Campaigns

The case for primaries: Arizona edition
Mark Kelly may have avoided an intraparty fight, but that may hurt more than help

Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly, here with his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in 2018, appears to have avoided a primary in his bid for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats breathed a sigh of relief this week when Rep. Ruben Gallego decided not to run for the Senate, likely avoiding a primary in the run-up to a competitive general election in Arizona. That’s because “bitter,” “bloody,” and “bruising” seem to be the most commonly used adjectives to describe primaries these days, even though they can serve an important purpose.

Gallego’s decision all but paved the way for retired astronaut Mark Kelly to win the Democratic nomination and focus on challenging appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally. But while Kelly has had a public profile as a gun control advocate alongside his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, he’s never been a candidate for office, and it’s still unclear how he’ll perform.

Kamala Harris details plan to boost teacher pay by an average of $13,500
California Democrat’s proposal would provide an abundance of federal funding

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has a new campaign proposal that would boost teacher pay. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris on Tuesday announced details of her plan to boost salaries for teachers across the country.

The junior senator from California talked about the plan over the weekend at a campaign event in Houston, saying it would represent “the largest federal investment in teachers’ salaries in the history of the United States.”

How ‘Medicare for All’ went from pipe dream to mainstream
Universal health care debates could shape the 2020 election — and the future of the Democratic Party

Sen. Bernie Sanders may have been among the first to nudge Democrats toward universal health care, but he wasn’t the last. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political candidates and activists in Maine, especially in rural areas, often got a sharp reaction five years ago when they knocked on doors to promote universal health care.

“The reaction was, ‘Oh, you’re a commie,’” said Phil Bailey, who back then advocated for various Democratic causes.

When it comes to younger voters, watch the margin of victory
Republicans haven’t carried 18-to-29-year-olds in an election cycle since 1994

Louisiana Republican John Kennedy, then a candidate for U.S. Senate, greets fans at a tailgate party before an Alabama-LSU football game in Baton Rouge, La., in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s really no question Democrats are going to win younger voters in 2020. But what matters for them is the size of their margin of victory. 

Republicans haven’t carried 18-to-29-year-olds in an election cycle since 1994, when exit polling showed them besting Democrats in this age group, 51 percent to 49 percent. They broke even with Democrats among younger voters in the 1998 midterms, but it’s been at least 30 years since Republicans carried 18-to-29-year-olds in a presidential cycle.

Ruben Gallego passes on Arizona Senate run
Democrat Mark Kelly is already in the race to take on GOP Sen. Martha McSally

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., is passing on a run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego has decided not to run for Senate against appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally.

A spokeswoman for the Phoenix congressman confirmed his decision to Roll Call, and Gallego told The Arizona Republic he was passing on the race to avoid a divisive primary.  

New Democratic firm aims to fill HR gap for campaigns
Bright Compass will educate and train campaigns on policies to combat harassment and discrimination

A new Democratic firm is looking to assist political campaigns with human resources policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Dallas Thompson signed on as Hillary Clinton’s director of operations in North Carolina in 2016, she quickly recognized that she had a lot to learn about human resources.

Thompson, who had previously worked as a fundraiser, discovered campaigns needed a more sustained human resources infrastructure, including training and services. 

Lindsey Graham’s embrace of Trump working with home state GOP voters, new poll finds
Republican senator won 56 percent of primary votes in 2014, third-lowest among incumbent senators

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has cozied up to the president in recent months, which has boosted his polling numbers among Republican voters in his state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s embrace of President Donald Trump appears to be paying political dividends, a new poll found.

The South Carolina Republican’s approval rating among Republicans and those who lean Republican in his state stands at 74 percent, according to a new Winthrop University survey released Thursday.

‘Bless Her Heart’: NC Republican makes her first ad all about AOC
The Michele Nix ad may preview what’s to come in 2020, as Republicans take aim at the rising Democratic star

From left, Reps. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Katie Hill, D-Calif, are seen after delivering a letter to the Russell Building office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., calling on the Senate to act on House passed legislation to reopen the government on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Republican Michele Nix, one of 17 Republicans running for the nomination in North Carolina’s 3rd District special election primary, has made New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the focus of her first ad.

The ad could be a preview of what’s to come in 2020, as the freshman Democrat solidifies her place as the new boogeywoman in campaign messaging from Republicans.

Freshman Texas Republican in once-safe GOP district calls out Trump on McCain bashing
Rep. Chip Roy won 2018 midterm election by less than 3 points in largely suburban district

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, are seen in the House Chamber before President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A freshman Republican from Texas took a step not many other GOP lawmakers in his state’s delegation have taken: calling out President Donald Trump by name for his ongoing, post-mortem feud with the late Sen. John McCain.

“I disagree with the POTUS standing in front of M1A1 Abram tanks & the American flag and spending time trashing POW veteran and former US Senator McCain," Rep. Chip Roy tweeted late Wednesday.

Cory Booker explains why he is a reluctant filibuster warrior
The Democratic presidential hopeful might prefer to use budget reconciliation

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Presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker may have inched toward supporting elimination of the legislative filibuster, but the New Jersey Democrat shouldn’t expect the questions to stop.

In an interview for Wednesday’s episode of the “Pod Save America” podcast, Booker expanded on his long-held reservations about changing the Senate rules allowing contentious legislation to advance without needing 60 votes to get past procedural hurdles.

House GOP is down to 13 women. Will North Carolina special elections boost their ranks?
Of the 27 Republicans running in 3rd or 9th districts, seven are women

Women listen to candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 rally in Raleigh, N.C. Seven GOP women are running in the North Carolina special elections this year. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

With two special elections in North Carolina this year, Republicans have a chance to send to Congress some company for West Virginia Rep. Carol Miller, the only female GOP lawmaker in the House freshman class.

The number of Republican women in the chamber is at a new low with just 13 in the 116th Congress, down from 23 the previous session. About 100 GOP women ran for the House in the 2018 cycle, but many of them struggled to get through primaries. 

Latest fundraising numbers from Beto O’Rourke and others are ridiculous
Texas Democrat raised more in 24 hours than earlier top candidates did in an entire cycle

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke reported raising $6.1 million within 24 hours after announcing his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When covering campaigns on a day-to-day basis, it can be easy to lose perspective, particularly when it comes to money. Million-dollar figures are thrown around without much thought. But the amounts of money being raised by candidates right now, particularly Democrats, are absurd.

I glanced back at competitive races nearly 20 years ago for some context, and the comparisons between a day of presidential fundraising and entire, top-tier congressional contests are staggering.

Colorado joins effort to elect presidents by popular vote, go around Electoral College
Colorado is the latest state to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote

Trump's election in 2016 boosted interest in the national popular vote — at least among Democrats. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call file photo)

Colorado has become the latest state — and the first swing state — to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote.

Eleven other states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that requires those states to select their presidential electors based on who wins the most individual votes nationwide, regardless of which candidate wins in the state.

Beto O’Rourke breaks presidential fundraising record with $6.1 million haul
Texas Democrat on campaign swing through states Trump won in 2016 after launching campaign Friday

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke shakes hands as he arrives at a St. Patrick’s Day party in Dubuque, Iowa, on Saturday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Beto O’Rourke raised a record-breaking $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after announcing his presidential campaign on Friday.

The former Texas Democratic congressman collected $6,136,763 from donors in every U.S. state and territory, his campaign announced in a news release Monday.

NRCC targeting House Democrats on impeachment
Committee is launching new digital ads in all 55 of its target districts

NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer says Democrats need to “definitively state” where they stand on impeachment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee aims to pin House Democrats on the issue of impeaching President Donald Trump through a series of digital ads launching Friday.

The ad campaign is the latest sign that Republicans will try to tie vulnerable Democrats to their more liberal colleagues to win back the House.