At the Races

Cruz, O’Rourke Steal Spotlight, but House Races in Texas Are Heating Up Too
Democrats eye multiple pickup opportunities in Lone Star State

Democrats say energy around Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign could help their House candidates in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas Senate race has been grabbing headlines lately, but Democrats hoping for good news in November from the Lone Star State might want to focus further down the ballot, where several contests could be critical to House control.

Both parties have ramped up their activities in a handful of competitive Texas districts, with the Republican and Democratic campaign committees launching television ads in key races last week.

Chris Collins to ‘Actively Campaign’ and Serve if Re-Elected
New York Republican made announcement in email to supporters Wednesday

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., leaves the Capitol Hill Club after a meeting of the House Republican Conference, February 7, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indicted Republican Rep. Chris Collins wrote in an email to supporters Wednesday that he would continue to serve in Congress if re-elected. 

The New York Republican had previously suspended his campaign after being indicted on charges of insider trading, but he reversed course Tuesday after GOP leaders attempted for weeks to find a way to remove Collins from the ballot. Local GOP leaders were reportedly blindsided by his decision to remain on the ballot.

GOP Groups Jump Into Nevada’s 3rd District Ahead of Trump Rally
Congressional Leadership Fund reserved new airtime Wednesday

Republican Danny Tarkanian is running for Nevada’s open 3rd District seat, which Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is vacating for a Senate run. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Nevada on Thursday, outside Republican groups are ramping up their spending in the 3rd District to help GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian in one of the party’s few pickup opportunities. 

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, made a new ad reservation in the district in the Las Vegas media market that starts Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the media buy. CLF spokeswoman Courtney Alexander confirmed the $2.5 million reservation to Roll Call. 

DCCC Raises $15.4 Million in August
Nearly half came from online donations, House Democrats’ campaign arm says

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján says Democrats are in “a strong position to take back the House.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is boasting its best August fundraising numbers ever, raking in more than $15.4 million last month, according to figures provided first to Roll Call.

That’s $4.5 million more than the committee’s fundraising total in August 2016, and $5.1 million more than the committee raised in August 2014.  Nearly $7 million of last month’s total came from online donations, with an average donation of $20.

Candidates Get Candid About Their Cancer Diagnoses in TV Ads
Democrats open up about personal medical struggles to talk about health care

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is just the latest candidate to talk about her own cancer diagnosis in a campaign ad this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got personal in a recent ad, talking about something that she’s never addressed in a political spot before: cancer — specifically, her own diagnosis.

“Two years ago, I beat breast cancer,” the two-term Democrat says to camera. “Like thousands of other women in Missouri, I don’t talk about it much.”

Giffords PAC Airs New TV Ad Against Comstock in Virginia
Second spot is part of $1 million ad campaign against two-term Republican in 10th District

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' PAC is investing $1 million in Virginia’s 10th District against GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. Giffords is shown here with Jennifer Wexton, Comstock's Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The gun violence prevention group founded by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is launching its second TV ad against Rep. Barbara Comstock, specifically going after the Virginia Republican’s ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association. 

The spot, debuting Wednesday and obtained first by Roll Call, opens with footage of a parent playing with a small child.

GOP Super PAC Dings Nebraska Democrat on Medicare-for-All
Kara Eastman is taking on GOP Rep. Don Bacon in 2nd District

Kara Eastman is the Democratic nominee in Nebraska’s 2nd Disrict. (Courtesy Kara Eastman for Congress)

The Congressional Leadership Fund is launching a new television ad knocking Democrat Kara Eastman over her support for a Medicare-for-All proposal, a sign Republicans view the attack as a salient one in the competitive Nebraska district. 

The 30-second ad, which launches in the Omaha media market Tuesday, will run for roughly two weeks. Eastman is taking on Republican freshman Don Bacon in the 2nd District, which President Donald Trump carried by by 3 points in 2016. 

Lori Trahan Wins Democratic Primary in Massachusetts’ 3rd District
Opponent Daniel Koh conceded after recount for Niki Tsongas’ open seat

Lori Trahan is the apparent winner of the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 3rd District after a recount. (Courtesy Lori Trahan for Congress)

Lori Trahan, a onetime aide to former Rep. Martin T. Meehan, is poised to go to Congress from Massachusetts’ heavily Democratic 3rd District after winning the Democratic primary in a recount Monday.

Trahan had a 139-vote advantage when second-place finisher Daniel Koh conceded to her hours before a 5 p.m. deadline.

EMILY’s List to Spend $37 Million in 2018 Cycle
Pro-abortion rights group is looking to play in roughly 30 House races

EMILY’s List trained thousands of women looking to run for office, many of whom were energized by the Women’s March in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:04 p.m. | EMILY’s List, a group that backs female Democrats who support abortion rights, said it expects to spend more than $37 million this election cycle, which includes the $14 million it already spent in Democratic primaries. 

Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List, told reporters in a briefing Monday that the group plans to play in more than 30 House districts to help Democrats net the 23 seats needed to win a chamber majority. 

Indicted GOP Rep. Chris Collins to Stay on November Ballot, Report Says
Collins represents the most Republican district in New York

New York GOP Rep. Chris Collins was arrested last month for insider trading. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indicted GOP Rep. Chris Collins will remain on the ballot in November, The Buffalo News reported Monday, setting up a potentially competitive race in a deep red district in Western New York.

Collins will face Democratic Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray in November in a district President Donald Trump won by 24 points in 2016. Collins’ recent indictment for charges relating to insider trading have shaken up the race. Collins initially said he would run for re-election, but reversed course under pressure from local and national party leaders. 

Cramer Counters Health Care Attacks With New Ad
North Dakota Republican is on defense in Senate race over pre-existing conditions

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is challenging Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., in a high-profile Senate race. Here, the two attend an event with National Guardsmen in Bismarck, N.D., in August. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer is taking to the airwaves to combat Democratic ads that spotlight the Republican Senate candidate’s health care positions.

The new Cramer ad features images of three Democratic spots — two of them from outside Democratic groups and one from Democratic incumbent Heidi Hetikamp’s campaign. Cramer has been calling on Heitkamp to take down her own campaign’s ad, saying she is citing inaccurate information about how his health care votes would have affected people with pre-existing conditions.

GOP Super PAC Continues Attacks on Maine’s Jared Golden
CLF has reserved $3.1 million in 2nd District to defend Poliquin

(Screenshot/Youtube/Congressional Leadership Fund)

A Republican super PAC tied to House leadership is launching its fourth ad against Maine Democrat Jared Golden on Friday.

The fight to hold on to the 2nd District, where GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin is running for a third term, is a top priority for Republicans. Congressional Leadership Fund has now reserved $3.1 million for the seat, among the most it’s reserved in competitive districts around the country. 

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

GOP Outside Money, Gerrymandering Worry DCCC Chairman
Rep. Ben Ray Luján still confident Democrats will win back the House

New Mexico Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Luján chairs the DCCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján expressed confidence Thursday his party will take control of the House, but he remains concerned about the impact of outside Republican money and gerrymandered districts.

“As far as what keeps me up at night, Republicans have committed what seems like unlimited amounts of money to these elections,” the New Mexico Democrat told reporters Thursday. “We’re seeing Super PAC after Super PAC on the Republican side continue to tear in.”

Democratic Poll Shows Tight Race for Ross’ Seat in Florida
Trump carried the 15th District by 10 points in 2016

Florida Rep. Dennis Ross is not running for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat Kristen Carlson narrowly led Republican Ross Spano, well within the margin of error, in a poll of Florida’s open 15th District commissioned by her campaign. 

Carlson led Spano 48 percent to 47 percent, with 5 percent of likely voters undecided.