Politics

At the Races: The Unending Primary Season

Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

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 and Bridget Bowman

This week … More primaries! More candidates rejecting corporate PAC money moved on to November, and a competitive Senate race took shape.

#TBT

Remember when Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan flirted with a gubernatorial bid, suggested he was running for re-election instead, announced he was retiring to spend more time with his family, and then joined a last-minute gubernatorial ticket as a lieutenant governor candidate? He came up short Tuesday, and the 8th District now has a new Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Remember when Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan flirted with a gubernatorial bid, suggested he was running for re-election instead, announced he was retiring to spend more time with his family, and then joined a last-minute gubernatorial ticket as a lieutenant governor candidate? He came up short Tuesday, and the 8th District now has a new Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Starting Gate

No Cooperating With Corporations: Seven candidates who pledged not to accept corporate PAC money won their primaries Tuesday, bringing the total number of party nominees taking that pledge to 85. So what does this mean for corporate PACs looking to influence politics? Find out here.

*Bookmark* There are only a few primaries left! Keep track of which primary contests are up next with Roll Call’s midterm guide.

Diverse Dems: The House Democratic Caucus is poised to become more diverse following Tuesday’s primaries in two safe Democratic districts. Connecticut could elect its first African-American Democrat to Congress and Minnesota could send the first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women to the House.

Midwest Matchups: Tuesday’s primaries also decided a number of matchups in competitive races, including two Toss-up open-seat races in Minnesota where Republicans are actually on offense. Check out which Democrat will be facing former Duluth police officer Pete Stauber in the 8th District. And in the 1st District, a perennial GOP candidate defeated a female state senator who had the backing of many House GOP women who’d like to add to their dwindling ranks.

In Wisconsin, Randy “Iron Stache” Bryce capitalized on his fundraising and early TV time to win the Democratic primary in the open 1st District race (aka Paul Ryan’s seat). Bryce will face former Ryan aide Bryan Steil in November. (It’s pronounced “style,” in case you were wondering.) And state Sen. Leah Vukmir won the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, setting up a matchup in what one operative referred to as the “most underrated” contest so far.

Better Get Some Oven Mitts to Handle These Hot Takes: So we learned a few things after Tuesday’s results. Check out our five takeaways. And you can also watch us talk about the lessons from the most recent contests in this quick video.

Hans Hacked: Rolling Stone reported on Wednesday that former congressional hopeful Hans Keirstead was successfully hacked last year, and the California Democrat’s campaign was targeted in a number of subsequent cyberattacks. Officials and cybersecurity experts have warned campaigns about the danger of cyberattacks, but they are still struggling to get campaigns to prioritize this security.

The Count: 40

The Congressional Leadership Fund has worked on building a robust field program, diverging from other super PACs that focus on campaign ads. CLF recently opened field offices in six new districts, bringing their total to 40.

Nathan’s Notes

In case you missed it last week, Nathan explains why the wave metaphor might not be the best way to describe the 2018 cycle. Instead, he taps into another element: FIRE. Check out his explanation in this video.

Candidate Confessions

With Hagedorn winning the GOP nod Tuesday in Minnesota’s 1st District, this makes the third straight time he’ll seek the seat as the nominee. (He ran in 2010, too, but dropped out after not earning the party’s endorsement.) The businessman is well-connected in Republican circles in the state. His father was a congressman from the 2nd District, so he attended high school in the Virginia suburbs. And these days, he’s engaged to the chairwoman of the Minnesota GOP, who told Roll Call that the state party was carrying Hagedorn’s primary and general election ground-game efforts for him.

But some Republicans are worried his past comments about women and Native Americans could jeopardize GOP chances in the open seat. (About the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, he wrote: “On behalf of all red-blooded American men: THANK YOU SENATOR McCAIN, SARAH’S HOT!”) Hagedorn, however, isn’t phased. “If someone wants to run a political correctness and identity politics campaign against us, we’ll see what happens,” he told us last week.

Reader’s Race

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like New Mexico’s 2nd District would be on the Democrats’ radar, since President Donald Trump carried it by 10 points in 2016. But GOP Rep. Steve Pearce’s decision to vacate the seat to run for governor put it in play. (Dig into how the demographic shift here could change the district’s politics with Nathan’s column from last year).

The general election pits GOP state Rep. Yvette Herrell against Democratic lawyer Xochitl Torres-Small. Herrell is in the second tier of the NRCC’s Young Guns program for strong candidates. The conservative House Freedom Caucus and VIEW PAC, which works to elect GOP women, endorsed her in the June primary. Torres-Small has been endorsed by EMILY’s List. She was added to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program in February and is considered a strong recruit.

At the end of the second fundraising quarter on June 30, her campaign had $496,000 on hand, while Herrell’s had $100,000. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Leans Republican.For next week, email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com and let us know which race you want to know more about: Florida’s 7th District or the Pennsylvania Senate race.

Photo Finish

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, here at the 2016 Republican National Convention, is hoping for a “W” from former aide Bryan Steil who’s running to succeed him in Wisconsin’s 1st District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo) 
Speaker Paul D. Ryan, here at the 2016 Republican National Convention, is hoping for a “W” from former aide Bryan Steil who’s running to succeed him in Wisconsin’s 1st District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.