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July 23, 2014

Posts in "GOP Primaries"

June 23, 2014

Jockeying Begins for Republican Study Committee (Updated)

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Mulvaney is among the lawmakers mounting a bid for the Republican Study Committee chairmanship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:58 p.m. | Two high-profile GOP leadership races have just ended, but a new one’s just getting started.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana was elected on June 19 to ascend to the majority whip’s office on Aug. 1, which means the Republican Study Committee will have an opening for a new chairman — and ambitious candidates hoping to emerge as the House’s next conservative leader are ready to start campaigning. Full story

June 16, 2014

Roskam-Scalise Whip Race Heats Up, Gets Ugly

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From left, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., Roskam, R-Ill., and Scalise, R-La., talk earlier this year. Scalise and Roskam are now rivals for the house whip post. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The two front-runners in the race to become the next House majority whip spent the weekend shoring up support with potential allies — and, through staff, taking swipes at each other.

A source close to Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, in an emailed memo to CQ Roll Call, said the 90-plus members in the House who have pledged to vote for the Illinois Republican are “rock solid,” while Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise’s numbers are “soft” and “all over the place since Thursday — at 100, 120, over 100, etc. etc.

“No one wants a whip who can’t count,” the source continued, “and no one wants a whip who overpromises and under-delivers.” Full story

June 12, 2014

Pelosi Hopeful as Cantor Exits: ‘Whole New Ballgame’ (Video)

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Pelosi says she’s optimistic after Cantor’s ouster. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pretended to hold a baseball at the microphones on Thursday morning during her weekly press conference, reiterating her characterization of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Tuesday primary defeat as creating “a whole new ballgame.”

The California Democrat said she’s hopeful that the House can tackle issues like an immigration overhaul, despite concerns that Cantor’s departure will drive House Republicans further to the right, making compromise less likely.

“Under the current leadership in the Republican side, we’ve had a shutdown of government, we have not passed immigration, we have not passed the Voting Rights Act which has always been bipartisan,” Pelosi said. “I don’t know how things can get worse than the obstruction that is already here.”

Full story

June 11, 2014

Cantor Loss ‘Was a 10 on the Stun Scale’

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Israel was among those stunned by the Cantor loss. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’m giving a speech. I have no time for jokes,” Steve Israel told Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward when she emailed to suggest there were signs something was happening in Virginia’s 7th District.

It was 7:15 p.m. and Israel had just left an event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He passed Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as she arrived.

The New York Democrat was on his way to address the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, and Ward flagged that with 30 percent of the primary vote in, it seemed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor might be in peril. He wasn’t interested. Polls, after all, had just closed.trans Cantor Loss Was a 10 on the Stun Scale

Full story

June 10, 2014

Boehner Statement on Cantor’s Defeat

House GOP leaders weren’t expecting Majority Leader Eric Cantor to lose his primary Tuesday night against Tea Party-backed challenger Dave Brat, so nobody had statements ready when the race was called shortly after 8 p.m.

Reflections on the Virginia Republican’s defeat only began to filter in during the very late hours of the evening.

All were brief, free of political rancor for Brat and of any hints at personal ambitions to climb the ranks with the House’s No. 2 GOP lawmaker out of the picture in the 114th Congress.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., widely considered to now be angling for Cantor’s job, said “every single Member of this conference is indebted to Eric’s graciousness and leadership.”

Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., called Cantor “a great friend and colleague.”

Perhaps the most revealing assessment of the evening’s turn of events came from Speaker John A. Boehner. Earlier, he exited from a local Italian restaurant and declined to speak with reporters who were waiting for him.

Full story

Eric Cantor’s Defeat Was in the Immigration Tea Leaves (Video)

Many immigration advocates thought Eric Cantor’s expected primary victory against his challenger opposed to an immigration overhaul would embolden the House majority leader to put an immigration bill on the floor this summer.

That theory, or at least that closely held hope, was obliterated Tuesday evening, as the Virginia Republican suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of university professor Dave Brat.

The tea leaves for Cantor’s fate might have been read by the most prescient political observers two weeks ago in his home district of Richmond, where Brat held a press conference on the steps of the state capitol building to denounce the House’s No. 2 Republican for having the “most liberal” record on immigration of any sitting GOP lawmaker in Congress.

“Eric Cantor has been the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for amnesty,” said Brat on May 28 to half a dozen reporters, referencing Cantor’s stated support for overhauling the nation’s immigration system and providing a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants, especially those brought into the country illegally by their parents.

“There is no Republican in this country,” Brat continued, “who is more liberal on immigration than Eric Cantor.” Full story

May 28, 2014

On Immigration, the Pressure Mounts for Eric Cantor

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The pressure is on for Cantor, as political factions from both sides of the aisle clamor for action on immigration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

RICHMOND, Va. — Political forces from the left and the right gathered at the Virginia state Capitol Wednesday with a shared objective: Ratchet up the immigration pressure on Eric Cantor.

On one side were the pro-immigration activists — led by an Illinois Democrat — calling for the House majority leader to at least allow legislation an up-or-down vote. On the other was a political rival all-too-ready to hang the word “amnesty” around the Virginia Republican’s neck.

In the middle of the debate, walking a political tightrope with less than two weeks to go before a closely-watched primary and as the clock steadily ticks down on the 113th Congress, is Cantor.

“We have come here to say … stop being an obstacle. Stop standing in the way,” said Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a leader in the national fight to pass an immigration overhaul bill who was invited to speak at Wednesday’s event by the group CASA de Virginia. “Become a hero of our community and become someone who can help the tens of thousands of Virginians who need help because of this broken immigration system.”

Half an hour earlier, Cantor’s June 10 primary opponent David Brat held a brief outdoor news conference on the steps of the building, where he had a different perspective on Cantor.

“Eric Cantor has been the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for amnesty,” Brat told a half-dozen reporters. “Eric Cantor has spearheaded the amnesty push in the House. … There is no Republican in this country who is more liberal on immigration than Eric Cantor.”

Conservatives’ biggest turncoat? Immigration’s most stubborn opponent?

It wouldn’t seem Cantor could be both, but the No. 2 Republican in the House has tripped alarms on both sides of the sprawling, complicated and emotional debate in recent weeks. Full story

May 21, 2014

Broun, Gingrey Leaving Conservative Hole in House

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Broun, above, and Gingrey didn’t make the Georgia Senate runoff, so they’ll be going home at the end of this session. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The defeat of tea-party-aligned candidates in primaries across the country was a disappointment to conservatives, but perhaps nowhere will the hard-right suffer more from the establishment “Super Tuesday” sweep than in Georgia.

Two conservative House members now know for sure their Capitol Hill careers will expire at the end of this year.

Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey are perhaps two of the most committed conservatives in the House, and — both doctors by trade — two of the staunchest critics of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

“It’s going to be a big void to fill. You couldn’t have asked for more from Congressman Broun. He’s been there with conservatives on every single issue,” said Dan Holler, spokesman for Heritage Action for America. “Gingrey’s been right there too. We’re losing two very, very good members of the House.”

Full story

May 20, 2014

Republicans Buck Heritage Action and Advance Water Resources Bill

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Gingrey, R-Ga., was one of many Republicans who voted for the conference report. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Heritage Action strongly recommended  “no” votes on a major reauthorization of water infrastructure projects around the country; on Tuesday, few members heeded the advice.

The bipartisan, bicameral conference report for the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, or WRRDA, passed on the House floor in an overwhelming 412-4 vote.

The holdouts — GOP Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Matt Salmon of Arizona — all have high scorecards with Heritage Action and represent the most conservative factions of the House Republican Conference.

Full story

May 14, 2014

Texas Republican Steve Stockman May Face FEC Probe

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Stockman (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Outgoing Rep. Steve Stockman may face legal action from the Federal Elections Commission over failure to pay back political donations after his loss to Sen. John Cornyn in the Texas Republican Senatorial primary.

Stockman reportedly received $5,000 from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s political action committee, earmarked specifically for use in the 2014 general election, not the primary. But since Stockman did not win his Senate primary and will not be running again for his House seat, FEC rules require that he return the money before he dissolves his campaign committee.

Stockman was sent two letters by the FEC last week noting that he cannot terminate his campaign arm, Friends of Congressman Steve Stockman, until he settles up. Full story

April 24, 2014

Curt Clawson Would Make 50 Richest in Congress List

Curt Clawson, the self-funding businessman who won Tuesday’s Republican primary scramble to replace former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla. (cocaine scandal), would be among the richest members of Congress if he wins the GOP-leaning Florida district in the special election June 24.

Clawson is a former college basketball star (during his campaign, he challenged President Barack Obama to a shooting contest) and manufacturing executive who spent most of the last decade running the world’s largest maker of aluminum auto wheels.

He loaned $2.65 million to his own campaign, according to his pre-primary Federal Election Report.

According to financial disclosures, the automotive CEO, who consistently cast himself as the Washington “outsider” during his campaign, has a minimum net worth of more than $13 million, which would place him in the middle of the pack on Roll Call’s most recent “50 Richest” list. Full story

April 10, 2014

Breaking Down the 12 Republican ‘No’ Votes on the Ryan Budget (Updated)

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Broun joined 11 other Republicans voting against the Ryan budget. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 3:51 p.m. | This year saw more Republicans than ever vote against Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan’s spending blueprint, which passed the House Thursday 219-205. Here is a breakdown of the 12 Republicans who voted against the Wisconsin Republican’s budget and why.

Full story

February 27, 2014

Tea Party Pointing Fingers at GOP Leadership, 5 Years In

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Rick Santelli rant heard ’round the world five years ago is credited with starting the tea party, and if you ask Republicans in Congress, the conservative movement has a mixed legacy.

“There’s a reality that we have a president that is further left than any president we’ve ever had in history, and there’s a reality that Harry Reid is a compliant, willing accomplice of the president to accomplish his agenda,” Rep. Michele Bachmann told CQ Roll Call. “So knowing that, I think the tea party is doing as well as it can.”

The Minnesota Republican founded and is still serving as chairwoman of Congress’ Tea Party Caucus, but she is calling it quits this year instead of seeking re-election.

Bachmann identified the 2010 election as “clearly” the “high-water mark” for the movement: “The tea party was responsible for removing the gavel from Nancy Pelosi’s hands and putting it in John Boehner’s hand and making him speaker. That effectively put the brakes on the Obama agenda in a very forthright way.”

But five years in, the political movement is not easy to evaluate. Among the sentiments we heard from Republican lawmakers as we assessed the tea party over the past week were that it’s been successful, that it’s pushed legislative change on spending issues, that it’s still experiencing growing pains, and even that it’s “dangerous.”

Full story

February 24, 2014

Running for Senate … and Away From Boehner

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McCarthy, center, booted Cassidy, right, from the House GOP whip team for breaking with leaders during a vote on a Democratic flood insurance bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy was relieved of his Republican leadership role earlier this month, but instead of taking it as a dishonor, he celebrated.

Cassidy’s Senate campaign — he’s running to unseat Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu — dispatched a press release the next week vaunting an Associated Press story about House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California booting him from the whip team for breaking with GOP leaders and voting for a Democratic flood insurance bill.

It may seem counterintuitive for someone seeking higher office to boast about being bumped down the totem pole, but not this election year.

Cassidy is just one example of GOP congressmen distancing themselves from their leaders to inoculate themselves against bruising Republican primary attacks or to better position themselves in the general elections pivotal to deciding control of the Senate. Full story

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