Bridget Bowman

Democrats Complete Sweep of Orange County, Once a GOP Haven
Nearly two weeks after Election Day, Democrats won their fourth Republican-held seat there

With Democrat Gil Cisneros’ victory in California’s 39th District, Democrats have defeated all four Republicans in Orange County, an area former President Ronald Reagan once referred to as the place “where the good Republicans go before they die.”

Cisneros, a Navy veteran and lottery winner, defeated former GOP state Assemblywoman Young Kim in the increasingly diverse 39th District. He had garnered 50.8 percent of the vote compared to Kim’s 49.2 percent when the Associated Press called the race nearly two weeks after Election Day. He won by roughly 3,500 votes.

The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On
A combination of individual brands and attacks on Democratic challengers helped them win

House Republicans in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016 were largely washed away in the Democratic wave last week — but three managed to hang on.

GOP Reps. John Katko of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and David Valadao all won their races on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press (though Valadao’s margin has narrowed with votes still being counted).

At the Races: The Wave Is Still Coming
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

Democrats Look for New DCCC Chair to Protect Majority
For the first time, competitive race will decide next head of campaign arm

For the first time, House Democrats are competing in an open race to lead the party’s campaign arm next cycle. And the new leader’s responsibilities will include something no predecessor has faced in a decade: protecting their chamber majority.

The race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is currently a four-way contest between Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, and Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene of Washington. The DCCC chairmanship was an appointed position until 2016, after Democratic losses led to demands for changes at the committee. Current DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is running for assistant Democratic leader.

Could Texas Be a 2020 House Battleground?
Some House races in the Lone Star State were closer than expected

Texas Democrats had their best election in over a decade last week when they flipped at least two Republican-held House seats. But closer margins in other races have boosted party hopes of future gains in the once deep-red Lone Star State.

“What it shows us moving forward is that we have congressional battlegrounds in Texas,” said Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “As we move into the election cycle in 2020, it’s very clear now that Texas is in play.”

Following GOP Losses, Emmer Poised to be Next NRCC Chairman
Minnesota Republican hasn’t yet laid out specific priorities to win back House

Less than a week after losing over 30 seats in the House, the chamber’s Republicans have coalesced around the next person to lead their campaign committee.

Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer is running unopposed Wednesday to be the next chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, replacing Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers. Along with California Rep. Mimi Walters, whose race has not yet been called, Emmer was one of two deputy NRCC chairs during the 2018 cycle.

Democrats Pick Up Another California Seat With Denham’s Loss
AP calls Central Valley race for Josh Harder, one week after Election Day

Rep. Jeff Denham has become the 24th House Republican to lose re-election this year, falling to Democrat Josh Harder in California’s 10th District one week after Election Day.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Harder led the four-term incumbent 51 percent to 49 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Kyrsten Sinema Becomes First Female Senator Elected From Arizona
She’s also the first Democrat to win an Arizona Senate election in 30 years

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has made history by becoming the first woman elected to represent Arizona in the Senate. She defeated Republican Rep. Martha McSally after several days of ballot counting.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Sinema led McSally 50 percent to 48 percent when The Associated Press called the race six days after Election Day.

The Midterms' Most Memorable Moments
Political Theater, Episode 44

Every campaign season is defined by moments when the big picture starts to come into focus. A parade outside Kansas City where Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder is confronted about gun violence. A pizza parlor in New Jersey becomes an overflow town hall. Roll Call politics reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman and elections analyst Nathan Gonzales discuss such moments during the 2018 midterms, as well as how to address the dreaded election hangover we’re all suffering.

 

Two Washington State Democrats to Face Off for DCCC Chair
Denny Heck and Suzan Delbene announced bids Wednesday

Two Washington state Democrats with crucial roles in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this year are facing off to lead the House Democrats’ campaign arm next cycle.

Both Reps. Denny Heck and Suzan DelBene on Wednesday announced bids to lead the committee. The current chairman, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, is expected to run for a different leadership position.

DCCC Credits Large Battlefield in Securing Majority
Democrats had 101 targets in 2018

Democrats won back the House largely due to victories in the suburbs, but they also said their expansive target list led to gains in unlikely places.

Voters in suburban districts tend to be wealthier and better educated, and largely backed Democrats on Tuesday — even in districts with strong GOP incumbents.

The Candidates Mattered. But Opinions About Trump Mattered More
Different outcomes in the House and Senate mostly about the president

Both parties had something to celebrate after Tuesday’s midterm elections, depending on where they looked. But that split outcome — with Democrats winning the House, and Republicans gaining seats in the Senate — underscores the extent to which opinions about President Donald Trump shape today’s politics.

Republicans largely prevailed at the Senate level because they were running in red states where President Donald Trump performed well in 2016. The House saw the opposite outcome, but the reason was the same. Republicans largely struggled because they were running in places where Trump was unpopular.

Rosen’s Win in Nevada One Bright Spot for Senate Democrats
Silver State is so far the first Senate seat Democrats have flipped

Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen won the Nevada Senate race Tuesday, defeating GOP Sen. Dean Heller in one of the most hotly contested races of the cycle. Rosen’s victory was a rare piece of good news for Democrats on a night when Republicans decisively retained control of the chamber.

With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Rosen led Heller 51 percent to 45 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Democrats Score Oklahoma Upset Despite Deep-Red Struggles
Kendra Horn pulled off a surprise victory in Oklahoma City-anchored district

As Democrats struggled in deep red districts Tuesday night, Kendra Horn pulled off a surprise upset in Oklahoma. She defeated Republican Rep. Steve Russell in the 5th District, which includes Oklahoma City.

President Donald Trump won Russell’s district by nearly 14 points in 2016, and the race wasn’t considered a potential Democratic pickup. Russell, who was first elected in 2014, did not communicate to the National Republican Congressional Committee that he was in any trouble, according to a source with knowledge of the conversations.

Hawley Beats McCaskill in Missouri After Stressing Supreme Court Fight
Republicans believe Kavanaugh battle helped energize their voters

Republican challenger Josh Hawley defeated incumbent Claire McCaskill in the Missouri Senate race, perhaps solidifying the state’s move to the right and proving that the Supreme Court battle was an effective GOP campaign message.

With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Hawley led McCaskill 53 percent to 44 percent, according to The Associated Press.

Democrats Take Control of the House With Victories in the Suburbs
Republicans struggled in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016

Democrats are poised to take over the House after notching key victories in the suburbs.

NBC, ABC News and CNN projected Democrats would take control of the chamber even as the outcome in number of competitive races remains unclear. But early Democratic victories signaled a tough night for Republicans, especially in the 25 GOP-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Heidi Heitkamp’s Loss Cements North Dakota’s Shift to the Right
Republican victor Kevin Cramer closely tied himself to Trump

Kevin Cramer unseated Heidi Heitkamp in the North Dakota Senate race, defeating the last remaining Democrat to hold statewide office.

With 68 percent of precincts reporting, Cramer led Heitkamp 58 percent to 42 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Cruz Defeats O’Rourke, Dashing Democratic Hopes in Texas
Democrat had shattered fundraising records in race that captured national attention

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won a second term Tuesday night, beating back a spirited challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke in one of the most closely watched contests of the cycle.

Cruz’s victory comes after O’Rourke had shattered fundraising records in his high-profile challenge, and could dampen Democratic hopes that the Lonestar State is shifting in their direction.

5 Reasons Why Democrats Are Poised to Take Over the House
Money, Trump and a few unexpected breaks have boosted party’s chances

At the start of this election cycle, historical trends suggested Democrats were likely to make gains in the House. Two years later, they appear to be on the verge of taking over the chamber. A few surprising developments helped them get there.

While President Donald Trump has attempted to deflect blame should Republicans lose House control Tuesday, he has certainly been a factor in this year’s contests. That’s typical for midterm elections — the president’s party has lost an average of 33 seats in 18 of the last 20 midterms.

How the ‘No Corporate PAC’ Pledge Caught Fire
Three-quarters of Democratic challengers in top races are rejecting corporate PAC money

Andy Kim never expected to run for the House. Certainly not against the 19th wealthiest member of Congress.

When he was first considering a bid for New Jersey’s 3rd District, the former national security official didn’t like the questions corporate political action committees wanted candidates to answer. Already troubled by money in politics, Kim decided to reject corporate PAC money.