RACE FOR THE HOUSE

Bustos, Cicilline Offer Competing Visions for Party's Future

As the map expands, GOP groups are going on the air in districts once thought to be safe.

Oct. 25, 2018, 10:26 a.m.

"The position was created as almost an afterthought, but now, eight years later, the race for assistant House Democratic leader is shaping up as a proxy battle for the future of the party and a referendum on its current leader.

"Running for the post are" Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and David Cicilline (RI-01). "The former is a moderate journalist-turned-corporate-communicator-turned-congresswoman who has held on to a Trump-loving Illinois district for three terms; the latter was the first openly gay mayor of a state capital (Providence, Rhode Island) before joining Congress as a dyed-in-the-wool progressive and becoming the first openly gay elected congressional leader. Both cochair the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee—another institution created by Pelosi to give a friendly rival a soft landing before it was transitioned into a group with three elected cochairs in an attempt to pacify caucus angst."

"Compounding the pressure is that the position is so inchoate. Unlike whip or caucus chair or majority leader, there has never been a race for assistant leader and there is really no road map for what an assistant leader does. As a consequence, the candidates have been advancing expansive and intriguing visions for the post that conveniently double as blueprints for the future of the party—not to mention subtle rebukes of" Nancy Pelosi’s "reign." (National Journal)

ON THE AIR. "Two weeks until Election Day, a constellation of groups—including" the NRCC, the Congressional Leadership Fund and America First Action "—are pouring millions of dollars into TV ads to help GOP members in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, North Carolina and Virginia. It’s a last-minute effort that Republican operatives say will shore up lawmakers in seats that once leaned Republican but have become increasingly competitive."

"'When the committees or CLF go in late, it means the race is within the margin of error—up a couple points or down a couple points for Republicans—so that means it’s winnable, so they’re not going to walk away, despite what the candidate cash shows,' said a Republican consultant working on House races, who was granted anonymity to discuss internal party decisions. 'But it’s happening because these incumbents don’t have the cash, which is worrisome.'” (Politico)

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