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

Posts in "Kentucky"

November 12, 2015

Outsider Bevin Hires Insider Chief of Staff

With his wife Glenna Bevin, center, and Lieutenant Governor-elect Jenean Hampton, right, looking on, Kentucky Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin, speaks to his supporters at the Republican Party victory celebration, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Establishment Republicans gave Bevin’s chief of staff choice high marks. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Maybe Republican Matt Bevin isn’t going to burn down Frankfort after all.

The Kentucky Republican rocked the GOP establishment by challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in last year’s primary and irked some party strategists this year by running his gubernatorial campaign strictly on his own terms.

Full story

November 10, 2015

Is Vitter on the Verge of Losing Everything?

david vitter

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana isn’t anywhere close to belonging on a list of swing states, yet Republican David Vitter is at risk of losing not only his gubernatorial race this month, but also his Senate seat next year.

The Pelican State’s senior senator has struggled to unify the Republican vote after finishing second in the Oct. 24 jungle primary with just 23 percent. He trails Democrat John Bel Edwards in multiple public polls heading into the Nov. 21 runoff. Full story

November 4, 2015

What Does Bevin’s Victory Mean for Vitter?


UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 4: Sen. David Vitter, R-La., leaves the bipartisan Senate luncheon in the Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Much like Bevin in Kentucky, Vitter has trailed his Democratic opponent in the Louisiana governor’s race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Matt Bevin’s victory in the Kentucky governor’s race is yet another sobering reminder that polling is a risky business. And for some Republicans, Kentucky could be a glimmer of hope for GOP Sen. David Vitter’s gubernatorial bid in Louisiana.

Bevin’s victory wasn’t the political shockwave on par with Eric Cantor’s primary loss in 2014, but the Republican’s margin of victory was stunning.

Full story

October 20, 2015

What the Heck Happened to Rand Paul?

UNITED STATES - JUNE 18: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addresses the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference which featured speeches by conservative politicians at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, June 18, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Paul has become just another candidate back in the pack, waiting for his inevitable exit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I never expected Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul would win his party’s nomination for president, but I did expect he would be a factor in the race. So far, he hasn’t been one. (See my February column on his foreign policy challenges here.)

While Paul’s father never was a serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2012, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul proved to be a strong fundraiser who was able to compete in low-turnout caucus states where his dedicated supporters showed energy and a deep commitment.

Full story

October 16, 2015

Kentucky Governor Race Tilts Toward Democrats

UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: Matt Bevin, republican Senate candidate for Kentucky, talks with gun dealers at the Knob Creek Gun Range Machine Gun Shoot Out in West Point, Ky. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Bevin, shown here during his 2014 Senate campaign, has underwhelmed some Republican strategists in his run for governor. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With just weeks to go before the Nov. 3 election, Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway has a narrow advantage over Republican Matt Bevin in the Kentucky governor race.

The race certainly isn’t over, and public polling has the two candidates virtually running even. But Bevin’s personal ratings have declined in the face of Democratic attacks, while Conway’s image has consistently been in better shape.

Full story

July 29, 2015

More Democratic Losses Could Be on the Horizon

Bevin, shown during his unsucessful Senate race in 2014, is far more popular in Kentucky than inside the Beltway. (CQ Roll Call File Photo by Tom Williams)

Bevin, shown during his unsuccessful Senate race in 2014, is more popular in Kentucky than inside the Beltway. (CQ Roll Call File Photo by Tom Williams)

For Democrats anxious to turn the page from a terrible 2014 cycle, the news might get worse before it gets better.

Last fall, Democrats lost control of the Senate and fell further into the minority in the House, but pinned much of the blame on low turnout in the midterm elections. Party strategists were more than ready to look ahead to 2016, when the presidential race should boost turnout among Democratic constituencies. But at least one race this fall could dampen some of the Democratic enthusiasm heading into next year.

Full story

July 17, 2015

Less Hair Could Mean More Votes in Minnesota


After losing in 2002, Davis shaved his mustache and won in 2004

It’s no secret that hair was the source of Samson’s strength. But unlike the Old Testament Nazirite, one potential congressional challenger is hoping less could mean more at the ballot box.

Republican Stewart Mills might have the most talked about hair in politics, second only to Donald Trump. Last cycle, Mills challenged Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th District. But the race received national attention after I included a blind quote from a local DFL source who said the Republican had “Brad Pitt kind of appeal” to help describe his potential physical draw to some voters.

Full story

June 24, 2015

Yarmuth Retirement Rumor Offers Window Into Future

Rep. John Yarmuth

Before Monday’s news conference, there were rumors Yarmuth would announce he was retiring or even resigning. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rumors that Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth was poised to retire or resign were hot and heavy right up until the moment the Democratic congressman announced his re-election bid on Monday. But the public uncertainty provided a brief glimpse into what the race to replace him might look like when he decides to call it quits.

The exit rumors weren’t just wishful thinking by a Republican Party that hasn’t been able to seriously challenge for the Louisville-based 3rd District since Yarmuth knocked off popular GOP Rep. Anne Northup in 2006. Local Democrats were buzzing about the congressman’s plans and some were even preparing bids for an open seat.

Full story

May 5, 2015

Senate Races, Pro Salaries and Perspective on Spending

Reid, pictured here with fellow Las Vegas native Bryce Harper, has railed against the influence of money in politics. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reid, pictured here with fellow Las Vegas native and Washington National Bryce Harper, has railed against the influence of money in politics. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Complaining about campaign spending is a time-honored tradition, along with the Kentucky Derby and Major League Baseball. But a closer look reveals the dollars spent on controlling government pales in comparison to spending in other areas of life. Full story

November 24, 2014

What Did — and Didn’t — Surprise Me This Cycle

Every election cycle is filled with twists and turns, upsets and surprises. And every cycle is filled with goofy arguments, warnings about things that never happen and unsurprising outcomes that surprise only the politically uneducated.

For me, the biggest surprises included Dave Brat’s primary upset of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Thad Cochran’s win in the Mississippi Republican Senate runoff and Larry Hogan Jr.’s victory and margin in Maryland’s gubernatorial race.

Primary upsets happen, in part because reliable polling is so scarce. Without it, local observers have to rely on anecdotal evidence, which often is unreliable. But the idea that some underfunded college professor might deny renomination to Cantor, whatever his flaws and vulnerabilities, struck me as somewhere between silly and delusional.

Apparently, I was the one who was delusional.

Full story

November 4, 2014

GOP Candidates More Popular Than Democrats in Top Senate Races

Mary Landrieu

Landrieu arrives at a rally with supporters in Shreveport. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Here is an emerging surprise of the midterm elections: Republican candidates are more popular than Democratic candidates in top Senate contests.

It’s no secret the path to victory for Democrats in the Senate was to demonize GOP candidates in the eyes of voters who are dissatisfied with President Barack Obama. For much of the cycle, Democrats were banking on their incumbents’ personal popularity and connection to each of their states being enough to carry them to victory.

But after millions of dollars worth of attack ads, Republican candidates appear to have weathered the Democratic storm and are held in higher standing with voters coming into Election Day in a handful of key contests.

Full story

November 3, 2014

Election Eve Updates from The Rothenberg Political Report

With just hours before Election Day, the only question is how good of a night it will be for Republicans.

In the Senate, the following states have been updated: Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky and West Virginia.

In the House, we’ve updated the state of play in the following districts: Arkansas’ 2nd, California’s 52nd, Georgia’s 12th, Michigan’s 6th, Nebraska’s 2nd, New York’s 1st and Utah’s 4th.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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November 1, 2014

Race Ratings Change: Kentucky Senate

Jesse Ferguson

The Kentucky Senate race is over, Rothenberg writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of the most watched Senate races of 2014 is over. Take it off your list of states that could fall either way on Tuesday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has opened up a comfortable lead over his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state, ensuring McConnell will win a sixth term Tuesday. Full story

September 23, 2014

Fight for Senate Control Down to Five States

With six weeks to go, the fight for control of the Senate is down to five states, four of them currently held by Democrats.

Republicans must win only two of those contests to guarantee the 51 seats they need to control the Senate for the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. And they need to win only one of the Democratic states if they hold the only GOP seat at serious risk.

While things could still change — and national polls continue to show an environment that may produce a substantial GOP wave in the House and Senate — the Senate battle has boiled down to two reliably red states and three swing states.

Full story

July 11, 2014

Imperfect People Get Elected to the Senate

Elizabeth Warren is a senator from Massachusetts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Warren is a Democrat from Massachusetts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the heat of the campaign, it can be easy to disqualify or dismiss candidates based on unsettling, or sometimes unseemly, revelations. But all you have to do is look at the current lineup of senators to realize that imperfect people win elections.

Connecticut is a great place to start.

In 2010, The New York Times pointed out inconsistencies between Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s rhetoric and his military service during the Vietnam era. It became a major issue in the campaign, but Blumenthal prevailed, 55 percent to 43 percent, over former wrestling executive Linda McMahon. Full story

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