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

Posts by Nathan L. Gonzales

279 Posts

April 27, 2015

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 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 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 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 27, 2015

Democrats Start With Narrow Advantage in Nevada

Elections 2016

Reid announced plans Friday to retire at the end of his term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s planned retirement ensures Nevada will host a top-tier Senate race in 2016.

Reid’s announcement doesn’t expand the map for Republicans, since the Democrat was considered vulnerable for re-election to a sixth term. But the open seat is likely to be an expensive and competitive race until the end.

Full story

By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 11:26 a.m.
Nevada, Senate

March 24, 2015

Indiana Senate Race Is No Longer Safe

Coats would have been a safe bet for re-election, but is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Sen. Dan Coats’ retirement creates a takeover opportunity in Indiana next year. But Democrats will likely need some breaks to move the race from a potential gain to a top-tier contest.

Coats would have started the race as a clear favorite for re-election, but now that he is retiring, his open seat could become competitive. We’re shifting The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating of the Indiana Senate race from Safe Republican to Favored Republican until the candidate fields on start to take shape. The new rating reflects both the state’s fundamental bent and the lack of a proven incumbent.

Full story

March 23, 2015

Schilling Considering Special Election for Schock Seat

Elections 2016

(J.M. Rieger/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling hasn’t closed the door on running in the special election to replace embattled Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, according to a knowledgeable GOP source.

State Sen. Darin LaHood of Peoria is the early front-runner in the forthcoming Republican primary, but Schilling represented part of Illinois’ 18th District during his time in Congress and could bring some name identification to the race. Full story

March 19, 2015

Lopach Leads March Toward Democratic Senate Majority

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Smoke billowed out of Ted Kennedy’s living room fireplace as donors gathered in his D.C. home for a fundraiser, though the legendary senator was still on the Hill for votes.

But that wasn’t too much for Tom Lopach.

“I don’t know anyone, my house is on fire and my husband is gone,” Vicki Kennedy, the senator’s wife, recalled recently. “But Tom was totally unflappable. He just had the caterers serving hors d’oeuvres out front.” Full story

March 18, 2015

Why Primaries Aren’t All Bad

Primaries can be expensive and divisive, but treating them like the plague — as party spokesmen are prone to do early every cycle — distorts electoral reality.

GOP strategists looking to hold the party’s newly attained majority are reveling in the potentially crowded field of Democrats for the open seat in Maryland. Setting aside the state’s strong Democratic lean, Republicans need not look back far to know that a crowded and competitive open-seat race is a poor predictor of future failure. Full story

March 9, 2015

Young Republican Explores Primary vs. Scott DesJarlais

Elections 2016

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais was an unlikely survivor in his 2014 Republican primary, but his next electoral challenge may already be on the horizon.

Grant Starrett, a young aide on both of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns, is contacting donors in advance of a potential run in the 4th District, according to a GOP insider. Full story

March 2, 2015

Russ Feingold, Joe Sestak and the Improbable Senate Race Rematch

Elections 2016

Feingold isn’t running yet, but all signs point to a rematch against his 2010 opponent. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is filled with members who lost previous races. But Democrats Joe Sestak and Russ Feingold are trying to pull off a rare electoral feat: defeating the people who defeated them six years prior.

In 2010, Republican businessman Ron Johnson defeated Feingold, the incumbent Democrat, 52 percent to 47 percent, in Wisconsin. Feingold’s 2016 candidacy isn’t a guarantee, but all signs point to a rematch, particularly now that he has left his post at the State Department.

But in order to get back to the Senate, Feingold will have to do something that hasn’t happened in nearly a century. Full story

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

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