The Political Edge: The 2018 House Candidates We May See In 2020
In this week’s edition of The Political Edge, we take a look at the failed 2018 House candidates who are now weighing Senate bids. Additionally, we breakdown an analysis from The New York Times highlighting the unprecedented number of Democrats who have announced their candidacy for President nearly 100 weeks before the election.
Failed House Candidates Running For Senate In 2020
On Tuesday, Roll Call’s Simone Pathé posted a new article highlighting several 2018 House Democratic candidates who are now considering a run for U.S. Senate. Below is a rundown of the candidates who are contemplating a Senate bid, according to Pathé.
J.D. Scholten – Scholten ran an unsuccessful campaign against Rep. Steve King in IA-04 last year, losing by 3.3 points. He is considering a challenge to Iowa’s Sen. Joni Ernst. Scholten ended 2018 with $75,000 on hand.
Amy McGrath – In 2018, McGrath lost the KY-06 Congressional race to Rep. Andy Barr by 3.2 points. Reports indicate that now Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is trying to recruit her to run against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McGrath ended 2018 with $268,000 on hand.
Jon Ossoff – Ossoff lost the 2017 special election in GA-07 to Karen Handel by 3.8 points. He recently said he would back Stacey Abrams for Senate, but isn’t “ruling anything out if she decides against” challenging Republican incumbent David Perdue. Ossoff ended 2018 with $392,000 on hand.
MJ Hegar – Last year, Hegar lost a close race to Rep. John Carter in TX-31 by 2.9 points. She is said to be considering a bid against Sen. John Cornyn in Texas next year. Hegar ended 2018 with $47,000 on hand.
Joseph Kopser – Kopser lost the race to replace retiring Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) by 2.6 points last year. Like Hegar, he is said to be considering a bid against Cornyn in Texas next year. Kopser ended 2018 with $9,000 on hand.
The Presidential Primary Is Crowded Early
Two months into 2019 and there are currently 11 Democrats running for President. With more candidates expected to announce over the coming weeks months, The New York Times conducted an analysis comparing the number of Democrats currently running to years past. If it feels like the field has grown quickly and early, it’s because it has.
According to the analysis, “the Democratic presidential field for 2020 is more crowded than typical for this early in an election cycle.” At this point in 2008 there were eight candidates running, the previous high for candidates running this early.
The Democratic field also appears to be getting crowded much sooner than the 2016 Republican field, which hit a modern political record with 17 major candidates at its peak.
Castro Gets Almost Official, Klobuchar on the Rise, & Warren Slips Further
As 2018 winds to a close, there’s no shortage of news coming from Democrats who want to run for president. Polls, particularly those among liberal special interest groups, are giving early indications about the direction Democrats may choose to go. And some candidates are already forming exploratory committees and planning official announcements in the coming days and weeks.
For the latest updates on what 2020 Democrats are up to, check out the rundown below:
Julian Castro (D-TX)
The former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary under President Obama announced this week he’s forming an exploratory committee for a White House campaign. Castro told the Associated Press that he plans to make a formal decision by January 12.
To be clear, Castro will face enormous hurdles if he becomes a candidate. He’s the former mayor of San Antonio, but he’s never run statewide in Texas (or anywhere else). In 2016, he appeared to audition for the VP spot for Hillary Clinton but fell short. To make matters worse, the 44-year-old Castro has spent the past year watching fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke capture the hearts and imaginations of liberals across the country. In all likelihood, Castro is announcing early to try to get ahead of “Betomania,” should O’Rourke decide his time to run is now.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
After weeks of speculation, Warren saw her stock plummet when Democracy for America (DFA) released a poll of its members showing her coming in 4th place among 2020 Democrats. She trailed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden, and O’Rourke in the poll that showed her in first place in 2016. The results reinforce the Boston Globe editorial that argued Warren missed her chance to run last time and the notion that a recent string of bad headlines have become setbacks to her campaign. DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain said the poll results indicate that Warren’s team has “some work to do” to win back disenchanted liberals.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
The midwestern Democrat earned double-digit support in Iowa, according to a Focus on Rural America poll released this week. At 10 percent, Klobuchar led Warren at 9 percent, and fellow Senate colleagues Kamala Harris (D-CA) at 7 percent, Cory Booker (D-NJ) at 6 percent, and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) at 3 percent.
That should give Klobuchar reason to be cautiously optimistic, but it is important to note that Iowa is losing some of its influence in the 2020 cycle thanks to states like Texas and California moving their primary dates up to early March. With early voting, voters will be picking candidates in California and at the Iowa caucuses on the same day.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Gabbard’s trial balloon from a couple weeks ago has turned into a full-fledged effort, according to BuzzFeed News. “Her team is actively seeking to staff senior roles on a potential presidential campaign, according to a person briefed on the outreach, and has indicated that an announcement could come as soon as this week,” BuzzFeed’s Alexis Levinson wrote Monday.
Gabbard is a full-fledged liberal who has not shied away from bucking her party. She criticized President Obama, campaigned hard for Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary, and has an unusual (at best) relationship with Syrian President Bashar al Assad, who has killed thousands of his own people with toxic gas. She is also a veteran who served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard, with tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait.
At only 37 years-old, Gabbard’s campaign would no doubt be “unconventional,” as Levinson notes. Keep an eye on an announcement in the coming days or weeks.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)
Betomentum continues as the Texas Democrat topped a MoveOn.org poll of its members last week. In an early straw poll of the liberal group’s membership, O’Rourke narrowly defeated Biden, 15.6 percent to 14.9 percent. Sanders earned 13.1 percent in the poll. In 2016, 78 percent of MoveOn members chose Sanders over Clinton in a similar poll.
Democrats supportive of O’Rourke launched a “Draft Beto” campaign Tuesday, according to Politico. The group’s goal, for now, is simple: raise $1 million for his future political campaign. But O’Rourke was the best fundraising Senate candidate in 2018, so the move is likely more about keeping the Texas congressman’s name in the news than it is about money.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Booker became the second likely 2020 Democrat to back the so-called “Green New Deal” last week. It’s the brainchild of liberal groups the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats, and the Huffington Post describes it as “the radical plan to zero out greenhouse gas emissions in a decade and reduce poverty with federally backed clean-energy jobs.” Sanders has already endorsed the plan, which was a regular part of Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stump speech on the campaign trail.
Further adding to Booker’s liberal bona fides, Vox.com founder Ezra Klein defended the New Jersey Democrat against criticisms of moderation, saying “his policies are extremely liberal and his message is spiritually radical.” That may be a good thing for Booker right now, but it won’t if he makes it out of the primary.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Women of color are very strong supporters of Harris’s potential 2020 bid. According to BuzzFeed News, a recent poll conducted by She The People found that Harris was among the top three choices of a whopping 71.1 percent of the group’s respondents. The next best candidate in the survey, O’Rourke, was in the top three among just 38.3 percent.
The survey was conducted among just 264 women across the country, but it should serve as a wake-up call to all 2020 Democrats that Harris will be a force to be reckoned with among this constituency, should she decide to run.
In other Harris news, her office announced that she just returned from Afghanistan in a likely attempt to increase her national security profile.
Top Counties to Watch on Election Night 2018 (Part 2)
Election night can be overwhelming. Polls close at different times across the country, and in some cases, different times across the same state. With Senate, gubernatorial, House, and state legislative race results coming in simultaneously, it can be difficult to know where to look for early indicators of how the night may go.
AR Intel went state by state and highlighted the most important counties to watch in each key Senate state. We’ve broken down the results into two posts – the first posted on Monday, and the second can be found below.
If you want to learn about the key swing counties and Dem/GOP strongholds in each key Senate state, subscriber to AR Intel today! Sign up for free and enjoy a 7-day trial on us!
SENATE POLL ROUND-UP: Republicans Ahead in Indiana, Missouri
It’s no surprise that this week, the last one before the midterm elections on November 6, contained a whole slew of new polls focused on Senate races. Early voting is already underway in many states, and pollsters are now asking respondents if they have already voted, in addition to their candidate preferences.
Republicans are coming on strong in Indiana and Missouri, while Florida remains as close as ever. Meanwhile, Republicans are within striking distance in Arizona and Montana.
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The Top 7 Biggest Liberals Running for Congress in 2018
If the 2020 Democratic presidential jockeying already feels like an all-out race to the left, the 2018 House midterm races are a kind of proving ground for the left-wing policies that will become ubiquitous to Americans in the next two years. Medicare for All, Abolish ICE, repealing the tax cuts. Even if you’re not paying close attention, you likely already know the rallying cries.
AR Intel took a deep dive into the 2018 midterm congressional races to identify who are some of the biggest liberals running this cycle. A couple are from traditionally blue states (California and Illinois), a couple from purple states (Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), and some are from states you might never expect (Texas and Kansas).
To see the full list of the top 7 biggest liberals running for House seats in 2018, sign up for AR Intel today!
Senate Poll Round-Up: GOP Leads in NV & TN, Cruz Cruising in TX
Unlike the past two weeks, there were not as many battleground Senate polls released this week. Instead, this week saw polls in the closely-watched Nevada and Tennessee Senate races – both GOP-held seats that the Democrats would need to win if they were to retake control of the Senate.
The other two states featured in this week’s round up are two unexpected races: Texas and Tennessee.
To see a full breakdown of polling in these states and an analysis of how the polling is trending, sign up for AR Intel today!
Senate Poll Round-Up: Republicans Ahead in AZ, NV, TN, Tied in MO
It’s been another week and another flurry of Senate polls! By far Arizona was the most polled state this week with four newly released polls in the past seven days. The most recent poll shows Republican Martha McSally leading her Democrat opponent.
Republicans are also leading in contests in Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. And keep a close eye on Missouri – the latest poll, conducted by Fox News, shows Republican Josh Hawley tied with Democrat Claire McCaskill. But the RealClearPolitics polling average now favors Hawley, meaning that the contest could be trending in the Republican’s direction.
To see the full slate of Senate poll results, sign up for a free 7-day trial of AR Intel today!
Is Beto-Mania Over? New Poll Posts 9-Point Cruz Lead in Texas
Democrats have been salivating for months over the prospects of Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) defeating Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in this year’s November midterms.
At last count, O’Rourke’s candidacy had spawned nearly 40,000 words in glowing profiles of the Democrat. A Democrat has not won statewide election in Texas since 1994, the first year George W. Bush was elected governor of the Lone Star State.
In short, Democrats want this bad.
O’Rourke has not led in a single poll of the Texas Senate race, but a series of polls in late summer showed the challenger within a few percentage points of Cruz. That as all the excuse Democrats needed to get their hopes up for a shocking upset.
To read the details of this poll, sign up for a free trial of AR Intel by clicking here!
America First Gives Spending Boost to Key Races in Minnesota, Michigan & More
America First Action PAC, the super PAC closely associated with President Trump and his reelection campaign, announced its first wave of campaign spending for the 2018 midterms on Tuesday.
Key races in Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania are among those receiving added financial help from America First Action PAC.
To see the full list, plus read an excerpt from an earlier post in which America First President Brian Walsh laid out the group’s 2018 priorities, sign up for a 7-day free trial by clicking here.
Axios’s 5 Most Competitive 2018 Midterm House Races
With less than three months to go until the November midterms, media company Axios has put out a list of what it believes are the 5 most competitive House races this year.
This list includes tight races in states like Texas, California, and Florida, as well as smaller states like Iowa and Maine.
Want to see the list? Sign up for a free 7-day trial of AR Intel by clicking here!