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With the Senate Up for Grabs, All Eyes Are on the Presidential Race

Democrats think that Trump at the top of the ticket will make their path to control of the Senate easier. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Among those watching the White House race most closely a year from Election Day are those who stand to gain the most from the top-of-the-ticket contest. House and Senate candidates from both parties know their fates are closely tied to the fortunes of their parties’ respective presidential nominees and the tenor of the national conversation next November.  

“Obviously the national environment is something that, to a certain extent, we have very little control over,” NRSC Communications Director Andrea Bozek said. “So our mentality is to prepare for the worst-case scenario.”  

Democrat Announces Bid Against Valadao in California

Valadao is a top Democratic target in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A California mayor will announce a challenge to Republican Rep. David Valadao Monday in California's 21st District — a top Democratic pick-up opportunity in 2016.  

“I am running for Congress to be a bold voice on behalf of Central Valley families and local neighborhoods throughout the 21st District," Daniel Parra — the mayor pro tem of Fowler, Calif., an Air Force veteran who had been contemplating a bid — said in a news release provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

DCCC in Talks With California House Candidate

Valadao is a Republican from California. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fowler Mayor Pro-Tem Daniel Parra is considering challenging GOP Rep. David Valadao in the Central Valley-based 21st District, according to a source with knowledge of Parra's plans.  

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been in contact with Parra about the race, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversations.  

DCCC Robocalls Target GOP on DHS Funding

Luján is chairman of the DCCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will launch robocalls against more than two dozen House Republicans Tuesday over the Department of Homeland Security funding flap , according to a script of the call provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

Many of the 29 targeted Republicans represent districts atop the DCCC's list of pick up opportunities in 2016. Democrats must net 30 seats to win control of the House.  

Ex-House Candidate Will Take Top Role in Likely Clinton Campaign

Renteria ran for Congress in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Amanda Renteria, the former Capitol Hill aide who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2014, is poised to be named the national political director of Hillary Rodham Clinton's likely presidential campaign, according to two sources with knowledge of the move.  

Renteria, reached by phone, declined to comment on the gig Thursday afternoon, but she said, "I'm thinking a lot about what's next."  

Exclusive: NRCC Announces 12 Members in Patriot Program

Walden of Oregon is the NRCC chairman in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced 12 members will kick-start its Patriot Program for the House GOP's most vulnerable incumbents, according to a news release provided first to CQ Roll Call.  

Eleven of the members were elected in 2014, when Republicans made huge gains across the country. The 12 members represent districts where Democrats typically perform well in presidential cycles, making them top targets in 2016.  

Is This a House Race, or Just a Rumor?

House Democrats recently spent $100,000 on radio ads for Capps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In what is already a strange cycle, operatives on both sides are bracing for surprises on election night.  

Rumors flew last week about a surprise poll or errant television reservation that could spell doom for an incumbent considered a safe bet for re-election a week ago.  

DCCC Cuts Airtime in 8 TV Markets

Steve Israel of New York is the DCCC Chariman. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has started to pull back its advertising buys in several congressional districts around the country, according to an aide.  

At this point in the cycle, the cancellations — also known as "triage " — serve as a signal the party does not see a path to victory for these candidates or races. House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, has already pulled some of its buys in the same districts.  

Joe Biden to California for Democratic House Hopeful

Biden will make a campaign stop in California next month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will make a campaign stop in Bakersfield, Calif., on Oct. 7 to campaign for Amanda Renteria, a former Senate chief of staff and top Democratic recruit this cycle.  

Biden's visit to the Central Valley, which Renteria announced on Facebook , will come less than a month before Election Day, when the Democrat will face off against freshman Republican Rep. David Valadao. Democrats are hoping the vice president's appearance will gin up excitement for the contest and motivate the base to turn out.  

NRCC Reserves $30 Million for TV Ads in 2014

The NRCC Chairman is Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved $30 million in television airtime this fall, signaling it is preparing to go on offense in 17 districts and defend nine more.  

The NRCC has put its marker down in many of the same House districts as its counterpart , the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It's a good indicator of which races both parties think will be most competitive in November. But there are a few competitive districts not included in the NRCC's initial reservations, such as Iowa's 3rd District — an open seat currently held by a Republican that is one of this cycle's few Tossup races. Also, the NRCC's television reservations total $13.5 million less  than what the DCCC has already reserved for this fall. The committees will likely shift and add more airtime as individual races develop during the rest of the cycle.   But the DCCC has raised more money than the NRCC this cycle. As of the end of April, the DCCC had $43.3 million in the bank, while the NRCC had $32.3 million. Here are the districts where the NRCC has already reserved airtime for this fall: Offense Arizona's 1st District: $1.95 million on Phoenix broadcast in Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's district. Republicans will select their nominee in an Aug. 26 primary. (Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Tilts Democrat )