Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 19, 2015

Posts by Stuart Rothenberg

209 Posts

April 16, 2015

The What Ifs of the 2016 GOP Presidential Race

If Jeb Bush doesn’t win any of the first four GOP contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — does that eliminate him from the Republican race? Or does he have the staying power to survive those losses?

If Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finishes first in the Iowa caucuses, does that all but eliminate hopefuls such as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Ben Carson from the race?

Full story

April 14, 2015

The Young and the Restless of 2016

Elections 2016

Paul is one of three GOP senators in their first terms running for president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Once upon a time, presidential candidates were expected to have more than passing experience in government, as well as the maturity and wisdom that sometimes come with age. But that has changed, apparently.

Barack Obama was in the United States Senate for only two years before he began his bid for the presidency and had only four years of service in Congress when he was sworn in as president. He was just 47 years old at the time.

This year, the trend toward youth and/or inexperience has continued. Full story

April 8, 2015

RSLC Presents GOP State Level Gains Out of Context

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This week’s effort to mislead, hoodwink and generally pull the wool over our eyes comes courtesy of the Republican State Leadership Committee. “Blue States Bleeding Red” was written by RSLC President Matt Walter and appeared on Townhall.com Sunday.

Republicans made great gains at the state and local levels in 2010 and 2014, and that certainly gives the RSLC and other party groups the right to brag about those results. But what they don’t have is the right to lead readers to faulty conclusions.

Full story

March 31, 2015

Jeb Bush Can’t Be Nominated. Or Can He?

Elections 2016

Bush poses with Frank Piedad, 7, during an event with Thom Tillis, then-Republican candidate for Senate, at Illuminating Technologies Inc., in Greensboro, N.C., September 24, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There are plenty of reasons to believe Jeb Bush, the former two-term governor of Florida, son of a former president and brother of another former president, cannot win the 2016 Republican nomination.

The problem for those of us who report on and analyze elections dispassionately is there are also plenty of reasons why Bush can and will win the GOP nomination. The tricky part is trying to figure out how decisive and predictive is each reason, positive and negative. Full story

March 30, 2015

Does Duckworth Change the Math in Illinois or Nationally?

Elections 2016

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you care about politics at all, you probably know Rep. Tammy Duckworth has entered the Illinois Senate race. She hopes to be the Democratic nominee against first-term GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk next year, though other Democrats are said to be looking at bids.

The Senate candidacy of the 47-year-old Democrat and Iraq War veteran, who is in her second term in Congress, has generated plenty of attention. That’s understandable, given that she has many assets as a Senate candidate and would be a formidable foe for Kirk, a moderate Republican in a very Democratic state. Full story

March 24, 2015

It’s Early: Why Pundits Shouldn’t Overreact

Elections 2016

Dean, seen here in 2003, was inevitable as the nominee. Until he wasn’t. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The reviews are in after the first game of spring training: Hillary Rodham Clinton struck out. Or at best, she hit a slow roller to second base and was thrown out by a mile.

She’s toast. It’s over for her. She has handled the email controversy like an amateur. The former secretary of State is old hat. She’s yesterday’s news. What a disaster. Democrats need to find someone else.

Welcome to the world of instant analysis and premature conclusions.

Full story

March 18, 2015

So Long, Curtis

I had not spoken with Curtis Gans for the past couple of years, but his death on Sunday, at age 77, brought back a flood of memories.

Curtis and I had two things in common: We were both born in Manhattan and graduated from the Riverdale Country School, a private school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Full story

March 17, 2015

The Fearsome Foursome: Bush, Paul, Walker, Rubio

Elections 2016

Rubio is one of the top four Republicans expected to run for president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A veritable bevy of Republican presidential hopefuls have already hired staff, wooed deep-pocketed contributors and made speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire, proving what we already know: The 2016 nomination preseason is well underway.

Fundraising, organization, the size of the field and the calendar all will play a significant role in affecting how the race unfolds. The outcome is uncertain.

Full story

March 10, 2015

Mark Kirk Starts 2016 as an Underdog

Elections 2016

Kirk has “a significantly uphill fight for a second term,” Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Where does Illinois Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk start in his bid for re-election? It depends on whom you ask.

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call currently rates the 2016 race as a Tossup, while the Cook Political Report says it is a “Lean Republican” contest. The folks in the statistical wing of the handicapping world are invisible, because the race hasn’t formed and there are no meaningful polls. Full story

March 5, 2015

What the ‘Big Ten’ Tells Republicans They Need in 2016

Elections 2016

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finished second in CPAC’s presidential straw poll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We won’t know the 2016 Republican presidential nominee for more than a year, but we already know the 10 states — the electoral “Big Ten” — that will select the next occupant of the White House.

Because of that, we can evaluate the GOP’s general election prospects over the next 12 to 18 months by watching the party’s trek through its primary and caucus calendar. Will the Republicans select someone who can carry enough of the key 10 states to win 270 electoral votes? Full story

March 3, 2015

Pat Toomey Is a Strong Candidate. Will That Be Enough in 2016?

Elections 2016

Toomey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Yes, I know Pennsylvania Democrats don’t have a 2016 Senate candidate who excites the entire party yet. I also know the election is 20 months away — plenty of time for them to rally around a nominee.

GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey’s re-election prospects in Pennsylvania next year depend to a large extent on the state’s political environment when voters go to the polls. If it is like 2010 or 2014, he is likely to win. If it’s like 2006 or 2008, he is likely to lose. Full story

February 25, 2015

Remembrance of Shutdowns Past

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans scored big gains in the 2010 and 2014 elections because both of those midterms were about President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Democrats had successful elections in 2006, 2008 and 2012 primarily because they made those elections about the GOP and George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

You might think politicians from both sides of the aisle would understand that a political party does best when it makes the national political discussion about the weaknesses, failings and shortcomings of the other party. Full story

February 23, 2015

Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton Face Foreign Policy Challenges in 2016

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the economy is a decisive topic in many presidential elections, national security looks increasingly likely to become a top issue in next year’s contest. And if that happens, it could dramatically affect both the direction of the race for the Republican nomination and the party’s prospects in November.

While the economy’s slow recovery hasn’t yet produced solid wage growth or the sort of good, full-time jobs that many had hoped for, President Barack Obama’s job approval numbers on handling the economy have started to climb. Full story

February 17, 2015

Past and Precedent: What Makes This Mississippi Special Election Interesting

You might think the best way to understand Mississippi’s upcoming 1st District special election to fill the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee’s seat is to examine the 2008 special election in the same district. After all, that previous special election to fill the seat left open by Roger Wicker’s appointment to the Senate happened less than seven years ago.

If you think that, you are wrong. Full story

February 12, 2015

Why Early Senate Polling Is Usually Useless

Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I never pay too much attention to early polls, since snapshots of a race more than 18 months before Election Day can be misleading.

And political parties ought to be careful about crowing too loudly about early polls for fear someone will look too closely into them. Full story

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