Remembrance of Shutdowns Past

Stuart Rothenberg February 27, 2015 · 9:00 AM EST

Republicans scored big gains in the 2010 and 2014 elections because both of those midterms were about President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Democrats had successful elections in 2006, 2008 and 2012 primarily because they made those elections about the GOP and George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

You might think politicians from both sides of the aisle would understand that a political party does best when it makes the national political discussion about the weaknesses, failings and shortcomings of the other party.

But some politicians (these days mostly Republicans) seem to have problems appreciating that.

Right after the 2006 elections, I talked with a senior Democratic senator and a key House Democrat (who is no longer in Congress) about the results and asked each, separately, where the party was headed after taking over both houses of Congress.

Both officeholders said the same thing: The party’s job over the next two years was to prove to Americans it could govern and it understood the concerns of the middle class. If it didn’t, they warned, the party would lose the White House yet again in 2008.

The responses were surprising to me. After most elections, the winners beat their chests and say they won because the voters agreed with them on issues a, b…

Senate Challenger Battles Secretary of State Curse

Nathan L. Gonzales February 24, 2015 · 7:21 AM EST

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, announced his challenge to GOP Sen. Roy Blunt Thursday. But he’ll have to overcome the Republican lean of the Show-Me State and history in order to win.

There are many paths to the Senate, but being a secretary of state is usually not one of…

How Much Money Does it Take to Defeat a Senator?

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Nathan L. Gonzales February 20, 2015 · 2:30 PM EST

Political reporters love to write about fundraising. Tracking and comparing how much money incumbents and challengers have raised and spent is a staple of political journalism. But it can also be misleading. 

If history is any guide, candidate spending can be a poor indicator of re-election…

New York 19: Top-Tier Holding Pattern

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Nathan L. Gonzales February 20, 2015 · 2:29 PM EST

GOP Rep. Chris Gibson shocked the Hudson Valley by announcing his retirement from Congress after just three terms. But even though he is leaving behind a competitive open seat in New York’s 19th District, there hasn’t exactly been a stampede of candidates ready to jump into the race. Why not?

California Senate: Boxer’s Retirement Complicates Contenders’ Plans to Move Up the Ladder

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Nathan L. Gonzales February 20, 2015 · 2:28 PM EST

Democrat Barbara Boxer’s retirement sets up the first open Senate seat in California in over 20 years, but it’s not quite the right timing for some ambitious politicos. 

For an open seat in a Democratic state, the Democratic field has narrowed quickly. State Attorney General Kamala Harris is…