Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015

Hillary Rodham Romney? Keep an Eye on O’Malley (Video)

For all her recent efforts to prove her progressive credentials to Democratic primary voters and caucus participants, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has not made those on her party’s left entirely comfortable with her. And she never will.

Because of that, a credible alternative would have the capacity to rally progressive Democrats behind a challenge to the former first lady, possibly even creating an entertaining skirmish or two.

Full story

Tester’s DSCC Pursues Same Strategy That Nearly Nixed Him in 2006

Elections 2016

Tester makes his way through the basement of the Capitol before a vote on the Senate floor on Dec. 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had its way a decade ago, its current chairman probably wouldn’t be in the Senate today.

In the 2006 cycle, Democratic strategists in Washington preferred state Auditor John Morrison in the Montana Senate race, hoping to avoid a primary and keep the party focused on defeating Republican incumbent Conrad Burns. But state Sen. Jon Tester was undeterred by national Democratic efforts to get him out of the race and even bragged about being opposed by the party establishment. Full story

April 23, 2015

‘Big Money’ and the 2016 Elections

Elections 2016

Will campaign finance issues get some attention during the 2016 elections? Sure. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reporters love to write about money in politics, so I shouldn’t have been at all surprised by an April 20 Washington Post article suggesting campaign finance is becoming an issue in the presidential contest.

But a front-page story above the fold that relied on a couple of anecdotes and never came close to demonstrating that “big money” was becoming a crucial issue to voters?

Full story

April 21, 2015

The Mystery of a Possible Florida Senate Candidate

Elections 2016

Lopez-Cantera, left, could run for Senate. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images File Photo)

A handful of Republicans are currently being mentioned as possible Senate candidates for the Florida seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination.

Former Rep. Bill McCollum, who has run repeatedly (and often unsuccessfully) for statewide office, is mentioned, as are a handful of House members, including Rep. Ron DeSantis, a tea party favorite. Full story

April 20, 2015

Cruz’s Struggle: This Man Loves to Argue

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The first time I met Ted Cruz, he argued with me. The second time I met Ted Cruz, he argued with me. It wasn’t personal, of course. Ted Cruz simply loves to argue.

Those two incidents told me a lot about Cruz. The first time was at an event in Florida in February 2012, months before he won the Texas GOP Senate nomination. I had never met him, but he wandered up to me and started complaining about my assessment of the Republican primary in the Lone Star State.

Full story

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

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