Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 4, 2015

June 11, 2014

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

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

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.

(Screenshot)

(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

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

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

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

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

Drink In the Granite State’s Awesomeness on Wednesday

The New Hampshire delegation will welcome scores of home-state businesses — including a baker’s dozen of booze makers — to the Capitol Wednesday for the fifth annual “Experience New Hampshire” reception.

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats Jeanne Shaheen, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster and their Republican counterpart, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, are poised to once again co-host the epicurean love fest.

The invite-only taste-around is scheduled to take place Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kennedy Caucus Room (Russell 325).

Per Shaheen’s office, first-timers Ali Baba’s Wholefoods Festival and Treasures, Michele’s Sweet Shoppe, gourmet chocolatier Lindt and New Hampshire Mushroom Company are all expected to inject new life into the noshing side. Shaheen favorites Granite State Candy Shoppe and L.A. Burdick are safely back in the rotation.

Meanwhile, newly recruited beer slingers Great Rhythm Brewing Company, The Prodigal Brewery and Throwback Brewery will join the ranks of an already impressive tippling line-up scheduled to include:

We’re feeling punchy (hic!) just thinking about all the guzzling — ahem, responsible sipping — that lies ahead.

Taste of America Elite Eight Is Set

The final round of this year’s Taste of America competition is off and running, with the Elite Eight facing off for the title of America’s favorite food.

Will the sweet or the savory win top honors? Will the debate over whether Maine or Maryland has superior seafood finally be put to rest? Time will tell as the final round of voting ends on June 20.

The final round contains Utah’s cherry cobbler, Oregon’s blackberry pie, Iowa bacon, Illinois deep dish pizza, Maine’s lobster roll, Maryland crab cakes, Kentucky fried chicken and North Carolina barbecue.

Oregon’s blackberry pie was the top vote-getter in the third round, but the dish made it into the final round by a mere 84 votes, besting Montana steak. Maine’s lobster roll won its spot in the final round by the highest margin, beating Delaware’s boardwalk fries by more than 4,000 votes.

The winner of the competition will be announced on June 25 at a reception during the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

So the choice is yours, America. Don’t forget to exercise your right and vote.

 

Members Rally Behind Home Runs for Horton’s Kids

Dozens of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are expected to pour into Nationals Park on Tuesday to participate in the fun-for-all-ages Home Runs for Horton’s Kids event.

(Courtesy Horton's Kids)

(Courtesy Horton’s Kids)

The invite-only fundraiser, scheduled to take place from 5-9 p.m., benefits the kid-friendly nonprofit former Hill staffer Karin Walser founded some 25 years ago. Per staff, the goal is to gather resources (preferably, upwards of $400,000) to support the meal programs, medical care, college- and career-related counseling and summer enrichment programs the organization provides at-risk local youth.

This year’s host committee is being headed up by Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., as well as House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

Other lawmakers who have signed on for a night out at the ballpark include: Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Bradley Byrne, R-Ala.; Doug Collins, R-Ga.; Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; Jack Kingston, R-Ga.; Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; Jerry McNerney, D-Calif.; Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.; Grace F. Napolitano, D-Calif.; Kristi Noem, R-S.D.; Dennis A. Ross, R-Fla.; Scott Tipton, R-Colo.; and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.

Steve Israel: The F. Scott Fitzgerald of Congress?

The gentleman from West Egg? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

The gentleman from West Egg? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

The hat rack of Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., is quite full these days.

Obviously, he represents the constituents of New York’s 3rd District. And then there is his side gig running the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But lately, he’s wearing another hat: novelist.

“I’m publishing my first novel in January,” he said in a recent interview.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Since I knew I couldn’t play centerfield for the Mets, which was my childhood dream, and since I couldn’t get a book published, I became a member of Congress.” Full story

June 8, 2014

Welcome to Washington, Bowe Bergdahl | Capitol Quip

CapitolQuip-06-09-14.jpg

With the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity, the military’s determination to leave no man behind has given way to Capitol Hill’s desire to leave no controversy behind.

That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest 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.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Road Rules for Congress | Capitol Quip

CapitolQuip-06-02-14-Final.jpg

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.

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

Wedding Bells for Staffers Janelle Hervig and Mitch Relfe

Mr. and Mrs. Janelle and Mitch Relfe at the wedding reception on the rooftop of the Newseum.

Married! Janelle and Mitch Relfe at their reception on the rooftop of the Newseum. (Courtesy Vita Images)

From the campaign trail to walking down the aisle —  Janelle Hervig and Mitch Relfe were married on May 24 at St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill.

She is a legislative assistant for Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and he is a recent graduate of Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Ala.

The couple met in Boston, while volunteering for Scott P. Brown during the January 2010 special election. At the time, Janelle was interning for Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and Mitch worked for Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. He later worked as floor monitor for the Senate Republican Conference in Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office.

On Dec. 21, 2012, after a year and a half of dating, Mitch proposed on the steps of the Capitol building, at midnight in the rain.

The reception was held on the rooftop of the Newseum.

Mr. and Mrs. Janelle and Mitch Relfe pose outside the Speaker's Office. The couple met while campaigning for Scott Brown and were married on May 24, 2014.

The couple met while campaigning. (Courtesy Vita Images)

“We really wanted a view of the Capitol since it pretty much is the whole reason we met,” Janelle told said in an email, adding that the groom’s cake was in the shape of an elephant, and their tables were named after presidents: “It was a very Capitol Hill/DC wedding!”

Want to tell us about an engagement or wedding? Fill out our easy form.

 

By Rebecca Gale Posted at 8 a.m.
Weddings

June 6, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 2 (Video)

Senators kicked off the first week of June asking for reporters’ names, analyzing the “Wizard of Oz” and taking baths to clean themselves of sewer waste.

53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game Rosters

With the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game less than three weeks away, the Democrats and Republicans have set their rosters.

Democrats have one new player this year, Rep. Tony Cárdenas of California. Republicans, hoping to redeem themselves after a shutout last year, have added Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Vance McAllister of Louisiana.

Here is your complete list of the members of Congress who will be facing off at Nationals Park on June 25. Tickets are now available online.

DEMOCRATS

Manager: Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania

Tony Cárdenas, California

Timothy H. Bishop, New York

John Carney, Delaware

William Lacy Clay, Missouri

Joseph Crowley, New York

Joe Donnelly, Indiana

Jared Huffman, California

Hakeem Jeffries, New York

Dan Kildee, Michigan

Christopher S. Murphy, Connecticut

Patrick Murphy, Florida

Bill Pascrell Jr., New Jersey

Ed Perlmutter, Colorado

Jared Polis, Colorado

Cedric L. Richmond, Louisiana

Raul Ruiz, California

Tim Ryan, Ohio

Linda T. Sánchez, California

Kurt Schrader, Oregon

Adam Smith, Washington

Eric Swalwell, California

 

REPUBLICANS

Manager: Joe L. Barton, Texas

Coach: Roger Williams, Texas

Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania

Kevin Brady, Texas

Mo Brooks, Alabama

K. Michael Conaway, Texas

Rodney Davis, Illinois

Jeff Duncan, South Carolina

Jeff Flake, Arizona

Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee

Sam Graves, Missouri

Bill Johnson, Ohio

Jack Kingston, Georgia

Vance McAllister, Louisiana

Doug LaMalfa, California

Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania

Mick Mulvaney, South Carolina

Steven M. Palazzo, Mississippi

Rand Paul, Kentucky

Steve Pearce, New Mexico

Tom Rooney, Florida

Dennis A. Ross, Florida

Steve Scalise, Louisiana

Austin Scott, Georgia

John Shimkus, Illinois

Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania

Marlin Stutzman, Indiana

Daniel Webster, Florida

Brad Wenstrup, Ohio

Rob Wittman, Virginia

Kevin Yoder, Kansas

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 1:23 p.m.
Sports Desk

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