Bridget Bowman

Scott Fairchild Named DSCC Executive Director
Fairchild is incoming chairwoman Cortez Masto’s chief of staff

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is bringing her chief of staff over to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, naming Scott Fairchild on Friday as the committee’s new executive director.

Democrats are largely on offense in the 2020 cycle, but they will have to protect vulnerable incumbents including Alabama Sen. Doug Jones. Democrats are defending 12 seats while Republicans are defending 22.

The Antonia Ferrier Guide to Being Kind and Not Sweating the Small Stuff
Veteran Capitol Hill aide joining public affairs firm Definers

Antonia Ferrier is moving on from Capitol Hill, but she isn’t totally done with politics.

“I will definitely keep my toe, if not my foot, in politics,” the veteran staffer said in an interview at a coffeeshop downtown Thursday. She’s still figuring out exactly how she will continue to help the Republican team, and for now is looking forward to her new role off the Hill in public affairs.

Democrats Complete California Sweep as Valadao Concedes Central Valley Race
TJ Cox unseats three-term congressman in 21st District by 862 votes

California Republican Rep. David Valadao has conceded his re-election race to Democratic businessman TJ Cox, with the final vote count showing Cox ahead by 862 votes in the Central Valley district. 

Cox’s victory means Democrats have swept all seven GOP-held seats in California that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Clinton won the 21st District by more than 15 points two years ago, while Valadao was winning re-election by 13 points. 

NRCC Hacked in 2018 By ‘Unknown Entity’
FBI investigating but no further comment

The National Republican Congressional Committee was hacked in 2018 by an “unknown entity,” a committee spokesman acknowledged Tuesday.

“The NRCC can confirm that it was the victim of a cyber intrusion by an unknown entity,” spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement. “The cybersecurity of the committee’s data is paramount, and upon learning of the intrusion, the NRCC immediately launched an internal investigation and notified the FBI, which is now investigating the matter.”

Dan Conston Takes Helm of Top House GOP Outside Groups
Conston will lead the Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network

The two major GOP outside groups involved in House races are getting a new leader. Dan Conston will take over as the president of both American Action Network and its related Super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the groups announced Tuesday. 

The move comes after Republicans lost 40 seats in the midterm elections, meaning Republicans will shift from defense to offense in the upcoming 2020 elections. Conston will replace Corry Bliss, who oversaw record fundraising for the group and the creation of a new Congressional Leadership Fund field program with offices in 40 districts. Bliss will remain an advisor to both groups.

Nate McMurray Concedes to Chris Collins, Will Run Again When ‘Time Is Right’
Collins was ahead by nearly 1,400 votes according to latest the ballot count

Democrat Nate McMurray conceded to GOP Rep. Chris Collins on Monday, nearly three weeks after Election Day. The Associated Press has yet to call the race in Collins’ favor, but it appears Collins will return to Congress despite an indictment for insider trading.

The three-term Republican led McMurray, the Grand Island Town Supervisor, by nearly 1,400 votes according to The Buffalo News.

Money Doesn’t Always Buy (Electoral) Love, but It Can Help
Scott and Cisneros spent big on their own campaigns and won, while other self-funders tanked

The victories of California Democrat Gil Cisneros and Florida Republican Rick Scott are yet another reminder that when it comes to running for public office, having personal wealth can be pretty helpful.

Both candidates spent millions of their own money and ultimately prevailed in races that went on long past Election Day. Cisneros, who won the lottery in 2010, kicked at least $9 million of his own money into his campaign for California’s 39th District, which The Associated Press called in his favor on Saturday.

Democrats Complete Sweep of Orange County, Once a GOP Haven
Nearly two weeks after Election Day, Democrats won their fourth Republican-held seat there

With Democrat Gil Cisneros’ victory in California’s 39th District, Democrats have defeated all four Republicans in Orange County, an area former President Ronald Reagan once referred to as the place “where the good Republicans go before they die.”

Cisneros, a Navy veteran and lottery winner, defeated former GOP state Assemblywoman Young Kim in the increasingly diverse 39th District. He had garnered 50.8 percent of the vote compared to Kim’s 49.2 percent when the Associated Press called the race nearly two weeks after Election Day. He won by roughly 3,500 votes.

The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On
A combination of individual brands and attacks on Democratic challengers helped them win

House Republicans in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016 were largely washed away in the Democratic wave last week — but three managed to hang on.

GOP Reps. John Katko of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and David Valadao all won their races on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press (though Valadao’s margin has narrowed with votes still being counted).

At the Races: The Wave Is Still Coming
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

Democrats Look for New DCCC Chair to Protect Majority
For the first time, competitive race will decide next head of campaign arm

For the first time, House Democrats are competing in an open race to lead the party’s campaign arm next cycle. And the new leader’s responsibilities will include something no predecessor has faced in a decade: protecting their chamber majority.

The race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is currently a four-way contest between Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, and Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene of Washington. The DCCC chairmanship was an appointed position until 2016, after Democratic losses led to demands for changes at the committee. Current DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is running for assistant Democratic leader.

Could Texas Be a 2020 House Battleground?
Some House races in the Lone Star State were closer than expected

Texas Democrats had their best election in over a decade last week when they flipped at least two Republican-held House seats. But closer margins in other races have boosted party hopes of future gains in the once deep-red Lone Star State.

“What it shows us moving forward is that we have congressional battlegrounds in Texas,” said Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “As we move into the election cycle in 2020, it’s very clear now that Texas is in play.”

Following GOP Losses, Emmer Poised to be Next NRCC Chairman
Minnesota Republican hasn’t yet laid out specific priorities to win back House

Less than a week after losing over 30 seats in the House, the chamber’s Republicans have coalesced around the next person to lead their campaign committee.

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer is running unopposed Wednesday to be the next chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, replacing Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers. Along with California Rep. Mimi Walters, whose race has not yet been called, Emmer was one of two deputy NRCC chairs during the 2018 cycle.

Democrats Pick Up Another California Seat With Denham’s Loss
AP calls Central Valley race for Josh Harder, one week after Election Day

Rep. Jeff Denham has become the 24th House Republican to lose re-election this year, falling to Democrat Josh Harder in California’s 10th District one week after Election Day.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Harder led the four-term incumbent 51 percent to 49 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Kyrsten Sinema Becomes First Female Senator Elected From Arizona
She’s also the first Democrat to win an Arizona Senate election in 30 years

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has made history by becoming the first woman elected to represent Arizona in the Senate. She defeated Republican Rep. Martha McSally after several days of ballot counting.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Sinema led McSally 50 percent to 48 percent when The Associated Press called the race six days after Election Day.

The Midterms' Most Memorable Moments
Political Theater, Episode 44

Every campaign season is defined by moments when the big picture starts to come into focus. A parade outside Kansas City where Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder is confronted about gun violence. A pizza parlor in New Jersey becomes an overflow town hall. Roll Call politics reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman and elections analyst Nathan Gonzales discuss such moments during the 2018 midterms, as well as how to address the dreaded election hangover we’re all suffering.

 

Two Washington State Democrats to Face Off for DCCC Chair
Denny Heck and Suzan Delbene announced bids Wednesday

Two Washington state Democrats with crucial roles in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this year are facing off to lead the House Democrats’ campaign arm next cycle.

Both Reps. Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene on Wednesday announced bids to lead the committee. The current chairman, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, is expected to run for a different leadership position.

DCCC Credits Large Battlefield in Securing Majority
Democrats had 101 targets in 2018

Democrats won back the House largely due to victories in the suburbs, but they also said their expansive target list led to gains in unlikely places.

Voters in suburban districts tend to be wealthier and better educated, and largely backed Democrats on Tuesday — even in districts with strong GOP incumbents.

The Candidates Mattered. But Opinions About Trump Mattered More
Different outcomes in the House and Senate mostly about the president

Both parties had something to celebrate after Tuesday’s midterm elections, depending on where they looked. But that split outcome — with Democrats winning the House, and Republicans gaining seats in the Senate — underscores the extent to which opinions about President Donald Trump shape today’s politics.

Republicans largely prevailed at the Senate level because they were running in red states where President Donald Trump performed well in 2016. The House saw the opposite outcome, but the reason was the same. Republicans largely struggled because they were running in places where Trump was unpopular.

Rosen’s Win in Nevada One Bright Spot for Senate Democrats
Silver State is so far the first Senate seat Democrats have flipped

Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen won the Nevada Senate race Tuesday, defeating GOP Sen. Dean Heller in one of the most hotly contested races of the cycle. Rosen’s victory was a rare piece of good news for Democrats on a night when Republicans decisively retained control of the chamber.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Rosen led Heller 51 percent to 45 percent when The Associated Press called the race.