Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Posts by Nathan L. Gonzales

364 Posts

February 1, 2016

Ribble Retirement Creates Vulnerable GOP Open Seat


UNITED STATES - MARCH 24: Reps. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., left, and Reid Ribble, R-Wisc., leave a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, March 24, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With Ribble, right, out of the picture, there will be renewed Democratic interest in his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

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January 27, 2016

Ratings Changes in 5 House Races


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.
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January 26, 2016

Presented by Proctor and Gamble

Politicians Who Cry Wolf in Fundraising Emails


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Wyden isn’t the only member in a safe race to claim imminent doom in a fundraising email, only a recent offender. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

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January 25, 2016

NRSC Names Huey IE Director


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.”

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January 14, 2016

Rigell Retirement Shifts Seat Out of Safe for GOP


UNITED STATES - APRIL 4: Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., arrives at the Capitol for the last vote of the week on Friday, April 4, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rigell’s retirement will likely cause Democrats to take a look at the seat he is vacating. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

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Beshear Looks Back, Forward on Kentucky’s Political Landscape


WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05:  Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (R) talks to reporters after attending a caucus meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)  (C), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and other leaders in the Capitol Visitors Center December 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. While touting his state's healthcare reform success, Beshear told reporters that voters and politicans neet to be patient with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the Healthcare.gov website.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Beshear talks to reporters in 2014 after attending a caucus meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Joseph Crowley to tout his state’s health care reform success. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

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.”

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January 11, 2016

NRCC Names Furst Johnson IE Director


07/12/05.U.S. BORDER SECURITY--Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla.,testifies before Senate Foreign Relations on border security. Other witnesses were Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. McCain has been working on a bill with Kennedy that would offer limited guest worker visas. He said Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is ready to hold hearings on both proposals. Cornyn and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., have filed an amendment providing a comprehensive set of immigration changes. The amendment would give the federal government more power to remove illegal aliens from the country quickly and allow the government to revoke visas for suspicious immigrants. Among other provisions, the amendment also would require the Homeland Security Department to issue documents to aliens that can be verified through fingerprints or other means. Harris is sponsoring border security legislation in the House..CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY PHOTO BY SCOTT J. FERRELL

Furst Johnson was communications director for former Rep. Katherine Harris’ 2004 campaign. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

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January 8, 2016

Obama’s Empty Campaign Threat on Gun Control


FAIRFAX, VA - JANUARY 7:  (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama listens to a question from Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu during  a live town hall event with CNN's Anderson Cooper  (R) at town hall at George Mason University on January 7, 2016 in Fairfax, Virginia. The president this week announced new, relatively mild executive actions to regulate the gun industry.  (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

Obama listens to a question from Pintal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu during a town hall event on Thursday. (Aude Guerrucci/Pool/Getty Images)

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.”

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January 6, 2016

Steve Israel Retirement Sets Up GOP Takeover Opportunity


UNITED STATES - JULY 15: Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., leaves a meeting with House Democrats in the Capitol Visitor Center that featured a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, July 15, 2015. Biden was on the Hill to brief members on the nuclear deal with Iran. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats can’t take the race to fill Israel’s seat for granted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

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January 5, 2016

Ted Cruz Might Not Need Trump Supporters


UNITED STATES - UNITED STATES - September 9: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fellow candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz and Trump embrace at a September rally at the Capitol to oppose the Iran nuclear deal. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is poised to absorb Donald Trump’s supporters when the billionaire exits the race for the GOP presidential nomination, according to one of the campaign’s most common narratives. But how many Trump supporters are open to supporting another candidate?

The quickest analysis of the Republican race divides candidates into distinct establishment and anti-establishment lanes, including lumping Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson supporters together as a monolithic force that is interchangeable between the candidates.

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January 4, 2016

Top Races in 2016: The West


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 8: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) holds his news conference with Senate Democratic leadership following the Democrats' lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The race to replace Reid will be one of the most competitive of the cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This is the eighth in a series looking at the most competitive House and Senate races in 2016. The West region covers Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

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Top Races in 2016: The Southwest


PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Election day volunteer Vicki Groff places a sign to direct voters to a polling station at Kenilworth School February 28, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. Voters in this state participate in choosing who will be the Republican candidate to contest President Barack Obama in the general election.  (Photo by Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)

Two House races in Arizona are among the most-watched around the country. (Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the sixth in a series of looks at the most competitive House and Senate races in 2016. The Southwest region covers Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

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By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 11:53 a.m.
Arizona, House, Texas

Top Races in 2016: Mountain Region


DENVER, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 4: Elections judge Tim Drago of Denver, Colorado collects a ballot from a passing motorist at the Denver Elections Division Building on November 4, 2014. It was the final day that voters could cast and drop off a ballot in a mainly mail-in ballot election year in Colorado. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Elections judge Tim Drago collects a ballot from a passing motorist at the Denver Elections Division Building in Denver on Election Day 2014. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the seventh in a series looking at the most competitive House and Senate races in 2016. The Mountain Region covers Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

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January 1, 2016

Top Races in 2016: The Plains States


WEST DES MOINES, IA - NOVEMBER 04:  Supporters celebrate after hearing that Republican candidate Joni Ernst won the U.S. Senate race on election night at the Marriott Hotel November 4, 2014 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Ernst and her opponent Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) were locked in a months-long campaign battle that had them tied in the polls going into election day.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Supporters of Joni Ernst celebrate on Election Night 2014 after hearing that their candidate had won. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the fifth in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races in 2016. The Plains Region covers Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

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December 31, 2015

Top Races in 2016: The Midwest


MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 4:  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker casts his ballot on election day at Jefferson Elementary School, November, 4, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Walker is running in a tight race against opponent Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker votes in Milwaukee on Election Day 2014. (Darren Hauck/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the fourth in a series of eight regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races for 2016. The Midwest Region covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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