Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 19, 2014

Posts by Nathan L. Gonzales

252 Posts

December 18, 2014

Will Russ Feingold Be Haunted by Campaign Problems Past?

 Will Russ Feingold Be Haunted by Campaign Problems Past?

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

December 9, 2014

Democrats Abandoned Mary Landrieu in the Runoff. Does it Matter?

 Democrats Abandoned Mary Landrieu in the Runoff. Does it Matter?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Party campaign committees are incumbent led and incumbent driven, so how important is it for the committees to support incumbents to the bitter end?

Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu lost re-election in Louisiana, 56 percent to 44 percent, to Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. But in the days running up to the race on Saturday, there was some criticism that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee didn’t do enough to help the senator.

After Landrieu finished first, but with just 42 percent, in the November jungle primary, the DSCC cancelled its television ad reservations for the runoff and never replaced them.

“I wish she had more air cover,” Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., told The Hill before the runoff. “I was there because she’s my friend, but more importantly she’s done an extraordinary job for the people of Louisiana, and you don’t abandon your friends when times get tough.” Full story

December 3, 2014

Draft Ben Carson Group Complicates Potential Presidential Campaign

 Draft Ben Carson Group Complicates Potential Presidential Campaign

Carson is considering a run for president. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ben Carson is openly considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, but an unaffiliated Super PAC trying to draft him into the race is making the effort complicated.

Last month, Buzzfeed detailed the fundraising and spending habits of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee (RunBenRun.org). While the group has received attention for raising millions of dollars, those funds are just churned back into the operation, with significant financial benefit for two of its organizers. And the group’s campaign director, Vernon Robinson, has a reputation in North Carolina for being one of the most aggressive and negative campaigners around.

For example, when the Draft Carson group was denied a presence at the state Republican Party’s booth at the state fair in Raleigh at the end of October, Robinson threatened to show up to the event with 10,000 “dead white elephant” stickers, 1,000 T-shirts and 2,000 supporters.

“19 days out I’m sure the media will be interested in a dead white elephant story and why the Ben Carson vols were banned from the GOP state booth …in the interest of unity,” wrote Robinson in an email obtained by The Rothenberg Political Report and CQ Roll Call. Full story

November 26, 2014

How to Handle a Broken Campaign Promise

Broken campaign promises complicate a politician’s re-election effort, but they don’t have to be fatal.

This cycle, when faced with their own words from a previous campaign, two incumbents utilized different strategies in their quest for another term.

Full story

November 21, 2014

Freshman Class Filled With Losers

 Freshman Class Filled With Losers

Jenkins and Love are among the incoming freshmen who have previously lost races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is filled with a bunch of losers, but not exactly in the way you’re thinking.

In the wake of the elections, it’s easy to second-guess losing candidates and their campaigns, and to discount their chances of ever winning a seat in Congress. But at least 27 incoming House members have electoral losses on their records — more than 40 percent of the new class — and many of them lost contests for the same seat they will represent in the 114th Congress.

When handicapping future success, the circumstances surrounding each loss and the fresh dynamics of the new race are often more important than the loss itself. In some cases, incumbents retire or the political environment changes to boost a previous loser to victory. Or a candidate moves on to bolster their résumé and returns to the campaign trail with more success.

Here are 27 losers coming into the next Congress: Full story

November 17, 2014

The Stunningly Static White Evangelical Vote

 The Stunningly Static White Evangelical Vote

Reed, right, speaks with Rep. Pete Sessions at the 2010 CPAC Conference held by the American Conservative Union in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There’s plenty of discussion about the difference between midterm and presidential electorates, but there is one emerging constant: the white evangelical vote.

At least one interest group, Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition, claimed that conservative Christians played a “decisive role” in the recent midterm elections. But according to the exit polls, white evangelicals made up the same percentage of the electorate and voted nearly the exact same way this year as they did in the two previous elections. Full story

November 14, 2014

Unsuccessful House Candidate Already ‘In’ for 2016

The ink is barely dry on the 2014 election results, but one unsuccessful candidate is making it clear that he is running again.

Republican Paul Chabot came up short in California’s 31st District but told the Rothenberg Political Report and Roll Call Thursday he wants a re-match.

“It’s now or never,” said Chabot, who conceded this year’s race little more than a week ago. The Republican lost the Southern California district by just 2 points, 51 percent to 49 percent, against Democrat Pete Aguilar. While the seat was left open by retiring GOP Rep. Gary G. Miller, Democrats were widely expected to win it after Aguilar finished in the top two in the primary (a feat that eluded Democrats in 2012). The narrow margin of victory was surprising. Full story

November 12, 2014

No Guarantee Democrats Rebound in 2016

 No Guarantee Democrats Rebound in 2016

Pelosi and her party may have a difficult time rebounding from this year’s GOP wave. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After suffering heavy losses in the House and the Senate in the recent midterm elections, some congressional Democrats may breathe a sigh of relief now that President Barack Obama is entering his final two years in office.

But the approaching end of the Obama Administration doesn’t mean  Obama won’t be a factor in 2016 and, figuratively, on the ballot, again.

In 2006, Republicans lost 31 House seats and six Senate seats, as well as majorities in both chambers. GOP strategists understood voters were sending their party a message. But they also took some solace that unpopular President George W. Bush was in the twilight of his tenure and wouldn’t be on the ballot again.

They were wrong. Full story

November 10, 2014

Review: 6 Races Both Parties Viewed Completely Differently

 Review: 6 Races Both Parties Viewed Completely Differently

Peterson will continue to represent Minnesota’s 7th District. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A month ago, I wrote about “6 Races Both Parties View Completely Differently.” These were a half-dozen contests where strategists generally disagreed on the shape and trajectory of the race.

Instead of averaging out the differing opinions and declaring the races too close to call, it was more likely that one party would be very right and the other very wrong. Now, with results in hand, we can see who had the better analysis. Unfortunately, the parties split the races on Election Night.

Democrats were victorious in three races. Full story

November 6, 2014

Ratings Change: Louisiana Senate

There was a chance the entire country would be spending the month of November focused on Louisiana, as the Senate majority hinged on the fate of Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in a December runoff. That scenario has evaporated, but is the race still worth watching?

Landrieu finished first in the Nov. 4 jungle primary, but with just 42 percent. GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy finished second with 41 percent, followed by Republican Rob Maness at 14 percent. For some perspective, Landrieu won re-election in 2008 with 52 percent.

In 2002, Landrieu received 46 percent in the initial primary and 52 percent in the runoff. My colleague, Stu Rothenberg, will have a deeper analysis about that race and this year’s contest early next week. Full story

November 5, 2014

It Was Definitively a Wave

 It Was Definitively a Wave

Senator-elect Cotton speaks with New Jersey Gov. Christie during a rally in Arkansas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A week before the election, Stu waded into the discussion about what constitutes an electoral wave. One of his main points: “I know it when I see it.”

Well, we saw it on Tuesday.

Republicans gained more House and Senate seats than the most likely pre-election projections. But it was the margins in individual races that were so stunning.

For political junkies, handicappers, and reporters, Election Day is the Super Bowl. And as the midterm elections unfolded, it started to feel like the last big game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. Full story

November 4, 2014

GOP Candidates More Popular Than Democrats in Top Senate Races

 GOP Candidates More Popular Than Democrats in Top Senate Races

Landrieu arrives at a rally with supporters in Shreveport. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Here is an emerging surprise of the midterm elections: Republican candidates are more popular than Democratic candidates in top Senate contests.

It’s no secret the path to victory for Democrats in the Senate was to demonize GOP candidates in the eyes of voters who are dissatisfied with President Barack Obama. For much of the cycle, Democrats were banking on their incumbents’ personal popularity and connection to each of their states being enough to carry them to victory.

But after millions of dollars worth of attack ads, Republican candidates appear to have weathered the Democratic storm and are held in higher standing with voters coming into Election Day in a handful of key contests.

Full story

November 3, 2014

Election Eve Updates from The Rothenberg Political Report

With just hours before Election Day, the only question is how good of a night it will be for Republicans.

In the Senate, the following states have been updated: Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky and West Virginia.

In the House, we’ve updated the state of play in the following districts: Arkansas’ 2nd, California’s 52nd, Georgia’s 12th, Michigan’s 6th, Nebraska’s 2nd, New York’s 1st and Utah’s 4th.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

November 1, 2014

Jesse Ferguson Lives to Fight Another Day

 Jesse Ferguson Lives to Fight Another Day

Ferguson directs the DCCC’s independent expenditure arm. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The lede almost writes itself: One year ago, Jesse Ferguson never would have thought beating cancer would be easier than defeating Republicans in the House. But that’s just not how the Democratic operative does business.

As director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure arm, Ferguson is responsible for the more than $60 million in television ads attacking Republicans this cycle, but he doesn’t want to it to be personal.

“I disagree with Republicans a lot — on a lot of things — and I don’t think I’ve been shy about saying that,” Ferguson told CQ Roll Call. “That said, I’d really be hesitant to compare them to cancer.”

“He’s a throwback,” said Jennifer Crider, the former deputy executive director of the DCCC who hired Ferguson during the 2010 cycle. “He probably has as many Republicans friends as Democratic friends.”

Full story

October 29, 2014

Race Ratings Changes in 24 House Contests

 Race Ratings Changes in 24 House Contests

Garcia is running for re-election in Florida. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican majority in the House has not been at risk in nearly a year, and the landscape continues to move in their direction in the party’s effort to add seats.

The playing field has narrowed and shifted into more Democratic territory. But the precise size of the Republican gains is still unclear.

We’re changing our Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating in 24 House races. You can read the more specific analysis of the competitive contests in the October 29 issue of the Rothenberg Political Report ($).

Races moving in favor of Republicans: Full story

Page 1 of 17

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...