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Drafting Cotton May Not Work Again for Gallagher in ACLI Capital Challenge

Wisconsin Republican won for the lawmakers in last year’s 3-mile race

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher runs twice a week. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)
Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher runs twice a week. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)


Rep. Mike Gallagher has been running along to his “ACLI 2018 Crush Cotton” playlist to prepare for Wednesday’s 3-mile race.

The Wisconsin Republican snapped Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s four-year winning streak in 2017, finishing first among lawmakers in the ACLI Capital Challenge. It was his first outing on the course, and he crossed the line in 18 minutes, 36 seconds — just 8 seconds ahead of Cotton.

“I basically drafted off Cotton for 90 percent of the race and then I sprinted past him at the end,” Gallagher said of his strategy last year.

He isn’t sure that will work again, though.

Gallagher, Last Year’s ACLI Congressional Winner, Trains for Wednesday’s Race

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“[Cotton] knows my tricks now, so there’s nothing I can do,” Gallagher said when HOH caught him on a run before work.

He also gives the senator the edge, because he’s envisioning how Cotton might be training.

“It’s kind of like ‘Rocky IV.’ Cotton is like [Ivan] Drago. He’s training in a lab right now with electrodes hooked up to his chest. I’m just out here chopping wood. He’s a machine,” Gallagher, 34, said. “I’m not sure I can pull off what I did last year again, so we’ll see.”

For his training, he runs three days a week, lifts weight three days a week and cross-trains the other day, which could be playing basketball.

[When Tillis’ Staff Called Him an Idiot and Lexie Left Him for Dead]

He hasn’t always been a runner.

“Really when I started training to join the Marine Corps is when I started running seriously and sort of doing cross-training seriously. I don’t do a ton of it. I don’t do long-distance running, so I’m not a great runner by any stretch,” he said.

Running around the monuments gives him an extra incentive to get out there.

“It’s beautiful today, and there’s just so much history all around D.C. It adds a little extra energy to your workout when you’re surrounded by stuff like this,” he said.

Organizers expect more than 600 participants for Wednesday’s event, which raises money for the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation.

[Gallagher Steals Fastest Lawmaker Title From Cotton]

Members from the legislative, executive and judicial branches have teams, along with the media.

Ten other House members are running.

Republican members are Vicky Hartzler of Missouri; Rodney Davis of Illinois; Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina; Doug Collins of Georgia (team name “Don’t Give a Cluck”); and Evan Jenkins of West Virginia.

Democrats are Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona (team name “Hot Mess”); Susan A. Davis of California; Earl Blumenauer of Oregon; Tim Walz of Minnesota; and Kathleen Rice of New York (team name “The Dark Knight Rices”).

Four senators will be running this year: Cotton and fellow Republicans John Cornyn of Texas; Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who passed out during the race last year; and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.  Capito’s team is named “Miner League,” an ode to her state’s coal mining legacy, and Cornyn’s team is named, wait for it … “UniCornyns.”

From the executive branch, teams include employees of the Justice Department of Justice, Department of Defense, Peace Corps, Department of Homeland Security and Census Bureau, among others.

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