Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 27, 2014

Posts in "Maine"

November 10, 2014

Review: 6 Races Both Parties Viewed Completely Differently

 Review: 6 Races Both Parties Viewed Completely Differently

Peterson will continue to represent Minnesota’s 7th District. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A month ago, I wrote about “6 Races Both Parties View Completely Differently.” These were a half-dozen contests where strategists generally disagreed on the shape and trajectory of the race.

Instead of averaging out the differing opinions and declaring the races too close to call, it was more likely that one party would be very right and the other very wrong. Now, with results in hand, we can see who had the better analysis. Unfortunately, the parties split the races on Election Night.

Democrats were victorious in three races. Full story

October 8, 2014

6 Races Both Parties View Completely Differently

 6 Races Both Parties View Completely Differently

Peterson was targeted from the beginning. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Democratic and Republican operatives have their own analysis on each race, they often agree on how close a race is and which candidate has the edge.

Sometimes, however, they have wildly different views on where races stand.

In California’s 52nd and Florida’s 2nd, for example, both parties agree the race is close and they have resigned themselves to slogging it out until the end with expensive television ad campaigns. In West Virginia’s 3rd District, the parties disagreed for months which candidate is better-positioned to win — and now they agree Rep. Nick J. Rahall II’s re-election will be a close contest.

But when the parties disagree, their views can be fundamentally different. In at least six contests this cycle, party operatives disagree on where the races stand and where they are headed.

Here is a look at a half-dozen seats where strategists aren’t on the same page — and sometimes seem to be reading out of totally different books. Full story

September 17, 2014

The Amazingly Static House Playing Field

 The Amazingly Static House Playing Field

Shea-Porter’s race is now rated Tossup. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After a year of campaigning, television ads, a government shutdown, and a botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, the House playing field is virtually unchanged from where it was 12 months ago.

We recently updated the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings in seven House districts. Arizona’s 1st District, Maine’s 2nd District, New Hampshire’s 1st District, and New York’s 21st District all moved incrementally toward Republicans. Ohio’s 6th and 14th districts and Pennsylvania’s 8th District also moved toward the GOP but to currently Safe.

By dropping the trio of races from the list of most competitive races, the total number of competitive seats (seats that have a chance of changing partisan hands) dips to 48 seats. That is remarkably similar to last September, when we listed 49 seats on our competitive race chart. Full story

August 21, 2014

Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

tierney 139 071114 Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New England hasn’t been fertile territory for Republican candidates of late, but the party has an opportunity to gain House seats in the region this November.

Surprisingly, even though the races have evolved, there is no change to the regional Top 5 Races to Watch list from last summer.

Here are the top five races to continue watching this cycle in New England: Full story

May 15, 2014

Democrats Wield Abortion Rights as Campaign Weapon in Primaries, Too

One party is using abortion as wedge issue in races all across the country — and it’s not the Republicans.

Abortion rights is a critical part of Democrats’ pitch to women in swing districts and states in general elections. But now some Democratic candidates from Maine to Hawaii are using choice as a key issue in primaries as well.

Last week, EMILY’s List and NARAL-Pro Choice America celebrated their coordinated attack on state Rep. Brendan Boyle in Pennsylvania’s 13th District. The week before, state Sen. Daylin Leach released a television ad against Boyle featuring a handful of women taking Boyle to task. Full story

January 14, 2014

Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats

tennis004 050813 445x300 Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats

McIntyre is retiring, giving Republicans a strong opportunity to pick up his House seat in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I wrote my first Dangerous Dozen open House seats column in this space 14 years ago, so I figured I might as well keep the streak going, though it isn’t nearly as impressive as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak.

As in my Jan. 17, 2000, column, the districts are listed in order of vulnerability. “All of the races on the list currently are worth watching, but I’ve concluded that the races at the top of the list are more likely to change party control than those at the bottom,” I wrote back then. The same applies now.

Utah’s 4th District (Jim Matheson, a Democrat, is retiring.)

Barack Obama received 41 percent of the vote in this district in 2008, but only 30 percent in his bid for re-election. No Democrat will begin with Matheson’s goodwill or moderate record, making the district impossible to hold for his party. After November, Republicans will control all four of the state’s House districts and both Senate seats. Full story

August 2, 2013

RATINGS CHANGE: Maine Senate

collins 185 052313 445x296 RATINGS CHANGE: Maine Senate

Collins is a safe bet for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When Democrats float the idea of a Republican senator joining President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, it usually means they know they can’t defeat the incumbent in an election.

Democrats appear to have thrown in the towel on defeating Republican Sen. Susan Collins in Maine. When party strategists discuss offensive opportunities, it is usually limited to the open seat in Georgia and challenging Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Full story

July 25, 2013

RATINGS CHANGE: Maine’s 2nd District

Ten years ago, the open-seat race in Maine’s 2nd District was one of the most competitive in the country. The seat is open again, but it may be further out of reach for Republicans this time.

Rep. Michael H. Michaud delighted some Democratic strategists by announcing his gubernatorial bid. He also left the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with an open seat to defend. Full story

July 23, 2013

As Portland (Maine) Goes, So Goes … the Nation?

For decades, Portland, Maine, the state’s largest city (population 66,000), has been more liberal and more Democratic than the rest of the Pine Tree State. But it wasn’t always the magnet for foodies or the home of upscale boutiques that attract a more affluent crowd.

While Maine elected a Republican governor and GOP majorities in the legislature in 2010, that political “wave” outcome is misleading. Democrats won the legislature back in 2012, and Republicans will have trouble holding the governorship in 2014.

If the state of Maine has been sliding toward the Democrats in most statewide elections over the past four or five decades, Portland has been leading the state’s move to the left. Full story

July 10, 2013

RATINGS CHANGE: Maine Governor

Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud’s decision to explore a gubernatorial bid in Maine is a good example of competing interests of campaign committees.

Michaud leaves behind a potentially competitive 2nd District, an open seat that could be difficult for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to hold. But strategists at the Democratic Governors Association are ecstatic. They believe Michaud’s unique appeal can thread the needle in a potentially complicated gubernatorial race. Full story

July 8, 2013

Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

ayotte 181 112911 445x295 Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

Ayotte is one of the last congressional Republicans in New England. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Even in the best of times, New England isn’t particularly friendly to Republicans. Today, the GOP boasts just two members — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — as the only elected officials at the federal level in the six-state region.

Next year, Republicans will try to climb back to some relevance. Here are the top five races to watch in that region:

Massachusetts’ 6th District: Democrats didn’t expect their own congressman, John F. Tierney, to survive last fall’s election, but he did. Former state Sen. Richard Tisei, a Republican, is on track for a rematch and this cycle, he won’t have to deal with President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren driving turnout for Tierney. Also, Tierney recently attracted a primary challenge from a former Marine, Seth Moulton. This is a Democratic district, but Tierney’s issues and Tisei’s strengths make this uniquely competitive. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Democrat.

Full story

June 14, 2013

Whither the Competitive Open-Seat Race?

NRCC 02 111312 445x295 Whither the Competitive Open Seat Race?

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, left, of Oregon might have to contend with fewer open seats this cycle. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Open seats are supposed to be opportunities. Without longtime incumbents on the ballot, these districts should be easier to takeover. But six months into the 2014 cycle, that just isn’t the case on the House side.

So far, there are 10 districts slated to be open seats because the member is running for higher office or retiring in 2014.  Either President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney won all of them with at least 55 percent last year.

Full story

April 3, 2013

Why Isn’t Maine’s Susan Collins Vulnerable?

Collins040313 445x296 Why Isn’t Maine’s Susan Collins Vulnerable?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On one level, Maine’s lone Republican in Congress, Sen. Susan Collins, looks like a defeat waiting to happen.

She is a Republican from a state that went comfortably for Democrat Barack Obama twice. And she is from New England, a part of the country where the GOP is all but extinct in federal office.

Collins almost appears to be a Republican version of Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, a moderate Democrat who is vulnerable next year because his party label, which once was an asset back home, has become a liability as his state’s politics has changed.

But while Collins’ profile suggests vulnerability as she mounts another bid for re-election, there are no signs of a serious challenge on the horizon. In fact, veteran Democratic insiders scoff at the idea that the moderate Republican will even have to break a sweat in her sprint to a fourth term. A Public Policy Polling (a Democratic firm) survey in January showed Collins with a 65 percent job approval rating and holding leads of 18 points and 25 points over the state’s two Democratic House members. Full story

March 29, 2013

What State Political Trends Portend for the 2014 Midterms

PryorCollins032813 445x267 What State Political Trends Portend for the 2014 Midterms

Neither Pryor, left, or Collins have a party identification that fits with the political bend of their state. But while Collins has a strong brand and is not viewed as particularly vulnerable in 2014, Pryor is a top target for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Correction, 2:12 p.m. | There probably isn’t a better demonstration of the nation’s partisan political polarization than the makeup of the Senate. Only 17 states have split delegations, while 33 states have either two Republicans or two Democrats (or two senators who caucus with the same party, in the case of independents).

Compare those numbers to the Senate makeup three decades ago, and the change is clear. After the 1982 elections, 24 states had split delegations, while 26 had two members of the same party.

Some of the changes show how state (and national) politics have evolved.

Thirty years ago, Kentucky had two Democratic senators, Walter Huddleston and Wendell Ford. But in 1984, Ronald Reagan carried the state by almost 20 points, running so strongly that he helped drag in an obscure GOP Senate nominee. That upset winner, Mitch McConnell, narrowly defeated Huddleston to begin the state’s transformation into a Republican stronghold in federal races. Full story

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