Simone Pathé

At the Races: Keystone State Nail-Biter
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Mark Your Calendars: The second congressional primaries in the country are in Illinois on Tuesday. Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in the state, where EMILY’s List has played an early, influential role backing candidates it thinks will be viable in the general election. But the Prairie State primary that’s received the most attention is actually in a solid Democratic seat. EMILY’s List is involved in this race too (although it took a while for the group to endorse), and it’s quickly become a flashpoint in the fight over the identity of the Democratic Party. On one side is first-time candidate Marie Newman, who’s backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (who carried the 3rd District in 2016), two members of the Illinois delegation (pictured above), New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, SEIU and a coalition of reproductive rights and progressive groups.

Blue Dog vs. Progressive: What to Watch in the Illinois Primaries

Illinois’ congressional primaries are on Tuesday, March 20. Senior political reporter Simone Pathé walks you through the race for the state’s 3rd District, a match-up between longtime incumbent Rep. Daniel Lipinski — a centrist, pro-life Democrat — and Marie Newman, a progressive marketing consultant with the support of several liberal members of Congress, including Sen. Bernie Sanders....
Plenty of Pitfalls for Hill Staffers Doing Campaign Work
Lines between official and campaign time can be murky

With campaign season here, Hill staffers are likely to find their duties expanding with election-related tasks.

Press secretaries and senior staff doing paid or volunteer campaign work routinely flock to nearby coffee shops with their personal laptops to send campaign press releases or go on walks to take reporters’ calls about their boss’s re-election. Campaign work has to be done on staffers’ own time, off government property.

Luke Messer Launches Second TV Ad in Indiana Senate Primary
Positive spot features GOP lawmaker as son’s basketball coach

Rep. Luke Messer is launching Thursday his second TV ad in the Indiana Republican Senate primary.

The ad, shared first with Roll Call, features the congressman in his role as coach for his son’s fifth grade basketball team and is timed to air during the start of March Madness, the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament. It’s backed by a cable and broadcast TV and digital buy in the mid six-figures.

Chris McDaniel Will Run for Cochran Seat in Special Election
McDaniel had already launched a primary challenge to Roger Wicker

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel announced Wednesday he will switch from challenging GOP Sen. Roger Wicker in a primary to running in the November special election for resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat. 

“By announcing early, we are asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats’ chances of winning the open seat,” McDaniel said in a statement, alluding to Republicans’ loss in an Alabama special election late last year. 

35th PAC Boosting Morrisey with Digital and Mail in West Virginia
Super PAC attacks Jenkins for being “liberal Democrat”

A super PAC supporting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the GOP Senate primary is pouring money into mail and digital efforts ahead of the May 8 primary. 

Morrisey is competing against Rep. Evan Jenkins and former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November. 

David Jolly Cites Pennsylvania Results for Not Running in 2018
Former congressman says he’ll be focused on Trump primary in 2020

Former Florida Rep. David Jolly has decided against a 2018 rematch with Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who defeated him in 2016. 

The former GOP congressman, who has alienated himself from the national GOP, tweeted his decision late Tuesday night while all eyes on Twitter were following the results of the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District. 

AFP Launches New Ads Targeting Donnelly and McCaskill on Tax Vote
Conservative group hits Democratic senators for opposing GOP overhaul

Americans for Prosperity is rolling out another $4 million ad campaign targeting Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill over their votes against a bill overhauling the tax code.

It’s the second phase of a $20 million digital and TV campaign and comes a month after AFP launched the first $4 million initiative, also against Donnelly and McCaskill.

DSCC Launches Digital Ads Against Rick Scott in Florida
GOP governor expected to challenge Nelson for Senate

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching two digital ads Monday attacking Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who’s expected to run for Senate.

Scott’s character comes under attack in the two 30-second YouTube spots. The first ad, titled “Truth,” accuses Scott of not being able to tell the truth. The second, titled “Blind,” alleges the governor used his office to enrich himself, calling him a “walking conflict of interest.” The ads are backed by a five-figure buy.

New Democrats’ PAC Endorses First 16 Candidates for 2018
NewDemPAC will make additional endorsements of candidates on its watch list

The political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is endorsing its first 16 candidates Friday. 

The NewDemPAC will give each candidate the maximum contribution ($5,000) for the primary, with more contributions expected for the general election. The 16 endorsed candidates, shared first with Roll Call, are all running in GOP-held or open seats. 

At the Races: Here We Go — 5 Days Until PA-18
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings at — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

House Majority PAC Reserves $43 Million in Airtime for Fall
Democratic super PAC’s initial reservations in 33 media markets

House Majority PAC, the group that helps House Democrats, is making $43 million in TV reservations in 33 media markets for the final weeks of the 2018 campaign.

These initial reservations will be placed over the course of the month, which is the earliest the super PAC has booked time for the fall.

Donna Shalala, Others Hope Name Recognition Helps in Crowded Primaries
Former Clinton Cabinet secretary enters an already crowded primary field for Florida’s 27th District

If there’s been one consistent sign of Democratic optimism this cycle, it’s the unprecedented number of Democrats interested in running for Congress.

Candidates keep announcing, and in many more districts than Democrats have targeted before. But in some of these races, there’s already been a Democratic candidate, or ten, for months.

Laura Moser Makes Democratic Primary Runoff in Texas’ 7th District
DCCC attacked former D.C. resident as unqualified for the general election

Two weeks after the the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tried to discredit Texas Democrat Laura Moser, the 7th District candidate earned a spot in the May 22 primary runoff.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Moser was in second place with 24 percent of the vote, behind attorney Lizzie Pannill Fletcher who led with 29 percent. EMILY's List backed Fletcher.

Competitive Primaries in Texas Yield Few Outright Wins
Most are heading for May 22 runoff

Tuesday’s elections in Texas were the first congressional primaries of the 2018 cycle. But many competitive intraparty contests in the Lone Star State are heading for runoffs, with no candidate clearing 50 percent. 

Former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones advanced to the Democratic runoff in her quest to take on two-term Republican incumbent Will Hurd in Texas’ 23rd District, one of the most competitive seats in the country.

Could Past DC Residency Be Liability for Some Democrats?
Service records can sometimes mitigate carpetbagging attacks

One Democratic hopeful’s ties to the nation’s capital have ignited an intraparty fight in a House primary in Texas, where voters head to the polls Tuesday. But Laura Moser isn’t the only Democratic House candidate who was living in Washington, D.C., during the last election.

Democrats in more than a dozen races around the country could face similar charges of being “Washington insiders.”

Mississippi’s Thad Cochran Resigning From Senate in April
Longtime Republican senator cites his health as “ongoing challenge”

Updated 6:28 p.m. | Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran announced Monday he will resign from the chamber effective April 1, giving way to a special election in November. 

“I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge,” the Mississippi Republican said in a statement. 

Steve Israel to Democrats: Don’t Be Distracted by 2018 Midterms
Former DCCC chairman wants party to focus on winning governorships

Steve Israel, former two-time chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, isn’t giving the DCCC his time this year. He’s taking a longer view of House Democratic campaign politics.

He’s been sounding the alarm, urging Democratic activists and donors to look beyond flipping the House in 2018, which he’s still not very bullish about, and focus on controlling the state infrastructure that will allow them to hold whatever gains they make in 2018 and pick up more seats after the next redistricting.

Minnesota Businessman Taking Another Look at Challenging Peterson
Scott Van Binsbergen passed on 2014 race but is more serious about 2018

Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson defeated an underfunded GOP challenger who had no national support by just 5 points in 2016.

Now, a Republican businessman whom national operatives have viewed as a strong recruit is eyeing a challenge to the Democratic-Farmer-Labor congressman in the 7th District.

Gun Control Brewing as Issue in Some Democratic Primaries

Senior political reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman break down how the national debate on gun control is already influencing races in Florida, Arizona and New Jersey....