Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

December 18, 2015

North Carolina Supreme Court Upholds Congressional Map

UNITED STATES - MARCH 20: Alma Adams, democratic congressional candidate from North Carolina, is interviewed by Roll Call. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Alma Adams represents one of the districts that challengers to the current map most often say is gerrymandered. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a defeat for North Carolina Democrats, who hold just three of the states’s 11 congressional seats, the state Supreme Court upheld the state’s current congressional and legislative map Friday.

The court found that the GOP legislature did not illegally consider race when  drawing the district lines in 2011. Democrats had been hoping that a ruling against the current map would help them pick up another seat in a redraw.

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December 17, 2015

Sanders Scores Progressive and Labor Endorsements Over Clinton

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., leave the Senate Democrats' policy luncheon on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sanders received the endorsement of Democracy for America, which tried to draft Sen. Elizabeth Warren to run for president (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bernard Sanders received a big boost to his campaign Thursday with the endorsements of Communications Workers of America and Democracy for America and emphasized the grassroots nature of the endorsements.

At a news conference with Sanders, Chris Shelton, president of the CWA, emphasized that the decision came directly from union members themselves after the union asked if it should endorse in the election, and if so, who should it endorse.

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Toomey First Target of Senate Majority PAC Digital Campaign

 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Toomey is the first target of the Senate Majority PAC’s 1.5 million ad buy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

UPDATED: 3:25 p.m. | The Senate Majority PAC launched a $1.5 million digital advertising campaign targeting vulnerable Republicans up in 2016, the group told Roll Call on Thursday.

The first advertisements will begin appearing in Pennsylvania against Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey on Facebook, Twitter and the massive Google ad network used by many websites. Full story

Gyrocopter Pilot Plans Run for Congress

Hughes plans to run for Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hughes plans to run for Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Florida man who flew a gyrocopter onto the Capitol lawn is turning toward a more conventional means to get into Congress: being elected.

Douglas Hughes, who pleaded guilty in November to a felony charge related to his April 15 flight, said he plans to run for a seat in the House, but is not yet announcing which Democrat he plans to challenge. Hughes faces a maximum of three years in prison with his guilty plea, which means he could be running for Congress from behind bars depending on his sentencing in April.

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Democrats Look to Expand Map in Indiana — Just in Case

Democrats are hoping that the presidential race could grant them more openings at the congressional level, including in Walorski's district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are hoping that the presidential race could grant them more openings at the congressional level, including in Walorski’s district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Apart from the 7th District in the middle and the 1st District in the northwest, Indiana’s congressional map is entirely red.

But several Democrats are mounting challenges to GOP incumbents or going after an open seat currently held by a Republican — a sign that Democrats are looking to keep their options open should the presidential race make the state’s map more competitive.

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December 16, 2015

SEIU Endorses Brad Schneider

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The SEIU Illinois State Council Wednesday endorsed Democrat Brad Schneider, the former lawmaker looking to reclaim the 10th District seat he lost to Republican Rep. Robert J. Dold in 2014.

“Families in this district deserve a representative who will stand up for them in Washington and demand an economy that works for everyone. I look forward to continuing that fight alongside SEIU,” Schneider, who beat Dold in 2012, said in a release. Full story

Top Democrats on Homeland Security Committees Endorse Clinton’s Security Plan

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  DECEMBER 15: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Minnesota on December 15, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN. During the speech Clinton announced her counterterrorism strategy to protect the United States if elected President. Ten Minnesota men have been arrested and charged with attempting to join the Islamic State. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Clinton outlined her counterterrorism strategy at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The top Democrats on the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees are backing the homeland security strategy Hillary Clinton laid out at a speech at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Delaware Sen. Thomas R. Carper and Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson on Wednesday praised what Clinton called a “360-degree” strategy — a five-part plan to root out domestic radicalization and fight ISIS abroad — and said it would help stop another attack like the one that was carried out in San Bernardino, California, earlier this month.

“In her speech, she laid out the right and responsible approach to combating the greatest threats to our homeland, including online self-radicalization, and proposed examining our visa programs to root out any potential weaknesses – something our committee has been doing in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks,” Carper said in a statement.

“As the nature of the threat continues to evolve, we need a leader like Secretary Clinton who knows what to do to keep Americans safe while upholding the values and principles we stand for as a nation. I am as confident as ever in her ability to take on these challenges as our next commander in chief,” Carper continued.

Delaware’s senior senator endorsed Clinton for president in October after Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. declined to run for the Democratic nomination.

Thompson, who backed Clinton in November, expressed similar approbation for Clinton’s remarks.

“Although the threat from ISIL and those who may be radicalized by it is real, we must respond with vigilance and not fear. Secretary Clinton’s detailed strategy is a strengthening of the hard work we have done to fight radicalization and terrorism both at home and across the globe,” Thompson said.

Clinton met with a group of Muslims before delivering her remarks, and she made a point of criticizing Republicans whose rhetoric, she said, “plays into the hands of terrorists.”

“To all our Muslim-American brothers and sisters,” Clinton told the crowd, “This is your country, too, and I am proud to be your fellow American.”

Clinton called for enhanced intelligence sharing, including cooperation between government and Silicon Valley, to forge a “unified national strategy in cyberspace,” the New York Times reported. In particular, she wants technology firms to remove websites and videos that promote the Islamic State.

Clinton also wants the Department of Homeland Security to increase its review of visas, extending to scrutiny of social media accounts, after one of the San Bernardino shooters was found to have vocalized her support for jihad on Facebook.

“Anyone who has traveled in the past five years to a country facing serious problems with terrorism foreign fighters should have to go through a full visa investigation,” Clinton said, “no matter where they’re from.”

Backing a measure Democrats have been pushing in Congress, Clinton called for banning gun sales to people who are on the no-fly list.

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Candidates Crowd Into Race to Claim John Boehner’s Seat

(Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are 16 candidates running to fill Boehner’s open seat. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The race is on for the open seat created earlier this year when Speaker John A. Boehner left Congress, and there are 16 Ohioans vying to fill that vacancy ahead of the March 15 primary.

Potential candidates had until 4 p.m. Wednesday to file with Ohio’s boards of election to run for Congress in 2016. The special election for Boehner’s 8th District seat is scheduled  June 7.

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McCain Ends 2015 Without a Serious Challenge From Right

McCain will run for re-election, he announced Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCain will made it out of 2015 mostly unfazed from his right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A year that began with concerns among members of his team over whether Arizona Sen. John McCain would face a viable primary challenger from his right is ending with the fifth-term Republican looking mostly unfazed.

Though about six months remain between now and Arizona’s June 1 candidate filing deadline, all but one of the Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation — Rep. David Schweikert — have said they will not run against him, and the three GOP candidates in the race against him haven’t gained much traction. Full story

Republicans: Cruz Bigger Threat to Senate Majority Than Trump

Cruz greets guests at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican operatives hoping to retain the Senate majority are almost as concerned about Cruz as they are about Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are worried a Donald Trump nomination could threaten the party’s chances of holding the Senate and winning seats in the House.

But they’re even more concerned about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who surpassed Trump in Iowa polling this weekend and has been gaining in national polls.

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December 15, 2015

McConnell and Ryan Aren’t Sweating 2016 Presidential Nominee

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) speaks during an interview by Politico at the Grand Hyatt on December 15, 2015 in Washington DC. McConnell was interviewed by Politico's Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen during a Politico Playbook Breakfast. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

McConnell dismissed talk of a brokered convention. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan both said Tuesday they aren’t worried about the Republican presidential primary and suggested they believe an establishment candidate will ultimately prevail.

Appearing back-to-back at a Politico Playbook breakfast, McConnell and Ryan, who rarely comment on presidential politics, dodged questions about specific candidates such as Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. But they offered some insight into how they think the 2016 elections will unfold and downplayed suggestions that a highly contested GOP primary battle will hurt the party. 

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Pelosi Endorses Krishnamoorthi for Duckworth’s Seat

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pelosi called Krishnamoorthi a “true progressive” in endorsing him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Tuesday said she’d like to see Raja Krishnamoorthi replace Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth — who is running for Senate — in Illinois’ 8th District.

“I strongly endorse Raja Krishnamoorthi because he is a true progressive and the best candidate to represent working families in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs,” Pelosi said in a statement in which she also praised the lawyer and mechanical engineer’s work ethic and professional experience. “These qualities will enable him to pursue our common goal of fighting for progressive causes and strengthening and growing our middle class.”

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Is Any ’16 Frontrunner Likable Enough?

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Clinton has high unfavorable ratings but the lion’s share of congressional endorsements. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

It’s one of the most famous political put-downs, then-Sen. Barack Obama’s stinging primary debate rejoinder to Hillary Clinton on Jan. 5, 2008. And even though it may have been Obama’s least likable moment of the campaign — and he went on to lose the New Hampshire primary to Clinton a few days later — the micro-aggression suggests a question that every presidential campaign faces: Just how likable to do you have to be to get invited into America’s livings rooms (and onto its iPads and smartphones) for the next four years?

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Ted Cruz Gets First Starring Role in Debate

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, second from left, listens as fellow Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, speaks, during a rally opposing the Iran nuclear deal outside the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Trump is trailing Cruz for the first time going intoTuesday’s debate. (Susan Walsh/AP File Photo)

When Sen. Ted Cruz walks on stage for his fifth presidential debate Tuesday in Las Vegas, it will be his first as the center of attention.

The Texas Republican, who has been reluctant to publicly go after front-runner Donald Trump, is now closing in on him in two polls of likely Iowa caucus voters released over the weekend. One of them, commissioned by the Des Moines Register, showed Cruz with a 31 percent to 21 percent lead over Trump, while another, commissioned by Fox News, showed him with a 28 percent to 26 percent lead. Full story

December 14, 2015

Before He Runs for Governor in 2017, Wittman Faces Uncertain District in 2016

UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: Rep. Robert Wittman, R-Va., speaks during the news conference on American Energy Initiative legislation to expand U.S. energy production on Tuesday morning, March 29, 2011. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Wittman is running for governor in 2017. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Virginia’s 1st District Rep. Rob Wittman announced over the weekend that he’s running for the GOP nomination for governor in 2017.

“Obviously our focus is on winning in 2016, but I am preparing for 2017,” Wittman told The Washington Post on Dec. 12.

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