Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 2, 2014

June 13, 2014

Do You Want to Work for Clay Aiken?

“American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken, the Democratic nominee in North Carolina’s 2nd District, is staffing up.

No longer “Invisible,” Aiken’s campaign is looking to hire a field director for his race against GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers, according to a job posting on a Listserv for progressive campaign jobs. For aspiring campaign workers, “This is the Night” to get involved.

“Do you want to work for Clay Aiken?” reads a job posting to the JobsthatareLEFT job Listserv. “Clay is the 2014 Democratic nominee in the North Carolina 2nd congressional district election. Our race was named a DCCC emerging race and is one of the few competitive races in this battleground state.”

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 11:42 a.m.
Celebs, Staffers, VIPs

June 12, 2014

Seersucker Day Returns, Who Wore It Best?

Seersucker Day Returns, Who Wore It Best?

Seersucker was in the House! (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thanks to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss, June 11, 2014 will go down as one of the most chaotic days in the modern history of the United States Capitol.

But it will also go on the books as the moment Seersucker Day returned to Capitol Hill.

The hallway leading to the GOP conference meeting where Cantor announced his resignation from leadership served as almost a Seersucker fashion runway as the ranks of the GOP members strutted, (or more often, trudged) their way to the meeting past reporters and cameras.

As one of our faithful readers coined it, Capitol Hill got its “Matlock” on. Full story

Throwback Thursday: Eric Cantor Edition

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., made his first big splash on the pages of Roll Call with a photo capturing his razor-thin victory in the 2000 GOP primary.

Cantor, then a state delegate, won his primary by 263 votes. He outspent his rival, state Rep. Steve Martin.

After his victory, Cantor said Martin was a “formidable opponent,” adding, “We’ve been taking him seriously ever since the get-go because we knew he would have a significant grass-roots effort.”

Cantor’s first primary was described as a “bitter race.” The Virginia Republican was backed by outgoing-Rep. Tom Bliley, R-Va., which wasn’t much of a surprise considering Cantor had chaired Bliley’s re-election campaign for six years.

Cantor’s profile in Roll Call’s new member guide for the 107th Congress noted the state representative and attorney was hoping to land a spot on the Energy and Commerce or Ways and Means committees.

At the start of his second term, Cantor was appointed chief deputy whip for the House Republicans. Six years later, he ascended to GOP whip. In 2010, Cantor ran unopposed to become House majority leader.

“I have announced my intention to stand for election as majority leader because I am results oriented and I want to help lead that effort and bring about these changes,” Cantor wrote in a letter to his colleagues in 2010.

 

June 11, 2014

For Team Cantor: A Spotify Playlist for Commiserating

Team Cantor is at the Tune Inn, drowning their sorrows and listening to ’90s and 2000s rock. So what does the sound of political depression sound like? We at HOH humbly offer this Spotify list of tunes to nurse a crushed soul. Or soul-crushing tunes. One or the other:

Team Cantor Self-Medicates to Tune of $6,500

Team Cantor Self Medicates to Tune of $6,500

Team Cantor gathered at the Tune Inn to commiserate. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Current and former staffers for soon-to-step-down House Majority Leader Eric Cantor flooded into the Tune Inn Wednesday for a semi-private shindig featuring some heartfelt sobs, a few laughs and lots of Jameson.

The aides assembled at the Capitol Hill watering hole shortly before the Virginia Republican took to TV to announce that he would be relinquishing his leadership post, but not his seat, as of July 31. Cantor suffered a bruising defeat at the hands of tea party candidate Dave Brat on Tuesday night.

Once the news conference was over, the commiserators wiped away their tears and immediately opened their wallets — ponying up $500 and $1,000 apiece in order to cover the $6,500 required to have the bar to themselves from 6 p.m. ’til closing.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:43 p.m.
DC, HillSide, Staffers

Vote for Your Favorite Bowe Bergdahl Quip

Vote for Your Favorite Bowe Bergdahl Quip

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists!

  • Politics delivered a “Low Bowe” to the welcome home festivities.
  • Reminds me of the time we were torn between negotiating with foxes and leaving no nuts behind!
  • This is nuts! Supporting the troops was the last thing we could all agree on.
  • Bergdahl? I thought we were going to BergDORFS!
  • I’m not cleaning this up! Are you?

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on June 15 and in the following print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 4:43 p.m.
Capitol Quip

How Eric Cantor’s Loss Is Like Taste of America

Do you believe in miracles?

It’s been a long time since Al Michaels famously yelled that question after the U.S. hockey team beat the Soviets in 1980 at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. No one thought the U.S. could beat the Soviet Union, at least in hockey. No one thought economics professor Dave Brat could beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Tuesday’s Republican primary in Virginia. Does anyone thinks that, say, Oregon blackberry pie can topple such culinary behemoths as Maine’s lobster roll or Maryland’s crab cakes in the annual Roll Call Taste of America contest.

So, underdog foods, do you believe in miracles?

By Jason Dick Posted at 4:41 p.m.
Food

Plotting Cantor’s Last 24 Hours as Leader

He’s still a ways away from needing to haul a moving van to cart his legislative mementos back to Henrico County, Va. But it’s now painfully obvious that Rep. Eric Cantor is living on borrowed time in Congress.

Plotting Cantor’s Last 24 Hours as Leader

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Virginia Republican saw his career cut short Tuesday after suffering a stunning loss to relatively unknown economics professor Dave Brat in a history-making electoral upset.

We suspect he’s already replaying in his head every single thing he could have done differently. One can only hope he’s sparing himself the indignity of compartmentalizing each crushing blow into a slowly unspooling shame spiral — though that might finally make for an interesting installment of the long-since abandoned “Snapshot of the Leader” series.

Team Cantor briefly experimented with a torturous examination of the House majority leader’s daily activities, but appears to have given up on the documenting process after just 120 mind-numbing minutes.

Hour One

Hour Two

Confidence is low they’ll revive the video diary for his last official day here on Capitol Hill. But we can’t help but wonder just what that might look like. Full story

Other Than That, Mr. Boehner, How Was Dinner?

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, was having dinner at a Capitol Hill Italian restaurant when the returns from Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary race came in showing the Virginia Republican had lost.

“No, you know the rules,” Boehner said when asked if he had any comment when leaving the Trattoria Alberto, which describes itself as “Fine Italian dining in a friendly, neighborhood setting.”

Boehner, in shirtsleeves and with his tie undone, was referring to his typical practice of not answering questions outside of a press conference. His demeanor was somewhat prickly, but not surprising given that he was being unexpectedly pursued after dinner by a few reporters after a stunning defeat for establishment Republicans. Full story

Kinky Friedman on Cantor Primary: ‘The Crowd Picked Barabas’

“Another Jewboy bites the dust,” said Kinky Friedman, reacting to the news that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his GOP primary in Virginia. “The crowd picked Barabas,” Friedman added, a reference to the crowd at Golgotha choosing to grant mercy to the thief Barabas over Jesus, who went on to die on the cross.

Friedman, in town to perform Wednesday night at the Washington Jewish Music Festival, experienced his own political defeat recently, losing his race for Texas agriculture commissioner in the Democratic primary runoff last month to Jim Hogan. “The people have spoken, the bastards,” Friedman quipped with a line generally attributed to Democratic campaign operative Dick Tuck and the late Rep. Morris K. Udall, D-Ariz.

While Friedman says he’s pretty sure he’s through with electoral politics (He’s previously run for governor of Texas as well as agriculture commissioner.), he nevertheless keeps in touch with his local congressman, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. Smith hosted Friedman at Wednesday’s Texas Breakfast Club at the American Trucking Association on Capitol Hill. Full story

June 10, 2014

Boehner Dines at Trattoria Alberto’s as Cantor Concedes

Boehner Dines at Trattoria Albertos as Cantor Concedes

Buruca is a fan of the speaker. (Humberto Sanchez/CQ Roll Call)

“He’s a lovely customer,” Juan Buruca, the owner of Trattoria Alberto’s on Barracks Row, said of Speaker John A. Boehner.

The Ohio Republican was likely one of the many in Washington utterly surprised by the primary defeat of his chief lieutenant, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Tuesday night. But a man still has to eat, and Alberto’s is among Boehner’s haunts, particularly with his Rat Pack-like pals, Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Richard M. Burr, R-N.C.

The first reports of Boehner eating at Alberto’s came in during the early evening. And there he stayed. Around 10 p.m., after Chambliss and Burr left, the speaker went to amble home. Asked if he had any comment about the Cantor primary he said, “No, you all know what the rules are” — a reference to his unofficial rule that he does not take questions except at press conferences.

By Humberto Sanchez and Jason Dick Posted at 11:05 p.m.
Reps, Restos, Sens

Minnesota Democrats Stump for #VoteDuluth

It’s coming down to the wire in Outside’s fourth annual “Best Towns Tournament,” and Minnesota Democrats are doing their darnedest to ensure that nobody, but nobody — that means you, Beehive Staters — comes between Duluth and sweet, sweet victory.

Minnesota Democrats Stump for #VoteDuluth

(Screenshot)

The monthlong competition has seen its share of ups and downs, with the two top contenders battling hard for national recognition.

Along the way, Duluth handily disposed of Columbia, Mo. (enjoying a nearly 5-to-1 advantage in the first round); then trumped Athens, Ohio (second round); La Crosse, Wis. (third round); neighboring Minneapolis (fourth round) and Asheville, N.C. (fifth round), to reach the finals.

Provo bested Jackson, Wyo. (first round); Taos, N.M. (second round); Missoula, Mont. (third round); Anchorage, Alaska (fourth round), and then just barely squeaked by Ithaca, N.Y. (receiving just 51 percent of the votes in the fifth round), in its bid to achieve destination travel dominance.

With municipal bragging rights up for grabs through Sunday (voting closes just before the stroke of midnight June 15), the Minnesota delegation is letting the trash talk fly.

 

Full story

Seersucker Day: Trent Lott’s Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

Seersucker Day: Trent Lotts Fashion Dos and Donts

Where it began: Lott. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Seersucker Day on Capitol Hill is less than 24 hours away, and the concept can be a bit tricky for those not from the Deep South.

So, as a service to our readers, we called on the originator of the Capitol Hill tradition, ex-Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, for his advice on how to make the most of Seersucker Day.

“It was one of those rare occasions when something was bipartisan and for both genders,” the former Republican leader said. He added that it was a fun-spirited day where members could “get a picture and laugh together a little bit.”

Trent Lott’s Seersucker Do’s Full story

June 9, 2014

Reid Praises Miss USA Winner, Regrets Missing Pageant Finale (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid missed the ending of Sunday evening’s Miss USA pageant, but Monday on the Senate floor, he offered praise for the young woman who won — a fellow Nevadan.

The Nevada Democrat called Nia Sanchez “gifted beyond her physical beauty.”

“I’m disappointed that I kind of caved in in watching the final of the USA, Miss USA contest because Miss Nevada won, and I’d like to have seen that,” Reid said. “I placed a call to her and I’ll talk to her as soon as she gets out of the clouds, where I’m sure she is now. But I congratulate the newly crowned Miss USA and that is our own Nia Sanchez.”

Full story

Seersucker Day Is BACK, at Least in the House

Seersucker Day Is BACK, at Least in the House

Where have you gone, seersucker days? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Somewhere in downtown Washington, ex-Sen. Trent Lott is probably a happy man. His legacy lives on, at least in the House.

This is because a bygone tradition, Seersucker Day, returns to the Capitol this week, thanks to the efforts of Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

“Congressman Bill Cassidy is proud to announce that Wednesday, June 11, National Seersucker Day will formally be reinstated,” a Cassidy release stated. “Dr. Cassidy is inviting all Members of Congress to gather after votes for a picture in their seersucker apparel.”

“A bipartisan Capitol Hill tradition, House of Representatives Members typically wear Seersucker on Wednesdays and Senators wear it on Thursdays,” the release went on.

Cassidy spokeswoman Jillian Rogers went so far as to rally her fellow House press secretaries behind the comeback.   Full story

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