As of January 27, 2020, 2,388 major party candidates have filed to run for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 2020.
So far, 338 candidates are filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate. Of those, there are 152 Democrats and 135 Republicans. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans.
For U.S. House, 2,292 candidates are filed with the FEC to run in 2020. Of those, there are 1,013 Democrats and 1,088 Republicans. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans.
No new congressional retirements were announced last week. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) and 35 representatives (26 Republicans and nine Democrats) are not running for re-election. A special election won’t be held to fill the seat vacated by Republican Duncan Hunter (CA-50) on January 13, bringing the total of open-seat House elections in 2020 to 36.
In 2018, 55 total members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election.
On November 3, 2020, 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election. Of those Senate seats, 33 are regularly scheduled elections, while the other two are special elections in Arizona and Georgia. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, where all seats are up for election, Democrats currently hold a majority with 232 seats.
The major-party filing deadline to run for elected office in Maryland is on January 24, 2020. In Maryland, prospective candidates may file for the following congressional offices:
All eight U.S. House seats
Neither U.S. Senate seat is up for election in 2020
The primary is scheduled for April 28, and the general election is scheduled for November 3, 2020.
An additional special election is scheduled for one of the seats, Maryland’s 7th Congressional District, due to the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) on October 17, 2019. The filing deadline for the special election passed on November 20, 2019, the primary is on February 4, and the general election is on April 28. The winner of the special election will complete the remainder of Cummings’ term, which concludes in January 2021.
Maryland’s statewide filing deadline is the 10th to take place in the 2020 election cycle. The next statewide filing deadline is on January 25 in West Virginia.
Republican: Where do Republican and conservative pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.
“Pro-Trump Republican senators contend their home-state constituents oppose impeachment — not just loyal Republicans, but CNN-watching independents as well. They describe constituents back home who see impeachment as a waste of time and a distraction from working on real issues.”
Cheney not running for Senate, Friess a question mark in WY
Rep. Liz Cheney will not run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming. In a statement Jan. 16, she said the House is where she can have the greatest effect:
“Our nation is facing grave security challenges overseas and the House Democrats are working to weaken our president and embolden our enemies. Socialists in congress and among the presidential candidates are threatening our liberty and freedom.
I believe I can have the biggest impact for the people of Wyoming by remaining in leadership in the House of Representatives and working [to] take our Republican majority back.”
Cheney represents Wyoming’s At-Large Congressional District and is chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the third-ranking House Republican. She’s the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The current four-candidate Republican primary field for this safe GOP seat includes former Rep. Cynthia Lummis. According to The Hill‘s Juliegrace Brufke, “Lummis is a favorite amongst the conservative faction of the party.”
Foster Friess, a businessman and the second-place finisher in 2018‘s Republican gubernatorial primary, announced Jan. 17 he would begin a listening tour in consideration of a Senate bid. The Casper Star Tribune‘s Nick Reynolds wrote that “Friess maintains a strong conservative coalition across the state as well as a sizable ability to self-fund a campaign.”
The filing deadline is May 29. The primary is Aug. 18. Incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi (R) is not seeking re-election.
Olson endorses Bush to succeed him in TX-22
Retiring Rep. Pete Olson endorsed Pierce Bush in the 15-candidate Republican primary for Texas’ 22nd Congressional District. The primary is March 3.
Olson said that if “Texas 22 goes blue, America goes blue,” and that “one person came across as the person who can win this district in November. That man is Pierce Bush.”
Olson won the district by 5 percentage points in 2018. The Democratic primary features 5 candidates, including Sri Preston Kulkarni, who ran against Olson in 2018.
Bush was CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star. He’s the grandson of George H.W. Bush and nephew of George W. Bush.
Andrew Schneider of Houston Public Media said, “The heart of the district is Fort Bend County, accounting for 70 percent of the vote. And for the last two election cycles, Fort Bend County has been trending Democratic.”
According to Houston Public Media, immigration, flood infrastructure, and transportation are major topics of discussion among Republican candidates.
Texas’ 22nd is one of 36 open House seats and one of 26 currently held by a Republican (another open seat is vacant and was last held by a Republican). Six representatives out of Texas’ 23-member Republican House delegation have announced they will not in 2020.
Republican Main St Partnership PAC backs challenger in IA-04
The Republican Main Street Partnership PAC endorsed state Sen. Randy Feenstra in the Republican primary for Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. The current six-candidate field includes incumbent Steve King.
King has been in the House since 2003 and faced his closest election in 2018, when he won by 3 percentage points.
The PAC’s website states that the “governing Republicans of Main Street have worked together to revive Congress as an effective institution after years of deadlock and extremism.” It is targeting suburban districts in 2020. Democrats picked up several suburban seats in 2018.
King was removed from committee assignments in January 2019 after The New York Times published an interview in which King mentioned white nationalism and supremacy and Western civilization. King has said his comments were taken out of context.
The primary is June 2, and the filing deadline is March 13.
CA Congressional delegation backs Obernolte for CA-08
State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte announced endorsements from the six members of California’s Republican House delegation, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and 8th District incumbent Paul Cook.
Cook’s retirement leaves the 8th District seat open in 2020.
The March 3 top-two primary has drawn 10 candidates. Among the five Republicans is Tim Donnelly, who ran against Cook in 2018 and received 40 percent of the vote. Donnelly beat Democrat Marge Doyle for the second-place spot in that year’s top-two primary by 1 percentage point.
Utah Rep. Rob Bishop signs on as Thomas Wright’s running mate
Last week, we covered U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop’s decision to endorse former state GOP Chairman Thomas Wright for governor of Utah rather than seek the office himself. On Friday, Wright announced that Bishop would be his running mate. Wright is the first of seven Republicans in the race to select a running mate.
Bishop was elected to the U.S. House in 2002 and earlier served 16 years in the state House, including two as speaker. Local media sources had identified him as a potential gubernatorial candidate after he announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election to the House this year.
Utah abolished the office of secretary of state in 1976 and delegated many of its responsibilities to the lieutenant governor. The office is responsible for overseeing notaries public, authenticating legal documents, overseeing registered lobbyists, and certifying municipal annexations. Utah is also one of two states (the other is Alaska) where the lieutenant governor serves as chief elections officer.
Incumbent Gary Herbert (R) is not running for re-election. The June 30 primary is open to registered Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Utah Republicans have won every gubernatorial election since 1984, marking the longest GOP gubernatorial winning streak in the country.
Montana State Sen. Al Olszewski picks running mate
Montana state Sen. Al Olszewski announced Friday that freshman state Sen. Kenneth Bogner (R) would be his gubernatorial running mate. Olszewski is the first candidate from either party to name a running mate. Candidates for governor of Montana are required to name a running mate as part of the filing process. State Attorney General Tim Fox, U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, and any other candidates joining the race have until March 9 to file.
Bogner was first elected to represent his eastern Montana state Senate district in 2018.
You may recall from last week’s edition that Fox, Gianforte, and Olszewski are scheduled to appear in a debate in Billings on Thursday. It will be the first debate between all three candidates.
The June 2 primary is open to all voters. No Republican candidate has been elected governor in Montana since Judy Martz (R) in 2000.
OC GOP rescinds Diep endorsement
The Orange County Republican Party rescinded its endorsement of Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-72). Chairman Fred Whitaker said, “This is a sad day when an incumbent Republican member of the legislature loses the local party endorsement, but the party felt there had to be accountability for voting patterns.”
Former Assemblyman Matthew Harper, who called for the vote, criticized Diep for being the only Republican to vote in favor of Assembly Bill 5, a bill addressing independent contractors. Harper said Diep was too supportive of public sector unions.
Diep blamed the decision on a small number of political insiders overriding the desires of his full constituency. “While it is disappointing that a few political insiders of the local party drove this, I am confident that voters will know I’m the best candidate to fight for them in Sacramento,” he said.
Former state Sen. Janet Nguyen (R) is the other Republican running in the top-two primary. Commenting on Nguyen’s campaign in December 2019, KCRW said, “Orange County used to be the bedrock of the Republican party in Southern California. But the party is facing an existential crisis.”
Early campaign finance reports show TX GOP civil war may be on hold
The first 2020 campaign finance reports in Texas were released last week. According to The Dallas Morning News, the numbers show that a fight between factions within the state Republican Party could be cooling off. In 2018, factional conflict between moderate Republicans aligned with Speaker Joe Straus and conservative Republicans aligned with the Texas Freedom Caucus played out in 46 Republican primaries across both legislative chambers.
“[Empower Texans and Texas Right to Life], which have funded primary challengers to Republican incumbents in the past, mostly stayed out of most elections this reporting period,” wrote James Barragán and Ariana Giorgi. Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, agreed. “This cycle is different in that the Republican civil war has essentially gone away. We’re not seeing any of that,” he said.
In 2020, Republicans are defending a 19-12 majority in the state Senate and an 82-64 majority with three vacancies in the state House.
One race where the conflict may not have subsided: the race for state GOP chair. Former Florida Congressman Allen West is challenging sitting chair James Dickey. West raised $490,000 (including $250,000 from donor Richard Uihlein) over the past six months, while Dickey raised $18,000.
ND Rep. moves districts and announces he will challenge incumbents
North Dakota Rep. Jim Grueneich (R-12) announced that he and his wife Naomi were moving from their home in District 12 to District 28 to allow Naomi to pursue a career opportunity. Grueneich said he would run in District 28, where incumbents Jeffery Magrum(R) and Michael Don Brandenburg(R) have already announced re-election bids.
Each North Dakota House district elects two representatives who serve four-year terms. Grueneich and Magrum were each first elected to the House in 2016, while Brandenburg served in the House from 1997 to 2002 before winning election to the chamber again in 2004. Forty-seven of the chamber’s 94 seats are up for election this year. Republicans hold a 79-15 majority.
A weekly feature on influencers shaping the direction of the party.
“The National Republican Congressional Committee, the only national GOP organization dedicated to defending the House, effectively coordinates and defends conservative House candidates across America.” – NRCC website
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is a national 527 group and subsidiary of the Republican Party that aims to build and maintain a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives through contributions to Republican candidates and political organizations.
In February 2019, the NRCC announced 55 Democratic-held districts that it would target in 2020. For a list of those districts, as well as margins of victory for each district in the 2018, 2016, and 2014 elections, click here.
NRCC programs include the Patriot Program, which provides funding and support to incumbent members of the U.S. House running for re-election in battleground districts, and Young Guns, which recruits and supports challengers running for U.S. House seats in battleground districts.
Democratic: Where do Democratic and progressive pundits and commentators disagree? Each week, we bring you excerpts that highlight differing views.
“Above all, progressives want to beat Trump. The Democratic front-runners have all pledged to support the eventual nominee no matter who it is. And this week, the leaders of six national progressive organizations sent out a ‘unity statement’ to this effect: ‘While we firmly believe that either Warren or Sanders should lead our nation in 2021, we will, in the end, go all-out to defeat Trump no matter who the Democratic nominee is.’
Still, progressives can’t shake the feeling that they’ve seen this movie before. Like Biden, Clinton was once widely considered to be the safest bet to beat Trump. She wasn’t as radical as Sanders, the thinking went, so she could better appeal to voters straddling the political middle. She was a known quantity, a bridge builder, a shoo-in. But then millions of American voters who once voted for Obama didn’t vote for her. To some lefties, a Biden nomination feels like déjà vu.”
“For all the hand-wringing among Democrats about which nominee would be most able to unify the party heading into November, Biden is also uniquely positioned to win over Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg supporters. When Sanders supporters are asked about their second choice in the primary, unsurprisingly Warren picks up 32 percent, but Biden follows closely at 28 percent. Similarly, Warren backers support Sanders as a second choice by 33 percent, but Biden is also strong at 24 percent — with Buttigieg trailing with 12 percent. Biden also leads among current Buttigieg and Bloomberg supporters by wide margins when asked about a second option.
Pundits and casual political observers are currently promoting the idea that Democratic primary voters are split ideologically into warring camps, but the ‘second choice’ figures paint a different picture of an electorate ready to unify behind Biden as the nominee.”
VoteVets Action Fund spending $3.3 million in Senate primary in N.C.
VoteVets Action Fund is spending $3.3 million on ads supporting Cal Cunningham in the Senate race in North Carolina through January.
An early biographical spot from VoteVets highlighted Cunningham’s experience in the Army and the state Senate, referring to him as a progressive.
Cunningham released his first TV ad as well, discussing his military service and saying he’d work to expand Medicaid in North Carolina.
Cunningham was elected to the state Senate in 2000 and served one term. An Associated Press article said Cunningham was considered a conservative Democrat at the time of his tenure.
Cunningham is one of five primary candidates, including state Sen. Erica Smith, vying for the nomination to run against Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in November. The primary is March 3.
On Oct. 31, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) endorsed Cunningham in the primary. Smith responded, “Ultimately, the voters of North Carolina will decide who their next United States Senator will be — NOT a handful of DC politicians making back room deals in windowless basements.”
Smith was first elected to the state Senate in 2014. Her endorsers in the 2020 Senate race include Flip the Senate, a group that says it supports progressive policies, and Build the Wave, a group using texting campaigns to boost Democratic turnout.
A Public Policy Polling poll conducted Jan. 10-12 found “Undecided” leading with 60 percent. Cunningham received 22 percent support to Smith’s 12 percent. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling told Ballotpedia the poll’s margin of error was +/-4.3. A Fox News poll conducted Nov. 10-13 found 18 percent support for Smith to 13 percent for Cunningham, and 49 percent of respondents answered, “Don’t know.” The margin of error was +/- 3.5.
Three outlets rate the general election Toss-up or Leans Republican.
DSCC endorses Mackler in Senate primary in TN
The DSCC endorsed attorney James Mackler in the Democratic primary for Senate in Tennessee.
The race is open as incumbent Lamar Alexander (R) is not seeking re-election. Five Democrats and 12 Republicans are currently running in the primary elections.
Mackler has also been endorsed by Phil Bredesen, the former governor of Tennessee and Democratic candidate for Senate in 2018. Bredesen lost that election to Marsha Blackburn (R).
Melanie Tomlyn of Indivisible of Nashville and Middle Tennessee said of the DSCC’s endorsement that “this Senate race is about the Tennessee grassroots and will not be dictated by outside national organizations putting their fingers on the scale.”
Indivisible’s website says its mission is “to cultivate a grassroots movement of literally thousands of local Indivisible groups to elect progressive leaders, realize bold progressive policies, rebuild our democracy, and defeat the Trump agenda.”
The primaries are Aug. 6, and the filing deadline is April 2. Three ratings outlets call this a safe Republican seat.
Judi Reiss withdraws from PA-01 primary
Bucks County Prothonotary Judi Reiss withdrew from Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District primary Monday, citing a desire to give full attention to her elected and family roles.
That leaves three candidates in the Democratic primary: Ivyland Borough Councilmember Christina Finello, technology consultant Skylar Hurwitz, and Pennsbury School Boardmember Debbie Wachspress. The filing deadline for the April 28 primary is Feb. 18.
The 1st District, currently represented by Brian Fitzpatrick (R), is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s target lists. It is one of three congressional districts in the country that Hillary Clinton (D) won in 2016 and that is represented by a Republican.
Pennsylvania’s district lines were redrawn ahead of the 2018 elections. Clinton carried what is now the 1st District by 2 percentage points. Fitzpatrick won in 2018 by 3 percentage points.
Roll Calldescribed Democrats’ challenges in the district as follows: “Fundraising will be critical for any Democrat running in the expensive Philadelphia media market and taking on Fitzpatrick, who had nearly $1.1 million on hand as of Sept. 30. Democrats will also have to chip away at Fitzpatrick’s moderate brand. A former FBI agent, he often touts his role in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. According to CQ Vote Studies, Fitzpatrick has supported Trump’s priorities 64 percent of the the [sic] time, the lowest score for a Republican (the average Republican has backed Trump’s priorities 94 percent of the time).“
Bucks County Courier Timesreported that the county Democratic Party will hold an endorsement meeting the first week of February.
Liss-Riordan drops out, Kennedy gets endorsements in Senate primary in MA
Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan dropped out, leaving the primary between incumbent Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy—at least for now. The filing deadline for the Sept. 1 primary is June 2.
Several House Democrats endorsed Kennedy, including Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Mark Pocan and Rep. John Lewis.
Sen. Jon Tester endorses Montana Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney for governor
Montana Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney received the endorsement of Sen. Jon Tester (D) Friday in his bid to succeed term-limited Gov. Steve Bullock. Aside from Bullock, who endorsed Cooney in October, and Cooney himself, Tester is the only Democrat to hold a statewide elected office in Montana.
You may recall from last week’s edition that gubernatorial candidates filed campaign finance reports Jan. 6. The reports showed consultant Whitney Williams, who is running with the endorsement of EMILY’s List, leading in fourth-quarter fundraising with $439,000 to Cooney’s $200,000 and state House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner’s $15,000.
A fourth candidate, former state Rep. Reilly Neill, announced Monday that she was suspending her campaign. Candidates have until March 9 to file for Montana’s gubernatorial election. The June 2 primary is open to all voters. No Republican candidate has been elected governor in Montana since Judy Martz (R) in 2000.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifts Vermont gubernatorial election towards Democrats
Last week, we looked at Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman’s decision to run for governor, setting up a primary contest with former state Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe. Since then, Sabato’s Crystal Ballchanged their projection for the general election from Likely Republican to Leans Republican. They cited Zuckerman’s history of running in statewide elections as a factor in their decision, saying that he was well-poised to attract voters turning out for the presidential election.
Personal PAC announces endorsements for two challengers in IL House
Personal PAC, a group dedicated to “making sure that Illinois always remains a state where abortion is safe, legal, and accessible to every woman,” announced endorsements across the state. They are endorsing challengers to two sitting state representatives: Yehiel Kalish (District 13) and Thaddeus Jones (District 26). As we reported last week, Kalish faces a primary challenge over his stance on an abortion law.
Primaries for all seats in the Illinois State Legislature will take place on March 17. Across the House, 15 Democratic incumbents face at least one primary challenger. In 2018, eight Democratic incumbents faced primary challengers.
Pennsylvania Rep. receives challenger from the left
Attorney Emily Kinkead (D) announced she would challenge state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl (D-20) in a Democratic primary the Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewcharacterized as part of “a wave of progressive Democrats who in recent years have challenged establishment incumbents in Allegheny County’s Democratic Party.”
Kinkead said that she thought voters in the district were looking for a change, adding that she thinks that District 20 is more progressive than people think. Ravenstahl said he expected a challenge. “That kind of comes with the territory,” he said.
According to the Tribune-Review, Kinkead is following Reps. Summer Lee (D-34) and Sara Innamorato (D-21), who each defeated long-serving Alleghany County incumbents in 2018. Democratic primaries in Pennsylvania will take place on April 28.
Nevada Senate caucus makes endorsement in open primary
Parks has represented District 7 since it was created as a result of redistricting in 2010. He won re-election against a Libertarian candidate 70-30 in 2016 and defeated a Republican challenger 64-35 in 2012. The filing deadline for this election is March 13.
Shevrin Jones receives another endorsement in FL Senate bid
Last week, state Rep. Shevrin Jones received the endorsement of retiring state Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-35) in a five-way primary. This week, he picked up an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D). A primary for this race will take place on August 18, and the filing deadline is June 12.
A weekly feature on influencers shaping the direction of the party.
“[The DCCC is] the only political committee in the country whose principal mission is to support Democratic House candidates every step of the way to fortify and expand our new Democratic Majority.” – DCCC website
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is an official subsidiary of the national Democratic Party. As a national political committee, the group makes political contributions to support the election of Democratic candidates to the U.S. House.
In January 2019, the DCCC released an initial list of 33 Republican-held or open seats it would target in 2020. Twelve districts have been added since, six in August 2019 and six in January 2020. For a list of those districts, as well as margins of victory for each district in the 2018, 2016, and 2014 elections, click here.
DCCC programs include the Frontline Program, a partnership between the DCCC and members of Congress designed to protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents, and the Red to Blue program, which provides funding and guidance to candidates seeking election in districts represented by Republicans.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231 to 180 on January 16 to pass a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block a final rule related to government forgiveness of certain student loan debt. Two hundred and twenty-five Democrats and six Republicans voted to pass the resolution while 179 Republicans and Justin Amash (I-Mich.) voted nay.
The Department of Education (DOE) issued the 146-page rule in September 2019. The rule changed the process students must follow to discharge their loans and empowered the agency to collect money from schools to cover financial losses following successful student challenges. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos argued in a December press release that the new rule “ensures that taxpayers who did not go to college or who faithfully paid off their student loans do not shoulder student loan costs for those who didn’t suffer harm.”
U.S. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) argued after the U.S. House passed the CRA resolution that the DOE rule “guts essential protections for student borrowers and taxpayers.” He sponsored an identical CRA resolution in the U.S. Senate in September 2019. That resolution has attracted 40 Democratic cosponsors and the two Independent U.S. senators.
The CRA resolution must pass both houses of Congress and receive President Trump’s signature to repeal the rule.
The CRA gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Congress has used the CRA to repeal 17 out of the over 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register since the law’s creation in 1996.
To learn more about the Congressional Review Act and its use, click here.
Want to go further? Sign up today for our Learning Journey on the Congressional Review Act by clicking here.