At the Races

Kevin McLaughlin Returns to the NRSC as Executive Director
McLaughlin served as the committee’s deputy executive director in 2016

Incoming NRSC Chairman Todd Young, R-Ind., is welcoming a new committee executive director, Kevin McLaughlin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kevin McLaughlin is returning to the National Republican Senatorial Committee as its new executive director, Chairman Todd Young announced Friday.

McLaughlin was the committee’s deputy executive director for the 2016 cycle, when Young was elected to the Senate in Indiana, and he served as a senior adviser in the 2014 cycle. Like 2016, Republicans are largely on defense in 2020. Twenty-two GOP senators are up for re-election compared to 12 Democrats.

Papadopoulos Confirms Plan to Run for Congress
Former Trump campaign aide recently served time in prison

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, here arriving for a closed-door hearing at the House Judiciary and Oversight committees on Oct. 25, says he plans to run for Congress. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide who recently served time in prison, confirmed Friday that he does plan to run for Congress.

“It is true. I will be running for Congress in 2020, and I will win,” Papadopoulos tweeted Friday. “Stay tuned.”

Defeated GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin Calls for Recount to End
Maine Republican still has concerns about state’s ranked-choice voting system

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, lost his re-election to Democrat Jared Golden. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin called Friday for the recount in his 2nd District to end. The Maine Republican initially requested the recount following his apparent loss to Democrat Jared Golden

Poliquin lost his race as part of the state’s new ranked-choice voting system for congressional races. Voters rank their choices in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority, the last place candidate’s votes are distributed to his or her supporters’ second choice. The process of elimination continues until a candidate gets majority support.

At the Races: The Ghost of Midterms Past
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

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

This week … Some Republicans started worrying about retirements, Mainers have been recounting ballots faster than expected, and one Pelosi rebel faced a primary threat.

Federal Judge Rejects Poliquin’s Challenge to Ranked-Choice Voting System
Poliquin lost his re-election to Democrat Jared Golden

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, lost his re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A federal judge in Maine validated the state’s ranked-choice voting law Thursday, which was used for the first time in a federal election in the state’s 2nd District this year. 

U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker rejected GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s legal challenge to the new system, according to the Portland Press Herald. Walker ruled that the new voting process did not violate the Constitution.

Bustos Announces DCCC Senior Staff, With New Female Executive Director
Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director in 2018

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is the new DCCC chairwoman.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Cheri Bustos, the new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman, announced her senior staff hires for the 2020 cycle Thursday. Her campaign manager Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director. 

The DCCC is shifting to defense in 2020 after flipping 40 seats to take over the House. The committee will be tasked with protecting vulnerable new members, including 31 Democrats running for re-election in districts President Donald Trump won in 2016.

With Minority Looming, Could More Republicans Be Headed for the Exits?
After the 2006 Democratic wave, 23 Republicans retired

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., says he will decide next year about running for an 18th term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Life in the minority will be a new experience for most House Republicans next year. And many of them may not remember what happened the last time the GOP lost the House.

After the 2006 Democratic wave, about two dozen Republicans opted to retire the following cycle instead of languishing in the minority. And some in the party are worried about a repeat. 

Maine Recount Is a Low-Drama Affair — Unlike the Election
2nd District hand-counting has been going faster than expected, could end next week

Representatives from the Poliquin and Golden campaigns and the Maine secretary of state’s office recount the 2nd District ballots in a state office building in Augusta, Maine. (Courtesy Jared Golden for Congress)

Maine lawyers Benjamin Grant and Joshua Tardy are used to being holed up together.

For at least eight hours a day over the past week, they’ve rubbed shoulders in a cramped conference room in Augusta, overseeing the hand recount of the nearly 300,000 ballots cast in Maine’s 2nd District. 

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

Mark Harris Open to ‘New Election’ in North Carolina’s 9th District
Harris says he needs to see proof that illegal activity would have changed the results

North Carolina Republican Mark Harris said Friday he would support a new election in the 9th District if illegal activity is found to have changed the results. (John D. Simmons /The Charlotte Observer via AP file photo)

North Carolina Republican Mark Harris said Friday he’s open to a new election in the 9th District, where allegations of election fraud have thrown his victory into question.

The state board of elections is investigating absentee voting irregularities and confirmed Friday that a contractor for the Harris campaign is a person of interest in connection with an alleged absentee ballot operation. 

Scott Fairchild Named DSCC Executive Director
Fairchild is incoming chairwoman Cortez Masto’s chief of staff

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., is the incoming DSCC chairwoman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is bringing her chief of staff over to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, naming Scott Fairchild on Friday as the committee’s new executive director.

Democrats are largely on offense in the 2020 cycle, but they will have to protect vulnerable incumbents including Alabama Sen. Doug Jones. Democrats are defending 12 seats while Republicans are defending 22.

Democrats Complete California Sweep as Valadao Concedes Central Valley Race
TJ Cox unseats three-term congressman in 21st District by 862 votes

Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., conceded Thursday to his Democratic opponent TJ Cox in California’s 21st District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Republican Rep. David Valadao has conceded his re-election race to Democratic businessman TJ Cox, with the final vote count showing Cox ahead by 862 votes in the Central Valley district. 

Cox’s victory means Democrats have swept all seven GOP-held seats in California that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Clinton won the 21st District by more than 15 points two years ago, while Valadao was winning re-election by 13 points. 

At the Races: Newsflash! GOP Women Call Their own Shots
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

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

Louisiana’s Ralph Abraham Running for Governor
Edwards has accused him of ‘abandoning’ responsibilities in Congress

Louisiana GOP Rep. Ralph Abraham is running for governor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham is running for governor in 2019.

“I’m running for governor and I intend to win,” the Republican lawmaker tweeted Thursday morning. 

McHenry Chief of Staff Moves to NRCC as Executive Director
Parker Hamilton Poling will lead the campaign committee for 2020 cycle

Parker Hamilton Poling will help Republicans try to regain the House majority in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Parker Hamilton Poling will serve as executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2020 cycle. 

She most recently served as chief of staff to North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, the chief deputy whip during the 115th Congress.