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November 29, 2014

Posts in "Texas"

August 29, 2014

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Southwest

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The battle for the Southwest really boils down to just one state: Arizona.

There is a lone congressional district in South Texas worth watching, but the majority of the action in the region is in the Grand Canyon State.

Two races dropped off the the list since last summer. The Texas Senate race is no longer worth watching after incumbent Republican John Cornyn dominated Rep. Steve Stockman in the GOP primary. And the race in Texas’ 16th District never materialized when no Hispanic candidate stepped up to challenge freshman Rep. Beto O’Rourke in the Democratic primary.

Here are the top five races to watch in the Southwest this fall: Full story

August 18, 2014

Republicans Gain Steam in House Races

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Valadao is gaining steam. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While political reporters and party strategists argue over whether there is an electoral wave ahead, district-level data demonstrates a difficult landscape for Democratic candidates in House races.

Democrats believe, as competitive races become more engaged and the party exercises some of its financial advantage to get its message out, that some contests will turn in their favor. That scenario is possible, but in many cases Democratic challenges aren’t developing as quickly as expected and some Democratic incumbents are struggling to gain their footing.

We’re changing The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings in a half dozen House races, all in favor of Republican candidates: Full story

June 5, 2014

Why Do We Suddenly Care About Races for Lt. Governor?

The office of lieutenant governor is so important that five states don’t even have one, yet that hasn’t stopped the national political media from treating some contests for the office as crucial indicators of something.

In the recent primary runoff in Texas, anti-establishment conservative state Sen. Dan Patrick unseated incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst by a sizable margin. The result received considerable attention since it fit neatly into the “tea party takeover of the Republican Party” narrative that has been struggling to survive since all but one GOP member of Congress won his or her primary through the end of May.

Maybe it’s the proliferation of political reporters and news outlets or the lack of other serious contests, or a mixture of both, but the conclusion that a race for lieutenant governor has some larger, long-term political impact is still unproved. Full story

May 5, 2014

Beware of the Surprise House Primary Losers

hearing008 040714 445x300 Beware of the Surprise House Primary Losers

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Mike Simpson looks like he’ll survive the epic establishment vs. anti-establishment struggle in the GOP primary in Idaho’s 2nd District. But if last cycle is any indication, the incumbents that lose primaries this year will be in low-profile races rather than high profile battles between outside groups.

In 2012, Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt was caught off-guard in her March primary. The Republican congresswoman was in Washington, D.C., the night she lost to now-Rep. Brad Wenstrup back home in the 2nd District.

“Her unexpected loss serves as a warning for many members seeking re-election on new turf after redistricting or facing even the smallest political challenge,” wrote Roll Call’s Shira T. Center and Amanda Becker in a post-primary piece. “More importantly, Schmidt’s loss signals a still-unsettled electorate looking for a reason — any reason — to boot an incumbent from office.”

Apparently not every member reads Roll Call. But they should.

Three months later, Oklahoma Republican John Sullivan lost his primary to Jim Bridenstine in the 1st District. Sullivan wasn’t completely shocked on Election Night, but he admitted to the Associated Press that he ignored the race for too long. Even though the race engaged in the final days, it wasn’t a national race by any stretch of the matter.

Then, two more months later, Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns lost the Republican primary to large animal veterinarian Ted Yoho. It was a legitimate surprise to national race watchers and to the congressman, who had $2 million sitting in his campaign account when he lost.

Texas Democrat Silvestre Reyes also lost his primary to Beto O’Rourke. But that race received some national attention because former President Bill Clinton came to west Texas for an event for the congressman. And The Campaign for Primary Accountability, which received a disproportionate amount of national media attention, made Reyes a top target.

Pennsylvania Democrat Tim Holden’s primary loss wasn’t a surprise either, particularly if you read Shira’s piece the week before. Republican mapmakers had redrawn his district, giving him new, heavily Democratic territory in Northeast Pennsylvania, far from his Schuylkill County (Pottsville) base. He was unknown in much of the new district, which no longer resembled the politically competitive district he had represented.

I should note that I did not include a group of eight members who lost in primaries because they lost to fellow incumbents because of redistricting. Each of those races was well-covered and it was inevitable that one incumbent was going to lose.

So before Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio, it’s possible that an incumbent such as Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones could succumb to his challenger. [Read Emily Cahn’s Roll Call story and Peter Hamby’s CNN story for a primer.] But it seems more likely that a member will lose in a race that no one is talking about yet.

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 17, 2014

Ratings Change: Texas’ 23rd District

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Canseco is a former member from Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Francisco “Quico” Canseco is one of at least a couple former members running in 2014 who isn’t exactly being embraced by all in his party.

Canseco was elected in 2010 but lost re-election two years later to Democrat Pete Gallego, 50 percent to 46 percent. This cycle, Canseco is running again but is locked in a May 27 primary runoff with former CIA officer Will Hurd. Hurd finished first in the 2010 GOP primary, but lost to Canseco in the runoff. Full story

January 23, 2014

Ratings Change: Texas’ 23rd District

Republicans have a former congressman running to take back Texas’ 23rd District after just two years, but GOP enthusiasm about defeating Rep. Pete Gallego appears to be waning.

The Democrat defeated GOP Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, 50 percent to 46 percent, in 2012 in a redrawn district in southwest Texas. At the same time, Mitt Romney won the 23rd District, 51 percent to 48 percent, over President Barack Obama. Obama won it narrowly, 50 percent to 49 percent, in 2008. Full story

December 17, 2013

How the Calendar Will Influence GOP Senate Primaries

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Cornyn’s primary is first on the 2014 calendar. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Stories about Republican primaries are all the rage, and we’re still nearly three months from the first actual election. But in all of the analysis of vulnerable senators, voting scorecards and outside groups, it’s important to remember the calendar and how primary results could affect subsequent races.

It’s possible that a snowball effect could work for or against tea-party-aligned groups next year, depending on the outcomes.

The first Senate primary contest will be March 4 in Texas. Rep. Steve Stockman’s last-minute challenge to GOP Sen. John Cornyn got plenty of media attention. But unless Stockman can find a pot of gold (worth at least $10 million or so) at the end of a rainbow, Cornyn will cruise to victory. Full story

December 4, 2013

The $2 Billion Campaign Against John Cornyn (Updated)

Updated 4:38 p.m. | Democrat David Alameel announced recently his challenge to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and the wealthy dentist said money won’t be a problem. I’m not so sure.

“I’ll just do whatever it takes,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “Money is not an issue for me.”

The source of Alameel’s confidence is unclear. There are expensive Senate races, and then there is Texas — in a league of its own. Full story

By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 11:28 a.m.
Senate, Texas

November 25, 2013

If Linda Lingle Could, Why Can’t Wendy Davis?

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Davis is running for governor of Texas in 2014. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As longtime readers of this column know, voters in one-party states sometimes elect the nominee of the “wrong” party as governor. Today’s question is whether state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat, has a fighting chance to win next year’s gubernatorial election in Texas, which remains a rock-solid Republican state.

Davis was elected to the Fort Worth City Council in 1999 and was re-elected four times. She defeated an incumbent Republican state senator in 2008, and four years later she squeezed out re-election, 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent, against a Republican member of the state House who challenged her in what the Star-Telegram termed a “brawl.”  

In June, Davis filibustered Senate Bill 5, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks and imposed new regulations on doctors and clinics performing abortions in Texas. The Fort Worth Democrat was successful in blocking a vote at the end of the special session, but Gov. Rick Perry called a second special session and the bill passed. It was signed into law on July 18. Full story

October 11, 2013

Is Cruz Causing a Democratic Wave? Maybe, but Don’t Jump the Gun

cruz101113 445x296 Is Cruz Causing a Democratic Wave? Maybe, but Dont Jump the Gun

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Last week I observed that I hadn’t yet seen “compelling evidence” that a Democratic political wave could be developing. I can no longer say that after seeing the recently released NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

That highly regarded poll showed Republican numbers have taken a considerable hit because of the shutdown and the media coverage around it. The GOP’s 24 percent positive/53 percent negative image obviously is a red flag, especially compared with image numbers for the Democratic Party (39 percent positive/40 percent negative) and President Barack Obama (47 percent positive/41 percent negative).

The NBC/WSJ poll’s version of the generic ballot, which asks respondents about their “preference for the outcome of next year’s congressional elections,” shows a substantial shift from an insignificant 3-point Democratic edge (46 percent to 43 percent) to an 8-point Democratic advantage (47 percent to 39 percent).

Respondents split evenly in June on the role of the government, with 48 percent saying that government “should do more to solve problems” and 48 percent saying that government “is doing too many things.”  That has also changed, with 52 percent now saying that government should do more and only 44 percent saying that it is doing too much.

I haven’t mentioned the poll’s shutdown “blame” question because I have serious concerns about its wording. Full story

September 24, 2013

Republicans Win Belated Legal Battles, but Elections Can’t Be Undone

You can’t rewrite history, but Republicans probably wish you could.

While two high-profile former GOP officeholders — Texas Rep. Tom DeLay and the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens — have now had their convictions overturned or dismissed, Republicans are still dealing with the political consequences.

It’s easy to forget the electoral impact of DeLay’s and Stevens’ legal problems at the time.

DeLay, the former House majority leader, stepped down from his post in fall 2005 when a grand jury convicted him of campaign finance violations. He eventually resigned from office in June 2006 and was later convicted in fall 2010. Full story

September 20, 2013

House Strategists Continue Search for 2014 Candidates

My colleague Kyle Trygstad nearly declared the end to the Senate recruitment season recently, but House strategists on both sides of the aisle still have their work cut out for them.

With a little more than a year before Election Day, Republican and Democratic operatives are searching for quality candidates in more than a handful of districts. Both sides want as many offensive opportunities as possible to keep the other side pinned down in their own territory.

Down 17 seats, Democrats need more GOP takeover opportunities to make up for any losses and so they don’t have to win all of the competitive seats to get back to the majority next November. Full story

July 13, 2013

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Southwest

The battle for the Southwest boils down to two states: Arizona and Texas. And unless Republicans redraw the congressional map in the Lone State State once again — highly unlikely —  there are not many competitive races.

Here are the top five races to watch in the Southwest:

Arizona’s 2nd District. Rep. Ron Barber, a Democrat, won re-election to a full term last fall. But his close race against retired combat pilot Martha McSally wasn’t easy, and she has already filed paperwork for a rematch. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Pure Tossup.  Get the full Rothenberg Political Report analysis here ($). Full story

July 8, 2013

Texas Governor: Perry Out, but …

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Abbott is the new front-runner for governor of Texas. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision not to seek another term does not change the partisan outlook for the 2014 Texas gubernatorial race.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott becomes the clear favorite for the GOP nomination and for election as the Lone Star State’s next governor. Here is an interesting article about Abbott and how the fact that he was partially paralyzed at age 26 has affected his life and career.

The Texas contest remains Safe Republican in the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings.

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