Gonzales

Election analysis from Nathan L. Gonzales

3 Ways Nancy Pelosi Won’t Be Speaker Next Year
GOP could well lose the boogeywoman who keeps its base energized

There are at least three scenarios in which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi won’t become speaker again, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nancy Pelosi is a drug that Republicans just can’t quit, and the GOP hopes that the threat of her becoming speaker of the House again will awaken any potentially apathetic base voters. While that might work for Republicans for yet another cycle, it might be the last cycle with their favorite boogeywoman, considering there are at least three scenarios in which the California Democrat won’t regain the leadership mantle.

Given the presence of a polarizing President Donald Trump in the White House and historical midterm trends, falling short of a majority in November would be a catastrophe for Democrats.

Rating Changes in 19 House Races, All Toward Democrats
In total, 68 GOP-held seats are now rated competitive

New Mexico Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is running for the seat GOP Rep. Steve Pearce is vacating to run for governor. The 2nd District race is now rated Leans Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite forecasts of a blue tsunami, it’s still not guaranteed that Democrats will win back the House majority. But the playing field of competitive House races is expanding and shifting to almost exclusively Republican territory.

After the latest round of changes, Inside Elections now has 68 Republican seats rated as vulnerable compared to just 10 vulnerable Democratic seats. And there are at least a couple dozen more GOP-held seats that could develop into competitive races in the months ahead.

DCCC Makes Initial TV Reservations for Fall Fight
Committee is the last of four biggest House-focused groups to make initial buy

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., right, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., conduct a news conference at the Capitol in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved more than $12.6 million in broadcast television ad time for the last month of the fall campaigns, according to a source familiar with the committee’s independent expenditure buy.

More ad reservations are certainly to come, considering the DCCC spent more than $66 million on TV ads during the 2016 cycle, in addition to an ongoing, seven-figure digital buy, according to the same source.

Ratings Change: 5 GOP Open House Seats Shift Toward Democrats
Recent Republican struggles in special elections don’t augur well for party in fall

The race for retiring Michigan Rep. Dave Trott’s 11th District seat is now a Toss-up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s dangerous to extrapolate too much from any single special election, but the trend is clear across nearly all of the special contests over the past year: Democrats are over-performing and Republicans are struggling to hold open seats.

The over-performance by Democratic candidates hasn’t been limited by geography, considering they have done better than expected in Montana, Kansas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona, even if they’ve fallen short in all but one of those races.

Nine House Members Pushing for Gubernatorial Promotion
But for many, the road to the governor’s mansion won’t be easy

Of all the House members running for governor this year, Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa may have the best shot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just seven of the 50 current governors have previously served in the House, and only five of those were elected directly from the House without holding a statewide office or another job in the interim period. But a handful of lawmakers are hoping to buck the trend and push that total number closer to double digits.

Many of them have to navigate competitive primaries first, and the precedent for members getting elected governor isn’t great. But while most of them are leaving behind safe seats, there’s an upside: becoming their state’s top elected official and departing from an unpopular Congress.

Rock Climbing Candidates, SNL, and Hairy Montana Ads: Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners
What’s running through my head on April 27

(Courtesy Katie Hill for Congress/YouTube)

Arizona’s 8th District Special (a): The House majority was in play before the special election and it’s in play after the special election (and more thoughts in the aftermath of the race).

Arizona’s 8th District Special (b): Two months ago, we changed our rating from Solid Republican to Likely Republican and based on Lesko’s 5-point victory in a 21-point Trump district, that was the right move.

How Vulnerable is Deb Fischer in Nebraska?
Race still ‘Solid Republican’ at this point

The burden of proof is still on Democrats to demonstrate that a challenge to Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., is a serious takeover opportunity, Nathan L. Gonzales writes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nebraska has been dubbed a “sleeper” Senate race and rated as competitive by some handicappers. House Democrats just came close to winning a special election in a congressional district President Donald Trump won by 21 points, so how vulnerable is GOP Sen. Deb Fischer?

At a minimum, the senator faces a spirited challenge from Lincoln City Council member Jane Raybould. But the perception that Nebraska is a legitimate Democratic takeover opportunity seems to lean on the proclamation that no Republican seat is safe and limited public polling. Other evidence, including previously unreleased polling from the Fischer campaign, paints a different picture of the race.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: BonChon, Accessible Campaigns, and Let’s Remember Some Candidates
What’s running through my head on Monday, April 23

Popcorn chicken is no longer on the menu at Bonchon, Gonzales laments. (Courtesy Enoch T./Yelp!)

“Accessible” Attacks: Three Democratic candidates recently compared and contrasted their accessibility to the incumbents they are challenging, but neither Ken Harbaugh (OH-07) nor Dean Phillips (MN-03) nor Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) appear to have a working phone number on their campaign websites.

Bonchon Bust: The previously infallible Korean fried chicken establishment made a critical mistake by removing popcorn chicken from the menu and thinking kids wouldn’t notice that they now offer popcorn shrimp instead.

Dentists on the March to Congress
November could see two more join the cavity-fighting caucus

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress is probably as popular as going to the dentist, but a handful of dentists are looking to make their way to Congress.

Of course, the first step to growing the number of dentists on the Hill is re-electing the current ones. Considering they represent heavily Republican districts, their prospects are good, even though the political winds might be blowing against them.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Push Polls, Endorsement Misses and CAVA
What’s running through my head on tax day, April 17

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., speaks to a group of constituents on the House steps on March 22 after the final vote of the week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arkansas’ 2nd District: Congratulations to Democrat Clarke Tucker’s campaign for using the term “robocalls” in a press release even though the local media referred to them as a “push poll,” which it most likely wasn’t since push polls don’t exist.

Colorado Governor: State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, recent ex-wife to GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, received a dismal 6 percent of delegates at the Republican state assembly over the weekend, well short of the 30 percent threshold needed to make the GOP primary ballot for governor.

Ratings Changes: Duking It Out in Six Gubernatorial Races
State races could have national impact

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has won three statewide elections, including a recall contest, but his race for a third term is likely to get more competitive, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While most of the national attention is on the fight for Congress and President Donald Trump’s tweets, this year is also huge for gubernatorial races, providing an opportunity for Democrats to bounce back from a couple of disappointing cycles.

Republicans are defending 26 of their 33 governorships this year, while Democrats are defending nine of their 16 governorships. One independent governor in Alaska is up for re-election as well.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Florida, Curious George, and the NFL
What’s running through my head on Thursday, April 12

From left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Chief Deputy Whip Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive in the basement of the Capitol on Wednesday as reports of Speaker Paul D. Ryan not running for re-election spread. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona’s 8th District Special: Welcome to the big leagues, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who we’re learning hasn’t treated patients since 2011 and settled a malpractice lawsuit.

Baseball Movies: It’s still hard to believe Aaron Sorkin made “Moneyball” into a watchable movie.

Rating Update: GOP Open Seat in Florida Remains Solid Republican for Now
No obvious strong Democratic challenger yet

Rep. Dennis A. Ross, R-Fla., announced Wednesday he will not seek a fifth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

You could be forgiven for overlooking Wednesday’s retirement announcement by Rep. Dennis A. Ross, given that the Florida Republican made his decision public the same morning Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he would not seek re-election.

Ross said he’d be returning to practicing law instead of seeking a fifth term. “I never viewed this amazing opportunity as a job or a career,” he said in a statement. “My home has been and will continue to be in Lakeland, Florida.”

Rating Change: Ryan’s Exit Moves Wisconsin Race From Solid to Leans Republican
1st District contest could get competitive under the right circumstances

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., arrives for a press conference Wednesday along with press secretary AshLee Strong to announce his retirement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to seek re-election shakes up the Republican leadership ladder in Washington and affects his party’s ability to hold his seat back home in Wisconsin.

While Ryan’s retirement is huge news because of his position, it’s not as electorally alarming to the GOP compared to the retirements of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 27th District or Rep. Dave Reichert in Washington’s 8th District. Both leave behind Democratic-leaning seats that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Rating Change: Florida Senate Race Shifts to Toss-Up
Florida Gov. Rick Scott formally announces challenge to Sen. Bill Nelson

Now that Gov. Rick Scott has officially announced his Senate campaign, Florida is poised to host a costly race with national implications, Gonzales writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s plans have been talked about for so long that it would have been shocking if he hadn’t announced his challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson on Monday. And now that the Republican governor is officially in, the Sunshine State is poised to host an expensive race with national implications.

Of course, Democrats are confident about Nelson’s re-election chances. But this will be a race unlike any other the senator has faced. Scott, who is personally wealthy, could not only invest tens of millions of dollars of his own money into the campaign, but also utilize national fundraising contacts as a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association.