Campaigns

Trump vulnerability in a primary is more fiction than fact
President has solid GOP support, a huge cash advantage, and it’s already late in the process

Former Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina is considering a challenge to President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford is seriously considering challenging President Donald Trump in the primary, even though he called the idea “preposterous” on many levels. It’s a rare moment when you should take a politician at his word.

Even if you look past the huge hurdles of the president’s popularity among the Republican base and the humongous fundraising advantage, the anti-Trump movement is simply running out of time, and it’s arguably too late to mount a serious presidential campaign at all.

Moulton drops out of 2020 Democratic presidential race
Massachusetts congressman says he’ll focus on reelection, supporting party’s presidential nominee

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., gives a high five to a spectator during the Boulder City Damboree Celebration 4th of July parade in Boulder City, Nev., on July 4. Moulton focused primarily on foreign policy and national security during his presidential run, which ended Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Democrat Seth Moulton, who ran on a centrist, pro-military platform that never ignited the Democratic base, on Friday became the fourth Democratic presidential candidate to drop out of the race.

During his brief bid, Moulton, an Iraq veteran and former Marine infantry officer, focused primarily on foreign policy and national security. He defined himself as one of the more moderate candidates in a field that now numbers 21.

Former Republican congressman and inflammatory radio host Jason Lewis to run for Senate
Trump team hopes running ‘Mini Trump’ candidate will ramp up turnout in a key presidential state

Former Rep. Jason Lewis will challenge Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, he announced Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former Republican congressman and conservative radio personality with a history of inflammatory remarks will challenge Minnesota Democratic Sen. Tina Smith

Former Rep. Jason Lewis, who served one term in Congress and worked for 25 years as a radio personality, will run against Smith, he announced Thursday. 

Hickenlooper enters Colorado Senate race, but he will have competition
Former governor announced his withdrawal from the presidential race a week ago

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding in Clear Lake earlier this month before he announced he was dropping out of the presidential race. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After spending a week off the campaign trail, former presidential candidate John Hickenlooper announced Thursday that he will run for Senate in Colorado. 

The former two-term Democratic governor said he wants to challenge Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in next year’s election. Hickenlooper will face several challengers for the Democratic nomination, and will have to address statements he made earlier this year that he was not interested in the job.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ends presidential campaign
Inslee centered his campaign on combating climate change

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:53 p.m.| Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who staked his presidential campaign on combating climate change, announced Wednesday night that he is dropping out of the race for the White House after failing to qualify for the third round of Democratic primary debates.

Inslee announced on Thursday that he would be running for a third term as governor.

Trump missing an opportunity to burnish his legacy with gun law
If anyone in GOP can stand up to the NRA, it's the outsider president

President Donald Trump has not been clear about what changes he would seek to gun background checks, but he has the political capital in the GOP to stand up to the NRA if he wants a new gun law to be part of his legacy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has forgotten who holds the power within the Republican Party.

There’s a perception that the National Rifle Association has an impenetrable lock on base Republican voters and thus is holding GOP members of Congress captive. But Trump is the one person who has the capital with the GOP base to oppose the NRA and get something done on guns. And the president is missing an opportunity to add a legacy item to his time in office and even help his chances of winning a second term.

Bernie Sanders labor plan would let federal workers strike
Presidential contender unveils plan ahead of Iowa AFL-CIO trip

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has unveiled a labor policy plan ahead of a visit to the Iowa AFL-CIO. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled a new labor plan Wednesday that includes a proposal to let federal employees go on strike.

“Under current law, federal employees are not guaranteed the same labor rights as workers in the private sector. While they have the ability to unionize, they are prohibited from going on strike,” a plan summary said. “Under this plan, federal workers would have the right to strike.”

House freshmen try to keep it local as presidential race steals the spotlight
Iowa Democratic Reps. Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer are taking similar approaches to their reelections

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, flips pork burgers at the Iowa State Fair. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES — Rep. Cindy Axne’s letter to Customs and Border Protection about African swine fever didn’t make national news. But it did prompt a “thank you” from a man with the Iowa Pork Association as Axne flipped pork burgers last week at the Iowa State Fair.

Attention to issues like that disease, which could threaten the country’s pork industry if it reached the U.S., is how first-term Democratic lawmakers like Axne are working to win reelection in 2020.

Joe Biden rebounds, Kamala Harris drops in new poll
After support ballooned in June, California Sen. Harris dropped back down to just 5 percent in August

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake on Friday August 9, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Vice President Joe Biden rebounded in the latest 2020 Democratic presidential primary poll conducted by CNN and SSRS, after his numbers appeared to be sagging earlier this summer.

Nearly one in three Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters said they back Biden among the field of candidates fighting for the party nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.

North Carolina to start voting in a new election — under the shadow of the last one
Democrats hope last fall’s Republican ballot fraud scandal motivates the base in 9th District redo

James E. Nance, center, and Chris Council, right, listen to North Carolina Democrat Dan McCready speak at his campaign office in Elizabethtown, N.C., on Aug. 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. — Chris Council, a 53-year-old African American landscaper, is fired up about Democrat Dan McCready’s campaign for Congress.

“I’m not a betting man, but he’s going to win this race,” Council said after attending a McCready event in this 3,500-person town, the county seat of Bladen County, North Carolina.

Do Democrats need a backup plan?
If Biden’s stumbles continue, a certain former first lady might be well-positioned to step in

Former first lady Michelle Obama has disavowed any interest in running for president, but she may have a better chance of defeating Donald Trump than any of the Democrats currently running, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — With many surveys showing multiple Democratic hopefuls leading President Donald Trump in hypothetical 2020 ballot tests, Democrats should feel confident they can deny the incumbent president a second term. But many don’t.

In spite of the huge field, the Democratic race is muddled because of questions about Joe Biden’s campaign skills, the progressive agendas of Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and the difficulty in finding a nominee who can appeal to a variety of constituencies, from the party’s base to suburban swing voters to possibly even working-class white women.

The Iowa State Fair in Photos
The best of the fair from Roll Call photojournalist Caroline Brehman

John Olsen from Des Moines, Iowa wears a vest with Joe Biden for President buttons as he listens to Biden speaks on the first day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats go on defense in crucial heartland House race in Iowa
GOP has sights on Iowa’s 2nd District, which backed Trump in 2016

Former Iowa state Sen. Rita Hart is running for the Democratic nomination for Iowa’s 2nd District after Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack opted against reelection. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

WHEATLAND, Iowa — Republicans sense an opportunity in the rolling corn and soybean fields in southeastern Iowa. But Democrats won’t be giving up their hold on this heartland district without a fight.

Republicans’ path to the House majority runs through the 31 Democrat-held districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. And one of them, Iowa’s 2nd District, ranks among the GOP’s best pickup opportunities next year because it’s the only one of the 31 without an incumbent defending the seat.

Hickenlooper says he’ll give ‘serious thought’ to Senate run after dropping presidential bid
Colorado and national Democrats see former governor as best chance to capture Gardner’s seat

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, shown in Iowa on Saturday, announced Thursday he is ending his bid for the presidency. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ended his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, and said he will consider a run against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in a battleground state Democrats need to win to take control of the upper chamber.

“People want to know what comes next for me,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.”

DCCC adds six more Trump districts to its 2020 target list
House Democrats are expanding their potential battlefield to 39 seats

The House Democrats’ campaign arm is targeting Virginia GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six more districts to the list of seats it’s targeting in 2020. 

After gaining a net of 40 seats last fall, the House Democrats’ campaign arm released its initial 2020 target list in January that included 32 GOP-held seats and the open seat in North Carolina’s 9th District, which is holding a special election next month.