Schilling Considering Special Election for Schock Seat

(J.M. Rieger/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling hasn’t closed the door on running in the special election to replace embattled Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, according to a knowledgeable GOP source.  

State Sen. Darin LaHood of Peoria is the early front-runner in the forthcoming Republican primary, but Schilling represented part of Illinois’ 18th District during his time in Congress and could bring some name identification to the race. Schilling represented 16 percent of the population of the 18th District in the old 17th District from 2011-12, according to Daily Kos Elections . He lost re-election in 2012 to Democrat Cheri Bustos by 6 points under new lines drawn by Democrats, and he failed in a rematch against the congresswoman last year by 10 points.  

Past and Precedent: What Makes This Mississippi Special Election Interesting

You might think the best way to understand Mississippi's upcoming 1st District special election  to fill the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee's seat is to examine the 2008 special election in the same district. After all, that previous special election to fill the seat left open by Roger Wicker's appointment to the Senate happened less than seven years ago.  

If you think that, you are wrong. The regularly scheduled 2008 primary, which took place on March 11 and was followed by an April 1 runoff, took place before the April 22 special election and May 13 special election runoff. That sequencing is crucial because it made the 2008 special election less important than you might imagine.  

Why Special Elections Really Matter

Pelosi and Hoyer both came to Congress thanks to special elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Special elections matter, but not for the reasons you might think.  

It's an annual sport in politics: arguing whether special elections serve as bellwethers. But while special elections often poorly portend results around the country, they can produce potential leaders. They're also excellent predictors of voter behavior inside that particular district.  

Democrats' Growing Problems With Independent Voters on the Senate Map

Democrats expect a smooth ride for Braley, but should they? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the nation's (and news media's) focus on Malaysian Airlines flight 370 gave Democrats a couple of weeks to catch their collective breath, the 2014 election cycle continues to look increasingly dangerous for President Barack Obama and his party.  

The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal (March 5-9) and CBS News/New York Times (Feb. 19-23) surveys contained little in the way of good news for Democrats — and recent GOP Senate recruiting successes in Colorado and New Hampshire put two more Senate contests into play.  

The Race Democrats Can't Afford to Lose

It’s rare in politics that anything other than a presidential contest is viewed as a “must win” — but the special election in Florida’s 13th District falls into that category for Democrats.

A loss in the competitive March 11 contest would almost certainly be regarded by dispassionate observers as a sign that President Barack Obama could constitute an albatross around the neck of his party’s nominees in November. And that could make it more difficult for Democratic candidates, campaign committees and interest groups to raise money and energize the grass roots.

Victory Is in the Eye of the Beholder in New Jersey, Virginia and Alabama

McAuliffe, left, and Christie won last night. (Getty Images)

Tuesday’s election results offer something for everyone.

Democrats can look at Virginia and conclude that Republican “extremism” on social issues like abortion, contraception and guns, combined with the deep divisions that appeared in the Alabama 1st District GOP primary results, continue to offer them opportunities for 2014 and virtually guarantee victory in 2016.

Bad Polling + Wishful Thinking = Bad Journalism

I’m not sure which is worse — a silly Steve Lonegan poll in the New Jersey Senate race or the way a handful of conservative “news” outlets treated it. They are both pretty terrible.

Lonegan’s pollster, Rick Shaftan of Neighborhood Research/Mountaintop Media, released results Tuesday from a Sept. 27-30 survey of definite and very likely voters in the Oct. 16 special election. He found the Democrat nominee, Corey Booker, leading his client by only 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent.

Gomez-Sanford Comparison on Obamacare Fails the Smell Test

You only need to look at the first paragraph of an “opinion” piece on Roll Call’s website to see that it wasn’t worthy of being posted on our website – or anyone’s. I'm not even going to include a link because I don't want anyone to read it. (Editor's Note: Here's the link.)

“What’s the biggest difference between the victorious 2013 House special-election campaign of Mark Sanford and the losing 2013 Senate special-election campaign of Gabriel Gomez? Simply, a willingness to take on Obamacare,” write conservatives Heather R. Higgins and Kellyanne Conway in “Gomez Failed to Make Obamacare an Issue: Will Republicans Learn or Lose?”

I Would Fly 5,000 Miles Just to Help You Get Elected (Updated)

Gabbard, above, is helping Markey. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated June 20, 10:40 a.m. | Rep. Edward J. Markey is getting widespread support from Massachusetts to Hawaii in his special-election bid for Senate in the Bay State. Wait, what? Hawaii?

Last weekend, freshman Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, took to the campaign trail along with a large collection of state, local and federal officeholders from Massachusetts, to help push the Democratic congressman across the finish line June 25.