Bridget Bowman

Democrats See New Opportunity in McSally’s Old House Seat
Democrats see Arizona’s 2nd District as a top pickup opportunity

GOP Rep. Martha McSally’s decision to enter the Arizona Senate race has opened up her hotly contested House seat, giving Democrats even more hope that they can win back the seat in 2018.

Republicans say they still have a chance at holding the 2nd District seat in southern Arizona, especially with the right candidate. But Democrats see energy on their side, fueled in part by a backlash to President Donald Trump. And they are hopeful the race will be an example of a Democrat flipping a seat that Hillary Clinton carried in November.

Arizona Senate Primary Battle Officially Kicks Off
Martha McSally joins Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward in likely drawn-out primary

The Arizona Senate primary officially kicked off Friday, and it’s going to be a battle — with war planes and all. 

Republican Rep. Martha McSally launched her Senate run at the Tucson Jet Center on Friday morning and will travel to other areas of the state later in the day. She donned a blue flight suit to fly in a World War II-era AT-6 trainer to Phoenix, and then to Prescott. McSally, of course, is piloting the plane herself. 

McSally Launches Senate Run in Arizona
Congresswoman will likely face a contentious GOP primary

Arizona GOP Rep. Martha McSally officially announced her Senate campaign Friday, kicking off what is likely to be a divisive Republican primary.

“Like our president, I’m tired of PC politicians and their BS excuses,” McSally said in a video announcement emphasizing her service in the Air Force. “I’m a fighter pilot and I talk like one. That’s why I told Washington Republicans to grow a pair of ovaries and get the job done.”

At the Races: Senate Challengers — One In, One Out
Our weekly newsletter with the latest on House and Senate races

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

Cramer Passes on North Dakota Senate Run
Trump encouraged him to challenge Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, GOP rep said

Updated 11: 14 a.m. | GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer said Thursday he does not plan to run for Senate in North Dakota and instead will run for re-election to the House. He had faced pressure from President Donald Trump to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Cramer told WZFG-AM’s “Scott Hennen Show” in North Dakota that passing on a Senate run was the best decision for his family.

Darrell Issa Retiring, Opening Up Competitive House Seat
Issa was one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2018

Updated 7:58 p.m. | Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is retiring after nine terms in Congress, opening up a competitive House seat in California.

“While my service to California’s 49th District will be coming to an end, I will continue advocating on behalf of the causes that are most important to me, advancing public policy where I believe I can make a true and lasting difference, and continuing the fight to make our incredible nation an even better place to call home,” the congressman said in a statement Wednesday.

Joe Arpaio Running for Senate in Arizona
Controversial former sheriff was pardoned by Trump

Controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio is running in the open Senate race in Arizona, jumping into a Republican primary that is expected to be a contest over who is most closely aligned with President Donald Trump.

Arpaio said he was a “big supporter of President Trump” in an interview with the Washington Examiner, which first reported the news.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce Announces Retirement
Royce was Democratic target in midterm elections

Rep. Ed Royce announced Monday he will not be running for re-election. The California Republican is in his final term as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“In this final year of my Foreign Affairs Committee chairmanship, I want to focus fully on the urgent threats facing our nation, including: the brutal, corrupt and dangerous regimes in Pyongyang and Tehran, Vladimir Putin’s continued efforts to weaponize information to fracture western democracies, and growing terrorist threats in Africa and Central Asia,” Royce said in a statement.

Democratic Candidate Misspeaks When Asked About Potential Influence
California’s Hans Keirstead suggested he would sit on an influential committee and become a chairman

Democratic candidate Hans Keirstead faced a familiar question at a local party meeting in November: What kind of committees could you sit on, and how would that benefit the district?

But his answer has caused some confusion.

Wisconsin Republicans Look to Head Off Divisive Senate Primary
GOP wants candidates to make “unity pledge” to participate in endorsement process

Wisconsin Republicans are launching a new “unity pledge,” calling for Senate candidates to promise to support the eventual nominee — an attempt to unify after a potentially divisive GOP primary.

The state party announced Wednesday that candidates looking to earn the endorsement of grass-roots conservatives at the state convention will have to sign the pledge. Signees will also agree to conduct their campaigns “in a manner that is respectful of my fellow Republican candidates,” according to a copy of the agreement.

Moore Campaign Manager Launches Primary Challenge Against Roby
Rich Hobson would join two other primary challengers

Updated 3:01 p.m. | Roy Moore’s former campaign manager Rich Hobson announced Wednesday that he is launching a primary challenge against Alabama GOP Rep. Martha Roby.

Hobson announced Tuesday that he will make an “important announcement” on the steps of the state Capitol at 10 a.m. Central Time on Wednesday morning. But he told NBC shortly before the announcement that he is planning to run against Roby. 

Doug Jones Now Faces the Red-State Democrat’s Dilemma
He joins a small cadre of Senate Democrats representing GOP states

Doug Jones will enter the Senate on Wednesday as the Democrat who did the impossible — he won his seat in Republican-dominated Alabama. He will now join a small cadre of red-state Democrats who have to navigate an increasingly divisive political environment.

Jones said he was elected because he emphasized finding common ground and working across the aisle. He will now have to prove it — especially if he has any hope of keeping his seat in 2020.

Sen. Orrin Hatch Announces Retirement
‘Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves’

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch announced Tuesday he will retire after seven terms in the Senate. The Utah lawmaker becomes the third of eight Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2018 to retire. 

“When the president visited Utah last month, he said I was a fighter. I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington. But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching,” Hatch said in a video statement.

Doug Jones Officially Wins Alabama Senate Race
Officials certified results as Roy Moore continues to challenge outcome

Updated 6:45 p.m. | Alabama officials certified the special Senate election results Thursday, declaring Democrat Doug Jones the winner.

Jones is expected to be sworn into office on Jan. 3, his spokesman confirmed. He will be the first Democratic senator to represent Alabama in 25 years.

At the Races: The Ghost of Midterms Yet to Come
GOP tax bill and sexual harassment allegations dominated the week

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. Reply to this email with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget BowmanThis week … Republicans passed their tax bill, another congressman retired due to sexual harassment allegations and former women lawmakers offered advice to aspiring candidates.

Bracing for At-tax: (Get it? Because both parties are getting attacked on taxes?) OK, bad puns aside, Republicans passed a major tax overhaul along party lines this week. Republicans said passing this tax bill was vital ahead of the 2018 midterms to prove they can govern. Democrats wasted no time launching attacks against Republicans — but will the 12 Republicans who voted against the measure face a backlash from their own party? That doesn’t appear likely — at least not yet.

No Sign of Punishment for ‘No’ Votes on Tax Overhaul — Yet
Ryan had previously canceled fundraiser for vulnerable opponent of tax bill

Among the 12 Republicans who voted against the tax bill on Tuesday are some of the party’s most vulnerable incumbents in 2018.

Democrats wasted no time attacking many of them after the vote. But there’s been a fear Republicans who voted “no” could take a hit from their own party, too.

Four Things to Watch as 2018 Election Season Officially Nears
 

Roll Call political reporters Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathé reflect on 2017 and analyze how the 2018 midterms are already shaping up. Subscribe to their weekly newsletter, At the Races, here....
Pennsylvania Democratic Candidate Accused of Inappropriate Conduct
Daylin Leach running in Pennsylvania’s 7th District

Former staffers have accused Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach, a top candidate in the race to take on GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan, of inappropriate comments and touching, according to the Inquirer.

The Inquirer reported Sunday that Leach made inappropriate sexual comments, which he said were in jest, and touched some women inappropriately. He denied any wrongdoing.