maine

Before Donald Trump, There Was Maine's Paul LePage

LePage, shown here in 2013, is again garnering national media attention. (John Ewing/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

It's not unusual for Maine Gov. Paul LePage's comments to make national news.  

The two-term Maine Republican has a penchant for speaking off the cuff in a similar tell-it-like-it-is manner as the presidential candidate whom he's endorsed, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.  

Top Races in 2016: New England

A voter leaves Town Hall in Wilton, N.H., on January 10, 2012 after voting in the state's primary. (Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images File Photo)

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch in 2016.  

The New England region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.  

Top Races to Watch in 2016: New England

Guinta has been dogged by past campaign finance issues. (File Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Editor's note: This is the seventh in a series of regional looks at the most competitive House and Senate races to watch. The New England region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.  

New Hampshire Senate:  Sen. Kelly Ayotte isn’t the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in the country, but Democrats might need to defeat her to ensure they gain five seats and a majority in the Senate for 2017. Democrats are waiting on Gov. Maggie Hassan to announce her plans, but that may not happen until the state’s budget process is complete. If Hassan passes on a Senate bid, former Rep. Carol Shea Porter and others will likely take a look. New Hampshire tends to swing with the national wave, so Ayotte can’t feel too confident yet. But she isn’t a polarizing figure and she will be a difficult incumbent to oust. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call rates the race as Leans Republican .  

Review: 6 Races Both Parties Viewed Completely Differently

Peterson will continue to represent Minnesota's 7th District. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A month ago, I wrote about “6 Races Both Parties View Completely Differently .” These were a half-dozen contests where strategists generally disagreed on the shape and trajectory of the race.  

Instead of averaging out the differing opinions and declaring the races too close to call, it was more likely that one party would be very right and the other very wrong. Now, with results in hand, we can see who had the better analysis. Unfortunately, the parties split the races on Election Night.  

6 Races Both Parties View Completely Differently

Peterson was targeted from the beginning. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While Democratic and Republican operatives have their own analysis on each race, they often agree on how close a race is and which candidate has the edge.  

Sometimes, however, they have wildly different views on where races stand.  

The Amazingly Static House Playing Field

Shea-Porter's race is now rated Tossup. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After a year of campaigning, television ads, a government shutdown, and a botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, the House playing field is virtually unchanged from where it was 12 months ago.  

We recently updated the Rothenberg Political Report /Roll Call ratings in seven House districts . Arizona’s 1st District, Maine’s 2nd District, New Hampshire’s 1st District, and New York’s 21st District all moved incrementally toward Republicans. Ohio’s 6th and 14th districts and Pennsylvania’s 8th District also moved toward the GOP but to currently Safe.  

Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New England hasn’t been fertile territory for Republican candidates of late, but the party has an opportunity to gain House seats in the region this November.  

Surprisingly, even though the races have evolved, there is no change to the regional Top 5 Races to Watch list from last summer .  

Tom Steyer's 2014 Targets Start With Four Senate Races

Tom Steyer, the Democrats' financial answer to the Koch brothers, has set his sights on specific Senate and gubernatorial races to spend the $100 million he's earmarked for the midterm elections.  

His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action , aims to promote candidates who support action to mitigate the effects of climate change. It was active in last year's elections for Virginia governor and a vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts.  

Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats

McIntyre is retiring, giving Republicans a strong opportunity to pick up his House seat in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I wrote my first Dangerous Dozen open House seats column in this space 14 years ago, so I figured I might as well keep the streak going, though it isn’t nearly as impressive as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak.

As in my Jan. 17, 2000, column, the districts are listed in order of vulnerability. “All of the races on the list currently are worth watching, but I've concluded that the races at the top of the list are more likely to change party control than those at the bottom,” I wrote back then. The same applies now.