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The announcement Monday by North Dakota’s popular Republican governor, Jack Dalrymple, that he will not seek re-election in 2016 might be enough to lure one of the state’s senators home from Washington.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., had begun to mull the possibility of a second run for the job well before Dalrymple’s announcement, and the possibility of her candidacy was talked up by leaders at the Democratic Governors Association in February.
As the Senate chamber erupted in applause after the swearing-in of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Majority Leader Harry Reid eventually looked up and directed his appreciation toward the newest senator’s attorneys.
On that day, more than five years ago, standing alongside his two Franken campaign co-counsels was Marc Elias, the Democrats’ go-to attorney. He’d spent the previous eight months in Minneapolis in a seemingly unending recount and trial that ultimately resulted in a 60th Senate seat for the party.
This cycle, as Franken is favored for re-election and Democrats fight to hold their majority, Elias sat down with CQ Roll Call to chat about Senate races, where exactly he’ll be watching election returns on Nov. 4, which states he’s keeping an eye on for potential recounts and his role in one of the longest recounts in Senate history.
(Join us on Election Night: Live Stream With Analysis, Results and More at RollCall.com)
“It was a very emotional thing,” Elias said of standing in the chamber on July 7, 2009. “Not just because of the fact that Franken was getting sworn-in, but I remember Leader Reid looking up at us, Sen. [John] Kerry and all these other members that I’d been involved with in representing, and it was really a great moment.”
A relationship fostered over the course of the president’s re-election campaign morphed Thursday into a partnership to capitalize on the two Democratic consulting firms’ data and media capabilities.
GMMB, a top Democratic advertising firm, and Civis Analytics, a big data firm launched by a group of former Obama campaign staffers, announced a new effort that will offer campaigns, non-profits and brands similar voter targeting and media buying that helped President Barack Obama in 2012.
“We’re excited about it, and that’s where we think the value is,” Daniel Jester, a senior vice president at GMMB, told CQ Roll Call about offering clients the combined expertise of both firms.
“We work with them because they are the smartest people in the analytics business, and we think we’re pretty good at what we do,” Jester said. “So bringing the two together just seemed like a no-brainer.” Full story
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is considering a bid against GOP Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.
“I’d say that’s true, that he’s considering it,” said Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin. “An awful lot of people have contacted him and asked him to do so. But — and as he’s said a number of times — he presently doesn’t have any intention of running. He’s got a job to do as a senator.”
Privately, top Florida Democrats described Nelson’s consideration as “fairly serious,”as Abby Livingston reported in Roll Call’s weekly Farm Team column.
“It’s on the way to being fairly serious. I think he is going to take a very close look at it,” a senior Florida Democratic official told CQ Roll Call. “It’s not very far along. I wouldn’t tell you it’s likely … [but] I think he will really look at it.”
Updated: 3:57 p.m. | Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, D-Pa., is increasingly close to jumping into the gubernatorial race.
“She’s 80 percent of the way in,” Marcel Groen, the longtime Montgomery County Democratic Party chairman, told PoliticsPA late Friday night.
Schwartz had previously indicated some interest in challenging GOP Gov. Tom Corbett in 2014. She would enter the race as a top contender, although other well-known state Democrats are also openly considering a bid.
Her chief of staff, Rachel Magnuson, confirmed the congresswoman’s interest in the race to CQ Roll Call.
Updated 4:55 p.m. | Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) will announce today that he is resigning from the House to focus on his gubernatorial bid, three Democratic sources confirmed to Roll Call.
Inslee scheduled an afternoon news conference at his campaign headquarters in Seattle. His resignation will free him up to keep his attention on the campaign trail for a competitive race against state Attorney General Rob McKenna (R). Full story