Deeper Thoughts

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) (R) and ranking member Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) (L)hold a hearing to question U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson (not pictured) about the impact of EPA regulation on agriculture during a hearing in the Longworth House Office Building on March 10, 2011 in Washington, DC. According to reports, a House energy subcommittee voted March 10, to decline to fund the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases.
National Journal
Steven Shepard
See more stories about...
Steven Shepard
Jan. 2, 2014, 6:50 a.m.

Now that the cal­en­dar has changed, we can be­gin our midterm-elec­tion ob­ses­sion in earn­est. The year is chock-full of great, big-tick­et races: Mitch Mc­Con­nell‘s reelect in Ken­tucky, 4 red-state Demo­crat­ic sen­at­ors up for reelec­tion, Scott-vs.-Crist in Flor­ida. But today we’re high­light­ing the un­der-the-radar can­did­ates who we think could be vy­ing for their own head­lines later this year.

— Demo­crats landed a couple of mar­quee fe­male re­cruits in Ken­tucky (Al­is­on Lun­der­gan Grimes) and Geor­gia (Michelle Nunn). But Re­pub­lic­ans have one of their own in Michigan, former Sec­ret­ary of State Terri Lynn Land. Land sur­prised some when she raised $1 mil­lion in the third quarter (in ad­di­tion to $1 mil­lion in self-fund­ing). Watch her fourth-quarter num­bers (com­ing by month’s end) to see if she can sus­tain that mo­mentum. Ore­gon’s Mon­ica We­hby (R) is in a blu­er state, but her pro­file as a pe­di­at­ric neurosur­geon could boost her chances against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) if health care con­tin­ues to be a Demo­crat­ic li­ab­il­ity.

— Re­pub­lic­ans are strongly favored to re­tain con­trol of the House, but Demo­crats are ex­cited about some of their chal­lengers, in­clud­ing Aman­da Renter­ia, a former Cap­it­ol Hill aide chal­len­ging Rep. Dav­id Valadao (R-CA) in a D+2 seat, and Ann Cal­lis, run­ning against Rep. Rod­ney Dav­is (R-IL) in an even-PVI dis­trict. Re­pub­lic­ans, mean­while, are tout­ing Ari­zona chal­lengers Andy To­bin and Martha Mc­Sally, in ad­di­tion to Min­nesota’s Tor­rey Westrom, who they think has a shot to un­seat long­time Rep. Col­lin Peterson (D) this Novem­ber.

— Un­like the battle for the Sen­ate, Re­pub­lic­ans are largely on de­fense on the gubernat­ori­al map, look­ing to pro­tect their 2010 gains. But Demo­crats are ex­cited about their chances in Pennsylvania, where GOP Gov. Tom Corbett‘s ap­prov­al rat­ings are in the tank. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) might be the nom­in­al fron­trun­ner in a crowded primary, but watch former state en­vir­on­ment­al sec­ret­ary Katie Mc­Ginty, who has emerged as a top-tier can­did­ate, des­pite lower ini­tial name ID. One state in which Re­pub­lic­ans have a chance at a pickup is Illinois — Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is well un­der­wa­ter in the Land of Lin­coln — but their pro­spects could hinge on the out­come of the March primary. Wealthy self-fun­der Bruce Rau­ner (R) de­b­uted yet an­oth­er new TV ad over the hol­i­days in his bid to se­cure the nod.

That’s just a sampling of the can­did­ates we’re watch­ing as the year be­gins. We’re happy and grate­ful to have you along for the ride.

What We're Following See More »
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
2 days ago
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
2 days ago

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
3 days ago

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Trump Cancels Rallies
4 days ago

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
5 days ago

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”