Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 29, 2015

November 5, 2014

Overheard: ‘Enough’ With All This Reflection

“Enough about 2014. Let’s talk about 2016.”

— CNN Anchor John Berman this morning, making sure the nation doesn’t linger too long on an election that we still don’t know the final results of.

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.

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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.

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Electoral Roller Coaster: Brace Yourself Edition

The problem with most — nay, every — campaign is that there must invariably be a winner and, pardon my French, a loser.

Assuming you and yours do wind up in the latter category this evening (or somewhere down the line), do try and make peace with whatever outcome unfolds.

Far be it from me to begrudge anyone a cathartic pity party. (Go ahead. Give that one-hit wonder Daniel Powter a final spin.)

But don’t wallow too long.

Lest you spend the rest of your days — much like these poor saps — slogging through the emotional quagmire colloquially known as the five stages of grief.

Denial and Isolation

Lying to oneself is rarely a winning proposition.

Just ask grossly disillusioned short-timer Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth. Full story

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.


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



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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Turned On? Tune In! Or Drop Out (Whatevs)



Election night 2014 is looking like it’ll be a nail-biter.

With so many variables in play — Will the Affordable Care Act ultimately prove detrimental to Democrats’ professional health? Who will independent candidates caucus with on Capitol Hill? How long (and how many runoffs) before we divine the next Senate majority leader? — one might be tempted to grab a drink, catch a movie and perhaps wait for “The Daily Show” recap on Wednesday, rather than suffer through umpteen hours of wall-to-wall news coverage.

But that’s not how #ThisTown rolls, is it? Full story

November 2, 2014

Democracy Works Its Will | Capitol Quip


It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Election Day! Don’t feel that way? Do feel that way? That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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By Jason Dick Posted at 7:10 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Capitol Quip’s Bipartisan Trick and Treat


Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry, as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

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.

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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.

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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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George Clinton Up to Get Down With D.C. This Weekend

(Ethan Miller/ Getty Images Entertainment File Photo)

Dr. Funkenstein’s in the house. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment File Photo)

Singer, bandleader and newly minted author George Clinton is scheduled to crisscross Chocolate City over the next few days, starting with an under-the-radar trip to the Library of Congress.

As part of the ongoing celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, various professional organizations — including members of the Library of Congress Chapter of Blacks in Government, the African American Cultural Association, the American Folklife Center at the LOC and the Music Division at the LOC — have invited the Godfather of Funk to chat about his book, “Brothers Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?” and decades-long musical career.

“Since this program is a sponsored by staff organizations, we have not advertised to the public. However, public wishing to attend the program will not be turned away,” LCBIG President Michele Chisholm assured HOH.

Dr. Funkenstein is expected on stage of the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building from noon to 1 p.m. Per organizers, “House of Soul” host James Funk will interview him for a bit before bowing out so folks can line up for autographs. Full story

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.

(Courtesy Jared Polis)

(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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