At the Races

Dan Lipinski Survives Primary Challenge From the Left
Seven-term Illinois Democrat defeats progressive challenger Marie Newman

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski faced the toughest fight of his political career in this year’s 3rd District Democratic primary.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Seven-term Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski survived his most competitive political contest yet, defeating first-time candidate Marie Newman in Illinois’ 3rd District primary.

Lipinski led Newman 51 percent to 49 percent, with 97 percent of precincts reporting, when The Associated Press called the race for the incumbent early Wednesday morning.

Most Illinois General Election Match-Ups Set for November
Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in Prairie State

Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan will face off against Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois’ 13th District. (Courtesy Betsy Dirksen Londrigan for Congress/YouTube)

Tuesday’s Democratic primaries in Illinois are setting the stage for general election match-ups in four Republican-held districts that Democrats are targeting in November.

With only a simple plurality required to win, most of the congressional primary results were decided Tuesday night. In the 3rd District, seven-term Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski survived a challenge from Marie Newman, chalking up a narrow 51 percent to 49 percent victory. As one of the most conservative Democratic members of Congress, Lipinski was heavily targeted by progressive groups, angered over his anti-abortion voting record and his previous opposition to the 2010 health care law. 

Mississippi Governor Expected to Appoint Hyde-Smith to Cochran Seat
Agriculture commissioner would fill seat until November special election

Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith is expected to be named to resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat. (Courtesy Cindy Hyde-Smith Campaign)

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to appoint Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat, according to The (Jackson) Clarion Ledger.

A Republican strategist confirmed Tuesday morning to Roll Call she’s likely to get the appointment Wednesday, but cautioned that the governor’s office hadn’t directly communicated those intentions yet.

Illinois Democrats Seek to Chip Away at Republicans’ House Majority
Second-in-nation primaries set stage for targeting GOP seats

Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in Illinois, where voters head to the primaries Tuesday. (Composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are targeting four seats in Illinois, where voters will pick their nominees Tuesday in the second congressional primaries of the year. 

It’s an early test for the party’s ability to nominate candidates it thinks are viable in the general election. Unlike in Texas, which held the cycle’s first primaries two weeks ago, there are no runoffs in Illinois. So a simple plurality would be enough to advance to the November general election. 

DCCC Raised $10.6 Million in February
House Democrats’ campaign arm breaks fundraising record for the month

The DCCC, chaired by New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, broke its February fundraising record this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised nearly $10.6 million in February.

That’s the most the committee has ever raised during the second month of the year, according to figures obtained first by Roll Call. 

Democratic Showdown in Illinois’ 3rd District
Lipinski-Newman primary is flashpoint in party’s identity struggles

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski is facing a tough primary challenge on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a state where Democrats are targeting four Republican-held seats in November and need viable candidates to make it through Tuesday’s primaries, the nominating contest in Illinois that’s receiving the most attention is in a safe Democratic district. 

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, co-chairman of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, is facing the toughest contest of his seven-term congressional career with a primary challenge from marketing executive Marie Newman for his 3rd District seat.

Trump Nudges Danny Tarkanian Out of Heller Challenge
Frequent candidate will run for the House again

Danny Tarkanian, Republican candidate for several offices over the years in Nevada, poses with a basketball at the Tarkanian Basketball Academy in Las Vegas on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump threw vulnerable Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller a lifeline Friday, nudging conservative primary challenger Danny Tarkanian out of that race and into one for a House seat.

It “would be great” if Heller “could run for Senate unopposed!” he wrote in a tweet. Trump urged “good guy” Tarkanian to end his bid to unseat Heller and run for the U.S. House instead.

Special Election Possible for Louise Slaughter’s Seat
Power to set the date of election lies with New York’s Democratic governor

It is not immediately clear if or when a special election for the seat of the late New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter might take place. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A special election is possible to replace Rep. Louise Slaughter, who died Friday after suffering a concussion last week. New York state law gives Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo discretion over when to call such an election.

There is no set amount of time by which a governor has to announce a special election after the vacancy occurs. But once the governor does so, the election date must be between 70 and 80 days after the proclamation.

Lamb to Challenge Rothfus in 17th District, Says Local Party Official
Pa. Democrat won special election this week in neighboring district

Conor Lamb, Democratic congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s 18th district, greets supporters at an election night rally March 14, 2018 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Lamb claimed victory against Republican candidate Rick Saccone. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Democrat Conor Lamb is running in the 17th District against GOP Rep. Keith Rothfus, after winning an upset victory in the 18th District. The news was first reported by the Beaver County Times and confirmed by a local Democratic official. 

The move was expected since Rothfus’ seat became more favorable to Democrats in the recent Pennsylvania redistricting. The state Supreme Court imposed a new congressional map, which is still being challenged in federal court. Under the new lines, President Donald Trump would have won Rothfus’ seat by two points. 

At the Races: Keystone State Nail-Biter
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns


Mark Your Calendars: The second congressional primaries in the country are in Illinois on Tuesday. Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in the state, where EMILY’s List has played an early, influential role backing candidates it thinks will be viable in the general election. But the Prairie State primary that’s received the most attention is actually in a solid Democratic seat. EMILY’s List is involved in this race too (although it took a while for the group to endorse), and it’s quickly become a flashpoint in the fight over the identity of the Democratic Party. On one side is first-time candidate Marie Newman, who’s backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (who carried the 3rd District in 2016), two members of the Illinois delegation (pictured above), New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, SEIU and a coalition of reproductive rights and progressive groups.

Romney Could Create ‘New Power Center’ in Senate, Flake Says
Arizona Republican: Senate needs ‘an independent voice’

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said the Senate needs someone like Mitt Romney. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the same day former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney filed to run for Senate in Utah, retiring Sen. Jeff Flake said the chamber needs someone like Romney to be an “independent voice.”

“We need Mitt Romney in the Senate,” the Arizona Republican said Thursday at an event at the National Press Club. “We need an independent voice, somebody who will enter the Senate chamber with immediate gravitas and someone who can work across the aisle, and actually, I think, create a whole new power center in the Senate. I think that’s desperately needed.”

Plenty of Pitfalls for Hill Staffers Doing Campaign Work
Lines between official and campaign time can be murky

Staffers doing campaign work have to make sure they’re not doing it on government time. But there’s no set way to keep track of that time. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With campaign season here, Hill staffers are likely to find their duties expanding with election-related tasks.

Press secretaries and senior staff doing paid or volunteer campaign work routinely flock to nearby coffee shops with their personal laptops to send campaign press releases or go on walks to take reporters’ calls about their boss’s re-election. Campaign work has to be done on staffers’ own time, off government property.

Luke Messer Launches Second TV Ad in Indiana Senate Primary
Positive spot features GOP lawmaker as son’s basketball coach

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer is releasing the second TV ad of his Senate campaign on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Luke Messer is launching Thursday his second TV ad in the Indiana Republican Senate primary.

The ad, shared first with Roll Call, features the congressman in his role as coach for his son’s fifth grade basketball team and is timed to air during the start of March Madness, the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament. It’s backed by a cable and broadcast TV and digital buy in the mid six-figures.

Chris McDaniel Will Run for Cochran Seat in Special Election
McDaniel had already launched a primary challenge to Roger Wicker

Chris McDaniel, Republican candidate for Mississippi Senate, speaks with patrons of Jean’s Restaurant in Meridian, Miss., May 29, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel announced Wednesday he will switch from challenging GOP Sen. Roger Wicker in a primary to running in the November special election for resigning Sen. Thad Cochran’s seat. 

“By announcing early, we are asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats’ chances of winning the open seat,” McDaniel said in a statement, alluding to Republicans’ loss in an Alabama special election late last year. 

35th PAC Boosting Morrisey with Digital and Mail in West Virginia
Super PAC attacks Jenkins for being “liberal Democrat”

35th PAC is supporting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the GOP primary for West Virginia Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A super PAC supporting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the GOP Senate primary is pouring money into mail and digital efforts ahead of the May 8 primary. 

Morrisey is competing against Rep. Evan Jenkins and former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November.