campaigns

Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades
Powerful chairwoman to face 32-year-old newcomer in Democratic contest

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, an 82-year-old incumbent who was first elected in 1988, speaks to reporters in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The year was 1988. Def Leppard topped the charts and stonewashed jeans were all the rage. It was also the last time powerful House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey faced a primary challenge.

That’s all changed now with the decision by Mondaire Jones, a former Obama administration Justice Department staffer and attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department, to challenge Lowey in next June’s primary. The 32-year-old political novice plans to take on the New York Democratic incumbent over her positions on issues ranging from climate change to student debt forgiveness to oversight of the Trump administration.

Katko challenger Dana Balter accepted campaign salary too early, FEC says
Democrat pledges to repay the $6,720 she improperly withdrew

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., walks up the House steps for votes in the Capitol in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A two-time Democratic challenger to New York Rep. John Katko has been dinged for a campaign finance error early on in her campaign.

Dana Balter improperly accepted a salary paid out by her campaign before campaign finance rules permit that sort of arrangement, federal regulators wrote in a letter. 

GOP will need more than promoting their preferred opponent to affect Democratic primaries
Republicans appear to be taking a page from Democrat Claire McCaskill’s winning 2012 Senate campaign

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill ran ads during her 2012 reelection campaign that called Republican Todd Akin’s stances too conservative. But the spots were designed to help him win the GOP nomination because she considered him a weaker challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Democratic state senator bragged this week about drawing the attention of national Republicans in the competitive race for U.S. Senate in North Carolina. But Erica Smith shouldn’t wear the attacks as a badge of honor. And if Republicans really want to make an impact, they’re going to have to spend a lot more money.

“The @NRSC has purchased a billboard attacking me in Raleigh — calling me ‘too liberal,’” Smith tweeted Monday, referring to the National Republican Senatorial Committee effort. “I am the only candidate that they are spending money against — it shows you who @ThomTillis is worried about. Can’t attack @CalforNC bc no one knows what he stands for.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial pushed to 2020
California Republican accused of misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds will go to court just weeks before primary

The trial of California Rep. Duncan Hunter is now scheduled to begin Jan. 14, 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Duncan Hunter’s trial on charges that he improperly spent hundreds of thousands in campaign funds on lavish vacations, golf outings and copious amounts of alcohol has been moved to Jan. 14.

The California Republican’s trial was originally scheduled to start Sept. 10.

Trump campaign: Rep. Joaquin Castro inciting violence by publicizing donors
Julián Castro’s twin brother tweeted names of Trump donors in aftermath of mass shootings

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s campaign, under fire for depictions of Latin American immigrants that were apparently appropriated by the accused mass shooter in El Paso, Texas, blasted back at Rep. Joaquin Castro on Tuesday for posting some names of the president’s campaign contributors on Twitter. 

“Democrats want to talk about inciting violence? This naming of private citizens and their employers is reckless and irresponsible,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. “He is endangering the safety of people he is supposed to be representing.”

Conservative judicial group is top donor to GOP state elections arm
Judicial Crisis Network previously spent millions to support Trump’s Supreme Court nominees

The Judicial Crisis Network spent millions to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the face of vocal protest like this one in September 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The GOP senator who hasn’t raised any campaign money so far
Some expect Shelby to not run for reelection in 2022

Alabama GOP Sen. Richard C. Shelby’s campaign hasn’t received any contributions since he won his current term in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby has raised no money at all from individuals or PACs for his personal campaign account since he won his last election in 2016, which could fuel speculation that the 85-year-old is serving his last term.

Shelby’s campaign account still holds the nearly $10 million that was left unspent after he won his sixth term by nearly 30 points.

Rep. Davis operative faked student reporter alias to join opponent’s press call
Illinois GOP congressman has had previous issues with campaign staffer crashing opponent’s events

Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis could face a rematch next year with Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Aug. 1, 2019, 1:36 p.m. | An unpaid political operative working for Rep. Rodney Davis pretended to be a student reporter for a local university newspaper to join a press call hosted by one of the Illinois Republican’s opponents, Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

Nick Klitzing, a former executive director of the Illinois GOP and campaign staffer for former Gov. Bruce Rauner, created the alias “Jim Sherman,” a (nonexistent) student journalist from the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, in order to join the call held last Wednesday, July 17, Central Illinois CBS affiliate WCIA reported.

Rep. Ross Spano still hasn’t addressed possibly illegal fundraising debts
Florida Republican’s campaign is still wrangling with possibly illegal fundraising debts from his 2018 election bid

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., makes his way to the Capitol for the last votes of the week on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ross Spano’s campaign is still wrangling with possibly illegal fundraising debts from his 2018 election bid, more than nine months after the inconsistency was first reported.

The Florida Republican’s second-quarter Federal Elections Commission report has him with $160,428 cash on hand after raising more than $375,000 so far this year — but still $176,857 in debt stemming from a loan he personally contributed to his campaign in the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterms.

The next Joe Crowley? Not us, these high-profile Democrats say
List of progressive primary challengers keeps growing

Massachusetts Rep. Richard E. Neal is the latest longtime Democratic incumbent to get a progressive primary challenger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress who have been living for months with the threat of primary challenges are getting their first sense of actual danger, with a string of progressive candidates announcing campaigns in recent weeks against some of the most entrenched and high-profile members.

Targets include House Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, who has represented Western Massachusetts since 1989. His challenger, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, launched a much-anticipated campaign Monday.