outside-groups

Democrats fight for Elijah Cummings’ legacy — and a seat in Congress
Support from black women will be key in next Tuesday’s special election primary

Maryland Democrat Maya Rockeymoore Cummings greets worshippers Sunday before a service at the Zion Baptist Church in Baltimore. She is running in a crowded Democratic primary to succeed her late husband, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, in the 7th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — Two dozen Democrats are running for the nomination in Maryland’s 7th District, but no one looms larger over the race than the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, whose death last fall prompted the upcoming special election.

What Cummings wanted in a successor — and what people think he would have wanted — have become big factors in this contest, where the two best-known candidates are his widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, and his friend and predecessor, Kweisi Mfume, who left Congress in 1996 to lead the NAACP.

House Democrats are making McConnell — not Trump — their new boogeyman
But presidential antics will inevitably trickle down to congressional races

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is increasingly being cast as a villain blocking Democratic legislation, especially by lawmakers running in districts won by President Donald Trump in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While Democrats in Washington are attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s management of the impeachment trial, it’s his role in blocking House-passed legislation that is getting the most campaign airtime so far this year.

The latest example, and a likely preview of what is to come, is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s announcement Monday of a seven-figure cable and online ad campaign focused on the Senate bottling up a bill intended to lower prescription drug prices.

At the Races: Trial vs. Trail

By Simone Pathé, Stephanie Akin and Bridget Bowman 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Super PACs after 10 years: Often maligned but heavily used
Democrats may slam Citizens United, but they benefit from the PACs the decision unleashed

A man demonstrates against super PACs in front of the Supreme Court in January 2012 to mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision, which contributed to the rise of super PACs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The reelection campaign of Rep. Angie Craig, a first-term Minnesota Democrat, kicked off 2020 with an email plea to supporters: “We’ve got to overturn Citizens United.”

Noting the 10 years since the pivotal Jan. 21, 2010, Supreme Court decision, which helped spur along super PACs, the Craig campaign urged people to show their allegiance to the cause by providing their email addresses. Later, would-be donors were asked to chip in money for her campaign, even just $15.  

Michigan Republicans line up to keep Justin Amash’s seat in the party
Except he’s still in it, and running for reelection as an independent

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash says he’s running for Congress as an independent. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Graphic corrected, Jan. 24 | Michigan Rep. Justin Amash may be making new friends in Washington, with some Democrats suggesting the Republican-turned-independent help prosecute President Donald Trump at his Senate impeachment trial.

But back in Michigan’s 3rd District, Republicans — including those who supported him or donated to him in the past — are competing to replace Amash to help the party regain a seat that has long been safely in its column.

Outside group attacks Maine’s Susan Collins on prescription drug pricing
Majority Forward is launching its second TV ad in Maine on Tuesday

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is facing what’s likely to be her toughest reelection in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While national Democrats are keeping up the pressure on Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins over her 2018 vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and her impending role in the Senate impeachment trial, one national issue advocacy group is keeping its anti-Collins message more local. 

Majority Forward, the nonprofit arm of the Senate Majority PAC, which is aligned with Senate Democratic leadership, is hitting Collins over prescription drug costs with a statewide six-figure TV and digital ad campaign beginning Tuesday. 

At the Races: Walking and chewing

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin

Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens reminded a group of reporters yesterday, “It’s sort of the metaphor of walking and chewing gum at the same time that everybody likes to use around here.”

National Democratic groups litigate 2020 in the courts
Party committees are trying to expand the electorate by challenging state voting laws

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos says some GOP state legislators were trying to “keep African Americans away from the ballot box.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than in previous election cycles, national Democratic groups are making litigation over election and voting laws a key part of their 2020 strategy. 

A handful of Democratic groups are currently litigating about a dozen cases over what they see as unfair election laws and maps across the country. 

Trump could make WNBA ownership tricky for new Georgia senator
Incoming senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream

The WNBA is 83 percent players of color, and has a relationship with Planned Parenthood, characteristics that might strain the relationship President Donald Trump has with incoming Senator and Atlanta Dream owner Kelly Loeffler. (Tony Quinn/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The WNBA has a frosty relationship with Donald Trump.

That’s not exactly surprising. After all, the demographic makeup of the women’s basketball league is 83 percent players of color (two groups Trump could charitably be described as “struggling” to win over), according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.

At the Races: We have 2020 vision

By Stephanie Akin, Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathé

Welcome back to At the Races! We are relaunching just as the campaign cycle gets interesting. Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.