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

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November 20, 2014

Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team

Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team

Love in her running gear in a campaign video.  (Courtesy YouTube)

Think it’s too early for softball? Think again.

Veteran members of the Congressional Women’s Softball Team fanned out across Washington over the past week to recruit members-elect to their softball team. They square off each summer against the Bad News Babes, a team of reporters, in a fundraiser for the Young Survival Coalition breast cancer charity.

“We are pumped to have one of the largest class of new recruits to the Congressional Women’s team since we started the game,” game founder/Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said in a statement.

“These women are ready to bond, ready to play, ready to win and most of all, fired up to beat cancer and beat the press — again!” Wasserman Schultz said, alluding to her team’s slight win over the Bad News Babes this summer. Full story

November 19, 2014

Lee Zeldin Making Friends All Over Congress

Rep.-elect Lee Zeldin has only been around Capitol Hill for a few days, but he’s already making quite the impression among the New York delegation.

As originally reported by Newsday, the incoming Republican huddled with Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer earlier this week for a strategy session about all things Empire State. At one point during that exchange, Zeldin reportedly asked Schumer if Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel was actually Jewish, to which the senior senator replied, “I think so.”

When word got back to Israel, the House lawmaker gave Zeldin some guff online.

Zeldin attempted to smooth things over by floating a “manischewitz summit” — an offer that’s still hanging out there.

“It has not been scheduled yet,” an Israel aide said of the proposed sit-down. Full story

November 18, 2014

Alicia Menendez to Talk Change With Cory Booker at Union Market

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, are two of the highest ranking officials scheduled to share their thoughts Wednesday during Fusion’s inaugural “RiseUp” summit.

Alicia Menendez to Talk Change With Cory Booker at Union Market

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The invitation-only event, which should also be simulcast on Fusion.net, is scheduled to take place at emerging dining hub Union Market.

Fusion host Alicia Menendez has been tasked with chatting Booker up about the “Change Initiative” from 9 to 9:45 a.m., while anchor Jorge Ramos takes a crack at digesting the state of current affairs with Power from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

“The overall event will feature conversations and deep insight into youth protests and the role that technology plays in global movements for change,” a conference aide said of the planned discussion threads.

Per the aide, it was decided that waiting until after the midterms would prove more productive than attempting to shoehorn in an ambitious policy discussion into the already overly crowded calendar.

“Fusion decided to take a more global and less politicized approach, and host the ‘RiseUp’ summit after the election to ensure the focus of the event stayed on the importance of bringing a diverse group of leaders and activists into one space to explore how to transform the rising tides of protest into a positive wave of social progress,” the organizer told HOH.

Can’t skip work to hang at the all-day gabfest?

The activist powwow is expected to roll right through the evening courtesy of a VIP after-party (9 p.m. to midnight) featuring world DJs, drinks and dancing.

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 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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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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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 29, 2014

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 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

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

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 14, 2014

Hillary Clinton Fan Achieves Sheer Ecstasy

“Ma, hurry and pull the car around!”

Hillary Clinton Fan Achieves Sheer Ecstasy

(Screenshot)

“I got her! I really got her!”

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 8, 2014

John Dingell Spits Jeremih Lyrics

He might be retiring from public service this fall, but don’t expect Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., to ever abandon Def Jam singer/songwriter Jeremih.

The octogenarian lawmaker is apparently so entranced by the R&B performer’s latest single, “Don’t Tell ’Em,” he couldn’t help but blast out the chorus to his online flock — if only for a hot second.

Per the Sunlight Foundation’s “Politwoops” site, the seemingly pop-culture savvy tweeter  — or, gasp!, some staffer entrusted to clandestinely riff on current events on behalf of the  the 30-term House member — pressed the panic button on the head-scratching plug for Jeremih’s forthcoming album after less than half a minute.

Team Dingell declined to comment about who the closet Jeremih fan might be.

Will let you know what we uncover once we’re done hacking Dingell’s Spotify account.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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