Simone Pathé

Mining Concerns Animate Minnesota Swing District
Rick Nolan gets challenger for DFL endorsement

First-time candidate Leah Phifer doesn’t have many policy differences with Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan — an original co-sponsor of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act — except on one issue.

Phifer thinks her fellow Democrat has gone too far toward siding with the mining industry. The former FBI counterterrorism analyst is seeking the DFL’s endorsement for Minnesota’s 8th District and kicked off her campaign over the weekend.

Susan Collins Passes on Gubernatorial Bid
Maine Republican senator announces she’ll stay in the Senate instead

Maine Sen. Susan Collins announced Friday morning that she will not run for governor and will instead remain in the Senate.

“I am a congenital optimist, and I continue to believe that Congress can — and will — be more productive,” Collins said at a Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Rockport.

Democratic Poll: Poliquin Narrowly Leads Potential Self-Funder in Maine
Lucas St. Clair leads Democratic primary field by double digits

At least six Democrats are running to challenge Maine Republican Bruce Poliquin in a district President Donald Trump carried by 10 points last fall. 

A new poll from the Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group gives Lucas St. Clair a double-digit lead over the rest of the Democratic primary field. The poll was paid for by “an independent organization with an interest” in the 2nd District, according to a Democratic activist in the state. 

Pro-Trump Great America Alliance Endorses in Three Senate Primaries
Rosendale, Morrisey and Blackburn received the group’s backing

Great America Alliance, an issue advocacy organization supporting President Donald Trump, on Wednesday made its first three Senate endorsements for the 2018 midterms.

Great America Alliance is backing Montana Auditor Matt Rosendale, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn. All three Republicans are seeking the GOP nod for Senate in their states.

Podcast: Primary Elections and Steve Bannon’s Role
The Big Story, Episode 75

Roll Call political reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman explain how the primaries are shaping up ahead of the 2018 midterm elections amid a Republican Party civil war.

 

Twitter Suspends Blackburn Ad for ‘Inflammatory or Provocative Content’
Candidates can say more on TV than on social media

Advertising on Twitter has its advantages for campaigns — it’s much cheaper and can be more highly targeted than TV ads. But it also has unique limitations, as one campaign discovered over the weekend.

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburnlaunched her Senate campaign last week with a nearly-three-minute announcement video published on YouTube. Her campaign embedded the same video into a promoted tweet. But Twitter suspended it for violating the company’s ad policies.

DCCC’s First National TV Buy Spotlights Paul Ryan, not Donald Trump
DCCC attacks Ryan and “establishment Republicans” for health care repeal efforts

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched its first national TV buy on cable Thursday morning. 

The TV ad, which will run on MSNBC and CNN for one week, is part of a six-figure buy that also includes radio ads running in 11 districts for three weeks. 

Marsha Blackburn Running for Senate in Tennessee
Blackburn is jumping into the race to succeed Sen. Bob Corker

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced Thursday she’s running for the seat Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker will vacate in 2018.

“The United States Senate: it’s totally dysfunctional and it’s enough to drive you nuts. And that’s why I’ve decided to do something about it,” Blackburn said in her nearly three-minute long announcement video.  “I’m a hard core, card-carrying conservative. I’m politically incorrect and proud of it.”

South Carolina Democrat Archie Parnell Making 2018 Announcement
Parnell lost by just 3 points in June special election for the 5th District

South Carolina Democrat Archie Parnell is set to make a “major announcement” on Oct. 9 in his hometown of Sumter about his 2018 plans, raising the likelihood that he will make another run for the Palmetto State’s 5th District. 

Parnell will also appear at a kickoff event for the York County Democratic Party in Rock Hill the same day. 

Potential Self-Funder Enters Race Against Maine’s Poliquin
Lucas St. Clair fought for controversial national monument in North Woods

The Democratic field for Maine’s 2nd District got more crowded Monday with the entrance of a potential self-funder.

Lucas St. Clair announced his candidacy Monday morning with supporters at the Appalachian Trail Cafe in Millinocket and formally kicked off the campaign at the Bangor Public Library later in the day.

Unlocking the Truth about ‘Matching’ Fundraising Emails
Donors are still beholden to FEC contribution limits

At the strike of midnight on Sept. 30, they finally stopped.

But in less than three months, those incessant end-of-quarter fundraising emails that promise donors their contributions will be “matched” will come flooding back to inboxes around America. 

Trump Loyalty Contest Takes Hold in Indiana Senate Primary
Rokita team thinks Alabama results bode well for his “defeat the elite” campaign

Updated 6 p.m. It’s not just primary challengers to sitting GOP senators who are feeling emboldened by the defeat of Alabama Sen. Luther Strange this week.

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita took heart that the anti-establishment energy that propelled President Donald Trump to victory last fall is still in force,  with his campaign predicting that same movement will help him defeat fellow Hoosier Rep. Luke Messer in next year’s Senate primary.

DCCC Names First Woman IE Director
Jessica Mackler comes from American Bridge

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday named Jessica Mackler director of its independent expenditure arm for 2018. She’s the first woman to hold the position. 

Mackler joins the DCCC from American Bridge 21st Century, the Democratic opposition research firm. She started as campaign director and moved up to chief operating officer and president of the organization. 

It’s a Good Year for Democratic Recruits — Just Not Everywhere
Despite a flood of candidates, not all districts have Democratic challengers yet

Democrats are having a recruitment bonanza this year. Multiple, well-funded challengers are running in many of the party’s top-targeted House races.

But in a handful of seats on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s target list, the party still doesn’t have candidates they consider credible.

Tennessee’s Bob Corker Won’t Seek Re-Election in 2018
Foreign Relations chairman will leave behind safe GOP seat

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election in 2018. 

“When I ran for the Senate in 2006, I told people that I couldn’t imagine serving for more than two terms,” the Senate Foreign Relations chairman said in a statement.

Ohio GOP Consultant Joins NRCC as Senior Adviser
Joe King, a friend of Steve Stivers, expected to direct independent expenditure efforts

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Tuesday that Joe King is joining the committee as senior adviser. 

The Ohio-based consultant is expected to direct the committee’s independent expenditure efforts once the wall goes up between NRCC’s official and outside spending arms in 2018. 

New Democrats’ PAC Adds 12 Challengers to Candidate Watch List
Moderate Democratic group is stepping into races earlier this cycle

The political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is adding 12 House challengers to its list of candidates to watch in 2018. 

NewDemPAC’s recognition comes with a $1,000 contribution this quarter and guidance about messaging and strategy. The watch list is a way for the group to get involved in races earlier than it previously has. Last cycle, the PAC contributed about $1 million to federal candidates and it expects to give out at least that much this cycle. 

Blue Dog PAC Endorses Eight Democrats for 2018
Blue Dogs’ numbers ticked up in 2016

The Blue Dog Coalition’s PAC backed eight Democratic House challengers Thursday in its first round of endorsements of the 2018 cycle. 

Endorsements come with a $5,000 check — the maximum a PAC is allowed to contribute to a federal candidate per election. The PAC can cut each candidate another $5,000 check if they clear the primary and run in the general election.

Susan Brooks Chooses Sides in Indiana Senate Primary
GOP congresswoman endorses Luke Messer, will chair “Women for Luke”

Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks endorsed fellow Hoosier Rep. Luke Messer’s Senate bid Wednesday. She’s the first member of the delegation to publicly choose sides in what’s already become a nasty member-on-member primary war between Messer and Rep. Todd Rokita as the GOP tries to unseat the Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly.

“Luke and I have been friends for a long time, and being his colleague and watching him work up close, I have no doubt he'll make a great U.S. Senator,” Brooks said in a statement.

Tennessee Republicans Prepare for Another Senate Primary
Field will grow if Bob Corker retires; Blackburn and Fincher could run

When Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker asked President Donald Trump to campaign for Alabama Sen. Luther Strange ahead of next week’s Senate Republican runoff, he might have had a little self-preservation in mind. 

A win by Roy Moore, the controversial former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, would throw a wrench into the deliberative body in which the moderate Tennessee Republican serves. But a Moore victory could also embolden primary challengers to other sitting senators, like Corker.