nathan-l-gonzales

Bernie Sanders’ Son Weighing House Run in New Hampshire
New Hampshire Democrats conflicted over ‘carpetbagger’

Levi Sanders, right, arrived with Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane Sanders at a primary night rally in Essex Junction, Vermont. in 2016. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP file photo)

Levi Sanders, son of 2016 presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is considering a run in New Hampshire's First District.

“Oh, absolutely. I’m definitely considering it. I’m excited, motivated and interested in the race,” Sanders told Vice News Thursday. “I’m just dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s.”

Ratings Changes: 15 Races Shift Toward Democrats, 1 Toward Republicans
Democratic chances have improved beyond Pennsylvania

From left, Democrats Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Stephanie Murphy of Florida are looking more secure in their re-elections this fall, while, from right, Republicans Ted Budd and Mimi Walters may be more vulnerable. (Bill Clark/Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Less than eight months before Election Day, the midterm landscape is still taking shape. It’s still not clear whether Democrats will have a good night (and potentially fall short of a majority) or a historic night in the House that puts them well over the top. But mounting evidence nationally and at the district level points to a Democratic advantage in a growing number of seats.

Democratic prospects improved in a handful of seats in Pennsylvania, thanks to a new, court-ordered map. And the party’s successes in state and local elections over the last 14 months demonstrate a surge in Democratic voters, particularly in blue areas, that could be problematic for Republican candidates in the fall. GOP incumbents in districts Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 might be particularly susceptible to increased Democratic enthusiasm.

New Pennsylvania Map, New Pennsylvania House Ratings
Six races shift in Democrats’ direction, two in GOP’s favor

Under the new lines, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s district shifted from one carried narrowly by President Donald Trump to one carried narrowly by Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you’ve been wondering what political handicapping is like in a redistricting cycle — or it’s been long enough for you to forget — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court offered a good reminder.

With newly drawn districts, misplaced incumbents and new district numbers, confusion is inevitable. But the bottom line for Pennsylvania is that Democrats had a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the old map and they have a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the new map, although they have a distinctly better chance at gaining those seats.

This Is Why Republicans Can’t Get Women Elected to Higher Office
GOP keeps throwing up roadblocks in front of credible candidates

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’m starting to wonder why any Republican woman would attempt to run for higher office.

Last year, GOP Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri all but announced her challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill before getting the cold shoulder from GOP strategists in Washington and the Show Me State who preferred a candidate who wasn’t even hustling to get in the race.

Some Answers, More Questions for Mysterious Club for Conservatives PAC
Background, finances a tangled web

Club for Conservatives PAC has given to the Senate campaigns of Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta and Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Inflammatory, hyperpartisan fundraising emails are a standard part of the election process, but who’s behind them can sometimes be a mystery. Take the case of a political action committee set up last fall that raised over $160,000 by sending out roughly a dozen emails.

Since its inception in October, the Club for Conservatives PAC has been a confusing web of details. The group’s year-end report with the Federal Election Commission provided more information about its fundraising and spending, but also raised new questions about its operations.

Rating Change: Nolan Announcement Shifts Minnesota Open Seat to Toss-Up
But past results not good news for GOP

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan has announced he is retiring. And that leaves Democrats vulnerable in Minnesota’s 8th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan announced his retirement Friday, leaving Democrats with a vulnerable open seat to defend in a cycle when they need to gain 24 seats for a majority.

On one hand, the open seat looks like a gift to Republicans considering Donald Trump carried the district by nearly 16 points in 2016. Nolan is one of just 12 Democrats who represent a district that Trump carried in 2012, according to Daily Kos Elections, and won two close and expensive re-election races.

Podcast: ​In Search of the Ideal Political Map
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 3

Shirley Connuck, right, of Falls Church, Va., holds up a sign representing Texas’ 18th District, as the Supreme Court hears a case on possible partisan gerrymandering by state legislatures on October 3, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Courts are weighing in as never before on whether gerrymandering can be too political. If red and blue can no longer constitutionally dominate the mapmakers’ work, what are they to do? As Roll Call election analyst Nathan Gonzales explains, it’s very difficult to draw districts that are at once competitive, compact and fair to minority voters. And the 2018 primaries are about to get started.

 Show Notes:

Orrin Hatch and the Origins of Mitt Romney’s Senate Bid
Lunch at the Marriott plants seeds for Romney’s political second coming

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is expected to announce his bid for Sen. Orrin G. Hatch's open Senate seat in Utah on Feb. 15. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Utahns await Mitt Romney’s expected Feb. 15 announcement that he will run for Orrin G. Hatch’s Senate seat, the story of why the former GOP presidential nominee decided to make his political comeback now has begun to emerge.

It all started nearly a year ago over lunch with Hatch at the JW Marriott in downtown Washington, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

Rating Change: New Jersey Open Seat Shifts to Toss-Up
Trump carried Frelinghuysen’s 11th District by 1 point in 2016

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen will retire at the end of his current term, leaving behind a competitive seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s retirement makes his 11th District of New Jersey even more vulnerable for his party. 

While the congressman had some of his own baggage — an employee at a local bank landed in hot water with her employer when the congressman alerted the CEO that she was a Democratic activist — and it was unclear whether he was ready for a difficult re-election fight, his family has been a staple of New Jersey politics for generations and Frelinghuysen outperformed Donald Trump in the district in 2016. 

Pennsylvania’s 7th: How Do You Rate a Race for a Seat That Doesn’t Exist?
Keystone State district lines likely to change with new map

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan announced his retirement under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The deep, dark secret of political handicapping is that there isn’t a singular equation that can project the winner of each congressional race. It is helpful to know who is running and where they are running. But thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court throwing out the Republican-drawn congressional map and GOP incumbent Patrick Meehan’s retirement, we barely know anything about this year’s race in the 7th District.

On Thursday evening, Meehan finally announced his decision not to seek a fifth term after allegations of sexual misconduct with a former staffer and a futile attempt to explain away his conduct.