Gary Peters

Outside group attacks Maine’s Susan Collins on prescription drug pricing
Majority Forward is launching its second TV ad in Maine on Tuesday

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is facing what’s likely to be her toughest reelection in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While national Democrats are keeping up the pressure on Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins over her 2018 vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and her impending role in the Senate impeachment trial, one national issue advocacy group is keeping its anti-Collins message more local. 

Majority Forward, the nonprofit arm of the Senate Majority PAC, which is aligned with Senate Democratic leadership, is hitting Collins over prescription drug costs with a statewide six-figure TV and digital ad campaign beginning Tuesday. 

Name Trump or not? Senate responses to Soleimani killing highlight 2020 tightrope
Some facing toughest reelection battles do not mention president

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is one of the most vulnerable senators running for reelection. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mixed responses to the U.S. military drone strike that killed a top Iranian leader highlighted the tightrope that politically vulnerable senators walk this year when it comes to praising or criticizing President Donald Trump.

Congressional reaction fell largely along party lines to Trump’s order that led to the death in Iraq Thursday of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. While there was universal condemnation of Soleimani’s role in terrorist strikes and support for militants who battled Americans, Republicans cheered Trump’s use of force while Democrats questioned whether he had congressional authorization and a strategy to deal with Iranian retaliation.

At the Races: New year, same politics

By Bridget Bowman, Stephanie Akin and Simone Pathé 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Dropped from NDAA, 'forever chemicals' fight to linger into 2020
Getting the EPA to regulate the chemicals could emerge as an issue in next year's elections

Kildee spoke at a Fight Forever Chemicals Campaign kick off event on Capitol Hill on Nov. 19ember 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

House and Senate negotiators dropped from the final defense policy bill language to force the federal government to regulate so-called forever chemicals, pushing into 2020 a partisan debate over how to regulate the toxic legacy of products such as Teflon and fire-resistant clothing.

In a bipartisan summary released Monday night, lawmakers included a provision that would ban the Pentagon from using firefighting foam made with the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS,  after Oct. 1, 2024, except aboard military ships, and would immediately prohibit its use in training exercises at military bases. 

Women’s health political fights heat up in battleground states
Opponents and supporters of abortion rights gear up for record-setting advocacy campaigns

Control of state governments, Congress and the White House could depend on the ability of proponents and opponents of abortion rights to turn out core supporters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fights over abortion and birth control in all three branches of government are fueling record-setting advocacy campaigns by liberal and conservative groups ahead of the 2020 elections.

Control of state governments, Congress and the White House could depend on special interests turning out core supporters and elevating issues such as the Supreme Court’s consideration this term of a potentially landmark abortion case.

States in the Midwest with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Rust Belt states helped decide the presidency, and have numerous competitive races for House, Senate

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s reelection is one of several that make Iowa at battleground state in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

Moneyball, meet politics: Could VAR settle arguments about candidate strength?
Vote Above Replacement puts Klobuchar atop presidential field, Collins way above other senators

Maine Republican Susan Collins, center, outranks the entire Senate on Inside Elections’ Vote Above Replacement statistic, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, right, ranks highest among Democratic presidential contenders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the era of data and metrics and models in political analysis, at least one question still remains: How do we quantify the strength of individual candidates?

Arguing over whether a candidate or incumbent is good or bad is an age-old tradition in the political media and among party operatives. Typically, candidate strength is measured by fundraising or the margin of a win or loss. But that can fail to account for the particular election cycle or the possibility that any candidate running on a particular party’s line in a particular year or state would do just as well.

A year out, here's four scenarios for 2020 elections
How voters feel about economy, impeachment will decide which party rules in 2021

Sign from a rally in September staged by a coalition of progressive activist groups, including MoveOn.org, at the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016, there’s a saturating fear of projecting elections. Nearly three years into his presidency, and with one year left in his first term, there are multiple potential outcomes for the 2020 elections. But the scenarios aren’t created equal and don’t have the same chance of taking place, and they will have a profound impact on policy in the future.

Even though predicting anything to do with Trump might seem like a risk because of how typically damaging stories don’t seem to impact his standing, the president is a historically unpopular figure whose job approval rating has been static for months. More voters have disapproved than approved of his job performance since about a week after he was inaugurated, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average, and his approval rating has been between 41 and 44 percent for most of the past year and a half.

The 10 most vulnerable senators in 2020: Republicans play defense
2 GOP senators must win in states that went for Hillary Clinton in ’16

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones is the most vulnerable senator seeking reelection in 2020, but the top 10 list is dominated by Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Although most competitive Senate races in 2020 involve Republicans defending their seats, it’s a Democratic senator who tops the list of the most vulnerable incumbents in the chamber one year out from Election Day.

Alabama’s Doug Jones is running for a full Senate term after winning a special election in 2017, and he faces the difficult task of overcoming the partisan dynamics of a deeply Republican state. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters is the other Democrat running in a state that President Donald Trump won in 2016, but he is further down the list, since Trump won the Wolverine State by a much smaller margin.

Senate Majority PAC announces new senior staff
Democratic super PAC raised and spent more than $164 million in 2018 cycle

J.B. Poersch is the president of Senate Majority PAC. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic super PAC focused on Senate races is announcing a new round of senior staff hires, according to an announcement shared first with CQ Roll Call. All of the new staffers are women with experience in competitive races. 

Senate Majority PAC is a major spender in Senate races and its president, J.B. Poersch, said the group is looking to expand the Senate map in 2020. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates eight GOP-held Senate seats as competitive, and Democrats need a net gain of four seats to flip the Senate (or three if they win the White House, since the vice president casts the chamber’s tie-breaking vote).