What I Learned About Polling From a Georgia House Survey
IVR technology no longer limited by number of candidates on the ballot

I was initially skeptical of a recently released poll in the special election for Georgia’s 6th District, not because it utilized Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, technology or because it was conducted by a GOP-friendly firm or because a Democratic candidate was leading in a Republican-leaning district. But it only gave respondents the option to choose from less than half of the candidates, proving the limits of automated polling, or so I thought.

The March 15-16 automated survey conducted by Clout Research for zpolitics showed Democrat Jon Ossoff leading with 41 percent followed by two Republicans: former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and wealthy businessman Bob Gray, who had 16 percent each. Former state Sen. Judson Hill and three other Republicans combined for nearly 17 percent while former Democratic state Sen. Ron Slotin received 3 percent.

Looking for Clues From a 2005 Special Election in Ohio
Instead of comparing Democratic enthusiasm to tea party, go further back in time

Are Democrats in the early stages of their own tea party movement? It’s one of the biggest outstanding questions at this point in the cycle. But as we collectively look at the past for prologue, I don’t understand why our memories only go back eight years.

There was a time, not too long ago, when Democrats were out of the White House and in the minority in both chambers of Congress, and a demoralizing presidential election loss helped jump-start a movement back to the majority.

Should This Georgia Candidate Be in the Barn Jacket Hall of Fame?
Republican unleashes outerwear, zoo animals, and sexist undertones in first ad

Did one candidate unleash the most potent campaign weapon of all time?

Former state Sen. Dan Moody is one of 11 Republicans running in the special election in Georgia’s 6th District to replace former GOP Rep. Tom Price, now the Health & Human Services secretary. Moody’s first television ad attempted to break through the clutter with a combination of live donkeys and elephants, with the candidate cleaning up manure behind them.

Democratic Strategist Explains Party’s Redistricting Plans

Roll Call Elections Analyst and Inside Elections Publisher Nathan L. Gonzales sits down with National Democratic Redistricting Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward who discusses the committee’s efforts at getting Democrats “back at the table.”...
House Republicans Shouldn’t Get Too Comfortable in Majority
Number of competitive races could balloon before Election Day

Republican gerrymandering has put the House majority out of reach for Democrats, we’re told. But even though the initial playing field of competitive races is probably too small for the GOP to fall into the minority, Republicans shouldn’t get too comfortable. The playing field could expand dramatically over the next 20 months.

Inside Elections (formerly The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report) rated 43 House races as competitive in its initial 2018 ratings. That total includes 28 seats held by Republicans and 15 seats held by Democrats.

Democrats Delight in Delaware Special Election
Party hopes turnout boost in legislative race marks beginning of a trend

From the women’s marches to town hall protests, Democrats are starting to feel emboldened about their prospects in the midterms. A recent special election for the state Senate in Delaware only added to Democratic optimism, but the realities surrounding the race are more sobering.

Democrat Stephanie Hansen, a former New Castle County Council president, scored a 58 percent to 41 percent victory over Republican realtor John Marino last weekend. The win was described as “critical” by Daily Kos Elections, considering control of the Delaware state Senate was hanging in the balance. Democrats were specifically encouraged by a boost in turnout, particularly for a special election in February. 

Mama Bear’s Unlikely Run (and Win) for Mayor
Campaign lessons from a famous family in children’s literature

As an elections analyst, it can be hard to stop thinking about politics even when I get home for the day. Sometimes, I see political themes in my kids’ books even when they aren’t political books. And a few nights ago at bedtime, one of my sons brought me “Mama for Mayor” from the famous Berenstain Bears series, and I critiqued her campaign page by page.

The book (and journey) begins with an innocent car ride through Bear Country, but the family’s life is drastically changed when they hit a hole and a bump in the road.

Cory Booker’s Mysterious Mission to Texas
New Jersey senator spent recent weekend visiting a private prison

As most of his colleagues headed home last weekend, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spent Friday night on a journey to the center of the country.

After flying from Washington to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Feb. 10, one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party sat unnoticed at a charging station, at the far end of Terminal B, where small regional jets arrive and depart.

Fight for the House Centers on Five States
More than one-third of targeted districts reside in a handful of states

Both parties haven’t wasted any time unveiling their House target lists for next year’s midterm elections, and a few states have emerged as early battlegrounds. 

At the end of January, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ambitious list of 59 Republican-held districts, followed by the National Republican Congressional Committee’s ambitious list of 36 Democratic-held districts just more than a week later.

Jason Kander May Have Made a Big Mistake
Missouri Democrat hits national stage with potential long-term consequences

Missouri Democrat Jason Kander came close to getting elected to the Senate after he burst onto the scene last year with a memorable campaign ad and a strong challenge to GOP incumbent Roy Blunt. Now Kander is widely viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party, but his postelection choices may complicate future bids for higher office.

Last year, Kander gained national attention for his ad, “Background Checks,” in which he reassembled a rifle blindfolded. It was one of the most memorable ads of the cycle, if not recent campaign history.

At DGA, Pearson Quietly Pulling Democrats Back to Prominence
Executive Director is a leading strategist in party’s redistricting effort

Democratic lawmakers probably wouldn’t recognize Elisabeth Pearson if she walked into their Capitol Hill office, but they might be owing her their jobs before too long. 

As executive director of the Democratic Governors Association and a leading strategist in the party’s redistricting efforts, Pearson’s success will determine how long members stay in Washington.

The Senate Revolution in North Dakota Will Not Be Televised
Radio rises in importance in top-tier Senate race

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer’s commitment to radio town halls should keep him connected to his constituents, but it could also help lay the groundwork to challenge a Democratic senator in a top-tier race.

The North Dakota congressman held the most town halls (164) among members of Congress in 2016, and 412 since August 2013, when LegiStorm started tracking them. But as Alex Gangitano explained in Roll Call, Cramer’s methods are a little unconventional because he conducts most of his town halls over the radio.

Congressional Republicans Should Be Afraid of Steve Bannon
Senior White House adviser has no love for the GOP

It’s no secret that Steve Bannon wants to oversee the demise of the mainstream media, but President Donald Trump’s senior adviser probably wouldn’t mind incapacitating the Republican Party in order to remake it into his own image as well. 

Bannon (and Trump, for that matter) recently referred to the media, as “the opposition party.” That’s a cause congressional Republicans could get behind, but a series of emails last year could foreshadow a big problem for GOP incumbents, particularly those who disagree with the president or his administration.

Three Trump Campaign Aides Who Could Get Elected to Congress
Candidates trying to leverage presidential connection to upset victories

During the campaign, there probably weren’t enough full-throated Donald Trump supporters on Capitol Hill to fill a minivan. But two Trump campaign aides could get elected in House special elections later this year, while another adviser may challenge a Republican senator in a primary next year.

Their candidacies will test the popularity and allure of Trump at the local level (since each of them would start their races as underdogs against establishment candidates) and indicate how interested the new president is in interjecting himself into local fights.

How President Trump Can Avoid President Obama’s Biggest Mistake
Punting health care legislation to Congress defined Obama’s time in office

Donald Trump’s critics believe the new president is clueless (or worse), but he might be on track to avoid repeating former President Barack Obama’s biggest political mistake. 

Trump’s pre-inaugural press conference was widely panned, but his comments on the future of health care legislation were instructive.

Initial 2018 Senate Ratings Map Filled With GOP Opportunities
Democrats defending 25 seats next year, compared to just 8 for Republicans

Ready or not, here come the 2018 midterm elections. Resistance is futile.

Even if you don’t want to acknowledge them, aspiring candidates are posturing for statewide bids and vulnerable incumbents are casting votes with re-election in mind.

House Republicans Entrust Majority to Rogers at NRCC
New York native begins fourth cycle at committee, but first as executive director

Midterm elections are supposed to be trouble for the president’s party, but House Republicans are confident that if they have a problem, John Rogers can solve it.

Rogers was born in Amsterdam, New York, a small-town about a half-hour west of Albany, but Republican friends know him best for once identifying an unlikely takeover opportunity three hours south in New York City.

The Certainty of Death, Taxes, and White Evangelicals
Faithful made up one-quarter of the electorate (again) and voted big for Trump

As the electorate evolves with each election cycle because of changing demographics, there is one constant: white evangelicals. Once again, they made up one-quarter of the electorate and voted heavily for the Republican presidential nominee.

White voters, as a share of the electorate, have been on a steady descent from 88 percent in 1980 to 70 percent in the most recent election, according to exit polling. Yet the share of white evangelical voters has remained remarkably static.

Reid Boasts About Not Going Back to Nevada
Residency issues plagued colleagues, but not former Democratic leader

Residency issues knocked out a handful of Harry Reid’s colleagues over the years, but the outgoing Senate Democratic leader didn’t even pretend that he got back to his home state of Nevada on a regular basis. 

“It’s amazing what I have not done,” said Reid in the recent cover story for GW Magazine. “I don’t go home every week. I never have, even when I was in the House. I don’t like banquets, parades.” 

How Tomi Lahren Could Get Elected to Congress
Open-seat opportunity in home state of the right’s emerging media star

With millions of video views and hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, young Tomi Lahren is leaving her mark on the political world from her new media perch on the right. Could Congress be next?

Lahren is no stranger to Republicans, conservatives, and Donald Trump supporters. Her “Final Thoughts” segment chastising San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for protesting racial injustice by sitting during the national anthem has been viewed more than 66 million times on Facebook.