Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2015

July 30, 2015

A Brief Electoral History of Recently Indicted Congressmen

Rep. Michael Grimm

It might be easy to scoff at Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania for talking about his re-election bid on the same day he faced a 29-count indictment on corruption charges, but the most recent members of the House to be indicted held their own at the ballot box, at least initially. The last two members of the House to be indicted won their next election.

After New York Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm was indicted in 2014, I wrote about how it reminded me of one of my worst mistakes as a political handicapper and how I didn’t want to repeat it. Apparently, I’m a slow learner.

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July 29, 2015

More Democratic Losses Could Be on the Horizon

Bevin, shown during his unsucessful Senate race in 2014, is far more popular in Kentucky than inside the Beltway. (CQ Roll Call File Photo by Tom Williams)

Bevin, shown during his unsuccessful Senate race in 2014, is more popular in Kentucky than inside the Beltway. (CQ Roll Call File Photo by Tom Williams)

For Democrats anxious to turn the page from a terrible 2014 cycle, the news might get worse before it gets better.

Last fall, Democrats lost control of the Senate and fell further into the minority in the House, but pinned much of the blame on low turnout in the midterm elections. Party strategists were more than ready to look ahead to 2016, when the presidential race should boost turnout among Democratic constituencies. But at least one race this fall could dampen some of the Democratic enthusiasm heading into next year.

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July 28, 2015

Chris Christie’s Conundrum

Christie speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in D.C. on June 19. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Christie speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in D.C. on June 19. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On first glance, Christie’s bio and profile should make him a top-tier hopeful for the 2016 Republican nomination. But he isn’t — at least not right now. In this case, timing is everything.

A former county freeholder and U.S. attorney finishing his second term as governor in a very blue state, Christie, 52, is a guy with a big personality who has received more than his share of national media coverage over the past few years.

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July 23, 2015

President-Elect Donald Trump Announces First Cabinet Picks

What if Trump won. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What if Trump won. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Nov. 9, 2016, ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.  — President-elect Donald Trump announced his first cabinet selections last night, minutes after the major networks projected him as the winner in Tuesday’s election.

Trump, who will become the nation’s 45th president when he is inaugurated in January, upset former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, winning 54 percent of the vote and carrying all the swing states. The president-elect did particularly well among older men, union members and the mentally ill. Full story

Alums of Canceled CNN Show Taking Center Stage

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Once upon a time, nearly a decade and a half ago, CNN executives cast a vision for a political talk show featuring the next generation of political journalists. “Take Five” was the younger, hipper version of the legendary “Capital Gang.”

But there was one major catch. Full story

July 21, 2015

The Politics of Identity Politics

identity politics

Perdue and Gardner proved exceptions to a rule in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’m tired of hyphenated Americans,” complains Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in “We’re All Americans,” a television spot aired by Believe Again, the super PAC supporting the presidential hopeful’s bid.

“We’re not Indian-Americans or African-Americans or Asian-Americans. We’re all Americans,” he continues as the audience applauds. Full story

July 17, 2015

Less Hair Could Mean More Votes in Minnesota

Geoff-Davis-combo

After losing in 2002, Davis shaved his mustache and won in 2004

It’s no secret that hair was the source of Samson’s strength. But unlike the Old Testament Nazirite, one potential congressional challenger is hoping less could mean more at the ballot box.

Republican Stewart Mills might have the most talked about hair in politics, second only to Donald Trump. Last cycle, Mills challenged Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th District. But the race received national attention after I included a blind quote from a local DFL source who said the Republican had “Brad Pitt kind of appeal” to help describe his potential physical draw to some voters.

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July 13, 2015

Who Will Benefit From the Issues Mix in 2016?

immigration_235_082814

Immigration could be the wild card issue in the 2016 election. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Every election is different, but they almost always come down to one question: What is the election about?

Some elections are about one or both of the candidates (personality, preparedness or accomplishments), while others are merely about “change.” Some are about the economy in general, or jobs or inflation in particular. A relative few are about national security or a military conflict.

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July 9, 2015

Key Races in 2016: Politicial Landscape Taking Shape

A few key races across the country next year will determine the balance of power in the Senate. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Election Day is more than a year away, but the field of most competitive Senate and House races is already starting to take shape. While the political environment could change over the next 17 months, the landscape is largely set as a handful of races in each region will likely decide the majorities in the next Congress.

The fight for the Senate is likely to be decided in the Midwest, where Democrats have takeover opportunities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and a longer-shot opportunity in Indiana. If Democrats can win three out of those four states, they will be well on their way to gaining enough seats to take control of the Senate.

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July 8, 2015

Bernie Sanders: The Latest Version of Howard Dean

The Sanders poll numbers are good, but Democrats aren't likely to go against Clinton in the end. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Sanders poll numbers are good, but Democrats aren’t likely to go against Clinton in the end. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders’ poll numbers in New Hampshire have reporters taking notice and progressive Democrats excited: Bernie is surging!

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, if you believe the 73-year-old Vermont independent-turned-Democratic presidential hopeful.

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July 6, 2015

The Donald Trump Impact: Not so Inevitable After All

Donald Trump 2016 is xxxx. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Will the Donald Trump immigration comments linger? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I was surprised by the near unanimity over the weekend about the impact of the Donald Trump comments about Mexican immigrants. Almost every disinterested political observer agreed Trump’s typically over-the-top remarks were certain to hurt GOP prospects in the 2016 presidential election.

I am skeptical about that.

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Heck Decision Prompts Rating Changes in 2 Nevada Races

Rep. Joe Heck

Republican chances to win Nevada’s Senate seat improve slightly with Heck in the race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Rep. Joe Heck’s decision to run for the Senate is no surprise, but now that he is officially in the race, we are changing our rating in two Nevada races.

The race for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s open seat was already competitive, but Republican chances improve slightly with Heck’s decision. He is a battle-tested incumbent who won’t be easy for Democrats to pigeonhole as being too conservative for the state. Heck will likely face former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who has been elected statewide twice in races that weren’t particularly difficult. But she should benefit from presidential year turnout next year and Democrats believe the opportunity to elect the first Latina senator will inspire Hispanic voters to go to the polls in larger numbers.

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July 2, 2015

Top Races to Watch in 2016: The Mountain Region

Senate Finance Committee

Bennet is trying to avoid the same fate as his Democratic colleague Udall suffered in 2014. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch. The Mountain Region includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

Colorado Senate: Last cycle, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet saw his home-state colleague, Mark Udall, go down to defeat. Now Bennet is trying to avoid the same fate. Republicans are still searching for a candidate after Rep. Mike Coffman recently announced his decision to seek re-election to the House. Potential GOP challengers include Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, businessman Robert Blaha (who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Doug Lamborn in a GOP primary), state Sen. Owen Hill and others. Democrats could improve their chances of taking back the majority in the Senate by re-electing Bennet and holding the Nevada open seat so other victories would pad their margin. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race Leans Democratic.

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Top Races to Watch in 2016: New England

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Hearing on Holder

Guinta has been dogged by past campaign finance issues. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch. The New England region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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Top Races in 2016: The Midwest

Sen. Mark Kirk

Kirk is the most vulnerable Republican senator this cycle. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate in the Midwest Region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. 

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