Bridget Bowman

Martha McSally: Short general election was key factor in 2018 loss
Appointed after loss, Arizona Republican is running for remainder of McCain’s term

Arizona Republican Martha McSally said Tuesday that her unsuccessful Senate run in 2018 came down to one major factor: She ran out of time.

“We didn’t get a chance for [voters] to get to know me, what I’ve done all my life, what I did in the House,” McSally, a former fighter pilot, told reporters Tuesday. “We were very aware of these challenges at the time but we ran out of airspeed and altitude. And we weren’t defined and resilient enough.”

The Pennsylvania special election you haven’t heard about
Voters in 12th District will pick a replacement for Tom Marino next week

It wasn’t that long ago that a special election in Pennsylvania attracted national attention and millions of dollars. But this year, the race in the state’s 12th District has flown under the radar.

Voters head to the polls next Tuesday to replace Republican Tom Marino, who resigned just shortly after the new Congress began. This election hasn’t captured the national spotlight — a marked shift from 14 months ago, when the special election in Pennsylvania’s old 18th District grabbed headlines. Democrat Conor Lamb pulled off an upset there even though President Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points in 2016.

Iowans prep for fierce 2020 fight — and not just for the White House
All four House districts will be contested, in addition to competitive Senate race

Iowans are used to the spotlight in presidential election years, and with the number of Democrats eyeing the nomination approaching two dozen, it may be difficult this year to travel in the state without running into a candidate or the media entourage that comes with them.

But for Iowa voters, the more intense political battles in 2020 might actually be further down the ballot.

Sen. Mike Enzi announces he will retire rather than seek a fifth term
Wyoming Republican has served in the Senate for more that two decades

Wyoming Republican Michael B. Enzi announced Saturday that he will not run for re-election in 2020 after more than two decades in the Senate.

Enzi’s decision — which he announced at a press conference in Wyoming, according to the Casper Star-Tribune — opens up a seat in the strongly Republican state.

2020 Democrats showcase campaign styles in Barr hearing
Three presidential contenders questioned attorney general about Mueller findings

Three presidential contenders were in the national spotlight Wednesday thanks to their day jobs as senators. And the questions they directed at Attorney General William Barr highlighted how each is also approaching the race to take on President Donald Trump. 

Barr sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for a daylong hearing. He faced questions over his conclusions about special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign, and whether the president obstructed that probe.

Rep. Joaquin Castro won't challenge Cornyn for Senate in Texas
Castro's decision leaked on conference call with Cornyn

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro won’t be challenging GOP Sen. John Cornyn in 2020. 

“Right now, I’m going to focus on my work in the House of Representatives. I’ve been doing what I feel is important and meaningful work here,” Castro told the San Antonio Express-News, which first reported the news. “If and when I run for another office, it is likely to be something that takes me back home to Texas.” 

Why ambitious Democrats are saying ‘no thanks’ to Senate runs
Stacey Abrams is not the first to reject party wooing, and may not be the last

With Stacey Abrams becoming the latest high-profile Democrat to say no to a 2020 Senate bid — and more rejections of party pressure possible on the horizon — running for the Senate no longer looks look like the step up the political ladder it may once have been.

A few Democrats have chosen to run for president this year instead of challenging Republican senators. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke passed on a race against Sen. John Cornyn. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper isn’t taking on incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is expected to join the presidential field soon, passing on a bid against Sen. Steve Daines.

Kevin McCarthy backs Young Kim in targeted California House race
Republican lost 39th District race to Rep. Gil Cisneros by 3 points last year

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is wasting no time backing his preferred candidate in California’s 39th District, endorsing former assemblywoman and congressional aide Young Kim, who launched her House campaign on Monday. 

“Young Kim is a fierce campaigner and one of the top recruits in the country for House Republicans. I’m 100% supporting her candidacy,” McCarthy said in a statement provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Mark Kelly’s fundraising highlights limits of ‘no corporate PAC’ pledge
Campaign accepted thousands from corporate CEOs, presidents and lobbyists

When he launched his campaign for Senate, Arizona Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly said corporate money “poisons our democracy” and he would not accept corporate PAC contributions.

But Kelly’s campaign accepted thousands of dollars from business executives and lobbyists during the first three months of the year, raising questions about how “no corporate PAC” pledge candidates can actually separate themselves from special interests.

Texas Senate 2020: MJ Hegar challenges John Cornyn
Democrat raised more than $5 million in an unsuccessful House race in 2018

Air Force veteran MJ Hegar, who raised millions in an unsuccessful House race in 2018, announced Tuesday that she is taking on Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

The Democrat garnered national attention last cycle with a viral web video “Doors” highlighting her background as a combat veteran. She was injured in Afghanistan and later sued the Defense Department over the barring of women from certain positions. In a nearly four-minute video released Tuesday, Hegar once again introduced herself to Texans, recapping her 2018 spot.

Mueller report is a reminder that Russian hack hit House races, too
Talks between the DCCC and NRCC about using stolen information stalled in September

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report provided new details Thursday about how Russian agents hacked into Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee computers in 2016, renewing the question of whether the two parties would agree not to use stolen material in future political attacks.

Leaders of the DCCC and the National Republican Congressional Committee came close to such an an agreement in late 2018, but talks broke down.

What candidates running to replace Trump are saying about Barr and Mueller report
Attorney general reiterates decision that president’s actions did not qualify as obstruction

Presidential hopefuls on Thursday quickly denounced Attorney General William Barr and renewed calls for the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s full report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who entered the presidential race last week, called on Barr to resign, saying he should never have been confirmed and should have recused himself from oversight of the Mueller investigation. 

O’Rourke touts Senate run in White House bid — even though he lost
Texan cites battle with Cruz as evidence he can energize Democrats, win over Republicans

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Ruth traveled to Texas last year to knock on doors when former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke ran for Senate. Now she’s concerned he’s repeating mistakes from that race, and she told him so to his face.  

Ruth, who declined to give her last name, told O’Rourke at a town hall meeting Wednesday she did not think he drew enough of a contrast with GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who was narrowly re-elected in November.

No letup in congressional fundraising after ‘green wave’ election
Retirement-watch Republicans and no-corporate-PAC Democrats both stepped up

The race for the White House is already dominating headlines, but new campaign finance disclosures show donors in both parties are also opening their wallets to renew the fight to control the House in 2020.

Presidential campaign years tend to boost fundraising for down-ballot candidates, and early fundraising reports show 2020 is no exception.

Iowa’s Dave Loebsack will not run for re-election in 2020
Democrat’s retirement opens up a competitive seat

Iowa Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack will not seek an eighth term in 2020, opening up a potentially competitive district that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.

Announcing his retirement Friday evening, Loebsack said he’d originally planned to serve no more than 12 years. But that changed when Trump was elected. 

Democrats insist they’re united and delivering but obstacles abound
‘The Democratic Caucus is acting,’ Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján says

LEESBURG, Va. — House Democrats gathered here for their annual retreat insist their caucus is unified and prepared to deliver on a slate of 2018 campaign promises that propelled them into the majority. But obstacles lie ahead as they seek to hold the House in 2020.

The two major challenges Democrats face are crafting legislation that unifies the progressive and moderate wings, while also working with Republicans in the Senate and the White House to enact some policies into law.

Bustos to Democrats: ‘We know our job is different this time’
DCCC chairwoman counting on energy, focus, message discipline to ‘lock down’ majority in 2020

LEESBURG, Va. — It’s no coincidence that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman was the closing act at House Democrats’ annual retreat Friday.

Three days of private meetings included strategies for winning 2020 elections and expanding the majority Democrats won last fall. And that means the DCCC has to do its job of protecting vulnerable members and recruiting challengers in winnable takeover districts. 

Pelosi details how Democrats hope to protect and expand House majority
President's favorability this November is key to 2020, but so is ‘fortifying’ freshmen for challenges

LEESBURG, Va. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi guaranteed Thursday that Democrats will maintain and expand their majority in 2020.

The California Democrat claimed at a Politico Playbook event last week that she will have House races won by this November — one year before general election voters go to the polls. Pelosi expanded on that Thursday by saying President Donald Trump’s standing in in the polls later this year will indicate whether Democrats will be successful.

House recruiter to GOP: ‘Do a better job of looking like America’
Rep. Susan W. Brooks putting ‘significant’ emphasis on female candidates, people of color

Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks made a point of telling her Republican colleagues this week about several new candidates who are women and people of color.  

“It’s important that we, as a conference, do a better job of looking like America, and better representing the very diverse country that we have,” Brooks, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s recruitment chair, told Roll Call after Tuesday’s meeting of the GOP conference.

EMILY’s List eyes Texas Senate race amid Castro speculation
Pro-abortion rights group is in talks with three potential female candidates

Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro is considering jumping into the Texas Senate race, but he might not have the primary to himself if EMILY’s List gets its way. 

The influential group, which backs female Democrats who support abortion rights, is in talks with three potential candidates: Air Force veteran MJ Hegar, who lost a House race in 2018;  Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards; and former state Sen. Wendy Davis.