At the Races

Can New Jersey’s Leonard Lance Survive a Democratic Wave?
GOP lawmaker faces tough re-election against Democrat Tom Malinowski

Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., voted against the GOP health care plan on the floor last year, but Democrats are still attacking him for voting for it in committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

LEDGEWOOD, N.J. — Nobody dislikes New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance

The moderate Republican voted against what were supposed to be his party’s major legislative achievements this Congress: the tax overhaul and the repeal of the 2010 health care law. And unlike many of his GOP peers, he’s actually held town hall meetings. His civility and the carefulness with which he chooses his words hark back to a different political era.

Are Democrats Giving Up on Ohio’s 1st District?
Pureval’s campaign has struggled after reports of spending irregularity

Republicans say a lapse in Democratic spending in Ohio’s 1st District bodes well for GOP incumbent Steve Chabot.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat Aftab Pureval captured national attention this summer as a rising star with a shot at unseating longtime Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio’s 1st District. But questions about irregularities in his campaign spending set off a flurry of GOP attacks that may have dented expectations.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s last ad in the Cincinnati-area district expired Monday and other major groups are not active there, said Bob Kish, a consultant for Republican candidates who has access to reports of spending totals that are not publicly available. 

National Republicans Boosting Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District
NRCC going up with $1.4M in TV ads on Atlanta broadcast

Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., is running for her first full term in Georgia’s 6th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The campaign arm of House Republicans is investing more than a million dollars in Georgia’s 6th District, which was home to the most expensive House election in history last year. 

The National Republican Campaign Committee has made a $1.4 million TV buy on Atlanta broadcast, set to begin this week. It’s the first outside spending from one of the party committees in a race that has thus far looked safer for Republicans than it did in 2017 during its high-profile special election. 

Bill Nelson Captures 50 Percent in Prominent Poll, GOP Calls Shenanigans
Survey could be outlier or reflect Democratic enthusiasm surge, CNN says

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., speaks with reporters in the Senate subway as he arrives in the Capitol for in September 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bill Nelson captured 50 percent to Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott’s 45 percent of likely voters surveyed in a new poll — a wider lead for the Florida Democrat than prior studies showed. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up.

Could a Blue Wave Miss Nevada?
Rep. Jacky Rosen faces GOP Sen. Dean Heller, who has never lost a race

Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., the Nevada Democratic nominee for Senate, dances with a supporter at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAS VEGAS — Democrats in Nevada are optimistic of unseating Republican Sen. Dean Heller, but they acknowledge it won’t be easy.

“I don’t think anybody should be sleeping well,” said Sylvia Lazos, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who spent Saturday — the first day of early voting — canvassing for Democratic candidates, including Heller’s opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen.

Trump and Biden Fire Up the Bases as Nevada Starts Early Voting
Biden makes his case for a Democratic Congress as Trump pushes GOP ticket

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Nevada Democrats’ early vote rally Saturday at the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAS VEGAS — The start of early voting in Nevada always brings out the stars, and 2018 was no exception.

President Donald Trump concluded a western swing Saturday morning with a rally in the remote city of Elko just after former Vice President Joe Biden fired up Democrats here in Las Vegas in the crucial Senate race.

Heller, Rosen Spar Over Trump in Nevada Senate Debate
Silver State race offers Democrats rare pickup opportunity this cycle

Supporters of Nevada Democratic Senate nominee Jacky Rosen wave signs outside KLASA-TV before the debate between Rosen and Republican Sen. Dean Heller. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAS VEGAS — Democrats running for Senate this year have walked a tightrope when it comes to President Donald Trump, but not in closely divided Nevada. Here, their Senate nominee, Rep. Jacky Rosen, more forcefully called for a check on the president Friday night, accusing Republican incumbent Dean Heller of being a “rubber stamp.”

“We need to put a check and balance on this president, something you’re not willing to do, senator,” Rosen said looking directly at Heller in their first and only debate of the campaign, hosted by KLSA-TV.

NRCC Cuts off Coffman in Colorado, Boosts Salazar in Florida
GOP’s prospects of holding Ros-Lehtinen’s seat appear to have improved

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., is facing a tough re-election in Colorado’s 6th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Republicans’ campaign arm on Friday cut its reservation in what’s long been one of the most competitive districts in the country and redirected that money, plus some more, to a Florida district that wasn’t expected to be seriously in play several months ago.

The National Republican Campaign Committee cut a $1 million reservation in Colorado’s 6th District, where GOP Rep. Mike Coffman is running for re-election. A perennial Democratic target, Coffman has proved elusive in past cycles. But running against veteran Jason Crow in a favorable national environment for Democrats, he looks to be in trouble this year. Inside Elections With Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Democratic

Jason Lewis Campaign Calls Release of Talk Show Tapes a ‘Hit Job’
CNN resurfaces more controversial comments Minnesota Republican made on talk show

Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis is running for a second term in the 2nd District and faces Democrat Angie Craig again. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Among those who weren’t surprised that old comments from Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis’ radio talk show days were published by CNN on Friday?

The freshman Republican congressman.

Trump Praises Gianforte for Physically Assaulting Reporter
‘Any guy who can do a body slam — he’s my guy,’ president says

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte is running for his first full term this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday praised Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte for physically assaulting a reporter on the eve of a special election last year.

Addressing a rally in Missoula on his third trip to Montana this year, Trump at first only alluded to the 2017 incident. “Never wrestle him,” he said after calling Gianforte onstage.

At the Races: 19 Days Left
Our weekly newsletter on the latest in congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

Ohio Race Was Worth Millions to Outside Groups in August. Now? Not So Much
Some see opportunities for Democrats in Balderson/O’Connor rematch

Democrat Danny O’Connor says he hasn’t let up the pace of his campaign for Ohio’s 12th District since narrowly losing a special election in August. (Courtesy Danny O’Connor for Congress)

The national attention showered on this summer’s special election in Ohio’s 12th District may have moved elsewhere. And the font of spending from outside groups has all but dried up. But the losing Democratic nominee Danny O’Connor has not stopped running. 

That’s what Paul Beck, a longtime campaign observer, noticed when an O’Connor canvasser came knocking on the door of his Franklin County home: It was the candidate’s dad. 

Feinstein ‘Absolutely’ Supports Revisiting Kavanaugh Allegations, She Says in Debate
California Democrat was asked about further investigating sexual assault claims

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., faces fellow Democrat Kevin de Léon in the November general election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Wednesday she “absolutely” supports reopening an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. 

Kavanaugh was confirmed to the high court earlier this month following a heated battle over allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. House Democrats have said they might launch investigations into Kavanaugh should they take control of the chamber next month. 

Republicans With Fundraising Struggles Have Outside Help — For Now
GOP groups had previously warned lawmakers to step up their game

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., has been outraised by his Democratic opponent, Katie Hill, but Congressional Leadership Fund is still spending for him in California’s 25th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Scores of Republicans were once again outraised by their Democratic opponents in the recently concluded third quarter. And GOP outside groups now have to decide how to best allocate their finite resources with less than three weeks to go until Election Day. 

The two major Republican groups that spend in House races — the National Republican Congressional Committee and the House leadership-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund — have already begun to move money to different races, as have their Democratic counterparts, in an end-of-cycle process known as “triage.”

NewDemPAC Helps Candidates Navigate Trump, Raise Money
Political arm of New Democrat Coalition has endorsed 38 recruits

NewDemPAC has endorsed Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who’s challenging GOP Rep. Dave Brat in the 7th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With 38 endorsed candidates, the political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is hoping to play a significant role helping Democrats win the House majority next month, and in doing so, grow their own business-friendly caucus. 

The coalition’s political action committee, founded in 2005, got involved in races earlier than ever before this cycle — at times choosing favorites in competitive primaries. It also hired a political director for the first time and has been able to help raise more than $2 million for candidates from members and donors.