Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 8, 2016

Posts in "Illinois"

January 31, 2016

Handicapping the GOP Race Past Iowa


NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 14:  Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) participate in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The sixth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top seven candidates, and another for three other candidates lower in the current polls.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

While Trump, center, and Cruz, right, have established themselves as front-runners, Rubio has broken away from other establishment candidates. (Scott Olson/Getty Images File Photo)

Have we entered a new period in American politics, when establishment candidates on the GOP side don’t win their party’s nomination? That is the question I posed in a June 4, 2015 column. It is still a relevant question.

While I answered that it is a mistake to assume that the establishment candidate would inevitably win the GOP nomination, I doubted that combative candidates such as Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, could pass the smell test for most Republicans.

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January 8, 2016

Obama’s Empty Campaign Threat on Gun Control


FAIRFAX, VA - JANUARY 7:  (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama listens to a question from Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu during  a live town hall event with CNN's Anderson Cooper  (R) at town hall at George Mason University on January 7, 2016 in Fairfax, Virginia. The president this week announced new, relatively mild executive actions to regulate the gun industry.  (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

Obama listens to a question from Pintal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu during a town hall event on Thursday. (Aude Guerrucci/Pool/Getty Images)

In the heat of his push for more gun control, President Barack Obama threatened to withhold support from anyone, including Democrats, who didn’t support “common-sense” changes. But based on the political realities of this cycle, his comments aren’t likely to dramatically impact Senate races.

“Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen,” Obama wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform.”

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December 31, 2015

Top Races in 2016: The Midwest


MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 4:  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker casts his ballot on election day at Jefferson Elementary School, November, 4, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Walker is running in a tight race against opponent Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker votes in Milwaukee on Election Day 2014. (Darren Hauck/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the fourth in a series of eight regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races for 2016. The Midwest Region covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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December 4, 2015

Illinois Filing Deadline Passes, Along With 2 Democratic Takeover Opportunities


UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 19: Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., walks down the House steps in the rain as members of Congress head home for the Thanksgiving recess following the final votes on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Davis appears to be in better shape next year than when he narrowly won last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:20 p.m. | It’s not even 2016 yet, but the filing deadline for candidates in Illinois came and went on Tuesday. Democrats failed to recruit top-tier candidates in two competitive districts, which means the map Democrats drew after the last census will fall short of its desired intent once again.

In the last round of redistricting, Democratic majorities in the state Legislature redrew the congressional map to favor Democratic candidates, and the party controlled two-thirds of the delegation (12 of 18 districts) after the 2012 elections. The only Democratic or swing district that Democrats didn’t win was the 13th, where Republican Rodney Davis won a narrow victory.

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December 2, 2015

Who Is the Second Most Vulnerable Senate Incumbent in 2016?


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Johnson’s re-election race, along with those of Ayotte and Toomey, are at the core of the battle for control of the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There is little doubt about the identity of the most vulnerable senator seeking re-election next year. It’s Illinois Republican Mark S. Kirk, who hopes to win a second term in a very Democratic state in a presidential year. His prospects are bleak.

But who ranks just behind Kirk as the second most vulnerable senator up next year?

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October 5, 2015

State Senator Prepares GOP Primary Challenge to Shimkus


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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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August 17, 2015

Group Suggests ‘Schock Waves’ in Illinois Special Election


UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 27: Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., walks up the House steps to the Capitol for a series of votes on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Schock’s replacement will be chosen in a Sept. 10 special election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Most Democratic strategists probably couldn’t name their party’s nominee in the upcoming race for Illinois’ 18th District, or even remember that there is a special election on September 10. But one not-for-profit group is trying to gin up interest in a possible historic outcome, even as the final result is likely to be pretty routine.

Rob Mellon sounds like it could be the name of a band featuring White Zombie’s frontman covering Blind Melon songs. In reality, Mellon is an Army veteran, high school history teacher and the Democratic nominee against Republican Darin LaHood in the race to replace former GOP Rep. Aaron Schock.

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August 14, 2015

A Modest Proposal: Timeshare Congressional Districts


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In Illinois’ 10th District, former Rep. Schneider is trying to win back the seat he lost to Dold after having beaten him two years before. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The sharing economy is all the rage. People are sharing homes and cars, books and tools. Why not congressional districts?

Republicans and Democrats sink millions of dollars into a quartet of races that regularly flip from one party to the other. Over the last four election cycles, New Hampshire’s 1st District and Texas’ 23rd District have changed hands three times and New York’s 24th District has flipped all four. Illinois’ 10th District flipped back and forth in 2012 and 2014 and could do it again in 2016.

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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.

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July 2, 2015

Top Races in 2016: The Midwest


Sen. Mark Kirk

Kirk is the most vulnerable Republican senator this cycle. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate in the Midwest Region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. 

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June 3, 2015

Let Voters Judge Early Ads


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It’s way too early to know if television ads will influence voters one way or another next fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Republican Mark S. Kirk is the most vulnerable senator in the country up for re-election this cycle. He kicked off his campaign in May with his first television ad, nearly a year and a half from Election Day, and it was promptly treated like a game-changer by some reporters. Of course it’s healthy to digest that kind of analysis with a healthy bite of skepticism.

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May 29, 2015

Ratings Change: Kirk’s Race Now Tilts to Democrats


Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi

Duckworth can probably afford a couple of mistakes as a Democrat running in a Democratic state in a presidential year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least a handful of GOP senators are vulnerable this election cycle, but none more than Mark S. Kirk of Illinois.

While Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire are headed for competitive re-election fights, Kirk looks to be facing the most difficult race of all.

Full story

March 30, 2015

Does Duckworth Change the Math in Illinois or Nationally?


Elections 2016

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you care about politics at all, you probably know Rep. Tammy Duckworth has entered the Illinois Senate race. She hopes to be the Democratic nominee against first-term GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk next year, though other Democrats are said to be looking at bids.

The Senate candidacy of the 47-year-old Democrat and Iraq War veteran, who is in her second term in Congress, has generated plenty of attention. That’s understandable, given that she has many assets as a Senate candidate and would be a formidable foe for Kirk, a moderate Republican in a very Democratic state. Full story

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

March 10, 2015

Mark Kirk Starts 2016 as an Underdog


Elections 2016

Kirk has “a significantly uphill fight for a second term,” Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Where does Illinois Republican Sen. Mark S. Kirk start in his bid for re-election? It depends on whom you ask.

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call currently rates the 2016 race as a Tossup, while the Cook Political Report says it is a “Lean Republican” contest. The folks in the statistical wing of the handicapping world are invisible, because the race hasn’t formed and there are no meaningful polls. Full story

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