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

Posts in "Special Elections"

March 24, 2014

Democrats’ Growing Problems With Independent Voters on the Senate Map

iowa fair036 081511 445x295 Democrats Growing Problems With Independent Voters on the Senate Map

Democrats expect a smooth ride for Braley, but should they? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the nation’s (and news media’s) focus on Malaysian Airlines flight 370 gave Democrats a couple of weeks to catch their collective breath, the 2014 election cycle continues to look increasingly dangerous for President Barack Obama and his party.

The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal (March 5-9) and CBS News/New York Times (Feb. 19-23) surveys contained little in the way of good news for Democrats — and recent GOP Senate recruiting successes in Colorado and New Hampshire put two more Senate contests into play.

Strategists in both parties agree that Democratic enthusiasm isn’t where it needs to be, especially when compared to GOP voters, who currently look eager to run into a burning building if that is what it takes to express their anger during the midterm elections. Full story

January 9, 2014

The Race Democrats Can’t Afford to Lose

It’s rare in politics that anything other than a presidential contest is viewed as a “must win” — but the special election in Florida’s 13th District falls into that category for Democrats.

A loss in the competitive March 11 contest would almost certainly be regarded by dispassionate observers as a sign that President Barack Obama could constitute an albatross around the neck of his party’s nominees in November. And that could make it more difficult for Democratic candidates, campaign committees and interest groups to raise money and energize the grass roots. Full story

November 6, 2013

Victory Is in the Eye of the Beholder in New Jersey, Virginia and Alabama

 Victory Is in the Eye of the Beholder in New Jersey, Virginia and Alabama

McAuliffe, left, and Christie won last night. (Getty Images)

Tuesday’s election results offer something for everyone.

Democrats can look at Virginia and conclude that Republican “extremism” on social issues like abortion, contraception and guns, combined with the deep divisions that appeared in the Alabama 1st District GOP primary results, continue to offer them opportunities for 2014 and virtually guarantee victory in 2016.

Republicans can look at the tightness of the Virginia contest and conclude that the unpopularity of Obamacare strengthens their hand for 2014 and will be an albatross around the neck of the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016. Full story

October 3, 2013

Bad Polling + Wishful Thinking = Bad Journalism

I’m not sure which is worse — a silly Steve Lonegan poll in the New Jersey Senate race or the way a handful of conservative “news” outlets treated it. They are both pretty terrible.

Lonegan’s pollster, Rick Shaftan of Neighborhood Research/Mountaintop Media, released results Tuesday from a Sept. 27-30 survey of definite and very likely voters in the Oct. 16 special election. He found the Democrat nominee, Corey Booker, leading his client by only 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent. Full story

August 7, 2013

Rodney Alexander Will Take Post in Jindal Administration

alexander 029 0801121 445x287 Rodney Alexander Will Take Post in Jindal Administration

Alexander is leaving Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Rodney Alexander isn’t wasting any time leaving Congress. The Louisiana Republican is expected to be appointed to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cabinet at an event this afternoon.

According to GOP sources, Jindal will announce Alexander as the new head of the Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs at an event in Monroe (located within Alexander’s 5th District) at 2:30 p.m. Full story

June 27, 2013

Gomez-Sanford Comparison on Obamacare Fails the Smell Test

You only need to look at the first paragraph of an “opinion” piece on Roll Call’s website to see that it wasn’t worthy of being posted on our website – or anyone’s. I’m not even going to include a link because I don’t want anyone to read it. (Editor’s Note: Here’s the link.)

“What’s the biggest difference between the victorious 2013 House special-election campaign of Mark Sanford and the losing 2013 Senate special-election campaign of Gabriel Gomez? Simply, a willingness to take on Obamacare,” write conservatives Heather R. Higgins and Kellyanne Conway in “Gomez Failed to Make Obamacare an Issue: Will Republicans Learn or Lose?”

That’s the biggest difference, huh? Only if you don’t know anything about politics and your main goal is to push an agenda.

Obviously, the two electorates are fundamentally different in so many ways that the comparison between Sanford’s victory and Gomez’s defeat is laughable. To begin with, President Barack Obama lost South Carolina’s 1st District 58 percent to 40 percent, but carried Massachusetts 60 percent to 37 percent.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Though Conway fashions herself to be a pollster, the op-ed includes no polling to make the case that Obama’s healthcare plan would have been a winning issue, or even an effective one, for Gomez in the Bay State, where the president is quite popular.

I could go through the piece in more detail, pointing out various problems with it, but, quite frankly, it doesn’t deserve that much attention.

June 19, 2013

I Would Fly 5,000 Miles Just to Help You Get Elected (Updated)

freshmen dems008 111312 445x311 I Would Fly 5,000 Miles Just to Help You Get Elected (Updated)

Gabbard, above, is helping Markey. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated June 20, 10:40 a.m. | Rep. Edward J. Markey is getting widespread support from Massachusetts to Hawaii in his special-election bid for Senate in the Bay State. Wait, what? Hawaii?

Last weekend, freshman Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, took to the campaign trail along with a large collection of state, local and federal officeholders from Massachusetts, to help push the Democratic congressman across the finish line June 25.

But why is a young congresswoman helping a longtime politician whose race is 5,000 miles away from her tropical district? Full story

June 18, 2013

Was the Massachusetts Senate Special Ever a Tossup?

Minutes after Gabriel Gomez was declared the winner of his party’s special primary on the evening of April 30, I tweeted that Gomez’s victory assured that the Massachusetts Senate special election would be “interesting.” And it has been.

But as the June 25 balloting approaches, it is clear the GOP nominee remains an underdog, as he has been since he was nominated. And that’s why the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call has maintained its “Democrat Favored” rating throughout the race, even as we noted that the contest had tightened and Gomez had some chance of pulling off an upset. Full story

June 6, 2013

National Democrats Buy Airtime in Massachusetts Senate Special Election

markey 169 1219122 445x296 National Democrats Buy Airtime in Massachusetts Senate Special Election

Democrats are helping Markey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican strategists who monitor media activity in Massachusetts say the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has purchased TV time, starting tomorrow, to help Rep. Edward J. Markey in the special election for Senate.

Markey — who just a few days ago started running a TV spot attacking GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez on abortion, guns and Social Security — continues to hold a narrow lead in the race, probably somewhere in the mid-single digits. But the margin has made Democrats nervous enough that they now appear prepared to throw their considerable weight behind their party’s nominee. Full story

June 3, 2013

New Jersey Senate Remains Safe for Democrats in Long Term

christie014 1206121 445x300 New Jersey Senate Remains Safe for Democrats in Long Term

The New Jersey Senate seat will stay in Democratic hands in the long term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the first time in more than 30 years, there will likely be a Republican senator from New Jersey.

But unless New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, pulls a rabbit out of the hat, it’s likely that Republicans will have the seat only briefly — from six months to as long as a year and a half, depending on what Christie does and how the state law is interpreted. Full story

May 30, 2013

Are Republicans Completely on Board With Gabriel Gomez?

Republican strategists both associated with and independent of GOP nominee Gabriel Gomez’s campaign are growing increasingly frustrated by what they see as the unwillingness of establishment donors and conservative activists to get fully behind the candidacy of the first-time candidate for Massachusetts Senate.

“Republican donors around the country have demanded for years that we find candidates who have appeal outside the normal conservative coalition, as well as those who have interesting private sector backgrounds. You couldn’t find anyone who fits that description better than Gabriel Gomez,” said Brad Todd of OnMessage, Inc., the GOP consulting firm that handles strategy, media and polling for Gomez’s campaign.

“And conservative bloggers and self-proclaimed armchair experts have navel-gazed and pointed fingers since November,” Todd continued. “It is time for them to put away the sack cloth lab coats and grab an oar.” Full story

May 20, 2013

In Massachusetts Senate PPP Poll, Read the Numbers — Not the Memo

markey 169 1219122 445x296 In Massachusetts Senate PPP Poll, Read the Numbers — Not the Memo

Markey is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Another public poll, this one from Public Policy Polling, shows a tight race for Senate in Massachusetts. But more interesting is what the Democratic firm does not discuss in its very brief memo about the June 25 special election.

The survey showed Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., leading Republican Gabriel Gomez by 7 points, 48 percent to 41 percent. That marked a slight increase from Markey’s 4-point margin in a PPP poll two weeks earlier. It’s a single digit margin that is similar to most other post-primary polls.

Even when the PPP numbers seem reasonable, as these do, the firm’s memos accompanying its data usually have a clear Democratic tilt, highlighting results that seem to enhance the Democrat’s standing in the race. This memo is particularly misleading. Full story

May 12, 2013

Massachusetts Senate Special-Election Race Still Looks Tight

A new poll conducted for Republican Gabriel Gomez’s campaign shows Gomez trailing Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey by just 3 points.

The May 5-7 poll of 800 likely special election voters by OnMessage Inc., a Republican political consulting firm, found Markey leading Gomez 46 percent to 43 percent, with 11 percent undecided. According to an OnMessage polling memo, respondents “were stratified by county based on previous election results to reflect historic voter trends.” Full story

May 8, 2013

Partisanship Ruled in South Carolina Special Election

Sanford042413 240x257 Partisanship Ruled in South Carolina Special Election

(Davis Turner/Getty Images)

Mark Sanford’s victory in the special election in South Carolina’s 1st District tell us little new about the 2014 elections. But it does serve as a reminder about one important factor in American politics that shouldn’t be ignored when the midterms roll around: partisanship.

At the end of the day, most Republican voters in the district decided to vote Republican, even though their nominee had more than his share of warts.

Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch might well have won in a more competitive district, but she could not convince Republican voters — conservative Republican voters — that she was a safe choice or that Sanford was unacceptable. Full story

May 6, 2013

South Carolina Special a Photo Finish?

With the special election in South Carolina just one day away, both Republicans and Democrats are unsure of the outcome.

Former Palmetto State Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, began with a narrow advantage over Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, but even Republicans pulling for Sanford believe that he has failed to run the strong race he needed to in order to hold onto the reliably GOP seat. Full story

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...