Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2014

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July 18, 2014

Mock Candidate Aims to Muck Up Kentucky Senate Race (Video)

Kentucky voters needn’t worry about hunting for Gil Fulbright’s name (at least that’s what it is this week) in voting booths come November. But they should get used to seeing his shit-eating grin over the next few months.

Mock Candidate Aims to Muck Up Kentucky Senate Race (Video)

(Screenshot)

Running the totally fake pol Fulbright (or Phillip MaMouf-Wifarts) is the latest stunt by anti-corruption advocates Represent.Us, the provocateurs behind last summer’s “stripping senator” show and the least appetizing power lunch in recorded history.

The advocacy group has, so far, raked in $30,000-plus to help crowbar Fulbright into the high-stakes standoff between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Full story

‘Al The Pal’ Could Get Air Force Facility Named After Him

Al The Pal Could Get Air Force Facility Named After Him

“Durbin the Pal” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Alan J. Dixon, the Illinois Democrat who died earlier this month, might have an Air Force facility at Scott AFB, a site near “Al the Pal’s” home of Belleville, Ill.

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois’ senior senator and chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, made sure the appropriations bill funding the Pentagon contained language providing the designation. Dixon, the chairman of the 1995 Base Closure and Realignment Commission, made transparency in the military’s decision-making process on the fate of its facilities one of his causes in his Senate career.

“His work to make sure Scott Air Force Base was given a critical mission in our nation’s defense has resulted in Scott becoming one of our nation’s premier Air Force assets,” Durbin said in a statement.

Pet Project Morphs Into Solon-Shaming ‘PolitiCat’

An anonymous online scold has begun a virtual game of cat and mouse with elected officials, awarding leaders willing to reach across party lines for the greater good with quirky honors while ripping those who just plain cross lines a new one.

Although a relative newcomer to the social mediasphere, “PolitiCat,” the nom de plume of the political science grad hoping to groom fellow would-be pundits, has set its sights on getting pols and voters to more carefully consider their actions.

“I aim to break into the consciousness of the general public, particularly younger people with regard to voter responsibility. I want to highlight the behavior of lawmakers and public figures, especially to ‘catch them being good’ vis a vis advancing bipartisanship,” PC asserted via email.

That outreach has, so far, not always resonated with intended allies (a la the Wichita, Kan., radio host who just didn’t “get” one muddled missive).

 

 

We, too, were a bit stumped by what seemed to be a nonsensical exchange with Rep. Patrick Murphy — until PC explained the open letter was actually a response to an earlier fundraising pitch from the Florida Democrat. Full story

July 16, 2014

Randy Weber Is Always Recruiting for Hot Pepper Parties

“We’ve got some fresh peppers in here. They’re not hot,” Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, mischievously goads his congressional aides after pouring out the baggie full of mixed chilies he religiously totes around in his coat pocket.

Sam Lombardo, a much-too-trusting summer intern, takes the bait, hurling a pea-sized ornamental pepper down the hatch.

Randy Weber Is Always Recruiting for Hot Pepper Parties

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The impetuous youth makes it through the first few bites unscathed, but is soon fanning his wide-open mouth for relief while Weber — who is always looking to welcome new chili-heads into the fold — chuckles with delight. Full story

Joe Manchin Brings the ‘Hollow’ to D.C.

Wild and wonderful though it may be, West Virginia continues to wrestle with its fair share of challenges. Sen. Joe Manchin III wants to help shine a light on what life is like in the Mountain State by hosting a screening of “Hollow” (that’s “holler” to you and me, Russ), a cinematic labor of love released last year.

The “interactive documentary,” which continues to foster community building across the social media sphere, will be shown on July 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center. Those interested in attending should RSVP to hollowevent@manchin.senate.gov.

Filmmaker and West Virginia native Elaine Sheldon McMillion is expected to participate in a discussion about her attempt at getting up close and personal with the community in economically depressed McDowell County.

Topical snippets — including a dizzying spin through a county fair — are available for viewing via Vimeo.

1 MINUTE IN APPALACHIA: County Fair from Hollow Interactive on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, McMillion has been urging social media users to collectively reminisce by flooding Instagram with pics tagged #hollerhome. Full story

July 15, 2014

David Valadao Attempts to Rope Online Flock Into #CowAppreciationDay

Rep. David Valadao has invited the entire Twitterverse to weigh in on what he should name the mottled black newborn calf that joined the dairy farm last weekend.

 

 

“Help me give this heifer a name! #NameACalf,” he implored supporters on social media.

A Valadao aide said the family usually handles naming duties, but indicated that the freshman lawmaker wanted to be more all-inclusive this time around. “Given that CA-21 is the biggest dairy district in the entire United States and thousands of our constituents work in the industry, Congressman Valadao thought it would be fun for constituents and their children to name this heifer (female cow),” the aide told HOH via email.

Got a guaranteed winner rolling around in the back of your mind?

Don’t dawdle.

Team Valadao plans to corral all the suggestions and select the final nomenclature come Thursday afternoon.

July 10, 2014

Getting to the Meat of the Matter in Texas

Getting to the Meat of the Matter in Texas

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

From the looks of things on social media, folks in the Lone Star State can’t quite figure out exactly what they should be stuffing their faces with.

Corpus Christi, Texas country station K-99 kicked off the caloric controversy earlier this week by endorsing a short, but still oddly redundant, rewriting of the food pyramid.

The extra beefy prescription seemed to be one only Dr. Atkins could love. Not to mention that the proposed categories somehow managed to be both over-broad and bizarrely exclusionary. Full story

July 9, 2014

Another Bite of the Cleveland Apple

Carving up the Cleveland hospitality scene in anticipation of the 2016 GOP nominating convention has turned into quite the task. So much so, in fact, that we’re back with a second round of dining/drinking/carousing picks for those destined to head due west ahead of the next presidential election cycle.

During our initial foray into can’t miss eateries, Cleveland Magazine managing editor Kim Schneider shared insights into coveted seats, suburban retreats and dedicated suds slingers.

But man cannot live on steak and beer alone. (Can we?) Full story

July 8, 2014

Chowing Down, Cleveland-Style

Now that the Republican National Committee has elected to give Cleveland a star turn come 2016, it’s time for political operatives (and reporters) to begin debating the only thing that really matters during nominating conventions: Where we all gonna eat?

Granted, some would-be pundits and cash-strapped hacks may wind up wandering no further than whatever media-sponsored hangout keeps the complimentary drinks flowing that summer.

But we here at HOH are all about exploring C-Town to the fullest. Full story

July 7, 2014

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

Some lawmakers enjoy being able to drop out of sight during recess. Others, such as critically acclaimed graphic novelist/Rep. John Lewis, find it much harder to disentangle from the swirling celebrity life.

Case in point: fans of the Georgia Democrat simply could not resist prodding him together with comics legend Stan Lee — you know, the guy who created all those spandex-clad superheroes that lord over movie screens every summer and has done cameos in many of the Marvel flicks — during a chance meeting in Las Vegas.

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

“It was totally by accident, but as soon as they were near each other, people started pushing them together. I grabbed my phone as quick as I could and snapped the picture,” Andrew Aydin, congressional aide and co-author of “March,” the illustrated tale of Lewis’ Civil Rights Era activism, told HOH.

Per Aydin, it was the first time they had crossed paths with the nonagenarian wellspring from which the likes of Spiderman, the Hulk and the X-Men had flowed since officially joining the comic writing verse last summer.

“Neither of us had ever met him before,” Aydin said of the serendipitous encounter. A lifelong reader (“I gushed like a fanboy,” he admitted), Aydin was thrilled to hear Lee chatting with his boss about “March” and just generally soaked in the absolutely magical moment. Full story

July 2, 2014

Is it Live, or Is it Frank Lucas? Vote Study Suggests No Change

According to House hopeful Timothy Ray Murray, Rep. Frank D. Lucas is not who he says he is but a robot double, or some such thing. A look back at the Oklahoma Republican’s voting record begs to differ.

Is it Live, or Is it Frank Lucas? Vote Study Suggests No Change

(Courtesy HOH tipster)

A CQ Roll Call researcher examined the legislative positions staked out by Lucas since 1994, a decade during which his allegiance to the party line rarely dropped below 90 percent and his support for the commander in chief has fluctuated wildly based on who called the shots in the Oval Office.

Per the study, Lucas’ voting behavior since 2011 — the year in which Murray asserts Lucas, along with other unspecified members of the Sooner State delegation, was executed “by The World Court” in Southern Ukraine for unknown crimes — remains consistent with how the 11-term Oklahoman has routinely carried out his duties.

If anything, Lucas has displayed even more conservative tendencies, trimming his historically tepid support for President Barack Obama (all-time high: roughly 25 percent) from the upper teens to just barely above double-digits.

Hardliner or not, Murray insists he’s the only “man” left in this race.

“This is a situation similar to the Senators’ from Kentucky situation in the 2012 election,” Murray warns on his website (http://www.timothyraymurray.com/), somehow tying in Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to the vast conspiracy of political replicants.

Murray did not respond to queries regarding when he planned to file a formal challenge to the June 24 primary Lucas handily won, claiming 83 percent of the vote to Murray’s 5 percent, nor did he name the other legislative doppelgangers he suspects have infiltrated the current congress.

Team Lucas, meanwhile, declined to comment on whether the disclosure would accelerate the plans of any robot/insect/alien overlords waiting in the wings.

July 1, 2014

Nick Troiano Goes on ‘Back to the Future’ Campaign With DeLorean

House hopeful Nick Troiano is hoping to secure his future this fall now by setting out on a comprehensive trek across Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district in a tricked-out DeLorean.

Nick Troiano Goes on Back to the Future Campaign With DeLorean

(Courtesy Team Troiano)

The independent pol’s “Back to the Future” tour kicks off on Wednesday with a visit to Barrett’s Pub, a well-established restaurant owned and operated by Shirley Barrett, the newly minted mayor of Archbald, Pa. Troiano then plans to spend the rest of the month crisscrossing the district’s 15 counties in the iconic automobile — which, per his staff, has been provided as an in-kind donation by a supporter — as part of an uphill battle to unseat two-term Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino.

Troiano’s planned trajectory includes:

  • July 2 , 5 – 8 p.m., Barrett’s Pub/474 N. Main St., Archbald: Assorted Yelpers endorsed the pizza, parted company on the quality of the wings.
  • July 3 , 11:30 – 1 p.m. , Mike’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant/Rt. 590 W., Lakeville: Family-run joint transplanted from New Jersey; per Yelp, it’s home to praiseworthy pies and incredibly garlicky subs.
  • July 4, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Emberz Restaurant/1 Lake Montrose Mall, Montrose: Local spot specializing in pizza, wings and all-you-can eat pasta.
  • July 5, 11– 1 p.m., Anthony’s Bar and Grill/31 Canton St., Troy: “They’re always willing to accommodate your food requests (even vegetarian!),” counsels one TripAdvisor user.
  • July 6, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Dale’s Café/3396 Pennsylvania 611, Bartonsville: Local eatery catering to daytime diners.
  • July 11, 5 – 7 pm., Hull’s Landing/27 Pennsylvania 442, Muncy: One D.C.-Metro expat swears by their Chesapeake wings and Buffalo chicken-style dip.
  •  July 12, noon – 2 p.m., Vince’s Pizza/311 S. Logan Blvd., Burnham: Yelpers could do without the hit-or-miss pizza, but they seem to stomach breakfast OK.
  • July 13, 11 – 1 p.m., Red Zone Sports Bar and Grille/34 Envision Dr., Mifflintown.
  • July 14, 8 – 10 a.m., Bitting’s Restaurant/16 N. 2nd St., Newport.
  • July 18, 11 – 1 p.m., Country Cupboard/101 Hafer Rd., Lewisburg.
  • July 19, noon – 1:30 p.m., Rocco’s Pizza/8 Fisher Rd., Selinsgrove.
  • July 20, 11:30 – 1:30 p.m., Pizza Town/530 S. Front St., Milton.
  • July 25, 5 – 7 p.m., The Brick Tavern/224 Main St., Blossburg: Per Yelp, it’s a greasy spoon with good coffee and a legendary fish fry.
  •  July 26, 5 – 7:30 p.m., Sullivan County Roadhouse/4741 U.S. 220, Muncy Valley: According to Team TripAdvisor, service has been steadily declining since July 2012.
  •  July 27, 11 – 1 p.m., Milford Diner/301 Broad St., Milford: more love than hate for this vintage diner from Team TripAdvisor.

Dying to shoot a selfie in front of Doc Brown’s mischief-making ride but don’t see your town on the list?

“There is some flexibility in Troiano’s schedule for additional stops,” Troiano spokeswoman Rachel Vierling assures HOH. “We will also be using social media to ask potential voters places they suggest we visit while in each county.” Full story

June 30, 2014

Franken Feasts on Minnesota State Fair Menu Items (Video)

The eating extravaganza that is the Minnesota State Fair may still be months away, but Sen. Al Franken is already beating the drum about the heart-stopping offerings that attendees will encounter along the midway later this summer.

 

 

The fair, which is scheduled to wreak havoc on Midwestern waistlines from Aug. 21 until Sept. 1, is expected to field more than two dozen new foodstuffs. Those debut taste sensations run the gamut from moderately healthy (all-natural, frozen fruit smoothie pop, anyone?) to downright deadly (breakfast Juicy Lucys forged from twin, cheese-stuffed sausage patties piled high on an English muffin).

Last year, the Minnesota Democrat bowed to his constituents’ wishes and sampled an order of fried pickles accompanied by chocolate dipping sauce:

According to a spokeswoman, Franken is excited to sink his teeth into a Bison Dog (hickory-smoked, pasture-raised buffalo link smothered in pickles and peppers). The adventurous aide, meanwhile, said she was looking forward to experiencing the “chicken in a waffle” creation. Full story

June 26, 2014

Utah Cherry Cobbler Wins Roll Call Taste of America for Second Time

Utah Cherry Cobbler Wins Roll Call Taste of America for Second Time

One cobbler to rule them all. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Utah’s cherry cobbler beat out seven other regional comfort foods in the final round of Roll Call’s Taste of America, becoming the only previous champion to regain the title.

Utah’s fruit-and-starch concoction, which won in 2012, beat out Oregon’s blackberry pie, Iowa bacon, Illinois deep dish pizza, Maine’s lobster roll, Maryland crab cakes, Kentucky fried chicken and North Carolina barbecue.

Utah Cherry Cobbler Wins Roll Call Taste of America for Second Time

Team Utah stormed the Taste of America beach. And ruled. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Previous winners include West Virginia pepperoni rolls in 2013, Utah cherry cobbler in 2012 and Northern Mariana Islands apigigi, from 2011.

Maine seemed to have the inside track and was early favorite, but sugar won out over protein for culinary dominance in America. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, reacted with disappointment, yet class.

“My sincere congratulations to Utah on cherry cobbler’s culinary victory in the Taste of America Competition.  For the sake of a united country, I will not demand a recount, though I couldn’t be prouder of the Maine lobster roll’s performance in this contest. In tribute, I’ll be enjoying one as soon as I get back home,” she said in a statement.

June 23, 2014

Rangel Rap Ain’t All That

Rep. Charles B. Rangel has released a career-recapping rap ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

The last-minute attempt at shoring up the New York Democrat’s street cred isn’t completely terrible.

Yes, the background remains frozen on the campaign’s dull but clearly needed get-out-the-vote instructions rather than flipping through, say, nostalgic images of Rangel’s four decades on Capitol Hill. And the lyrics — main chorus: “If you gonna vote, you gonna vote for da Rangel/Charlie-Charlie-Charlie Rangel!” — could sound a bit more inspired. (Team Rangel did not respond to emails seeking information as to who penned and performed the supportive ditty.)

But the background chimes are hauntingly beautiful. And the song is jam-packed with information about Rangel’s upbringing, military exploits and political accomplishments.

Still, the jingle lacks the grittiness of the anthemic rhymes Memphis-based rapper Al Kapone spit for then-House hopeful Dr. George Flinn (the aspiring politico is attempting to knock off Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., this time around) during the previous cycle.

Full story

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