Stephanie Akin

Democratic Candidate for Tom Rooney’s Florida Seat Dies Unexpectedly
April Freeman was expected to face Republican Greg Steube in November

April Freeman, a Democrat who was running for retiring Rep. Tom Rooney’s Florida seat, has died unexpectedly, according to media reports Monday.

Her husband, David Freeman, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that his wife appeared to have had a heart attack Sunday night.

Democratic Women in Congress Launch Campaign to Recruit More Female Candidates
Elect Democratic Women would raise money for pro-choice women in potential swing districts

A group of female Democratic lawmakers launched an effort Thursday to recruit pro-choice women to run for office, a campaign they tied to efforts to peg 2018 as the second “Year of the Woman.”

Elect Democratic Women will be chaired by Florida Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel and raise money for female candidates within the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committees “Red to Blue” program, which seeks to identify and funnel support to candidates with a strong shot of unseating Republican incumbents.

Women and Men Disagree on Kavanaugh After Sexual Assault Allegation
Poll finds sharp gender difference in views of Supreme Court nominee

Americans became sharply divided on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the days after a woman came forward accusing him of a drunken sexual assault while they were teenagers, according to a nonpartisan poll released Wednesday.

The fault line fell along gender. Forty percent of male respondents to an Economist/YouGov poll had a somewhat or very favorable opinion of Kavanaugh versus just 26 percent of women.

Understanding the Constitution Is Hard, This New Website Helps Explain
Cornell University Legal Information Center introduces searchable version of Constitution Annotated

Want to know the parameters of a president’s pardoning power? What about the definition of the emoluments clause? Or what constitutes an impeachable offense?

The Supreme Court decisions that have informed such constitutional questions — all hot topics during the Trump administration— are now easily searchable thanks to a new project by the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School.

Rep. Scott Taylor Falling Behind Challenger After Ballot Forgery Scandal, Democratic Poll Shows
Democrat Elaine Luria is challenging freshman lawmaker in Virginia’s 2nd District

Democrat Elaine Luria led Rep. Scott Taylor by 8 points in Virginia’s 2nd District amid lingering questions about the Republican lawmaker’s role in a ballot signature scandal, according to an internal poll released by Luria’s campaign Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, gave the Navy veteran a 51 percent to 43 percent lead over Taylor. A June survey by the same firm showed her trailing by 4 points, the campaign said.

Lori Trahan Wins Democratic Primary in Massachusetts’ 3rd District
Opponent Daniel Koh conceded after recount for Niki Tsongas’ open seat

Lori Trahan, a onetime aide to former Rep. Martin T. Meehan, is poised to go to Congress from Massachusetts’ heavily Democratic 3rd District after winning the Democratic primary in a recount Monday.

Trahan had a 139-vote advantage when second-place finisher Daniel Koh conceded to her hours before a 5 p.m. deadline.

At the Races: Second to Last in the Nation
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, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

New Light on Dark Money Found in Study From Bipartisan Group
Explosion of secret donations to campaigns largely comes from handful of insider groups

The explosion of so-called “dark money” in political campaigns can be largely traced to spending from 15 groups, according to a study released Wednesday by a non-partisan watchdog group.

The analysis by Issue One is the first attempt to catalog the influential and secretive spending by labor unions, corporations, mega-donors and other special interest groups flooding the American political system in the years since the landmark 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. Such a task is notoriously difficult because the organizations behind such spending are not legally required to disclose the sources of their money.

Mia’s Money Matters: Love Campaign to Keep Contested Funds Amid Objection
Opponent Ben McAdams says she should forfeit all the money subject to FEC inquiry

Rep. Mia Love’s re-election campaign will hold onto much of the nearly $1.2 million her opponent says she raised improperly, shifting it to the general election from a primary that never happened, her campaign said Tuesday.

The move came as Ben McAdams, Love’s opponent in the hotly contested midterm election, demanded she forfeit all the money, which has been the subject of a Federal Elections Commission inquiry.

Campaigns, Parties Can Accept Free Service From Microsoft, FEC Says
Watchdogs warn ruling could open loophole for corporations looking to skirt campaign finance laws, influence lawmakers

Federal campaigns and national party committees can accept free security services from the Microsoft Corporation after a recent Federal Election Commission ruling.

But one watchdog group called it an unprecedented opening for corporations looking to influence lawmakers and skirt campaign finance laws.

Ron DeSantis Resigning from Congress to Focus on Governor’s Race
Florida Republican facing national media scrutiny in his race against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum

Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis is resigning from Congress to focus on his run for governor, his campaign said Monday.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan released by his campaign, DeSantis asked for his resignation to take effect immediately. 

Democratic Poll Shows Tight Race in Georgia’s 6th District
GOP Rep. Karen Handel faces Democrat Lucy McBath in November

Democrat Lucy McBath, who became politically active after losing her teenage son to gun violence, was in a tight race with Republican Rep. Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District, a poll conducted for the Democrat’s campaign found. 

Handel led McBath 49 percent to 47 percent in the race for the suburban Atlanta seat. Four percent were undecided. Handel, who won a highly publicized special election last year against Democrat Jon Ossoff, is seeking her first full term this November. 

Ayanna Pressley’s Campaign Credits Upset Victory to Minority Outreach
Pollsters in Massachusetts’ 7th District wrongly assumed mostly white people would vote, strategist says

Fresh off one of the biggest upsets of the primary season, campaign consultants for Boston’s Ayanna Pressley had a message Friday for other candidates: Don’t overlook minority voters. 

Pressley, a former Boston city councilor, defied the predictions to defeat longtime incumbent Michael Capuano in Massachusetts’ 7th District partly because she ignored early polls saying white voters would dominate turnout at the polls, said Josiane Martinez, a Pressley campaign consultant and the founder and CEO of Archipelago Strategies Group.

Daniel Koh Filing for Recount in Tight Race for Tsongas’ Seat
Front-runner Lori Trahan claimed victory in crowded primary for rare open MA-03 seat

Daniel Koh, a former chief of staff to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, filed for a recount Friday in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 3rd District, according to a media report.

“We want the process to progress as swiftly as possible so that the ultimate nominee will have adequate time and resources to win in November,” the Koh campaign said in a statement to the Boston Herald.

At the Races: Who's in Trouble Two Months Out
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, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

6 Takeaways From the 2018 Primary Season, So Far
President, female candidates play key roles in drawing the midterm battle lines

With only three states left to hold primaries this year, the battle lines have firmed up for a midterm election that could also determine the future for President Donald Trump.

Democrats need to net 23 seats to take control of the House, which would give them a platform to block the president’s agenda and launch their own investigations of his finances and the 2016 election that could rival those already underway at the Justice Department.

Massachusetts Primary for Tsongas Seat Too Close to Call
Lori Trahan, Daniel Koh find themselves in a nail-biter

The race to replace Massachusetts Democrat Niki Tsongas remained too close to call Wednesday morning, with just 52 votes separating the top two candidates in the 3rd District Democratic primary. 

With all precincts counted, Lori Trahan led Daniel Koh, 18,368 votes to 18,316, according to The Associated Press. 

Ayanna Pressley Upsets Rep. Capuano in Massachusetts Democratic Primary
Capuano is second incumbent Democratic congressman to lose a primary this cycle

Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano became the second Democratic congressman to lose in a primary this year, falling to Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley in a race that attracted national attention as the latest referendum on the future of the Democratic Party.

With 46 percent of precincts reporting, Pressley led the 10-term incumbent 55 percent to 45 percent when The Associated Press called the race for Massachusetts’ 7th District. 

Massachusetts Democrats Strain to Stand Out in Rare Open-Seat Race
Many share similar policy positions in contest to replace Rep. Niki Tsongas

Voters in north-central Massachusetts will cast ballots Tuesday in one of the cycle’s most crowded primaries. Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas is retiring after five full terms, creating a free-for-all for the 3rd District, the state’s only open seat this year.

The ten Democrats running include the first openly transgender person to run for Congress in Massachusetts, two candidates who immigrated to the United States as children, and a former ambassador whose experience as a gay diplomat was chronicled in a Danish television documentary. Winning the primary would be tantamount to victory in the heavily Democratic seat that Hillary Clinton carried by 23 points in 2016. 

Democrats Hold Edge in Pennsylvania Where Trump Factor Matters on Both Sides, Survey Shows
Keystone state considered key to 2018 House majority

Democrats, who are eyeing half a dozen House takeover opportunities in Pennsylvania, have an advantage in voter interest and turnout there leading up to the midterms, according to a poll released Thursday. 

Among registered voters, 60 percent of Democrats said they were “very interested” in the midterms in the August survey from Franklin & Marshall College. That’s compared to 53 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of independents. The poll also found that by a 48 percent to 39 percent margin, more registered voters prefer the Democratic candidate for House than the Republican one.