nathan-l-gonzales

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. 

Trump Encouraged Corker to Seek Another Term, Despite Recent Friction
Tennessee senator to decide legislative future ‘very, very soon’

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was encouraged to run for re-election by President Donald Trump in a face-to-face meeting last Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump encouraged Sen. Bob Corker to seek a third term in a face-to-face meeting last week even though the two butted heads throughout August and September, the Tennessean reported Monday.

The Tennessee Republican has asked multiple members of the GOP brass, including the president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for advice as he weighs whether to re-up for another term or return to the private sector, where he was a construction and real estate titan before entering public service.

Podcast: Quitting Congress
The Big Story, Episode 71

Rep. Charlie Dent's decision to retire made his district more competitive. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A spate of high profile lawmakers have announced they're retiring from Congress, but they are likely to be followed by others, says Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales. Senior political writer Bridget Bowman and leadership editor Jason Dick discuss who else might retire.

Show Notes:

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: Democratic Prospects Improve in Kansas House Race
Republican incumbent Lynn Jenkins not seeking re-election

In former state House Minority Leader Paul Davis, Democrats have a credible contender in Kansas’ 2nd District, Gonzales writes. (Courtesy Paul Davis Facebook page)

President Donald Trump won Kansas’ 2nd District by nearly 20 points last fall, but Democrats have Republicans on the defensive in the open seat race.

GOP Rep. Lynn Jenkins is not seeking re-election to a sixth term in the eastern Kansas district, retiring from public office altogether. Republicans normally wouldn’t have to worry about the seat falling into Democratic hands. Trump topped Hillary Clinton last year, 56 percent to 37 percent, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections, while Jenkins won 61 percent to 33 percent.

Rating Change: Flake More Vulnerable in Arizona
Ongoing feud with Trump complicates GOP senator’s re-election bid

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is drawing heat from both sides as he seeks a second term next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The acrimony between President Donald Trump and Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, which is already making the senator’s re-election bid more challenging, should only intensify during the president’s rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night. 

Flake is known as a Trump opponent, which could make him vulnerable in the primary. The feud appeared to start in a private meeting a year ago, but has since escalated. Earlier this summer, Flake published a book, titled “Conscience of a Conservative,” publicly criticizing the Republican Party for the rise of Trump. 

Rating Change: Alabama Senate Race No Longer Solid GOP
Polarizing potential nominee could give Democrats a shot at takeover

Alabama Republican Roy Moore finished first in Tuesday’s special election GOP Senate primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Alabama Senate special election certainly isn’t a toss-up, but the possibility that former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore might become the Republican nominee creates the potential for a Democratic upset.

President Donald Trump’s polarizing persona is creating significant risk for congressional Republicans in next year’s midterm elections. But his decision to pluck Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions out of the Senate for his Cabinet created a special election this year that is turning out to be more adventurous than expected, considering Trump won the Yellowhammer State by 28 points less than a year ago.

Brooks Declines to Endorse Moore or Strange After Conceding Defeat
Congressman announces he will seek re-election after finishing third in Senate race

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., finished third after receiving 20 percent of the vote in the Republican primary Tuesday for Alabama's special election to the U.S. Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mo Brooks is moving on after a distant third-place finish in the Republican primary on Tuesday for the Alabama Senate special election.

And Brooks is doing that without endorsing either of the two men, Judge Roy Moore and appointed Sen. Luther Strange, who beat him to enter a runoff on Sept. 26 to decide the GOP nominee.

‘Kid Rock’ May Be Ineligible for Michigan Ballot
Elections bureau would decide whether Robert Ritchie can use stage name

A truck with a Kid Rock for Senate decal was seen on a Virginia highway earlier this month. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

Robert Ritchie may end up challenging Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan next year, but his stage name, Kid Rock, may not be allowed to appear on the ballot.

Kid Rock is a household name to Americans under the age of 50, and voters might be attracted to vote for him, as a middle finger to the political establishment. But it’s not immediately clear whether his famous stage name would appear on the ballot or if he’d be required to run under his less-known given name. 

Merkley’s Mild Town Hall in a Red County
Oregon Democrat talks health care to a receptive audience

Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkeley chat with constituents after a town hall in Dallas, Oregon, on Wednesday. (Nathan L. Gonzales/CQ Roll Call)

DALLAS, Ore. — With a divided country and two divided parties, town halls are supposed to be ground zero for angst, anger, and animosity, but not in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Donald Trump carried Polk County in the last presidential election but Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley found a largely sympathetic audience Wednesday at his town hall meeting here in its county seat.

Roughly 150 people gathered at the Oregon National Guard’s Col. James W. Nesmith Readiness Center on the outskirts of Dallas (population: 16,345, according to a sign when you enter town), to hear from one of their senators and enjoy the air conditioning on a sweltering afternoon.