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Three-term Wisconsin Rep. Reid Ribble’s retirement leaves Republicans with yet another competitive open seat to defend.
Based on the 2008 presidential results, the 8th District looks like a great Democratic takeover opportunity. President Barack Obama carried the northeastern Wisconsin district, which includes Green Bay and Appleton, by 9 points and Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen was re-elected that same year by a similar margin.
While the decision makers at news organizations from the Public Broadcasting System to CNN and the three major networks scramble to appeal to younger viewers, often by skewing younger with their hosts and commentators, Republican and Democratic voters in Iowa and nationally have embraced a remarkably “mature” handful of top tier candidates.
And by “mature,” I really mean old.
Have we entered a new period in American politics, when establishment candidates on the GOP side don’t win their party’s nomination? That is the question I posed in a June 4, 2015 column. It is still a relevant question.
While I answered that it is a mistake to assume that the establishment candidate would inevitably win the GOP nomination, I doubted that combative candidates such as Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, could pass the smell test for most Republicans.
Feel free to believe that there is a glimmer of hope for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination. If that gives you comfort or plays to your own preferences, be my guest. I certainly wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable.
But even if you believe that, try also to understand that Kasich’s campaign is done. You can stick a fork in it. He will not be the GOP nominee for president in 2016. Recent endorsements from two New England newspapers prove that.
While voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are poised to kick off the presidential primaries, the national House landscape continues to take shape.
You can read updated analysis on 102 districts across the country in the Jan. 25 issue of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, but here is a quick list of ratings changes for five seats, in coordination with Roll Call.
In a previous election cycle, or maybe a previous decade, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush might, at this point, be coasting to their parties’ nominations. This cycle, however, both resemble tragic heroes — politicians who have worked hard to prepare themselves for the presidency yet face possible rejection by voters.
Some Clinton and Bush supporters hope their candidates have an advantage that is still being underestimated: their ability to remain in their respective presidential nominating contests until voters decide to turn to them.
Fundraising emails are mind-numbing. The sheer volume (both in quantity and apocalyptic language) has a way of desensitizing potential donors and reporters alike. But some pleas for money go beyond exaggerating.
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon certainly isn’t the only lawmaker in a safe race to claim imminent electoral doom in a fundraising email, but his campaign is a recent offender.
NRSC Senior Advisor Daniel Huey will be the committee’s independent expenditure director for the 2016 cycle. The committee also picked Chelsea Hawker as deputy director for the IE.
“Together with our great candidates and their state-of-the-art campaigns, Daniel and Chelsea’s talent will again prove to be our competitive advantage, said NRSC Executive Director Ward Baker in a release first obtained by Roll Call. “Our committee’s confidence that we will protect the majority stems from having an unparalleled team working relentlessly to elect a group of outstanding candidates.”
The strangest election in our lifetime continues to get stranger.
Very rarely, one party decides to make a suicidal statement about its views and values. It happened in 1964 and again in 1972, for example. But this time, both parties are at least flirting with the idea of nominating candidates who, under normal circumstances, appear unelectable in 2016. Full story
Republican Rep. Scott Rigell is retiring from Virginia’s 2nd District, leaving a competitive open seat for his party to defend. The news, first reported by the Virginian-Pilot, was a surprise to some people who have worked closely with the congressman in the past.
The Virginia Beach-based district is competitive. President Barack Obama won it 50 percent to 49 percent in 2012 and 51 percent to 48 percent in 2008 and Democrat Terry McAuliffe narrowly won the 2nd, 47 percent to 46 percent, in the 2013 gubernatorial election against conservative Republican Ken Cuccinelli, under the current lines. But a court-ordered map would improve the GOP performance of the seat by a couple of points.
In 2014, Steve Beshear sat in the first lady’s box during the State of the Union as President Barack Obama applauded the Democratic governor’s work on health care in Kentucky. Just two years later, Beshear is out of office and feuding with his Republican successor, who vowed to undo his work.
“And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who’s here tonight,” said Obama, referencing the Affordable Care Act. “Kentucky’s not the most liberal part of the country. That’s not where I got my highest vote totals. But he is like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth’s families.”
National Republican Congressional Committee Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Jessica Furst Johnson will be the committee’s Independent Expenditure Director for the 2016 cycle.
“Jessica was instrumental in helping us win our historic Republican majority in 2014 and we are excited she will lead our IE unit in 2016,” said NRCC Executive Director Rob Simms in a release first obtained by Roll Call.
Can a candidate win the Republican presidential nomination without winning one of the first three contests – Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina? We may just find out this year.
History, of course, has already provided something of an answer. Democrat Bill Clinton didn’t win a contest in 1992 until March 3rd in the Georgia primary. He had already “lost” the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, the Maine caucuses and the South Dakota primary. (Fortunately for Clinton, no one in the field won more than one of the first four contests, and his solid second-place finish in the Granite State was regarded as a victory of sorts.)
In the heat of his push for more gun control, President Barack Obama threatened to withhold support from anyone, including Democrats, who didn’t support “common-sense” changes. But based on the political realities of this cycle, his comments aren’t likely to dramatically impact Senate races.
“Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen,” Obama wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform.”
Former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel spent years defending competitive open seats, but now his retirement leaves one behind.
Israel announced Tuesday that he would not seek re-election in November after 16 years in the House. His retirement wasn’t a complete surprise, considering there isn’t an empty rung on the Democratic leadership ladder. But the congressman’s exit is notable considering his past leadership roles.