Meet Shira Toeplitz.
Roll Call reporter Shira Toeplitz has been clocking the miles as she covers some of the hotly contested Rust Belt races happening this election cycle. A seasoned election reporter, Toeplitz worked at POLITICO and National Journal before her tenure at Roll Call where she now covers redistricting and elections. Luckily, Shira had time to catch up with FamousDC in between campaign stops to give us a little insight to her newest project, Roll Call on the Road.
1. Why don’t we start with a little background. What is “Roll Call on the Road” and how did it get started?
“Roll Call on the Road” (ahem, #RCOnTheRoad) is the ultimate campaign road trip through the midwest. I got the idea in early summer when I was trying to figure out my fall election travel plans, and noticed many of these hot races were only a few hours from each other. Lucky for me, my kind CQ Roll Call bosses agreed!
2. What is your favorite part of being on the road?
I love seeing parts of America that I would never otherwise visit. For example, I spent Friday trailing Josh Mandel, the GOP’s nominee for Senate, all over the part of southeastern Ohio. Appalachia is often a loaded moniker, but the people were incredibly nice and the fall foliage was beautiful.
3. Best and worst food you’ve eaten so far?
Best? Pumpkin mini-donuts at the Circleville, Ohio Pumpkin Show on Friday night.
Worst? Anything that came in a wrapper that’s still on the floor of my rental car.
4. Top three races to watch outside of the presidential race?
1. Pennsylvania’s 12th district: Not only is it the most competitive race near my hometown of Pittsburgh, it’s also a fascinating contest. An anti-abortion, NRA-endorsed Democrat seeks re-election in a redrawn, GOP district.
2. Ohio Senate: I mean, it’s Ohio.
3 . California’s 30th district: Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman vs. Howard Berman. The local sheriff almost had to separate these guys in a recent debate. Crazy for two veteran Members who have served a combined 23 terms.
5. If Obama called wanting to kick it for a day, what would you guys do?
I love Chicago — the last stop on my trip. I’d recommend a trip to Wrigley Field for a baseball game, where he’d be forced to sit next to me for almost three hours while I asked him questions. With beer, of course..