open-seat

When members of Congress seek county office instead
Rep. Paul Cook cites broader powers of California supervisors, but GOP’s minority status also a factor

California Rep. Paul Cook announced Tuesday that he is retiring from Congress to run for county office. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Republican Paul Cook’s decision to run for county office next year rather than a fifth House term might have raised a few eyebrows, especially since more than five dozen of his colleagues have used county positions as stepping stones to Washington.

But what seems like a downward move is not unheard of, particularly in California, where county supervisors wield a fair amount of power. Influencing local policy can also be more appealing than a weekly cross-country commute, especially when working in the nation’s capital means governing in the minority.

9 things I think I think after the North Carolina redo election
GOP efforts to hold 9th District unlikely to be replicated in other suburban races

Outside Republican groups helped Dan Bishop over the finish line in North Carolina’s 9th District, but replicating that effort in similar districts will not be possible, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nearly a year after the two parties fought to a draw in North Carolina’s 9th District, Republican Dan Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready ended with another close race. Bishop prevailed 51 percent to 49 percent, with absentee ballots remaining to be counted.

A win is better than a loss (and the result affects the fight for the majority), but the overall lessons from the race should not be dramatically different whether a candidate finishes narrowly ahead or behind. And even if the results aren’t predictive, there are implications for the 2020 elections.

Democrats line up to challenge David Perdue. But what about the other Georgia Senate seat?
Jon Ossoff announced his candidacy for the Senate on Tuesday

Jon Ossoff is running for Senate in Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Georgia got another Senate candidate Tuesday — a familiar face who’s running in the same race that several Democrats are already running for.

Jon Ossoff, who lost the most expensive special House election in U.S. history, is challenging Republican incumbent David Perdue.

Why Georgia will be the wildest ride in politics heading into 2020
Peach State is playing host to several marquee races next year

Georgia Democrat Lucy McBath last year won a suburban Atlanta seat once held by Newt Gingrich, a sign of the state’s shifting demographics. Republicans are determined to take the seat back next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — You could almost hear the collective “Holy #&%!” across Georgia last week after Sen. Johnny Isakson’s surprise announcement that he will retire from the Senate at the end of the year. The first reaction among Republicans and Democrats alike was that the highly respected GOP senator would be sorely missed.

The next reaction was the realization that for the next year and a half, politics in Georgia will be one wild ride. The 2020 ballot in the state had already been filled with marquee races — GOP Sen. David Perdue’s fight for a second term, two House seats up for grabs in once-solidly Republican suburban Atlanta, and President Donald Trump’s reelection bid. The addition of the race to replace Isakson makes Georgia a legitimate battleground for both parties for the first time in nearly two decades.

Rating changes in four House races, but Flores’ seat isn’t one of them
Outlook shifts toward Democrats in Texas and Iowa races, and toward GOP in one California contest

Texas Rep. Bill Flores is not seeking a sixth term in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s not a question of if more House Members will retire; it’s a question of when and where.

On Wednesday, Rep. Bill Flores became the fifth Texas Republican to announce he will not seek reelection or another office in 2020. Of the 13 members retiring in 2020, 11 are Republicans and two are Democrats. And more exits are likely to come, considering that, on average, 23 members have retired each election cycle, going back to the 1970s.

Her father just pleaded guilty to raping her. But Usha Reddi hopes that won’t define her Senate bid
Kansas Democrat enters race for Pat Roberts’ open seat

Usha Reddi is running for the Democratic Senate nomination in Kansas. (Courtesy Reddi for Senate)

Usha Reddi, a Democrat who launched her Kansas Senate campaign Thursday, never meant for her experience as a survivor of sexual assault to be central to her platform.

But when her father pleaded guilty this summer to raping her when she was a child, Reddi, a city commissioner in Manhattan, Kansas, decided she should be the one to make it an issue.

House freshmen try to keep it local as presidential race steals the spotlight
Iowa Democratic Reps. Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer are taking similar approaches to their reelections

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, flips pork burgers at the Iowa State Fair. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES — Rep. Cindy Axne’s letter to Customs and Border Protection about African swine fever didn’t make national news. But it did prompt a “thank you” from a man with the Iowa Pork Association as Axne flipped pork burgers last week at the Iowa State Fair.

Attention to issues like that disease, which could threaten the country’s pork industry if it reached the U.S., is how first-term Democratic lawmakers like Axne are working to win reelection in 2020.

Democrats go on defense in crucial heartland House race in Iowa
GOP has sights on Iowa’s 2nd District, which backed Trump in 2016

Former Iowa state Sen. Rita Hart is running for the Democratic nomination for Iowa’s 2nd District after Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack opted against reelection. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

WHEATLAND, Iowa — Republicans sense an opportunity in the rolling corn and soybean fields in southeastern Iowa. But Democrats won’t be giving up their hold on this heartland district without a fight.

Republicans’ path to the House majority runs through the 31 Democrat-held districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. And one of them, Iowa’s 2nd District, ranks among the GOP’s best pickup opportunities next year because it’s the only one of the 31 without an incumbent defending the seat.

DCCC adds six more Trump districts to its 2020 target list
House Democrats are expanding their potential battlefield to 39 seats

The House Democrats’ campaign arm is targeting Virginia GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six more districts to the list of seats it’s targeting in 2020. 

After gaining a net of 40 seats last fall, the House Democrats’ campaign arm released its initial 2020 target list in January that included 32 GOP-held seats and the open seat in North Carolina’s 9th District, which is holding a special election next month.

Texas Rep. Conaway, top Republican on Agriculture panel, not seeking reelection
Eight-term congressman to leave open seat in deep red district

Rep. K. Michael Conaway is not seeking reelection in 2020. The top Republican on the Agriculture Committee is term-limited from staying in that position. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Republican Rep. K. Michael Conaway, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, is planning to retire at the end of his current term, according to GOP sources. 

Conaway’s decision not to seek reelection in 2020, which he is not expected to formally announce until a press conference Wednesday, leaves an open seat in the deep red 11th District, a part of West central Texas that President Donald Trump won by 59 points in 2016.