open-seat

At the Races: Walking and chewing

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin

Michigan Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens reminded a group of reporters yesterday, “It’s sort of the metaphor of walking and chewing gum at the same time that everybody likes to use around here.”

Florida Republican Ted Yoho announces he won’t seek a fifth term
Tells radio station he is honoring term limits pledge

Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., said Tuesday he will not seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Florida Republican Ted Yoho said Tuesday on a local radio show that he would not run for reelection in 2020, honoring a pledge that he would not seek more than four terms in Congress.

Yoho, a large-animal veterinarian, made his announcement on Florida’s WSKY radio, according to the station’s website. His departure brings the number of retiring House and Senate members to 25, all but six of them Republicans.

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.

Georgia governor defies Trump with appointment to Isakson Senate seat
Gov. Brian Kemp has chosen Kelly Loeffler, but Rep. Doug Collins may run anyway

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson is resigning at the end of the year. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is expected on Wednesday to appoint financial executive Kelly Loeffler to the Senate seat that Sen. Johnny Isakson is vacating at the end of the year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which broke the news that Loeffler would be Kemp’s pick, reported the timing of the appointment. Isakson is scheduled to deliver his farewell address to the Senate on Tuesday.

Georgia Democrat dramatizes message on health care — by giving up her own
Nabilah Islam cancels her health insurance to help cover living expenses while she runs for Congress

Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., narrowly won his seat in 2018 but is not running again. One Democrat seeking the nomination to succeed him is going without health insurance to dramatize the burden working families face. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Georgia Democrat in one of the most competitive House districts in the country is canceling her health insurance, a risky move that she says is  financially necessary as she runs for Congress.

Nabilah Islam is one of a handful of Democrats running for the party’s nomination in the open 7th District. Islam is trying to save money, but she’s also making a political point — about who can afford to run for Congress and the necessity of fixing America’s health care system.

Why Georgia matters to Democrats in 2020
Democrats think they can make the state a presidential, Senate and House battleground

Taking the stage before the Nov. 20 Democratic presidential debate were Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and businessmen Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer. (MSNBC Photo)

Several of the presidential candidates who debated Wednesday night in Atlanta were sticking around on Thursday, even though some of them will be out of the race by the time Georgia holds its March 24 primary and the state has not backed a Democrat for president since 1992.

The reason for that is that Democrats up and down the ballot are expecting intense contests in Georgia next year, including two for Senate seats that could determine which party controls the chamber.

Kamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in race to replace Katie Hill
Smith is consolidating support among California Democratic leaders

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is endorsing Assemblywoman Christy Smith in the 25th District race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris has taken sides in the race to replace former California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, endorsing Assemblywoman Christy Smith in the special election.

“In the State Assembly, Christy has been an effective leader and a fearless voice for the people she represents,” Harris said in a statement shared first with CQ Roll Call. “I know Christy will do the same in Congress — working to enact tougher gun safety laws, combat the climate crisis, fully fund public schools, invest more in emergency response and public safety, lower the cost of prescription drug prices and build an economy that works for everyone.”

Special California election to replace Katie Hill set for March 3
Vote on same day as presidential primary could hurt GOP effort to take back seat

Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., resigned earlier this month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has set the special election date to replace former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, likely complicating the Republican effort to flip the 25th District.

Newsom set the special election primary for March 3, the same date as the Golden State’s presidential and congressional primaries. Candidates from both parties run on the same ballot. For the special election, if one candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she wins the race outright. If no one gets above 50 percent, the top two would advance to a May 12 election.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is running for late husband’s House seat
Maryland Democrat will undergo a preventative double mastectomy on Friday

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, center, participates in a swearing-in ceremony with her husband, the late Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in January. Rockeymoore Cummings announced Monday she will run for her husband’s seat. (Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, is running for the Democratic nomination to replace him in Maryland’s 7th District.

Rockeymoore Cummings resigned Monday night as chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party before announcing her candidacy on MSNBC ahead of a formal campaign kickoff Tuesday in Baltimore. Elijah Cummings was chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee when he died last month.

Rating change: King retirement weakens GOP hold on New York seat
Long Island district is suburban, but differs from places that swung to Democrats in 2018

Rep. Peter T. King’s decision to retire makes his New York seat more vulnerable for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Years of predictions finally came true Monday as New York Republican Peter T. King announced he will not seek reelection in the 2nd District. His decision leaves behind another competitive open seat in the suburbs for the GOP to defend.

In 2016, President Donald Trump carried the southern Long Island district by a significant margin, 53 percent to 44 percent, but the longtime congressman’s narrow 6-point margin of victory last fall is fueling Democratic optimism, particularly now that he is not running.