Opposition Research Comes Out of the Shadows

Nathan L. Gonzales April 24, 2016 · 9:00 AM EDT

If Republican Barbara Comstock ever wonders what attacks are coming her way later this year, the Virginia congresswoman can read the entire 535-page opposition research book on her life, which Democrats posted online.

Strategists at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not publish the document by accident. It’s just one example of how both parties publicly share information in order to avoid illegal coordination with outside groups and running afoul of campaign finance laws.

The independent expenditure arms of the campaign committees are technically independent, but strategists on both sides of the aisle use public signals to keep the party on the same page and avoid duplication of resources, such as paying twice for the same background information.

Publicly available opposition research is also evidence that there are few surprises in modern campaigns, where races are more likely to be decided by execution and quality of ads, money to put them in front of voters, the partisanship of a district, and the national political environment.

The two parties share research and talking points in slightly different ways.

The DCCC buries the information on its own site, DCCC.org, under “Races 2016” at the bottom of the home page. Readers can click on the map of the…

House Overview: Playing Field Could Shift Rather than Expand

Nathan L. Gonzales April 22, 2016 · 3:00 PM EDT

Democratic operatives are re-evaluating their strategy to win back the House - cutting emotional ties from some rural areas that made up their previous majority to focus on more suburban districts, where they believe changing demographics are moving seats into the Democratic column. While this…

2016 House Overview (April 22, 2016) Alabama - Illinois

April 22, 2016 · 2:59 PM EDT

Arizona. June 1 filing deadline. Aug. 30 primary.
1st District (Open; Kirkpatrick, D). Ann Kirkpatrick’s Senate run leaves Democrats with a difficult open seat to defend. Her party has coalesced behind former GOP state Sen. Tom O’Halleran, who is running as a Democrat and had $330,000 on hand on…

2016 House Overview (April 22, 2106) Indiana - New Jersey

April 22, 2016 · 2:58 PM EDT

Indiana. May 3 primary.
3rd District (Open; Stutzman, R). State Sen. Jim Banks, who also served in Afghanistan with the Navy Reserves, looks like the frontrunner in the final weeks before the Republican primary to replace Marlin Stutzman, who is running for the Senate. The Club for Growth is now on…

2016 House Overview (April 22, 2016) New Mexico - Wyoming

April 22, 2016 · 2:57 PM EDT

New York. June 28 primary.
1st District (Zeldin, R). Lee Zeldin defeated Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in 2014 and instantly became a top takeover target. Democrats have a competitive primary between Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst ($1.1 million in the bank on March 31) and Suffolk…