At the Races

Mitt Romney Announces Utah Senate Run
Onetime GOP presidential nominee will make a bid for Hatch’s open seat

Mitt Romney is running for Senate in Utah. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced Friday that he will run for Senate in Utah.

“I am running for United States Senate because in these trying times there is no better moment to bring Utah’s values to Washington,” Romney said in a statement. “Utah’s economic and political success is a model for our nation; I am ready to fight for this great state and advocate for solutions that improve the lives of Utahns.”

At the Races: A Not-So Golden Opportunity?
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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This week … Democrats fretted about primaries, Republicans were rethinking running for Senate, and some candidates got personal in ads.

Cramer Running for Senate
The congressman had originally said he wouldn’t run

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is running for Senate in North Dakota. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer is reversing course and running for Senate in North Dakota after all, according to multiple media reports and an announcement notice posted on his campaign’s Facebook page.

The name of his campaign’s Facebook page, linked to on his congressional campaign website, is now titled, “Kevin Cramer for US Senate.” The page also links to a Friday event in Bismarck titled “Cramer for Senate Announcement & Rally.” A GOP strategist confirmd Cramer is running.

Nolan’s Former Campaign Manager Running for Minnesota’s 8th District
Joe Radinovich joins emerging DFL field

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan is not running for re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan’s decision not to seek re-election has shaken up the race in one of the GOP’s top pickup opportunities, with the Democratic-Farmer-Labor field just beginning to take shape.

Former state Rep. Joe Radinovich, Nolan’s 2016 campaign manager, is getting into the race Thursday.

California Democrats Hope to Mitigate Primary Problem
Some lawmakers are concerned they have too many Democrats running

Sam Jammal is one of several Democrats running to replace Rep. Ed Royce in California’s 39th District. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democrats know they have a primary problem. 

“Put it this way,” Rep. Raul Ruiz said. “It’s part of my prayers.”

DCCC Chairman Coy on Spending in PA Special Election
Luján said the committee is monitoring the race

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., leads the DCCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján remains noncommittal on whether Democrats will spend more resources ahead of the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District.

Democrat Conor Lamb will face GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone in the March 13 election in a district that President Donald Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016. The seat was vacated by GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned amid allegations the anti-abortion rights congressman encouraged his mistress to pursue an abortion.

Cramer Reverses Course, Reconsiders North Dakota Senate Run
GOP lawmaker expects to make a decision over the weekend

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is reconsidering running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer is reconsidering running for Senate in North Dakota, despite previously saying he would run for re-election to the House. Cramer said he expects to make a final decision by the end of the weekend.

Cramer said Tuesday night that he had received encouragement from people in D.C. and in North Dakota to reconsider his decision not to run. He did not directly answer a question as to whether President Donald Trump was personally encouraging him to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Corker ‘Listening’ to Encouragement to Reconsider Senate Race
Blackburn campaign blasts ‘ego-driven, tired old men’

A spokesperson for Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker confirmed he’s been “encouraged” to rethink his decision to retire at the end of this term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A spokesperson for Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker confirmed Tuesday night the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman is “listening” to pleas to reconsider his decision not to seek a third term.

“In recent days, people across Tennessee have reached out to Senator Corker with concerns about the outcome of this election because they believe it could determine control of the Senate and the future of our agenda,” spokeswoman Micah Johnson said in a statement.

Democratic Candidates Open Up About Sexual Abuse in Campaign Videos
Sol Flores and Mary Barzee Flores have made their stories part of their campaign messages

Sol Flores, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in Illinois’ 4th District, talks in a campaign ad about being sexually assaulted as a child. (Screenshot of Sol Flores ad)

When Sol Flores sat down with her campaign team to talk through the messaging of her story, she envisioned the Chicago apartment where she grew up, specifically her bedroom. 

The Illinois Democrat told her team about the man who lived with her family when she was 11 years old, who would come into her bedroom at night — sometimes touching himself, sometimes touching her. 

Conservative Group Targets McCaskill, Donnelly on Tax Vote
Americans for Prosperity has pledged $20 million to support the tax law

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is the target of a new ad on the tax overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 10:41 a.m. | The conservative group Americans for Prosperity is launching a multi-million dollar ad campaign Monday aimed at two vulnerable Senate Democrats over their vote against a bill overhauling the tax code. 

Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch, is dedicating $4 million  for television and digital ads targeting Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Both senators are running for re-election in states that President Donald Trump won by wide margins in 2016. 

Martha McKenna Returns to DSCC to Lead Independent Expenditure Program
In 2012, she became the first woman to lead a Senate committee’s IE arm

Democratic campaign consultant Martha McKenna, seen here in her Baltimore dining room in 2015, will return to the DSCC as IE director. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic strategist Martha McKenna is returning to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to lead its independent expenditure efforts for 2018.

McKenna held the role for the 2012 cycle, when she was the first woman to head a Senate committee’s IE arm, and again for the 2014 cycle. She served as political director for the DSCC for the 2008 and 2010 cycles. Before that, she spent a decade at EMILY’s List.

Jenkins Leads Morrisey in Internal Poll of West Virginia Primary
Republicans locked in competitive May 8 primary to take on Manchin

West Virginia Rep. Evan Jenkins led the Republican Senate primary field  in a poll commissioned by his campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

West Virginia Rep. Evan Jenkins led the primary field for the Republican nomination for Senate in an automated poll conducted earlier this month for his campaign.

Jenkins was ahead of his closest opponent, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, 33 percent to 25 percent among GOP primary voters in the six-way matchup, results of which were obtained first by Roll Call.

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan Won’t Seek Re-Election
8th District is top Republican target

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan will not run for re-election in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan announced Friday he won’t run for re-election, opening up a top targeted seat for Republicans in 2018.

“There is a time and a purpose for everything and now is the time for me to pass the baton to the next generation,” Nolan said in a statement. 

Tennessee’s Phil Roe Running for Sixth Term
Veterans Affairs Chairman had been undecided earlier this week

Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe is running for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tennessee GOP Rep. Phil Roe announced on Thursday’s he’s running for a sixth term in November. 

The chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee was undecided earlier this week, citing family considerations as a reason he could opt against re-election. Roe could have been the 10th committee chairman to call it quits.

At the Races: Everything's Bigger In Texas
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Life comes at you fast. GOP Rep. John Culberson is one of the Democratic targets in Texas. Here Culberson embraces new technology at President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress in 2009. The photo caption in our archives said the congressman was using “an internet-enabled camera to stream live video” and he “was also sending updates to twitter.com from the House floor." (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Email us with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman