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- Democrats Could Face Primary Mess in Illinois Senate Race
Posts by Bridget Bowman
January 9, 2015
Rep. Adam Smith likely won’t be playing in the upcoming Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, due to hip problems.
“I couldn’t be able to play, I think,” the Washington Democrat told CQ Roll in a brief interview in the Speaker’s Lobby. “Major problem with my hip, unfortunately — hips, plural. So I got one operated on and I’m waiting for that one to heal before I get the second one operated on.” Full story
December 19, 2014
As a mob of guests reunited for Stephen Colbert’s final report to bid the host farewell, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., was spotted in the foreground, swaying and singing along.
Norton appeared on the “Colbert Report” several times over the past nine years. She first appeared on the show in 2006 as part of Colbert’s “Better Know a District” series, in a memorable segment where Colbert and Norton sparred over whether D.C. is part of the United States. But on Friday, Norton described a wonderful reunion — and a lively after-party — as Colbert said goodbye to his on-air persona. Full story
December 11, 2014
“You’re a good man, Santa.”
— House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions, thanking Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, a seasonal Santa Claus, for switching his vote from “no” to “yes” on the rule to advance the “cromnibus” spending package. As soon as Bentivolio switched his vote, the presiding officer gaveled the vote closed with a final tally of 214-212.
Bentivolio responded, “Merry Christmas,” (and then the outgoing lawmaker asked Sessions to take care of his staff.)
December 5, 2014
Politicians can sometimes be charged with tap-dancing around questions, but one member of Congress will be putting on actual dancing shoes this weekend.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., sent out a statement Friday that she will be a part of the Washington Ballet production of “The Nutcracker.” She will be playing a “merry widow” in Saturday’s performance, which will take place at the Warner Theater at 7 p.m. Full story
November 14, 2014
Right at the border between the House and the Senate sits a hideaway office, adorned with two chandeliers and pictures of past female senators.
Future and current women of the Senate ascended the Capitol steps to the glittering room after the final votes Thursday evening for the “Senate Women Power Workshop” hosted by the dean of the Senate women, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.
“Hellooo, sorry I’m late!” Mikulski was overheard saying as she entered the room. From outside the tall wooden doors, one could hear Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., respond, “I’m Shelley.” Full story
November 7, 2014
Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., had two reasons to celebrate on Election Night. Well, technically three.
As he awaited the election results late Tuesday night, Ruiz announced at his victory party at the Agua Caliente Casino that he and his wife Monica Rivers are expecting twins.
“As most of you know, Monica and I were married earlier this year. And I’m so proud that she is my life partner. Tonight is a celebration. And so here, with all of you … I wanted to share some other celebratory news,” said Ruiz, prompting “ooo’s” and cheers from the crowd waving “Dr. Raul Ruiz” signs.
“Monica and I are expecting our first child in April,” said Ruiz, and the crowd erupted in cheers. “Actually let me correct that, We’re expecting our first two children. Twins!” said Ruiz as he held up two fingers.
The California Democrat officially won his race against Republican Brian Nestande, who served as chief of staff for ex-Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., when The Associated Press called the race late Wednesday morning. Ruiz took 53 percent of the vote in the race for California’s 36th District.
Before coming to Congress in 2012, Ruiz worked as an emergency room doctor. The Desert Sun reported that he and Rivers, an emergency-medicine nurse, married in March, after they dated for several years.KMIR News | Palm Springs, California
October 29, 2014
Vulnerable Rep. Lee Terry received an emphatic endorsement Wednesday, but the Nebraska Republican is not likely to tout this show of support on the campaign trail any time soon.
KMTV in Omaha, Neb., reported that at a hearing to examine his competency, convicted murderer Nikko Jenkins shouted, “Vote Lee Terry guys, greatest Republican ever.”
The irony of Jenkins’ statement is that the National Republican Campaign Committee released an ad last week attempting to link Jenkins to the Democratic nominee, state Sen. Brad Ashford.
Jenkins killed four people after he was released from jail early, and the NRCC attempted to tie Ashford’s support of the so-called “good time law” to the murders. “Brad Ashford supported the good time law and still defends it, allowing criminals like Nikko Jenkins to be released early,” the ad’s narrator said.
Terry is struggling to keep his seat as he faces questions about statements he made during the partial government shutdown in 2013. A recent Democratic poll showed Terry trailing Ashford. The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates this race a Tossup.
October 28, 2014
Updated 3:47 p.m. | If you’ve been searching through Senate campaign finance reports recently, you’ve probably noticed an unusual message at the top of the Federal Election Commission website.
In bright red text, the FEC cautions visitors that there is a delay in posting third-quarter campaign reports for Senate candidates because the reports, submitted on paper, are larger than usual.
“Total page numbers far exceed all previous election cycles, and the Senate Public Records Office is continuing to process and forward additional campaign reports to the Commission,” the message reads. “FEC staff are processing and posting PDFs of those reports within 48 hours of receipt.” One of the largest reports filed belonged to Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for Senate in Iowa. His report amounted to more than 26,000 pages. The FEC posted his third quarter report in six different PDFs.
An FEC spokesman said the commission has posted 138,000 pages of third-quarter reports so far. At this time last cycle, the FEC had processed 96,000 pages, meaning there has been a 45 percent increase in size over the past two years.
The spokesman could not speak to the reason for the sharp increase in size, explaining that a contractor inputs the campaign data into an electronic format. The commission will have to wait until it receives the contractor’s data before it determines the cause of the increase.
The bright red message gracing the website was a proactive step to alert reporters that the FEC was aware of the delay and were working to address it. The FEC is now back to its normal schedule for posting the reports within 48 hours of receiving the files from the Senate Office of Public Records.
Senate candidates are required to file paper reports, so they mail them to the public records office, which then scans the paper report and sends it to the FEC, where staff transfers the file into a PDF. The deadline for the third quarter reports was Oct. 15.
“Reporters and other members of the public were looking for reports that had not been posted,” the FEC said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “It seemed expedient to explain why. This is the first time that the FEC has received such a large volume of pages in Senate paper filings in a reporting period, which has caused the delay. Our normal practice is to post PDFs of all paper-filed reports within 48 hours of receipt at the Commission, and we met that goal in the vast majority of cases. Bear in mind that third-quarter Senate filings are still arriving at the FEC, along with pre-general reports covering more recent activity. ”
Correction 5:24 p.m.
An earlier version of this post misstated the options senators have when filing their FEC reports.
October 27, 2014
Despite impending shoulder surgery, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-La., said he plans to return to the mound for next year’s Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game and help Democrats hold onto the coveted Roll Call Trophy.
“I do have every intention of pitching in next year’s game,” Richmond said in a phone interview Monday.
The Louisiana Democrat said the surgery to repair a torn labrum, or joint cartilage, and bone spurs in his right shoulder will take place in New Orleans the week after the elections.
But Richmond said if the doctor says he will not be able to play in the annual summer game, he will postpone the surgery to after the 2015 game, giving him an entire year to recover.
Richmond said pitchers typically take a year to rehabilitate from the surgery before pitching again but he was optimistic that he could recover in six months, considering he only pitches once a year.
Richmond helped the Democrats beat Republicans 15-6 by pitching each inning during the game this past June, but he was fighting through pain in his shoulder. His teammates were aware he was struggling, but Richmond said he never discussed heading to the bench. Shoulder pain has plagued him for at least the past three years, but, after this year, enough was enough.
“I’ve been pitching in pain, but it was just unbearable after this past year,” he said.
Though Richmond was adamant he would pitch again next year, he said Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., would be able to fill his cleats on the pitcher’s mound if necessary.
But Richmond plans to return to Nationals Park in June. “I just like the game,” he said, noting that the event also benefits local charities. Richmond also said the game is an opportunity to form bipartisan bonds and boost Democratic morale.
“Although the Republicans control the House,” said Richmond, “this is a great way to build relationships across the aisle and at the same time keep my Democratic friends excited.”
Democratic baseball star Cedric L. Richmond will undergo surgery after Election Day to repair torn cartilage in his right shoulder, threatening the golden pitching arm that has led the Democrats to victory since his first Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.
The Times-Picayune reported the surgery Monday as part of an interview with the Louisiana congressman, who said he could not lift his arm for two weeks after this year’s game.
“I suspect some Republicans are going to be excited when they see me walking around in a sling,” Richmond told the Times-Picayune. The surgery is set for some time after Election Day.
Richmond pitched the entire night in the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, helping the Democrats beat their Republican opponents 15-6. Richmond played baseball for Morehouse College and has been a Democratic star since he first took the mound in 2011.
October 17, 2014
A 12-week-old English bulldog burst onto the Capitol Hill scene this year, winning the second annual “Top Dog” competition.
Hammie, who can be spotted roaming around the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, beat out nearly 60 other dogs in the online competition for cutest Capitol canine, hosted by constituent engagement firm Fireside21.
The competition garnered more than 80,000 votes (participants could vote multiple times) and Hammie’s owner said the pup, who took 35 percent, had a fan base extending beyond Capitol Hill.
“People were excited about her. Plus my family back home, they voted. And the people who I got her from in Tampa, they voted,” said Hammie’s owner, Corey Hamilton. “Everybody just started voting for her. She’s always out and about. I live on Capitol Hill, too, and so we’re always out and I think that’s what got the word out.” Full story
October 14, 2014
If Larry Pressler doesn’t win a Senate seat in November, he might think about running for D.C. mayor. It wouldn’t be the first time.
The independent candidate and former Republican senator shaking up the South Dakota Senate race contemplated running for D.C. mayor in 1998, after he lost his re-election bid in 1996 and was working as a lobbyist.
The Daily Kos unearthed an Associated Press report Monday on Pressler’s potential mayoral bid, which cited an interview with Roll Call. So we dug through our archives and found the original interview that splashed the June 11, 1998, front page with the headline: “Pressler Plans Run for Mayor.” Full story
September 30, 2014
With their tails wagging, Maya and Cash trotted around House office buildings Tuesday to raise awareness for a bill to protect pets of domestic-violence victims.
“If we could do this with all legislation, I think Congress would get more done,” said one delighted Hill staffer in Rep. Alcee L. Hastings’ office when the dogs came through the door.
Cash, a black-and-tan coonhound, had a blue pack on his back holding “Dear Colleague” letters urging members of Congress to support The Pet and Women Safety Act, sponsored by Reps. Katherine M. Clark, D-Mass., and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. The bill expands protections to pets of domestic-violence victims and includes a grant program to incorporate pets into domestic-violence shelters.
The tall hound is a regular visitor in Clark’s congressional office and belongs to the congresswoman’s chief of staff, Brooke Scannell. “He likes to sit in on meetings,” legislative assistant Steve Thornton joked. Full story
September 25, 2014
Updated: 1:16 EDT
It’s not easy being green … and a political machine.
No, Kermit the Frog has not become a modern-day Boss Tweed. But a new political ad makes a nod to the Muppets by featuring plenty of puppets and a narrator that is a bright green and yellow puppet contraption dubbed “your political machine.” For good measure, the ad-makers throw in an homage to Alfred Hitchock Presents by making the background music Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette.”
The campaign for David Catania, independent candidate for D.C. mayor and a D.C. Council member, released the ad Wednesday. The minute-long ad has more than 7,000 YouTube hits and takes plenty of swings at Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser, also a member of the council. The machine’s green and yellow colors just happen to mirror Bowser’s campaign colors, and, for that matter, the colors of her predecessor on the council, ex-Mayor Adrian Fenty.
“Why do you support Muriel Bowser?” the political machine asks puppets on the streets of D.C., to which one responded, “Muriel isn’t afraid to speak out, even when she doesn’t quite understand the issue, like neighborhood schools.”
“Don’t be a puppet,” the ad concludes. “Vote Independent November 4th.”
Ben Young of the Catania campaign said the puppet ad was pitched by their digital consultants. Young did not know the exact cost of the ad but he said the ad will not be airing on T.V. He said that the pupeteer’s creations were very intentional, down to making the “political machine” resemble a reel tape recorder, which Young said, “like our political machine is no longer relevant or useful.”
Bowser Communications Director Joaquin McPeek responded to the ad in an email to CQ Roll Call, writing, “The only thing more comical than his puppets is his internal polling.”
September 17, 2014
Don’t be too surprised if you see a Mustang and Corvette racing around Northwest D.C … followed by a motorcade of Secret Service officers.
“We agreed to a one loop race around the Naval yard,” former Utah Gov. John Huntsman joked Tuesday evening, saying he challenged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to a race to see if his Mustang could outpace Biden’s Corvette.
Huntsman, the former GOP presidential candidate and ambassador to China, was joking but that would be certainly one way to bring Democrats and Republicans together, which was the focus of a Tuesday evening reception at the British ambassador’s residence and hosted by No Labels, the organization Huntsman co-chairs that works to bridge partisan divides. Full story