House races

House races

Rep. Linder's top staffer wins primary for his seat

The former chief of staff to retiring Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.) won the GOP primary runoff Tuesday, securing 55 percent of the vote.

Rob Woodall was declared the winner of the 7th district runoff by the Associated Press. He faced radio host Jody Hice, who come in second in the July primary. 

Hice, a former minister, stirred controversy during the race with a billboard campaign referencing President Obama. The billboards asked, "Had enough of Obama's change?" The “c” in the word change was replaced with a hammer and sickle. 

Linder officially endorsed Woodall in April. 

Support of the Fair Tax turned out to be a major issue in the primary, even though every one of the Republicans running voiced support for it. The candidates squabbled over who was the strongest backer of the tax proposal, which is based on consumption rather than income.

Linder co-authored a book on the Fair Tax with conservative radio host Neal Boortz.  

Woodall is expected to retain the seat in November.

--Shane D'Aprile contributed to this post. 


Rep. Graves win Georgia House runoff

Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) won his forth election in three months to secure former Rep. Nathan Deal's (R-Ga.) House seat. 

Graves took 56 percent of the vote to 44 for state Sen. Lee Hawkins (R) in the 9th district GOP primary runff. With 193 of 205 precincts reporting, the Associated Press declared him the winner.

Graves won the seat in the special election runoff in June after topping the field in the original vote in May. He then faced a primary to run on the GOP nomination in November. He finished with just shy of the 50 percent needed to win the July 20 primary outright. 

Graves has had strong backing from area Tea Party groups and won the endorsement of the Club for Growth.

Deal left his seat in March to focus on his gubernatorial bid.

Graves is expected to hold the heavily-Republican district in November.

--Updated at 9:44 p.m.


Rep. Kilroy on Rangel: He doesn't see it the way we do in Ohio

Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio) was not enamored with Rep. Charles Rangel's (D-N.Y.) lengthy speech on the floor of the House Tuesday defending himself against allegations of corruption from the House ethics committee.

Kilroy is one of nearly a dozen Democratic House members to call on Rangel to resign his seat in Congress in light of the charges. Most of those calls have been from Democrats such as Kilroy who face tough Republican challenges this fall.

"I think he deserves a date before the ethics committee," Kilroy said. "To the extent it took him an hour to say that…" 

Rangel spoke for just over 31 minutes Tuesday, but for the Democrats Rangel chastised for calling on him to resign, it probably felt like an hour. 

"You're not going to tell me to resign to make you comfortable," Rangel said. He defiantly vowed to remain in office, practically daring the House to expel him. 

"I am not going away," Rangel said. "I am here." 

Kilroy said while Rangel is entitled to fight, "He doesn't see it the way we do in Ohio."


Melancon questions Vitter's honesty in first TV ad

Louisiana Senate candidate Charlie Melancon (D) spent a modest amount on his first TV ad, which started airing Tuesday.

The ad is mostly introductory, but it slams Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) for being dishonest.

"I'm Charlie Melancon, and I approved this message because David Vitter hasn't been honest with Louisiana," the congressman says in the ad.

It's a $115,000 ad buy -- with two-thirds going toward broadcast TV -- that will air through Aug. 16, according to a Republican strategist who tracks Democratic ad buys. The ad isn't running in the Democratic stronghold of New Orleans or in Baton Rouge.

The ad also emphasizes Melancon's willingness to work with the GOP.

"I'm a pro-life, pro-gun Louisiana Democrat," he says in the 30-second spot. "I've been a businessman most of my life. And my philosophy is simple. When it comes to fixin' this economy and protectin' your family, I'll work with anyone, if it's the right thing to do for Louisiana."


Two vulnerable Arizona Dems want Senate back to tackle border security

Democratic Arizona Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Ann Kirkpatrick both called Tuesday on the Senate to interrupt its summer recess to pass a bill that approves another $600 million for border security.

Both members are likely to face tough Republican opponents this fall and have been grappling with immigration and border-security issues in their districts. 

On the House floor Tuesday, Giffords said residents in her district "are sick and tired of all the partisan bickering and political games around securing the U.S.-Mexican border."

Giffords assailed the Senate for not acting on the issue saying, "The senate needs to come back and deal with this issue."

Her likely Republican opponent, state Sen. Jonathan Paton, has made immigration the top issue of his campaign and has labeled Giffords soft on enforcement. Giffords has countered with an intense focus on border security. 

In a statement Tuesday, Rep. Kirkpatrick echoed Giffords's call, noting that the House rushed back into session this week to pass a $26 billion state aid proposal. 

“Senators need to follow our lead, return to Washington and take fast action to help secure the border," Kirkpatrick said. "This process has been much slower than it should have been, and we should not have to wait until September to strengthen our security — we must start putting more manpower and resources in action now."

The Senate must take up the bill again when it returns from the August recess.  


Rangel and Waters downplay race as factor in ethics probes

Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) both downplayed the role of race in the separate House ethics committee investigations they're facing. 

In comments to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Waters said, "I am clear that if this gets obscured with any other argument before we get our facts out, we don’t stand a chance because people will say we’re hiding behind race or something."

She continued: "So, I think what has to happen is the charges have to be clear, we have to have our day in court and then let’s deal with the process and how the system is working or not working."

“Do I believe the case is racially motivated? No. So, I’d like to acknowledge my reelection, which I’m concentrating on,” Rangel said in separate comments to the NNPA. 

Rangel is charged with 13 separate violations of House ethics rules. And the ethics committee charged Waters on Monday with violating three counts of House rules and federal ethics codes for her 2008 effort to direct bailout funds to a bank in which her husband held significant stock.

Both Rangel and Waters will likely have to endure two public ethics trials in September in what would be a major distraction for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. 

Some members of the Congressional Black Caucus have suggested race may have played a role in the cases brought against Waters and Rangel. But Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), a member of the ethics committee and the CBC, threw cold water on that suggestion last week.

—Jordan Fabian contributed to this post.


Jeb Bush cuts web ad for Florida House candidate

As part of his increasingly active campaign schedule, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) cut a web ad for one of the Republicans vying to challenge Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.).

Bush appeared in the 30-second spot for former state senator Dan Webster (R), after endorsing him last month. 

The country faces challenges, Bush says in the ad. "I can think of no one better prepared to meet those challenges than Dan Webster."

Webster is one of seven Republicans competing in the Aug. 24 primary to face Grayson. Bush said in July he has no plans to run for president in 2012. But he has become increasingly active campaigning for candidates around the country.


Dick Morris to stump for Rep. Space opponent

Former Bill Clinton advisor turned Fox News commentator Dick Morris will headline a campaign event for Republican congressional candidate Bob Gibbs in Ohio later this month.  

Morris will host a fundraiser for Gibbs, who's challenging Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) this fall.      

Morris told The Hill he has plans to campaign for some 40 Republican congressional candidates in 2010. Morris has already stumped for Republican candidates in a handful of states including Arkansas, Colorado and Virginia. 

"This is the first year that I have done this kind of campaigning, but I think it is vitally important that we make huge changes in the Congressional elections of 2010," Morris said in an email. 

Morris said he has trips planned to at least seven additional states including Illinois, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia. 


It's not about the parties in race for Rep. Tanner's seat

The race for retiring Rep. John Tanner’s (D-Tenn.) seat will blur the distinction of party labels. 

The Republican nominee, Stephen Fincher, was attacked by his primary opponents for accepting millions in government farm subsidies and voting in Democratic primaries. 

Meanwhile, the Democratic nominee, state Sen. Roy Herron (D), released a bio TV ad Thursday night that defines him as a “truck-driving, shotgun-shooting, bible-reading, crime-fighting, family-loving country boy.” He doesn't mention he's a Democrat.