Simone Pathé

Mark Sanford ends his primary challenge to President Trump
Two other Republicans are still challenging Trump for the nomination

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday — just two months after his campaign began. 

“I am suspending my race for the Presidency because impeachment has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now,” Sanford said in a statement. He made the announcement at a news conference at the New Hampshire Statehouse. 

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is running for late husband’s House seat
Maryland Democrat will undergo a preventative double mastectomy on Friday

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, is running for the Democratic nomination to replace him in Maryland’s 7th District.

Rockeymoore Cummings resigned Monday night as chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party before announcing her candidacy on MSNBC ahead of a formal campaign kickoff Tuesday in Baltimore. Elijah Cummings was chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee when he died last month.

Democrats lean into 2019 victories to build case for 2020
But next year's reality in red states may be more complicated

The day after a Democrat declared victory in the Kentucky governor’s race and Virginia voters gave full control of state government to the party’s legislative candidates, national Democrats were eager to spin those victories as a sign of good things to come in 2020.

But the reality in some places, especially longtime red areas, is more complicated.

Indiana’s Peter Visclosky won't run for reelection in 2020
18-term congressman will leave behind a safe Democratic seat

Indiana Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky won’t run for a 19th term in 2020, he announced Wednesday — exactly 35 years after the day he first won election to the House. 

“For my entire career I have worked to build support for our domestic steel industry and organized labor, secure investments in transformational projects and improve our quality of place to benefit the only place I have ever called home,” Visclosky said in a statement.

Parker Poling’s job: Help win back the House for Republicans
As NRCC executive director she’s tasked with helping GOP pick up 19 seats needed to take back speaker’s gavel

It was 2015 and Parker Poling was going all out to persuade fellow Republicans to support a top priority of President Barack Obama, a Democrat.

That sounds improbable, but at the time she was chief of staff to North Carolina Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, who was the chief deputy whip for the GOP majority. Republican leaders were trying to persuade skeptical lawmakers to give Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals.

The most vulnerable 2020 House and Senate incumbents, explained
Political Theater, Episode 99

One year out from Election Day 2020 and Senate Republicans and House Democrats find themselves in parallel universes. The GOP is on defense in Senate races, where more Republicans are on the ballot, and it’s the opposite in the House, where many Democrats who won in hostile territory last year find themselves in tough races. CQ Roll Call’s campaign team, Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin, run through the 10 most vulnerable members of both the House and Senate.

Show Notes:

The 10 most vulnerable senators in 2020: Republicans play defense
2 GOP senators must win in states that went for Hillary Clinton in ’16

Although most competitive Senate races in 2020 involve Republicans defending their seats, it’s a Democratic senator who tops the list of the most vulnerable incumbents in the chamber one year out from Election Day.

Alabama’s Doug Jones is running for a full Senate term after winning a special election in 2017, and he faces the difficult task of overcoming the partisan dynamics of a deeply Republican state. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters is the other Democrat running in a state that President Donald Trump won in 2016, but he is further down the list, since Trump won the Wolverine State by a much smaller margin.

The 10 most vulnerable House members in 2020: Democrats dominate
Majority on defense after significant gains in last year’s midterms

One year out from the 2020 elections, the most vulnerable member of the House is the Oklahoma Democrat whose upset win surprised even astute politicos last fall. She is joined by a California Republican who is under indictment and numerous Democrats running in districts President Donald Trump easily won in 2016.

Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to win control of the House, and they see their path back to the majority running through so-called Trump districts that slipped from the party’s grasp in the midterms. Whether they succeed depends on next year’s political climate and the strength of their candidates. In some districts, the GOP has worked hard to recruit more diverse challengers, especially after Democrats’ success electing women last year.

Meet the two Democrats who broke with their party on impeachment
Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew represent districts Trump carried by very different margins

Two Democrats in competitive districts broke with their party on Thursday’s impeachment resolution in the House — a reminder of how complicated the politics of impeachment may be in seats in conservative parts of the country that Democrats want to hold in 2020.

Minnesota’s Collin C. Peterson and New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew were the only two House Democrats to vote against the resolution, which lays out procedures that will govern the public portion of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. It was adopted 232-196 without any Republican support.

There’s no new map yet, but Democrats see opportunity in North Carolina
State court has urged Legislature to start drawing new congressional map for 2020

The fundraising email Tuesday from North Carolina Democrat Scott Cooper put it simply. “This news changes everything,” the subject line read.

Cooper, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel, was referring to a court order Monday from three state judges that blocked using the existing congressional map — long challenged as a partisan gerrymander — in 2020. 

North Carolina court halts use of current congressional map for 2020
Preliminary injunction could delay March congressional primaries

A three-judge panel in North Carolina has ordered the state not to use the current congressional districts for the 2020 elections while the lawsuit against them proceeds. 

The preliminary injunction could delay the state’s March 3 congressional primaries, setting up a potentially messy primary season in a politically competitive state up and down the ballot in 2020.

Maryland governor sets special election date for Cummings' seat
7th District special primary will be in February, followed by April general election

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has set a Feb. 4 special election primary to replace the late Elijah E. Cummings in the 7th District. 

Hogan issued the proclamation Monday after the late congressman, who died earlier this month at the age of 68, was memorialized on Capitol Hill and in Baltimore last week.

Trump has GOP critics in Congress — but many of them aren't sticking around
What happens to these critical voices after they leave?

While there has been significant Republican criticism on Capitol Hill of President Donald Trump’s actions toward Syria and the Kurdish people there, overall the GOP has become synonymous with support for Trump.

The few members of Congress who have strongly and consistently criticized the president are not sticking around past 2020, raising questions about what kind of credibility their voices will have with their peers, what platform they’ll have outside of Congress, and how the GOP will function in a post-Trump world.

DCCC again asks NRCC to pledge not to use hacked materials
Bustos resending a letter first sent to Emmer six months ago

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is renewing a request to its Republican counterpart that both parties pledge not to use hacked materials in the 2020 campaign.

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois first sent such a letter to National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Tom Emmer in April. Six months later, she’s resending the letter, following House passage — largely along party lines — of an election security bill this week.

PAC trying to boost number of Republican women in House backs 11 candidates
Picks by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik’s group could sway like-minded donors to give

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik has made it her mission to increase the number of Republican women in the House by playing in primaries. On Tuesday, she’s unveiling the first 11 candidates who have the full backing of her recently rebranded leadership PAC.

Stefanik will announce her slate of “Rising Star” candidates, obtained first by CQ Roll Call, at the House GOP’s conference meeting Tuesday morning.

Who could succeed Elijah Cummings in Congress?
Cummings' widow, the Maryland Democratic Party chair, may be interested

The death Thursday of Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will unleash a crowded Democratic primary for a yet-to-be-set special election in the Baltimore-based 7th District.

Maryland Democratic Party chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the wife of the late congressman, could clear the field if she’s interested. She briefly ran for governor last cycle and was elected state party chair in December.

House Republicans break 2-to-1 against Trump on withdrawal of Kurd support
Veterans who fought alongside them praise Kurds as allies who ‘had our back’

By a 2-to-1 margin, House Republicans on Wednesday broke with President Donald Trump and opposed his decision to pull back U.S. forces in Syria, a move that exposed Kurdish fighters to attack from Turkey.

A resolution opposing the move passed 354 to 60, with 129 Republicans siding with the unanimous Democrats and 60 opposed. It was a noteworthy rebuke of Trump from Republicans who have long been wary of crossing the president.

Fundraising update: Some House freshmen raising more than embattled senators
Democrats continuing to tap large groups of small donors

More than a year out from the 2020 elections, new disclosures show House members continue to set the pace for congressional fundraising, with several freshmen raising nearly as much as or more than some of the most vulnerable GOP senators and their Democratic challengers.

That’s especially true of House Democratic freshmen, some of whom are continuing a trend started last year when, as candidates, they raised more in the quarters leading up to Election Day than Senate candidates.

How Klobuchar won where other Democrats haven’t
Three-term Minnesota senator and 2020 hopeful leaned into family’s Iron Range roots

Amy Klobuchar didn’t miss a beat.

With a two-word retort, she turned what was meant to be an insult into a compliment.

This Minnesota Democrat supports an impeachment inquiry — but don’t expect him to talk about it
Dan Feehan is making a second bid for a district Trump won by 15 points

Dan Feehan, the Democrat who lost his bid for Minnesota’s 1st District congressional seat by less than half a percentage point,  is back for a rematch against GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn.

The southern Minnesota district, which is heavily agricultural and rural, has become tough terrain for Democrats. The district backed President Donald Trump by 15 points in 2016, and it is one of two Minnesota seats Republicans flipped last fall.