Gonzales

Election analysis from Nathan L. Gonzales

Rating Change: Alabama Senate Race Moves to Toss-Up
One month out, Moore allegations could cost GOP a Senate seat

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Roy Moore is testing a once-hypothetical question: What would it take for a Democrat to win a statewide race in Alabama?

Under normal circumstances, Alabama would elect a Republican to the Senate, even a candidate as polarizing as the former state Supreme Court chief justice. But the situation changed when The Washington Post reported allegations of Moore’s past sexual misconduct. This is no longer a normal election.

9 Thoughts After Democrats’ Big Wins in Virginia
As with early GOP victories, resist reading too much into Tuesday’s results

A supporter of Democrat Ralph Northam celebrates Tuesday at an election night rally in Fairfax, Va., as early projections pointed to a Northam victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Everyone take a deep breath. We’re all starving for tangible election results and now we have them. But just as earlier Republican wins in congressional special elections this year are no guarantee the party will have a good 2018, losses on Tuesday night don’t necessarily tell us a Democratic wave in the House has developed.

Democrats had to win the governorship in Virginia, and they did. After coming up short in every House special election this year in districts President Donald Trump carried last fall, Democrats didn’t have an excuse to lose a state that Hillary Clinton won by more than 5 points. And Ralph Northam responded with a resounding victory for Democrats. That being said, the win maintains the status quo considering Virginia already has a Democratic governor.

Rating Change: LoBiondo Retirement Makes GOP Seat More Vulnerable
South Jersey race moves from Solid Republican to Leans Republican

The retirement of New Jersey Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo may give Democrats a better chance to pick up the Garden State’s 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo’s retirement gives Democrats a better opportunity to win New Jersey’s 2nd District. 

Democrats have had their eye on the South Jersey seat for years, particularly after President Barack Obama won the seat by 8 points in 2012. But the party has struggled to find a credible candidate against the congressman, considering his close ties to organized labor.

Members Face Tough Odds in Races for Governor
Competitive primary, general elections await nine representatives running

Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa would be a heavy favorite to win her state’s governor’s race if she gets past the Democratic primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s been plenty of media attention on the twelve members who have decided to call it quits and retire from the House, and another eight members are seeking a promotion to the Senate. But nine additional members are forgoing likely re-elections for uncertain and challenging races to become their state’s governor.

Many of them have to navigate crowded and competitive primaries (including knocking off an incumbent in one state), and the precedent for members getting elected governor isn’t great.

Please Don’t Call It a Push Poll: Transgender Edition
Survey either measures public opinion or it doesn’t

Virginia state House candidate Danica Roem complained about a “push poll” run against her last month. (Courtesy Danica Roem for Delegate/Facebook)

Danica Roem and Bob Marshall are facing off in an unusually high-profile race for the Virginia House of Delegates — Roem, a transgender Democrat, is challenging Marshall, a conservative Republican. The race reached a new level in the final weeks when allegations of a so-called push poll came to light.

My longtime colleague Stuart Rothenberg jokes that there are some columns that need to be written over and over again. The debate over push polls is one of those topics.

I Interviewed 16 House Candidates in Two Days and Survived
Five takeaways from Democratic hopefuls

Anthony Brindisi is seeking the Democratic nomination in New York’s 22nd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’ve interviewed at least 1,000 congressional candidates over the last 16 years, but never 16 candidates in two days.

More than 100 Democratic candidates running for the House descended on the nation’s capital a few weeks ago for candidate training hosted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. My Inside Elections colleague Leah Askarinam and I interviewed eight candidates each day.

Rating Change: Virginia Governor’s Race Moves to Tilts Democratic
It will not be easy for Democrats to explain away a loss here

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. Northam faces Republican Ed Gillespie in the race to succeed McAuliffe. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats have been racking up special election victories in state legislatures around the country, and millions of people have been hitting the streets and packing town halls in protest of President Donald Trump. But they are still looking for their first signature victory since the former reality television host took over the Oval Office.

It was easy for Democrats to explain away special election losses in Kansas, Montana, South Carolina and even Georgia’s 6th District, considering voters there favored Trump in 2016. But the stakes are much higher in next week’s gubernatorial race in Virginia, which Hillary Clinton won by more than 5 points.

Rating Change: Democratic Challenger Puts Utah Seat in Play
Rep. Mia Love facing competitive race with Salt Lake County mayor’s entry

Utah Rep. Mia Love faces a competitive re-election contest next year. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

It’s not hard to see Democratic takeover opportunities in districts where Hillary Clinton prevailed or President Donald Trump won narrowly last fall, but Democrats have expanded the map with at least a couple of recruits who should make Republicans work to defend some deeper red territory next year.

Former Kansas state Rep. Paul Davis, for example, announced his candidacy in August, giving Democrats a credible candidate in the Sunflower State’s 2nd District, which Trump carried by 18 points, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. Davis, a former state House minority leader, carried the district in his 2014 gubernatorial bid, and when he entered the congressional race for retiring Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ open seat, we changed the rating from Likely Republican to Leans Republican.

Rating Change: New Hampshire Open Seat Moves to Toss-Up
Shea-Porter was already considered vulnerable in 1st District

New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, right, will not seek a fifth term next year.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s retirement leaves an already competitive seat more vulnerable for her party as an open one, considering President Donald Trump carried New Hampshire’s 1st District 48 percent to 46 percent last fall.

“I felt the tug of family at our reunion on Independence Day, and I have continued to feel it,” Shea-Porter said in a statement Friday.

Nine Thoughts After the Alabama Senate Runoff
Moore beat candidate supported by Trump, McConnell

Former Alabama supreme court justice Roy Moore won Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff. He is seeking to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A year ago, the idea that Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, would be elected to the U.S. Senate was absurd. But he took one giant step closer to that reality with a convincing victory over appointed-Sen. Luther Strange in Tuesday’s special election Republican primary runoff.

The recent result wasn’t a surprise, thanks to numerous public polls showing Moore with a commanding lead, but it’s still shocking to see a candidate supported by President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell go down to a significant defeat.

Moore Campaign Removes Endorsement From Deceased Conservative Leader
Phyllis Schlafly died a year ago

Phyllis Schlafly greets supporters at last year’s Republican convention in Cleveland. The conservative activist died later in the year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is racking up endorsements from inside the state and around the country for his challenge to Republican Sen. Luther Strange, but one in particular stood out: renowned — and deceased — conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly.

Schlafly died on Sept. 5, 2016, at the age of 92, two months before Donald Trump won the presidential election and four months before Republican Jeff Sessions left his Senate seat in order to become attorney general, yet she was included on the endorsements page of Moore’s campaign website. 

Strange and Allies Overwhelming Moore in TV Ad Spending
One week to go in competitive Alabama Senate special primary

Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., speaks with a supporter after the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party in Pelham,  Alabama, in early August. Sen. Strange is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Luther Strange and allies are dramatically outspending Roy Moore and friends on television in the special Republican primary in Alabama.

With a week to go before the runoff, Moore is leading the appointed senator by a couple points or more, depending on the poll.

LGBTQ Women Balance Opportunity, Possible Extinction in Congress
Close calls, impossible races, and evolving bench contribute to low numbers

If Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema vacates her 9th District seat to run for Senate, there could be no LGBTQ women in the House in the next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been almost 20 years since Tammy Baldwin’s historic election, yet just one woman has followed her through the LGBTQ glass ceiling. And if both women lose competitive races in 2018, the next Congress could be without any LGBTQ women.

While the lack of LGBTQ women in Congress is inextricably linked to the dearth of women on Capitol Hill, the story of lesbian candidates includes some close calls, quixotic races, and a movement still evolving to position more qualified LGBTQ women to run for higher office.

Ratings Changes in 15 House Races
Expanding battleground benefits Democrats

With 14 months to go before Election Day, the House battleground continues to take shape. Even though there is some uncertainty about what the political climate will look like next fall and whether normal historical midterm trends will hold under President Donald Trump, the House playing field is expanding, almost entirely in the Democrats’ direction.

As we’ve mentioned plenty of times before (and will likely repeat over and over again), history puts the Republican Party at a disadvantage: The president’s party has lost seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, with an average loss of 33 seats. Democrats need to gain 24 seats next year for a majority.

Rating Change: Reichert Retirement Shifts Seat Away From Republicans
Race for Washington’s 8th District moves from Solid Republican to Tilts Democratic

Washington Rep. Dave Reichert is not seeking an eighth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are still 110 days until Christmas, but Republican Rep. Dave Reichert just gave Democrats an early gift. The seven-term congressman announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election, opening up his competitive 8th District seat in Washington and giving Democrats a prime takeover target.

Democrats have had their eye on the district, which includes suburban King and Pierce counties, east and south of Seattle, but Reichert hadn’t been particularly vulnerable since President George W. Bush left office. His profile as a former King County sheriff who captured a serial killer helped him carve out an image independent from an unpopular Congress.