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Congressional Hopefuls Cozy Up to Iowa Caucus Circus

Mowrer, who's running for the Democratic nod in the 3rd District, says he has benefited from all the presidential activity in his backyard. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As presidential candidates storm their state ahead of next week's caucuses, Iowa's congressional candidates are struggling to be noticed. But behind the scenes, they're taking advantage of an energized electorate and organized political infrastructure to help build their own campaign operations.  

"Normally in January, 10 months until Election Day, people are not too politically involved. Having the presidential candidates investing time and money and fielding efforts in the state — that helps a lot to get people involved," said Iraq War veteran Jim Mowrer, who's running for the Democratic nomination in Iowa's 3rd District.  Mowrer would know. Having run for Congress in 2014 in the 4th District, he's seen the difference between a midterm and presidential election cycle. "You can feel the difference between the level of engagement and the number of people involved," he said.  There are practical benefits, too. "It's a huge boost because you don’t have to spend resources to get on the ballot," said Travis Lowe, a Democratic consultant working for former state Rep. Pat Murphy in the 1st District and businessman Mike Sherzan in the 3rd District, both of whom are vying for the Democratic nods. "In  other cycles," Lowe said, "you have to knock on doors" to get the necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot. When there's a competitive presidential caucus, "it all happens on caucus night." The 1st and 3rd districts, both held by freshmen Republicans, are rated Tilts Democrat and Tossup , respectively, by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.  

Races Where Spending Bill Vote Could Be an Issue

Neither Republicans nor Democrats, whose Senate committee is led by Tester, see a clear political win from the omnibus vote. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress hadn't even left town when political campaigns in some of the most competitive House and Senate races zeroed in on Friday’s vote on a massive government spending bill. But rather than cleaving along partisan lines, Democrats and Republicans — incumbents and challengers alike — came down on both sides of the issue depending on their states and districts, suggesting national party committees aren't likely to take up the vote in their national messaging. The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, voted for the bill – even though some of his most vulnerable colleagues opposed it – while Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Jon Tester of Montana opposed it, with similar divergences in his own party. In the case of this bill, every candidate is on their own.  

Pennsylvania Senate Sen. Patrick J. Toomey voted against the bill, criticizing it as an instrument of the government’s “out-of-control spending” that would exacerbate the deficit, fund the resettlement of Syrian refugees and implement “damaging” federal regulations. And yet, in a statement released after the vote, he went on to tout that the bill for which he did not vote includes bipartisan proposals that he said will support jobs in the Keystone State. He also praised the bill’s suspension of the medical device tax, support for the military, Alzheimer’s research and health care for 9/11 responders.   That’s a contradiction that former Rep. Joe Sestak, who’s vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Toomey in 2016, seized on in Twitter messages Friday afternoon. https://twitter.com/JoeSestak/status/677930799744868354  

Poll: House Incumbents Who Oppose LGBT Rights Lose Support

Democrats want to target Garrett for his opposition to LGBT rights. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A set of polls conducted for the Human Rights Campaign found incumbents would imperil their re-election chances if they oppose a bill that bans discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.  

The polling, shared first with CQ Roll Call, found that in six districts held by Republicans, voters would be less likely to support the GOP incumbent if they opposed the Equality Act. A seventh poll conducted in a competitive seat held by a Democrat found the same result. The Equality Act is a bill introduced in July that would "extend existing non-discrimination laws to protect [LGBT] people."  

Democrats Courting 'Gold Standard' to Unseat Young in Iowa (Updated)

Democrats want to wait for the strongest candidate to challenge Young. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photos)

Updated Aug. 17, 11:11 a.m. |  Democrats are getting a candidate in Iowa's only tossup congressional election — just not the one they're ready for.  

Iraq War veteran Jim Mowrer announced Monday he's challenging freshman Rep. David Young in the 3rd District.  

EMILY's List Targets 15 Republicans for 2016

Schriock is the president of EMILY's List. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EMILY's List put 15 GOP incumbents "On Notice" for their re-election bids Monday, naming its top GOP targets for 2016, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

The group, which backs women who support abortion rights, says each incumbent has a bad record on women's health issues, and will make it a priority to find female recruits to challenge them next fall. The list is almost identical to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's top targets in 2016, when the party will seek to put a dent in Republicans' historic House majority.  

Democrats Down on Potential Iowa Candidate

Young is a top Democratic target in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Iowa state Sen. Matt McCoy is seriously considering a challenge to Republican Rep. David Young, a top target in 2016.  

But Democrats in both Washington, D.C., and Iowa are concerned about the Des Moines Democrat's congressional ambitions in the 3rd District, a must-win seat for Democrats looking to slice into the Republican majority this cycle.  

The Year of the Rematch

Shea-Porter is contemplating a fourth House race rematch in New Hampshire's 1st District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is seriously considering a run for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st District in 2016 — setting up the possibility of yet another House rematch this cycle.  

“I am so grateful to all of you who have been also asking me to run again for the United States House of Representatives,” Shea-Porter said recently in an email to supporters obtained by CQ Roll Call. “I received 48.2% of the vote in a very tough cycle, which mean we can win the seat in 2016 when more voters turn out. My team and I are hard at work looking at everything, and I will send you an email when a decision is made.”  

DCCC Robocalls Target GOP on DHS Funding

Luján is chairman of the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will launch robocalls against more than two dozen House Republicans Tuesday over the Department of Homeland Security funding flap , according to a script of the call provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

Many of the 29 targeted Republicans represent districts atop the DCCC's list of pick up opportunities in 2016. Democrats must net 30 seats to win control of the House.  

Exclusive: NRCC Announces 12 Members in Patriot Program

Walden of Oregon is the NRCC chairman in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced 12 members will kick-start its Patriot Program for the House GOP's most vulnerable incumbents, according to a news release provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

Eleven of the members were elected in 2014, when Republicans made huge gains across the country. The 12 members represent districts where Democrats typically perform well in presidential cycles, making them top targets in 2016.  

The Recount Rules Guide for 2014

recount rules

After the polls close Tuesday, it's likely at least a handful of House and Senate races will be too close to call .  

What would happen next for these tight contests? In most cases, once all the votes are collected and counted, it's a pesky procedure that keeps candidates and canvassers up at night for days or weeks: the recount.