John L Mica

At the Races: Into the Badlands
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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

Blue Dog Democrats Vote With GOP More in 2018
Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider had biggest drop in party unity score

Illinois Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider saw his party unity score drop in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Blue Dog Democrats tend to move to the right in election years, which is understandable given that they typically represent swing districts.

And lately no district has swung more than Illinois’ 10th, in the affluent suburbs north of Chicago. Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider is currently serving his second, nonconsecutive term, having defeated Republican Robert J. Dold in 2016.

Ratings Change: Culberson’s Texas Seat Creeps Closer to Toss-Up
7th District shifts from Leans Republican to Tilts Republican

Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, doesn’t have the financial advantage typically held by incumbents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Every cycle there is a member of Congress who fails to modernize his campaign and adapt to new challenges, whether it’s Florida’s John Mica last cycle or George Gekas of Pennsylvania from further back. Texas Republican John Culberson might be the newest addition to the club.

He was re-elected in 2016 with 56 percent in an uneventful race, but Hillary Clinton narrowly carried the district (49-47 percent), making Culberson one of 23 Republicans representing districts won by the Democratic presidential nominee, and a Democratic takeover target.

Murphy Criticized for Husband’s Company Manufacturing in China
Florida congresswoman touts her efforts for small- and medium-manufacturing firms

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., invented a pair of softball pants that her husband’s company sells. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy is facing criticism over her push for American manufacturing jobs while the softball pants her husband’s company markets are made in China.

Murphy invented NuFit Knickers, which are sold by her husband’s sports apparel company 3N2, which also makes baseball cleats overseas.

Gun Control Movement Turns to Campaigns
Sen. Chris Murphy says focus should be outside the Capitol

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, at their news conference at the Capitol on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Gun control advocates quickly urged Congress to act after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. But the real fight may be on the campaign trail.

Many of them suggest that even after a gunman opened fire on thousands of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Sunday night — killing nearly 60 people and injuring more than 500 — it’s unlikely that the Republican-controlled House and Senate will act.

It’s a Good Year for Democratic Recruits — Just Not Everywhere
Despite a flood of candidates, not all districts have Democratic challengers yet

Democrats have had a tough time recruiting challengers to New Jersey Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, who’s friendly with labor leaders in South Jersey. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are having a recruitment bonanza this year. Multiple, well-funded challengers are running in many of the party’s top-targeted House races.

But in a handful of seats on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s target list, the party still doesn’t have candidates they consider credible.

With No Vote in Congress, D.C. Residents Find Power in Cash
District voters are supporting Jason Chaffetz’s challenger in Utah

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz is fast becoming a target of Washington, D.C., residents, upset about his efforts to overturn local laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was only the second political contribution Sarah Carr had made in her life. A $100 gift to an obscure politician from a distant state whose values hardly align with her own.

But Carr, a 41-year-old marine scientist who lives on Capitol Hill, had a clear goal: she wanted to support anyone who might oust Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

NRCC Goes After Blue-Collar Districts in 2018
GOP campaign arm releases list of 36 initial targets

Rep. Tim Walz speaks with guests during a campaign event in Duluth for fellow Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s initial list of offensive targets for 2018 includes 36 Democrat-held districts, many in blue-collar areas of the country.

If Democrats are targeting the well-educated suburbs (see New Jersey’s 11th District, for example), where Donald Trump either barely won or underperformed, Republicans are going after many rural districts where Hillary Clinton underperformed the congressional ticket. 

Word on the Hill: Liberty and Justice for Hurt
Speaker of the House has a birthday

Former Virginia Rep. Robert Hurt, center, is shown with Shawn Akers, left, dean of Liberty University’s Helms School of Government, and B. Keith Faulkner, dean of the Liberty University School of Law. (Courtesy Liberty University)

Former Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Va., will head Liberty University’s new Center for Law & Government, which the school says aims to influence public policy and spread conservative ideals.

“I could not be more thrilled to be a part of this project,” said Hunt, who represented Virginia’s 5th District from 2011 to 2017. “I think this is an excellent opportunity for Liberty University to be a part of the policy-making process in a way that other places cannot.”

K Street Eyes Outgoing Lawmakers for Jobs
Premium on figuring out Trump and who knows who

Nebraska Rep. Brad Ashford says he hadn’t determined whether K Street would be the right fit for him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The more than 50 lawmakers who will be jobless in a few weeks may encounter an unpredictable market on K Street, should they consider taking a spin through the revolving door.

Business interests feel bullish on next year’s potentially frenzied legislative agenda, stocked with tax and health care overhauls and debate over new infrastructure projects. But most lobbying groups have a tenuous rapport with the incoming Trump administration and are evaluating their hiring through that lens.