The road to winning – or retaining — the House majority likely runs through competitive districts in California, and the top-two “jungle” primary in June is causing headaches for Republicans and Democrats, who see its potential to tilt the playing field.
In the Golden State, the top two primary vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party. And in several targeted Republican House districts, Democrats have enough viable candidates to risk fracturing the vote and allowing two Republicans to advance to the general election, losing any opportunity to flip critical seats.
At the same time, however, some Republicans concede they are unlikely to field a candidate for U.S. Senate and are in danger of missing the gubernatorial general election ballot as well, which would leave both races at the top of the ballot entirely Democratic, thus potentially diminishing Republican voter turnout in the fall.
CANONSBURG, Pa. – Democrats outperformed expectations in a string of House special elections in 2017, making GOP stronghold districts competitive and pointing to narrow losses in heavily Republican areas as signs of a potential wave election this fall. But each time, they failed to actually turn the seat blue.
Conor Lamb may have changed that.
ELIZABETH, Pa. – Donald Trump Jr. had a simple message for voters at a local volunteer fire department here the day before a special House election: His father may not be on the ballot Tuesday, but the stakes for President Trump couldn’t be higher.
“Just because DJT isn’t on this ticket, just because it’s a special election, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter,” Trump Jr. told the crowded hall, using the president’s initials. He later repeated himself for emphasis.
Democrats credited turnout and engagement from diverse coalitions for statewide election wins this year, but chief among these reasons was the increased participation and a large shift in support from a demographic that bedeviled the party last year: millennials.
Though Hillary Clinton won more young voters than President Trump, she underperformed with the group compared to President Obama’s elections, including lower-than-expected support in key swing states that helped Trump win. A year later, in a large part in response to Trump’s victory, surging youth turnout helped Democrats win key statewide races, and the party is counting on similar results in next year’s midterms.
Though Republicans hailed Wednesday’s tax bill passage as their key legislative achievement this year, the Senate GOP has consistently succeeded in a much more low-profile — but consequential — arena: confirming judges.
And while Democrats rallied grassroots activists in Washington and around the country against the tax vote and the Obamacare repeal effort before it, the judicial success of the Republican Senate has drawn comparative silence from progressive opposition to President Trump.
WILMINGTON, Ohio — Steve Stivers may have one of the most difficult jobs in politics.
The Ohio congressman, chairman of House Republicans’ campaign committee, is tasked with leading his colleagues through a volatile midterm election under a president with historically low approval ratings while facing a frustrated but energized Democratic opposition. What’s more, they’re up against an ominous historical trend of the party in power suffering major losses two years into new administrations.
The hard-charging Ohioan, a four-term member who was recently promoted to brigadier general of the state National Guard, is trying to equal the opposition’s energy with his own enthusiasm. In an interview here in his district last week, Stivers praised the success of his predecessor, Rep. Greg Walden, who helped Republicans expand their majority to its largest size since the Great Depression.
In more than a dozen of the House districts Democrats plan to target next year, candidates who lost in 2016 are again throwing their hats into the ring, hoping an energized base and favorable national mood will swing previously unreachable races in their favor.
Some of those candidates lost narrowly to Republican incumbents last year, including several in districts that voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, while others lost by wider margins in districts that appear more favorable this cycle.
But they aren’t the only ones who have noticed the potentially favorable midterm environment. In most cases, Democrats eyeing rematches will have to contend with crowded primaries with as many as half a dozen or more candidates hoping to unseat a GOP member. It’s a source of frustration for some: They may face an easier road in the general election, but it will take a much more competitive primary to get that far.
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald Trump campaigned at a packed and raucous arena here Monday night, rallying the same supporters who gave him his first political victory in the primary nine months ago, setting him on the path that ends Tuesday night with either a come-from-behind victory, or a third consecutive Republican presidential defeat that would leave the party’s future in question.
Senate Republicans are bullish about the 2018 midterms as they target Democrats running for re-election in states carried by President Trump. But facing a turbulent political environment and seasoned Democrats who have won tough races before, some Republicans are growing concerned about their recruitment progress, anxious that potential GOP challengers aren’t stepping up to run in top-tier races.
Most Republicans caution patience, arguing it’s still early in the cycle and pointing out they have potential candidates in most of the races expected to be focal points next year. But others say that unless those potential candidates make their bids official soon, their prospects might not be as rosy as most believe.
Democrats are poised to gain seats in the House of Representatives this year, but with well over a dozen competitive races still viewed as tossups just one week before Election Day, the extent of that gain — and whether Republicans can stem the bleeding and keep a strong grip on their majority — remains uncertain.
Democrats for months have hoped to nationalize races, tying Republicans down the ballot to Donald Trump and hoping a big loss by Trump could flip a significant number of seats. They saw gains early in October when Republican polling in swing districts fell after the release of the “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump boasted about making unwanted sexual advances on women — something that prompted more than a dozen Republicans to withdraw their support for the party’s nominee.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Sen. Marco Rubio stood behind Donald Trump this week, but he didn’t stand up with him.
The junior senator didn’t appear at any of the four rallies the GOP nominee held across the state. Dozens of other Republicans have withdrawn their support from Trump’s flagging campaign in the wake of a published video of him uttering lewd comments about women and saying he made unwanted sexual advances.
Rubio did not join those who fled the campaign, but in a tweet Friday, he did condemn Trump’s comments. In a statement Tuesday, Rubio said that while he had rejected Trump’s “offensive rhetoric and behavior” and wished there were “better choices for President,” he viewed Trump as the lesser of two evils.
PHILADELPHIA – Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two progressive senators who are among the most popular and well-regarded figures in the Democratic Party, are making their much-anticipated debuts on the campaign trail for Senate candidates by stumping for Katie McGinty, who is challenging incumbent Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.
The appearance of the two most popular Democratic figures outside of President Obama and Vice President Biden is a sign of how critical Pennsylvania will be in determining which party controls the Senate in 2017. But it’s also a sign that of all the Democrats challenging incumbent GOP senators this year, McGinty might need the most help.
Meanwhile, Portman has opened up a sizable lead in the Senate race over the last month and is outpacing Trump by double digits in the state.
Republicans point to Portman’s campaign as an exemplar of how to run a down-ballot race in 2016 and think he’s positioned himself to win whether or not Clinton carries the state.
Democrats counter that Portman’s numbers are inflated and the race will tighten in the coming weeks. With Republicans holding a slim four-seat majority in the Senate and defending a number of toss-up races, Ohio could prove critical in deciding which party has the majority in the upper chamber next year.