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

June 25, 2014

Democratic Shortstop Injured on Game Day

Huffman, on the Disabled List. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Huffman, on the disabled list. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., who was slated to play shortstop for the Democrats in tonight’s 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, will have to watch from the sidelines this year.

Huffman injured his shoulder during the team’s  practice Wednesday morning. This would have been the second game for Huffman, who was elected to the House in 2012. And although he is disappointed he won’t be playing this year, he is confident his Democratic teammates will prevail.

“The good news is we have great depth on this team and we’re not going miss a beat,” Huffman told Roll Call in a phone interview. “I’m going to enjoy being a lightly medicated spectator and cheering for my team. And I’m confident that we’re going to be very strong” Full story

Congressmen Cover Prince, Battle Over ‘Purple Rain,’ ‘Raspberry Beret’

Two congressmen took to Twitter to show off their musical chops, commemorating “Purple Rain,” Prince’s top-charting, critically acclaimed sixth album that turned 30 years old on Wednesday.

First up was Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Also from Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, Ellison posted a 6-second Vine of himself from his office performing “Purple Rain,” acoustic guitar and all. Ellison tweeted his disbelief in the album’s age and added the hashtag, “#Purplerain.”

In response to Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., tweeted his Prince performance for “Raspberry Beret,” Prince’s first single off his 1985 album “Around The World in a Day.” Also with acoustic guitar, Crowley crooned the verse: “She wore a raspberry beret/The kind you find in a secondhand store.”

How do their covers stack up to Prince’s original versions? Which congressman’s take on Prince is the best? Will any other members of Congress step up to the plate to show off their favorite Prince song? Let us know in the comments section.

 

John Lewis Wows ‘Em on Broadway

 

Courtesy the Office of Rep. Steve Israel

Lewis, center, entranced the cast of “All the Way” with his tales of the civil rights movement after a performance of the play. (Courtesy the Office of Rep. Steve Israel)

 

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., dazzled the cast of the Broadway play “All The Way”  this past Sunday, according to New York Congressman/Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman/novelist Steve Israel.

“All The Way” is a play about President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s muscling through Civil Rights legislation amid the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

It’s a subject that Lewis knows well. At the time, Lewis was one of the founding activists of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Full story

Ike Skelton Auction Items Illustrate the Softer Side of Public Service

The Kansas City Auction and Appraisal Company has cataloged a treasure trove of personal effects and private letters the late Rep. Ike Skelton amassed throughout his career and has made them all available to interested buyers through June 30.

(Screenshot)

(Screenshot)

The Missouri Democrat, who spent more than 30 years in the House and served two terms as House Armed Services Committee chairman, died of pneumonia in late 2013.

Kansas City Auction owner Jason Roske told HOH his team spent months sorting through the myriad congressional correspondence and politically-related knick-knacks supplied by the estate in order to curate the 356 lots that compromise the “Ike Skelton Collection.”

“There were well over 1,000 documents that we had to go through, piece by piece,” he said of the carefully picked over political ephemera.

The assembled offerings run the gamut from breezy collegial how-do-you-dos — including exchanges with ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.; the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii; and Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr., D-Mass. — to White House bill signings reaching back decades.

“As far as we can tell, there just have not been a lot of opportunities to sell a collection like this. Period,” Roske said. Full story

Wedding Bells for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Randy Florke

 

Rep. Sean Maloney, D-N.Y. married his longtime partner Randy Florke on Saturday, June 21st. | Photo courtesy Rep. Maloney's office.

Rep. Sean Maloney, D-N.Y., married his longtime partner Randy Florke on June 21st. (Courtesy Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress)

It’s not just staffers who are tying the knot.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., married his longtime partner Randy Florke on June 21st. Rev. Fr. Shane Scott-Hamblen officiated at the Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands in Cold Spring, N.Y.

“Even after 22 years together, we’re overwhelmed by how blessed we feel to celebrate this special day with our friends and family. With our three kids by our side, this couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Thank you to all our friends near and far for their love and support as we continue to fight to ensure all families can experience the joys of a lifetime commitment,” Maloney and Florke said in a joint statement.

The couple resides in Cold Spring, NY and have three children together, Reinel (24), Daley (13) and Essie (11) | Photo courtesy of the Maloney campaign.

The couple resides in Cold Spring, N.Y. and have three children together, pictured left to right, Essie, Daley and Reinel. (Courtesy Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress)

Maloney, 47, is the first openly gay member of Congress from New York. Florke, 51, is a real estate and design executive in New York City for The Rural Connection, Inc., the company he founded in 1996. The couple resides in Cold Spring and have three children together, Reinel, 24, Daley, 13, and Essie, 11.

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

 

How Congress Has Changed for Hillary Clinton

Feinstein and Clinton, seen here in 2005, strengthened their friendship serving together in the Senate. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Feinstein and Clinton, seen here in 2005, strengthened their friendship serving together. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has seen a lot in politics, and Congress has changed quite a bit over the course of her career. As our team read through Clinton’s detailing of diplomatic exploits in her latest memoir, “Hard Choices,” we examined it through the lens of Congress.

As a former first lady and U.S. senator, Clinton has a breadth of experience working on Capitol Hill. Should she seek the presidency once more, that interaction will matter for her political future.

The research gurus at the CQ Members Desk crunched the numbers to showcase how Congress has changed (and stayed the same) from Clinton’s perspective.

Just 69 current members of Congress have served in the Capitol continuously since Clinton began her tenure as first lady in 1993.

Full story

Beyond the Stars: Congressional Baseball Players to Watch

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sanchez isn’t tall, but she packs a punch in the batter’s box. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For someone who hasn’t been to a Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game before, it’s easy to spot a few players who stand out. There’s Rep. Cedric L. Richmond throwing flames from the pitcher’s mound. The Louisiana Democrat has 21 strikeouts and four earned runs in the past two games. Over that same span, he’s gone 5-for-7 at the plate, with three runs scored and two runs batted in.

On the other side of the aisle/field is Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, whose consistency is rivaled by only the Arizona sun. Over the past five years, he has batted over .300 with a double, a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored. In the field he’s just as good. The last error he made was in 2009, in a game that has had 24 errors since then.

But baseball is a team game. The following five players might not have a lot of flash, but they’re worth paying attention to.

1. Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif.    
Sánchez gets hearty cheers and jeers, depending on the side, when she steps up to the batter’s box. While she’s not very tall at 5 feet, 1 inch, she stands high in the batter’s box; during the past four games, she has had two hits in six at-bats, knocking in four runs. If she were on the Republican team, she would lead the team in RBIs. Flake and GOP Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster have two RBIs apiece over the same span.

2. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.    
Rooney had a rough three-game stretch from 2009 through 2011, going hitless in six at-bats. The former Syracuse Orange football player turned it around in the past two years going 2-for-3. He got one of only three hits by the Republicans last year.

3. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.    
Like the Colorado Rockies’ all-time run leader, Todd Helton, there isn’t a lot of dazzle to Perlmutter’s game, but he gets the job done. In the past three years, the Democrat has scored six runs, including four in 2013. Perlmutter also stole a base in 2013.

4. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
In 2009 and 2010, Donnelly hit a rough patch going a combined 0-for-4. Since then the junior Democratic senator from Indiana has gone 3-for-5 with three runs, a double, and an RBI. He finds a way to get on base other ways too, having been hit by pitches on two separate occasions.

5. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.
Much like the nearby Pittsburgh Pirates, Shuster is consistently inconsistent. Over the past five years, during an odd-numbered year, he has no hits in seven at-bats. In even-numbered years, he’s 3-for-7 with two RBIs. We’re in an even-numbered year, so expect a big game from Shuster.

Get your tickets to the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. 

 

Related:

Roll Call’s Unsung Congressional Baseball Heroes

Rosters for the 53rd Annual Congressional Baseball Game

Congressional Baseball Game Helps D.C. Adults Get Second Chance at Washington Literacy Center

Joseph Crowley Savors Diamond Memories From Congressional Baseball Games

The Updated Staffer Guide to the Congressional Baseball Game

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame

Vulnerable Members Hope There’s a Next Year for Their Congressional Baseball Careers

Roll Call’s Unsung Congressional Baseball Heroes

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Yudain, Roll Call’s founder, created a lot of memories on the Hill, especially when he decided to bring back congressional baseball. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sid, Buddy, Skip, Kassy, Joe and Tim are not on the rosters for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. But they have all helped shape this monument to Capitol camaraderie, a game that allows public servants to shed power suits and briefing books in favor of leather and lumber on Nationals Park’s elegant diamond.

Roll Call founder Sid Yudain thought it was a shame that Speaker Sam Rayburn, D-Texas, pulled the plug on the Capitol’s midsummer classic in 1958. In 1962, Sid partnered with Speaker John McCormack, D-Mass., to bring the game back, and now we find ourselves — more than half-a-century later —under the lights.

Sadly, this year’s game will be the first one since then without Sid, who died in October. But his infectious spirit and love of the Capitol community leaves a legacy we at Roll Call are proud to follow.

It’s that character that brought Coach Kenneth “Buddy” Burkhead to the game. Buddy, as everyone called him, was a one-time Capitol Police officer and veteran coach for the Democrats’ squad. He died in April, and the outpouring of stories and tributes to Coach Buddy, from the Capitol to St. Albans, where he also coached, were a testament to his dedication to the game. One of his fellow coaches, Joe Foley, recalled that it was nice having a no-nonsense cop (Buddy was on Speaker Carl Albert’s protection detail at one point) at early morning practices at Randall Field, which hasn’t always been the nicest neighborhood.

Speaking of Joe, he’s in his 40th year now of being affiliated with the game (“I started when I was six,” he joked), and he’s experienced it in every venue from Langeley High School to Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, Four Mile Run Park, Prince George’s Stadium, RFK Stadium and now Nats Park. Although he’s been asked when he is going to hang it up, given multiple injuries and early morning, rainy practices, his reply is simple: “It’s baseball. How could I say no?”

Tim Johnson, a 20-year coaching veteran, introduced me to Joe, who relayed more stories about Buddy and other coaches, like Gary Caruso, who’s been guiding squads for 30 years, than this program has room for.

Some of those stories overlap with memories, photos and clips that people such as Skip Maraney and Kassy Benson have shared with us.

Skip, who long ago spearheaded Roll Call’s sports coverage with his Skip-a-Long and Capitol Sports features, shared a massive, not-available-online portfolio, underscoring how rich the history of the game is, as you’ll see in our “vintage” section on Page 30.

Kassy, a baseball game cheerleader and one-time Roll Call pin-up girl (not a misprint!) told us a story that shows just how much the game was, and is, a part of the Hill’s culture. “After work, we decided to practice our cheerleading in the hallway in front of the Doorkeeper’s Office. We were very loud. It never occurred to us that we would disturb anyone since it was after hours, but what we didn’t take into consideration was that the Senate was still in session. They sent someone down to quell our enthusiasm :),” she shared.

It’s an enthusiasm that hasn’t let up for 53 years.

So a tip of the cap to those (Sid, Buddy) who aren’t here to see the latest run for the coveted Roll Call Trophy. And another tip of the cap to those who still are (Joe, Skip, Kassy, Tim and many more) and who make this game what it is. Play ball.

 

Related:

Congressional Baseball Game Helps D.C. Adults Get Second Chance at Washington Literacy Center

Joseph Crowley Savors Diamond Memories From Congressional Baseball Games

The Updated Staffer Guide to the Congressional Baseball Game

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame

Vulnerable Members Hope There’s a Next Year for Their Congressional Baseball Careers

Joe Donnelly: From ‘The Sandlot’ to Nationals Park

Donnelly, left, and Rep. Tim Ryan share a moment during warmups at the 50th annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donnelly, left, and Rep. Tim Ryan share a moment during warmups at the 50th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s 1960 and a young boy is tossing a baseball with his dad in the backyard, dreaming of playing in the outfield for the New York Yankees one day, just like his idol Mickey Mantle.

Fast-forward 54 years and that same boy is playing in the outfield at Nationals Park. But he isn’t a professional ballplayer. He’s a U.S. senator.

Sen. Joe Donnelly will take the field at Nationals Parks for the eighth time Wednesday, as an outfielder for the Democrats in the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. “If I could do one thing every day, it would be to be out playing ball,” Donnelly told CQ Roll Call. Full story

June 24, 2014

Anthony Weiner Suggests Cutting Adam Kuhn a Break

Sex scandal vet Anthony Weiner seems to believe Adam Kuhn, the disgraced ex-chief of staff who tendered his resignation Tuesday to Rep. Steve Stivers after an affair imploded and private photos found their way online, is getting a raw deal.

“Leave the kid alone,” the former New York Democrat urged HOH, and, presumably, the rest of the world, after we sought out his advice for weathering a potentially career-ending dalliance.

As first reported by POLITICO, Kuhn’s personal and professional lives collided last week after his still-married ex-girlfriend, retired porn star Jennifer Roubenes Allbaugh, sought revenge for his leaving her by broadcasting a snapshot of his penis online.

The picture has since been deleted and her Twitter account (@rubyadultstar) disabled.

But the remnants of the devastating spat live on.

 

Full story

Friends to the End — Can Congressional Leaders Overcome?

Never mind what that bitter old grump President Harry Truman said about folks in Washington having to turn to pets for genuine affection.

A chain of obviously uncomfortable congressional leaders Tuesday proved once again that friendship is the only ship you just can’t sink.

The question is: who embodies the spirit of camaraderie better?

House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., gently swaying together during the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony?

Or Girl Scout Troop 16108 from Eden Prairie, Minn.?

We choose to believe they’re all besties.

White House Intern Faints at Press Briefing (Video)

A White House intern fainted at the end of a press briefing Tuesday, one day after Press Secretary Josh Earnest took over the position Jay Carney held for three years.

According to the White House pool report, it was the intern’s first day on the job.

Wisconsin Candidate Goes to Bat With Baseball Ad

youtu.be/cvNL0VMQg34

As members of Congress suit up for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, one congressional candidate is using America’s pastime to appeal to voters.

Wisconsin state Rep. Duey Stroebel is running in a contested Republican primary in the state’s 6th District, which was vacated when Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., announced his retirement.

Stroebel showcased his family in the 30-second spot released last week, and said he and his wife have used baseball to teach their children important life lessons. Full story

Vulnerable Members Hope There’s a Next Year for Their Congressional Baseball Careers

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Play every game as if it was your last,” says every manager worth his weight in sunflower seeds. And for a handful of members, the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game will be their last if they don’t win re-election later this year.

“This can’t be my last game. I still have at least a dozen hometown high school jerseys I need to wear,” joked Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell. After knocking off long-time Democratic Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark in California’s 15th District in 2012, Swalwell was vulnerable to a challenge from another aspiring Democrat.

Swalwell caught a break in the primary earlier this month, though, and now the 33-year-old, one-time soccer recruit at the University of Maryland is the prohibitive favorite in the fall in a very Democratic Bay Area district.

Other members aren’t quite as fortunate.

Illinois Republican Rep. Rodney Davis is in the middle of the trifecta of congressional danger. He fended off a well-funded primary challenger in March, but is now one of Democrats’ top general election takeover targets. Even more challenging is the fact that he must face Democrats’ star pitcher, Louisiana Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, in the quest for the coveted Roll Call trophy.

Even though Davis went 0-for-2 against Richmond last year, a re-election loss by the 44-year-old No. 3 hitter to former Madison County Judge Ann Callis in the 13th District would be a blow to the Republican squad.

“I might have to leave practice a little early for an event, but that happens regardless of whether you’re in a competitive race or not,” Davis explained. “Rand Paul is playing and practically running for president,” he said with a laugh, talking about Kentucky’s junior senator/outfielder.

Rep. Jack Kingston is giving up his Georgia House seat to run for Senate. “I probably need practice more than anyone out there,” Kingston said. “Fortunately, most of the guys know what I’m going through.” He finished second in the GOP primary a month ago, and faces businessman David Perdue in the runoff a month from now. If he wins the nomination, Kingston will face a competitive general election against Democrat Michelle Nunn.

“[The game] is a great diversion from the barbecues, phone calls, debates and forums,” Kingston said.

A handful of other members face re-election races of varying degrees of difficulty.

Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is in the middle of a competitive primary with Weston Wamp, son of former Rep. Zach Wamp — a one-time shortstop of the Republican team and the 2013 inductee into the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame. Fleischmann defeated Weston Wamp in the 2012 primary, but they’ll face off again on Aug. 7.

GOP Rep. Steve Pearce represents a growing Hispanic population in New Mexico’s 2nd District. His opponent, former Eddy County Commissioner Roxanne “Rocky” Lara, raised more than $700,000 through the end of March and has been named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program, but Pearce is still favored to win at this point.

Rep. Bill Johnson is also favored to win his race with former Democratic state legislator Jennifer Garrison, but his Ohio district is competitive. For now, his biggest challenge might be Richmond.

“I’ve never had a chance to come to the plate against him,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to having that chance this year.” Johnson has been a part of the Republicans’ “fielding team” in the past, but he should get some at-bats this year when the GOP squad shifts its strategy away from equal playing time for all.

At least one member is playing in his first and likely last game. Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister was elected to Congress in a November special election, and is waffling on whether he’ll seek re-election after a scandal.

California Rep. David Valadao made his congressional baseball debut in 2013. He is not playing in this year’s game, but an aide said the GOP congressman’s tough re-election contest was not a deciding factor. His opponent, Democrat and former Debbie Stabenow chief of staff Amanda Renteria, played softball at Stanford University and could be a force in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game — and potentially the baseball game, if she wins in November.

On the Democratic side, it looks like manager Mike Doyle will have his winning roster largely intact for at least another three years. One of Doyle’s best players should also be one of his most vulnerable, but Republicans failed to recruit a top-tier challenger against Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy.

“Nothing in life is easy or guaranteed, except when Cedric Richmond is on the mound,” Murphy said, comparing baseball to running for re-election. “Campaigning is definitely more challenging, but the game is something I look forward to.” Murphy has proved to be a prolific fundraiser and he is one of a handful of Democrats endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Timothy H. Bishop could be vulnerable, depending on the outcome of the incredibly bitter Republican primary in New York’s 1st District. And Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz starts as the heavy favorite over Republican state Assemblyman Brian Nestande in California’s 36th District.

Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley is in a competitive race for the Senate, but he bowed out of this year’s game with an apparent shoulder injury.

For weeks, both teams have been battling weather and election calendars in order to practice. “I missed two weeks because of the primary,” Doyle said. He won with 84 percent and resisted the temptation to donate to Keystone State colleague Bill Shuster’s tea-party-fueled primary challenger. Shuster, usually a solid Republican hitter, won his primary with 53 percent.

Doyle has experienced the pain of losing good players to electoral defeat (Ohio Rep. John Boccieri in the 2010 wave, in particular), but is enjoying his talented roster and superstar players because it wasn’t always this way.

“I lived through the Steve Largent years,” Doyle said.

Get your tickets to the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

 

Related:

Congressional Baseball Game Helps D.C. Adults Get Second Chance at Washington Literacy Center

Joseph Crowley Savors Diamond Memories From Congressional Baseball Games

The Updated Staffer Guide to the Congressional Baseball Game

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame

 

DC Toques Mix Things Up for Charity

Local tastemakers are scheduled to take a crack at custom cocktail creation Thursday during a “Chefs Behind Bars” fundraiser benefitting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

The debut competition is expected to take over the Liaison Capitol Hill’s rooftop deck (415 New Jersey Ave. NW) from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets to the glitzy evening — admission is $40 per person, and includes featured cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres — may be purchased via NoKidHungry.org/Events.

Chefs tasked with whipping up crowd-pleasing tipples include:

  • Alba Osteria’s Amy Brandwein (anticipated contribution: “Peaches & Herbs,” blending together peaches, infused whiskey and herbs)
  • Art and Soul’s Wes Morton
  • Bar Pilar’s Jesse Miller
  • Bibiana’s Nick Stefanelli
  • Cave Mezze’s Dmitri Moshovitis (anticipated contribution: “Melåni,” muddling together Grey Goose vodka, harissa syrup, St-Germain liqueur, lemon, mint and squid ink syrup)
  • Liberty Tavern/Lyon Hall/Northside Social’s Matt Hill
  • Pabu’s Jonah Kim
  • Sunnyside Restaurant Group founder Spike Mendelsohn (anticipated contribution: “Diamond Brady,” a gin-oyster shot spiked with chili-infused bourbon, sherry vinegar and brined egg yolk)

The chefs will be competing for both critical approval (seasoned drinks slingers Derek Brown, Gina Chersevani and Duane Sylvester will join a handful of restaurant writers in passing judgment) as well as general love (people’s choice award). Full story

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