At the Races

Republican group launches PAC to increase GOP diversity
Catalyst PAC will promote non-white, LGBTQ, or religious or ethnic minority candidates

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., attended a kickoff event for a new PAC seeking to support more diverse Republican candidates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans seeking to increase their party’s diversity in Congress and challenge a media portrayal of the conservative movement as “bigoted” launched a PAC on Monday to support candidates “as diverse as our nation.”

That’s the goal that Catalyst PAC describes on a website soliciting contributions to support candidates who “look a little different from what’s thought of as the ‘traditional’ Republican.”

Faced with ‘electability’ question in 2020, women point to 2018 wins
Six women are running for president, but men continue to lead in recent polls

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is one of six Democratic women running for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

FAIRFAX, Va. — Amanda Bean is ready for a woman to take on President Donald Trump, and she has no patience for questions about whether a female candidate can win the White House.

“Everybody’s asking that, but it’s pathetic that we’re still asking,” Bean said after Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of six women in a field of 23 Democrats seeking the presidential nomination, held a town hall here Thursday. “We should be so far past this point.”

Republicans avoid primary runoff in North Carolina redo
Dan Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready in September

State Sen. Dan Bishop easily crossed the threshold needed to avoid a primary.  (Courtesy Bishop for Congress)

State Sen. Dan Bishop has won the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 9th District, avoiding a runoff and kicking off the general election in this year’s most competitive special election.

He’ll next face Dan McCready, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and has amassed a large campaign war chest. National groups from both sides are already eyeing this race, with Republicans hoping to keep a longtime GOP seat in their column and Democrats hoping a Marine veteran will help them grow their House majority. 

Martha McSally: Short general election was key factor in 2018 loss
Appointed after loss, Arizona Republican is running for remainder of McCain’s term

GOP Sen. Martha McSally is a top Democratic target in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Republican Martha McSally said Tuesday that her unsuccessful Senate run in 2018 came down to one major factor: She ran out of time.

“We didn’t get a chance for [voters] to get to know me, what I’ve done all my life, what I did in the House,” McSally, a former fighter pilot, told reporters Tuesday. “We were very aware of these challenges at the time but we ran out of airspeed and altitude. And we weren’t defined and resilient enough.”

The Pennsylvania special election you haven’t heard about
Voters in 12th District will pick a replacement for Tom Marino next week

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., resigned in January shortly after being sworn in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It wasn’t that long ago that a special election in Pennsylvania attracted national attention and millions of dollars. But this year, the race in the state’s 12th District has flown under the radar.

Voters head to the polls next Tuesday to replace Republican Tom Marino, who resigned just shortly after the new Congress began. This election hasn’t captured the national spotlight — a marked shift from 14 months ago, when the special election in Pennsylvania’s old 18th District grabbed headlines. Democrat Conor Lamb pulled off an upset there even though President Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points in 2016.

3 things to watch in the redo primary for North Carolina’s 9th District
Dan Bishop could win GOP nod even if he doesn’t clear 30 percent

State Sen. Dan Bishop may not need to cross 30 percent to avoid a runoff in North Carolina’s 9th District GOP primary. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress)

The race for North Carolina’s 9th District is the 2018 election that just won’t end. Tuesday’s Republican primary will go a long way toward determining where this competitive special election is headed next. 

It all started with Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger. Just over a year ago, he became the first incumbent of the cycle to lose. He lost his primary to Mark Harris, who’d come within 133 votes of knocking him off in a recount two years earlier. Harris then faced Democrat Dan McCready, a solar energy financier and Marine veteran. 

Democratic female freshmen signal Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t represent them
Democrats with military, CIA backgrounds unite to fundraise for each other

Democratic House freshmen banding together to help each other raise money to keep their seats in 2020 are, from left, Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Abigail Spanberger, Elissa Slotkin, and Chrissy Houlahan, along with Rep. Elaine Luria. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five freshman Democratic women in the House want the world to know that the newcomers receiving the most attention so far in the 116th Congress aren’t reflective of the women who ran and won in tough districts last fall.

At an event to tout their formation of a joint fundraising committee to tap each other’s donors (and hopefully bring in more), the five, all with military or intelligence backgrounds, never mentioned New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by name.

Tax law hits 2020 Democratic presidential contenders unevenly
Returns show that despite similar incomes, Booker paid more, Gillibrand less

Income tax paid by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and her husband increased by more than $14,000 because of the 2017 tax overhaul, a CQ Roll Call analysis found. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who’ve released last year’s tax returns thus far are well-off enough to represent less than one-fifth of the taxpaying public, with incomes ranging from $100,000 to $2 million.

But their experiences are probably typical of many voters in similar circumstances: married couples with young children tend to do well under the 2017 tax law, though it helps to reside in lower-tax states.

Iowans prep for fierce 2020 fight — and not just for the White House
All four House districts will be contested, in addition to competitive Senate race

Iowa Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne is a top Republican target in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowans are used to the spotlight in presidential election years, and with the number of Democrats eyeing the nomination approaching two dozen, it may be difficult this year to travel in the state without running into a candidate or the media entourage that comes with them.

But for Iowa voters, the more intense political battles in 2020 might actually be further down the ballot.

Bernie 2020 becomes first unionized presidential campaign in history
Biden campaign: ‘If staff decided they wanted to unionize, the vice president would welcome it’

Bernie 2020 says it is the first presidential campaign in history to ratify a union contract. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated, May 9, 2:29 p.m. | Working for a campaign can be grueling, especially because staffers lack the formal human resources structure of a more traditional workplace. But hourly workers for the Bernie 2020 campaign can now count on overtime pay.

That’s because the campaign for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ratified a collective bargaining agreement last week, the first presidential campaign in history to do so, according to the campaign. 

More GOP women want to run for the House. But why now?
Female Republicans are stepping up to run earlier than last cycle

Republican Tina Ramirez, who has worked in and around Congress for much of her career, is challenging Democratic freshman Abigail Spanberger in Virginia’s 7th District. (Courtesy Tina Ramirez’s campaign)

Stephanie Bice is a Republican from a deeply conservative state that’s only sent three women to Congress. But the election of a record-breaking number of female freshmen to the House in 2018, all but one of them Democrats, helped her decide to run for the chamber herself.

“It was a signal to all women that politics isn’t just … a man’s world,” said the Oklahoma state senator, who recently announced her candidacy for the 5th District. “It shows that women have as much of an ability to win these seats. We just need to field the candidates.”

Will the ‘bathroom bill’ animate yet another North Carolina election?
Dan Bishop may be on track to avoid a runoff in 9th District GOP primary

As 10 Republicans battle for the nomination in next week's primary for the vacant seat in North Carolina's 9th District, Democrat Dan McCready has had no opposition and used potential opponent Dan Bishop’s legislative record to raise money. (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer/AP file photo)

The email from Dan McCready was telling.

The North Carolina Democrat, who’s amassed more than $2.6 million for a redo election in the 9th District, was fundraising off a poll that showed state Sen. Dan Bishop leading the 10-person Republican field for next Tuesday’s primary. 

Iowa's David Young wants a rematch against Cindy Axne
Republican seeks comeback after bid for third term failed by 2 points last fall

Former Rep. David Young has announced a big for his old seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Iowa Rep. David Young is back for a rematch in Iowa’s 3rd District, which he lost to Democrat Cindy Axne by 2 points in 2018. 

“The policies advocated by Cindy Axne and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in this current Congress are harming Iowa’s families by hurting our economy and rights,” Young said in a statement Monday evening. “Iowans deserve better from their current representative.” 

Early strike: Progressive groups unite behind Lipinski foe in Illinois
Backing for Marie Newman comes amid tension with Democratic leaders trying to protect incumbents

Marie Newman is making a second primary challenge to Rep. Daniel Lipinski in Illinois and got the early backing of liberal and abortion rights groups Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several abortion rights and progressive groups announced on Monday they are endorsing Marie Newman’s bid to oust Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski in next year’s primary, an unusually early and coordinated strike against one of the of the most moderate Democrats in Congress. 

The endorsements, from EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, MoveOn, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, are among the first from major national organizations for the 2020 primaries. 

Here are the 3 Republicans who bucked Trump on the Paris climate accord
No Democrat broke party ranks, while 4 in GOP did not vote

Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan joined two of his Republican colleagues in siding with Democrats on Thursday’s climate vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three Republicans — including two from safe seats — sided with Democrats on Thursday in voting for a measure that would stop President Donald Trump from pulling out of the Paris climate accord.

The bill passed the House, 231-190. Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Vern Buchanan of Florida voted with the Democrats. Four Republicans — including Florida’s Francis Rooney, who’s been an outspoken Republican voice on the dangers of climate change — did not vote. He’s in Florida recovering from knee replacement surgery.