Special Election

Zell Miller, Longtime Georgia Political Fixture and Senator, Dead at 86
Democrat made waves in Senate when he endorsed George W. Bush

Former Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, who died  Friday, gave the keynote address at both a Democratic and Republican convention. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Zell Miller, a longtime fixture of Georgia politics who came to symbolize the strange position conservative Democrats found themselves in as their party moved leftward nationally, has died. He was 86.

“My grandfather passed away peacefully surrounded by his family,” Bryan Miller, the former senator and governor’s grandson, said in a statement released Friday. “The people of Georgia have lost one of our state’s finest public servants.”

Crowded Fields Remain in California Ahead of June Primary
Candidates have also chosen how to define themselves on the ballot

Crowded primary fields remain in California, leading the DCCC to contemplate openly playing in primaries. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the filing deadline behind them, congressional candidates in California are gearing up for contested primaries — and providing early indications of how they plan to define themselves on the ballot.

Democrats continue to have an issue with crowded fields in key pickup opportunities in the Golden State, and they’re still attempting to narrow some of the fields ahead of the June 5 primary.

Saccone Concedes to Lamb in Pennsylvania Special Election
Republican says 18th District needs a voice in Congress

State Rep. Rick Saccone, the GOP nominee in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, has conceded to Democrat Conor Lamb. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone announced late Wednesday that he conceded the 18th District special election to Democrat Conor Lamb. But it could be several days before Lamb is sworn into office.

Lamb, a Marine veteran and federal prosecutor, narrowly won the March 13 special election to replace former GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned amid scandal after revelations that the anti-abortion lawmaker encouraged his mistress to have an abortion.

Cindy Hyde-Smith Gets Appointment to Mississippi Senate Seat
State’s first woman in Congress expected to seek election in November

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith is the designated successor to Sen. Thad Cochran. (Courtesy Cindy Hyde-Smith Campaign)

Mississippi’s Cindy Hyde-Smith will be coming to the U.S. Senate next month.

Gov. Phil Bryant formally tapped the Republican agriculture and commerce commissioner to fill the unexpired term of Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, who is poised to go out with a win on an omnibus spending bill. Currently in his seventh term, Cochran is resigning effective April 1 for health reasons. 

Opinion: It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again in Southwest Pennsylvania
Republicans still have time to remember the lessons learned

Democrat Mark Critz’s victory in a 2010 Pennsylvania special election ended up being a gift for Republicans, who regrouped to take back the House that fall, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Here’s the scenario. A special congressional election in southwest Pennsylvania becomes the center of national attention as control of the House hangs in the balance come fall. The Democratic candidate runs as an anti-Nancy Pelosi, pro-gun, pro-life candidate concerned with economic issues — in other words, as a centrist.

Meanwhile, the Republican nominee, for the most part, runs a mostly negative ad campaign trying to tie his opponent to Pelosi and her liberal agenda. Both national parties make huge multimillion-dollar investments in the outcome for a district that is going to disappear in a matter of months thanks to redistricting. Meanwhile, the media has upped the ante by declaring this a bellwether race whose outcome will signal whether the minority party is about to win a wave election or the majority will defy the odds and hold on to the House.

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

MARCH 14: Speaker Paul D. Ryan holds a press conference with House GOP leadership in the Capitol on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, as a television displays election results from the special election in Pennsylvania. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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:

Mississippi Governor Expected to Appoint Hyde-Smith to Cochran Seat
Agriculture commissioner would fill seat until November special election

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith is expected to be named to resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat. (Courtesy Cindy Hyde-Smith Campaign)

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to appoint Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat, according to The (Jackson) Clarion Ledger.

A Republican strategist confirmed Tuesday morning to Roll Call she’s likely to get the appointment Wednesday, but cautioned that the governor’s office hadn’t directly communicated those intentions yet.

Illinois Democrats Seek to Chip Away at Republicans’ House Majority
Second-in-nation primaries set stage for targeting GOP seats

Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in Illinois, where voters head to the primaries Tuesday. (Composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are targeting four seats in Illinois, where voters will pick their nominees Tuesday in the second congressional primaries of the year. 

It’s an early test for the party’s ability to nominate candidates it thinks are viable in the general election. Unlike in Texas, which held the cycle’s first primaries two weeks ago, there are no runoffs in Illinois. So a simple plurality would be enough to advance to the November general election. 

Insiders See Democratic House Gains of 30-45 seats
Polling, election results, fundraising tend to point in one direction

President Donald Trump continues to define the landscape for this year’s midterms, which insiders predict will be favorable to Democrats in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven and a half months before the midterm elections, the combination of attitudinal and behavioral evidence leads to a single conclusion: The Democrats are very likely to win control of the House in November.

Just as important, Republican and Democratic campaign strategists also agree that an electoral wave has already formed. The attitudinal evidence begins with national polling.

Supreme Court Spikes Pennsylvania GOP’s Final Hopes Over New Map
Court-drawn map to take effect for 2018 midterms

The United States Supreme Court building in Washington, DC on December 1, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday denied an appeal by Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers to block a new congressional map ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

The decision to turn down the application for stay killed the GOP’s final hope to block the lines drawn by the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court after it ruled the Republican-controlled General Assembly’s 2011 map represented an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.