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

June 16, 2014

Crossroads Upends New York’s 21st District Primary

Crossroads Upends New Yorks 21st District Primary

Crossroads is spending heavily in New York's 21st District primary against Matt Doheny, above. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In New York’s sprawling 21st District, a recent influx of more than $1 million from outside groups has catapulted a 29-year-old first-time candidate ahead of the two-time nominee in the Republican primary for this coveted seat.

American Crossroads alone has already made more than $750,000 in independent expenditures to boost former White House aide Elise Stefanik’s bid — the group’s only spending in a House primary so far in 2014.

The June 24 Republican primary pits Stefanik against Matt Doheny, a deep-pocketed businessman and repeat candidate.

Early on in the race, Doheny’s familiarity with local voters and track record of self-funding his campaigns gave him an advantage. But two outside groups have flooded the district’s airwaves in a way that sources say has thrown the momentum to Stefanik.  Full story

Lankford Led Shannon in Oklahoma Senate Pre-Primary Fundraising

Lankford Led Shannon in Oklahoma Senate Pre Primary Fundraising

Lankford is running in the June 24 Senate primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. James Lankford headed into the final three weeks of the Oklahoma Republican Senate primary with more than double the cash on hand of his top opponent, state Speaker T.W. Shannon.

Shannon and Lankford are locked in a tight battle to succeed Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, who is resigning at the end of this Congress. The winner of the June 24 primary — or Aug. 26 runoff — will be heavily favored in the November special election to serve out the remaining two years of Coburn’s term.

According to pre-primary reports filed last week with the Federal Election Commission, Lankford had $732,000 in cash on hand as of June 4, while Shannon had $330,000. Full story

NRCC Raises $900,000 at Annual House Leadership Fundraiser

NRCC Raises $900,000 at Annual House Leadership Fundraiser

Cantor helped the NRCC raise nearly $1 million on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $900,000 Monday at its annual House leadership fundraiser in Manhattan, according to a source familiar with the event.

Speaker John A. Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy were all in attendance at the New York City event, held just days before the House GOP conference will hold leadership elections.

Cantor lost his primary in Virginia last week and will step down as majority leader July 31. McCarthy faces Idaho Rep. Raúl Labrador in his bid for majority leader, but he is expected to cruise to victory on Thursday.

Full story

Duck Dynasty Cousin Enters Louisiana House Race (Updated)

Duck Dynasty Cousin Enters Louisiana House Race (Updated)

Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson, right, attended State of the Union as McAllister's guest this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:04 p.m. | Businessman Zach Dasher, a cousin of the star of “Duck Dynasty,” announced Monday he will run for Louisiana’s 5th District.

The seat is currently held by embattled GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, who won the district in a special election last November — largely thanks to the local reality television superstar Willie Robertson’s support.

But Dasher said he has the full support of the Robertson family in a Monday morning interview with Louisiana radio show host Moon Griffon.

The news comes as a blow for McAllister, who has waffled in recent weeks about whether he’s running for re-election. Earlier this year, McAllister was caught on video kissing a staffer in his district office — an incident that gave him the title “kissing congressman.

Full story

Elizabeth Warren Endorses in Targeted Massachusetts Race

Elizabeth Warren Endorses in Targeted Massachusetts Race

Elizabeth Warren is in demand on the 2014 campaign trail for Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., endorsed Rep. John F. Tierney’s re-election bid at a campaign rally in the Bay State’s 6th District Monday, calling the House Democrat a “tireless champion for Massachusetts families.”

“I had the chance to work closely with Congressman Tierney on consumer protection issues years before I ran for the Senate, and I’m very glad to work as his partner in Congress today,” Warren said in a release. “Throughout his career, he has fought hard to strengthen our schools, to improve access to high-quality, affordable education, and to make the kinds of investments that grow our economy in the 6th District and across the Commonwealth.”

Tierney faces a primary in September against veteran Seth Moulton and attorney Marisa DeFranco. Moulton has raised more money than Tierney — one of only a few challengers to bring in more bucks than an incumbent this cycle — although the congressman has more cash in the bank.

Full story

Kay Hagan Gets Help From EMILY’s List on Airwaves

Kay Hagan Gets Help From EMILYs List on Airwaves

Kay Hagan will get some help from EMILY's List for her re-election campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Kay Hagan’s campaign will get a boost this week from EMILY’s List independent expenditure arm, which will attack her GOP opponent on the television airwaves.

The North Carolina Democrat faces state Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee, in one of the most competitive and expensive elections this cycle.

The Women Vote! ad attacks Tillis for cuts to education that the state legislature made last year — one of a number of items passed by the Republican-controlled legislature that Democrats have used to attack Tillis.

It features a teacher, speaking about the effects those cuts had on her classroom. Full story

June 13, 2014

Pre-Primary Reports Filed for Charlie Rangel, Mike Coffman and Many More

Pre Primary Reports Filed for Charlie Rangel, Mike Coffman and Many More

Rangel faces a competitive June 24 primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fundraising reports filed Thursday by candidates running in the June 24 primaries revealed eleventh hour insight into the financial viability of embattled incumbents and their challengers.

The reports, covering campaign finances from April 1 to June 4, show whether campaigns have money, how quickly they are spending it and how much cash they had for the final stretch.

After a tumultuous week, in which House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his primary, here is a look at the financial side of the races to watch in less than two weeks: Full story

Thad Cochran Rakes in Campaign Cash for Runoff

Thad Cochran Rakes in Campaign Cash for Runoff

Thad Cochran is fundraising for the runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supporters in D.C. and Mississippi have opened their wallets for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., since he came up 1,400 votes behind his GOP primary challenger last week and was forced into a runoff.

In the eight days since, the six-term incumbent has raised $370,000, according to multiple 48-hour reports filed to the Federal Election Commission as of Friday morning. That includes contributions from supporters back home, lobbyists and his fellow senators, including Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas and Jerry Moran of Kansas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

And there is more coming in. The NRSC hosted a 250-person fundraiser for Cochran on Tuesday that raised $820,000, a committee official confirmed. Some of those funds are likely reflected in his 48-hour reports. Full story

Indicted Congressman’s Fundraising Tanks

Indicted Congressmans Fundraising Tanks

Michael Grimm is a Republican from New York. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Embattled Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., is struggling to fundraise for his campaign after a federal indictment, according to reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Grimm brought in $47,000 for his campaign between April 1 and June 4, according to his pre-primary fundraising report.

That’s far less than the $144,000 that his Democratic opponent, former New York City Councilmember Domenic M. Recchia Jr., raised in the same period.

Recchia now has a financial advantage over Grimm, banking $1.07 million to Grimm’s $1 million.

Full story

June 12, 2014

Steny Hoyer Surpasses $1 Million in DCCC Dues

Steny Hoyer Surpasses $1 Million in DCCC Dues

Hoyer has anted up for the DCCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., crossed the $1 million mark in dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday, according to two Democratic leadership sources.

Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat, has also raised an additional $2.5 million on behalf of House candidates and incumbents over the course of the cycle. Full story

Challenger Goes on TV in Targeted Florida Race

Challenger Goes on TV in Targeted Florida Race

Gwen Graham, a Democrat, is challenging Southerland, above. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney Gwen Graham will begin her television ad campaign next week for her bid to unseat GOP Rep. Steve Southerland II in one of the Sunshine State’s most competitive House races.

The Democrat will spend $100,000 in the Tallahassee and Panama city media markets for two weeks beginning next week, according to a source close to her campaign. Full story

June 11, 2014

GOP Immigration Push Forced to Reconcile With Eric Cantor Loss

Talk about timing.

Nearly a dozen Republican pollsters gathered Wednesday morning for a long-scheduled event to deliver survey results funded by a lobbying effort for the House to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul — but they were forced to reconcile their findings with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat Tuesday night.

In a Capitol Hill hotel ballroom, the pollsters, whose collective client lists include a majority of Republicans in Congress, went through the two polls they conducted of Hispanic voters and of the electorate at-large for FWD.us, a pro-immigration overhaul, tech-community lobbying group founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

It’s a two-pronged argument that highlights the importance of congressional action on immigration for the party’s ability to win national elections and reassures Republicans they should not fear repercussions at the primary ballot box.

While Cantor’s stunning loss was to a challenger who based part of his message attacking the No. 2 House Republican on that issue, the pollsters explained that was in fact not the race from Tuesday night that should be used to judge immigration’s electoral power. Full story

Cantor Loss ‘Was a 10 on the Stun Scale’

Cantor Loss Was a 10 on the Stun Scale

Israel was among those stunned by the Cantor loss. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’m giving a speech. I have no time for jokes,” Steve Israel told Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward when she emailed to say there were signs something was happening in Virginia’s 7th District.

It was 7:15 p.m. Tuesday and Israel had just left an event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He passed Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. as she arrived.

The New York Democrat was on his way to address the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association, and Ward flagged that with 30 percent of the primary vote in, it seemed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., might be in peril. He wasn’t interested. Polls, after all, had just closed.Cantor Loss Was a 10 on the Stun Scale

Israel called Pelosi just in case: ”I left a message, which was, ‘You know I’m skeptical, but I just want to flag for you that there are indications Cantor may be in trouble, but I don’t think we should do anything until we establish whether this is a false alarm.’ That’s what I said, ‘false alarm.’”

Full story

Brat Could See Barrage of GOP Opponents in 2016

David Brat, the Republican college professor who ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a historic upset Tuesday, shouldn’t get too comfortable.

While Brat is the heavy favorite to win in Virginia’s solidly Republican 7th District in November, he would start his congressional career with a bull’s-eye on his back from fellow Richmond-area Republicans.

And with state legislative elections falling in odd years, anyone who wanted to wage a primary bid against Brat in 2016 would get a free pass — able to keep their positions in the state Senate and House of Delegates.

Full story

Eric Cantor’s Polling Firm Takes Heat (Updated)

Eric Cantors Polling Firm Takes Heat (Updated)

Eric Cantor's polling firm is taking heat for showing him ahead by a massive margin two weeks before he lost the primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:25 p.m. | After House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning primary loss in Virginia Tuesday night, national GOP operatives are barreling through the five stages of grief: Denial, anger, and now bargaining — looking for answers on his out-of-the-blue political death.

Their fingers are, in part, pointed directly at McLaughlin & Associates, the Republican polling firm behind the wildly incorrect survey on Cantor’s race. In his poll conducted at the end of May, Cantor had a 34-point lead over college professor David Brat.

Two weeks later, Cantor faced a 12-point drubbing.

Full story

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