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At the Races: We have 2020 vision

By Stephanie Akin, Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathé

Welcome back to At the Races! We are relaunching just as the campaign cycle gets interesting. Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Campaigns look to capitalize on first impeachment hearings
Both parties used different strategies on the campaign trail

Campaigns sought to capitalize on national attention on Wednesday’s impeachment hearing that featured testimony by senior diplomats William Taylor, center, and George Kent, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Loath to waste a national spotlight, campaigns on Wednesday sought to take advantage of the first public impeachment hearing in two decades, though groups pushing Republicans seemed more willing to urge angry voters to contribute as the hearing unfolded while Democrats were more low-key.

War rooms for the Democratic and Republican national committees each issued dueling fact checks as the House Intelligence panel began public hearings into whether President Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense by withholding military aid while pressing Ukraine to investigate a chief political opponent. But the similarities between the parties’ approaches stopped there.

Capitol Ink | More talking points

Parker Poling’s job: Help win back the House for Republicans
As NRCC executive director she’s tasked with helping GOP pick up 19 seats needed to take back speaker’s gavel

NRCC executive director Parker Poling has tried to increase the committee’s outreach to House Republicans who don’t usually need help from the party’s campaign arm. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was 2015 and Parker Poling was going all out to persuade fellow Republicans to support a top priority of President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

That sounds improbable, but at the time she was chief of staff to North Carolina Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, who was the chief deputy whip for the GOP majority. Republican leaders were trying to persuade skeptical lawmakers to give Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals.

Democrats facing tough races receive suspicious packages after impeachment vote
Packages sent from National Republican Congressional Committee prompted Capitol Police to investigate

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., was one of several Democrats who were sent a suspicious package by the NRCC Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several House Democrats in battleground districts complained Thursday that a political stunt by Republicans intended to warn them they would not be in office long because of impeachment instead ended up wasting the time of Capitol Police after aides complained of receiving suspicious packages.

The National Republican Congressional Committee sent packing boxes to the Capitol Hill offices of the Democrats, most of whom flipped Republican districts in 2018 and are expected to have competitive campaigns to keep them next year.

Meet the two Democrats who broke with their party on impeachment
Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew represent districts Trump carried by very different margins

Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson was one of just two Democrats who voted against Democrats’ impeachment resolution in the House on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two Democrats in competitive districts broke with their party on Thursday’s impeachment resolution in the House — a reminder of how complicated the politics of impeachment may be in seats in conservative parts of the country that Democrats want to hold in 2020.

Minnesota’s Collin C. Peterson and New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew were the only two House Democrats to vote against the resolution, which lays out procedures that will govern the public portion of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. It was adopted 232-196 without any Republican support.

DCCC again asks NRCC to pledge not to use hacked materials
Bustos resending a letter first sent to Emmer six months ago

DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos is resending a pledge to her NRCC counterpart about not using hacked material. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is renewing a request to its Republican counterpart that both parties pledge not to use hacked materials in the 2020 campaign.

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois first sent such a letter to National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Emmer in April. Six months later, she’s resending the letter, following House passage — largely along party lines — of an election security bill this week.

PAC trying to boost number of Republican women in House backs 11 candidates
Picks by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik’s group could sway like-minded donors to give

California Republican Young Kim is among the first recipients of funding from New York Rep. Elise Stefanik’s PAC, which is focused on electing Republican women. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik has made it her mission to increase the number of Republican women in the House by playing in primaries. On Tuesday, she’s unveiling the first 11 candidates who have the full backing of her recently rebranded leadership PAC.

Stefanik will announce her slate of “Rising Star” candidates, obtained first by CQ Roll Call, at the House GOP’s conference meeting Tuesday morning.

NY freshman Max Rose joins fellow Democrats in supporting impeachment probe
Afghanistan veteran who flipped GOP seat was one of handful of House Democrats holding out on impeachment

New York Rep. Max Rose addresses constituents Wednesday in Staten Island, N.Y., where he announced his support for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. (Dean DeChiaro/CQ Roll Call)

NEW YORK — Rep. Max Rose really wanted to talk about traffic. And with Staten Islanders enduring some of the country’s longest commutes, so did his constituents.

But those at a town hall event Wednesday night knew that any discussion of congestion pricing and express ferries was likely to be eclipsed by questions about the New York Democrat’s position on the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s Ukraine dealings.

Mac Thornberry joins Republican ‘Texodus’ from House
Top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee to retire rather than seek 14th term

Texas GOP Rep. Mac Thornberry is not running for reelection. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Mac Thornberry is the latest Texas Republican to head for the exits, announcing Monday that he is not running for reelection. The 13-term lawmaker is the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.

Thornberry was facing GOP term limits on the committee, having served two previous terms as chairman before the start of the current Congress, where he became the ranking member after Democrats took over the House.