Nathan Gonzales

Colorado has never had a female senator. Could that change in 2020?
Democratic Senate primary field expected to be a ‘mosh pit’

Former Colorado state House Speaker Crisanta Duran has been working with EMILY’s List as she considers a Senate run. (Brennan Linsley/AP file photo)

Colorado Democrats have their sights on Sen. Cory Gardner, one of the most vulnerable senators in 2020 and one of two Republicans running in a state won by Hillary Clinton. And some see the race as an opportunity to do something historic: send a woman to the U.S. Senate. 

Women now make up a majority in the state House after the recent midterms. And wins by Democratic women helped the party recapture the state Senate. But higher office has proved more elusive. Colorado is one of just five states that has never elected a female governor or senator. 

Mark Kelly launches Senate run in Arizona
Former astronaut is vying to take on GOP Sen. Martha McSally

Mark Kelly is running for Senate in Arizona. He is married to former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former astronaut and Navy veteran Mark Kelly announced Tuesday that he is running for Senate in Arizona, looking to take on GOP Sen. Martha McSally.

Kelly is married to former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously injured during a shooting at a constituent event in 2011. Kelly and Giffords have since been vocal advocates for gun control. 

The insiders: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
Some in Congress and the administration will wield power or influence quietly

Four key Hill players from both parties made Roll Call’s list of people to watch in 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The third year of Donald Trump’s presidency promises to be a time like no other in American history. Never before have both the legitimacy and the competency of the president been so vigorously challenged, and the questions will increase exponentially as House Democrats and the special counsel probe deeper.

So it is no surprise that most of Roll Call’s People to Watch in 2019 revolve around the world of Trump.

The memorable and awkward moments of the State of the Union
Trump was a polarizing figure before the address and remains so after it

Lawmakers applaud in the House chamber Tuesday night during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

I did something dangerous Tuesday night. I watched the State of the Union and the Democratic response on my own, without Twitter as a crutch. I even watched the C-SPAN feed on my phone in order to avoid commentary from the networks and cable channels.

My goal was to avoid groupthink and try to formulate some coherent thoughts and analyses without being persuaded by my friends in the media. Here’s what stuck out to me.

Stacey Abrams makes national debut ahead of her next campaign
Democrats want Abrams to challenge Georgia Sen. David Perdue in 2020

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams gave the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images file photo)

Georgia’s Stacey Abrams has made it clear she wants to run for higher office again — it’s just a matter of which one. 

The former state House minority leader, who narrowly lost a bid to become America’s first black female governor last fall, formally introduced herself on the national stage Tuesday night by giving the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. 

How to steal the SOTU show in a few easy steps
If a 2020 presidential hopeful wanted to steal the show, silently walking out during the speech would be the way to do it

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listen during the Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William P. Barr on Jan. 15. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With at least a couple of dozen Democrats preparing to run for president in 2020, it will be hard for contenders to distinguish themselves in opposing President Donald Trump during and after the State of the Union speech. But there’s at least one surefire way to stand out from the pack.

Stand up and walk out.

Fewer members taking the leap to governor
Don’t expect a chunk of House seats to open up because of people wanting to run

Louisiana Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham is currently the only member running for governor and he doesn’t have to give up his seat to do it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last cycle, nine members left Congress to try to become governor and five ended up winning the state’s top job. But this cycle will be a different story. While 38 states elected a governor in 2017 or 2018, just 14 states will elect a governor in the next two years. And fewer opportunities to move up will limit the exodus from the House.

Currently, there’s just one House member running for governor, and he doesn’t have to give up his seat to do it.

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump
The State of the Union provides a spotlight for more than just the president

Get ready to see a lot of this at Tuesday’s State of the Union and its aftermath. Above, California Rep. John Garamendi, left, waits to do a TV news hit in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes will be on the House chamber this coming week, with plenty of drama surrounding both the State of the Union deliverer in chief, President Donald Trump, who just might use the occasion to declare a national emergency on the southern border, and no small number of congressional Democrats who want his job and have already declared their presidential campaigns. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales and I talked about the dynamic on the latest Political Theater podcast.

Speaking of that chamber of rivals Trump will be facing, Stu Rothenberg has a two-part column this week about questions the Democratic Party should answer as the nomination process gets under way in earnest. 

Trump won Michigan in 2016. Does that matter for Gary Peters in 2020?
Peters is one of just two Democratic senators facing re-election in a Trump state

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters is one of two Democratic senators up for re-election in a state President Donald Trump carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michigan’s Gary Peters doesn’t typically attract a lot of attention. 

But as one of only two Democratic senators up for re-election in states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, the mild-mannered Peters might find himself in the spotlight next year.

Donald Trump and the chamber of 2020 rivals
Political Theater, Episode 54

When Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union, it will be in a House chamber filled with 2020 presidential rivals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to both chambers of Congress on Feb. 5, he will not be the only star of the night. Several Democrats seeking to replace him — and there are many —  could end up stealing the limelight, says Nathan Gonzales, publisher of Inside Elections and Roll Call’s elections analyst.