At the Races

At the Races: I Will Survive - The Dan Lipinski Story
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns


This week … general election matchups were set in Illinois, Mississippi got a new senator and California primary fields took shape.

Outside Groups See Validation of 2018 Strategy in Lipinski-Newman Race
Allies of both Newman and Lipinski celebrated this week’s close result

First-time candidate Marie Newman, center, narrowly lost a primary to Rep. Dan Lipinski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Outside groups that spent on either side of Tuesday’s close Democratic primary in Illinois’ 3rd District are feeling energized by the results as they look ahead to the midterms and beyond.

Seven-term Rep. Daniel Lipinski narrowly defeated first-time candidate Marie Newman on Tuesday in a race that only looked competitive in the final months of the campaign. He finished with 51 percent of the vote to Newman’s 49 percent

DCCC Adds Two Black Candidates to Red to Blue
Women now make up the majority of 33 candidates in program

Texas Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones made the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is releasing its fourth round of Red to Blue candidates Thursday. 

The nine latest additions include two African-Americans. The DCCC had been criticized for not including any black candidates on the list so far this cycle.

Crowded Fields Remain in California Ahead of June Primary
Candidates have also chosen how to define themselves on the ballot

Crowded primary fields remain in California, leading the DCCC to contemplate openly playing in primaries. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the filing deadline behind them, congressional candidates in California are gearing up for contested primaries — and providing early indications of how they plan to define themselves on the ballot.

Democrats continue to have an issue with crowded fields in key pickup opportunities in the Golden State, and they’re still attempting to narrow some of the fields ahead of the June 5 primary.

Saccone Concedes to Lamb in Pennsylvania Special Election
Republican says 18th District needs a voice in Congress

State Rep. Rick Saccone, the GOP nominee in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, has conceded to Democrat Conor Lamb. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone announced late Wednesday that he conceded the 18th District special election to Democrat Conor Lamb. But it could be several days before Lamb is sworn into office.

Lamb, a Marine veteran and federal prosecutor, narrowly won the March 13 special election to replace former GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned amid scandal after revelations that the anti-abortion lawmaker encouraged his mistress to have an abortion.

Cindy Hyde-Smith Gets Appointment to Mississippi Senate Seat
State’s first woman in Congress expected to seek election in November

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith is the designated successor to Sen. Thad Cochran. (Courtesy Cindy Hyde-Smith Campaign)

Mississippi’s Cindy Hyde-Smith will be coming to the U.S. Senate next month.

Gov. Phil Bryant formally tapped the Republican agriculture and commerce commissioner to fill the unexpired term of Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, who is poised to go out with a win on an omnibus spending bill. Currently in his seventh term, Cochran is resigning effective April 1 for health reasons. 

Dan Lipinski Survives Primary Challenge From the Left
Seven-term Illinois Democrat defeats progressive challenger Marie Newman

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski faced the toughest fight of his political career in this year’s 3rd District Democratic primary.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven-term Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski survived his most competitive political contest yet, defeating first-time candidate Marie Newman in Illinois’ 3rd District primary.

Lipinski led Newman 51 percent to 49 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting, when The Associated Press called the race for the incumbent early Wednesday morning.

Most Illinois General Election Match-Ups Set for November
Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in Prairie State

Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan will face off against Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois’ 13th District. (Courtesy Betsy Dirksen Londrigan for Congress/YouTube)

Updated 3/21/18

Tuesday’s Democratic primaries in Illinois are setting the stage for general election match-ups in four Republican-held districts that Democrats are targeting in November.

Mississippi Governor Expected to Appoint Hyde-Smith to Cochran Seat
Agriculture commissioner would fill seat until November special election

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith is expected to be named to resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat. (Courtesy Cindy Hyde-Smith Campaign)

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to appoint Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat, according to The (Jackson) Clarion Ledger.

A Republican strategist confirmed Tuesday morning to Roll Call she’s likely to get the appointment Wednesday, but cautioned that the governor’s office hadn’t directly communicated those intentions yet.

Illinois Democrats Seek to Chip Away at Republicans’ House Majority
Second-in-nation primaries set stage for targeting GOP seats

Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in Illinois, where voters head to the primaries Tuesday. (Composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are targeting four seats in Illinois, where voters will pick their nominees Tuesday in the second congressional primaries of the year. 

It’s an early test for the party’s ability to nominate candidates it thinks are viable in the general election. Unlike in Texas, which held the cycle’s first primaries two weeks ago, there are no runoffs in Illinois. So a simple plurality would be enough to advance to the November general election. 

DCCC Raised $10.6 Million in February
House Democrats’ campaign arm breaks fundraising record for the month

The DCCC, chaired by New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, broke its February fundraising record this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised nearly $10.6 million in February.

That’s the most the committee has ever raised during the second month of the year, according to figures obtained first by Roll Call. 

Democratic Showdown in Illinois’ 3rd District
Lipinski-Newman primary is flashpoint in party’s identity struggles

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski is facing a tough primary challenge on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a state where Democrats are targeting four Republican-held seats in November and need viable candidates to make it through Tuesday’s primaries, the nominating contest in Illinois that’s receiving the most attention is in a safe Democratic district. 

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, co-chairman of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, is facing the toughest contest of his seven-term congressional career with a primary challenge from marketing executive Marie Newman for his 3rd District seat.

Trump Nudges Danny Tarkanian Out of Heller Challenge
Frequent candidate will run for the House again

Danny Tarkanian, Republican candidate for several offices over the years in Nevada, poses with a basketball at the Tarkanian Basketball Academy in Las Vegas on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump threw vulnerable Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller a lifeline Friday, nudging conservative primary challenger Danny Tarkanian out of that race and into one for a House seat.

It “would be great” if Heller “could run for Senate unopposed!” he wrote in a tweet. Trump urged “good guy” Tarkanian to end his bid to unseat Heller and run for the U.S. House instead.

Special Election Possible for Louise Slaughter’s Seat
Power to set the date of election lies with New York’s Democratic governor

It is not immediately clear if or when a special election for the seat of the late New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter might take place. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A special election is possible to replace Rep. Louise Slaughter, who died Friday after suffering a concussion last week. New York state law gives Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo discretion over when to call such an election.

There is no set amount of time by which a governor has to announce a special election after the vacancy occurs. But once the governor does so, the election date must be between 70 and 80 days after the proclamation.

Lamb to Challenge Rothfus in 17th District, Says Local Party Official
Pa. Democrat won special election this week in neighboring district

Conor Lamb, Democratic congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s 18th district, greets supporters at an election night rally March 14, 2018 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Lamb claimed victory against Republican candidate Rick Saccone. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Democrat Conor Lamb is running in the 17th District against GOP Rep. Keith Rothfus, after winning an upset victory in the 18th District. The news was first reported by the Beaver County Times and confirmed by a local Democratic official. 

The move was expected since Rothfus’ seat became more favorable to Democrats in the recent Pennsylvania redistricting. The state Supreme Court imposed a new congressional map, which is still being challenged in federal court. Under the new lines, President Donald Trump would have won Rothfus’ seat by two points.