THE HOUSE’S 15 CLOSEST CONTESTS

The conventional wisdom in the battle for control of the U.S. House of Representatives is that Democrats will pick up at least some seats, perhaps netting somewhere in the high single or low double digits, but won’t pick up enough seats to seriously threaten John Boehner’s speakership. Indeed, if we...

House Update: Democrats Stuck in Neutral

Democrat Ron Barber will replace his old boss, Gabrielle Giffords, in the House after winning a special election Tuesday night, 52% to 45%, over Republican Jesse Kelly. The race appeared to be neck-and-neck, and Kelly narrowly won more votes cast on Election Day. But Barber built his winning margin in...

House Update: Democrats California Dreamin’

Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman (both California Democrats) were put in the same district in redistricting, and they are locked in a knock-down, drag-out intraparty fight. But it's possible that the upcoming primary is only a prelude to their real battle in November. That's because the Golden State now...

Let’s not overreact to the Judd Mutiny

We would make a joke about President Obama only taking 59% of the West Virginia primary vote against a federal prison inmate named Keith Judd, but every possible one was exhausted on Twitter by Wednesday morning. Suffice it to say, it was an embarrassing performance for the president, albeit in...

Veepwatch: Readers React

John Adams, the Founding Father who served as the nation’s first vice president, had this to say about the No. 2 job: “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” Nowadays, few people --...

Democrats’ House Hopes Could Run Aground in Great Lakes

During the War of 1812, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry whipped the British in the famous Battle of Lake Erie. Nearly 200 years later, winning Lake Erie won't suffice for Democrats seeking to reclaim the House; they need to win on the shores of all five Great Lakes. Now that decennial...

Happy Trails: The Muted Effect of House Retirements

Generally speaking, if members of the U.S. House of Representatives want to keep their seats, voters are happy to oblige: since the end of World War II, the lowest reelection rate for incumbent House members was 79.3% in 1948, which was a huge Democratic wave year. But those figures don’t...

Voter disgust: What might it mean for the House race?

We here at the Crystal Ball, and of course our readers, love politics. But Americans don’t, especially now: Congress is historically unpopular, and Americans are so sick of politics that more than two-thirds of them according to one survey wished the presidential campaign was over even before it officially started....

Fortress Blue, Fortress Red

The partisan bedrock of the new House

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said that "There is nothing I love as much as a good fight." If so, he would’ve hated where the House is headed for the next decade, because by and large it likely won’t have all that many good fights. Instead of looking at the House...

HERMAN CAIN AND THE NON-POLITICIAN POLITICIAN

In the last election cycle, several "non-politician politicians" -- candidates who have never held public office who ran for a major office -- went from obscurity to high office. These non-politician politicians include Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), all 2010 winners. Bob...

DEMOCRATS’ HOUSE HOPES HINGE ON OBAMA

Just a day before Election Day, the painful reality hit home for Jimmy Carter: He was toast. As recalled in Dominic Sandbrook’s excellent history of the late 1970s, Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right, President Carter’s chances for a second term...

The states that do — and don’t — pick presidents

The old cliché is that "As Ohio goes, so goes the nation," although the inverse of that is also true: "As the nation goes, so goes Ohio." The Buckeye State, long recognized as the premier presidential bellwether, deserves its status. In the 28 presidential elections since 1900, Ohio has correctly...

In Ohio, a labor showdown looms

In the vengeful world of politics, what goes around often comes around. After the November midterm elections in Ohio in 1994, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, Harry Meshel, received a telephone message: A county commissioner had called asking for Meshel’s resignation in the wake of the calamitous election,...

IN IOWA, IT’S UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

As the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames was wrapping up Saturday, a reporter rushed onto the floor of Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum, where the press was filing their stories. She went up to her colleagues with what she said was a new, breaking quote from Michele Bachmann: Bachmann, the...

Pawlenty in winter, Perry in bloom

The Republican presidential race after Ames

“I think we know with reasonable certainty that standing up there on the west front of the Capitol on Jan. 20, 2013 will be one of three people: Obama, [Tim] Pawlenty and [Mitch] Daniels. I think that’s it.” - George Will, May 15, 2011, on ABC's “This Week” (AMES, Iowa)...