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How the Midterms Might Affect the Congressional Baseball Lineup

By Nathan L. Gonzales and Thomas McKinless

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Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales likes his day job covering politics, but he loves when he can combine that with his baseball hobby. With the annual Congressional Baseball Game coming up June 14, Gonzales takes a look at how a wave of retirements and competitive races in November could affect both the Democratic and GOP rosters going forward. Below is a transcript of the video. GONZALES: I love the annual congressional baseball game because it gives me an excuse to write about and talk about my favorite sport. But I don’t have to quit my day job to do it. Campaigns and elections have a direct impact on each party’s roster, and this cycle could wreak havoc on the Republican squad next year. Due to retirements and competitive re-election races, one-third of the 35-member GOP roster may not be returning next year, including more than half of last year’s starting lineup. Starting shortstop and leadoff hitter Ryan Costello isn’t seeking re-election in Pennsylvania after the state Supreme Court redrew his district to be considerably more Democratic. Centerfielder Jeff Flake isn’t seeking re-election to the Senate from Arizona. Florida Republican Ron DeSantis is running for governor and isn’t even on this year’s roster. Mike Bishop of Michigan is in a competitive re-election race in his 8th District. Tom Rooney of Florida is retiring, taking away a bat from the lineup and a tall target at first base. And catcher Rodney Davis of Illinois is in a competitive race for re-election as well. Republicans will also be losing longtime manager Joe Barton of Texas; Dennis Ross of Florida and Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, who aren’t seeking re-election; and Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico, who is running for governor. Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder is in a competitive re-election race as well. Another trio of GOP members are playing in what could be their first and last congressional game. Reps. Jason Lewis of Minnesota, Mia Love of Utah and Bruce Poliquin of Maine were new additions to the GOP roster, but all are at risk of losing re-election in November. On the other side of the diamond, Democrats will lose one, possibly two of their starters. Jared Polis is running for governor of Colorado and won’t be returning to Congress next year. He’s been Democrats’ most productive hitter aside from their star, Cedric Richmond. Democrats could also lose their starting first baseman, Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is in a Toss-up race in Indiana. Of course, elections can bring in a crop of new talent on both sides of the aisle. Republicans can hope that former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez will get elected in Ohio’s 16th District and recapture the 1990s, when former Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent of Oklahoma pitched Republicans to five victories. Democrats could get a former NFL player with Colin Allred, who is running in Texas. But he used to play linebacker, so I’m not sure how his skills will translate to the baseball field. The bottom line is that when it comes to November, the Republican majorities in Congress are at risk, but more importantly, the balance of power in the congressional game is on the line.

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