Bridget Bowman

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

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.

Louise Slaughter Dead at 88 After More Than Three Trailblazing Decades in Congress
New York Democrat fell and suffered concussion at D.C. residence last week

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, the first woman to chair the House Rules Committee, died early Friday after falling at her Washington home last week. She was 88 years old.

Her office said the New York Democrat died at George Washington University Hospital, where she was being treated. The 16-term lawmaker was the oldest sitting member of Congress.

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

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’

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.”

Republicans Downplay Pennsylvania Race, But Note Tough Road Ahead
GOP huddled Wednesday to discuss the special election

Republicans downplayed Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania, where a Democrat is poised to win in a solidly GOP district. But it’s another reminder of the tough midterm election cycle ahead, they said.

The race in Pennsylvania’s 18th District had still not been called late Wednesday morning. Democrat Conor Lamb currently leads GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone by 627 votes in a district President Donald Trump carried by 20 points in 2016. Republicans were bracing for a loss in the final days of the race and were already placing blame on Saccone’s lackluster fundraising.

Pennsylvania’s 18th District Race Too Close to Call
But Democrat Conor Lamb declares victory over Republican Rick Saccone

Updated 12:57 a.m. | A hotly contested special election in southwestern Pennsylvania was too close to call late Tuesday night. Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone were neck and neck as votes were still being counted.

Lamb, a 33-year-old Marine veteran and former prosecutor, led Saccone, a 60-year-old Air Force veteran, 49.8 percent to 49.6 percent — a difference of 579 votes — with 100 percent of precincts reporting.  

The Fight for a Disappearing District in Pennsylvania
Both parties look for lessons from 18th District special election

MOON, Pa. — Millions of dollars in outside spending and national media attention have been directed at Tuesday’s special election in southwestern Pennsylvania — all for a district that likely won’t even exist come November.

Democrat Conor Lamb, a former federal prosecutor, is locked in a tight race with Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone in a district President Donald Trump carried by nearly 20 points in 2016. Whoever wins the 18th District race will head to Congress, but he will run for a full term in a newly configured district, thanks to the state Supreme Court imposing a new congressional map ahead of the midterm elections.

Trump Says He Needs Rick Saccone Ahead of Pennsylvania Special Election
Thousands of steelworkers live in 18th District, site of Tuesday’s contest

In a wide-ranging speech Saturday night outside Pittsburgh, President Donald Trump touted his agenda and plugged supporters to vote for Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone in next week’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, telling voters he needs more GOP lawmakers in Congress to support his agenda. 

“The other opponent, his opponent, is not voting for us,” Trump said in Moon Township, referring to the Democrat nominee Conor Lamb. “He can say all he wants, there’s no way he’s voting for us ever, ever … Rick is going to vote for us all the time, all the time.”

At the Races: Here We Go — 5 Days Until PA-18
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings at — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Can Unions Push Conor Lamb to an Unlikely Victory in Pennsylvania?
Organized labor has deployed ground operation to boost 18th District Democrat

PITTSBURGH — After a Tuesday rally for Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb at the Carpenters Training Center here, Preston Sparks stood outside, holding a clipboard as he filled out a form.

But he wasn’t signing up with the House candidate’s campaign. Instead he’s volunteering with local unions, who have launched a coordinated ground game to support Lamb ahead of the March 13 special election in the 18th District.

Biden Rallies the Troops for Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania
Former vice president hits campaign trail a week before House special election

MOON, Pa. — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. traveled to the Pittsburgh suburbs one week before the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District with a message aimed squarely at the middle class.

At separate events before a crowd of union workers in Pittsburgh and then a packed room of supporters here at Robert Morris University, Biden said Democrat Conor Lamb understands the people of the southwest Pennsylvania district. Invoking a military slogan, he said a Lamb victory would send a message across the country.

Could Past DC Residency Be Liability for Some Democrats?
Service records can sometimes mitigate carpetbagging attacks

One Democratic hopeful’s ties to the nation’s capital have ignited an intraparty fight in a House primary in Texas, where voters head to the polls Tuesday. But Laura Moser isn’t the only Democratic House candidate who was living in Washington, D.C., during the last election.

Democrats in more than a dozen races around the country could face similar charges of being “Washington insiders.”

Steve Israel to Democrats: Don’t Be Distracted by 2018 Midterms
Former DCCC chairman wants party to focus on winning governorships

Steve Israel, former two-time chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, isn’t giving the DCCC his time this year. He’s taking a longer view of House Democratic campaign politics.

He’s been sounding the alarm, urging Democratic activists and donors to look beyond flipping the House in 2018, which he’s still not very bullish about, and focus on controlling the state infrastructure that will allow them to hold whatever gains they make in 2018 and pick up more seats after the next redistricting.

Democratic Super PAC Ties Hawley to Scandals in New Ad
Ad references the ongoing scandal involving GOP Gov. Eric Greitens

Updated 4:06 p.m. | A Democratic Super PAC launched a new television ad Thursday night that seeks to tie Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley to recent scandals in the state. Hawley is running against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

The ad from the Senate Majority PAC appears to be the first paid media tying Hawley to GOP Gov. Eric Greitens, who has been indicted with a felony charge of invasion of privacy for taking a nude photo of a woman with whom he had an affair. Greitens been accused of using the photo as blackmail, which he has denied. 

Gun Control Brewing as Issue in Some Democratic Primaries

Senior political reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman break down how the national debate on gun control is already influencing races in Florida, Arizona and New Jersey....
At the Races: The Wheels on McDaniel’s Bus Go ’Round and ’Round
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings at — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

This week … Chris McDaniel launched another Senate primary run in Mississippi, voters picked their candidates in Arizona, and underdog Democrats used the gun debate to make their mark.

Decision Time in the Desert: Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko won the GOP primary Tuesday in the special election to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks (who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations). She’s in a strong position heading into the April 24 special election, since President Donald Trump carried the seat by 21 points. Lesko will face emergency room physician Hiral Tipirneni, whom Democrats see as a strong candidate. So Lesko might not want to get too confident. Nathan Gonzales shifted this race rating from Solid Republican to Likely Republican, because, well, special elections have been pretty crazy this cycle.

Underdog Democrats Seize on Primary Opponents’ Gun History
A handful of challengers embrace gun control as a winning issue

With gun rights groups mostly tied to the Republican Party these days, some underdog Democrats have turned to the gun issue to try to gain traction in primaries.

“We believe the race will turn on guns,” a campaign official with Florida Democrat Alvin Brown said in an email Tuesday.

Cramer Ahead of Heitkamp in NRSC North Dakota Poll
GOP congressman leads Democratic incumbent by 5 points in Senate race

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, who recently entered the North Dakota Senate race, leads Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp by 5 points, according to a poll commissioned by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and shared first with Roll Call. 

First elected in 2012, Heitkamp is among the more vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election this fall, especially considering President Donald Trump won North Dakota by 36 points in 2016.