Carlos Curbelo

Fight for the House Centers on Five States
More than one-third of targeted districts reside in a handful of states

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is tasked with leading House Democrats back to the majority, including picking up handfuls of seats in a few key states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Both parties haven’t wasted any time unveiling their House target lists for next year’s midterm elections, and a few states have emerged as early battlegrounds. 

At the end of January, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ambitious list of 59 Republican-held districts, followed by the National Republican Congressional Committee’s ambitious list of 36 Democratic-held districts just more than a week later.

There’s No Rest for the Fundraising Weary
Vulnerable freshmen face high expectations for first quarter fundraising

Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen, seen here with DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján, will be a top target for Republicans in 2018 and says she’ll be kicking off fundraising events in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Even before they’ve settled into their new lives on Capitol Hill, freshman House members from swing districts need to prepare for the fight to stay there. 

No member likes to talk about fundraising. Navigating the halls during the first month of the 115th Congress, new members stressed the importance of listening to the people who sent them to Washington. 

The Incredible Shrinking Split Tickets
Midterm campaign field starts with just 35 crossover House districts

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican up for re-election in 2018 in a state not carried by Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the latest evidence of the nation’s polarized politics, the granular returns from November offer these slivers of bright purple insight:

Voters in just 35 congressional districts, or 8 percent of the total, elected a House member from one party while preferring the presidential candidate of the other party — the second election in a row where the share of ticket-splitting seats was in the single digits. Before that, 1920 was the last time the number of such crossover districts fell below one out of every nine.

DCCC Targets Trump Districts in 2018
Democrats are banking on Trump being unpopular in even deep-red seats

New York Rep. Chris Collins, one of President Donald Trumps biggest House allies, is a 2018 Democratic target. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Fresh off the second weekend of nationwide protests against President Donald Trump, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has released its initial list of Republican-held seats it plans to target in 2018.

The House Democrats’ campaign arm is banking on Trump’s unpopularity being a drag on down-ballot Republicans, even though many GOP incumbents proved resilient to efforts to tie them to Trump in 2016. Democrats gained a net of six seats last November.

House GOP Group Launches Digital Campaign for Health Care Plan
American Action Network will target 28 House districts

American Action Network is running digital ads about the House Republicans’ health care law replacement efforts in Ohio’s 4th District, held by former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

An outside group affiliated with House GOP leadership is ramping up its advertising campaign for a Republican alternative to the 2010 health care law, running $400,000 in digital ads across 28 congressional districts. 

American Action Network, a conservative nonprofit advocacy organization, is launching its first digital campaign of the year Friday, when the House is expected to vote on the budget resolution that would begin the process of repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. 

For 20, a New Year’s Boost in House Legislative Sway
How the winners of top committee assignments made their own luck

Keep an eye peeled for these House members with plum new committee assignments, from left to right, first row: Pete Aguilar, Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, Katherine M. Clark, Ryan A. Costello, Carlos Curbelo; second row: Suzan DelBene, Debbie Dingell, Brian Higgins, John Moolenaar, Grace Meng; third row: Dan Newhouse, Scott Peters, Mark Pocan, Raul Ruiz, David Schweikert; fourth row: Terri A. Sewell, Scott Taylor, Tim Walberg, Jackie Walorski and Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark, Meredith Dake-O’Connor and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos. Scott Taylor courtesy Scott Taylor for U.S. Congress)

Specialization seasoned with seniority is the surest recipe for a meaningful legislative career in the House, which is more than big enough to swallow all the dilettantes and short-timers without a trace. It’s finding a substantive niche, then fitting in over the long haul, that proves perennially frustrating for many members. 

But the goal of becoming a successful and substantive lawmaker just got a whole lot easier for a score of them.

Hard-Liners Are Confident Heading Into Immigration Battle
Sharp rightward turn could lead to increased deportations

Attorney General-designee Jeff Sessions has ties to a number of aides on Donald Trump’s transition team. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By JONATHAN MILLER and DEAN DeCHIARO

Donald Trump’s administration will feature a host of emboldened immigration hard-liners plucked from Congress, chief among them Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the president-elect’s pick for attorney general.

Self-funder Among GOP Members Asking Colleagues for Debt Help
Indiana’s Trey Hollingsworth is worth nearly $60 million

Indiana Rep.-elect Trey Hollingsworth is on a list of GOP members asking their colleagues for help with unpaid campaign expenses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Indiana Rep.-elect Trey Hollingsworth loaned his campaign more than $3 million of his own money to get elected in the 9th District this year. But he’s now asking his new colleagues in the House to help with his unpaid campaign bills. 

Hollingsworth is one of ten members-elect on a list of candidates with campaign debt that the National Republican Congressional Committee distributed to the House GOP caucus. Two returning congressmen were on this year’s list, Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Will Hurd of Texas. Lawmakers can use their own campaign accounts or leadership PACs to help their indebted colleagues.

Word on the Hill: Capitol Christmas Tree Gets Lit
Holiday parties today

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Payette National Forest in Idaho was unloaded on the West Front of the Capitol on Nov. 28. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol Christmas Tree will light up at a ceremony this evening with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers and the Idaho congressional delegation, because the tree comes from Idaho.

“We extend our gratitude to the countless individuals who made this a reality, particularly the Idaho students who hand-decorated thousands of Christmas ornaments, and the Payette National Forest officials who selected this year’s tree and ensured its safe arrival in Washington,” Idaho Sens. Jim Risch and Michael D. Crapo said in a joint statement.

‘A Tyrant is Dead’ — Congress Reacts to the Death of Fidel Castro
Longtime Cuban dictator died Friday night at age 90

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro died Friday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even in the middle of the night, the reaction to the death of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was swift from South Florida lawmakers and those with Cuban-American ties.

“The day that the people, both inside the island and out, have waited for has arrived: A tyrant is dead and a new beginning can dawn on the last remaining communist bastion of the Western Hemisphere,” Florida GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Havana, said in a statement.