Simone Pathé

At the Races: The Ghost of Midterms Past
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.

This week … Some Republicans started worrying about retirements, Mainers have been recounting ballots faster than expected, and one Pelosi rebel faced a primary threat.

Federal Judge Rejects Poliquin’s Challenge to Ranked-Choice Voting System
Poliquin lost his re-election to Democrat Jared Golden

A federal judge in Maine validated the state’s ranked-choice voting law Thursday, which was used for the first time in a federal election in the state’s 2nd District this year. 

U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker rejected GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s legal challenge to the new system, according to the Portland Press Herald. Walker ruled that the new voting process did not violate the Constitution.

Maine Recount Is a Low-Drama Affair — Unlike the Election
2nd District hand-counting has been going faster than expected, could end next week

Maine lawyers Benjamin Grant and Joshua Tardy are used to being holed up together.

For at least eight hours a day over the past week, they’ve rubbed shoulders in a cramped conference room in Augusta, overseeing the hand recount of the nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd District. 

Mark Harris Open to ‘New Election’ in North Carolina’s 9th District
Harris says he needs to see proof that illegal activity would have changed the results

North Carolina Republican Mark Harris said Friday he’s open to a new election in the 9th District, where allegations of election fraud have thrown his victory into question.

The state board of elections is investigating absentee voting irregularities and confirmed Friday that a contractor for the Harris campaign is a person of interest in connection with an alleged absentee ballot operation. 

At the Races: Newsflash! GOP Women Call Their own Shots
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

To Seat or Not to Seat, For North Carolina Race, Pelosi Says That is The House’s Call
AP has retracted its call for the Republican as state officials investigate election

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, when asked Thursday about allegations of election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th District, said deciding whom is seated is up to the House itself, not an outside authority or state election board. 

“The House still retains the right to decide who is seated,” she said. “Any member-elect can object to the seating or the swearing in of another member-elect, and we’ll see how that goes.”

Louisiana’s Ralph Abraham Running for Governor
Edwards has accused him of ‘abandoning’ responsibilities in Congress

Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham is running for governor in 2019.

“I’m running for governor and I intend to win,” the Republican lawmaker tweeted Thursday morning. 

McHenry Chief of Staff Moves to NRCC as Executive Director
Parker Hamilton Poling will lead the campaign committee for 2020 cycle

Parker Hamilton Poling will serve as executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2020 cycle. 

She most recently served as chief of staff to North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, the chief deputy whip during the 115th Congress. 

Elise Stefanik Wants to Play in Primaries to Help Republican Women
NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer thinks playing in primaries is a “mistake”

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik recruited more than 100 women as the first female head of recruitment at the National Republican Congressional Committee. But only one of them prevailed, with many failing to make it through their primaries.

So Stefanik is stepping back from the NRCC to be involved where she thinks it matters.

AP Retracts Call for Republican in North Carolina’s 9th District
State officials are investigating allegations of fraud

The Associated Press on Friday retracted its call in North Carolina’s 9th District. The press agency had called the race for Republican Mark Harris on Nov. 9, three days after Election Day, but with state election officials investigating allegations of fraud and delaying the certification of the results, the AP is now treating the race as if it’s proceeded to a recount.

State officials in North Carolina are investigating allegations of fraud in the 9th District, where Harris leads Democrat Mark McCready by less than a thousand votes.

Cheri Bustos Elected DCCC Chair
Illinois Democrat was in charge of ‘heartland engagement’ during 2018 cycle

House Democrats elected Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos on Thursday to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2020 election cycle.

Bustos won in the first round of voting, finishing ahead of Washington Reps. Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene. The tally was 117 votes for Bustos, with Heck at 83 and DelBene at 32. 

Going Down to Mississippi, Senate Runoff Edition
Political Theater, Episode 46

 

Campaigns Don’t Shut Down When the Election Is Over
It takes time to unwind a multimillion-dollar operation

Campaigning for most offices ended three weeks ago. But that doesn’t mean the campaigns themselves folded on Nov. 6.

Closing up shop takes time.

Hyde-Smith Wins Mississippi Senate Runoff
GOP nominee lost corporate support over controversial “public hanging” remark

Despite controversial comments and an embrace of Confederate history that cost her the support of corporate donors, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has won the runoff in Mississippi’s special Senate election.

With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith led former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy 56 percent to 44 percent when The Associated Press called the race. The appointed senator becomes the first woman from Mississippi to be elected to Congress.

3 Things to Watch in the Mississippi Senate Runoff
Will the Democrats pull off another Alabama on Tuesday?

This time last year, Democrats were becoming increasingly optimistic about flipping a Senate seat in a deep-red state.

And by running against an alleged pedophile, they did — just barely. Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore, who was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with minors, by a point and a half in an Alabama special election runoff.

Rob Woodall Wins by 433 Votes in Georgia’s 7th District
Four-term congressman defeats Democrat Bourdeaux in once safe GOP seat

Georgia Republican Rep. Rob Woodall barely survived his re-election against Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux, prevailing in a recount two weeks after Election Day. 

Woodall led Bourdeaux by just 419 votes after the first count, which was a slim enough margin for the challenger to request a recount. The four-term congressman’s margin grew to 433 votes after Wednesday’s recount, and Bourdeaux conceded in the afternoon, shortly before The Associated Press called the race.

Hyde-Smith Says Her Public Hanging Comments Were ‘Twisted’
Mississippi senator and Mike Espy debated a week before special election

With less than a week to go until a special election in Mississippi that’s attracted outsize national attention, both Senate candidates in Tuesday’s debate at times looked unaccustomed to the spotlight.

Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the open Senate seat earlier this year, didn’t even bother taking press questions after the debate concluded. Mississippi’s other GOP senator, Roger Wicker, came onstage in her place.

Money Doesn’t Always Buy (Electoral) Love, but It Can Help
Scott and Cisneros spent big on their own campaigns and won, while other self-funders tanked

The victories of California Democrat Gil Cisneros and Florida Republican Rick Scott are yet another reminder that when it comes to running for public office, having personal wealth can be pretty helpful.

Both candidates spent millions of their own money and ultimately prevailed in races that went on long past Election Day. Cisneros, who won the lottery in 2010, kicked at least $9 million of his own money into his campaign for California’s 39th District, which The Associated Press called in his favor on Saturday.

Bill Nelson Concedes Florida Senate Race After Hand Recount
Governor Rick Scott’s victory over Nelson boosts GOP’s Senate majority

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has conceded Florida’s Senate race to his Republican opponent Gov. Rick Scott following a hand recount.

“I just spoke with Senator Bill Nelson, who graciously conceded, and I thanked him for his years of public service. This victory would not be possible without the hard work of so many people,” Scott said in a statement. “Now the campaign truly is behind us, and that’s where we need to leave it.”

Florida Senate Race Advances to Hand Recount
Deadline for recount is Sunday at noon

Florida’s Senate race is proceeding from a machine recount to a hand recount, the Secretary of State announced Thursday.

It’s the latest development in the drawn-out race between Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and his Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, whose margin remains under the 0.25 of a percentage point that automatically triggers a hand recount.