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Updated 4:20 p.m. | Former state Rep. Pat Murphy, D-Iowa, will announce a bid for the Iowa House seat he lost in 2014, according to a source with knowledge of Murphy’s plans.
Murphy will face a crowded Democratic primary field looking to take on freshman Republican Rep. Rod Blum, one of the most vulnerable House GOP incumbents in the country.
Iowa Republican Rep. Rod Blum’s re-election effort is not getting much support from his party. But that’s just fine with him.
The freshman Republican alienated himself from some of his GOP colleagues after he cast his first vote in Congress against John A. Boehner’s speakership — despite getting Boehner’s support in his 2014 bid for Iowa’s 1st District. And while Blum admits his vote has hurt his relationship with groups such as the National Republican Congressional Committee, he says there are other outlets he can turn to for support.
EMILY’s List put 15 GOP incumbents “On Notice” for their re-election bids Monday, naming its top GOP targets for 2016, according to a release provided first to CQ Roll Call.
The group, which backs women who support abortion rights, says each incumbent has a bad record on women’s health issues, and will make it a priority to find female recruits to challenge them next fall. The list is almost identical to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s top targets in 2016, when the party will seek to put a dent in Republicans’ historic House majority.
In one of the party’s best pickup opportunities this cycle, Democrats have zeroed in on second-time candidate Monica Vernon to win Iowa’s 1st District.
Freshman Rep. Rod Blum, a Republican, holds the seat. But the district’s composition is competitive, if not left-leaning: In 2012, President Barack Obama won it with 56 percent. That makes it a ripe target for Democrats, who must net 30 seats on a GOP-friendly map to win the majority. Full story
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will launch robocalls against more than two dozen House Republicans Tuesday over the Department of Homeland Security funding flap, according to a script of the call provided first to CQ Roll Call.
Updated 2:28 p.m. | Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon announced her candidacy for Iowa’s 1st District on Thursday, she announced Thursday, marking the first Democrat in a race that will top the party’s target list in 2016.
“Northeast Iowans deserve a representative in Congress with a track record of solving problems and getting results for families and small businesses across our community. That’s why I’m excited to announce my candidacy,” Vernon said in a release.
They haven’t even been sworn in yet, but these members start off the cycle as underdogs in their quests for re-election in 2016.
Most of 2016’s initial targets are incoming Republicans, swept into office in a GOP midterm wave. They will represent districts Democrats carried with big margins in presidential election years — seats the newly minted Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján will probably want back. Only one vulnerable Democrat made this list.
What’s more, the window for either party to oust these freshman could close quickly. It’s easier to defeat an incumbent in their first re-election, before they solidify a stronghold on the seat.
In alphabetical order, here are the incoming members who start the 2016 cycle as underdogs:
Think being a Washington politician gets a bum rap? It’s not so easy being a politician from Phoenix, Springfield, Des Moines, Lincoln or Raleigh, either. Just ask Arizona Speaker Andy Tobin, Illinois state Rep. Mike Bost, Iowa House Rep. Pat Murphy, Nebraska state Sen. Brad Ashford or North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis.
With extensive voting records, state legislators hoping to capture national offices have seen their records used against them in close races, as their opponents use their votes to paint them with the same brush any incumbent is accustomed to.
The two speakers, Tillis and Tobin, have been targeted especially hard. Full story
In the midst of wall-to-wall political coverage before Election Day, this handful of House races have managed to mostly fly under the radar.
These are sleeper races, from Arkansas to West Virginia, where the district’s partisan breakdown does not reflect the competitive nature of the race.
As little as two weeks ago, some of these contests were completely overlooked by national political operatives. But new polling suggests these races — like many more competitive contests — are closing, creating eleventh-hour opportunities for the parties.
To be sure, these seats won’t necessarily flip party control on Nov. 4. But thanks to recent events, they should make any election night watch list.
In alphabetical order, here are five sleeper House races of 2014:
Arkansas’ 2nd District Full story
House Democrats continue to bolster their incumbents, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee expanding its defensive spending.
Most notably, the DCCC is spending more in support of Democratic Reps. Collin C. Peterson in Minnesota and Dave Loebsack in Iowa, races that are only in recent days coming to the forefront of the House map.
Here are the changes, made as both parties re-evaluate their chances with two weeks to go until Election Day:
A competitive Senate contest in the Hawkeye State is creating a ripple effect down ballot, causing headaches for national Democrats as Election Day nears.
Recent polls show state Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican, with a small lead over Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat. But the Republican’s advantage has percolated to three of Iowa’s four House contests, keeping one competitive district in contention for Republicans, plus putting two Democratic seats in play.
In particular, Ernst’s performance is buoying former Capitol Hill aide David Young, the Republican nominee in the competitive 3rd District, which is currently rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Privately, Iowa Republican operatives said Young is running a lackluster campaign against former state Sen. Staci Appel, a Democrat.
In the end, Ernst might be the one to pull him over the edge.
“I do think it looks to be like a pretty good year for Republicans in Iowa,” said John Stineman, an Iowa Republican operative. “It’s kind of a nail biter, but both Young and Ernst should be able to pull this out if we keep the momentum.”
State Rep. Pat Murphy, the Democratic nominee in the open-seat House contest to replace Iowa Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley, had an 11 point lead over his Republican opponent, according to a poll obtained by CQ Roll Call.
Murphy led businessman Rod Blum 51 percent to 40 percent according to the poll conducted by Myers Research and Strategic Services for Murphy’s campaign. The lead was outside the 4.9 percent margin of error.
The National Republican Congressional Committee promoted 11 more candidates to ‘Young Gun’ status Tuesday morning, elevating their campaigns to the highest level of the program that provides organizational and fundraising support in top House contests.
The 11 additions brings the NRCC’s total number of Young Gun candidates this cycle to 32.
“Candidates that reach ‘Young Gun’ status have met a series of rigorous goals that will put them in position to win on Election Day,” NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon said in a news release.
The new Young Gun candidates are:
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:
Updated June 4, 1:00 a.m. and 5:12 a.m. | Joni Ernst has won the Republican nominee for Senate in Iowa, boosting the GOP’s hopes of picking up this a competitive, open seat in 2014.
Ernst, a state senator, scored a decisive victory over her three major opponents, leading with 53 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race at 10:52 p.m. She easily surpassed the 35 percent threshold she needed to win the nomination outright and avoid a convention. Full story