At the Races

When members of Congress seek county office instead
Rep. Paul Cook cites broader powers of California supervisors, but GOP’s minority status also a factor

California Rep. Paul Cook announced Tuesday that he is retiring from Congress to run for county office. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Republican Paul Cook’s decision to run for county office next year rather than a fifth House term might have raised a few eyebrows, especially since more than five dozen of his colleagues have used county positions as stepping stones to Washington.

But what seems like a downward move is not unheard of, particularly in California, where county supervisors wield a fair amount of power. Influencing local policy can also be more appealing than a weekly cross-country commute, especially when working in the nation’s capital means governing in the minority.

Kennedy plans to launch challenge to Markey for Massachusetts Senate seat
Grandson of RFK, serving fourth House term, is last member of political dynasty in Congress

Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III plans to launch a challenge to Sen. Edward J. Markey (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III will challenge Sen. Edward J. Markey in a primary, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday evening. Kennedy plans to announce his Senate bid on Saturday, the Globe reported.

Kennedy's decision comes after weeks of speculation that the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy would challenge fellow Democrat Markey, who is serving his the first term. Kennedy had filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in late August.

Health care group backs Democrats with seven-figure ad campaign
Effort boosts freshmen who flipped red districts

Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer is among the 10 beneficiaries of a seven-figure ad campaign by the Democrat-aligned group Protect Our Care. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democrat-aligned group focused on health care is seeking to give 10 vulnerable House members an early political boost through a new $2 million ad campaign.

Protect Our Care plans to launch a digital ad campaign Wednesday to promote the work by 10 Democratic freshmen on health care issues, touting votes to protect preexisting condition protections.

Corey Lewandowski teases Senate run as he testifies before Judiciary Committee
Former Trump campaign manager appeared to relish spotlight in impeachment hearing

Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, tweeted a link to a potential campaign website during the first break in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Frustrating the Democrats and proving loyalty to President Donald Trump: That’s just good politics for a Republican.

At least that’s what former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared to be banking on Tuesday as he testified before the House Judiciary Committee and continued to tease a possible bid for Senate from New Hampshire.

California’s Paul Cook joins parade of House Republicans retiring
Cook will run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors

Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif., is retiring from Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four-term California Rep. Paul Cook is retiring from Congress to run for county office instead, continuing the stream of House Republicans heading toward the exit.

Cook’s chief of staff, John Sobel, told the Los Angeles Times that the congressman plans to run for the San Bernadino County Board of Supervisors. Sobel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Watch out 2020 Democrats, Trump might have a long game
3 takeaways from the president’s New Mexico rally as he tries to flip state Clinton won in 2016

President Donald Trump on Monday night enters a campaign rally at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The rally marks President Trump's first trip to New Mexico as president and the start of a three-day campaign trip to New Mexico and California. (Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Donald Trump’s rally Monday night in New Mexico was billed as an opportunity for the president to try expanding his base and flip a state he lost in 2016. But his message — again — offered little new to moderate swing voters.

Trump’s Rio Rancho campaign stop was calculated, with his campaign looking to flip a small handful of states won in 2016 by Hillary Clinton; she won New Mexico by 8.3 percentage points. It was the second state she won to which he has traveled to headline a rally this year; he was in New Hampshire last month. Collectively, there are nine Electoral College votes between the two states.

The ‘squad’ takes center stage in GOP attacks in 2019 state elections
Republican efforts appear to be test run for 2020 messaging strategy

Warnings that Democrats are aligned with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appear prominently in Republican efforts this year to hold on to state legislative seats that could determine which party controls redistricting after the 2020 census. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Take a seat, Nancy Pelosi — you’ve been replaced.

For years, the California Democrat has been the cornerstone of Republican negative attack ads and campaign rhetoric against her party.

Wrote the bill, read the bill: Lawmakers dominate Democratic debate
All but three of the candidates on Thursday's debate stage have served in Congress

Democratic presidential hopefuls Former Vice President Joe Biden, center, speaks as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren listen during the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas on Thursday. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Although the 10 Democratic presidential candidates in Thursday night’s debate talked about the importance of unity, they spent plenty of time trying to one-up each other with their own congressional records.

The debate stage was stacked with current or former members of Congress: only businessman Andrew Yang, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana have never served in Congress.

GOP group defends ad showing burning image of AOC during Democratic debate
Elizabeth Heng said ad “is about fighting the socialist agenda”

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized as racist the ad by a new GOP group that ran during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The founder of a new Republican group is defending an ad that aired during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate that featured a burning image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The New York Democrat criticized the spot as racist. 

New Faces GOP was founded by Elizabeth Heng, who lost a House race in California last cycle. Heng, who is the PAC’s executive director, was featured in the 30-second TV ad, which ran both during and after the debate on ABC. 

North Carolina’s 9th District highlights trouble spots for both parties
McCready’s strength in Mecklenburg County underscores GOP’s suburban weakness

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop won the special election in North Carolina’s 9th District on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Within eight minutes of each other Wednesday morning, the two House campaign committees blasted out dueling memos about what Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop’s 2-point victory in North Carolina’s 9th District means for the country’s political future.

The posturing was typical of reactions to special elections in the era of President Donald Trump. Publicly, at least, Republicans say everything is fine, while Democrats celebrate a narrow loss in a district that shouldn’t have been competitive. 

Republicans hold on to North Carolina’s 9th District in redo election
Outside GOP groups spent more than $6 million to boost nominee Dan Bishop

GOP state Sen. Dan Bishop won the redo election in North Carolina’s 9th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have narrowly held on to a North Carolina district that President Donald Trump won by 12 points in 2016. It’s a relief for a party already in the minority but not enough to ease GOP fears about slippage in the suburbs. 

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, GOP state Sen. Dan Bishop led Democrat Dan McCready 51 percent to 49 percent when The Associated Press called the race. 

Republican Greg Murphy wins special election in North Carolina’s 3rd District
State lawmaker succeeds the late Rep. Walter B. Jones

Republican Greg Murphy is the next congressman from North Carolina’s 3rd District (Courtesy North Carolina General Assembly)

Republican state Rep. Greg Murphy has won the special election for North Carolina’s 3rd District, succeeding the late GOP Rep. Walter B. Jones and likely becoming the next member of the House Freedom Caucus.

With 44 percent of precincts reporting, Murphy led Democrat Allen Thomas 59 percent to 40 percent when The Associated Press called the race. Murphy, who won a primary runoff in July, was largely expected to win this seat left open by Jones’ death in February. Jones won a 13th term without opposition last fall, and President Donald Trump carried the seat by 23 points in 2016.

Can Republicans hold on to a North Carolina Trump district on Tuesday?
Outside GOP groups have spent more than $6 million boosting Republican nominee

GOP state Sen. Dan Bishop, right, rides in the back of a truck while canvassing in Parkton, N.C., last month with David Buzzard. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It may not be 2020 yet, but in North Carolina — which is holding two House contests Tuesday — it might as well be an election year already. 

As the Democratic presidential circus continues to steal national headlines, voters are going to the polls for special elections in two longtime Republican districts — one because election fraud invalidated last year’s result and the other because the sitting congressman died. 

North Carolina Senate candidate targets Trump rally attendees with digital ad
Cal Cunningham criticizes incumbent Tillis in military communities over Trump’s shifting Pentagon funds from NC bases

Democrat Cal Cunningham, who's challenging GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, is launching a digital ad that's intended to reach attendees at Monday evening's rally with President Donald Trump in North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is coming to North Carolina on Monday, and Democrats are looking to take advantage of his visit.

Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham, who is challenging Sen. Thom Tillis, is releasing a digital ad Monday afternoon that’s geographically targeted to the location of Trump’s rally in Fayetteville, where the president is coming to boost GOP state Sen. Dan Bishop ahead of Tuesday’s redo election in the 9th District

Elizabeth Warren backs primary challengers against sitting House Democrats
Warren is endorsing Jessica Cisneros against Henry Cuellar and Marie Newman against Dan Lipinski

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., endorsed Rep. Henry Cuellar’s former intern Jessica Cisneros and Marie Newman, who is running against moderate Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorsed two House Democratic primary challengers Monday, backing two women taking on sitting lawmakers.

The Massachusetts Democrat is endorsing Marie Newman, who is taking on Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd District and immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros, who is challenging Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas’ 28th District, Justice Democrats announced in a news release.