DCCC

At the Races: The Ghost of Midterms Past
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.

This week … Some Republicans started worrying about retirements, Mainers have been recounting ballots faster than expected, and one Pelosi rebel faced a primary threat.

Bustos Announces DCCC Senior Staff, With New Female Executive Director
Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director in 2018

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is the new DCCC chairwoman.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Cheri Bustos, the new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman, announced her senior staff hires for the 2020 cycle Thursday. Her campaign manager Allison Jaslow will be the committee’s executive director. 

The DCCC is shifting to defense in 2020 after flipping 40 seats to take over the House. The committee will be tasked with protecting vulnerable new members, including 31 Democrats running for re-election in districts President Donald Trump won in 2016.

House Primaries on the Horizon for Democrats in 2020
Illinois’ Dan Lipinski is most likely to face intraparty challenge

Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., narrowly beat back a primary challenge earlier this year. He’s unlikely to go unchallenged in the next cycle, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We already know the Democratic presidential primary is going to be crowded and crazy as a few dozen candidates battle for the right to take on President Donald Trump.

But at least a handful of 2020 House primaries are also on the horizon for Democrats as the party fights over ideology and loyalty. And there’s still plenty of time for more intraparty races to take shape.

Another End-of-the-Year Winners & Losers Column
From Trump to Beto to the Red Sox, it has been, well, another year

President Donald Trump provided much fodder for Stu Rothenberg's annual end of the year winners and losers column. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Well, it’s time for another of my end-of-the-year winners and losers columns. I’ve titled it “Another End-of-the-Year Winners & Losers Column” just so you don’t miss the point.

As I have often done in the past, I’ll offer up a category with some nominees. Then I’ll give you my winner. If you disagree, please send your complaints to Nathan Gonzales of Inside Elections or Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report. Just don’t send them to me.

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. 

NRCC Hacked in 2018 By ‘Unknown Entity’
FBI investigating but no further comment

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee was hacked in 2018 by an “unknown entity,” a committee spokesman acknowledged Tuesday.

“The NRCC can confirm that it was the victim of a cyber intrusion by an unknown entity,” spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement. “The cybersecurity of the committee’s data is paramount, and upon learning of the intrusion, the NRCC immediately launched an internal investigation and notified the FBI, which is now investigating the matter.”

Sweet Smell of Succession, House Democrats Edition
The upward mobility of people who played the leadership game

From left, Rep.-elect Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, Reps. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, arrive Thursday for the House Democrats’ leadership elections in the Longworth Building. Bustos went on to win the race for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For those House Democrats frustrated that Nancy Pelosi won’t provide them (Seth Moulton, Kathleen Rice, Tim Ryan) with a succession plan that entails her leaving and someone, anyone else taking over, consider — wait for it — this week’s House Democratic Caucus leadership elections

Let’s back up for a second. 

Party Leadership Duped Voters With Millions for ‘Dubious’ Midterm Ads, Report Finds
Congress, FEC could close loopholes so voters know who is paying for campaigns, group says

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly elected members of Congress benefited from millions of dollars indirectly tied to party leaders in Washington. But much of that money was spent on ads that appeared to be from local groups, according to a study released Thursday.

The tactic is legal, thanks to campaign finance laws that have not been updated since the dawn of the digital age and Supreme Court rulings that have struck down limits on money in politics. But such strategies, laid out in the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center’s “Dodging Disclosure” report, represent the acceleration of “big money trends” that have given deep-pocketed groups outsize influence over elections and made the 2018 midterms the most expensive in American history, the report said.

Democrats Developing Strategy to Use Trump’s Words Against Him
While Trump’s MAGA rallies stir up his base, they also give Democrats fodder with moderates and independents

Dan Sena, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the party did extensive polling to determine its response to MAGA rallies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith notched a win Tuesday in her special election runoff by tacking closely to President Donald Trump and campaigning with him the day before voters went to the polls, reinvigorating a debate within the Democratic Party about the best way to respond to the president’s freewheeling “Make America Great Again” rallies. 

Hyde-Smith won by 8 points, even after many voters recoiled from her comment that she would be “on the front row” of a “public hanging” if invited by a supporter, and corporate donors publicly requested that she return their contributions. 

House Democrats Elect 4 Members to Run Messaging Arm
Cicilline will chair DPCC, and Lieu, Dingell and Cartwright will serve as co-chairs

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., will lead House Democrats’ messaging arm next Congress as chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline will again lead House Democrats’ messaging arm next year, after being elected Thursday by acclamation to a newly created top position at the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. 

Cicilline will be the new DPCC chair, ranking higher than three DPCC co-chairs the Democratic Caucus also elected Thursday. He had served as one of the three co-chairs for the 2018 cycle.