Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 27, 2014

Posts in "Drama"

November 5, 2014

Mark Warner and the (Almost) Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Night

ARLINGTON, Va. — After stringing a hotel ballroom full of supporters along for over four-and-a-half hours — and, himself, being kept in the dark about his professional future by nebulous return results — Sen. Mark Warner made an executive decision to call the still-undecided race in his favor.

Mark Warner and the (Almost) Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Night

Warner, right, joined on stage by fellow Virginia Democrats Sen. Tim Kaine, far left, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, signals victory as minutes before midnight on Nov. 4 as his wife, Lisa Collis, looks on. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“I think we know about close races in Virginia,” the battle-scarred incumbent — who fell 5 points short of knocking out his predecessor, now-retired five-term Sen. John W. Warner, back in 1996 — joked with guests just minutes before election night furiously ticked to a close.

The 11th hour appearance (literally) was weirdly scored. Who puts the Pitbull-Kesha collaboration “Timber” and Alabama’s “Dixieland Delight” on the same playlist? And the yawning victory party (one bored-to-tears photog played solitaire for two hours straight) transpired regardless of the fact that network news anchors continued reporting that things were too close to call in the contest between Warner and his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie.

Even as the rest of the electoral map broadcast by CNN perilously flooded with red, ardent supporters attempted to keep their cool. Full story

November 4, 2014

In the Trenches With Mark Preston: Election Overload Edition

While some Washingtonians blissfully lounged around this weekend, Mark Preston, the Roll Call alumnus now serving as executive editor of CNN Politics, was in the office Saturday morning, all suited up and ready to help demystify the election projections process.

Preston — along with other veteran CNN personalities such as omnipresent anchor Wolf Blitzer, Chief National Correspondent John King, Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist and a slew of others — was on hand for a day-long dry-run featuring every possible voting scenario political prognosticators could throw at the magic wall.

HOH reached out to Preston about what to watch out for on election night.

HOH: Most compelling race(s) on your radar?

MP: Early in the night I think the focus needs to be on North Carolina and New Hampshire, which close at 7:30 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET, respectively.

If the GOP defeats these two Democratic incumbents, then it is hard to argue that it is not going to be a good night for Republicans. Kansas offers the most suspense, because if independent Greg Orman defeats GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, the pressing question is going to be will Orman align himself with Senate Democrats or Senate Republicans?

If Orman wins, I doubt he will show his cards Tuesday night.

HOH: Satellite location you would have enjoyed covering?

MP: No question, Alaska. Not only does it have one of the most competitive Senate races, but it also features a close governor’s race where independent Bill Walker and a Democrat Byron Mallott have formed a unity ticket to try and defeat GOP Gov. Sean Parnell.

Adding intrigue to the governor’s race is that Sarah Palin has endorsed the unity ticket over Parnell, her former lieutenant governor. Alaska is the great unknown in politics; it is a difficult state to accurately poll and it will make staying up late well worth it.

Full story

In the Trenches With Jake Tapper: Election Overload Edition

It’s Election Day 2014!

Which means its like Chrismukkah for political reporters who’ve spent several weeks/months/years weathering the avalanche of numbing campaign emails, soldiering through awkward interviews with combative candidates and crisscrossed countless counties to pick potential voters’ brains about what they want from their elected leaders.

Jake Tapper, a one-time Roll Call cartoonist turned host of CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” has been in the thick of things seemingly forever.

In the Trenches With Jake Tapper: Election Overload Edition

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the countdown on to another marathon session of gorging on real-time voting returns, HOH quizzed Tapper about the good, the bad and the ugly of midterm mania.

HOH: Most compelling race(s) on your radar?

JT: Too many to count, but if I had to pick three Senate races that I’m really watching intensely, they are Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and North Carolina. OK, that’s four. And Wisconsin and Florida for governor. But honestly, it’s not fair asking political junkies to pick faves with so many good ones to pick from!

HOH: Satellite location you would have enjoyed covering?

JT: Florida, because if the winner has a margin of victory of 0.5 percent or less — which looks to be entirely possible — it goes to an automatic recount. And last time that happened I ended up all but a resident of Tallahassee for more than a month. So in addition to covering an intense race and getting a jump on the recount story, I would have squatters’ rights on a hotel room. (Anyone who lived through that knows the importance — especially for the FSU-Florida game weekend.)

Full story

Scott Rigell Fans Rage Against Sketchy Voting Machines

Voters in Virginia’s 2nd District attempting to return Republican Scott Rigell to Congress next year were met Tuesday with temperamental touchscreens that seemed to have completely different plans.

As shown in an anonymous video recorded on Election Day at Tallwood Elementary School in Virginia Beach, one voter’s repeated attempts to endorse Rigell results is logged each time as a nod to his Democrat challenger, Suzanne Patrick.

According to a Rigell aide, the two-term congressman began receiving concerned calls and texts around 7:45 a.m. from friends who’d had difficulty voting at various polling stations.

An earlier report said election officials were aware of irregularities, presumably caused by poorly handled electronics, at perhaps a dozen locations.

Team Rigell told HOH it’s currently tracking issues at some 40 precincts.

“This is not a partisan matter. This is about our vote,” Rigell told WAVY-TV about the troubling developments. “The stability of that, the integrity of the electoral process is at the very heart of our republic.”

Rigell has been in contact with the Virginia Department of Elections about the mushrooming problem.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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Electoral Roller Coaster: Ridin’ High Edition

Looking good, champ!

Another grueling race (virtually) in the bag. A big, shiny check-mark for the fabled win column.

There’s nothing wrong with savoring this hard-earned moment — basking in the validation of the citizenry entrusting you to be their white knight here on Capitol Hill.

Unless, of course, one were to get completely carried away and begin behaving like a three-sheets-to-the-wind wastoid barreling through the various stages of drinking.

Euphoria

Momentary adulation does not convey carte blanche to do/say whatever the hell pops into your endorphin-soaked mind.

Loose-cannon campaigner Mike Donnelly can certainly attest to that cold hard reality. Full story

October 31, 2014

Trey Radel Sheds Coke Charges

Disgraced former Rep. Trey Radel has managed to keep his nose clean. So authorities have gone ahead and made that whole nasty cocaine business disappear.

Trey Radel Sheds Coke Charges

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Per various Sunshine State news outlets, the Florida Republican has had his record expunged following the completion of a nearly yearlong probationary period stemming from his fall 2013 arrest for possession of a controlled substance.

Radel briefly flirted with the idea of serving out the remainder of his first term, but wound up up throwing in the towel after it became painfully obvious he was persona non grata on Capitol Hill.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 30, 2014

Jared Polis Completes Jury Duty

Rep. Jared Polis has now, officially, sat in judgment of his fellow man. The verdict: Jury duty is A-OK.

Jared Polis Completes Jury Duty

(Courtesy Jared Polis)

The Colorado Democrat Tuesday got tapped to report to Boulder County Court. He spent Wednesday hashing out the particulars of the assigned case — a minor dust-up involving ownership of a dangerous animal — with his fellow panelists.

“All of the jury members were very thoughtful, and we were unanimous in our verdict,” Polis said in an email about his vote to acquit the pet owner in question.

The sequester-free experience marked Polis’ inaugural visit to a jury box. “For all six of us, it was our first time,” he noted.

Although his schedule was predictably full (something about an election next week … ), Polis appears to have emerged from the brief stint ever-appreciative of democracy in general.

“Serving on a jury is one of those things like voting; it’s a responsibility of citizenship. Even when it’s not convenient, it’s our responsibility to our justice system and to our country,” he said via email. “It was an honor to be able to serve, even though it came at a very challenging time.”

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 29, 2014

Two Randolph-Macon College Professors Walk Into a Debate …

The two Randolph-Macon College professors running for Virginia’s 7th District did their best Tuesday night to make sure their workplace knew they didn’t want to be there anymore.

Dave Brat, an economics professor and the surprise Republican primary winner who beat former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor this June debated with his academic colleague, Democrat Jack Trammell, an associate professor of sociology at the campus they’ve toiled together at for more than a decade.

“I see many familiar faces” here, Trammell said in his closing remarks before adding, “I miss this place [but] I’m hoping I’m not coming back.” It was sentiment echoed by Brat, that he hoped any return to the college would be as a congressman, not a professor. Randolph-Macon President Robert Lindgren said whoever loses would be welcomed back. That will likely be Trammell, as the race is rated as Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

The mostly-academic tone of the debate touched on taxes, health care, immigration and the minimum wage. So much so that Brat razzed Trammell that: “If I had him in class, I’d give him an ethics paper and send him to the dean.”

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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Ohio Natives Stump for James Traficant Flick

C-SPAN’s most prominent space cadet may be gone. But a handful of still-spellbound Ohioans — including Rep. Tim Ryan — simply cannot stop talking about larger-than-life former lawmaker James A. Traficant Jr.

Ohio Natives Stump for James Traficant Flick

Traficant (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fledgling filmmaker Eric Murphy attempts to deconstruct the unbelievable life of the late Ohio Democrat in his evolving documentary, “Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown.”

The long-running project, which Murphy hatched roughly half a decade ago, aims to shine a light on the two mindboggling chapters of Traficant’s career: His meteoric rise as the mob-baiting sheriff of Youngstown, Ohio, who later beat an FBI-led bribery sting, followed by his arrival on Capitol Hill and subsequent fall from grace due to a fresh set of corruption charges.

Murphy has taken to Kickstarter to raise the capital required to sew up the mostly finished flick (he wants to add music and do some polishing); with over a month to go on his fundraising campaign, Murphy is more than half-way toward reaching the $17,500 goal posted online. Full story

October 27, 2014

We Were Told There Would Be No (Fundraising) Math

There’s just a week and a day to go until Election Day, which means we may be able to save our inbox from fundraising spam hell in just a few short days.

Although HOH tries desperately to pay politics no mind, activists from across the ideological spectrum continuously flood our email (just like yours) with panic-ridden pleas for just enough cash to save a candidate from professional doom if we just ACT NOW!

This year’s midterm elections are shaping up to be a down-to-the-wire contest, with control of the Senate very much in play. A potential downgrade to minority status has a handful of Senate Democrats on high alert, perhaps none more so than Mark Pryor. Full story

October 22, 2014

Bobby McKenzie Slams ‘Foreclosure King’ in New Campaign Spot

Democrat Bobby McKenzie utilizes an age-old TV favorite — the (overly) dramatic re-enactment — to shame Republican primary winner David Trott for making a buck off financially distressed Michiganders.

The new ad, which Team McKenzie began broadcasting Wednesday in the Detroit market, continues a line of attack the Freedom’s Defense Fund political action committee employed (unsucessfully) against Trott earlier this year to try and save Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., from becoming a short-timer.

McKenzie one-ups FDF’s static recapping of the 2011 eviction of the now-late Texana Hollis, a centenarian who was forced out of her home on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Trott & Trott handled part of the deal), by showing a pair of shadowy thugs bursting through a defenseless old lady’s door and rolling the confused, wheelchair-bound invalid right out onto the street.

Full story

October 17, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Don Young (Video)

As election season rolls on, Heard on the Hill pays tribute to Rep. Don Young, the self-described “alpha wolf” of Alaska politics who loves cranes, beanies and the Anchorage Daily News.

Related:

Don Young: the Kodiak Bear of Capitol Hill

The Softer Side of Don Young: A Counterpoint

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October 16, 2014

Bob Casey Campaigning for FIFA to Kick Qatar to the Curb

As part of his effort to shed light on allegations of corruption in FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., appeared on the Men in Blazers podcast Wednesday to talk about an unreleased report on the bidding process surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Bob Casey Campaigning for FIFA to Kick Qatar to the Curb

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I think anyone would hope when you have an investigation like that, that it is on the public record so that anybody can see what the investigation yielded,” Casey said.

Casey wrote to FIFA president Sepp Blatter earlier this month asking for the release of the report, which was authored by former U.S. Attorney Mike Garcia, after Blatter said that FIFA would not release it.

“If anything, the latest actions raise even more questions about the voting for 2022 as well as 2018,” Casey said. “Obviously the U.S. has a vested interest, but even apart from that I think it is an issue of … great concern.

His comments come after he wrote to Blatter In June, calling on FIFA to strip the 2022 World Cup from Qatar because of allegations of harsh labor practices. The 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia.

The U.S. bid to host both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, and came in second behind Qatar for the 2022 cup. Full story

September 29, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of James Traficant (Video)

Following his death Saturday, Heard on the Hill pays tribute to the colorful career of James A. Traficant Jr., who regularly reminded C-SPAN audiences of manure studies, his “weed-whacker” hair and his ability to kick liars in the crotch.

Related:

James Traficant Dies Following Tractor Accident

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September 19, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 15 (Video)

With Congress set to leave for seven weeks, members spent their final work week forgetting names, talking baseball and discussing the bad food at their uncle’s house.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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