Pat Toomey Is a Strong Candidate. Will That Be Enough in 2016?

Stuart Rothenberg March 5, 2015 · 8:45 AM EST

Yes, I know Pennsylvania Democrats don’t have a 2016 Senate candidate who excites the entire party yet. I also know the election is 20 months away — plenty of time for them to rally around a nominee.

GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey’s re-election prospects in Pennsylvania next year depend to a large extent on the state’s political environment when voters go to the polls. If it is like 2010 or 2014, he is likely to win. If it’s like 2006 or 2008, he is likely to lose.

But if 2016 is a more normal year — or , if you prefer, a more neutral one — Toomey’s prospects will depend on the races he and his opponent run.

“When I first met Toomey during his 1998 race for Congress, I found him to be bright, articulate and extremely personable,” I wrote in May 2009, about a year and a half before the then-former representative defeated the Democratic nominee, Rep. Joe Sestak, in a tight Pennsylvania Senate election.

“He has been in and around politics and fundraising for more than a decade, and I don’t think anyone should dismiss him or his abilities out of hand. In fact, I can imagine circumstances under which he could win the Pennsylvania Senate race,” I continued cautiously.

Toomey was no sure thing back then, primarily because the political landscape (both in the state and nationally)…

Feingold, Sestak Face History, Former Foes in Senate Rematches

Nathan L. Gonzales March 4, 2015 · 10:38 AM EST

The Senate is filled with members who lost previous races. But Democrats Joe Sestak and Russ Feingold are trying to pull off a rare electoral feat: defeating the people who defeated them six years prior.

In 2010, Republican businessman Ron Johnson defeated Feingold, the incumbent Democrat, 52…

Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton Face Foreign Policy Challenges in 2016

Stuart Rothenberg March 2, 2015 · 8:45 AM EST

While the economy is a decisive topic in many presidential elections, national security looks increasingly likely to become a top issue in next year’s contest. And if that happens, it could dramatically affect both the direction of the race for the Republican nomination and the party’s prospects in…

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…