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November 26, 2014

Relive the Horror of the Midterm Emailing Blitz

The political watchdogs over at Represent.us are pitting the greatest misses from this year’s avalanche of hyper-panicky, completely tone deaf, patently absurd fundraising pleas in a last ditch effort to duly recognize the all-stars of public relations suckdom.

Relive the Horror of the Midterm Emailing Blitz

(Screenshot)

The “ALL CAPS for CA$H” competition is designed to identify the “worst political fundraising emails of 2014” — a truly ambitious goal, given that the HOH inbox was bombarded with sappy requests from shameless partisans roughly every 0.23472 seconds during the run-up to Election Day.

“It doesn’t matter which party you support. Take one look at your inbox, and it’s clear that our elections have become all about the money,” Represent.us Director Josh Silver said in a release. “We’re launching ALL CAPS FOR CA$H to highlight the outsized role money plays in seeking public office, and the absurd lengths politicians are willing to go in order to raise it.”

The pro-democracy group has dumped the most misguided missives into a half-dozen categories, including: The Howler Award (UPPERCASE madness), The Richard Head Memorial Trophy (pomposity), The Chicken Little Cup (apocalypses for everyone!), The Buzzworthable-Est Award (crazy shiite), The ’Murican Patriot Award (long live the comments feed!) and The “I’m Not Mad, I’m Just Disappointed” Award (waaaah!).

Throw the hysterical hucksters one final bone — sorry about the whole losing-ground-in-the-House thing, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But you may clean up here! — by voting for the worst of the worst from now until Sunday.

Related:

We Were Told There Would Be No (Fundraising) Math

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

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November 20, 2014

Aloha! Tammy Duckworth Welcomes Baby Girl

Soldier. Lawmaker. Mother.

Aloha! Tammy Duckworth Welcomes Baby Girl

(Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tammy Duckworth assumed a whole new heap of responsibilities Tuesday, welcoming baby girl Abigail O’kalani Bowlsbey into the world.

The Illinois Democrat divulged she was expecting earlier this year during an appearance on the “Today” show.

“Bryan and I were deeply honored that Senator [Daniel K.] Akaka acted as Hawaiian elder and selected her middle name,” Duckworth and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, said in a statement that reintroduced the world to the former Democratic senator, who is now retired and back in the islands. “We are grateful for the love and support of our family and friends. We also appreciate the respect for our privacy during this important moment in our lives.”

No word on what the direct translation or cultural significance of “O’kalani” might be. But a cursory online search seems to suggest the Hawaiian term has something to do with the sky or heaven. Duckworth, who was born in Thailand, grew up in Hawaii and graduated from high school and college in the Aloha State.

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

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By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:05 p.m.
Kiddies, Nationwide, Reps, Sens

November 19, 2014

Mark Pocan Dishes About Kringle

Square meals, schmare meals. Rep. Mark Pocan is more interested in circular arguments.

The Wisconsin Democrat expressed his love for kringle, an oval-shaped sweet, on social media, declaring the regional treat a “staple of any well rounded Wisconsin diet.”

A Scandinavian baking tradition that’s been carried on by Danish transplants to the Badger State, kringle features overlapping layers of flaky pastry dough historically stuffed with fruit or nut fillings. Modern versions include frosted rings run through with everything from caramel-drenched pecans (want) to peppermint-spiked chocolate cake (need).

Pocan told HOH he’s most fond of strawberry flavored kringle, though he’s open to trying new things.

“There are some good seasonal flavors like pumpkin caramel,” he said. Full story

November 13, 2014

From the Drive-Thru to Congress: The Fast-Food Caucus Dishes

Apart from her immediate family — and, perhaps, the hog castrators of the world — no one appears to be prouder of Iowa Republican Joni Ernst than those she used to break bake bread with.

Hence the reason Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, rushed to congratulate the one-time breakfast-rush worker and senator-elect in a splashy ad in the Des Moines Register.

From the Drive Thru to Congress: The Fast Food Caucus Dishes

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

“Thanks, Joni, for reminding us that, in this great country of ours, your job and your life are what you make of them,” the head of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. chains praised in the ad, after Ernst touted her biscuit-making past in her election night victory speech.

Her ascension to Capitol Hill follows a career trajectory familiar to the growing number of lawmakers who dedicated parts of their youth to slinging burgers and fries at various grab-and-go establishments.

Other members of what we’ve dubbed the Fast-Food Caucus include:

Rep. Paul D. Ryan

An aide to the 2012 GOP vice presidential pick confirmed that the Wisconsin Republican briefly worked at McDonald’s during the summer between his sophomore and junior years of high school.

According to his office, the former grill cook — “The manager didn’t think I had the social skills to work the counter,” Ryan told the New Yorker — gleaned plenty from the experience.

“Congressman Ryan learned the value of hard work — a lesson that continues to help him in Congress today,” Team Ryan said. And before being elected to the House, Ryan further honed his hospitality skills working at Tortilla Coast.  Full story

November 7, 2014

Meet the Wipeout Caucus: Republicans Who Didn’t Catch the Wave

Meet the Wipeout Caucus: Republicans Who Didnt Catch the Wave

Brown, left out in the cold. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sometimes you catch the wave. Sometimes the wave, um, doesn’t let you catch it? Crashes down on you before you can catch it?

Republicans had quite a night on Nov. 4, picking up more than a dozen House seats, reclaiming the Senate majority, knocking off Democratic governors. It was party time for the GOP.

But what about the Republicans who didn’t catch the wave? How weird is it for them to lose in a year that was so good for the party, one has to reach back to a time when the American people saw fit to elect Herbert Hoover president for comparison. Call them the Wipeout Caucus. Full story

November 6, 2014

Barbara Lee Delivers Her Own Wave

Yes, yes, the Republicans have decisively taken over both chambers of Congress for the first time in nearly a decade.

But what’s that trivial feat got to do with the 40 seconds of awkward arm flapping California Democrat Barbara Lee endured on Wednesday’s episode of “The Colbert Report”?

The faux pundit, who is expected to bury his conservative-leaning cable news persona next month in preparation for assuming hosting duties of CBS’s “Late Show,” set up the face-to-face fanning duel (starts at the 3-minute mark) by noting during the latest installment of the pol-baiting “Better Know a District” segment that the signature sports move originated at the Oakland Coliseum.

According to ESPN, the first recorded version of the stadium-wide salute took place on Oct. 15, 1981, during a playoff game between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees.

So Lee’s district’s got that going for it. As well as a congresswoman who’s not afraid to rise and fall with the best of ’em.

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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

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

November 3, 2014

Newt, Electing for Some Downtime

With just hours to go until the Election Day buzzsaw officially rips apart half the nation’s hopes and dreams, candidates are hustling to sew up every last possible vote any which way they can.

Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy, who is hoping to unseat Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., in what’s likely to be a down-to-the-wire challenge, was pounding the pavement in search of support.

 

 

Full story

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 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 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

Jared Polis)" src="http://hoh.rollcall.com/wp-content/uploads/JP103014.jpg" width="445" height="592" /> (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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