Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 25, 2015

Posts in "House"

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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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 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 15, 2015

Ryan Is Damned if He Does, and Damned if He Doesn’t

UNITED STATES - JUNE 04: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., conducts a pen and pad briefing with reporters in the Capitol, June 4, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan is the one person who might hold House Republicans together. But for how long? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I no longer underestimate Paul D. Ryan.

I first met the Wisconsin Republican when he came in for an interview on Nov. 19, 1997. Then 27, he most recently had been a Capitol Hill staffer for conservative Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback.

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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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October 5, 2015

State Senator Prepares GOP Primary Challenge to Shimkus


Shimkus has a lifetime 66 percent rating from the Club for Growth but his 2014 score fell to 34 percent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

State Sen. Kyle McCarter is poised to launch a primary challenge to GOP Sen. John Shimkus in Illinois’ 15th District later this week, according to GOP sources.

The news shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. McCarter has been openly discussing the possibility with fellow Illinois Republicans since at least August, when I wrote about him in The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.

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October 2, 2015

Democratic Prospects Improve in 2 New York House Races

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 11: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., rides his bike away from the Capitol following the final vote of the week on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maloney’s seat looks safer now than it did in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If House Democrats want to get back to the majority, they’re going to have to do better in New York.

Republicans currently hold nine of Empire State’s 27 House districts — a third of the state’s delegation, even after a great election cycle in 2014. After the 2008 elections, when Democrats expanded their House majority nationwide, Republicans held just three of New York’s 29 seats (10 percent).

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By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 10:12 a.m.
House, New York

September 15, 2015

Benishek’s District Competitive Before and After Retirement

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 16: Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, September 16, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Benishek’s narrow win in 2014 made him an attractive target for Democrats this time around. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats need Republican incumbents to retire from competitive districts in order to expand the playing field of competitive House races. But GOP Rep. Dan Benishek’s decision not to run for re-election in Michigan barely moves the status quo of the House battlefield.

Benishek was already considered vulnerable this cycle, and his 1st District was already counted among the three dozen most competitive races in the country. His narrow re-election victory in 2012 — 48.1-47.6 percent (a margin of 1,881 votes), made him an attractive target. But the seat leans Republican under most conditions.

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Indiana Reps Still Wrestling With Residency

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 19: Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Richard Lugar, R-Ind., arrives for the photo-op with actor Ben Affleck, who was on Capitol HIll to discuss the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Opponents made Lugar’s residence an issue in his unsuccessful run for re-election in 2012. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For some members of Congress with young families, getting elected is the easy part; deciding whether to move your family to Washington is more difficult.

Members of the Indiana delegation have been wrestling with the decision for decades, in a state where residency consistently pops up as a campaign issue.

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September 11, 2015

More House Retirements Likely to Come


Minnesota’s Kline is the sixth House member to announce his retirement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After spending five weeks at home in their districts with their families, how many members got homesick and are set to retire?

If history is a guide, at least a handful or more House members will announce their departure in the days, weeks and months ahead.

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September 2, 2015

Sources: Reichert Seriously Considering Washington Governor’s Race

UNITED STATES - JULY 28: Rep. David Reichert, R-Wash., speaks during an interview in his office in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. Reichert is the previous Sheriff of King County, Wash. and is working to improve community policing. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Reichert’s former chief of staff said this is “the most serious” he’s ever seen his old boss about running for governor. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Rep. Dave Reichert is seriously considering a gubernatorial bid in Washington state, according to multiple GOP sources.

The congressman has been the consistent source of rumors for a statewide bid over the past decade. But those rumors were often fueled by House Democrats who wanted him to leave behind a competitive open seat or Republicans focused on the Senate and governorships.

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August 26, 2015

Campaign Committees Open Holes While Filling Others


Democrats believe Heitkamp could be a competitive candidate for governor but would loosen the party’s hold on her Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats want to hold the White House, take back the majorities in the Senate and the House, and gain ground in governorships. But what happens when those are conflicting goals?

In Florida, strategists at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are excited Rep. Patrick Murphy is running for the state’s open seat. But Murphy is leaving behind a competitive House district that will be difficult for strategists at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to hold next fall.

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