House serves as a launching pad for lawmakers vying for Senate seats
A group of House members, eager to follow a clear path, have set their sights on the chamber across the Capitol, betting their fundraising and campaigning prowess will increase their chances of winning a sits in the Senate next year.
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), Tim ryan (D-Ohio), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), And Ted budd (RN.C.) launched Senate campaigns earlier this year while Reps. Lamb Conor (D-Pa.), Anne Wagner (R-Mo.), Billy Long (R-Mo.), And Jason smith (R-Mo.) Are also considering Senate nominations.
They will follow a long tradition of representatives using the House as a launching pad for the Senate, where individual members often wield more influence and gain more public attention than in the other, more populous body.
While their experience can be an asset in running for statewide elections, these lawmakers have also compiled voting records that can serve as fodder for attacks from opponents. They also face challenges in converting their district-wide appeal into state-wide support and in a political climate where standing as a Washington insider isn’t always an advantage.
“You represent a very different kind of concentration of people who can be a lot more – depending on the district – they can just be a lot more cohesive in their views,” Democratic strategist Delacey Skinner said in a telephone interview. “That is why you tend to see more moderate Senators than members of the House.”
“Republican voters tend to be more interested in a foreigner,” Skinner said. “Democratic voters often tend to be more interested in people with experience in government.”
Republican Hartzler sees his experience as a strong selling point.
“It’s important that I’ve been here for 11 years and that I’m used to getting things done,” she said in an interview.
The current Senate consists of 47 former members of the House, a number similar to recent congresses but which has declined since 2015. At least one senator in 37 states has served in the chamber in the past.
Five House members applied for Senate seats in 2020 but only two, Ben ray lujan (DN.M.) and Roger marshall (R-Kan.), Won their contests.
One of the biggest advantages of members is that they have a well-oiled campaign and outreach, more than most of their opponents who have not held political office.
“It’s not just about fundraising,” Republican strategist Bob Honold said in a telephone interview. “These are relationships with important people in the community, whether they are at the head of a union, whether they are at the head of a company, whether they are at the head of an association. professional or donors.
Their experience of running district-wide campaigns may be less useful for some as they try to win independent voters and appeal to all parties.
“You’re going to need voters from the other party,” Skinner said. “Even for a Democrat, you might be in a position where you have to – you have to make it clear how you are different from Washington.”
The candidates’ campaigning experience has given them a huge lead over many of their challengers in the second quarter. Demings declared $ 3.1 million in cash, more than his main opponents vying for the Florida Senate seat.
Ryan, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2020, has $ 2.6 million in cash after the second quarter. He’s likely to win the Democratic nomination from a small group of relatively unknown candidates, but he faces general election competition from a handful of highly-funded Republican candidates. The Cook Political Report rates the race as Republican.
Ryan said he was convinced his work and connections across the state of Ohio, and not just his district, would help him.
“We have always had a great interest in state issues,” he said in an interview. “We’ve always been helpful, so we have a pretty good network across the state. “
Brooks of Alabama, the staunch Trump supporter who opposed certification of the 2020 presidential results, is following Katie Britt, a former aide to the retired senator. Richard shelby (R-Ala.), Nearly half a million dollars on hand. Brooks has already lost a Senate special election primary in 2017 that did not require him to relinquish his House seat.
Budd leads the money race in North Carolina with $ 1.7 million in cash after the second quarter, but several contestants are close to matching his fundraising race in the tossup race. These challengers don’t have the same advantage as Budd. Much of his financial benefit comes from the money he carried over from his House re-election campaign in 2020.
“If you’ve ever run and won, it’s not a cold call, it’s a warm call,” Honold said.
Lamb, Wagner, Long and Smith could also kick off their Senate campaigns with substantial cash buffers based on their second quarter reports.
Wagner, who plans to decide to operate statewide “relatively soon,” said she was weighing the work she could do in either chamber.
“The opportunity, especially as I will be finishing my tenth year, to also occupy a higher management position on my committees is always an attraction. You need to go where I think you can best serve your district and / or state, ”she said in an interview.
With the help of Emilie Wilkins and Greg Giroux
To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole sadek in Washington at [email protected]