Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 23, 2014

Posts in "House"

April 21, 2014

Why TV Airtime Reservations Are More Important Than Ever

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Steve Israel of New York is the DCCC’s chairman. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

It’s time to pay more attention to television ad reservations; they have become another critical way party strategists communicate without coordinating under campaign finance laws.

Not too many cycles ago, political reporters rightly handled television ad reservations loosely and delicately as strategists from both parties used them to play games. Strategists would make some reservations with little or no intent to fulfill them in order to fake out the other party, the media or both.

But that was also a time when the party campaign committees (through their independent expenditure arms) dominated outside spending in races. Now, outside spending from non-party groups has increased, and party strategists can’t afford to pull in and out of competitive races or abruptly shift advertising plans because television spending strategies are more integrated.

“You can’t over-reserve anymore because once you’ve laid down that time, people are counting on you,” explained one Democratic strategist. Full story

April 18, 2014

8 House Race Ratings Changes Boost GOP, Democrats

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Dold is waging a comeback bid in Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

This week Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call made ratings changes in eight congressional districts and confirmed our rating in a ninth — Wisconsin’s 6th District — after GOP Rep. Tom Petri announced his retirement.

Here is a link to the Ratings map and a quick rundown of the moves we made, with links to the corresponding analysis. Full story

Ratings Change: California’s 26th District

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Brownley is a Democrat from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the Republican wave hit in 2010, it lost virtually all of its strength before it got to the West Coast. Most Democrats in competitive races west of the Rocky Mountains held on.

So Democrats are in a precarious electoral position this cycle, and it’s unclear whether some districts that look Democratic on paper could be a struggle to hold in November. Full story

Ratings Change: California’s 36th District

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Ruiz is a freshman from California. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After Democrat Raul Ruiz defeated GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack in California’s 36th District in 2012, Republican insiders immediately put this district toward the top of their target list.

After all, though Ruiz won the race by 6 points, 53 percent to 47 percent, he was buoyed by a presidential year and took advantage of the perception that Mack was distracted by her then-husband’s Florida Senate bid.

But things haven’t developed as Republicans expected. Ruiz reported a strong $1.5 million on hand on March 31, and he continues to be regarded as a hard-working Member of Congress who won’t be caught off-guard in his first re-election bid. (On a side note, on April 7 I wrote about what California candidates chose as their ballot designations.) Full story

April 17, 2014

Ratings Change: Florida’s 18th District

america presser015 080113 445x302 Ratings Change: Florida’s 18th District

Murphy is a first-term Democrat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The way things are going this cycle, Democrats could use a piece of good news — and Rep. Patrick Murphy’s re-election might be just that for party strategists.

The Democratic congressman was initially elected last cycle in a very close race, 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent, over polarizing GOP Rep. Allen West in Florida’s 18th District. Mitt Romney carried that district with with 52 percent.

That close margin of victory and Romney’s win in the district virtually guaranteed Murphy a slot near the top Republican takeover lists for 2014.

But Murphy has been one of the most prolific fundraisers in the entire House. The congressman raised more than $675,000 in the first quarter and had more than $2.2 million in the bank at the end of March. Full story

Ratings Change: Illinois’ 10th District

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Dold is waging a comeback bid in Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois’ 10th District was drawn by Democrats to elect a Democrat, and it did just that in 2012 when Brad Schneider defeated GOP Rep. Robert Dold.

But Schneider won very narrowly, 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent, a margin of a slightly more than 3,000 votes out of 264,000 cast. And he did it with President Barack Obama running at the top of the ballot. This year, Obama is not on the ballot, he’s more unpopular and Dold is running again. Full story

Ratings Change: Texas’ 23rd District

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Canseco is a former member from Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco is one of at least a couple former members running in 2014 who isn’t exactly being embraced by all in his party.

Canseco was elected in 2010 but lost re-election two years later to Democrat Pete Gallego, 50 percent to 46 percent. This cycle, Canseco is running again but is locked in a May 27 primary runoff with former CIA officer Will Hurd. Hurd finished first in the 2010 GOP primary, but lost to Canseco in the runoff. Full story

April 16, 2014

Ratings Update: Wisconsin’s 6th District

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Petri is retiring. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., is the latest member to announce his retirement, opening up another potentially competitive congressional district.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel reveled in Petri’s exit, but there is no initial indication that his seat is falling into Democratic hands in 2014. Full story

Ratings Change: Massachusetts’ 6th District

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Tierney is a Democrat from Massachusetts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Massachusetts voters haven’t sent a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives from any district in nearly 20 years. Republican Richard Tisei nearly broke that streak in 2012 and is challenging Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass., once again in 2014.

Tierney’s vulnerability is specific. Massachusetts’ 6th District voted for Barack Obama with 55 percent in 2012 and 57 percent in 2008. But Tierney nearly lost to Tisei last cycle, 48 percent to 47 percent, with the help from a Libertarian candidate who received 4.5 percent. Full story

April 15, 2014

Ratings Change: Minnesota’s 2nd District

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Kline is a Republican from Minnesota. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., was re-elected in 2012 with less than 55 percent in a district that Barack Obama won twice, making him an initial Democratic target.

But it’s safe to say that the race in Minnesota’s 2nd District hasn’t developed as quickly as some Democratic strategists would have liked. Full story

Ratings Change: New York’s 18th District

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Maloney is a Democrat from New York. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By the numbers, New York’s 18th District isn’t solid-blue Democratic territory. But at this stage of the cycle, GOP optimism about defeating Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is very low. And that lack of enthusiasm could indicate that former Rep. Nan Hayworth, a Republican, won’t get much financial support from outside groups for the stretch run this fall.

President Barack Obama won the district twice, but with just 52 percent in 2008 and 51 percent in 2012. Last cycle, Maloney defeated Hayworth by a narrow margin, 52 percent to 48 percent. Full story

April 14, 2014

The War of Obamacare Anecdotes in the 2014 Elections

A couple months ago on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, I said that I thought the 2014 elections would be driven by anecdotes related to the Affordable Care Act. I think a pair of ads in two of the most competitive Senate races in the country could be a pretty accurate roadmap for the debate that is coming over the next six months.

Last week in Alaska, an outside group called Put Alaska First went on the air with a new, 30-second television ad, “Beat,” featuring cancer survivor Lisa Keller talking about her struggle to gain insurance coverage and thanking  Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, for his fight against the insurance companies.

Full story

April 8, 2014

Meet 3 Divergent House Candidates Worth Watching

While some observers of politics apparently are only interested in statistical models that predict electoral outcomes, I have always thought that candidates matter — both during campaigns and, particularly, when the victorious arrive in Washington, D.C.

In fact I have found interviewing congressional candidates one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Last week, I interviewed three credible hopefuls in three interesting races: California Republicans Steve Knight and Jeff Gorell, and Pennsylvania Democrat Val Arkoosh.

Full story

April 7, 2014

GOP Congressman Skips Incumbent Label on California Ballot

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David Valadao is a House Republican from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

California Republican David Valadao is running for re-election to the 21st District — but you wouldn’t know he’s the incumbent from his ballot designation.

In the Golden State, candidates can choose a short description to accompany their name on the primary and general election ballots. The ballot designation is generally three words, unless it is an official title, and it’s considered an important opportunity to leave a lasting impression on voters before they make their final selection. [Here is a brief explainer from the Riverside Press Enterprise from last year.] Full story

April 3, 2014

Why Republicans Have Trouble Electing Women to Congress

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Love is a top GOP candidate in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fewer Republican women are running for Congress in 2014, compared to last cycle. That’s a fact. But what it means — or whether it says anything at all about the GOP — is entirely a different matter.

Unfortunately, not every attempt to explain the development is even-handed and analytic.

“What’s clear is that Republicans are coming up short in their bid to recruit more women to run for office,” according to a Time magazine piece in late February stemming from a study conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

The study was the catalyst for two rounds of stories (examples here and here, along with the Time piece), which EMILY’s List and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee redistributed to mock Republicans for the lack of female House candidates. Full story

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