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Stop grading 2020 candidate recruitment, particularly this far from Election Day
Victories by past recruitment ‘failures’ should make parties and press more cautious

The decision by former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams not to run for Senate was branded a Democratic recruitment failure by Republicans, but the state remains competitive, Gonzales writes. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images file photo)

Gloating about and reporting on candidate recruitment has become commonplace in the election process. But too often, the grading and grandstanding is premature — and even completely wrong.

This cycle, Republicans are crowing after former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams declined to run for the Senate and freshman Rep. Cindy Axne decided to forgo a Senate run in Iowa. But their decisions don’t change the national dynamic (the GOP majority is still at risk) or the local dynamic (both of those races are still competitive). History tells us we have a long way to go before November 2020.

Why ambitious Democrats are saying ‘no thanks’ to Senate runs
Stacey Abrams is not the first to reject party wooing, and may not be the last

Former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke decided to run for president instead of challenging GOP Sen. John Cornyn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With Stacey Abrams becoming the latest high-profile Democrat to say no to a 2020 Senate bid — and more rejections of party pressure possible on the horizon — running for the Senate no longer looks look like the step up the political ladder it may once have been.

A few Democrats have chosen to run for president this year instead of challenging Republican senators. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke passed on a race against Sen. John Cornyn. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper isn’t taking on incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is expected to join the presidential field soon, passing on a bid against Sen. Steve Daines.

GOP Rep. Spano got just $1 in grassroots donations
Freshman Rep. Ross Spano has been beleaguered by ethical questions since before his swearing-in

Reps. Ross Spano, R-Fla., raised almost nothing from small dollar donors in the first quarter of the year. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ross Spano collected just one dollar in grassroots donations in the first quarter of the year.

The Florida Republican received just one unitemized contribution of less than $200 — a single donation of $1 — his latest filing to the Federal Election Commission shows. 

DNC chair explains why the party won’t host a Fox News primary debate
‘At the highest levels of Fox News they're not playing it straight,’ DNC Chair Tom Perez said

DNC Chair Thomas Perez said this week Fox News wont host any of the party's primary debates. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The chairman of the Democratic Party’s campaign arm explained in a television interview Wednesday that its decision to exclude Fox News from its primary debates was a reluctant one.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez announced Wednesday the party would reject a request by Fox News to host a primary debate. The decision comes after a recent report by The New Yorker describing a seamless relationship between the network and the Republican White House. 

Michael Bennet went viral. Now what?
Colorado Democrat running digital ads about his speech in early primary states

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet on his way to the Senate floor last month, when he surprised even his own staff by delivering a lengthy and fiery retort to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been two weeks since Colorado’s senior senator made a national splash with a Senate floor speech that went viral.

But you’d be forgiven if you’d already forgotten about Michael Bennet. He hasn’t been included in most polling of the Democratic field and barely makes the cut in stories about potential candidates.

Woman suing Rep. Tony Cárdenas for sexual abuse makes her name public, inspired by Christine Blasey Ford
Trial will begin in August in Angela Villela Chavez’s suit against Cárdenas

A woman accusing Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., of sexual abuse has made her name public for the first time. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The woman suing Rep. Tony Cárdenas, alleging that the California Democrat sexually abused her when she was a teenager, has made her name public for the first time. And she was inspired to do so by the Senate testimony of Christine Blasey Ford against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year, according to a new report.

A trial will begin in August in 28-year-old Angela Villela Chavez’s civil suit against Cárdenas in Los Angeles County.

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

Scott Fairchild Named DSCC Executive Director
Fairchild is incoming chairwoman Cortez Masto’s chief of staff

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., is the incoming DSCC chairwoman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is bringing her chief of staff over to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, naming Scott Fairchild on Friday as the committee’s new executive director.

Democrats are largely on offense in the 2020 cycle, but they will have to protect vulnerable incumbents including Alabama Sen. Doug Jones. Democrats are defending 12 seats while Republicans are defending 22.

From Speaker on Down, Here’s Who’s in the Hill Leadership Hunt
House and Senate Republican conferences set to vote this week

The race to lead the House Republicans next Congress comes down to California’s Kevin McCarthy, center, and Ohio’s Jim Jordan, right, who face off in a Wednesday GOP caucus vote. Also pictured above, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Tuesday, 3:44 p.m. | With the midterms — mostly — behind us, attention has shifted to the intraparty leadership elections on Capitol Hill for the House and Senate. 

Here’s a look at the various positions that members of both parties and chambers will be voting on in the coming weeks. 

Election Day +3: Here Are the Uncalled 11 House and 2 Senate Races
Some races going to recounts, one is going to court

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was celebrating an apparent victory with supporters on Tuesday night, but is now suing one county’s supervisor of elections with a recount looming. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:46 p.m. | Three days after Election Day, two Senate and 11 House races remain uncalled, and if the 2000 presidential race is an indication, we could be waiting weeks for the outcome of one of those Senate races.

A third race in the Senate will be decided later this month when Mississippi votes in a runoff between Tuesday’s top-two finishers.