DSCC

DSCC Hires New Field Director
Lauren Brainerd coordinated campaigns in Virginia

A sign at a polling station in Gallant, Ala., during last year’s Senate special election in Alabama. Victories in Virginia last year and recent special elections indicate Democrats have momentum heading into the November midterms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Monday that a veteran of recent successes in Virginia will be leading the group’s field program this year.

Lauren Brainerd, who was most recently the campaign director for the Virginia Democratic Party, will be the DSCC’s new field director, according to an announcement shared first with Roll Call. Brainerd oversaw last year’s campaigns for statewide office in the Old Dominion, including the gubernatorial race. She also oversaw campaigns for the state House of Delegates, where victories (the party won 15 seats) signaled Democratic energy heading into the 2018 midterms.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Announces Senate Campaign
Scott is challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott made his long-expected announcement for Senate on Monday.

"Some say as governor I've never fit in," Scott said in a video message. "Well that's true. I never plan to fit in. And I won't fit in Washington either," he said, before criticizing Washington for being "full of politicians." 

DSCC Updates Digital Ad Attacking GOP Health Care Plan
YouTube ad will reach targeted voters in key 2018 states

The DSCC, chaired by Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, above, is launching new digital advertising against the GOP health care plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Monday is launching updated digital advertising against GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

The DSCC is timing this latest advertising, shared first with Roll Call, to the rough one-year anniversary of when the GOP-controlled Congress started trying to repeal the 2010 health care law during the spring of 2017.

From Assistant to Chief, Women Heading Hill Offices
‘I don’t want people from the outside world calling and thinking I’m taking dictation in here’

Rep. Rosa DeLauro hugs fellow Connecticut Democrat Sen. Christopher J. Dodd during a 2010 event. In 1981, she joined a handful of congressional female chiefs of staff when Dodd hired her off the campaign trail. Also pictured, at left, former House Majority Leader Richard A. Gephardt. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Women have been heading up congressional offices dating back to the 1940s, but that “assistant” position looked very different from today’s chief of staff post.

The 1946 Legislative Reorganization Act created the title of administrative assistant, which evolved into chief of staff. In 1947, there were about six female administrative assistants in the Senate, according to Senate Historian Betty K. Koed.

DSCC Launches Digital Ads Against Rick Scott in Florida
GOP governor expected to challenge Nelson for Senate

The DSCC is running five-figure digital ads against Florida Gov. Rick Scott ahead of his expected Senate bid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching two digital ads Monday attacking Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who’s expected to run for Senate.

Scott’s character comes under attack in the two 30-second YouTube spots. The first ad, titled “Truth,” accuses Scott of not being able to tell the truth. The second, titled “Blind,” alleges the governor used his office to enrich himself, calling him a “walking conflict of interest.” The ads are backed by a five-figure buy.

At the Races: The Wheels on McDaniel’s Bus Go ’Round and ’Round
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings at attheraces@cqrollcall.com. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

This week … Chris McDaniel launched another Senate primary run in Mississippi, voters picked their candidates in Arizona, and underdog Democrats used the gun debate to make their mark.

Decision Time in the Desert: Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko won the GOP primary Tuesday in the special election to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks (who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations). She’s in a strong position heading into the April 24 special election, since President Donald Trump carried the seat by 21 points. Lesko will face emergency room physician Hiral Tipirneni, whom Democrats see as a strong candidate. So Lesko might not want to get too confident. Nathan Gonzales shifted this race rating from Solid Republican to Likely Republican, because, well, special elections have been pretty crazy this cycle.

Martha McKenna Returns to DSCC to Lead Independent Expenditure Program
In 2012, she became the first woman to lead a Senate committee’s IE arm

Democratic campaign consultant Martha McKenna, seen here in her Baltimore dining room in 2015, will return to the DSCC as IE director. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic strategist Martha McKenna is returning to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to lead its independent expenditure efforts for 2018.

McKenna held the role for the 2012 cycle, when she was the first woman to head a Senate committee’s IE arm, and again for the 2014 cycle. She served as political director for the DSCC for the 2008 and 2010 cycles. Before that, she spent a decade at EMILY’s List.

After Alabama, How Optimistic Should Democrats Be for 2018?
The special election may have been unique, but strategists see important lessons

Supporters of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrate his victory over Judge Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Within minutes of Doug Jones’ victory Tuesday night, they started coming in — a flood of fundraising emails from other Democrats around the country, many running in red territory.

“Next up, Texas,” read the subject line for a fundraising email from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who’s hoping to topple Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz next year.

Moore Relied Heavily On Fundraising Outside Alabama During Final Campaign Stretch
Most large-dollar donations were from outside state in October and November

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The Republican candidate for Alabama’s Senate seat, Roy Moore, raised three times more in big-dollar donations from donors outside his state than from those within Alabama, according to newly released Federal Election Commission data that covers Oct. 1 through Nov. 22

Moore, the former chief judge of the Alabama Supreme Court, raised nearly $680,000 in itemized donations from outside of Alabama during that time, and only $172,000 from donations within the state.

National Democrats Still Wary of Getting Involved in Alabama Senate Race

A campaign worker for Roy Moore collects campaign signs after the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party in Pelham, Ala., on Aug. 4. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Monday the Senate Democratic campaign arm has no intention of getting involved in the Alabama Senate race unless asked — even though the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has been blasting out fundraising emails centered on the contest. 

“It’s an Alabama race. They’re running it,” the New York Democrat said when asked whether national Democrats would get more involved in helping Democratic candidate Doug Jones now that Republican candidate Roy Moore seems to be suffering in the polls amid allegations that he had sexual contact with minors when he was in his 30s.