The 2020 elections are already shaping up to be contentious. Now, a second Republican Congressman has announced this week that he’s ending his time in Congress. Texan Pete Olson won re-election by a meager five percent in the 2018 midterm elections, and in the face of that blue surge possibly continuing to knock him right out of Congress, Olson is heading for the hills rather than facing the music. His retirement announcement follows a similar one from Michigan’s Paul Mitchell, who said he was leaving after just two terms in D.C., complaining about the “vitriol” defining national politics as if it wasn’t a defining feature of the Republican Party’s whole stance when he took office back in 2017.
Olson, meanwhile, stayed at least a bit farther from direct whining and simply called for some other “citizen-legislator” to take up the mantle of defending the stance of the people of the United States that he supposedly ran with or whatever. As for the identity of that replacement — the widely respected Cook Political Report changed their rating of the seat to “toss-up” following Olson’s announcement.
Olson shared, ever so melodramatically:
‘Protecting our future and preserving our exceptional nation are the reasons I first ran for Congress. Now, it’s time for another citizen-legislator to take up this mission, not to make a career out of politics, but to help lead in the cause of empowering our people, defending our liberties, and making sure America remains the greatest nation in history.’
Democrats quickly vocally jumped into the fray surrounding Olson’s seat following his announcement. While their Republican counterparts belligerently whined about their plans to challenge whoever the “socialist Democrats” nominate in the race, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Avery Jaffe shared:
‘Republicans across Texas are terrified of losing their seats in 2020 and we can’t blame Pete Olson for choosing to retire instead of being thrown out of office next year… As the DCCC continues to invest in Texas, Washington Republicans like Olson are thinking twice about pouring their time and money into seats that used to be safe bets. One of the most diverse districts on the battlefield, Democrats can win this open seat and we look forward to Congressman Olson spending his golden years deep in the heart of Texas.’
This is far from the only front on which Republicans and Democrats are battling it out ahead of the 2020 elections, even excluding the presidential race.
Remarkably, as Democrats hope to take control of the U.S. Senate along with the White House come 2020, they’ve actually raised more money than Republicans for competitive Senate races, despite the GOP having the supposed advantage of twice as many incumbents. They’ve managed “$34.1 million in total contributions in the first six months of 2019” for those races, while Republicans only have $29.3 million, according to FiveThirtyEight, which notes that a similar fundraising burst preceded Democrats flipping some forty seats in the House in the last midterms.
As for the presidential race, the frontrunners in the Democratic presidential primary remain former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and Kamala Harris (Calif.). Each of them — especially Biden and Sanders — have polled well against Trump in hypothetical general election match-ups.
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