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Van Hollen Confident Dems Will Invest in Alabama Special Election
'We have a terrific candidate' in Doug Jones, Maryland senator says

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the DSCC, said he thinks Doug Jones will energize voters to turn out, but “I’m not sure, after a bitter Republican primary, that’s going to be the case on the Republican side.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Chris Van Hollen believes Democrats will invest in their candidate in the Alabama special election to fill the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump’s attorney general.

And as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which will fight to retain current and capture new Senate seats in 2018, Van Hollen’s word carries considerable weight.

Democrats Hope for ‘Perfect Storm’ in Alabama Senate Race
Doug Jones touted as party’s strongest candidate in years

Doug Jones chats with attendees before a Democratic Senate candidate forum in Decatur, Ala., on Aug. 3. (Jeronimo Nisa/The Decatur Daily via AP, File Photo)

As Republicans gear up for a grueling primary runoff in the Alabama special election Senate race, Democratic candidate Doug Jones has the race to himself. And Democrats see Jones as their best hope for victory in a ruby-red state.

But that’s a tall order for Jones.

Democrats Zero In on Heller as Senate Starts Health Care Votes
‘The attack ads write themselves on this,’ party operative says

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller faced strong criticism by Democrats after his vote Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and BRIDGET BOWMAN

Perhaps no senator has a bigger bull’s-eye on his back after a ‘yes’ vote Tuesday in favor of opening the debate on rolling back the 2010 health care law than Dean Heller of Nevada.

Attention Shifts to Josh Hawley in Missouri Senate Race
State attorney general seen as top contender against McCaskill

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, right, is a potential challenger to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. He’s seen here last November with the state’s junior senator, Roy Blunt. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images file photo)

With Republican Rep. Ann Wagner opting against a Senate run in Missouri, attention has shifted to the state’s Attorney General Josh Hawley as a potential contender to take on incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Wagner’s decision, first reported by the Washington Examiner on Monday, was a surprise to operatives watching the race, since the third-term congresswoman had been signaling that she would challenge McCaskill.

Health Care Ads Running This Recess
Outside groups keep up the pressure on air and online

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller will continue to be the target of health care-related ads during recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching geo-targeted and candidate-specific Google search and display ads on the Republican health care bill over the July Fourth recess as part of an ongoing six-figure digital ad buy.

The holiday recess isn’t a typical time for expensive TV buys since many families go away or are spending time outdoors. But plenty of groups will be advertising over the congressional recess — mostly online, but some on TV — on the GOP health care proposal ahead of anticipated Senate action when Congress returns July 10. 

Democrats Stick to Health Care Message Amid Russian Intrigue
Party sees health care as more salient campaign issue

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., says health care is the issue that concerns her constituents the most, adding that she has gotten “zero questions about Russia.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the daily drip about Russia and the Trump administration, national Democrats who hope to exploit Republicans’ vulnerabilities in 2018 are focusing their messaging squarely on health care before the July 4 recess.

Just minutes after former FBI Director James B. Comey concluded his testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee — in which he said the president lied to the America people — the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee blasted out a release.

2018 Senate Recruitment: Too Early to Talk About It?
Challengers in tight races typically take their time to announce

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the 2018 midterm elections about 18 months away, attention is shifting to the battle for the Senate — and who could emerge as potential challengers.

But history shows that prospective contenders have a few more months before they typically announce their candidacies.

2018 Campaigns Already Racing to Define Health Care Bill
Groups focused on the midterms leaped into action after vote

Both parties are wasting no time in their post-health care vote messaging. Here, Lillian Potter-Saum listens to West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III at a town hall meeting in Martinsburg, W.Va., in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Health care is likely to be a central issue in the 2018 election cycle, and that messaging began within minutes of Thursday’s vote on the Republicans’ overhaul bill.

Now the race is on for both parties to sway voters. 

Democrats Pounce on Health Care Vote, Attacking All Republicans
DCCC launched digital ads targeting Republicans who voted against the bill

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock voted against her party’s health care bill, but she’s already the target of DCCC digital ads against the legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats seized on the health care vote in the House Thursday afternoon to attack Republicans — and not just those who supported the legislation.

Minutes after the vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it was launching digital ads in 30 GOP districts. On their target list were several members who voted against the bill, including Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, Ohio Rep. David Joyce, Pennsylvania Reps. Ryan A. Costello and Patrick Meehan, Texas Rep. Will Hurd and Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock

Democrats Make Campaign Issue out of GOP Health Care Proposal
Three Democratic groups launched digital ads Wednesday

Democrats have launched digital ads attacking House Republicans, including New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur, who’s behind the latest health care proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As soon as House Republicans started talking about another vote on a revised health care plan, Democrats began sharpening their knives.

Both Democratic campaign committees and Priorities USA Action, a major Democratic super PAC, released digital ads Wednesday that accuse Republicans of stripping coverage for Americans with preexisting conditions while exempting themselves.