tossup

Rating change: Loebsack’s retirement in Iowa expands House playing field
Race for open seat in 2nd District is now a Toss-up

Rep. David Loebsack, D-Iowa, will not be seeking an eighth term next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No one really gave Cornell College professor Dave Loebsack a chance of knocking off Republican Rep. Jim Leach in 2006. But the Democrat won that race, and more than a dozen years later, he’s announced that his current seventh term in Congress will be his last.

Democrats now have to defend a competitive open seat that wasn’t previously on the list of vulnerable districts.

The case for primaries: Arizona edition
Mark Kelly may have avoided an intraparty fight, but that may hurt more than help

Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly, here with his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in 2018, appears to have avoided a primary in his bid for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats breathed a sigh of relief this week when Rep. Ruben Gallego decided not to run for the Senate, likely avoiding a primary in the run-up to a competitive general election in Arizona. That’s because “bitter,” “bloody,” and “bruising” seem to be the most commonly used adjectives to describe primaries these days, even though they can serve an important purpose.

Gallego’s decision all but paved the way for retired astronaut Mark Kelly to win the Democratic nomination and focus on challenging appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally. But while Kelly has had a public profile as a gun control advocate alongside his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, he’s never been a candidate for office, and it’s still unclear how he’ll perform.

Initial 2020 House race ratings are here
Republicans are on the offense but also running against history

Reps. Max Rose of New York, second from left, and Joe Cunnigham of South Carolina, second from right, here with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the State of the Union, are among 31 Democrats holding seats the president carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After losing a net of 40 House seats in last year’s midterms, Republicans have plenty of offensive opportunities in 2020. But winning back the majority will not be easy.

On paper, the path back to 218 may look simple for Team GOP because it winds through favorable territory. There are 31 Democrats who currently represent districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, and Republicans need to gain 18 or 19 seats to regain House control (depending on the outcome in North Carolina’s 9th District).

Ammar Campa-Najjar will challenge indicted Duncan Hunter again in 2020
The Democratic challenger filed paperwork with the FEC this week

Ammar Campa-Najjar, Democratic candidate for California's 50th Congressional district, came close to knocking off indicted Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter last year. (CQ Roll Call file photo).

Ammar Campa-Najjar nearly defeated California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter last year as the incumbent faced a trial on charges of illegally misusing campaign funds. Next year, Campa-Najjar will try again.

The Democratic challenger filed a statement of candidacy form with the Federal Election Commission on Monday declaring his intention to run once more for the 50th District seat in 2020.

Democrats Developing Strategy to Use Trump’s Words Against Him
While Trump’s MAGA rallies stir up his base, they also give Democrats fodder with moderates and independents

Dan Sena, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the party did extensive polling to determine its response to MAGA rallies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith notched a win Tuesday in her special election runoff by tacking closely to President Donald Trump and campaigning with him the day before voters went to the polls, reinvigorating a debate within the Democratic Party about the best way to respond to the president’s freewheeling “Make America Great Again” rallies. 

Hyde-Smith won by 8 points, even after many voters recoiled from her comment that she would be “on the front row” of a “public hanging” if invited by a supporter, and corporate donors publicly requested that she return their contributions. 

Defeated Rep. Bruce Poliquin Calls for Lengthy Ranked Choice Recount
The Maine Republican would be required to personally foot the bill

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, would have to overcome a more than 3,500 vote deficit in a lengthy recount to maintain his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ranked-choice voting has a dedicated foe in defeated Rep. Bruce Poliquin

The Maine Republican called for a hand recount of ballots cast in the race for the 2nd District — the first election in the nation to use ranked-choice voting to fill a congressional seat — decrying the software used to allocate voters’ preferences as a “black-box voting system.”

Indicted Rep. Chris Collins Declares Victory
‘Enough condolences,’ Nate McMurray tells supporters. ‘You’d think I was indicted and going to jail or something’

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., declared victory Tuesday night. Election officials indicated the incumbent had  maintained his seat despite an August indictment on insider trading charges. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indicted New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins declared victory Tuesday night in his bid to hold onto his Buffalo-area district.

“Congressman Collins has already returned to work and looks forward to continuing to do the work of the people of the 27th District,” Collins campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre said in a statement.

Ammar Campa-Najjar Does Not Blame Bigotry for His Defeat
California’s 50th District ‘just had a hard time voting Democrat’

Ammar Campa-Najjar said “people just had a hard time voting Democrat” in the ruby red 50th District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ammar Campa-Najjar weathered ads widely decried as relying on bigoted attacks of his Palestinian heritage during his bid to unseat Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., but he does not blame fear or hatred for his projected loss. 

“I don’t think it was is because of racism, bigotry or Islamophobia,” Campa-Najjar said in a Tuesday interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune. 

Rep. Mia Love Short 1,000 Votes, Election Still Too Close to Call
Ballot counters won’t release new numbers until Friday

Democratic challenger Ben McAdams holds a tenuous lead over Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, in the second week of ballot counting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat Ben McAdams held the line against Rep. Mia Love as the ballot counting process in Utah stretched into Wednesday.

McAdams has a razor-thin lead of 1,229 votes over the incumbent Republican in the race for the 4th District, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. As it stands, McAdams has captured 50.3 percent of the vote, and Love has garnered 49.7 percent. 

Rep. Adam Kinzinger ‘Disgusted’ By Trump Mocking Unseated Republicans
‘Some of them lost because people, frankly, were voting against the president,’ GOP congressman says

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said some Republicans suffered losses on Election Day because of backlash to the president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As President Donald Trump the day after Election Day read off a list of defeated Republicans whose losses he attributed to not embracing his endorsement on the campaign trail, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger watched in disgust.

“I wish the president had shown some more grace in that and said ‘Thank you for your service,’ instead of ‘It’s because you didn’t back me,’” the 16th District congressman said in an interview with CNN Tuesday. “I was very disgusted when I heard that.”