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At the Races: The Wave Is Still Coming
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

These Democrats Swore Off PACs. But Corporate Lobbyists Have a Plan
K Street tries some workarounds to reach the 32 incoming lawmakers who said ‘no’ to corporate cash

Abigail Spanberger is one of 32 incoming new members who refused to accept corporate PAC money. Lobbyists think they can reach these lawmakers in other ways. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The anti-PAC class cometh, but K Street has a backup plan.

Lobbyists for business interests say they’re implementing workarounds to get to know the 32 incoming freshman Democratic House members who have sworn off corporate political action committee dollars.

How House Majority PAC Helped Deliver a Democratic Majority
Super PAC led coordination efforts among Democratic IE groups

Charlie Kelly, the executive director of House Majority PAC, oversaw coordination among outside Democratic groups spending on House races this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the dog days of summer, before many Americans were tuning into the midterm elections, the leading Democratic super PAC dedicated to winning the House convened a giant meeting with dozens of outside groups.

That laid the foundation for an unprecedented coordination effort among Democratic independent expenditure groups that spent over $200 million in more than 70 House races, overwhelming Republicans and helping deliver a Democratic majority.

Scott Taylor Served ‘Poetic Justice’ in Election Loss, Prosecutor Says
Virginia Republican lost House race, but petition signature scam investigation goes on

Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., acknowledged “there's no question” that his re-election campaign was hurt by allegations that his campaign staff forged signatures on a petition to get an independent candidate on the ballot. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A special prosecutor will press on with his investigation into allegations of fraud by Virginia Rep. Scott Taylor’s re-election campaign, but for now, he’s gratified.

“There’s no hurry,” attorney Don Caldwell told the Virginian-Pilot. “It looks to me like there already was some poetic justice served down there in Virginia Beach to Mr. Taylor.”

Women Won at the Ballot in Record Numbers. Here’s What’s Next
4 things we’ll watch as the ‘Year of the Woman’ matures

Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton watches election returns as campaign staffers yell out returns in the campaign's war room on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Historic wins for women in the midterm elections drove home the interpretation that 2018 was, indeed, the “Year of the Woman.” But it remains unknown whether women’s political capital will continue to rise.

The 101 women and counting who won House races face numerous obstacles to standing out in a divided Congress where seniority often plays more of a role in determining political power than success at the ballot box or legislative ingenuity.

What’s Next for Beto O’Rourke?
He ruled out a 2020 bid before he lost the Senate race

Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks during a campaign rally at the Gaslight Baker Theatre in Lockhart, Texas, in October. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat Beto O’Rourke pledged to keep to keep working for Texans in his concession speech on Tuesday after losing his bid for the Senate to Republican Ted Cruz.

“What I pledged on behalf of all of us is that in this time of division, with the country as polarized as I can remember it in my life, all of this bitterness, if there is anything we can do to help him in his position of public trust to ensure that Texas helps lead the country in a way that brings us back together around big things we want to achieve…I want to work with him,” he said of his conversation with Cruz in conceding the race.

Democrats Flip Sanford Seat in Coastal South Carolina
GOP nominee was panned for voicing support for offshore drilling during primary

Joe Cunningham has won South Carolina's 1st District. (Courtesy Joe Cunningham for Congress)

Democrat Joe Cunningham’s win in South Carolina’s 1st District is a blow to Republicans who thought they’d hold on to the coastal seat even after South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford lost a GOP primary earlier this year. 

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Cunningham led GOP state Rep. Katie Arrington 51 percent to 49 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Cruz Defeats O’Rourke, Dashing Democratic Hopes in Texas
Democrat had shattered fundraising records in race that captured national attention

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Democrat Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday night. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won a second term Tuesday night, beating back a spirited challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke in one of the most closely watched contests of the cycle.

Cruz’s victory comes after O’Rourke had shattered fundraising records in his high-profile challenge, and could dampen Democratic hopes that the Lonestar State is shifting in their direction.

How the ‘No Corporate PAC’ Pledge Caught Fire
Three-quarters of Democratic challengers in top races are rejecting corporate PAC money

Democrat Andy Kim rejected corporate PAC money early on in his campaign. (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call)

Andy Kim never expected to run for the House. Certainly not against the 19th wealthiest member of Congress.

When he was first considering a bid for New Jersey’s 3rd District, the former national security official didn’t like the questions corporate political action committees wanted candidates to answer. Already troubled by money in politics, Kim decided to reject corporate PAC money.

The Best and Worst Campaign Ads of 2018
House and Senate ads that made us laugh, cry and cringe

West Virginia’s Don Blankenship lost his bid for the Republican Senate nomination. (Screenshot/Blankenship for Congress/YouTube)

The best (or worst) part of following campaigns — depending on your perspective — is watching all the ads. TV spots from campaigns and outside groups have flooded the airwaves this year, beginning with the primaries this spring. 

We’re not judging which ones have been most effective, which were most inaccurate or most offensive. And we’re excluding the biopic viral videos that have raised so much money for Democratic candidates. (For the most part, these lengthy videos didn’t run on TV in full.)