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We’re 62 days until the 2018 midterm elections and 790 days until the 2020 elections.
Voters are hungry for change–and they made that clear in the latest Tuesday Democratic primary that saw a longtime incumbent knocked off.
Democrat Ayanna Pressley unseated longtime Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) in his diverse Boston-area district. Capuano conceded the primary long before the AP called it, saying that “clearly the district wanted a lot of change.”
Pressley’s victory is the latest in a series of wins by female and minority candidates looking to change the makeup of the Democratic caucus in Congress.
Pressley, who was the first woman of color elected to Boston City Council, is poised to make history again in November as the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts.
During her victory speech Tuesday night, Pressley declared that “change can’t wait.”
There’s an anti-establishment fervor sweeping the political world this cycle. Incumbents are rarely unseated in Massachusetts and Boston politics because of an unspoken wait-your-turn mentality.
Capuano, who’s served in Congress for nearly two decades, is the fourth House incumbent to lose in a primary this year.
Looking ahead to a primary on Thursday night, progressives are hoping that same energy hits Delaware, where they are hoping to take out the first Senate incumbent of the cycle.
Kerri Evelyn Harris, an openly gay and black Air Force veteran and community activist, is angling to unseat Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate subcommittee: IRS should increase oversight of tax-prep companies in Free File program Senate report: Chinese telecom firms operated in US without proper oversight for decades House Judiciary seeks briefing on Trump order to slash regs to assist the economy MORE (D-Del.) in the Democratic primary.
Carper is a moderate lawmaker, who’s an entrenched incumbent and longtime politician. He’s been in the Senate since 2001 and is a former governor and House member.
Harris and progressives are pushing him on what they say is a too friendly embrace of corportions, including pharmaceutical companies.
But Carper’s campaign has sought to show his support for more progressive ideals including by backing a $15 minimum wage.
There’s been no public polling and Carper has a significant fundraising advantage, but progressives are hoping to yet again overcome the odds like they did in Boston and in New York City with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s primary victory over longtime Democratic Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyLobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Engel says he refuses to seek NYT endorsement over Cotton op-ed Ocasio-Cortez endorses Engel primary challenger MORE (D).
Race for the White House
Democrats eyeing a 2020 White House bid against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE are wading into the primaries early, The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE marched in a Labor Day Parade in Pittsburgh; Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) headlined an AFL-CIO breakfast in New Hampshire; and Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) jockeyed for air time during a turbulent confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
It’s unusual for potential candidates to so aggressively position themselves for a presidential run ahead of the midterm elections. But it’s a strategy that some consultants say could pay off.
Don’t expect former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe Memo: Trump’s troubles deepen as voters see country on wrong path The continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden’s New Deal MORE to mount a challenge to Trump in 2020. “I doubt very much I’ll be running for office again,” the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee told “CBS This Morning” in an interview, which came after he previously declined to rule out a potential White House run.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was sworn into the Senate on Wednesday to succeed the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump Cindy McCain ‘disappointed’ McGrath used image of John McCain in ad attacking McConnell Report that Bush won’t support Trump reelection ‘completely made up,’ spokesman says MORE (R-Ariz.). Kyl, a former senator, was appointed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Tuesday. Kyl said he’ll serve at least through January, but hasn’t committed to serving in 2019 or 2020–when McCain’s seat will be up. Kyl said he isn’t interested in running in 2020.
The Hill’s Lisa Hagen traveled to Tennessee last week to cover the state’s high-profile Senate race between Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police GOP senators dodge on treatment of White House protesters Five things to know about Trump’s legal power under the Insurrection Act MORE (R-Tenn.) and former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D). Republicans have an edge in a state that Trump won by 26 points, but Tennessee Republicans told The Hill that they’ve seen internal numbers with both candidates ahead.
Blackburn is casting herself as a close ally of the president and also leaning heavily on her fight in the state legislature to prevent a state income tax. The conservative congresswoman would be the first woman elected to the Senate–or any statewide office–in Tennessee.
Meanwhile, Bredesen is running to the center on a bipartisan message–a move to assure Republicans they can vote for a Democrat. While he wouldn’t say if he’d support Sen. Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: US showing signs of retreat in battle against COVID-19 | Regeneron begins clinical trials of potential coronavirus antibody treatment | CMS warns nursing homes against seizing residents’ stimulus checks Schumer requests briefing with White House coronavirus task force as cases rise Schumer on Trump’s tweet about 75-year-old protester: He ‘should go back to hiding in the bunker’ MORE (D-N.Y.) for leader, Bredesen called the national Democratic Party brand “terrible” as it moves more to the left. Read more here about where Bredesen needs to win to pull off an upset in Tennessee.
Meanwhile, Republican Senate candidates are using the 2017 tax law as a cudgel against vulnerable Senate Democrats who didn’t support the GOP plan. That includes GOP candidates hitting Democratic incumbents in states like North Dakota, West Virginia and Indiana–all Senate races where Trump overwhelmingly won in 2016.
The latest generic ballot polls paint a promising picture for Democrats in the battle for the House. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday finds Democrats retaking a wide, 14-point lead over Republicans, 52 to 38 percent. Another Tuesday poll from USA Today/Suffolk University poll also finds Democrats holding a double-digit lead, 50 to 39 percent.
Meanwhile, in one of the hottest Senate races this year, Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns Amash on eyeing presidential bid: ‘Millions of Americans’ want someone other than Trump, Biden MORE (D-Mo.) and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) are tied in the battle for the Missouri Senate seat. McCaskill is one of five Senate Democrats defending a seat in a state that Trump won by double-digits in 2016.
And in Florida’s high-profile governor’s race, a new Quinnipiac University poll finds Democrat Andrew Gillum leading Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGOP tentatively decides on Jacksonville for site of convention DeSantis pushing to host Republican National Convention in Florida Florida bars and theaters to reopen starting Friday, DeSantis says MORE (R-Fla.) by 3 points.
What we’re watching for
Thursday is Delaware’s primary where Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is looking to fend off his first serious primary challenge since he took office in 2001.
Here’s the primary calendar for the rest of September: New Hampshire on Sept. 11, Rhode Island on Sept. 12 and New York’s local and statewide elections on Sept. 13.
Coming to a TV near you
Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.), widely considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans up for reelection, is striking back after his Democratic challenger, Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Mnuchin sees ‘strong likelihood’ of another relief package; Warner says some businesses ‘may not come back’ at The Hill’s Advancing America’s Economy summit The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: CDC Director Redfield responds to Navarro criticism; Mnuchin and Powell brief Senate panel Hillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups MORE (D-Nev.), launched an ad last month hitting him on his health-care record. “Jacky Rosen’s idea of fixing health care? A campaign commercial,” Heller says in an ad spot out Tuesday. “The truth is, in her two years in Congress, Jacky Rosen has done nothing to fix health care. Nothing. Zero.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is out with a new ad attacking Democratic Senate hopeful Kyrsten Sinema as “too extreme” for Arizona. The spot goes after Sinema for “defending murderers” as a lawyer, as well as for being a “left-wing fringe protester.”
West Virginia Attorney General and Senate hopeful Patrick Morrissey is launching the first ad of his general election campaign. The 30-second spot touts the GOP contender as a fighter, who “beat Obama at the Supreme Court” in a case that sought to block new rules on carbon emissions. The ad also channels Trump–a heavyweight move in the deep-red state. “He’s going to fight for you like nobody’s ever fought for the people of West Virginia,” Trumps says in the clip.
In Florida, Democrat Andrew Gillum is out with his first TV ad since his remarkable upset win in the Democratic gubernatorial primary last month. The spot highlights the longshot nature of Gillum’s campaign against a field of wealthy opponents. “The American way still lives and if the state of Florida has to show the rest of the world, then let it begin right here,” Gillum says in the ad.
Democrats appear increasingly poised for a wave election in November. The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports that Democrats have led Republicans by at least 11 points on five of the six most recent generic ballot polls, and many of the party’s candidates have a fundraising advantage over their GOP opponents. But Republicans aren’t giving up hope yet. Matt Gorman, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman, said that the committee was ready to “run every day as if we’re down 10 points.”
While the Democrats appear poised for a so-called “blue wave” in the House, control of the Senate remains a more elusive target for the party. Democrats are defending more than two-dozen seats this year, and Republicans are bullish about their chances of increasing their majority in the chamber.
Meanwhile, the NRCC says Republicans are “well-positioned” to keep control of the House in November. “In spite of history and conventional wisdom inside the Beltway, as it stands today, Republicans are well-positioned to maintain control of the House,” the memo reads. The committee cites fundraising and advertising as reasons why the NRCC will defy history. The party in the White House typically loses seat in the president’s first midterm election.
NRCC Chairman Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversGOP lawmakers say Steve King’s loss could help them in November Longtime GOP Rep. Steve King defeated in Iowa primary Five things to watch in Tuesday’s primaries MORE (R-Ohio) said the committee will continue to support embattled Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan HunterLobbying world Duncan Hunter granted delayed start to prison sentence over coronavirus New poll shows tight race in key California House race MORE (R-Calif.), despite his recent indictment that he allegedly misused campaign funds. Hunter, who has pleaded not guilty, faces a tough reelection race against Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar even though his San Diego-area district is deep red.
In Democratic efforts to take back the House, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden Valerie Jarrett: ‘Democracy depends upon having law enforcement’ MORE will make his first foray on the campaign trail this year to stump for Democratic candidates in Ohio and California. Obama will campaign alongside Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayPoll: Biden, Trump neck and neck in Ohio On The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials ‘looking at’ offering coronavirus bonds Ex-CFPB director urges agency to ‘act immediately’ to help consumers during pandemic MORE in Ohio’s governor’s race in addition to the Democrats running in the seven GOP-held California seats where Trump lost.
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