Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

March 21, 2014

Ron Paul Endorses in Competitive California House Race

Ron Paul Endorses in Competitive California House Race

Paul is supporting a candidate in California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who sparked a libertarian movement that has rankled the GOP, has thrown his support behind a House candidate in California.

Paul endorsed former Capitol Hill aide Igor Birman in the 7th District, according to a letter shared first with CQ Roll Call.

Birman, who served as chief of staff to Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., is one of three Republicans seeking to oust freshman Rep. Ami Bera, a Democrat, from this competitive, Sacramento-based House district. Full story

Obama Warns Donors of Turnout Problems in Midterm Elections

Obama Warns Donors of Turnout Problems in Midterm Elections

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama warned Democratic donors Thursday night about dipping turnout in midterm elections, stressing the party’s need to push women and minorities to vote in the high-stakes congressional elections this November.

At a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in Miami, Obama stressed the party gets “clobbered” without these key constituencies, according to a pool report of his remarks.

“During presidential elections, young people vote, women are more likely to vote, blacks, Hispanics more likely to vote. And suddenly a more representative cross-section of America gets out there and we do pretty well in presidential elections,” said Obama. “But in midterms we get clobbered – either because we don’t think it’s important or we’ve become so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while.”

Full story

How to Tell Voters Their Congressman Is Old

Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, is really old.

And in case northeast Texas voters don’t know that already, a GOP super PAC wants to remind them.

Now or Never PAC released an advertisement Thursday that featured disco music, a picture of President Jimmy Carter and a narrator declaring, “Now he’s 90, the oldest member in Congress ever!”

Hall is in a dogfight of a runoff against another Republican, attorney John Ratcliff, on May 27.

Full story

March 20, 2014

New Jersey Republican Machine Unites Against Steve Lonegan (Updated)

Updated 4:37 p.m. | New Jersey Republicans avoided a nightmare scenario Wednesday night in the highly competitive, open-seat race for the 3rd District.

Ocean County Republicans endorsed former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur as their preferred nominee. The endorsement comes five days after the Burlington County GOP also backed MacArthur.

In 2008, the two county parties supported different Republicans for the nod and lost the 3rd District. In hindsight, many Garden State Republicans blame the party’s loss on that feud over the GOP nominee. Full story

House Democrats Outraise Republicans in February (Updated)

House Democrats Outraise Republicans in February (Updated)

Israel is the DCCC chairman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated 4:01 p.m. | The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $1.3 million more than its GOP counterpart in February, according to committee aides.

The DCCC will report raising $6.4 million in February, compared to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $5.1 million haul. The Democratic committee will report $34.4 million cash on hand, while the House GOP’s political arm had $24.8 in the bank at the end of last month.

Both committees eliminated their debt earlier in the cycle. Full story

By Abby Livingston Posted at 1:41 p.m.
DCCC, House 2014, NRCC

DSCC Raised $6.8M in February (Updated)

Updated 8:57 a.m. | The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $6.8 million in February, bringing its total fundraising for the cycle to $66 million.

According to figures announced by the committee Thursday, the DSCC has now raised more than $13 million in the first two months of the year. It ended February with $18.1 million in cash on hand and paid down its debt to $1.2 million.

The NRSC raised less than the DSCC — $5.47 million — during February, according to fundraising totals the GOP committee released on Thursday morning. The NRSC has $12.75 cash on hand and zero debt. Full story

Mark Begich Debuts TV Ad Starring Late Father in Alaska

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is launching a 60-second biographical TV ad on Thursday, highlighting his long ties to the state as Republicans attempt to tether him to Washington in his re-election race.

The first-term Democrat faces a highly competitive campaign that’s already seen attack ads fired from both sides. The new spot, his second one so far, was designed to cut through the negative ad barrage and emphasize Begich’s work for Alaska interests.

Full story

March 19, 2014

Raul Grijalva Endorses Ruben Gallego in Arizona Open-Seat Race

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., endorsed state Rep. Ruben Gallego on Wednesday for the open-seat race in Arizona’s 7th District.

In the race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor, Gallego is running in what is shaping up to be a crowded primary field for the solidly Democratic, Phoenix-based district.

“I worked with Ed Pastor for many years,” Grijalva said in a statement. “He was the best partner I could have asked for in Phoenix, and I couldn’t think of a better candidate to replace him than Ruben Gallego.”

Full story

March 18, 2014

Ann Callis, Rodney Davis to Face Off in Targeted Illinois District

Former Madison County Judge Ann Callis picked up the Democratic nomination in Illinois’ 13th District Tuesday night and will now face a top target of national Democrats, freshman GOP Rep. Rodney Davis.

Callis defeated physics professor George Gollin 59 percent to 28 percent, with 56 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. A third candidate, David Green, garnered 13 percent.

Davis defeated former Miss America Erika Harold 57 percent to 38 percent, with 65 percent of precincts reporting.

Full story

League of Conservation Voters Endorses in Maine Primary

The League of Conservation Voters’ political action arm announced Tuesday it has endorsed state Sen. Emily Cain, one of two Democrats seeking Maine’s open 2nd District seat.

The group, which spends significant funds on congressional races, endorsed Cain over her Democratic primary opponent, state Sen. Troy Jackson, saying Cain has a better record on environmental issues. The endorsement could come with financial support in both the primary and the general, as Republicans are targeting the seat.

“Emily Cain is a leader who embraces our moral obligation to address climate change,” LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski said in a statement. “She stands up for public health and our environment and will be a strong voice against polluters seeking to stop the scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

Full story

Outside Group’s Poll Shows Tightening Oklahoma Senate Primary

The special-election primary to replace resigning Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn is tightening after an advertising blitz benefiting Republican state Speaker T.W. Shannon.

A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, an outside group backing Shannon, found the state speaker cutting into the early GOP primary lead of Rep. James Lankford. Lankford, who is the favorite to fill the remaining two years of Coburn’s term, led with 37 percent, followed by Shannon with 28 percent and former state Sen. Randy Brogdon with 7 percent.

A half dozen candidates are running to replace Coburn, a favorite among conservatives, who is stepping down at the end of the year. The special is following the state’s regular election schedule: If no candidate receives a majority of support in the June 24 primary, the top two finishers will face off in an Aug. 26 runoff and the winner will move on to November. Full story

Democrat Drops Out of Competitive Pennsylvania House Race

Democrat Drops Out of Competitive Pennsylvania House Race

Trivedi is now the lone Democratic candidate in the field. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call File Photo)

Businessman Mike Parrish, a Democrat touted as a top recruit in Pennsylvania’s open 6th District, announced Tuesday he will drop out of the contest to avoid a costly primary, PolitcsPA.com first reported.

“While I was asked by the national and local leaders of our Democratic party and encouraged by YOU to run for Congress, I have come to realize that an expensive and contentious Democratic primary fight would seriously risk our party’s ability to win this seat in November to accomplish our goals,” Parrish said in a statement to supporters. “I am therefore suspending my campaign in order to join with Manan Trivedi to help ensure that a Democrat is elected in November.”

Parrish, who launched his campaign two months ago in the wake of Rep. Jim Gerlach’s, R-Pa., retirement announcement, had earned the endorsement of Rep. Robert A. Brady, D-Pa., and been a beneficiary of a fundraiser headlined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Full story

Oprah to Headline Fundraiser for Virginia House Candidate

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey will headline a D.C.-area fundraiser next month for Lavern Chatman, former CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League and one of nearly a dozen Democrats running for Virginia’s open 8th District seat.

According to a Chatman campaign release, the fundraiser will be held April 5 in Arlington, Va. Further details were not provided.

“Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership,” Chatman said in a statement. “I’m delighted she is coming to town to help with my congressional campaign.”

Full story

Democrats Count on Good News Out of Illinois Primaries

One week after a disappointing loss in the closely watched Florida special election, national Democrats expect brighter news from the top race to watch in Tuesday’s primaries in Illinois, where the party hopes to cut into Republicans’ House majority.

In one of Democrats’ top targeted districts in the country, Ann Callis is likely to prevail in the 13th District Democratic primary. That would set up a competitive race against freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., in a swing district that stretches across the state.

Davis’ primary challenge from a former Miss America has received far more national press. But it’s Callis, a former Madison County judge and top recruit of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who has had the bumpier ride to the nomination — and Republicans believe she will emerge weakened for the general.

Illinois is the second state to host primaries for the 2014 midterms. But among the various federal races on Tuesday, including the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin, the 13th features nomination fights with the greatest impact on the general elections in November. Full story

Democratic Candidate Wants Pelosi Out as Leader (Video)

The candidate: Nick Casey, an attorney and former West Virginia Democratic Party chairman
The member: Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is vacating the seat to run for Senate.
The district: West Virginia’s 2nd stretches from Charleston in the west to the Washington, D.C. exurbs. After a close 2000 race when first elected to Congress, Capito repeatedly racked up solid re-election margins over the last 10 years. Still, the Republican field is crowded and disorganized, and the district could be competitive.
The candidate’s team:  Jef Pollock of Global Strategy Group (polling), Karl Struble of Struble Eichenbaum Communications (media), Ed Peavy of Mission Control (direct mail), Jeremy Gold (fundraising) and Derek Scarbro (campaign manager).

There is a very real chance that Sen. Joe Manchin III will be the only Democrat left representing West Virginia after this year’s midterm elections, with Sen. Jay Rockefeller retiring and Rep. Nick J. Rahall II facing a tough race. Full story

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