’t create the rules and I care too much about our district to let it fall to a dishonest carpetbagger who is interested only in himself, like Tony Strickland.”

Full story

Primary Results: California House Races (Updated)

Primary Results: California House Races (Updated)

Ose will face Bera, above. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:33 a.m., 2:15 p.m. | The race for California’s coveted 31st District remained too close to call Wednesday morning, with just 390 votes separating the second- and third-place finishers.

The results will make or break the race for Democrats, who have invested significant resources in this competitive district and named it one of their top targets of the cycle.

In California, the top two vote recipients, regardless of party, advance to the general election.

Full story

Democrat Picks Preferred GOP Opponent in Maine (Video)

The candidate: State Sen. Emily Cain.
The member: Cain is running for the Democratic nomination in Maine’s 2nd District, an open-seat race because Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud is running for governor.
The district: Located in the northern part of the state, this district voted for President Barack Obama with 53 percent in 2012.
The candidate’s team: Jill Normington (polling), Steven Stenberg of The Strategy Group (mail), CD2 (media).

Full story

Mississippi Primary Results: Cochran, McDaniel on Track for Runoff (Updated) (Video)

Mississippi Primary Results: Cochran, McDaniel on Track for Runoff (Updated) (Video)

Chris McDaniel may be headed for a runoff in Mississippi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:54 a.m., 2:10 p.m. | One of the most contentious Republican Senate primaries of the 2014 cycle was too close to call late Tuesday night, and the Mississippi race could be extended another three weeks.

With 99.6 percent of precincts reporting, state Sen. Chris McDaniel led 49.5 percent to 48.9 percent for six-term Sen. Thad Cochran, according to The Associated Press.

If no one takes more than 50 percent of the vote, both will advance to a June 24 runoff.

In the purest example this year of the split within the GOP, Mississippi Republicans chose between the soft-spoken, influential incumbent and a 41-year-old upstart who aligned himself with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Full story

June 3, 2014

Primary Results: Iowa Senate, House Races (Updated)

Primary Results: Iowa Senate, House Races (Updated)

Braley won the Democratic nod for Senate and will face Ernst. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated June 4, 1:00 a.m. and 5:12 a.m. | Joni Ernst has won the Republican nominee for Senate in Iowa, boosting the GOP’s hopes of picking up this a competitive, open seat in 2014.

Ernst, a state senator, scored a decisive victory over her three major opponents, leading with 53 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race at 10:52 p.m. She easily surpassed the 35 percent threshold she needed to win the nomination outright and avoid a convention. Full story

Primary Results: Montana, South Dakota Races (Updated)

Primary Results: Montana, South Dakota Races (Updated)

Johnson will not seek re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Gov. Mike Rounds won the Republican nomination for Senate in South Dakota Tuesday.

Rounds, a popular former governor, is expected to all-but coast to the Senate seat in November. The seat is open because Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is retiring at the end of this year.

In the primary, Rounds bested state Sens. Stace Nelson and Larry Rhoden, Army Reserves Maj. Jason Ravnsborg, and Dr. Annette Bosworth. When The Associated Press called the race around 9:35 EST, Rounds led with 58 percent of the vote. Full story

Primary Results: New Jersey, Alabama House Races

Primary Results: New Jersey, Alabama House Races

Runyan is retiring from Congress, leaving a competitive race for his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:18 p.m. | Former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur won the GOP nomination to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Jon Runyan in New Jersey, relieving Republicans of a candidate who could have lost the seat for them this fall.

MacArthur defeated that candidate, ex-Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, carrying 60 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race. Lonegan had 40 percent, with 41 percent precincts reporting.

MacArthur will face Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard in November. She ran in largely uncontested Democratic primary. The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

Live Coverage: Primary Night in Eight States

Live Coverage: Primary Night in Eight States

Chris McDaniel, the Republican challenging Thad Cochran for Senate, speaks with an employee of Truhitt Service Center in Union, Miss., May 29. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

 

The Roll Call Politics Team is closely following the biggest primary night of the season, with races in Alabama, California, Mississippi, Iowa, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., track live results and read detailed analysis on our live blog below:

 

Democratic Poll: Lee Terry in Dead Heat

Democratic Poll: Lee Terry in Dead Heat

Terry is a Republican from Nebraska. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new Democratic internal poll showed Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., could face a difficult fight for re-election in 2014.

The poll, commissioned by the campaign of his Democratic foe, Brad Ashford, showed the two men in a virtual tie. Each candidate had the support of 41 percent of the likely voters surveyed. A third candidate, libertarian Steven Laird, had the backing of 4 percent of respondents.

Terry faces challenges with his favorability ratings, according to the poll. Thirty-six percent of those interviewed held a favorable impression of the congressman, while 63 percent had a negative view of him.

Ashford, a state senator, is less well-known than the incumbent, but had a net positive rating. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they had a favorable impression of the challenger, while 18 percent said they viewed him unfavorably.

Another potential contender, former Republican state Sen. Chip Maxwell, was not included in the polling memo information. He is running as an independent in the race, creating angst among national Republican groups.

Here is the full polling memo:

Full story

Former Clinton Operative Dies in Texas Car Crash

Grace Garcia, a former longtime Clinton operative, died Monday in a car accident in Waxahachie, Texas, according to a release from Annie’s List, where she served as executive director.

“It is with a tremendous sense of loss that we announce the passing of our executive director and leader Grace Garcia, who lost her life in a car accident Monday afternoon,” Annie’s List Board Chair Amber Anderson Mostyn said in a statement. “Another staffer was injured in the crash and is in the intensive care unit at Parkland Hospital.”

Annie’s List is a group that supports female Democratic candidates who back abortion rights for state office in Texas.

Full story

By Abby Livingston Posted at 10:12 a.m.
Shop Talk

Thad Cochran Runs on Incumbency, Appropriations in GOP Primary

Thad Cochran Runs on Incumbency, Appropriations in GOP Primary

Cochran greets a supporter at Windy City Grille in Hernando. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OXFORD, Miss. — Construction on Phase II of the grand Thad Cochran Research Center here on the Ole Miss campus is expected to be completed later this year, around the time the senator hopes to be re-elected to a seventh term.

Cochran’s help securing crucial federal funding for the pharmacy school’s natural products research facility is one of numerous examples of the Senate appropriator’s widely regarded ability to steer money toward his state, which has the lowest median household income in the country.

The incumbent spent the final week of an increasingly hostile race on a statewide bus tour touting his 36 years of experience in the Senate, despite the fact that his appropriations prowess — and accusations he doesn’t fight hard enough for conservative causes — is what led to the 76-year-old’s most competitive primary challenge ever, from tea-party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

“I feel comfortable knowing that I can get things done for the state to help better address our economic problems, also our national security interests,” Cochran said in an interview in Hernando, when asked about voters who may be looking for someone new. “As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’m situated to help influence the level of funding for a lot of government programs in the national security area that directly benefit Mississippi,” including both military installations and defense contractors. Full story

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