Politics in Stereo

Beltway View Clashes with District Dynamic in Illinois’ 12th

Nathan L. Gonzales December 19, 2014 · 4:00 PM EST

Inside the Beltway, Mike Bost was the unhinged Republican known for his rant on the floor of the Illinois Legislature and for shooting a caged beagle. So how did he defeat a Democratic incumbent by more than 10 points?

What looked like an angry liability to many Washington, D.C. observers was actually an asset in Downstate Illinois, where voters in the 12th District were frustrated with Chicago, Springfield, President Barack Obama and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. 

Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart failed to capitalize on the advantages of incumbency and the retired general wasn’t battle-tested on the fields of political war. Few incumbents dipped as far as fast as Enyart, who turned a nine-point victory in 2012 into an 11-point loss just two years later. 

When the margin is that large, there are likely multiple factors at play. Redistricting politics, eye-opening opposition research, a weary incumbent and dysfunctional campaigns on both sides all factored into the result in a district that ends just a few miles from Ferguson, Missouri. 

The Lay of the Land
Any discussion about the 2014 race in Illinois’ 12th District must start a few years earlier. 

After the 2010 elections, Democrats used their dominance at the state level to redraw the congressional and legislative lines.…

Loss Puts Terry in Exclusive Club

Nathan L. Gonzales December 19, 2014 · 3:59 PM EST

It takes quite a feat for a Republican congressman to lose re-election in the middle of a historically-good election for the GOP. But that’s exactly what Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry and Florida Rep. Steve Southerland pulled off in 2014. 

Nearly 99 percent of all GOP incumbents seeking re-election in…

What Kind of Race Would Russ Feingold Run in 2016?

Nathan L. Gonzales December 19, 2014 · 9:27 AM EST

Former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., isn’t ruling out trying to get his former seat back this cycle. But it’s unclear how good of a campaign he will run.

Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore told Roll Call’s Alexis Levinson last week she expects Feingold to wage a rematch against GOP Sen. Ron…

Jury Duty in Today’s America

Stuart Rothenberg December 18, 2014 · 10:47 AM EST

While most of America was still talking about what happened in Ferguson, Mo., and turning to law enforcement issues in Cleveland and Staten Island, New York, I spent the better part of the week of Dec. 1 in a courthouse in Rockville, Md.

I never expected to be selected to sit on a jury, let alone…

Democrats Abandoned Mary Landrieu in the Runoff. Does it Matter?

Nathan L. Gonzales December 11, 2014 · 1:36 PM EST

Party campaign committees are incumbent led and incumbent driven, so how important is it for the committees to support incumbents to the bitter end?

Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu lost re-election in Louisiana, 56 percent to 44 percent, to Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. But in the days running up…