Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Posts in "Texas"

February 9, 2016

The $100 Jacket Politicians Use to Pretend To Be Normal People


barn jacket

The barn jacket has become the go-to fashion accessory for candidates trying to appeal to the common folk. (Screengrab: David Trone for Congress)

David Trone has never run for office before, but he’s wearing the standard issue uniform of a politician in his first television ads: the barn jacket.

The wealthy Maryland Democrat thrust himself into the 8th District primary with close to a $1 million ad buy in the expensive Washington, D.C., media market. In the ad, entitled “Bet the Farm,” the owner of the Total Wine & More chain of stores dons a barn jacket to take viewers on a tour of the family farm where he grew up.

Full story

January 5, 2016

Ted Cruz Might Not Need Trump Supporters


UNITED STATES - UNITED STATES - September 9: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fellow candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz and Trump embrace at a September rally at the Capitol to oppose the Iran nuclear deal. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is poised to absorb Donald Trump’s supporters when the billionaire exits the race for the GOP presidential nomination, according to one of the campaign’s most common narratives. But how many Trump supporters are open to supporting another candidate?

The quickest analysis of the Republican race divides candidates into distinct establishment and anti-establishment lanes, including lumping Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson supporters together as a monolithic force that is interchangeable between the candidates.

Full story

January 4, 2016

Top Races in 2016: The Southwest


PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Election day volunteer Vicki Groff places a sign to direct voters to a polling station at Kenilworth School February 28, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. Voters in this state participate in choosing who will be the Republican candidate to contest President Barack Obama in the general election.  (Photo by Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)

Two House races in Arizona are among the most-watched around the country. (Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images File Photo)

This is the sixth in a series of looks at the most competitive House and Senate races in 2016. The Southwest region covers Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Full story

By Nathan L. Gonzales Posted at 11:53 a.m.
Arizona, House, Texas

December 3, 2015

4 Court Cases That Could Impact the 2016 Elections


UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 2: Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., listens during the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing on "Saving Medicare for Seniors Today and in the Future," in the Cannon House Office Building on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The court will review whether Virginia lawmakers improperly “packed” minority voters into Scott district to minimize their influence elsewhere. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Breaking news can be hard to predict, except when it’s tied to a controversial court case.

Candidates and consultants spend their time, energy and dollars staying on message — trying to focus voters on winning issues. But breaking news, even something such as a court decision that can be anticipated, often derails those plans by interjecting a subject that wasn’t in the campaign prospectus into the national conversation. Full story

November 13, 2015

House Retirement Rush Still Short of Average


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Lummis announced Thursday that she would retire at the end of this term. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

 

In spite of the recent rush of retirement announcements, this Congress is still below the historical average of exits each cycle, which means more House retirements are likely to come.

Wyoming Republican Cynthia M. Lummis, California Democrat Sam Farr and Texas Democrat Rubén Hinojosa capped off the week by announcing they will not seek re-election next year. The trio makes 14 members who are leaving the House without seeking another office in 2016, according to Roll Call’s Casualty List.

Full story

October 5, 2015

Draft Biden Organizer Dismissed Over Past Legal Problems


Biden is getting closer to a decision on whether to run. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Biden is getting closer to a decision on whether to run. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Draft Biden PAC is gaining steam and staff in its unaffiliated effort to encourage Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to get into the presidential race, but it recently dismissed one of the group’s initial organizers after his past legal problems came to light.

Former congressional aide and campaign consultant Carlos Sierra was national field and political director for Draft Biden, but his resume also includes felony charges in two states. One Democratic insider was interested in getting involved with the Draft Biden effort, but became concerned as it became clear Sierra was involved.

Full story

August 14, 2015

A Modest Proposal: Timeshare Congressional Districts


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In Illinois’ 10th District, former Rep. Schneider is trying to win back the seat he lost to Dold after having beaten him two years before. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The sharing economy is all the rage. People are sharing homes and cars, books and tools. Why not congressional districts?

Republicans and Democrats sink millions of dollars into a quartet of races that regularly flip from one party to the other. Over the last four election cycles, New Hampshire’s 1st District and Texas’ 23rd District have changed hands three times and New York’s 24th District has flipped all four. Illinois’ 10th District flipped back and forth in 2012 and 2014 and could do it again in 2016.

Full story

July 1, 2015

Top Races to Watch in 2016: The Southwest


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Kirkpatrick’s Senate run sets up a competitive race for her House district. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

 

Editor’s note: This is the fourth installment in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch. The Southwest Region includes Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. 

Arizona’s 1st District: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s Senate bid creates an open-seat headache for Democrats. Kirkpatrick managed to win re-election in a terrible Democratic year in 2014, but she has a unique appeal in that district that could be difficult for another Democrat to replicate (and faced an underwhelming GOP nominee). Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain won the district with 51 percent in the 2008 presidential race and Mitt Romney carried it with 50 percent in 2012.

Full story

August 29, 2014

Top 5 Races to Watch in the Southwest


Ron Barber

(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


David Valadao

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


(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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


Dold is waging a comeback bid in Illinois. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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


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

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

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