Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 25, 2014

September 23, 2014

National Education Association Dives Into Colorado Race (Video)

National Education Association Dives Into Colorado Race (Video)

Udall is the Democratic senator from Colorado. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

The National Education Association aired a new Spanish-language ad Tuesday targeting the Republican nominee for Senate in Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner.

Gardner faces Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., in a competitive race and potential pick-up opportunity for Senate Republicans. The GOP needs to win a net of six seats to take control of the Senate.

The NEA ad, provided first to CQ Roll Call, features five people speaking directly to camera in Spanish about their dreams for their children to get a good education.

The ad buy is $200,000 and will run for two weeks, according to the NEA, in the Denver and Colorado Springs media markets. Full story

Democrats Cut Ad Time in Upstate New York Race

House Majority PAC has canceled a large television reservation in a competitive upstate New York district, the super PAC spokesman confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

The cancellation could be a sign the Democratic super PAC is throwing in the towel on The Empire State’s 21st District. The television buy, scheduled for Oct. 7 through 20 and totaling $300,000, is in a district that is considered a top pickup opportunity for Republicans.

This is a race to replace Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, who is retiring. The race is currently rated Tilts Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Full story

When NOT to Air Political Ads on TV

When NOT to Air Political Ads on TV

Maury Povich. (Screengrab/YouTube)

No matter how cluttered the airwaves become this fall with political ads, there are some television shows during which campaign operatives don’t dare air their spots.

Earlier this week, Roll Call detailed campaigns’ favorite shows and programs to buy political ad time. Here’s a look at the handful of shows political operatives avoid for a variety of reasons.

Full story

GOP Roommates Settle Chores in NRCC Fundraising Bet

GOP Roommates Settle Chores in NRCC Fundraising Bet

Republican roomies Paulsen, Brady, Shimkus and Scalise. (Courtesy a GOP source)

Splish, splash. It sounds like Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., is stuck doing the dishes.

The reason? He lost a bet over rounding up National Republican Congressional Committee dues to his Washington, D.C., roommates, all fellow Republican members, a Capitol Hill GOP operative tells CQ Roll Call.

The wager was laid in July after NRCC Chairman Greg Walden named Shimkus, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Reps. Kevin Brady of Texas and Erik Paulsen of Minnesota as chairmen of the party’s “Battleground” fundraising drive. The roomies decided the loser each fundraising period would be on the hook for the chores.

The four roommates’ push so far has rounded up more than $25 million in member pledges and dues, according to an NRCC aide. Walden described the foursome’s efforts as “above and beyond” expectations, and said in a statement that “thanks to their efforts” the GOP will grow its majority.

Full story

Vote Now in the #RCReadersChoice Runoff

Vote Now in the #RCReadersChoice Runoff

Peters is a freshman in California's 52nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Readers will have one more opportunity this week to pick the House and Senate races Roll Call will cover from the ground in the final weeks of the midterms.

Last week, thousands of votes were cast to send reporters @cahnemily and @alexis_levinson on the road in our first #RCReadersChoice survey. Two House races and two Senate races lead their packs, and now readers have until Thursday at 5 p.m. for the runoff contest.

On the Senate side, readers can select between Kansas, where GOP Sen. Pat Roberts is unexpectedly fighting for his re-election, and Colorado, where Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is attempting to fend off a strong challenge from GOP Rep. Cory Gardner. In the first round of voting, Kansas was the clear front-runner, and Colorado beat out the North Carolina Senate race by just two votes to make the final round.

The finalist House races are California’s 52nd District, located in San Diego, and Nebraska’s 2nd District, located in Omaha. Both incumbents in these races — Democrat Scott Peters in California and Republican Lee Terry in Nebraska — are on Roll Call’s list of the 10 Most Vulnerable House Members.

Have an opinion on which race we should cover? Tweet your thoughts @RollCall with #RCReadersChoice. Otherwise, vote below:

Full story

Democrat Hoops It Up in New TV Ad (Video)

Democrat Hoops It Up in New TV Ad (Video)

Bustos is a Democrat from Illinois. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., released a new television ad Tuesday revisiting a familiar theme in her media campaign: basketball.

The spot features men in black suits committing flagrant fouls and double-teaming children in a basketball game. The ad concludes with Bustos, a hall-of-fame collegiate basketball player, delivering a behind-the-back pass to a young girl.

This November, Bustos faces a rematch against former Rep. Bobby Schilling, a Republican. The race is rated Leans Democratic by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The spot will air in all three media markets in Illinois’ 17th District.

Full story

September 22, 2014

Mary Landrieu to Keg-Stand Critics: ‘Get a Life’

Mary Landrieu to Keg Stand Critics: Get a Life

Landrieu, right, answers questions from the local media during her event with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., left, in Baton Rouge, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — In the shadow of the state Capitol on Monday, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu had a message for any Republican critics of her decision Saturday to help a Louisiana State University football fan perform a keg stand as she campaigned across campus.

“They need to get a sense of humor, and they need to get a life — it’s just the way we roll,” Landrieu said in response to a question at a news conference where she and Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., exchanged endorsements.

Landrieu went on to note that the fan was a 28-year-old alumnus with a master’s degree in business. Full story

Internal Poll: Democrat Holds Slight Lead in California House Contest

Internal Poll: Democrat Holds Slight Lead in California House Contest

Bera is a freshman Democrat from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

A new Democratic poll showed freshman Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif., with a slim lead over former Rep. Doug Ose, R-Calif., in the race for his Sacramento-based district.

In a survey conducted for House Majority PAC and provided first to CQ Roll Call, Bera leads Ose, 47 percent to 43 percent. The Democrat’s advantage was just inside the poll’s margin of error of 4.7 points. 

The two pols are facing off in competitive 7th District, which President Barack Obama carried by just 4 points in 2012. The contest is rated Leans Democratic by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Full story

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!

Landrieu poses for a selfie with LSU football fans as she campaigns at tailgate parties on campus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Six weeks from Election Day, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu gathered the troops on the Louisiana State University campus, where tens of thousands of football fans and prospective voters congregated for hours ahead of the Saturday night game.

Voters, Tigers and Beers — Oh My!The three-term Democrat faces arguably her most challenging race yet against, among others, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who worked the Tigers fans for votes a couple hours later. Landrieu’s best shot may be to break 50 percent in the November jungle primary, but that avenue to victory has shrunk since her last race in a state increasingly difficult for any Democrat to win.

For that reason, Landrieu attempted to reach every voter she could among the boisterous and boozy crowd before kickoff.

Nearly two dozen volunteers and staff formed a circle around Landrieu at a tailgate in the heart of campus, where her younger brother Martin offered food, water and beer to the campaigners — who all had been trying to keep up with the hyper-speed pace of the senator for more than a half hour already. Landrieu ordered the group to split in two, to remind voters about the Nov. 4 jungle primary, early voting dates and to hand out stickers.

“Not everybody is going to be a supporter,” Landrieu told them, “but just be nice, friendly. You’re very visible.”

Not long after, Landrieu went to new lengths for a vote. Egged on to perform a keg stand, she instead held the spigot for a 20-something supporter — one of many methods the LSU faithful would use to imbibe that Saturday afternoon. Full story

New Ad: DSCC Attacks Cory Gardner on Birth Control

New Ad: DSCC Attacks Cory Gardner on Birth Control

Gardner is running for Senate in Colorado. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will air a new ad Monday in Colorado attacking GOP Rep. Cory Gardner on birth control.

The 30-second spot, provided first to CQ Roll Call, criticizes Gardner for sponsoring a bill in congress called the “Life at Conception Act,” while saying he believes birth control pills should be available over the counter.

Gardner is challenging Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. Republicans need to win six seats to retake control of the Senate, and with a number of Democratic incumbents up for re-election in more Republican-leaning states, Democrats can ill-afford to lose a purple state like Colorado.

“Gardner is sponsoring a bill to make most common forms of birth control illegal,” a male narrator says in the ad. “Gardner’s bill also makes all abortions illegal, even in cases of rape and incest.” Full story

Poll: Davis Holds Large Lead in Top Illinois Contest

Poll: Davis Holds Large Lead in Top Illinois Contest

Davis greets Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at Republican Day during the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., a top Democratic target this cycle, had a 19-point lead over his opponent with six weeks to go until Election Day, according to a poll conducted for his campaign and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Davis led Democratic rival Ann Callis, 55 percent to 36 percent, in the survey of the 13th District conducted by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies. Just 7 percent of voters were undecided.

Full story

September 21, 2014

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies on CBS. (Screengrab/YouTube)

Think of it as must-book TV.

Six weeks before Election Day, campaigns are deciding where and when they want to air their political ads all over the country. But not all shows and networks are equal in the eyes of media buyers. They have more choices than ever, and they approach these decisions with deliberation and armed with ratings data.

In interviews, operatives repeatedly said they look for three kinds of programs for political ads: Live events, and shows that attract women and seniors. Both parties fight fiercely for the female demographic, and seniors serve as one of the most reliable voting blocs in a midterm.

In an ever-increasing effort to target voters, media buyers are attracted to cable’s niche audiences. But they also rely on a few broadcast gems for their desirable voters, er, viewers.

The Best TV Shows for Political Advertisements

(Screengrab/YouTube)

Full story

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg Stand

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg Stand

Landrieu assists on a keg stand at LSU on Saturday Sept. 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BATON ROUGE, La. — There are some wild and crazy people in there.

Mary Landrieu Assists Keg StandThat’s what a campaign staffer warned Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu as she eyed an opening to the Parade Grounds in the center of Louisiana State University, where football fans began setting up intricate tailgate parties campus-wide 24 hours before the Saturday night game.

Landrieu had already been working the campus with a fury for an hour, flanked by an army of volunteers in navy “I’m With Mary” t-shirts and handing out Landrieu for Senate stickers.

“Let’s do it,” responded Landrieu, who is one of the cycle’s most vulnerable senators as she seeks a fourth term. Full story

September 20, 2014

House Democrats Pummel Republicans in August Fundraising

House Democrats Pummel Republicans in August Fundraising

Israel is the Chairman of the DCCC. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Democratic political arm far outpaced Republicans in August, just as both parties prepared to unleash their war chests for the midterms.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more money than its GOP counterpart every month this cycle — but August marked an especially brutal thrashing. Last month, the DCCC raised more cash than the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee by more than two-to-one. Full story

September 19, 2014

Kansas Ballots Will Be Mailed Without Democratic Senate Nominee

Kansas Ballots Will Be Mailed Without Democratic Senate Nominee

Roberts' weekend is not off to a great start. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has instructed county election officials to mail overseas election ballots without listing a Democratic candidate for Senate, his office confirmed Friday to CQ Roll Call.

Kobach’s decision concludes a Kansas Senate race saga that has dragged on for several weeks, starting when Democratic nominee Chad Taylor ended his campaign earlier this month. The result is a massive boost for independent Greg Orman, a strong fundraiser who has polled competitively against Sen. Pat Roberts. Full story

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