Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Push Polls, Endorsement Misses and CAVA
What’s running through my head on tax day, April 17

Arkansas’ 2nd District: Congratulations to Democrat Clarke Tucker’s campaign for using the term “robocalls” in a press release even though the local media referred to them as a “push poll,” which it most likely wasn’t since push polls don’t exist.

Colorado Governor: State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, recent ex-wife to GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, received a dismal 6 percent of delegates at the Republican state assembly over the weekend, well short of the 30 percent threshold needed to make the GOP primary ballot for governor.

Ratings Changes: Duking It Out in Six Gubernatorial Races
State races could have national impact

While most of the national attention is on the fight for Congress and President Donald Trump’s tweets, this year is also huge for gubernatorial races, providing an opportunity for Democrats to bounce back from a couple of disappointing cycles.

Republicans are defending 26 of their 33 governorships this year, while Democrats are defending nine of their 16 governorships. One independent governor in Alaska is up for re-election as well.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Florida, Curious George, and the NFL
What’s running through my head on Thursday, April 12

Arizona’s 8th District Special: Welcome to the big leagues, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who we’re learning hasn’t treated patients since 2011 and settled a malpractice lawsuit.

Baseball Movies: It’s still hard to believe Aaron Sorkin made “Moneyball” into a watchable movie.

Rating Update: GOP Open Seat in Florida Remains Solid Republican for Now
No obvious strong Democratic challenger yet

You could be forgiven for overlooking Wednesday’s retirement announcement by Rep. Dennis A. Ross, given that the Florida Republican made his decision public the same morning Speaker Paul D. Ryan said he would not seek re-election.

Ross said he’d be returning to practicing law instead of seeking a fifth term. “I never viewed this amazing opportunity as a job or a career,” he said in a statement. “My home has been and will continue to be in Lakeland, Florida.”

Rating Change: Ryan’s Exit Moves Wisconsin Race From Solid to Leans Republican
1st District contest could get competitive under the right circumstances

Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to seek re-election shakes up the Republican leadership ladder in Washington and affects his party’s ability to hold his seat back home in Wisconsin.

While Ryan’s retirement is huge news because of his position, it’s not as electorally alarming to the GOP compared to the retirements of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 27th District or Rep. Dave Reichert in Washington’s 8th District. Both leave behind Democratic-leaning seats that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Rating Change: Florida Senate Race Shifts to Toss-Up
Florida Gov. Rick Scott formally announces challenge to Sen. Bill Nelson

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s plans have been talked about for so long that it would have been shocking if he hadn’t announced his challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson on Monday. And now that the Republican governor is officially in, the Sunshine State is poised to host an expensive race with national implications.

Of course, Democrats are confident about Nelson’s re-election chances. But this will be a race unlike any other the senator has faced. Scott, who is personally wealthy, could not only invest tens of millions of dollars of his own money into the campaign, but also utilize national fundraising contacts as a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Roseanne, Fraudulent Signatures and Kindness
What’s running through my head on Friday, April 6

Since my inclination is to write 4,000 words about everything, I’m trying something new by limiting myself to one line of opinion or analysis per race or existential thought. Here goes:

GOP Gov. Rick Scott may not win the race this year, but it will be an expensive slog for Democrats and Sen. Bill Nelson, despite the confidence American Bridge projected in a memo Wednesday

Nathan’s (Mostly) Political One-Liners: Barn Jackets, HGTV and Close Shots
What’s running through my head on Thursday, April 5

My inclination is to write 4,000 words about everything, so I’m trying something new here by limiting myself to one line of opinion or analysis per race or existential thought. Here goes:

With EMILY’s List endorsing Democrat Hiral Tipirneni and the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee and Congressional Leadership Fund spending money to boost former state Sen. Debbie Lesko for the April 24 special election, I’m glad we moved the special election out of Solid Republican back in February.

Rating Update: Race for Esty’s Seat Remains Solid Democratic for Now
Connecticut Democrat’s exit may improve party’s chances of holding district

Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced Monday she won’t run for re-election following reports that she waited three months before dismissing her chief of staff, who was accused of physically and verbally harassing another staffer, and then recommended him for a job 

“Too many women have been harmed by harassment in the workplace,” Esty said in a statement. “In the terrible situation in my office, I could have and should have done better. To the survivor, I want to express my strongest apology for letting you down.”

Democrats Have At Least 20 House Takeover Opportunities in These 4 States
 

In several states with weak or no GOP candidates at the top of the ballot, low Republican turnout in this nonpresidential election year could spell success for Democrats trying to take back the House. More from Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales on the difficult midterm ahead of House Republicans....
Rating Change: Costello’s Decision Shifts Pennsylvania’s 6th Further Toward Democrats
With incumbent out, Democrat Chrissy Houlahan is a firm favorite

If Republican Rep. Ryan A. Costello thought he could win, it sure seems like he would have run again. But despite having nearly $1.4 million in campaign funds on Dec. 31, the 41-year-old congressman is not seeking re-election in the newly-drawn 6th District of Pennsylvania. His withdrawal takes a GOP seat already headed in the Democrats’ direction and puts it firmly in the Democratic column.

According to a report from City & State PA, Costello will drop out before the May 15 primary. Had he dropped out after winning the primary, local party officials could’ve replaced him on the ballot. But since the March 20 filing deadline came and went last week, lawyer Greg McCauley is the likely GOP nominee. He filed with the Federal Election Commission in February, so his first fundraising will be due April 15, detailing activity through March.

Illinois Primaries: Ratings Changes in Two Races
Land of Lincoln may help Democrats gain seats

The Illinois primaries are in the books, setting the stage for an important batch of congressional elections in November. 

Assuming Democrat Conor Lamb is certified as the winner of the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, Democrats still need a net gain of 23 seats to win the House majority. That’s a wide enough gap that Democrats, instead of cherry-picking victories around the country, will look to score big in a handful of states. Illinois might be one of them.

Podcast: What Defines a Political Wave in the House?
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 6

With President Donald Trump’s mediocre job ratings, Democrats’ advantage on the national generic ballot and success in special elections in Pennsylvania, Alabama and elsewhere, there’s plenty of talk about a political wave. In this week’s Decoder, Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales, sitting in for David Hawkings, talks with Roll Call columnist Stuart Rothenberg about how many seats it takes to make a wave and which Republicans might survive.

Show Notes:

Special Election Possible for Louise Slaughter’s Seat
Power to set the date of election lies with New York’s Democratic governor

A special election is possible to replace Rep. Louise Slaughter, who died Friday after suffering a concussion last week. New York state law gives Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo discretion over when to call such an election.

There is no set amount of time by which a governor has to announce a special election after the vacancy occurs. But once the governor does so, the election date must be between 70 and 80 days after the proclamation.

16 Thoughts Without Even Knowing Who Won in Pennsylvania
Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales gives decisive takeaways from an undecided contest

The special election race for Pennsylvania’s 18th District is too close to call, but many of the takeaways are the same, no matter whether Democrat Conor Lamb or Republican Rick Saccone ultimately prevails.

There will be plenty of hot takes on the impact of President Donald Trump on the race. But I think there’s one undeniable truth: If President Hillary Clinton were sitting in the White House, Republicans wouldn’t have been sweating this race. If blaming their nominee helps Republicans sleep at night, then so be it.

Democrats Look to Dan Sena to Secure House Majority
Veteran operative is the first Latino to direct a party campaign committee

Armed with a Nokia cellphone and a couple of semesters of graduate school, Dan Sena was ready for battle.

It was 1998, and the future executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was going to be a key cog in his party’s effort to take over a House seat in New Mexico, even though at the time his previous professional highlights included teaching tennis at a country club, washing dishes on his college campus and selling CDs at the Villa Linda Mall.

Ratings Update: Texas Primaries Narrow Democratic Fields
Some top recruits fail to make runoffs

After months of speculation, the 2018 midterm elections are officially underway with initial primaries in Texas.

There’s more evidence of a Democratic surge previously seen in Virginia and in special elections around the country, but also the reality that some of the swarm of Democratic candidates aren’t even going to make it to the general election.

Rating Change: Special Election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Moves to Toss-Up
Democrat Conor Lamb is still standing despite continuous GOP attacks

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

“While the Pennsylvania race isn’t getting much attention now, that should change next year, considering all of the 2017 special elections eventually became national stories,” my colleague Leah Askarinam wrote in the Dec. 15 issue of Inside Elections. “By the numbers, the 18th District special election shouldn’t be particularly competitive. But the 2017 slate of special elections demonstrated that every race could turn into a struggle for Republicans, even in favorable territory.”

Rating Change: Special Election in Arizona’s 8th Gets More Vulnerable for GOP
And it could become even more so between now and the April 24 general

It might look like Republicans dodged a disaster in Arizona’s 8th District, considering former state Sen. Steve Montenegro didn’t win Tuesday’s primary. But as we’ve written before, Republicans seem to find new ways to make these special elections competitive, and Democrats everywhere are excited to send a message to President Donald Trump.

Unlike Montenegro, former state Sen. Debbie Lesko, the GOP nominee, has not received a topless photo from a staffer. But she has been accused of violating campaign finance rules by illegally funneling state funds to a federal race.