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Capitol Ink | Fightin' Joe

At the Races: We have 2020 vision

By Stephanie Akin, Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathé

Welcome back to At the Races! We are relaunching just as the campaign cycle gets interesting. Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

North Carolina’s George Holding left with few options for 2020
This is the second time redistricting has altered GOP congressman’s district

North Carolina Rep. George Holding’s new district lines are less favorable to Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Rep. George Holding has been here before, facing a district that doesn’t look like the one he currently represents. 

But unlike in 2016, when court-mandated redistricting moved his seat across the state and he choose to run in a different district closer to home, the partisan composition of his current 2nd District has now changed significantly, becoming virtually unwinnable for a Republican. 

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 3
Court sides with House committees over Trump’s financial records, Trump issues threat over impeachment from NATO summit

President Donald Trump is seen during his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in London on Tuesday. NATO leaders gathered for a summit to mark the alliance's 70th anniversary. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

House Intelligence Committee Democrats Tuesday laid out the case for impeaching President Donald Trump for withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Kyiv investigating his political rival, and for obstructing the House’s probe.

The report, released Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee, provides findings after weeks of private and public testimony from career bureaucrats and Trump appointees.

Democratic lawmakers slowly take sides in 2020 primary
30 percent of congressional Democrats have endorsed, with most backing Joe Biden

From left, Massachusetts Reps. Lori Trahan, Ayanna S. Pressley, and Katherine M. Clark have all endorsed their home-state senior senator, Elizabeth Warren. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

More than two-thirds of Democratic lawmakers have yet to take sides in the presidential primary, a sign that the race remains in flux. But the campaigns that have nabbed congressional endorsements so far could benefit from shows of support, particularly from high-profile freshmen.  

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to back Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna S. Pressley’s endorsement of her home-state senator, Elizabeth Warren, grabbed national headlines. But support from lawmakers with lower profiles can still help presidential campaigns generate local media attention, demonstrate support from key constituencies and provide a team of surrogates who can be deployed across the country. 

Georgia governor defies Trump with appointment to Isakson Senate seat
Gov. Brian Kemp has chosen Kelly Loeffler, but Rep. Doug Collins may run anyway

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson is resigning at the end of the year. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is expected on Wednesday to appoint financial executive Kelly Loeffler to the Senate seat that Sen. Johnny Isakson is vacating at the end of the year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which broke the news that Loeffler would be Kemp’s pick, reported the timing of the appointment. Isakson is scheduled to deliver his farewell address to the Senate on Tuesday.

Garland Tucker drops Senate primary challenge to North Carolina’s Thom Tillis
Self funding candidate had forced Tillis to spend money early

A self-funding primary challenger to North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis is dropping his challenge to the first-term senator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retired businessman Garland Tucker is not filing for Senate with the state Board of Elections on Monday, dropping his primary challenge to North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in 2020.

Through a combination of loans and contributions, Tucker had given his campaign about $1.3 million by the end of September, which had forced Tillis to spend money early to build up his name recognition and base of support with conservatives. Tillis reserved more than $2 million earlier this year in TV advertising. Trump endorsed Tillis, but the first-term senator was still booed at the president’s most recent rally in the Tar Heel State.

House ratings changes: A dozen races shift toward Democrats
Combination of self-inflicted wounds, slow recruiting and suburbs continuing to shift against Trump diminish GOP chances

Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig is among the Democrats whose reelection chances have improved, according to the latest ratings by Inside Elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most Republicans believe their party has weathered the 2018 storm and brighter days are ahead in 2020. But that perspective doesn’t mean the GOP’s chances of retaking the House are particularly good.

Even if the national political environment isn’t as bad for the GOP as the midterms when they suffered a net loss of 40 House seats, there’s little evidence that President Donald Trump will dramatically improve his 2016 performance in key competitive districts next year.

Bullock ends presidential campaign, not running for Senate in Montana
Montana governor’s campaign says he will work to elect Democrats in the state and across the country — but not as a Senate candidate

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, shown here at a American Federation of Teachers town hall in Washington in September, announced Monday he was ending his run for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Monday dropped out of the Democratic presidential race and his campaign said he won’t run for the state’s Senate seat next year.

Bullock failed to convince Democratic voters that he could beat President Donald Trump in red states. He polled at 0 percent in both CNN and Quinnipiac polls released last week.

GOP women’s group backs 13 non-incumbents for 2020
Winning for Women's affiliated super PAC plays in primaries

Former GOP Rep. Karen Handel has secured the backing of Georgia’s Republican governor and two senators in her bid to reclaim the 6th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Winning for Women, a nonprofit political group that supports Republican women, is backing 13 House candidates on Wednesday in its initial round of 2020 endorsements. 

The group is also backing all Republican women in Congress who are seeking reelection. That includes the five of the eight Republican women in the Senate who are up for reelection next year and 11 women in the House. Two of the 13 GOP women currently serving in the House have announced they won’t be running in 2020.