Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 22, 2014

Posts in "Massachusetts"

July 11, 2014

Imperfect People Get Elected to the Senate

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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

April 18, 2014

8 House Race Ratings Changes Boost GOP, Democrats

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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

April 16, 2014

Ratings Change: Massachusetts’ 6th District

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

Massachusetts voters haven’t sent a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives from any district in nearly 20 years. Republican Richard Tisei nearly broke that streak in 2012 and is challenging Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass., once again in 2014.

Tierney’s vulnerability is specific. Massachusetts’ 6th District voted for Barack Obama with 55 percent in 2012 and 57 percent in 2008. But Tierney nearly lost to Tisei last cycle, 48 percent to 47 percent, with the help from a Libertarian candidate who received 4.5 percent. Full story

November 15, 2013

23 of 25 Vulnerable Democrats Vote in Favor of Upton Bill

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Kirkpatrick voted against the Upton bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Virtually every House Democrat listed as vulnerable by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call voted for Republican Michigan Rep. Fred Upton’s Keep Your Health Plan Act.

Two vulnerable Democrats voted against the bill: Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona and John F. Tierney of Massachusetts.

Overall, 39 Democrats joined with the vast majority of Republicans in order to pass the bill; 23 of those 39 Democrats are rated as vulnerable to some degree. Unlike their fellow delegate Kirkpatrick, Arizona Reps. Ron Barber and Kyrsten Sinema voted for the bill.

What’s also striking about Kirkpatrick and Tierney is how different their districts and political situations are.

Full story

November 7, 2013

For Some Candidates, Home Is Where the Opportunity Is

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McAuliffe won the gubernatorial race on Tuesday in Virginia. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

We all know that candidates and members don’t have to live in a House district in order to run or even represent that area. And I’ve written about a number of top-tier Democratic hopefuls this cycle who don’t live in the district where they are campaigning.

But there is a new category of candidate emerging this cycle: candidates who held office in one state but are running in another.

The most high-profile example is former Massachusetts Sen. Scott P. Brown. Brown, who was defeated for re-election in 2012 by Democrat Elizabeth Warren, has not closed the door on running for the Senate in neighboring New Hampshire against incumbent Jeanne Shaheen.

Full story

August 29, 2013

What Happens When Political Spouses Misbehave?

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has endured weeks of negative headlines as The Washington Post thoroughly examines his relationship with a campaign donor. But as the investigation moves along, his wife, first lady Maureen McDonnell, is coming under increased scrutiny as well.

Depending on the level of the Virginia governor’s involvement and legal jeopardy, his future political career is uncertain. McDonnell is prohibited from seeking re-election this fall but he was on the outskirts of the 2016 presidential discussion before the scandal broke. And he might have the opportunity to run for the U.S. Senate over the next decade, if he so chooses.

If the first lady ends up taking more of the blame for accepting gifts, Bob McDonnell wouldn’t be the first politician with a spouse in legal trouble. Here is a quick look at a few politicians and how their spouses’ legal problems affected their political careers. Full story

July 29, 2013

Former GOP House Candidate Marries Gay Partner

Massachusetts Republican Richard Tisei married his longtime partner earlier this month in the aftermath of losing one of the closest congressional races in the country — and probably just a few months before he begins another House campaign.

In 2012, Tisei came oh-so-close to defeating Democratic Rep. John F. Tierney in Massachusetts’ 6th District. In a race that many Democrats thought was a lost cause by Election Day, the incumbent won 48 percent to 47 percent — a margin of less than 1,000 votes. Full story

July 8, 2013

Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

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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

July 1, 2013

RATINGS CHANGE: Massachusetts Senate

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Brown’s home state of Massachusetts is no longer competitive. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After three consecutive competitive Senate elections in Massachusetts, it looks like we’re in for a dry spell.

Rep. Edward J. Markey, a Democrat, won the June 25 special election by a convincing 10 points, and there is little evidence he will be vulnerable when the seat is up again in November 2014.

Even though the situations are not completely analogous, former Sen. Scott P. Brown’s 2010 special election victory followed by his 8-point loss in the 2012 election demonstrates the difficult task ahead for the GOP in the Bay State. 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)

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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 12, 2013

The Barn Jacket as a Secret Campaign Weapon

Election Day is still more than a year away, but Illinois Republican Bruce Rauner is already deploying a popular campaign weapon: the barn jacket.

Rauner released two television ads on Tuesday in his bid to become the next governor in the Prairie State. In “Back to Work,” the wealthy venture capitalist dons a barn jacket and declares, “I’m a citizen, not a politician.”

Full story

June 6, 2013

National Democrats Buy Airtime in Massachusetts Senate Special Election

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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

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

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