tossup

Competitive Tennessee Senate primary likely after Haslam decision not to run
Hagerty and Kustoff could run, while Green and Black have passed on the race

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will not be running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Wednesday he will sit out the race for Senate this cycle, teeing up a competitive Republican primary in the contest to succeed retiring GOP incumbent Lamar Alexander.

Haslam, 60, described his choice to forgo another bid for public office as “the hardest vocational decision of my life” in a letter published in The Tennessean

Trump suggests ‘this crew’ of 2020 Dems poised to use dirty tricks against him
President revives three-year-old conspiracy theory about 2016 debate mic problem

Then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks as then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens during a town hall debate in October 2016 in St Louis. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

With a single tweet Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump again harked back to his 2016 election victory and suggested Democrats are poised to use dirty tricks to prevent him from winning again.

The president also used his preferred social media platform to pit Texas against New York over the National Rifle Association — popular among his conservative base — as he and his campaign team try to keep the Lone Star State in his column.

North Carolina redo sets stage for copycat campaigns in 2020
Battle of the Dans offers a test of how far loyalty to Trump will take you

The race between Republican Dan Bishop, left, and Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina’s 9th District will serve as a preview of GOP attempts to win back seats they lost last year, Curtis writes. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress and Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer/AP file photo)

OPINION — After an election fraud scandal, North Carolina Republicans lost a House candidate. After an indictment and questions about possible bribery, the state GOP lost its chair.

But all that didn’t stop a gaggle of Republicans from vying for the chance to run for a House seat that, thanks to gerrymandering, still favors their party — that is, of course, if voters stay interested in a special election that now will be decided on Sept. 10, if everything goes as planned.

Rating change: Loebsack’s retirement in Iowa expands House playing field
Race for open seat in 2nd District is now a Toss-up

Rep. David Loebsack, D-Iowa, will not be seeking an eighth term next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

No one really gave Cornell College professor Dave Loebsack a chance of knocking off Republican Rep. Jim Leach in 2006. But the Democrat won that race, and more than a dozen years later, he’s announced that his current seventh term in Congress will be his last.

Democrats now have to defend a competitive open seat that wasn’t previously on the list of vulnerable districts.

The case for primaries: Arizona edition
Mark Kelly may have avoided an intraparty fight, but that may hurt more than help

Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly, here with his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in 2018, appears to have avoided a primary in his bid for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats breathed a sigh of relief this week when Rep. Ruben Gallego decided not to run for the Senate, likely avoiding a primary in the run-up to a competitive general election in Arizona. That’s because “bitter,” “bloody,” and “bruising” seem to be the most commonly used adjectives to describe primaries these days, even though they can serve an important purpose.

Gallego’s decision all but paved the way for retired astronaut Mark Kelly to win the Democratic nomination and focus on challenging appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally. But while Kelly has had a public profile as a gun control advocate alongside his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, he’s never been a candidate for office, and it’s still unclear how he’ll perform.

Initial 2020 House race ratings are here
Republicans are on the offense but also running against history

Reps. Max Rose of New York, second from left, and Joe Cunnigham of South Carolina, second from right, here with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the State of the Union, are among 31 Democrats holding seats the president carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After losing a net of 40 House seats in last year’s midterms, Republicans have plenty of offensive opportunities in 2020. But winning back the majority will not be easy.

On paper, the path back to 218 may look simple for Team GOP because it winds through favorable territory. There are 31 Democrats who currently represent districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, and Republicans need to gain 18 or 19 seats to regain House control (depending on the outcome in North Carolina’s 9th District).

Ammar Campa-Najjar will challenge indicted Duncan Hunter again in 2020
The Democratic challenger filed paperwork with the FEC this week

Ammar Campa-Najjar, Democratic candidate for California's 50th Congressional district, came close to knocking off indicted Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter last year. (CQ Roll Call file photo).

Ammar Campa-Najjar nearly defeated California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter last year as the incumbent faced a trial on charges of illegally misusing campaign funds. Next year, Campa-Najjar will try again.

The Democratic challenger filed a statement of candidacy form with the Federal Election Commission on Monday declaring his intention to run once more for the 50th District seat in 2020.

Democrats Developing Strategy to Use Trump’s Words Against Him
While Trump’s MAGA rallies stir up his base, they also give Democrats fodder with moderates and independents

Dan Sena, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the party did extensive polling to determine its response to MAGA rallies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith notched a win Tuesday in her special election runoff by tacking closely to President Donald Trump and campaigning with him the day before voters went to the polls, reinvigorating a debate within the Democratic Party about the best way to respond to the president’s freewheeling “Make America Great Again” rallies. 

Hyde-Smith won by 8 points, even after many voters recoiled from her comment that she would be “on the front row” of a “public hanging” if invited by a supporter, and corporate donors publicly requested that she return their contributions. 

Defeated Rep. Bruce Poliquin Calls for Lengthy Ranked Choice Recount
The Maine Republican would be required to personally foot the bill

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, would have to overcome a more than 3,500 vote deficit in a lengthy recount to maintain his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ranked-choice voting has a dedicated foe in defeated Rep. Bruce Poliquin

The Maine Republican called for a hand recount of ballots cast in the race for the 2nd District — the first election in the nation to use ranked-choice voting to fill a congressional seat — decrying the software used to allocate voters’ preferences as a “black-box voting system.”

Indicted Rep. Chris Collins Declares Victory
‘Enough condolences,’ Nate McMurray tells supporters. ‘You’d think I was indicted and going to jail or something’

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., declared victory Tuesday night. Election officials indicated the incumbent had  maintained his seat despite an August indictment on insider trading charges. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indicted New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins declared victory Tuesday night in his bid to hold onto his Buffalo-area district.

“Congressman Collins has already returned to work and looks forward to continuing to do the work of the people of the 27th District,” Collins campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre said in a statement.