At the Races

Trump and Biden Fire Up the Bases as Nevada Starts Early Voting
Biden makes his case for a Democratic Congress as Trump pushes GOP ticket

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Nevada Democrats’ early vote rally Saturday at the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAS VEGAS — The start of early voting in Nevada always brings out the stars, and 2018 was no exception.

President Donald Trump concluded a western swing Saturday morning with a rally in the remote city of Elko just after former Vice President Joe Biden fired up Democrats here in Las Vegas in the crucial Senate race.

Heller, Rosen Spar Over Trump in Nevada Senate Debate
Silver State race offers Democrats rare pickup opportunity this cycle

Supporters of Nevada Democratic Senate nominee Jacky Rosen wave signs outside KLASA-TV before the debate between Rosen and Republican Sen. Dean Heller. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAS VEGAS — Democrats running for Senate this year have walked a tightrope when it comes to President Donald Trump, but not in closely divided Nevada. Here, their Senate nominee, Rep. Jacky Rosen, more forcefully called for a check on the president Friday night, accusing Republican incumbent Dean Heller of being a “rubber stamp.”

“We need to put a check and balance on this president, something you’re not willing to do, senator,” Rosen said looking directly at Heller in their first and only debate of the campaign, hosted by KLSA-TV.

NRCC Cuts off Coffman in Colorado, Boosts Salazar in Florida
GOP’s prospects of holding Ros-Lehtinen’s seat appear to have improved

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., is facing a tough re-election in Colorado’s 6th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Republicans’ campaign arm on Friday cut its reservation in what’s long been one of the most competitive districts in the country and redirected that money, plus some more, to a Florida district that wasn’t expected to be seriously in play several months ago.

The National Republican Campaign Committee cut a $1 million reservation in Colorado’s 6th District, where GOP Rep. Mike Coffman is running for re-election. A perennial Democratic target, Coffman has proved elusive in past cycles. But running against veteran Jason Crow in a favorable national environment for Democrats, he looks to be in trouble this year. Inside Elections With Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilts Democratic

Jason Lewis Campaign Calls Release of Talk Show Tapes a ‘Hit Job’
CNN resurfaces more controversial comments Minnesota Republican made on talk show

Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis is running for a second term in the 2nd District and faces Democrat Angie Craig again. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Among those who weren’t surprised that old comments from Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis’ radio talk show days were published by CNN on Friday?

The freshman Republican congressman.

Trump Praises Gianforte for Physically Assaulting Reporter
‘Any guy who can do a body slam — he’s my guy,’ president says

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte is running for his first full term this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday praised Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte for physically assaulting a reporter on the eve of a special election last year.

Addressing a rally in Missoula on his third trip to Montana this year, Trump at first only alluded to the 2017 incident. “Never wrestle him,” he said after calling Gianforte onstage.

At the Races: 19 Days Left
Our weekly newsletter on the latest in congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. 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

Ohio Race Was Worth Millions to Outside Groups in August. Now? Not So Much
Some see opportunities for Democrats in Balderson/O’Connor rematch

Democrat Danny O’Connor says he hasn’t let up the pace of his campaign for Ohio’s 12th District since narrowly losing a special election in August. (Courtesy Danny O’Connor for Congress)

The national attention showered on this summer’s special election in Ohio’s 12th District may have moved elsewhere. And the font of spending from outside groups has all but dried up. But the losing Democratic nominee Danny O’Connor has not stopped running. 

That’s what Paul Beck, a longtime campaign observer, noticed when an O’Connor canvasser came knocking on the door of his Franklin County home: It was the candidate’s dad. 

Feinstein ‘Absolutely’ Supports Revisiting Kavanaugh Allegations, She Says in Debate
California Democrat was asked about further investigating sexual assault claims

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., faces fellow Democrat Kevin de Léon in the November general election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Wednesday she “absolutely” supports reopening an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. 

Kavanaugh was confirmed to the high court earlier this month following a heated battle over allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were in high school. House Democrats have said they might launch investigations into Kavanaugh should they take control of the chamber next month. 

Republicans With Fundraising Struggles Have Outside Help — For Now
GOP groups had previously warned lawmakers to step up their game

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., has been outraised by his Democratic opponent, Katie Hill, but Congressional Leadership Fund is still spending for him in California’s 25th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Scores of Republicans were once again outraised by their Democratic opponents in the recently concluded third quarter. And GOP outside groups now have to decide how to best allocate their finite resources with less than three weeks to go until Election Day. 

The two major Republican groups that spend in House races — the National Republican Congressional Committee and the House leadership-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund — have already begun to move money to different races, as have their Democratic counterparts, in an end-of-cycle process known as “triage.”

NewDemPAC Helps Candidates Navigate Trump, Raise Money
Political arm of New Democrat Coalition has endorsed 38 recruits

NewDemPAC has endorsed Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who’s challenging GOP Rep. Dave Brat in the 7th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With 38 endorsed candidates, the political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is hoping to play a significant role helping Democrats win the House majority next month, and in doing so, grow their own business-friendly caucus. 

The coalition’s political action committee, founded in 2005, got involved in races earlier than ever before this cycle — at times choosing favorites in competitive primaries. It also hired a political director for the first time and has been able to help raise more than $2 million for candidates from members and donors.

Democratic PAC Pulls Spending From Top Nebraska Pickup Opportunity
Money now going to support Iowa Democrat Cindy Axne

Nebraska Democrat Kara Eastman is challenging GOP Rep. Don Bacon in the 2nd District. (Courtesy Kara Eastman for Congress)

A super PAC tied to House Democratic leadership has pulled its television advertising funding from a competitive Nebraska district, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

The money the House Majority PAC had committed to Democrat Kara Eastman’s bid to unseat freshman GOP Rep. Don Bacon in the Omaha-area 2nd District will now go to support Cindy Axne in Iowa’s 3rd, the spokesman said. Election forecasters see that race as a slightly better pickup opportunity for Democrats. 

Some Wealthy Republicans Give Themselves Q3 Campaign Cash Bumps
Select GOP candidates under pressure to dip into own accounts

Indiana Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun loaned his campaign against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly more money during the third quarter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have long been frustrated that a handful of candidates in tight races who could afford to loan their campaigns more of their own money had not done so.

A few of those GOP nominees changed that during the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, dipping into their personal resources to give their campaigns a cash infusion. Fundraising report filings were due Monday at midnight. 

GOP Poll Shows Close Race for Rod Blum in Iowa’s 1st District
Republican incumbent is still 2 points behind Democrat Abby Finkenauer

Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, is facing a competitive re-election race in Iowa’s 1st District against Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An internal poll for Rep. Rod Blum has found the vulnerable Iowa Republican narrowly trailing Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer in the 1st District.

The poll, conducted by The Polling Company, showed Finkenauer leading Blum 45 percent to 43 percent, within the 4.9 percentage-point margin of error. Four percent of respondents backed a third-party candidate, while 6 percent were undecided. 

Porter Knocks Walters on GOP Tax Overhaul in Joint TV Ad With DCCC
Walters voted for the bill, while some other California Republicans opposed it

California Democrat Katie Porter is challenging GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in the 45th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democrat Katie Porter is going on offense against Republican Rep. Mimi Walters, launching a new television ad highlighting the congresswoman’s support for last year’s GOP tax overhaul and tying her to President Donald Trump. 

Walters, who’s in her second term representing California’s 45th District,  backed the GOP tax measure, which some of her fellow Golden State Republicans opposed because it limited the deductions for state and local taxes. And now Porter is highlighting that vote in a negative spot, which is a joint ad with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Could Republicans in Competitive Districts Pursue NRCC Top Job?
NRCC head has usually been someone who can travel, fundraise for others

California Rep. Mimi Walters may be interested in chairing the NRCC if the position is open. First, she has to win re-election in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With many Republicans conceding their poor prospects of holding the House next month, attention outside the conference is beginning to turn to who will helm its campaign committee for the next cycle. 

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, who’s running for a fifth term in a safe Republican seat, is the current chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s not uncommon for there to be turnover at the end of a cycle, and it’s largely understood Stivers is unlikely to remain in charge should the GOP lose its majority.