Politics

At the Races: Royce Challenger Gives Himself $2 Million Head Start

First woman Marine combat pilot challenges Barr in Kentucky; former Obama ambassador running in Colorado

California insurance executive Andy Thorburn kicked off his challenge to Republican Rep. Ed Royce with a $2 million loan to his campaign. (Andy Thorburn for Congress)

A new Democratic challenger to California Republican Rep. Ed Royce is kicking off his candidacy by pumping $2 million into his campaign and an ad with him being sent to jail.

Insurance executive Andy Thorburn released a video Tuesday announcing he would challenge Royce and that he is willing to use his personal wealth to back up his campaign. Thorburn told the Los Angeles Times that he had deferred running for office because of the difficulty of balancing campaigning and running his business, but the election of President Donald Trump changed that.

“You get to the point where you just get so frustrated you say what am I going to do,” he said. 

Thorburn's own cash investment puts him only behind Royce, who has $3.1 million in the bank, according to the L.A. Times.

Before becoming an executive with insurance company Global Benefits Group, Thorburn was a teacher in New Jersey, and was in leadership at the American Federation of Teachers. 

In his ad announcing his candidacy, Thorburn highlights how he went to jail in 1970 for contempt of court during a teacher’s strike. 

Woman Marine combat pilot to challenge Barr

Retired Marine combat pilot Amy McGrath released a campaign ad announcing her challenge to Republican Rep. Andy Barr in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District. 

McGrath’s announcement ad highlights her receiving a letter from her then-congressman, Rep. Jim Bunning, saying that women shouldn’t be allowed to be in combat. 

In her ad, McGrath criticizes Barr for saying he would “vote enthusiastically” for legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law. Kentucky has frequently been highlighted by Democrats as a Medicaid expansion success story.

Barr first won the seat in 2012 and won re-election last year with 61 percent of the vote. But in her ad, McGrath compares the challenge to that of being told she wouldn't be able to fly as a combat pilot.

“Some are telling me a Democrat can’t win that battle in Kentucky,” she said. “We’ll see about that.”

Other challengers in the race include state Sen. Reggie Thomas and perennial candidate Geoff Young, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Former ambassador announces for open Colorado 7th Seat

Former ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Dan Baer announced his candidacy for Colorado's 7th Congressional District.

Baer was appointed by President Barack Obama and told the Denver Post that Donald Trump’s election to the White House influenced his decision.

“My husband turned to me on the election night and said, ‘Look, this is the pivotal moment of our generation, of our era, and our team of two needs to be helping to get through this,” he said. “And it seemed clear that it was a moment to come home to the community who made me who I am to figure out a way to be part of finding solutions.”

The seat is open after Rep. Ed. Perlmutter said he would not seek re-election to run for governor, but he later dropped out of the governor's race. 

If at first (or second) you don’t succeed, switch parties

After losing to Missouri Rep. Billy Long as a Democrat in 2012 and 2014, former teacher Jim Evans announced he will challenge Long as a Republican.

Evans told the Springfield News-Leader he would be a “freelance” candidate who would not accept contributions of more than $100.

In 2012, Evans lost to Long in the general election by a 2-1 margin, and again two years later.

Minnesota state Rep. weighs challenge to Klobuchar

Minnesota Republican state Rep. Jim Newberger said he is considering challenging Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Newberger said he will make a decision this weekend, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.

Newberger is a paramedic by profession and said he would not run if delegates at the state party’s convention do not choose him.

Klobuchar won her 2012 race with more than 65 percent of the vote.

Pennsylvania pastor to run against Perry

Former intelligence officer, Army veteran, and pastor George Scott announced he would challenge Republican Rep. Scott Perry in Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District.

Scott, a Lutheran pastor, told the York Daily Record he is not running to attack the incumbent.

“I respect him (Perry) and I respect the service he provided,” Scott said. “But, I’m hearing that voters are less concerned about the party and more concerned about the person.”

Perry is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and won re-election in 2016 with 60.66 percent of the vote.

Diehl makes run against Warren official

Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl announced he would challenge liberal favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018.

Diehl is joining a race with tech entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai, who received the endorsement of former Boston Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling,  businessman John Kingston, and Republican operative Beth Lindstrom, the Boston Globe reported.

Diehl is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and slammed Warren for a lack of accomplishments.

“Can anybody in this room name for me one accomplishment by our current senior senator?” he asked supporters during his announcement.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.