Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 24, 2015

Posts by Nathan L. Gonzales

336 Posts

November 23, 2015

Time to Stop Reporting on Committee Fundraising Numbers


Sen. Jon Tester, left, heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Sen. Roger Wicker, right, is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:40 p.m. | Political reporters have a fever and the only prescription appears to be fundraising numbers.

It’s a time-honored tradition: Every month, the House and Senate campaign committees release fundraising totals in a regular effort to claim momentum and financial supremacy, and political reporters can’t resist the temptation to report them.

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November 20, 2015

Imperfect Candidates Get Elected


Carroll is challenging Rep. Mike Coffman for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 12:50 p.m. | Every day there’s a new story exposing a candidate or a politician, and each misstep is portrayed as a disqualifier — a mistake that will lead to the candidate’s demise. It can be easy to forget that imperfect people get elected to office.

A few weeks ago, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hosted a few dozen contenders from across the country for a candidate school, and I had a chance to sit down with a handful of them.

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November 13, 2015

House Retirement Rush Still Short of Average


Lummis announced Thursday that she would retire at the end of this term. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)


In spite of the recent rush of retirement announcements, this Congress is still below the historical average of exits each cycle, which means more House retirements are likely to come.

Wyoming Republican Cynthia M. Lummis, California Democrat Sam Farr and Texas Democrat Rubén Hinojosa capped off the week by announcing they will not seek re-election next year. The trio makes 14 members who are leaving the House without seeking another office in 2016, according to Roll Call’s Casualty List.

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November 12, 2015

Outsider Bevin Hires Insider Chief of Staff

With his wife Glenna Bevin, center, and Lieutenant Governor-elect Jenean Hampton, right, looking on, Kentucky Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin, speaks to his supporters at the Republican Party victory celebration, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Establishment Republicans gave Bevin’s chief of staff choice high marks. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Maybe Republican Matt Bevin isn’t going to burn down Frankfort after all.

The Kentucky Republican rocked the GOP establishment by challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in last year’s primary and irked some party strategists this year by running his gubernatorial campaign strictly on his own terms.

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November 11, 2015

EMILY’s List Support Isn’t Early Enough for Senate Hopeful

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 21: Democratic candidate Pam Keith, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Florida, is interviewed by CQ Roll Call, September 21, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Keith is running against much better-funded candidates for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Pam Keith is a pro-choice Democratic woman running in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, but the first-time candidate is having trouble getting EMILY’s List interested in her candidacy in Florida.

EMILY’s List was founded 30 years ago to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office. EMILY is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast,” because “it makes the dough rise.”

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November 10, 2015

Is Vitter on the Verge of Losing Everything?

david vitter

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana isn’t anywhere close to belonging on a list of swing states, yet Republican David Vitter is at risk of losing not only his gubernatorial race this month, but also his Senate seat next year.

The Pelican State’s senior senator has struggled to unify the Republican vote after finishing second in the Oct. 24 jungle primary with just 23 percent. He trails Democrat John Bel Edwards in multiple public polls heading into the Nov. 21 runoff. Full story

November 6, 2015

Ratings Shift in Three Senate Races


McCain will probably never be safe from a primary challenge as long as he stays in the Senate (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

A year out from the 2016 elections, the playing field of competitive Senate races is still taking shape, with ratings changes in three contests.

The new Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call ratings are listed below — with more analysis is included in Friday’s edition of the Report.

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November 4, 2015

What Does Bevin’s Victory Mean for Vitter?


UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 4: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., leaves the bipartisan Senate luncheon in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Much like Bevin in Kentucky, Vitter has trailed his Democratic opponent in the Louisiana governor’s race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Matt Bevin’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race is yet another sobering reminder that polling is a risky business. And for some Republicans, Kentucky could be a glimmer of hope for GOP Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial bid in Louisiana.

Bevin’s victory wasn’t the political shockwave on par with Eric Cantor’s primary loss in 2014, but the Republican’s margin of victory was stunning.

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November 3, 2015

Why Trump Would Get Out of the Race

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a news conference before a public signing for his new book "Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again," at the Trump Tower Atrium on November 3, 2015 in New York City. According to a new poll, Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, has pulled ahead of Trump with 29% of Republican primary voters.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Trump speaks Tuesday before a public signing for his new book at the Trump Tower Atrium in New York. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

For Donald Trump and his brand, “winning” is of utmost importance. While his relentless talk about American exceptionalism is appealing to GOP primary voters, Trump’s personal success in life and his front-runner status in the Republican contest are other elements of the billionaire businessman’s appeal. Everybody likes a winner, after all, especially when that winner is sticking it to the establishment.

Unfortunately for Trump, his early lead in the polls and his belief in the certainty of his success have sown the seeds of his own inevitable political destruction.

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October 28, 2015

Don’t Blame Gerrymandering for GOP Civil War

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some believe that Boehner’s run as speaker was a victim of redistricting, but that’s not the whole story. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Blame the earmark ban or Republican leaders. Blame Ted Cruz or even Justin Bieber. But don’t blame gerrymandering for the fighting in the House.

As Republicans labor through replacing Speaker John A. Boehner, bemoaning redistricting has become a common refrain in explaining the GOP civil war.

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October 26, 2015

Vitter’s Primary Performance Prompts Rating Change in Louisiana


Vitter’s personal history makes it complicated for Republicans to stick their necks out for him. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Louisiana has transitioned to a Republican state, but GOP Sen. David Vitter will test the political gravity of the Pelican State in next month’s gubernatorial runoff.

Vitter was regarded as the front-runner to replace presidential candidate/current Gov. Bobby Jindal for much of the cycle, but the senator’s consistently poor performance in the polls and his showing in Saturday’s all-party primary has some Republicans very concerned that Vitter could let the governorship slip into Democratic hands.

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October 22, 2015

Pelosi Sees a Wave; Strategists Say it’s Just a Ripple Now


Pelosi says pollsters are telling her they see the “prospects of a wave” next year. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats don’t need to find themselves a cheerleader. They already have Nancy Pelosi.

“I think the Democrats could have the gavel in 18 months,” she told Texas Tribune reporter/Roll Call alum Abby Livingston recently. “Here’s the thing: I’m always optimistic. You have to be.”

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By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 3:06 p.m.

October 19, 2015

John Boehner Shouldn’t Pack His Bags Just Yet


There’s a real possibility that Boehner’s self-imposed deadline could pass without a successor. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:28 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner plans to leave Congress at the end of October, but Republican infighting threatens to keep him around longer, particularly if Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan declines a run to replace him.

According to a source with knowledge of his remarks, Boehner told the House Republican conference on Oct. 9, the final day before the week-long recess, that “stepping down before we elect a new speaker would hurt the institution.” Full story

By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 1:31 p.m.
House, NRCC, Ohio

October 16, 2015

Kentucky Governor Race Tilts Toward Democrats

UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: Matt Bevin, republican Senate candidate for Kentucky, talks with gun dealers at the Knob Creek Gun Range Machine Gun Shoot Out in West Point, Ky. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Bevin, shown here during his 2014 Senate campaign, has underwhelmed some Republican strategists in his run for governor. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With just weeks to go before the Nov. 3 election, Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway has a narrow advantage over Republican Matt Bevin in the Kentucky governor race.

The race certainly isn’t over, and public polling has the two candidates virtually running even. But Bevin’s personal ratings have declined in the face of Democratic attacks, while Conway’s image has consistently been in better shape.

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October 13, 2015

Ratings Change in Two Minnesota House Districts

Mills as he appeared in 2014. (File Photo by Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)

Mills narrowly lost to Nolan in 2014. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Wealthy GOP businessman Stewart Mills officially announced his challenge to Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan, setting up a rematch of their close race last cycle. In 2014, Nolan won 49 percent to 47 percent in an expensive contest.

Nolan should benefit from presidential turnout in a district that President Barack Obama carried with 52 percent in 2012 and 53 percent in 2008. But Mills should be taken seriously if he spends more of his personal money, runs a better campaign, and gets more support from national Republicans — or some combination of all three factors.

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