Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2015

April 17, 2015

Context for Facebook Chatter About Presidential Candidates

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Millions of people have talked about the presidential contenders on Facebook as they officially launch campaigns. But despite some gaudy numbers, context and limits of the data cast doubt on the impact Facebook conversations will have on the race.

In the 24 hours surrounding Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s Monday speech in Miami announcing his bid for the GOP nomination, 695,000 people on Facebook in the United States generated 1.3 million interactions (likes, posts, comments, shares) related to the senator and his announcement. That’s according to information provided by Facebook Policy Communications Manager Andy Stone, who also is an alumni of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and House Majority PAC.

Full story

April 16, 2015

The What Ifs of the 2016 GOP Presidential Race

If Jeb Bush doesn’t win any of the first four GOP contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — does that eliminate him from the Republican race? Or does he have the staying power to survive those losses?

If Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finishes first in the Iowa caucuses, does that all but eliminate hopefuls such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Ben Carson from the race?

Full story

April 14, 2015

The Young and the Restless of 2016

Elections 2016

Paul is one of three GOP senators in their first terms running for president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Once upon a time, presidential candidates were expected to have more than passing experience in government, as well as the maturity and wisdom that sometimes come with age. But that has changed, apparently.

Barack Obama was in the United States Senate for only two years before he began his bid for the presidency and had only four years of service in Congress when he was sworn in as president. He was just 47 years old at the time.

This year, the trend toward youth and/or inexperience has continued. Full story

April 13, 2015

Elder Members Aren’t the Only Ones to Retire

Elections 2016

Miller announced her retirement in March. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The usual way to identify potential House retirements is to pick out the oldest members of each caucus. But that strategy misses an entire crop of potential exits, because the most senior members aren’t the only ones to call it quits.

When 88-year-old Michigan Democrat John D. Dingell retired from the House last year, after 29 terms, he didn’t catch a lot of people by surprise. New York Democrat Charles B. Rangel, 84, announced before the last election that this term, his 23rd, will be his last. And the only thing surprising about 77-year-old California Democrat Lois Capps’ retirement announcement last week was that it didn’t come sooner. Full story

By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 11:30 a.m.
House

April 10, 2015

Wyden Looks Safe, but Democratic Rift Is Real

Elections 2016

Wyden speaks with reporters as he arrives for the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Dec. 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Liberal groups have targeted Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden for defeat in next year’s elections unless he sides with them on upcoming trade deals. But any talk about the four-term Democrat’s vulnerability is premature until there is a challenger.

“Secretive Trade Deal Could Pose Problems At Home For Ron Wyden,” a rather alarming Huffington Post headline declared in February. The corresponding story appears to be based on a poll paid for by Democracy for America and a press release circulated to create doubt about the senator’s re-election bid. But the structure of the survey unfortunately doesn’t measure Wyden’s vulnerability.

Full story

April 8, 2015

RSLC Presents GOP State Level Gains Out of Context

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This week’s effort to mislead, hoodwink and generally pull the wool over our eyes comes courtesy of the Republican State Leadership Committee. “Blue States Bleeding Red” was written by RSLC President Matt Walter and appeared on Townhall.com Sunday.

Republicans made great gains at the state and local levels in 2010 and 2014, and that certainly gives the RSLC and other party groups the right to brag about those results. But what they don’t have is the right to lead readers to faulty conclusions.

Full story

April 7, 2015

Open Florida Senate Seat Moves to Pure Tossup

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to announce his presidential campaign on April 13 in Miami, improving Democratic prospects for a takeover in the Sunshine State’s 2016 Senate contest.

The race would still have been competitive if Rubio opted to seek a second term — we had it rated as Tossup/Tilt Republican. Without him, it’s difficult to give the GOP a distinguishable advantage. No Republican has won more than 50 percent of the vote in a Florida Senate race since Connie Mack’s re-election in 1994. Full story

April 2, 2015

How Reid Reacted When a Republican Senator Was Indicted

After New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted on corruption charges Wednesday, Minority Leader Harry Reid’s reaction to his colleague’s situation wasn’t particularly surprising, but it’s not because Menendez is a fellow Democrat.

“I appreciate Senator Menendez’s willingness to temporarily step down as ranking member,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement. “He has been a consistent champion for the middle class. Full story

March 31, 2015

Jeb Bush Can’t Be Nominated. Or Can He?

Elections 2016

Bush poses with Frank Piedad, 7, during an event with Thom Tillis, then-Republican candidate for Senate, at Illuminating Technologies Inc., in Greensboro, N.C., September 24, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are plenty of reasons to believe Jeb Bush, the former two-term governor of Florida, son of a former president and brother of another former president, cannot win the 2016 Republican nomination.

The problem for those of us who report on and analyze elections dispassionately is there are also plenty of reasons why Bush can and will win the GOP nomination. The tricky part is trying to figure out how decisive and predictive is each reason, positive and negative. Full story

March 30, 2015

Does Duckworth Change the Math in Illinois or Nationally?

Elections 2016

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you care about politics at all, you probably know Rep. Tammy Duckworth has entered the Illinois Senate race. She hopes to be the Democratic nominee against first-term GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk next year, though other Democrats are said to be looking at bids.

The Senate candidacy of the 47-year-old Democrat and Iraq War veteran, who is in her second term in Congress, has generated plenty of attention. That’s understandable, given that she has many assets as a Senate candidate and would be a formidable foe for Kirk, a moderate Republican in a very Democratic state. Full story

March 27, 2015

Democrats Start With Narrow Advantage in Nevada

Elections 2016

Reid announced plans Friday to retire at the end of his term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s planned retirement ensures Nevada will host a top-tier Senate race in 2016.

Reid’s announcement doesn’t expand the map for Republicans, since the Democrat was considered vulnerable for re-election to a sixth term. But the open seat is likely to be an expensive and competitive race until the end.

Full story

By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 11:26 a.m.
Nevada, Senate

March 24, 2015

Indiana Senate Race Is No Longer Safe

Coats would have been a safe bet for re-election, but is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Sen. Dan Coats’ retirement creates a takeover opportunity in Indiana next year. But Democrats will likely need some breaks to move the race from a potential gain to a top-tier contest.

Coats would have started the race as a clear favorite for re-election, but now that he is retiring, his open seat could become competitive. We’re shifting The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating of the Indiana Senate race from Safe Republican to Favored Republican until the candidate fields on start to take shape. The new rating reflects both the state’s fundamental bent and the lack of a proven incumbent.

Full story

It’s Early: Why Pundits Shouldn’t Overreact

Elections 2016

Dean, seen here in 2003, was inevitable as the nominee. Until he wasn’t. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The reviews are in after the first game of spring training: Hillary Rodham Clinton struck out. Or at best, she hit a slow roller to second base and was thrown out by a mile.

She’s toast. It’s over for her. She has handled the email controversy like an amateur. The former secretary of State is old hat. She’s yesterday’s news. What a disaster. Democrats need to find someone else.

Welcome to the world of instant analysis and premature conclusions.

Full story

March 23, 2015

Schilling Considering Special Election for Schock Seat

Elections 2016

(J.M. Rieger/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling hasn’t closed the door on running in the special election to replace embattled Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, according to a knowledgeable GOP source.

State Sen. Darin LaHood of Peoria is the early front-runner in the forthcoming Republican primary, but Schilling represented part of Illinois’ 18th District during his time in Congress and could bring some name identification to the race. Full story

March 19, 2015

Lopach Leads March Toward Democratic Senate Majority

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Smoke billowed out of Ted Kennedy’s living room fireplace as donors gathered in his D.C. home for a fundraiser, though the legendary senator was still on the Hill for votes.

But that wasn’t too much for Tom Lopach.

“I don’t know anyone, my house is on fire and my husband is gone,” Vicki Kennedy, the senator’s wife, recalled recently. “But Tom was totally unflappable. He just had the caterers serving hors d’oeuvres out front.” Full story

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