Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Posts in "Pennsylvania"

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 29, 2015

Top Races in 2016: Mid-Atlantic States


PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMEBER 6:   A cardboard sign points to a polling place on November 6, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. U.S. citizens go to the polls today to vote in the election between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican nominee former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

A cardboard sign points to a polling place in Philadelphia on Nov. 6, 2012. (Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the second in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch in 2016.

The Mid-Atlantic region includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Full story

December 20, 2015

Democrats Moving on from Top Recruit in Competitive District


UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 4: Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., listens during the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee joint hearing on "Impacts of the Proposed Waters of the United States Rule on State and Local Governments" on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Costello is potentially vulnerable in his first re-election race, which will take place in a presidential year in a competitive district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats have had their eyes on Pennsylvania’s 6th District for over a decade, but haven’t been able to crack the code to win the seat.

They thought that had a top-tier recruit in Mike Parrish, a businessman, military veteran, and former Republican. But nearly halfway through the cycle, Parrish’s campaign has floundered and Democratic strategists are moving on and searching for another candidate.

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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 28, 2015

Don’t Blame Gerrymandering for GOP Civil War


UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 29: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some believe that Boehner’s run as speaker was a victim of redistricting, but that’s not the whole story. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Blame the earmark ban or Republican leaders. Blame Ted Cruz or even Justin Bieber. But don’t blame gerrymandering for the fighting in the House.

As Republicans labor through replacing Speaker John A. Boehner, bemoaning redistricting has become a common refrain in explaining the GOP civil war.

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August 5, 2015

Democrats, Party Switchers and the Ghost of Ed Jany


Rep. David Jolly

Jolly might’ve faced a competitive race had Democrats not cleared the field for a candidate who dropped out. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Former Republican state Sen. Tom O’Halleran announced Tuesday he was running as a Democrat in Arizona’s 1st District. It’s not the first time party strategists have crossed the aisle to recruit, and O’Halleran isn’t even the only party-switcher running this cycle.

Last cycle, Democratic strategists cleared the primary for former Republican Ed Jany in Florida’s 13th District in one of the most ill-conceived ideas in recent electoral history. Democrats knew Jany’s party switch was too recent for him to appear on the ballot with his new party, thanks to the so-called “Charlie Crist rule,” which says a candidate must be registered with a party a year before filing for office from that same party. But they failed to account for Jany’s candidacy collapsing under the weight of resume questions soon after the filing deadline. Consequently, Democrats didn’t have a candidate against GOP Rep. David Jolly last fall and punted a competitive seat to Republicans.

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July 30, 2015

A Brief Electoral History of Recently Indicted Congressmen


Rep. Michael Grimm

Grimm won re-election by a dozen points with a 19-count indictment hanging over him. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

It might be easy to scoff at Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania for talking about his re-election bid on the same day he faced a 29-count indictment on corruption charges, but the most recent members of the House to be indicted held their own at the ballot box, at least initially. The last two members of the House to be indicted won their next election.

After New York Republican Rep. Michael G. Grimm was indicted in 2014, I wrote about how it reminded me of one of my worst mistakes as a political handicapper and how I didn’t want to repeat it. Apparently, I’m a slow learner.

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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 1, 2015

Top Races to Watch in 2016: Mid-Atlantic States


Sen. Pat Toomey

The Senate race in Pennsylvania will likely be a rematch of the 2010 race between Toomey, above, and Sestak. (File Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch in 2016. The Mid-Atlantic region includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Pennsylvania Senate: Democrats are on a quest to gain five seats and the Senate majority, and the Keystone State looks like one of the key contests. Republican Patrick J. Toomey defeated Democrat Joe Sestak in 2010, 51 percent to 49 percent. Even though some Democrats are unconvinced Sestak is the best candidate for 2016, no credible alternative has emerged, and the former congressman looks likely to be the nominee once again. Skepticism about Sestak doesn’t mean he can’t win. The Democrat will be a credible nominee and gets the chance to run in a presidential year this time, when Democratic turnout should be better. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup/Tilts Republican.

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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

March 3, 2015

Pat Toomey Is a Strong Candidate. Will That Be Enough in 2016?


Elections 2016

Toomey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Yes, I know Pennsylvania Democrats don’t have a 2016 Senate candidate who excites the entire party yet. I also know the election is 20 months away — plenty of time for them to rally around a nominee.

GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey’s re-election prospects in Pennsylvania next year depend to a large extent on the state’s political environment when voters go to the polls. If it is like 2010 or 2014, he is likely to win. If it’s like 2006 or 2008, he is likely to lose. Full story

March 2, 2015

Russ Feingold, Joe Sestak and the Improbable Senate Race Rematch


Elections 2016

Feingold isn’t running yet, but all signs point to a rematch against his 2010 opponent. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is filled with members who lost previous races. But Democrats Joe Sestak and Russ Feingold are trying to pull off a rare electoral feat: defeating the people who defeated them six years prior.

In 2010, Republican businessman Ron Johnson defeated Feingold, the incumbent Democrat, 52 percent to 47 percent, in Wisconsin. Feingold’s 2016 candidacy isn’t a guarantee, but all signs point to a rematch, particularly now that he has left his post at the State Department.

But in order to get back to the Senate, Feingold will have to do something that hasn’t happened in nearly a century. Full story

February 12, 2015

Why Early Senate Polling Is Usually Useless


Elections 2016

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I never pay too much attention to early polls, since snapshots of a race more than 18 months before Election Day can be misleading.

And political parties ought to be careful about crowing too loudly about early polls for fear someone will look too closely into them. 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

January 16, 2015

When a House Member Should Retire


Rothenberg Political Report

Gibson announced his retirement Jan. 6. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you’re a member of Congress thinking about retiring, you might want to spend some time listening to Kenny Rogers.

“You gotta know when to hold’em. Know when to fold’em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run,” sang the country music legend in his 1978 song, “The Gambler.” Full story

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