Special Election

Republicans need to study the lessons of 2018 and 2019 before racing to 2020
Last week‘s election results show the GOP still has a lot of work to do for next year

The Nov. 5 elections showed that the president will be an asset in certain areas, particularly in red states, but in other places, he simply won’t, Winston writes. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

OPINION — Whenever there is a special election or an off-year one, you can count on both parties to react in a familiar fashion. They focus on the bright spots and dismiss losses by telling us, “Don’t read too much into it.”

Last Tuesday’s elections were a mixed bag for Republicans with some positive gains, but overall, they pointed to some key challenges for next year. Races in traditionally red states like Mississippi went generally well for the most part, as to be expected. Republicans can point to certain local races in upstate New York and New Jersey where there were some noteworthy gains. Notably, while the GOP lost the Kentucky governor’s race by a slim margin, it swept the other five statewide offices, four of them with margins of more than 10 points, and elected a Republican African American attorney general.

Moneyball, meet politics: Could VAR settle arguments about candidate strength?
Vote Above Replacement puts Klobuchar atop presidential field, Collins way above other senators

Maine Republican Susan Collins, center, outranks the entire Senate on Inside Elections’ Vote Above Replacement statistic, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, right, ranks highest among Democratic presidential contenders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the era of data and metrics and models in political analysis, at least one question still remains: How do we quantify the strength of individual candidates?

Arguing over whether a candidate or incumbent is good or bad is an age-old tradition in the political media and among party operatives. Typically, candidate strength is measured by fundraising or the margin of a win or loss. But that can fail to account for the particular election cycle or the possibility that any candidate running on a particular party’s line in a particular year or state would do just as well.

Mark Sanford ends his primary challenge to President Trump
Two other Republicans are still challenging Trump for the nomination

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford ended his presidential bid Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday — just two months after his campaign began. 

“I am suspending my race for the Presidency because impeachment has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now,” Sanford said in a statement. He made the announcement at a news conference at the New Hampshire Statehouse. 

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is running for late husband’s House seat
Maryland Democrat will undergo a preventative double mastectomy on Friday

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, center, participates in a swearing-in ceremony with her husband, the late Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in January. Rockeymoore Cummings announced Monday she will run for her husband’s seat. (Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, is running for the Democratic nomination to replace him in Maryland’s 7th District.

Rockeymoore Cummings resigned Monday night as chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party before announcing her candidacy on MSNBC ahead of a formal campaign kickoff Tuesday in Baltimore. Elijah Cummings was chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee when he died last month.

Watch: Shelby endorses Sessions for return to Senate
“I believe he will be a formidable candidate,” Shelby said

Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby get off the Senate subway in 2014. Shelby endorsed Sessions for a potential 2020 Senate bid on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sen. Richard C. Shelby endorsed his former Alabama Senate colleague for an expected 2020 Senate bid. “I believe he will be a formidable candidate,” Shelby said Thursday.

About a year ago, Jeff Sessions was forced out of his role as attorney general by President Donald Trump. Prior to that, Sessions served in the Senate for about two decades. He was first elected in 1996.

Jeff Sessions’ return could be rocky, thanks to Trump
President is a major factor in GOP primaries, which could be a problem

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to run for his old Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ decision to return to politics might be rockier than he anticipated, given his clashes with President Donald Trump. 

Loyalty to the president is a central factor in GOP primaries and, as Trump’s attorney general, Sessions drew the president’s ire for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Jeff Sessions to run for Senate in Alabama again
Former attorney general’s tangles with Trump could be a liability in campaign

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions left the Senate to become attorney general but tangled with President Donald Trump, which could be a liability. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to run for his old Senate seat in Alabama, a source familiar with his plans said.

He has yet to file with the state Republican Party, according to a party spokeswoman. The deadline is Friday. 

Lessons from Kentucky, Mississippi and Virginia elections may not be what you think
Results from 2019 offer some clues about what may work and not work in 2020

President Donald Trump rallied with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin the night before Bevin’s loss, but that doesn’t mean Trump hurt him. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — Voters in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Virginia were gracious enough to go to the polls on Tuesday and give us some tangible results to chew over with 12 months to go before the 2020 elections. Here are some thoughts.

Kentucky was not an upset. Inside Elections changed its rating on the governor’s race from Lean Republican to Toss-up in mid July after finding Gov. Matt Bevin very vulnerable. So those who were surprised by Democrat Andy Beshear’s declared victory weren’t paying close enough attention.

Rep. Katie Hill says ‘double standard’ forced her out of office
California Democrat is resigning after scandal involving explicit photos and affair allegations

California Rep. Katie Hill arrives Thursday at the Capitol, where she voted for the impeachment resolution and made her final floor speech, a day before she leaves office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill apologized for letting down her constituents, staff and loved ones as she made her final floor speech Thursday, but she also railed against a “double standard” and “misogynistic culture” that she said forced her out of office.

“I’m leaving, but we have men who have been credibly accused of intentional acts of sexual violence and remain in boardrooms, on the Supreme Court, in this very body, and, worst of all, in the Oval Office,” she said on the House floor the day before she leaves office. 

What happens if a Senate seat opens during an impeachment trial
With the announced early retirement of Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, it is a possibility

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, left, was sworn into the Senate during impeachment proceedings in 2010. Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson may vacate his seat during a similar situation. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What happens if a newly chosen senator gets thrown into the middle of an impeachment trial?

Ask Sen. Chris Coons.