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A Mississippi Senate Flip? Probably Not
Absent reliable data, Democratic chances there should be taken with skepticism

Appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., is in the Mississippi Senate runoff with former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, a Democrat. Is the race close? That depends on your definition of close, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Alabama Democrat Doug Jones demonstrated last year that candidates matter and that on the rarest occasions — such as when the majority party’s nominee is accused of sexual misconduct by many women — voters in federal races veer from their partisan loyalties. But Jones’s win was the exception, not the rule, and it shouldn’t obscure the difficulty Mississippi Democratic Senate hopeful Mike Espy faces in a runoff in one of the most Republican and conservative states in the entire country.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the Mississippi Senate runoff “has turned into an unexpectedly competitive contest.” That’s hard to challenge, since expectations are a matter of opinion, as is competitiveness. But until I see hard evidence that Democrats have a realistic shot at the seat, count me as skeptical that the Mississippi seat is in play.

Cue the ‘Jaws’ Soundtrack, Pelosi Is Hunting for Votes
California Democrat has long displayed a knack for winning tough votes

When it comes to counting votes in Congress, Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly shown she has few equals, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — When Nancy Pelosi’s supporters talk about her strengths for the job of speaker, “counting votes” is usually right at the top of the list. But counting hardly describes the process that Pelosi has deployed for the last 16 years as the Democratic leader in the House to pass more landmark pieces of legislation than any other sitting member of Congress.

Part kindly godmother (think baby gifts and handwritten notes), part mentor, part shark, part party boss, Pelosi’s uncanny ability to move legislation may be the most important, yet least discussed, aspect of the Democrats’ internal debate about who should lead them into the future.

Nevada Is a ‘Blue State’ Thanks to Harry Reid, Democrats Say
Former Senate majority leader’s political machine fully functioning

Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., right, hugs his successor, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., during Reid’s portrait unveiling ceremony in December 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be retired, but he is not gone from politics, especially in Nevada, where the Democratic operation he built has turned the state blue.

With the help of the state party infrastructure Reid developed, Democrats in the midterm elections on Nov. 6 defeated GOP Sen. Dean Heller, took back the governor’s mansion, and swept new candidates into the statehouse.

These Democrats Swore Off PACs. But Corporate Lobbyists Have a Plan
K Street tries some workarounds to reach the 32 incoming lawmakers who said ‘no’ to corporate cash

Abigail Spanberger is one of 32 incoming new members who refused to accept corporate PAC money. Lobbyists think they can reach these lawmakers in other ways. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The anti-PAC class cometh, but K Street has a backup plan.

Lobbyists for business interests say they’re implementing workarounds to get to know the 32 incoming freshman Democratic House members who have sworn off corporate political action committee dollars.

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

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is one of four candidates competing to lead the DCCC next cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

Election in the Rearview, Iowa Governor Gives Steve King an Ultimatum
Kim Reynolds joined King for a campaign rally on the eve of Election Day

A conservative publication recently released audio recording of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King referring to immigrants as “dirt.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Days after a narrowly securing her seat, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued her first harsh words for Rep. Steve King — who has been denounced by anti-racism activists and Jewish congregations in Iowa for his sympathies to white nationalists — in the form of an ultimatum. 

“I think that Steve King needs to make a decision if he wants to represent the people and the values of the 4th District or do something else, and I think he needs to take a look at that,” the Republican governor said in a gaggle with reporters on Tuesday.

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

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, lost a Senate bid but came close to defeating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. ((Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.”

How House Majority PAC Helped Deliver a Democratic Majority
Super PAC led coordination efforts among Democratic IE groups

Charlie Kelly, the executive director of House Majority PAC, oversaw coordination among outside Democratic groups spending on House races this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the dog days of summer, before many Americans were tuning into the midterm elections, the leading Democratic super PAC dedicated to winning the House convened a giant meeting with dozens of outside groups.

That laid the foundation for an unprecedented coordination effort among Democratic independent expenditure groups that spent over $200 million in more than 70 House races, overwhelming Republicans and helping deliver a Democratic majority.

Sean Patrick Maloney Fourth Candidate to Enter DCCC Chair Race
N.Y. Democrat joins Bustos, DelBene and Heck in race for campaign chief

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., is running to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on Saturday became the fourth candidate to enter the race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee heading into the 2020 cycle. 

The position to head up the House Democrats’ campaign arm is quickly becoming the most coveted leadership slot, even though the party will be defending a number of seats in traditionally Republican districts in two years time. The current DCCC chairman, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján — coming off a strong midterm election that has seen the party pick up over 30 seats and take back the House — is running for assistant Democratic leader.

Women Won at the Ballot in Record Numbers. Here’s What’s Next
4 things we’ll watch as the ‘Year of the Woman’ matures

Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton watches election returns as campaign staffers yell out returns in the campaign's war room on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Historic wins for women in the midterm elections drove home the interpretation that 2018 was, indeed, the “Year of the Woman.” But it remains unknown whether women’s political capital will continue to rise.

The 101 women and counting who won House races face numerous obstacles to standing out in a divided Congress where seniority often plays more of a role in determining political power than success at the ballot box or legislative ingenuity.