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April 25, 2015

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June 30, 2014

3 Ways Hobby Lobby Ruling Could Impact 2014 (Video)

The Supreme Court’s narrow Monday decision allowing some companies to not offer contraceptive coverage for employees could have an impact on the November midterms.

The ruling is a polarizing one for Democrats and Republicans — and both sides have already tried to use it to their political advantage.

Republicans mostly support the court’s decision, calling it a win for religious freedom and a major defeat for the president’s health care overhaul law that required company health care plans to cover birth control. Democrats are using the decision to emphasize what they see as the GOP’s unfriendly policies toward women.

That contrast could play out in three key ways in 2014 elections:

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June 27, 2014

Obama Headlines Fundraiser for House Democrats

Obama Headlines Fundraiser for House Democrats

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama declared Thursday at a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that his first two years in office marked the most productive time in Congress since the 1960s.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York, former Vice President Walter Mondale and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., attended the event.

“I love her. I love her because she smart. And she’s tough. And she’s fearless,” Obama said of Pelosi, according to a pool report of the event. “She and I got more done than any Congress since the 1960s … I want her back.”

But House Democrats face a steep climb to take the majority in 2014. They must pick up a net of 17 seats — a costly endeavor.

Full story

June 25, 2014

House Democrats Ante Up for Midterms

House Democrats Ante Up for Midterms

House Democrats' latest dues sheet identifies party's team players (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats’ pressure on caucus members to pay dues early to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is paying off, according to the party’s most recent fundraising document.

The DCCC has raised more than its Republican counterpart so far this cycle, and that’s partly a result of its successful member dues program and the money members have raised on behalf of the committee.

A House Democratic source highlighted to CQ Roll Call that 90 percent of the caucus has paid its dues in some form and that 21 members have paid in full, including five freshmen. Beyond that, on the latest dues sheet — which tracks members’ dues payments and fundraising through May, and is distributed to members’ offices — most of Democratic leadership had met its goals for the cycle in both categories.

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June 23, 2014

Pick Your Clinton: Democrats Want Duo on Trail

Pick Your Clinton: Democrats Want Duo on Trail

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton are exciting Democrats who hope for their help in the midterm elections. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Democrats are gearing up to unleash the Clinton Dynasty.

They hope deploying the popular former White House occupants could help drum up money and hype in what could be a tough election year for the party. Democrats see the power couple as an asset, especially because Republicans have no singular unifying figure who can hit the trail.

But good thing there’s two of them.

Democratic operatives say each half of the Clinton duo appeals to different segments of the electorate — so assignments to races must be deliberate and strategic.

North of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi River is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton territory — replete with voters who have already warmed to electing women to Congress. Former President Bill Clinton, party officials say, plays better in the South and Midwest, where he performed well with traditional Yellow Dog Democrats who relate to the party’s economic message but tend to be more conservative on social issues.

Together, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate say there are few areas where the Clinton duo wouldn’t have a positive impact.

“Both Clintons can go into any competitive district in the country and be enormously helpful to Democratic candidates,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said. “The second Secretary Clinton is ready, we’d love to have her campaigning for House Democrats.”

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June 20, 2014

DCCC Raises $7.3 Million in May

DCCC Raises $7.3 Million in May

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $7.3 million in May, according to a committee aide.

The haul brings the committee’s cash on hand to $45.9 million as many of the cycle’s most competitive House contests switch to general election mode.

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June 11, 2014

Cantor Loss ‘Was a 10 on the Stun Scale’

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Israel was among those stunned by the Cantor loss. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“I’m giving a speech. I have no time for jokes,” Steve Israel told Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Kelly Ward when she emailed to say there were signs something was happening in Virginia’s 7th District.

It was 7:15 p.m. Tuesday and Israel had just left an event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He passed Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. as she arrived.

The New York Democrat was on his way to address the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association, and Ward flagged that with 30 percent of the primary vote in, it seemed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., might be in peril. He wasn’t interested. Polls, after all, had just closed.Cantor Loss Was a 10 on the Stun Scale

Israel called Pelosi just in case: “I left a message, which was, ‘You know I’m skeptical, but I just want to flag for you that there are indications Cantor may be in trouble, but I don’t think we should do anything until we establish whether this is a false alarm.’ That’s what I said, ‘false alarm.'”

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June 9, 2014

Ruben Gallego Seeks Arizona’s 7th District (Video Interview)

State Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat, said he’s unsure how much money he’ll need to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., in the 7th District, according to an interview with CQ Roll Call.

“It’s hard to say,” Gallego said. “It’s not going to be a cheap race. This is a five month race.”

The Democrat is running in a crowded Aug. 26 primary in this Hispanic-majority district based in PhoenixThe Democratic nominee is expected to win the general election in this strong Democratic district.

Gallego’s most formidable opponent is former Maricopa County Board Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, a longtime local official backed by Pastor and EMILY’s List. Full story

June 6, 2014

DCCC Promotes Nine Candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ Program for 2014

DCCC Promotes Nine Candidates to Red to Blue Program for 2014

The DCCC Chairman is Israel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Friday its latest round of candidates in “Red to Blue,” a program that targets open-seat races and districts held by Republicans.

House Democrats must pick up 17 seats to win control of that chamber — a daunting task in a midterm election. Offensive opportunities, like those in the Red to Blue program, are vital to the party’s mission. The DCCC released its first round of 35 Red to Blue candidates earlier this year.

“All of these candidates have met and surpassed demanding campaign goals, and shown they have a path to victory and have what it takes to win,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said in a statement. “I look forward to working with them through November to build campaigns that give voice to all the middle class voters left behind by this Republican Congress.”

The following Democratic candidates have been added to the Red to Blue program:

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May 30, 2014

Michigan Officials Won’t Appeal John Conyers Ballot Slot

Michigan Officials Wont Appeal John Conyers Ballot Slot

Conyers will seek re-election in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The state of Michigan will not challenge a federal judge’s order to put Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. on the primary ballot.

“Based on the facts of the judge’s order, the state has decided not to appeal in the Conyers case,” Michigan Department of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said in a written statement.

Last Friday, Conyers’ hopes for appearing on the Aug. 5 primary ballot were all but lost. But then a federal judge ordered the state to put him on the ballot. Earlier this month, a county clerk ruled the 25-term ineligible to appear on Michigan’s 13th District ballot due to problems with his petition signatures. Full story

Republicans Likely to Avert Disaster in New Jersey

Republicans Likely to Avert Disaster in New Jersey

Runyan is retiring from Congress, leaving behind a competitive race for his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New Jersey Republicans are on track to get their preferred nominee through the primary in the state’s most competitive House race, thanks to the local political machine and a deep-pocketed candidate.

On Tuesday, Randolph Township Mayor Tom MacArthur, is expected to defeat a spirited challenge from a tea-party-aligned frequent candidate, Steve Lonegan. The stakes for this South Jersey open seat are high: The race is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, and the district includes the pricey Philadelphia media market.

Tom MacArthur is going to win this race because he is a strong conservative, a successful businessman and has the support of both county Republican organizations and more than 160 locally elected Republicans across the district,” wrote Burlington County GOP Chairman William Layton in a Thursday email.

If things do not go exactly as Republicans plan on Tuesday’s primary with MacAruther, GOP operatives fear they will blow the seat entirely. Democrats hope Lonegan will pull an upset, making the path to victory much easier for their de facto nominee, Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard.

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May 29, 2014

DCCC Reserves $43.5 Million in TV Airtime for Midterms

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Israel is the current chairman of the DCCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $43.5 million in television airtime in dozens of targeted House districts this fall — a signal the party is attempting to play defense and offense in a challenging midterm cycle.

The money is split across 36 districts, including 17 pickup opportunities, according to a DCCC aide. More districts and more money could be added to the reservations as the cycle progresses, the aide said.

The DCCC had $43.3 million in the bank at the end of April and has raised more than its Republican counterpart by large margins this cycle. The committee ended April with an $11 million cash-on-hand advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee.

These ad reservations give insight into which members Democrats see as vulnerable, and which seats the DCCC sees as the best possibility to take in November. They also signal to outside groups where the the party might need help on the airwaves this fall.

However, parties can cancel or change these reservations until shortly before the advertisements air in most cases.

Here are the districts where the DCCC has reserved airtime:

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Lee Terry’s Seat Gives Republicans Heartburn in Nebraska

Lee Terrys Seat Gives Republicans Heartburn in Nebraska

Terry is a Republican from Nebraska. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., could be in a heap of political trouble this year  — again.

Earlier this month, Terry posted a lackluster primary performance, winning his party’s nod by just 8 points over a lesser-known competitor. Since then, a conservative spoiler has entered the November race with Terry and the Democratic nominee, state Sen. Brad Ashford.

That’s made Terry’s re-election a headache for national Republicans. They fear this candidate might peel off Terry’s votes to clear a path for the Democrat to win. Full story

May 22, 2014

What Amounts to Victory in November for House Democrats Still Unclear

What Amounts to Victory in November for House Democrats Still Unclear

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Rep. Steve Israel pushed back Wednesday on House Republicans’ newly revealed ambitious goals for the midterms, but what amounts to victory for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman remains unclear.

On Tuesday, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, underscored the GOP’s offensive position this cycle by announcing it aims to expand the party’s House majority by 12 seats in November. A day later, Israel fired back, making public a massive DCCC polling project that promised to address the party’s turnout concerns.

The reality facing Democrats in this challenging midterm cycle is that any loss of seats will make it that much taller of a climb for the majority in a potentially favorable 2016 and beyond — while possibly even putting the party back where it started in the wake of the 2010 Republican wave.

“Let’s talk as we get deeper into the cycle,” Israel said Wednesday at a briefing with reporters. “I still believe it’s too early to say what a victory is.”

Greg Walden can spend all his time looking into a crystal ball,” he added. “I’m spending all my time looking at polling data.” Full story

May 20, 2014

DCCC Raised $3 Million More Than NRCC in April

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $3 million more than its Republican counterpart in April, according to House political operatives.

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $4.1 million last month and will report $32.3 million in the bank. CQ Roll Call reported Monday the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $7.1 million and had $43.3 million in cash on hand.

The committees’ monthly reports are due today to the Federal Election Commission.

The DCCC has two strong fundraising draws: President Barack Obama’s personal fundraiser appearances and House Democrats’ strong online fundraising operation.

May 14, 2014

For Democrats, It’s Déjà Vu in California’s 31st District

Democrats may have reason for concern about a replay from 2012, when the party fumbled a sure pickup opportunity in Southern California thanks to the state’s new top-two primary.

According to a poll conducted for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call, former Democratic Rep. Joe Baca, who has raised little money and is not backed by the national party, is gaining on the two Democratic front-runners in the 31st District open-seat race. With a 5-point rise since last month, Baca is now tied for third with attorney Eloise Gomez Reyes, behind Republican businessman Paul Chabot and Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, who is backed by the DCCC.

Chabot led the primary field among likely voters with 23 percent, followed by Aguilar with 15 percent, and Reyes and Baca with 13 percent apiece. Should the three top Democrats splinter the vote nearly evenly in the primary, there is a possibility one of the other Republicans finishes second — again.

“This dynamic leaves the door open for a scenario in which two Republicans clear the primary and Democrats are shut out of the general election, as they were in 2012,” pollsters for California-based Tulchin Research wrote in a memo.

The pollsters found Baca was unlikely to finish in the top two, but “this development has further diluted the Democratic vote…”

Full story

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