- McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal
- Obama Weighs Delay in Action on Immigration
- Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Law
- Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas
- Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge
April 2, 2013
Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy will challenge Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu in Louisiana, in what’s likely to be one of the most competitive races of 2014, CQ Roll Call has confirmed.
The Associated Pres reported Tuesday that Cassidy will officially announce his candidacy in a video to be released on Wednesday.
Cassidy has long been mentioned as a top potential contender to Landrieu, who is seeking a fourth term in a state President Barack Obama lost by 18 points in November. Cassidy had more than $2 million in the bank by the end of 2012, and his campaign announced Monday that he raised $500,000 in the first quarter. Full story
Democrat Robin Kelly picked up a high-profile, but largely inconsequential, endorsement Tuesday from President Barack Obama.
Kelly is all but assured to win her special-election bid to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., on April 9. This is a heavily Democratic district, and her GOP opponent, Paul McKinley, is a convicted felon.
“To continue moving America forward, I need partners in the House of Representatives like Robin Kelly,” Obama said in a press release from the Kelly campaign. “I have known Robin for many years and I am confident she is the perfect choice to represent the Illinois 2nd Congressional District.”
Kelly decisively won the Democratic primary in February. Gun control was the primary issue in the race, as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC spent more than $2 million to boost Kelly in the primary.
Obama’s Chicago home is only a few blocks from the 2nd District. The friendship between Kelly and Obama started when they served in the state legislature together.
Ro Khanna made his candidacy official Tuesday morning, setting up a highly competitive Democratic battle in California’s Silicon Valley.
The former Obama administration official is challenging six-term Democratic Rep. Michael M. Honda, who has spent the past few months rolling out big-name party endorsements and polling to discourage Khanna, 36, from running.
“I’m running for Congress because I believe Silicon Valley’s innovation and energy can cut through old-style Washington politics,” Khanna said in a video posted to his campaign website.
Honda, 71, was endorsed in January by President Barack Obama, but many of Obama’s top campaign operatives are now working for Khanna. Full story
State Sen. Daylin Leach launched his campaign Tuesday for the seat being vacated by Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, who has indicated she will run for governor of Pennsylvania.
“For the last several weeks,” Leach, a Democrat, said in a statement, “I have been talking with voters, community leaders, elected officials, representatives from advocacy groups and progressive organizations, and many others from Philadelphia and Montgomery County, and found overwhelming support for my candidacy.”
There will likely be a crowded primary field for the open 13th District, a safe Democratic district based mostly north of Philadelphia. Leach is the third candidate to take formal steps to enter the race — although he is the first to formally announce a campaign.
Last month, Valerie A. Arkoosh, a medical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, filed paperwork for her candidacy. Former Philadelphia City Controller Jonathan Saidel followed with his own paperwork to run at the end of March. Full story
Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to electing Democrats to the Senate, announced Wednesday the hiring of two new staffers:
- Karyn Brockman will be the super PAC’s finance director. Most recently, she worked on now-Sen. Christopher S. Murphy’s, D-Conn., 2012 Senate campaign.
- Ty Matsdorf has signed on as campaigns and communications director. CQ Roll Call profiled Matsdorf as a Hill aide in 2009, when he was a communications director to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. More recently, Matsdorf ran the war room for American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic opposition research super PAC. He will continue with his other job at the newly formed Messina Group while working with Senate Majority PAC.
Four Democratic challengers announced on Tuesday their plans to run against three House GOP incumbents in California, Florida and Minnesota:
Florida’s 2nd District
Gwen Graham, daughter of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., will challenge Rep. Steve Southerland II. Graham’s campaign described her as “Washington outsider,” and traced her roots in the Tallahassee-based Panhandle district back to her father’s tenure as governor beginning in 1979.
California’s 31 District
Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar will challenge one of House Democrats’ top 2014 targets, Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller. It’s Aguilar’s second try at Congress in as many cycles after he shocked Democrats by failing to make it to the general election in California’s new jungle primary system last year. Already in December, CQ Roll Call reported that Aguilar was interested in another run. Full story
For a candidate known for one of the past decade’s most colossal political mistakes, former Gov. Mark Sanford has run a nearly flawless campaign for the 1st District.
As a result, Sanford is on track to win the Republican runoff and maintains a solid position in the special election for the coastal, GOP-leaning district.
On Tuesday, voters will determine whether Sanford can proceed with his political comeback over his GOP opponent, attorney Curtis Bostic. Palmetto State Republicans are confident Sanford will win the GOP nomination and continue to face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the May 7 general election.
A runoff victory will show that even after the former governor’s epic political implosion — disappearing from the state for days and admitting to an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina — solid campaign mechanics can push a candidate to victory.
“The governor has spent plenty of time addressing his personal failures from 2009, and I think anyone who knows him would agree that it was very much at odds with the rest of his political career,” Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said in an interview. Full story
The National Republican Congressional Committee will begin airing advertisements Wednesday targeting Democratic Rep. Nick J. Rahall II.
The small buy is intended to show that the committee is readying to take on Rahall’s district — regardless of whether he seeks re-election in 2014. Rahall is considering a bid for retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s seat.
The NRCC will spend $12,000 to air the spot from April 3 to 9.
April 1, 2013
Businessman Mike Sherzan, a Democrat, has dropped his campaign for Iowa’s 3rd District, citing “personal health reasons” in a statement released Monday.
His announcement clears the way for another Democrat, perhaps former state Sen. Staci Appel, to challenge GOP Rep. Tom Latham in this competitive district.
House Democrats have targeted the 3rd District since the start of the cycle. In January, they touted Sherzan as one of their first potential recruits during the presidential inauguration festivities. He announced his campaign a month later.
Sherzan’s decision to leave the race comes after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee met with Appel about the race on her recent trip to Washington, D.C. But in a statement, he insisted his decision was based “solely upon my individual circumstances.”
“Finally, I have made this decision based solely upon my individual circumstances and what I believe to be in my best interest and that of my family,” Sherzan said. “Ending my candidacy is very disappointing to me personally.”
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., raised $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2013 and has $2.5 million in the bank to kick off his re-election campaign in 2014.
On paper, the re-election race should worry Senate Democrats: Colorado is a competitive state, and in recent cycles national parties have dumped millions into races there.
But Udall’s supporters list his strong fundraising as one of the reasons the first-term senator does not top this cycle’s list of the most competitive races. More importantly, Udall has yet to field a serious GOP challenger.
Democrats hope former state Sen. Staci Appel will challenge GOP Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa this cycle, after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee met with her recently in Washington, D.C., to discuss the race, according to a Democratic operative with knowledge of the encounter.
Appel, a former stock broker and one-term state senator from rural Ackworth, Iowa, is the wife of Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel.
Democrats view the 3rd District as one of their best pick-up opportunities of 2014. Last year, President Barack Obama carried the Des Moines-based seat. At the same time, Latham defeated then-Rep. Leonard L. Boswell, D-Iowa, there by nearly 9 points.
If Appel runs — and the source stressed that her candidacy is not a done deal — she will have company in a Democratic primary. Businessman Mike Sherzan announced his campaign for the seat last month, after the DCCC feted him during the presidential inauguration in January. Full story
American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC focused on opposition research, announced Monday that it has brought on two new top staffers:
- Jessica Mackler will be the new vice president-campaign director. Last fall, Mackler was campaign manager for then-Rep. Shelley Berkley’s Senate race in Nevada. She’s a veteran of EMILY’s List and American Rights at Work as well.
- Eddie Vale will be the new vice president-C-4 director for American Bridge’s not-for-profit arm and senior adviser to the PAC. He comes to American Bridge from the AFL-CIO Workers’ Voice super PAC. His previous experience includes John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign, Ned Lamont’s Senate race and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s gubernatorial effort.
“As we prepare to build on the success of the last election cycle, Jessica and Eddie will be valuable additions to American Bridge and bring years of experience right in line with our core mission,” said Rodell Mollineau, the president of American Bridge, in a statement. “They will further strengthen a rock-solid senior staff and organization that I couldn’t be prouder of.” Full story
March 29, 2013
Former state Sen. David Rouzer will make another run for North Carolina’s 7th District, according to the Charlotte News Observer.
If Rouzer wins the GOP nomination, he will face a rematch against Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., in 2014.
McIntyre edged out Rouzer by 654 votes, the closest margin of any House race in the 2012 cycle. The ballot counting went past Election Day. It was the last congressional race to be called, in late November.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named McIntyre to its “Frontline” incumbent retention program earlier this month.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has bought airtime in three television markets in the next week, according to a Democrat and a Republican who monitor media buys.
The small buys target competitive districts home to Democratic incumbents:
- Arizona’s 2nd District: $3,585 in the Tucson market targeting Rep. Ron Barber;
- Georgia’s 12th District: $2,750 in the Augusta media market targeting Rep. John Barrow; and
- Minnesota’s 7th District: $1,540 in Minneapolis media market targeting Rep. Collin C. Peterson.
These buys are minimal for television advertisements, but a well-placed GOP source cautioned the initial figures do not reflect the NRCC’s full upcoming advertising spending — and additional spending could be on the way soon.
Longtime Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, drew anger from colleagues and voters when he referred to Hispanic farm workers as “wetbacks” this week. Young tried to explain the slur as outdated terminology from his youth, even as Speaker John A. Boehner demanded he apologize.
But Young, a 40-year House veteran, is probably not going anywhere anytime soon. He plans to seek a 21st term, saying recently he will keep running for Alaska’s sole House seat “until the day I can’t physically do it.”
In fact, Young has proved himself to be political Teflon in the Last Frontier. Here are three reasons why:
1. After 40 years in Congress, Young has seen — and said — it all. He’s survived multiple investigations by both the Justice Department and the House Ethics Committee (he was never charged). Earlier this month, the House Ethics Committee announced it is formally investigating him again, prompting this comment to the Alaska Dispatch:
“I’ve been under a cloud all my life,” Young said this week before his “wetbacks” comment aired. “It’s sort of like living in Juneau — it rains on you all the time and you don’t even notice it.”
Throughout his career, Young spouted off to his colleagues, most often about fighting for federal funds for Alaska. In 2005, for example, Young was asked to forgo some federal transportation projects for Alaska to help Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
“They can kiss my ear!” Young told a The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reporter. “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”