Nathan Gonzales

(Mostly) Political one-liners: Pennsylvania special, Kentucky governor, and the Trail Blazers

Republican Fred Keller’s no-drama victory in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District this week came after President Donald Trump spoke at a rally the night before the special election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

California’s 48th District: The Orange County Republican Party endorsed County Supervisor Michelle Steel on Monday in the race against freshman Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda, which could give pause to potential candidates such as former state Sen. Janet Nguyen.

Colorado Senate: Former District Attorney John Walsh, a Democrat, came by the office for an interview on Tuesday to talk about the Colorado Senate race, and we’ll publish our Candidate Conversation in the May 31 issue of Inside Elections.

3 things to watch in Pennsylvania’s 12th District special election
Vote in GOP-dominated district could signal party strength in 2020

Republican Fred Keller speaks during a rally Monday in Montoursville, Pa., as President Donald Trump looks on. Keller is the favorite in Tuesday’s special election in the 12th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s 12th District to choose a new congressman, and Republican state Rep. Fred Keller is strongly favored in the deep-red district.

The race to replace GOP Rep. Tom Marino, who resigned in January, hasn’t garnered much national attention given the district’s partisan lean. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the contest Solid Republican.

Trump heads to Pennsylvania, where China trade war is hitting home
State leaders: Tariff tussle hurts local manufacturers, farmers and consumers

President Donald Trump, here speaking to reporters on April 27 at the White House, is headed to battleground Pennsylvania on Monday even as his China trade war is hurting farmers and manufacturers there. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump heads to Pennsylvania on Monday evening — another battleground state vital to his chances of winning a second term. But Air Force One will touch down in Montoursville for a campaign rally just when his trade war with China is squeezing many of his core supporters there.

Trump has complicated his own quest to reassemble the Electoral College map he cobbled together in 2016 by slapping tariffs on Chinese-made products, according to political strategists, some lawmakers and state officials. The Keystone State is a prime example as China’s retaliatory levies are hitting its manufacturers, farmers and consumers particularly hard.

Abortion politics: Will Doug Jones’ opposition to Alabama ban hurt him?
Jones is a top GOP target, but state ban with no rape exception could also fire up Democrats

Sen. Doug Jones has spoken out against a bill in Alabama that would essentially ban abortion. It could both hurt and help his election chances, strategists say. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Abortion politics could put pressure on endangered Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones as his state pushes the strictest limits in the country, while presidential contenders seek to use new state abortion bans to rally core supporters.

Conservative state legislatures around the country have pushed curbs on abortion this year in an effort to turn back the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a national right to abortion.

What can we learn from the North Carolina redo election?
September vote could signal whether rough GOP seas have calmed since November

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop’s campaign in North Carolina’s 9th District redo race could be a barometer for the GOP’s fate in 2020 campaigns, Gonzales writes. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress)

By now, most journalists, handicappers, and party operatives are trained to restrain themselves when applying special election results to future general election forecasts.

But the redo election in North Carolina’s 9th District provides a unique opportunity to learn about the present political environment and how it’s changed since November.

Republicans avoid primary runoff in North Carolina redo
Dan Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready in September

State Sen. Dan Bishop easily crossed the threshold needed to avoid a primary.  (Courtesy Bishop for Congress)

State Sen. Dan Bishop has won the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 9th District, avoiding a runoff and kicking off the general election in this year’s most competitive special election.

He’ll next face Dan McCready, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and has amassed a large campaign war chest. National groups from both sides are already eyeing this race, with Republicans hoping to keep a longtime GOP seat in their column and Democrats hoping a Marine veteran will help them grow their House majority. 

Martha McSally: Short general election was key factor in 2018 loss
Appointed after loss, Arizona Republican is running for remainder of McCain’s term

GOP Sen. Martha McSally is a top Democratic target in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Republican Martha McSally said Tuesday that her unsuccessful Senate run in 2018 came down to one major factor: She ran out of time.

“We didn’t get a chance for [voters] to get to know me, what I’ve done all my life, what I did in the House,” McSally, a former fighter pilot, told reporters Tuesday. “We were very aware of these challenges at the time but we ran out of airspeed and altitude. And we weren’t defined and resilient enough.”

The Pennsylvania special election you haven’t heard about
Voters in 12th District will pick a replacement for Tom Marino next week

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., resigned in January shortly after being sworn in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It wasn’t that long ago that a special election in Pennsylvania attracted national attention and millions of dollars. But this year, the race in the state’s 12th District has flown under the radar.

Voters head to the polls next Tuesday to replace Republican Tom Marino, who resigned just shortly after the new Congress began. This election hasn’t captured the national spotlight — a marked shift from 14 months ago, when the special election in Pennsylvania’s old 18th District grabbed headlines. Democrat Conor Lamb pulled off an upset there even though President Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points in 2016.

3 things to watch in the redo primary for North Carolina’s 9th District
Dan Bishop could win GOP nod even if he doesn’t clear 30 percent

State Sen. Dan Bishop may not need to cross 30 percent to avoid a runoff in North Carolina’s 9th District GOP primary. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress)

The race for North Carolina’s 9th District is the 2018 election that just won’t end. Tuesday’s Republican primary will go a long way toward determining where this competitive special election is headed next. 

It all started with Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger. Just over a year ago, he became the first incumbent of the cycle to lose. He lost his primary to Mark Harris, who’d come within 133 votes of knocking him off in a recount two years earlier. Harris then faced Democrat Dan McCready, a solar energy financier and Marine veteran. 

Rep. Brindisi fires aide charged with paying 17-year-old prostitute
John A. Stemen, a longtime aide to Rep. Anthony Brindisi, fired over prostitution charge

Rep. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., represents one of the most closely contested swing districts in the country. His aide, John A. Stemen was charged with patronizing a prostitute who was 17 years old. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Anthony Brindisi has fired a longtime aide who was charged with patronizing a prostitute.

John A. Stemen, 57, had worked for Brindisi for eight years in a previous position before the freshman New York Democrat hired him in January as a caseworker in the 22nd District.