Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 26, 2015

January 23, 2015

First Race Ratings for Gubernatorial Contests Revealed

Elections 2016

Vitter will run for governor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With a wide-open race for the White House and the Senate majority in play in 2016, it can be hard to make the case to donors that gubernatorial races belong in the conversation.

But that’s not dissuading some partisan strategists — or the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, which revealed its first race ratings for these contests Friday.  Full story

DCCC Chairman Says Majority Is ‘Definitely Going to Be in Play.’ Really?

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the wake of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján declared the House majority would be up for grabs in 2016.

But the initial political reality isn’t quite so simple. Full story

January 21, 2015

Why Hillary Clinton Should Fear Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Hillary Rodham Clinton does not run for president in 2016, I’d certainly put my money on Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic nomination. And I think Warren might be able to give Clinton a run for her money if the freshman senator would challenge the former secretary of State.

No point in speculating about a Warren candidacy anymore, you think? Yes, the Massachusetts Democrat has said that she isn’t running a number of times, most recently in a Fortune interview. Why not simply take her at her word? Full story

January 16, 2015

When a House Member Should Retire

Rothenberg Political Report

Gibson announced his retirement Jan. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you’re a member of Congress thinking about retiring, you might want to spend some time listening to Kenny Rogers.

“You gotta know when to hold’em. Know when to fold’em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run,” sang the country music legend in his 1978 song, “The Gambler.” Full story

January 15, 2015

Why Democrats Can’t Count on Voters Blaming a ‘Republican Congress’

Rothenberg Political Report

When voters are unhappy, they are much more likely to take out their anger on the sitting president than on Congress, Rothenberg writes. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Most emails I receive are fundraising propaganda easily ignored, since they aren’t strong on accuracy or thoughtfulness. Instead, they merely seek to incite and anger — and to get people to open their checkbooks to stop the forces of evil.

But the Monday email I received from the Progressive Majority Action Fund, which defines itself as a “nonprofit advocacy group that helps turn grassroots activists into progressive champions,” wasn’t like that. It was a “messaging” memo to ask friends, and apparently journalists, to use the words “Republican Congress” each and every time they refer to Congress. Full story

January 13, 2015

Can Democrats Win the House in 2016?

Rothenberg Political Report

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats have a better chance of winning control of the House next year than they did at any time in 2014. That’s true even though they now need to gain 30 seats, almost twice what they needed last year.

No, I’m not suggesting Democrats will win the House in 2016. Far from it. Right now, you’d need a magnifying glass, probably even a microscope, to find the party’s chances of taking control. Full story

January 12, 2015

What Happened to The Rothenberg Political Report?

Rothenberg Political Report

Growing up, I wanted to be a professional baseball player, maybe a sportscaster if that didn’t work out. I didn’t know that being a political analyst was a viable occupation, or even an occupation at all.

In 1989, Stuart Rothenberg took over a small newsletter and built The Rothenberg Political Report into one of the most well-respected, nonpartisan publications in the country. After more than 13 years of working under and alongside Stu, I am excited to continue that legacy as editor and publisher. Full story

January 9, 2015

First Senate Race Ratings Revealed

For nearly two decades, The Rothenberg Political Report didn’t break down Senate races into nine detailed ratings categories 22 months out from the next election. That was an era when there was something called an “off-year” — and those days are gone.

For example, former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., began his challenge to GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey nearly two years ago. And some strategists argue Sestak never stopped running after he lost a close race to Toomey in 2010. Full story

January 8, 2015

Will Improving Economy Help Obama’s Case on Keystone?

Mitch McConnell

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Events matter in politics and, for a change, they potentially seem to offer a bit of aid and comfort to President Barack Obama in his upcoming battle with the Republican-controlled Congress.

After an impressive across-the-board victory that included a new Senate majority, gains to the party’s House majority and wins at the state legislative level, Republicans are poised to confront the White House over the Keystone XL pipeline. Full story

January 5, 2015

Can Jeb Bush Win the GOP Nomination?

Jeb Bush

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I was surprised at the steps that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has taken toward entering the GOP presidential race.

I expected family considerations and his aversion to a nasty and prolonged race for the nomination to keep him out of the contest. Certainly, he’d like to be president, and there are plenty of reasons to believe he could be a thoughtful leader. But does he really want to put himself and his family through the meat grinder of a presidential campaign? I was skeptical.

Full story

How a Freshman Rehearsed His Rant

Mike Bost

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Until recently, Republican Mike Bost was best known for his rant on the floor of the Illinois state House in 2012. But tomorrow, he’ll be sworn into the 114th Congress.

The incident on the Legislature’s floor was portrayed as an impromptu breaking point after years of oppression by the Democratic majority. The moment was supposed to doom Bost’s candidacy in the 12th District. But neither narrative was correct. Full story

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

January 2, 2015

Welcome to New York’s Sixth Special Election in Six Years

For political operatives, reporters and junkies there isn’t a more appropriate way to kick off a new year and new election cycle than a special election in New York.

Special elections in the Empire State have became a nearly-annual affair. And thanks to GOP Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s resignation, New York will host a sixth special election in as many years. Full story

December 18, 2014

Will Russ Feingold Be Haunted by Campaign Problems Past?

Russ Feingold

Can Feingold put together a credible challenge? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., isn’t ruling out trying to get his former seat back this cycle. But it’s unclear how good of a campaign he will run.

Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore told Roll Call’s Alexis Levinson last week she expects Feingold to wage a rematch against GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in 2016 and to clear the primary along the way. But in the wake of his loss in 2010, it became clear Feingold’s campaign suffered from some internal campaign strife, which factored into his failure to re-create the maverick magic of his previous victories.

Full story

December 15, 2014

Jury Duty in Today’s America

While most of America was still talking about what happened in Ferguson, Mo., and turning to law enforcement issues in Cleveland and Staten Island, New York, I spent the better part of the week of Dec. 1 in a courthouse in Rockville, Md.

I never expected to be selected to sit on a jury, let alone one where the defendant was charged with first degree rape. I also didn’t expect to hear some shocking information after the case ended.

No, my case did not involve a racially-charged act that tore apart a community. Though the rape was extremely violent, no lives were lost. There were no videos of the rape or of the police response, no national media attention to the case.

Still, as a member of a jury charged with determining guilt or innocence, I, like most members of juries and grand juries, felt an important responsibility to evaluate the evidence dispassionately and come to the correct conclusion. 

Full story

By Stuart Rothenberg Posted at 7:37 p.m.
Column

December 9, 2014

Democrats Abandoned Mary Landrieu in the Runoff. Does it Matter?

Ben Carson

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Party campaign committees are incumbent led and incumbent driven, so how important is it for the committees to support incumbents to the bitter end?

Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu lost re-election in Louisiana, 56 percent to 44 percent, to Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. But in the days running up to the race on Saturday, there was some criticism that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee didn’t do enough to help the senator.

After Landrieu finished first, but with just 42 percent, in the November jungle primary, the DSCC cancelled its television ad reservations for the runoff and never replaced them.

“I wish she had more air cover,” Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., told The Hill before the runoff. “I was there because she’s my friend, but more importantly she’s done an extraordinary job for the people of Louisiana, and you don’t abandon your friends when times get tough.” Full story

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