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

Posts by Nathan L. Gonzales

266 Posts

February 19, 2015

Jason Kander and the Secretary of State Curse

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, announced his challenge to GOP Sen. Roy Blunt Thursday. But he’ll have to overcome the Republican lean of the Show-Me State and history in order to win.

There are many paths to the Senate, but being a secretary of state is usually not one of them. The losing trend for the state officeholders is nothing new, but 2014 was supposed to be the cycle when at least one of the four current or former secretaries of state broke the Senate curse. It wasn’t. Full story

February 13, 2015

What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Run

This is prime time for candidate recruitment, but aspiring politicos might pause to make sure they know what they’re in for before jumping into a competitive congressional race.

In the same vein as the timeless book for new parents, a bipartisan collection of campaign strategists and consultants offered some essential advice before starting along the campaign path. Keep in mind, this advice comes from authentic operatives, not the people who play consultants on cable television. Full story

February 10, 2015

Why Special Elections Really Matter

Elections 2016

Pelosi and Hoyer both came to Congress thanks to special elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Special elections matter, but not for the reasons you might think.

It’s an annual sport in politics: arguing whether special elections serve as bellwethers. But while special elections often poorly portend results around the country, they can produce potential leaders. They’re also excellent predictors of voter behavior inside that particular district.

Full story

February 5, 2015

Democrats Might Need to Lose the White House to Win the House Majority

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“It’s going to be awhile,” wrote The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza recently, summarizing Democrats’ chances of obtaining a majority in the House.

But Democrats may not need years to dig out from their minority hole … if they are willing to surrender the White House in 2016.

Cillizza, a former Roll Call politics reporter, lays out a plausible, multi-cycle path to the majority for Democrats:

“[D]emocrats would do well to see their fight to retake the House as a three-election mission. Narrow the Republican majority in 2016. Go absolutely all out at the state legislative and gubernatorial level in 2018 to win in the places where the lines will be drawn in 2021. Try to further narrow the margin in 2020. And hope 2022 is a midterm election that goes your way in terms of national dynamics.”

But that road will be complicated if Democrats hold the White House in 2016. Full story

February 4, 2015

When Activists Run for Office

Elections 2016

If Lee decides to retire, there’s a high-profile activist who could run for the seat. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Spending time, energy and money on campaigns is one thing. But some political activists go a step further, contemplating whether to become a candidate themselves.

California could see two such cases in the next few years, with environmentalist Tom Steyer and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas potentially finding themselves in position to run for office. Full story

January 29, 2015

Why Even Democrats Love Talking About Joni Ernst

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on much of anything these days, but strategists on both sides of the aisle love to talk about Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s victory.

Two years ago, Ernst was a little-known GOP state senator from Southwest Iowa. She entered the national spotlight with a memorable television ad about castrating pigs and eventually won the seat held by retiring Democrat Tom Harkin. Ernst continued her ascent by giving the Republicans’ State of the Union response, and she is poised to play a key role in the GOP presidential primary through the Iowa caucuses. Full story

January 26, 2015

Democrats Lose Candidate and Hope in New York Special Election

The date hasn’t even been set, but Republicans have all but won the special election in New York’s 11th District.

The Staten Island-based district has swung from being a top Democratic target in the midterms all the way across the competitive spectrum to Democrats punting the opportunity to win the seat in a special election. Full story

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 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 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 5, 2015

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

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