DSCC

Democrats not sweating contested Senate primaries — yet
Another Democrat jumped into the Texas Senate race on Monday

Democrats are gearing up for a competitive Senate primary in Texas to take on Republican incumbent John Cornyn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Another Democratic candidate jumped into the race Monday to take on Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn — the latest sign that Democrats could face multiple contested primaries for Senate seats they think they can win in 2020.

Despite the prospect of intramural warfare, Democrats say they aren’t fretting yet that the primaries could endanger efforts to win control of the Senate, which will likely go through Texas, Colorado and other states.

6 dividing lines from the first Democratic debate
10 of the Democratic presidential candidates faced off, with another 10 following tonight

Democratic presidential candidates, from left, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, former housing secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney take the stage during the first Democratic debate. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The first Democratic presidential debate offered the clearest picture yet of where candidates are divided — well, about half of them anyway.

The 24 candidates vying for the nomination to succeed President Donald Trump have been circling each other in the early primary states, releasing competing proposals and vying for attention. Ten of them stood side by side for the first time Wednesday night, the first of two debates this week televised on NBC.

Yarmuth says effort to unseat McConnell could be national marquee battle next year
Kentucky Democrat says challengers face long odds against Senate GOP leader, however

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath is one of Rep. John Yarmuth’s top picks to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year. (Jason Davis/Getty Images file photo)

Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth said Friday his two top picks to challenge Mitch McConnell in 2020 are Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot whose unsuccessful House race last year caught national attention, and sports radio talk show host Matt Jones.

Yarmuth admitted, however, that either candidate would face long odds in the Bluegrass State.

National Democrats take sides in Iowa Senate primary
DSCC and EMILY’s List back Theresa Greenfield in race to take on GOP Sen. Joni Ernst

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is running for a second term in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update 3:26 p.m. | National Democrats are taking sides in the primary to take on Republican Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa, with two groups and a presidential candidate backing Theresa Greenfield, who was an early favorite for a House race last year. 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List, which backs female Democrats who support abortion rights, both announced they were endorsing Greenfield in the race over two other Democrats who are running.

How Gephardt’s 2004 Iowa team boosted the Democratic Party
‘Stay classy,’ campaign veterans advise 2020 pack

Staffers of Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo., hand out signs and stickers for his presidential campaign at the 2003 Democratic National Committee winter meeting. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nearly 15 years ago, Bill Burton was driving Dick Gephardt around Iowa in an electric blue Saturn Vue named “Sue” with David Plouffe and John Lapp along for the ride.

The Missouri congressman’s 2004 presidential hopes eventually ended with a fourth-place finish in the state’s Democratic caucuses, but Gephardt’s Iowa campaign team would go on to boost Democrats at the state and federal level, and even elect a president four years later.

Shutdown kick-starts the 2020 congressional campaign
From the airwaves to inboxes, both parties are already in attack mode

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While it’s impossible to predict what issues will dominate the campaign trail 22 months out from Election Day, the partial government shutdown could be an early test for both parties’ 2020 messaging.

For Democrats, the shutdown reinforces their message that congressional Republicans are not willing to stand up to President Donald Trump — a theme that resonated last November among independent voters who helped deliver a Democratic House majority. Trump has insisted that any legislation to reopen the government include funding for a wall along the southern border, something most Democrats remain opposed to.

Contenders for McCain‘s Arizona Senate seat huddle with Sen. Chuck Schumer
Rep. Ruben Gallego and astronaut Mark Kelly are among the possible candidates

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., confirmed he has met with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ahead of a possible run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The three top Democratic Party contenders considering a challenge to appointed Republican Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona have met with Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the potential candidates confirmed Monday.

“He knows that Arizona is a swing state and he’s talking to a couple of candidates here in Arizona,” Rep. Ruben Gallego said in an interview with KTVK. “He’s very realistic about what we need to do to win this state and I made a good case for why I’d be the best candidate should I decide to run.”

STEM group launches ‘Draft Mark Kelly’ effort in Arizona
314 Action is urging former astronaut to challenge appointed Sen. McSally

Mark Kelly, the husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is being encouraged to run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

314 Action, a group that backs candidates with scientific backgrounds, is launching a new effort Wednesday to encourage former astronaut and Navy veteran Mark Kelly to run for Senate in Arizona. 

Kelly, who is married to former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is among a handful of potential Democratic challengers to appointed Sen. Martha McSally. The race is expected to be a top party target in 2020, and 314 Action is hoping a show of support will bolster Kelly’s decision to run.

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

Scott Fairchild Named DSCC Executive Director
Fairchild is incoming chairwoman Cortez Masto’s chief of staff

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., is the incoming DSCC chairwoman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is bringing her chief of staff over to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, naming Scott Fairchild on Friday as the committee’s new executive director.

Democrats are largely on offense in the 2020 cycle, but they will have to protect vulnerable incumbents including Alabama Sen. Doug Jones. Democrats are defending 12 seats while Republicans are defending 22.