Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2015

Posts in "Florida"

July 9, 2015

Key Races in 2016: Politicial Landscape Taking Shape

A few key races across the country next year will determine the balance of power in the Senate. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Election Day is more than a year away, but the field of most competitive Senate and House races is already starting to take shape. While the political environment could change over the next 17 months, the landscape is largely set as a handful of races in each region will likely decide the majorities in the next Congress.

The fight for the Senate is likely to be decided in the Midwest, where Democrats have takeover opportunities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and a longer-shot opportunity in Indiana. If Democrats can win three out of those four states, they will be well on their way to gaining enough seats to take control of the Senate.

Full story

June 30, 2015

Top Races to Watch in 2016: The South

The Faith & Freedom Coalition

Rubio’s decision not to run for re-election while he runs for president creates a hot race for a pivotal Senate seat.

 

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of looks at the most competitive House and Senate races in the 2016 election cycle. The South region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Florida Senate: From competitive primaries to the general election, the race to replace GOP Sen. Marco Rubio should have it all. Rubio left his party a competitive open seat to defend in the wake of his White House bid. The Republican field is still taking shape, but a competitive primary looks likely. Reps. Ron DeSantis and Jeff Miller, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera are running. Rep. Patrick Murphy is running on the Democratic side, but could be joined by colorful Rep. Alan Grayson in what would be an entertaining primary. Even though there is uncertainty about the nominees, the general election is likely to be one of the most competitive in the country, and a virtual must-win for Democrats to get back to the majority. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as a Pure Tossup.

Full story

April 21, 2015

The Mystery of a Possible Florida Senate Candidate

Elections 2016

Lopez-Cantera, left, could run for Senate. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images File Photo)

A handful of Republicans are currently being mentioned as possible Senate candidates for the Florida seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination.

Former Rep. Bill McCollum, who has run repeatedly (and often unsuccessfully) for statewide office, is mentioned, as are a handful of House members, including Rep. Ron DeSantis, a tea party favorite. Full story

April 7, 2015

Open Florida Senate Seat Moves to Pure Tossup

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to announce his presidential campaign on April 13 in Miami, improving Democratic prospects for a takeover in the Sunshine State’s 2016 Senate contest.

The race would still have been competitive if Rubio opted to seek a second term — we had it rated as Tossup/Tilt Republican. Without him, it’s difficult to give the GOP a distinguishable advantage. No Republican has won more than 50 percent of the vote in a Florida Senate race since Connie Mack’s re-election in 1994. 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

January 27, 2015

First Look: Can Democrats Win the Senate in 2016?

Elections 2016

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For Republicans, the fight for control of the Senate in 2016 is all about playing defense.

Unlike 2014 (and 2018), the Senate races of 2016 offer few, if any, opportunities for the GOP as the election cycle begins. The map strongly favors Democrats and suggests the possibility of considerable Democratic gains. Full story

October 21, 2014

A Good Year May Not Save These Three Vulnerable House Republicans

Steve Southerland

Southerland has disappointed in his bid for re-election, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In his recent column, “Weak GOP Candidates May Need More Than a Good Year,” Stu Rothenberg pointed out how a handful of under-performing Senate candidates could cost Republicans the majority. Similarly, though the House of Representatives is not in play, a trio of GOP incumbents could cost their party larger gains in the House.

Even as the House landscape continues to shift in Republicans’ favor, Reps. Lee Terry of Nebraska, Steve Southerland II of Florida and Michael G. Grimm of New York are perched atop the list of most vulnerable incumbents. And it’s not hard to see why.

Terry, Southerland and Grimm are all vulnerable because of self-inflicted wounds, and a great Republican year might not be enough to save them. Meanwhile, some of their colleagues, such as Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, David Valadao of California and Chris Gibson of New York, are facing much brighter re-election prospects — despite being early targets and representing more Democratic districts than Terry or Southerland. Full story

October 17, 2014

Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Ratings Changes

Mark Pryor

Nunn is challenging Perdue for Georgia Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While national polls show a stable landscape, polls in individual races continue to show some movement. That movement leads us to make a number of changes to our Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings.

Most of the House changes benefit the GOP, while the Senate and governor changes are far more mixed.

Senate Changes:

  • Georgia (GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring) from Republican Favored to Leans Republican.
  • Louisiana Senate (Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu) from Pure Tossup to Tossup/Tilts Republican.

(Read more about the Senate changes in the Oct. 17 Rothenberg Political Report ($))

House Changes: Full story

August 28, 2014

Top 5 Races to Watch in the South

Mary Landrieu

Landrieu’s race could decide the majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The South continues to be dominated by big Senate races, with a couple of interesting House races sprinkled in for fun.

There have been two changes to the 5 races to watch list since last summer. North Carolina’s 7th District dropped off after Democratic Rep. Mike McIntyre chose retirement instead of another competitive race against Republican David Rouzer. The Kentucky Senate race is still competitive between Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, but everyone will be watching that race regardless of whether I include it on the list.

Here are the top five races to watch in the South next year: Full story

July 21, 2014

Rating Change: Florida’s 18th District

patrick murphy

Murphy is a Florida Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After a narrow victory in 2012 in a GOP-tilting district, Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., looked like a prime target for Republicans in 2014. But the congressman’s fundraising, endorsements and campaign have him in progressively better position for a second term.

Murphy has proven to be one of Democrats’ top fundraisers in the House. He had $2.7 million in the bank on June 30 compared to $289,000 on hand for his likely GOP opponent, Republican Carl Domino. Murphy is starting to exercise that financial advantage when his campaign announced $1.4 million in television reservations for ads this fall. Full story

Rating Change: Florida’s 2nd District

gwen graham

Southerland is a Florida Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The competitive nature of Florida’s 2nd District is not in dispute, but the ability of a Democrat to get over the top is a much larger question.

Stu Rothenberg has written consistently about the Democrats’ ability to draw between 46 and 48 percent of the vote. You can read his Oct. 2012 analysis here and March 2014 analysis here. I also wrote about a poll in the district in Sept. 2013.

We have been consistent in our view that a close race doesn’t necessarily mean that GOP Rep. Steve Southerland is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country. But Democrat Gwen Graham may be the nominee to change that. Full story

May 13, 2014

Rating Change: Florida’s 13th District

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jolly was sworn in in March. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Apparently Democrats are determined to challenge the old political axiom, “You can’t beat somebody with nobody” in Florida’s 13th District.

Just a couple weeks ago, Democratic strategists tried to pull off some ballot jiujitsu by keeping the Democratic field clear until after the filing deadline so they could run former Republican Ed Jany as a “No Party Affiliation” candidate in the general election.

Keeping the Democratic field clear looked like a good idea until Jany dropped out of the race Tuesday, leaving Democrats with no candidate at all in a very competitive district that Republican David Jolly won just two months ago.

Jany cited work conflicts as a reason for dropping out. But the Tampa Bay Times wrote a blistering story over the weekend poking significant holes in his resume.

In the small world of House races, this is a pretty major mistake. While Democrats didn’t have a clear path to a majority before Jany’s exit, now another competitive Republican seat is completely off the table.

Since Democrats don’t have a candidate, I think we’re pretty secure in changing our Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating of the race from Lean Republican to Safe Republican.

Jolly will face Libertarian Lucas Overby in the November general election.

The Most Influential Losing Congressional Candidate in the Country

University of Illinois professor George Gollin forced one of Democrats’ top recruits to spend a few hundred thousand dollars to win the primary. Now Gollin is popping up in other House races hundreds of miles away and potentially causing problems for more top recruits.

Earlier this year, Gollin spent nearly $500,000 in the Democratic primary in Illinois’ 13th District, running from the left, including a blistering attack ad against former Madison County Judge Ann Callis, the preferred candidate of strategists in Washington. Full story

May 5, 2014

Beware of the Surprise House Primary Losers

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Mike Simpson looks like he’ll survive the epic establishment vs. anti-establishment struggle in the GOP primary in Idaho’s 2nd District. But if last cycle is any indication, the incumbents that lose primaries this year will be in low-profile races rather than high profile battles between outside groups.

In 2012, Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt was caught off-guard in her March primary. The Republican congresswoman was in Washington, D.C., the night she lost to now-Rep. Brad Wenstrup back home in the 2nd District.

“Her unexpected loss serves as a warning for many members seeking re-election on new turf after redistricting or facing even the smallest political challenge,” wrote Roll Call’s Shira T. Center and Amanda Becker in a post-primary piece. “More importantly, Schmidt’s loss signals a still-unsettled electorate looking for a reason — any reason — to boot an incumbent from office.”

Apparently not every member reads Roll Call. But they should.

Three months later, Oklahoma Republican John Sullivan lost his primary to Jim Bridenstine in the 1st District. Sullivan wasn’t completely shocked on Election Night, but he admitted to the Associated Press that he ignored the race for too long. Even though the race engaged in the final days, it wasn’t a national race by any stretch of the matter.

Then, two more months later, Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns lost the Republican primary to large animal veterinarian Ted Yoho. It was a legitimate surprise to national race watchers and to the congressman, who had $2 million sitting in his campaign account when he lost.

Texas Democrat Silvestre Reyes also lost his primary to Beto O’Rourke. But that race received some national attention because former President Bill Clinton came to west Texas for an event for the congressman. And The Campaign for Primary Accountability, which received a disproportionate amount of national media attention, made Reyes a top target.

Pennsylvania Democrat Tim Holden’s primary loss wasn’t a surprise either, particularly if you read Shira’s piece the week before. Republican mapmakers had redrawn his district, giving him new, heavily Democratic territory in Northeast Pennsylvania, far from his Schuylkill County (Pottsville) base. He was unknown in much of the new district, which no longer resembled the politically competitive district he had represented.

I should note that I did not include a group of eight members who lost in primaries because they lost to fellow incumbents because of redistricting. Each of those races was well-covered and it was inevitable that one incumbent was going to lose.

So before Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio, it’s possible that an incumbent such as Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones could succumb to his challenger. [Read Emily Cahn’s Roll Call story and Peter Hamby’s CNN story for a primer.] But it seems more likely that a member will lose in a race that no one is talking about yet.

April 18, 2014

8 House Race Ratings Changes Boost GOP, Democrats

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

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

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