Virginia Candidates Pin Hopes on White House Race

Bennett speaks with Heidi Zollo of Herndon at the Clearview Precinct at Clearview Elementary School in Herndon, Va. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Before the sun had risen over Langley High School in McLean, Va., Tuesday, LuAnn Bennett had passed in and out of the gymnasium to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton and positioned herself outside the exit.  

Standing in front of a table of Dunkin' Donuts ("free for everyone") manned by volunteers for the Virginia Democratic party, Bennett, who's running for Congress in Virginia's 10th District, greeted early risers who straggled in to cast their vote for president on Super Tuesday.  

Congressional Hopefuls Cozy Up to Iowa Caucus Circus

Mowrer, who's running for the Democratic nod in the 3rd District, says he has benefited from all the presidential activity in his backyard. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As presidential candidates storm their state ahead of next week's caucuses, Iowa's congressional candidates are struggling to be noticed. But behind the scenes, they're taking advantage of an energized electorate and organized political infrastructure to help build their own campaign operations.  

"Normally in January, 10 months until Election Day, people are not too politically involved. Having the presidential candidates investing time and money and fielding efforts in the state — that helps a lot to get people involved," said Iraq War veteran Jim Mowrer, who's running for the Democratic nomination in Iowa's 3rd District.  Mowrer would know. Having run for Congress in 2014 in the 4th District, he's seen the difference between a midterm and presidential election cycle. "You can feel the difference between the level of engagement and the number of people involved," he said.  There are practical benefits, too. "It's a huge boost because you don’t have to spend resources to get on the ballot," said Travis Lowe, a Democratic consultant working for former state Rep. Pat Murphy in the 1st District and businessman Mike Sherzan in the 3rd District, both of whom are vying for the Democratic nods. "In  other cycles," Lowe said, "you have to knock on doors" to get the necessary signatures to qualify for the ballot. When there's a competitive presidential caucus, "it all happens on caucus night." The 1st and 3rd districts, both held by freshmen Republicans, are rated Tilts Democrat and Tossup , respectively, by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.  

Early Voting Update in Four Senate Races

A polling station in Washington, D.C. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Early voting is playing a crucial role in several of the cycle's most contested races for the Senate, where control hangs in the balance ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections.  

Senate Republicans must gain six seats to win the majority — an increasingly likely scenario .  

6 Gubernatorial Races With Potential Congressional Consequences

Barber is running as a Democrat in Arizona, where there is a competitive gubernatorial race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The lines separating gubernatorial and congressional candidates on the ballot could blur in several states this cycle, as the top of the ticket proves to be a driving force downballot in a half-dozen states.  

Typically, competitive gubernatorial races impact one key factor for victory: turnout. As a result, state parties ramp up their efforts to turn out their base, which could also boost candidates all over the ballot, including congressional races.  

DNC Chairwoman: Benghazi Committee 'Political Ploy'

Wasserman Schultz is a Democrat from Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Wednesday accused House Republicans of creating a select investigative committee on the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, solely to motivate their base to turn out in the November midterm elections.  

“Let’s call this what it is — it is nothing more than a political ploy because continuing to focus obsessively on repealing the Affordable Care Act has lost its luster, even among their own party members,” the Florida lawmaker said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. Republicans selected Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., to lead the committee and gave their party seven slots on the 12-member panel, to just five for Democrats. House Democratic leaders sent a letter to Speaker John A. Boehner Tuesday night urging him to reconsider the committee’s partisan split.  

Social Conservatism Rebounds in Special-Election Primary | #AL01

An under-the-radar Alabama special election might have paved the way for one of the most outspoken, socially conservative Republicans yet to ascend to the House: businessman Dean Young.

“This race shows that this is the Deep South, and that social conservatives win races down here,” said Alabama Republican consultant Bob Kish. “This isn’t North Carolina or Virginia. This is the Deep, Deep South where people go to church twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, so it’s pretty conservative society.”

Conservatives Warn Ex-Congressman of 'Bloody Primary' if He Runs (Updated) #CA07

Ose might run again for Congress. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 2:53 p.m. | Conservative activists are urging former GOP Rep. Doug Ose to stay out of California’s 7th District race, threatening a "bloody primary" if he runs, according to a letter obtained by CQ Roll Call.

“While we respect your commitment to public service, your record in Congress would leave us no choice but to actively oppose your candidacy should you decide to run,” reads the letter signed by more than a dozen conservative and tea party activists from Northern California. (Read the letter below.)

Three Takeaways From the RNC's Autopsy Report for 2014

Priebus announced the details of the RNC's "autopsy" report of the 2012 elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican National Committee rolled out a massive post-2012-elections report Monday that focused on crafting what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called a "fresh beginning" for a party that was on the losing end of a number of electoral contests last cycle.

"We know we have problems," Priebus said to a packed ballroom at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "We’ve identified them, and we’re implementing the solutions to fix them."

Massachusetts: LCV Launches Six-Figure Field Program for Markey

Markey is running for Senate (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The League of Conservation Voters announced on Monday a new, six-figure field campaign to boost Rep. Edward J. Markey's bid for the Democratic nod in the Massachusetts special election for Senate.

Meanwhile, a source tells CQ Roll Call that Markey will begin a television ad campaign on Tuesday, ramping up his election effort seven weeks before primary voters decide between him and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch.

Priebus Traveling West to Meet With Minorities and Tech Experts

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will head west this week to hear from minority voters and technology experts as a part of his committee's efforts to rebuild and modernize the GOP.

Priebus' four-day swing is scheduled to take him to Denver on Monday for a listening session with Hispanic voters and GOP activists, then to Los Angeles on Tuesday for listening sessions with Hispanic and Asian voters.