DSCC

Let Beto O’Rourke Keep His Money
Claims that Texas Democrat’s fundraising is robbing from other candidates are exaggerated

Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for Senate is helping Democrats in many indirect ways, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’m old enough to remember when some Democrats and reporters suggested that Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke donate his Senate campaign money to other candidates and causes.

But the latest Quinnipiac University survey found the congressman within 5 points of Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, clearing him, it would seem, to just spend it on his own race. It was ridiculous to suggest he give away his hard-earned cash in the first place.

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018: Heidi Heitkamp Moves to Top Spot
North Dakota Democrat tops Roll Call’s latest list of endangered Senate incumbents

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., tops the list of most vulnerable Senate incumbents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats continue to dominate the latest list of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents two months out from Election Day, with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp moving into the top spot.

Heitkamp displaces Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who nevertheless remains the most vulnerable incumbent on the Republican side and the only GOP senator running in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Six Months Out: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018
Nevada Republican Dean Heller remains in top spot

Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican running for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are still defending 10 states that President Donald Trump won in 2016, but six months out from Election Day, the most vulnerable senator remains a Republican.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller no longer faces a primary threat, but he’s the only Republican up for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton won, and in this national environment that’s a tricky place to be.

DSCC Hires New Field Director
Lauren Brainerd coordinated campaigns in Virginia

A sign at a polling station in Gallant, Ala., during last year’s Senate special election in Alabama. Victories in Virginia last year and recent special elections indicate Democrats have momentum heading into the November midterms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Monday that a veteran of recent successes in Virginia will be leading the group’s field program this year.

Lauren Brainerd, who was most recently the campaign director for the Virginia Democratic Party, will be the DSCC’s new field director, according to an announcement shared first with Roll Call. Brainerd oversaw last year’s campaigns for statewide office in the Old Dominion, including the gubernatorial race. She also oversaw campaigns for the state House of Delegates, where victories (the party won 15 seats) signaled Democratic energy heading into the 2018 midterms.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Announces Senate Campaign
Scott is challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott made his long-expected announcement for Senate on Monday.

"Some say as governor I've never fit in," Scott said in a video message. "Well that's true. I never plan to fit in. And I won't fit in Washington either," he said, before criticizing Washington for being "full of politicians." 

DSCC Updates Digital Ad Attacking GOP Health Care Plan
YouTube ad will reach targeted voters in key 2018 states

The DSCC, chaired by Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, above, is launching new digital advertising against the GOP health care plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday is launching updated digital advertising against GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

The DSCC is timing this latest advertising, shared first with Roll Call, to the rough one-year anniversary of when the GOP-controlled Congress started trying to repeal the 2010 health care law during the spring of 2017.

From Assistant to Chief, Women Heading Hill Offices
‘I don’t want people from the outside world calling and thinking I’m taking dictation in here’

Rep. Rosa DeLauro hugs fellow Connecticut Democrat Sen. Christopher J. Dodd during a 2010 event. In 1981, she joined a handful of congressional female chiefs of staff when Dodd hired her off the campaign trail. Also pictured, at left, former House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Women have been heading up congressional offices dating back to the 1940s, but that “assistant” position looked very different from today’s chief of staff post.

The 1946 Legislative Reorganization Act created the title of administrative assistant, which evolved into chief of staff. In 1947, there were about six female administrative assistants in the Senate, according to Senate Historian Betty K. Koed.

DSCC Launches Digital Ads Against Rick Scott in Florida
GOP governor expected to challenge Nelson for Senate

The DSCC is running five-figure digital ads against Florida Gov. Rick Scott ahead of his expected Senate bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching two digital ads Monday attacking Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who’s expected to run for Senate.

Scott’s character comes under attack in the two 30-second YouTube spots. The first ad, titled “Truth,” accuses Scott of not being able to tell the truth. The second, titled “Blind,” alleges the governor used his office to enrich himself, calling him a “walking conflict of interest.” The ads are backed by a five-figure buy.

At the Races: The Wheels on McDaniel’s Bus Go ’Round and ’Round
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings at attheraces@cqrollcall.com. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

This week … Chris McDaniel launched another Senate primary run in Mississippi, voters picked their candidates in Arizona, and underdog Democrats used the gun debate to make their mark.

Decision Time in the Desert: Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko won the GOP primary Tuesday in the special election to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks (who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations). She’s in a strong position heading into the April 24 special election, since President Donald Trump carried the seat by 21 points. Lesko will face emergency room physician Hiral Tipirneni, whom Democrats see as a strong candidate. So Lesko might not want to get too confident. Nathan Gonzales shifted this race rating from Solid Republican to Likely Republican, because, well, special elections have been pretty crazy this cycle.