Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

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November 11, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of the 2014 Campaign Season (Video)

As news outlets tracked the best campaign ads of the 2014 cycle over the past seven weeks, HOH kept tabs on the other activities which kept your elected officials busy, including arguing with constituents, reciting Greek history and reading mean tweets.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 10, 2014

Diran Lyons Rings Obama’s Bell

Pop culture slicer-and-dicer Diran Lyons has pieced together a new video wherein President Barack Obama maintains a laser-like focus on just two things: razing hell and sinking putts.

Mad props to Fox News Channel personality Megyn Kelly for contributing that killer quivering lip.

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November 5, 2014

Exit Polls: Congress Not Held in High Regard

Exit Polls: Congress Not Held in High Regard

Voters wait for their turn in one of the voting booths at Eleanor McMain School in New Orleans on Election Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress, consider the American public skeptical.

In Election Day’s mega-sampling of exit poll data, the public is pretty firm in its disapproval — 78 percent — of how Congress is handling its job. That disapproval rating was split between 52 percent of Republicans surveyed, 45 percent of Democrats and 3 percent other. Full story

October 31, 2014

Jim Moran Recounts Raucous Bipartisan Brawl

Cheers to Matt Laslo for getting retiring Rep. James P. Moran to open up about how incensed pols used to settle their differences in #ThisTown.

Jim Moran Recounts Raucous Bipartisan Brawl

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

During a recent sit-down with “Bills and Brews,” the Northern Virginia Democrat shared his take on what transpired after he and former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., got into it on the House floor.

Per Moran, fellow short-timer George Miller, D-Calif., and ex-Reps. David R. Obey, D-Wis., and Robert K. Dornan, R-Calif., all mixed it up in the ensuing scuffle.

Cunningham, who Moran said suffered a broken hand during the melee, remembered things much differently. “He sucker-punched me,” the then-lawmaker told the Los Angeles Times in late 1995.

No word on whether Cunningham fared any better in the prison yard during his time away.

Catch the whole harrowing tale — as well as Moran’s valedictory address on party politics and D.C. schools — here.

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 24, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Peter DeFazio (Video)

With less than two weeks until Election Day, HOH’s tribute to members continues this week with Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, who pays homage to the Cuyahoga River, analyzes sheep journals and shows off his favorite tie.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 22, 2014

99 Percent Loathe Congress for the Wrong Reasons

Even after occupying every headline-grabbing address around the country, anti-establishment activists remain hung up on outdated grievances against elected officials.

Might some lawmakers be feathering their nest eggs with K Street contributions? That’s certainly a possibility.

But as “The Daily Show” cleverly portrayed just a few weeks ago, the greatest trick Congress ever pulled was making the electorate believe that what transpires on Capitol Hill is anything more than political theater. Full story

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 21, 2014

Scott Brown Writes Off Bay State Naysayers

Senate hopeful Scott P. Brown has no interest in what non-believers from his former home state have to say about his bid to topple New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

“I’m not gonna worry about what, you know, somebody from Massachusetts thinks about a New Hampshire race,” the one-time Bay State Republican assured Boston radio show host Howie Carr Tuesday. Full story

Politicians Opt to Swap Sweets, Brews and ‘Cue in World Series Bets

Whichever club clinches the best-of-seven World Series — be it the back-after-nearly-three-decades Kansas City Royals or the ring-collecting San Francisco Giants — stands to earn their respective congressional delegations a humdinger of a celebratory feast.

Democrats in both chambers have seized on the season-ending baseball saga (Game 1 is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. in Kansas City, Missouri) as an opportunity to talk smack to one another and trumpet their most prized regional spoils.

Over in the House, Minority Leader and self-styled cacao connoisseur Nancy Pelosi of California would presumably treat Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver II of Missouri to a basket of gourmet confections should the Royals complete their Cinderella story.

A Pelosi aide confirmed that she has, in the past, rewarded others with samples of Ghirardelli and TCHO creations. “But of course we don’t plan on giving up any chocolate,” Team Pelosi suggested.

Cleaver has countered with the promise of a president’s platter from Gates Bar-B-Q, which is renowned for its pork ribs and burnt ends.

“I don’t usually gamble, but I will make an exception and wager some of the finest barbecue Kansas City, Missouri, has to offer,” Cleaver said in a statement. “Victory shall be sweet indeed.”

Full story

October 20, 2014

Armchair-Quarterbacking Jim Inhofe’s Power Play

With control of the Senate up for grabs this fall and little else to do while their bosses furiously campaign to keep collecting paychecks, congressional staffers have taken to their own type of fantasy role-playing: plotting out the new boss’s next move.

A bemused political observer noted, for instance, that Democratic support staff have begun speculating as to how Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., might shake up the establishment should the GOP reclaim the majority come November.

Armchair Quarterbacking Jim Inhofe’s Power Play

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Should the current power structure flip-flop, sitting Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., would be obliged to hand over the gavel to Inhofe.

“There’s a sort of game going on among the Hill staff to decide how he would rename the [Environmental Protection Agency]  building, given the chance: The George W Bush EPA building, The Koch Brothers EPA building, etc.,” our source relayed via email.

Either scenario would, naturally, enrage longstanding environmental stewards. 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

Dream Defenders Out ‘Vote or Die’ Diddy

Back when he was still somewhat culturally relevant, Sean “INSERT NONSENSICAL NICKNAME HERE” Combs attempted to herd disenchanted youth into the election booth by spearheading the hyperbolic “Vote or Die” project.

A band of Florida-based activists known as Dream Defenders is sounding a similar alarm leading into the upcoming midterms. But its message is deadly serious.

DD, which rose to prominence in the aftermath of the killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, is urging minorities to protect themselves from future gun violence via the provocative “Vote or Vest” campaign.

Full story

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