Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Posts in "Special Elections"

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

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 10, 2015

Why Special Elections Really Matter

Elections 2016

Pelosi and Hoyer both came to Congress thanks to special elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Special elections matter, but not for the reasons you might think.

It’s an annual sport in politics: arguing whether special elections serve as bellwethers. But while special elections often poorly portend results around the country, they can produce potential leaders. They’re also excellent predictors of voter behavior inside that particular district.

Full story

January 26, 2015

Democrats Lose Candidate and Hope in New York Special Election

The date hasn’t even been set, but Republicans have all but won the special election in New York’s 11th District.

The Staten Island-based district has swung from being a top Democratic target in the midterms all the way across the competitive spectrum to Democrats punting the opportunity to win the seat in a special election. Full story

March 24, 2014

Democrats’ Growing Problems With Independent Voters on the Senate Map

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

McAuliffe and Christie won last night. (Getty Images)

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...