Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1236,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Recent Speakers and Why They Stopped Being Speaker

As Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) contemplates whether to accept the job of Speaker of the House, a position many of his Republican colleagues are trying to cajole him into, he has to look at many factors, personal and political, both short and long term. Personally, he doesn't want the job. He has a young family and as chairman of the Ways and Means committee, he doesn't have to travel much and can have a normal family life. As Speaker, he would be expected to be on the road all the time eating rubber chicken and raising money.

But that aside, he has to consider whether being Speaker would get him closer to his ultimate goal—being President of the United States. The only Speaker to become President was James K. Polk, who ran the House in an orderly way, quite different from earlier (and recent) Speakers: he refused duels, even when his opponents insulted him. Still, the only way the gentlemanly Polk could go from Speaker to President was to first resign from Congress and get elected governor of Tennessee. No sitting Speaker has ever been elected President.

In the past, Speakers first served for decades in the House, slowly climbing the ranks, eventually becoming Speaker after many terms in the House. Early Speakers served many years and then retired from Congress with great honor. More recently, Speakers have ended their careers in less honorable ways. Below is a list of the past 10 Speakers and how it ended for them.

Speaker District Served Why speakership ended
Sam Rayburn TX-04 1955-1961 Retired from Congress after 24 terms
John McCormack MA-09 1962-1971 Retired from Congress after 17 terms
Carl Albert OK-03 1971-1977 Retired from Congress after 15 terms
Tip O'Neill MA-08 1977-1987 Retired from Congress after 12 terms
Jim Wright TX-12 1987-1989 Forced out after a scandal involving book royalties
Tom Foley WA-05 1989-1995 Defeated for reelection to the House
Newt Gingrich GA-06 1995-1999 Resigned just before he would have lost reelection as Speaker
Dennis Hastert IL-14 1999-2007 Didn't want to be Minority Leader when Democrats won the House
Nancy Pelosi CA-12 2007-2011 Lost speakership when Republicans won the House in 2010
John Boehner OH-08 2011-2015 Resigned under pressure from extreme conservatives

Note: Rayburn served two earlier periods before his final period as Speaker starting 1955. (V)

Half the Campaign Money Comes from Only 158 Families

The New York Times reports that a mere 158 families have contributed $176 million to the campaigns, half of the total amount so far. Of these, 138 have given to Republicans and only 20 have given to Democrats. This small number of extremely wealthy donors is serving as a check on an electorate that is trending Democratic. In quite a few matters, the interests of the donors run counter to what the public wants. For example, 2/3 of all Americans want higher taxes on millionaires, but very few of the millionaires want that—probably. Actually no one knows what they want because when questioned by reporters, the answer to all questions was: "No comment." Most of the superdonors live in just nine cities. The industry with the most of these donors was finance. Other industries represented are energy, real estate, entertainment, health, and technology. A large number were entrepreneurs who started their own companies rather than people who climbed the corporate hierarchy to the top. In part, the predominance of entrepreneurs with privately owned companies reflects the hesitation of executives in publicly traded corporations to indulge in partisan politics for fear of a backlash. (V)

Julian Castro Expected to endorse Hillary Clinton Next Week

Former San Antonio mayor and current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro is expected to endorse Hillary Clinton in a few days. Now, another endorsement is normally no big deal. Clinton has dozens of them from office holders already. But Castro, is special. He is a Latino and a rising star in the Democratic Party. More important, he will be only 50 on Jan. 20, 2025. The significance of that date, of course, is that if Hillary Clinton decides that having a Latino on the ticket is a good idea and she picks Castro and she is elected and reelected, Castro will be front and center for the Democratic nomination in 2024. Don't think for a second that she is unaware of this calculation. If the Republicans nominate a Latino like Sen. Mario Rubio (R-FL) or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) or someone married to a Latina like Jeb Bush, Clinton may well decide that a sending the Latino community the message: "not now, but just wait 8 years" will be an adequate counterbalance. (V)

Ex Benghazi Committee Staffer: It is a Partisan Investigation

First, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted that the Benghazi committee's goal is simply to hurt Hillary Clinton, not find the truth about the deaths of four Americans in Libya. Now one of the panel's former staff members, Major Bradley Podliska, has confirmed what McCarthy said. Podliska, an intelligence officer in the Air Force Reserve, said that he is a conservative Republican, does not like Hillary Clinton, and plans to vote for whoever the Republican nominee is in 2016. However, he said that his professional responsibility was to get the truth out for the benefit of the families of the four Americans slain in Libya. When he complained to his superiors that the investigation should be broader than just focusing on Hillary Clinton's role in the affair, he was fired. He is preparing a lawsuit contesting his termination.

The committee's staff director told Podliska that he was fired for three reasons. First, he sent a social invitation to colleagues using his work email. Second, he assigned an unauthorized project to an intern. Third, he put classified information on an unclassified system. He strongly denies the third allegation and disputes the legitimacy of the second one. (V)

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---The Votemaster
Oct10 Paul Ryan Is between a Rock and a Hard Place
Oct10 Biden Is Also Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Oct10 GOP Fundraising Suffers from House Chaos
Oct10 The Resurrection of Chris Christie?
Oct09 McCarthy Out of the Speaker's Race...Probably
Oct09 Congressman Writes Job Ad for Speaker
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Oct09 Bush Opposes a New Voting Rights Act
Oct09 Democrats Speak English Gooder than Republicans?
Oct08 If Trump is the Hare, Cruz is the Tortoise
Oct08 Gallup Pulls the Plug
Oct08 Democratic Focus Groups: We Love You Joe, but Don't Run
Oct08 Export-Import Bank Causes Problems for Republicans
Oct07 Supreme Court Likely to Move to Center Stage
Oct07 Biden May Have Leaked Son's Dying Wish to Help His Campaign
Oct07 The Case For and Against Rubio
Oct07 Trump Sends Rubio a Case of Bottled Water
Oct07 Emailgate May Show that Clinton Would Be an Effective President
Oct07 Jindal Spins Out of Control
Oct06 States Change Primary Dates and Rules
Oct06 Democrats Get Nearly All the Senate Candidates They Wanted
Oct06 Fiorina took 4 Years to Pay Off Campaign Debt
Oct06 Freedom Caucus Growing More Unified
Oct06 Clinton's First Ad Focuses on Benghazi
Oct06 One Issue Where Hillary Clinton is to the Left of Bernie Sanders
Oct05 Hassan Will Run for the Senate in New Hampshire
Oct05 Clinton Gets A Big Endorsement
Oct05 What is Biden's Actual Deadline?
Oct05 Tomorrow's Polling...Today?
Oct05 Is Hyperpolarization the Real Reason Outsiders Are Doing Well?
Oct05 McCain Tells Republicans to Be Nice To Each Other
Oct05 Bush's List of Unfortunate Comments Is Growing
Oct05 Hillary vs. Bernie
Oct04 Sanders Courts Latino Vote
Oct04 The Democrats' Ideas Don't Matter; The Republicans' Do
Oct04 The Real Race is Between Bush, Rubio, and Kasich
Oct04 More Bad News for Bush
Oct04 Illegal Immigrants Could Elect Hillary Clinton
Oct04 Klein Dishes More Dirt on Hillary
Oct03 Trump Still Rides High
Oct03 Five Reasons Why Rubio Might Make It
Oct03 Gore Thinks Television is Ruining American Democracy
Oct03 After Oregon Shooting, Trump Trumps Bush
Oct03 Hitler Is Not A Candidate
Oct03 Trump Still Rides High
Oct03 Five Reasons Why Rubio Might Make It
Oct03 Gore Thinks Television is Ruining American Democracy
Oct03 After Oregon Shooting, Trump Trumps Bush
Oct03 Hitler Is Not A Candidate
Oct02 McCarthy Admits Beghazi Hearings Are about Damaging Hillary