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

Posts in "Grassroots Lobbying"

November 13, 2014

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Congress had been gone for weeks before trickling back into town Wednesday for the latest lame-duck session. A few hundred congressional aides celebrated the triumphant return of the resurgent Republican Party by getting their fill (and then some) of food, drink and plush collectibles at the National Bison Day reception.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

Attendees mingling in Dirksen during the National Bison Day reception. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The annual soiree, which took place in Dirksen, attracted scores of staffers and interns but few lawmakers. Projected guest speaker Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., turned out to be a no-show, but event organizers noted that Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y., managed to swing by for a bit.

By the time this roving reporter penetrated the herd, the promised bison sliders and gourmet meatballs had been devoured. The food basically gone (save for a lone bowl of broken, pathetic-looking potato chips), partygoers turned their attention to sucking dry every last bottle of Budweiser and Bud Light bartenders could fish from icy bins.

Hill Staffers Soldier Through Bison Day Reception

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s way too wobbly. It would probably only take one person to knock it over,” a visibly buzzed guest estimated while eyeballing the evening’s oversized star attraction. Full story

November 12, 2014

STEM Researchers to Dazzle Teens, Lawmakers With Science

A handful of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fellows are making the most of a whirlwind trip to D.C., huddling this week with administration officials and education-minded solons all in the service of stoking the analytical minds of tomorrow.

The quintet of Ph.D holders — Katie Brenner, biochemistry; Livia S. Eberlin, chemistry; Jennifer Laaser, polymer physics; Lauren O’Connell, chemical ecology; Sabrina Stierwalt, astronomy and astrophysics — have been brought to town by L’Oreal USA as part of its “For Women in Science” program.

In addition to pocketing $60,000 in research grants, the multi-talented fellows are getting VIP treatment up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The group was expected to touch base Wednesday with representatives from the White House Council on Women and Girls and the Office of Science and Technology Policy before bouncing over to the National Museum of Natural History for a behind-the-scenes tour of the gems and minerals collection.

They plan to make the rounds on Capitol Hill early Thursday (tentatively set to visit with Congressional STEM Education Caucus members Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y.) before broadening the horizons of two dozen local teens during a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The last stop of the public relation roller coaster is the For Women in Science Awards Ceremony set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Women in the Arts museum.

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November 3, 2014

Integrating Church and State

Integrating Church and State

(Screenshot)

Worried your candidate won’t have a snowball’s chance in hell on Election Day?

The conservative leaders at Champion the Vote suggest you drop to your knees and do what comes naturally.

Why Vote? from Champion The Vote on Vimeo.

The politically-minded nonprofit aims to leverage the collective power of Christian voters (anywhere from 60 million to 90 million, depending on whether you believe their website or the ” target=”_blank”>promotional video) at the ballot box.

“Our nation was founded on Biblical principles, but God has been expunged from our culture, and as a consequence, our nation is in an ethical and moral mess,” the group warns online.

What about races where it comes down to choosing between lesser evils?

“’No’ in authority is perfect,” the calm, collected narrator of the “Why Vote?” spot notes. “Pray about it, and vote the better choice.”

So long, holding your nose. Hello, hailing a direct line to the Almighty.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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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 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

October 14, 2014

DC Vote to Celebrate Pro-Democracy Efforts at Annual Gala

The autonomy-seeking advocates at DC Vote — a District-minded group backed by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton — plan to honor the Herb Block Foundation Wednesday for continuing to nurture the spirit of democracy.

DC Vote to Celebrate Pro Democracy Efforts at Annual Gala

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

According to organizers, the 2014 Champions of Democracy Awards Gala is scheduled to take place at the Library of Congress from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets to the fundraiser — which is also expected to commemorate the 40th anniversary of D.C. Home Rule — are $175 per person.

“Americans living in our nation’s capital raise families, pay full federal taxes and fight and die in wars but are denied voting representation in the House and the Senate,” is how DC Vote summarizes its mission to defeat the disenfranchisement faced by local residents.

Norton is scheduled to serve as honorary chairwoman of the annual fete, an event that has historically attracted fellow pols such as Rep. José E. Serrano, the New York Democrat who made an appearance at the group’s 2013 get-together. Full story

October 10, 2014

GOP Prepares to Invade NoVa

The GOP wants a piece of the Old Dominion. Which is why Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Senate hopeful Ed Gillespie rallied the troops Oct. 9 for an impending “deployment.”

According to a tipster, over 100 volunteers showed up for the “March to Victory” recruiting event held at the Capitol Hill Club.

GOP Prepares to Invade NoVa

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

Those in attendance were asked to bolster pre-election efforts by pledging to fan out across the state each Saturday — from dawn till dusk, no less (though meals are provided) — beginning Oct. 18.

The planned grassroots assault is designed to infuse the historically purple commonwealth with a bit more red.

Former congressional aide and state Del. Barbara Comstock is hoping to replace her former boss, retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va.,  in the House (a possible succession the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee might be coming to terms with) while ex-RNC Chairman Gillespie continues duking it out with centrist leader Sen. Mark Warner.

May the best ground-gamers win.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 26, 2014

GOP Capitalizes on #FlipaDistrict Frenzy

Rep. John Kline may not have asked to be thrust into the re-election spotlight. But he’s certainly not shying away from raking in some extra dough after being named public enemy No. 1 in comedian Bill Maher’s inaugural “Flip A District” campaign.

 

GOP Capitalizes on #FlipaDistrict Frenzy

(Screenshot)

 

Kline beat out three other House Republicans for the honor of becoming Maher’s pet project from now until Election Day.

While targeting the regularly low-profile chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee might seem like a stretch to some, the “Real Time” host insists that Kline’s virtual anonymity is exactly what makes him so contemptible.

“It’s much more appropriate to pick somebody who is quietly just doing the job wrong,” Maher told Minnesota Public Radio congressional reporter Brett Neely about the vetting process employed to flesh out this experiment into forced retirement.

The Minnesota Republican, naturally, is refusing to go down without a fight. Full story

September 23, 2014

George Takei Votes for More Gay Babies

In a new public service announcement for Our Time, entertainer/gay rights activist George Takei urges all Americans to stand and up and be counted on Election Day.

He also prods heterosexuals to make more whoopee.

“I’m talking to straight young couples because you are going to be producing the gay babies of tomorrow,” Takei counsels.

The multitalented celeb has become a force to be reckoned with in recent years. He’s the subject of a deeply personal documentary. He’s published books, brought joy to millions on satellite radio, developed a signature fragrance and even fielded offers to practice the art of diplomacy.

Takei’s made his presence known here in Washington as well, weighing in on legislative pals old and new.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 22, 2014

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

Democrats vs. Republicans. Red vs. Blue. Us vs. Them.

It seems that everywhere one looks these days, bright lines are being thrown up to swiftly categorize and completely compartmentalize those who would dare disagree with any closely-held world view.

Well, Enigma of New York has had enough of it.

 

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The art collective has launched a new campaign, chronicled under the #wethepurple umbrella on social media, designed to get the general public to quit feeding into political polarization.

The opening gambit in the group’s bid to eradicate ideological grandstanding was to amend 100-odd stop signs in Washington, D.C., and New York City to read “Stop Fighting, Congress. #Wethepurple.” According to an EoN member, the stick-on addendums were put in place late Sept. 7. The plan was to get District residents’ attention just as Congress returned to work on Sept. 8. Full story

September 17, 2014

Grover Norquist’s Burning Man Dream Team

Anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist so enjoyed his time at Burning Man this year that he’d like to return next summer with a “Dream Team” of Republican lawmakers.

A festival virgin, Norquist admitted to HOH that his presuppositions of what transpires each August in the pop-up community in northwestern Nevada might have been a tad off-base.

“I thought everybody dressed up almost in costume,” he said, sharing that he’d carted along a Guy Fawkes mask, a Russian-style army jacket and French foreign legion hat (complete with neck flaps) for his four-day stay in the desert.

Once there, the conservative firebrand quickly realized being a freethinker doesn’t always correlate to acting freaky. Full story

September 8, 2014

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

Anti-Duchenne muscular dystrophy crusader Joel Wood can’t force all of Congress to come around to his way of thinking regarding the need for more funding and research to wipe the life-threatening illness off the face of the planet. But he can keep chipping away at the problem — as he has for the past 14 years — one spectacular gathering at a time.

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

(Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, Inc.)

Wood and his wife, Dana, have made it their mission to see the degenerative disorder purged from the human condition ever since their son, James, was diagnosed with DMD in May 2000.

The duo intends to keep up the good fight Tuesday evening via their 14th annual “Dining Away Duchenne” fundraiser, a gourmet taste-around scheduled to take place in the North Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tickets for the event, which benefits the Woods’ non-profit Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, start at $250. Full story

Grace Napolitano, Josh Thomas Team Up on Mental Health

Call us crazy, but the “Please Like Me” screening and subsequent discussion on the current state of mental health affairs co-hosted by actor/show creator Josh Thomas and Rep. Grace F. Napolitano on Tuesday sounds like it could actually be interesting.

The edutainment outreach, which is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. in Rayburn 2103, is coming to Congress courtesy of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Participant Media.

For those unfamiliar with Thomas’ droll coming-of-age saga, the fledgling show (airing Friday nights on the youth-oriented Pivot network) centers on a 20-something child of divorce suddenly forced to wrestle with his sexual identity. Part of the growth process involves dealing with oddball friends and family members — including his off-kilter mum.

The “Rose” character has some issues she’s dealing with — cast bios describe Rose as a bipolar empty-nester struggling with adjusting to her new “normal” (“She seems to have found a nice equilibrium, but for how long?”) — many of which the show naturally plays up for laughs.

According to Team Napolitano, the California Democrat appreciates the way Josh and Rose get on. “The relationship between the lead character, Josh, and his mother is helping to eliminate stigma by approaching the subject of mental illness in a thoughtful manner,” a Napolitano aide told HOH about the heart-felt moments shared by the quirk-filled duo. Full story

August 22, 2014

Mayday PAC Boosts Jim Rubens Against Scott Brown

Fake pol Gil Fulbright wants to cause real problems for Senate hopeful Scott P. Brown.

The satirical candidate — previously scheduled to crash a showdown at Kentucky’s Fancy Farm, attended by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes — is the face of the Represent.Us campaign to shake up Congress.

Mayday PAC is bankrolling this latest attack against the former Massachusetts Republican currently vying to return to Washington by taking a run at Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

Full story

August 20, 2014

Groups Push ALS Activists to Look Past Ice Bucket Challenge

The #IceBucketChallenge, that most ubiquitous of social media stunts, has not only captured the imagination of sitting politicos, parched celebrities and well meaning, but newly hospitalized philanthropists the world over, it’s got advocates thinking about how to tap into this seemingly limitless font of goodwill.

The ranks of those who have chosen to take a stand against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, continues to grow by the second.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, got double doused — first by his wife, and then by his daughters.

House hopeful Debbie Dingell, who is vying to replace her husband, retiring Democrat John D. Dingell, in Michigan’s 12 district, rallied to the cause earlier this week. Full story

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