Eleven congressional candidates launched their campaigns on Monday. So what’s so special about July 10?
Campaign launches are typically methodical and intentional. They might be one of the only things a candidate can control over the course of a race, so campaigns and consultants spend plenty of time crafting the rollout, weighing multiple factors, and most importantly, the date.
One of the first rules when choosing a launch date is to announce at the beginning of a quarter. Campaigns understand the importance of fundraising and the media judges candidates based on their quarterly numbers, so candidates often announce their campaigns in early January, April, July or October to have as close to three full months to raise money as possible.
Candidates want to maximize exposure for their announcements, so announcing early in the week is an opportunity to have multiple days of media coverage of interviews and related events, ads and other activities.
Avoiding major holidays is preferable as well. The general sentiment is that voters are less likely to be focused on a new congressional candidate when sipping cold drinks and grilling delicious meats with friends.
A confluence of those factors brought us to Monday. July 1, the beginning of the third quarter, fell on a Saturday, followed by the July 4 holiday on Tuesday. Allowing for extra days off or travel days around Independence Day pushed the date into late last week, followed by another weekend.
Finally, July 10 was the first optimal day of the quarter to launch. That opportunity was confirmed by more than a handful of credible campaigns that announced first thing on Monday morning. That’s not an accident.
Here’s a rundown of who took the plunge:
Maryland’s 6th District: Military veteran/trans rights activist Mia Mason joined what will be a competitive Democratic primary for the open seat left by Democratic Rep. David Trone’s Senate bid. Mason lost to GOP Rep. Andy Harris in the 1st District in 2020 and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2018. And she’ll be an initial underdog in this Democratic race. Rating: Likely Democratic.
Michigan Senate: Actor Hill Harper announced his campaign, joining Rep. Elissa Slotkin and other less well-known candidates in the Democratic race to replace retiring Democratic. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Harper, who has starred in TV shows “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor” and the movie “The Skulls,” owns a coffee shop and home in Detroit. Republicans don’t have a top-tier candidate in the race yet. Rating: Battleground.
Michigan’s 7th District: Republican Tom Barrett and Democrat Curtis Hertel are running for the open seat left by Slotkin’s Senate bid. Barrett is a former state senator and Army veteran who lost to Slotkin by 5 points in 2022. Hertel is a former state senator with close ties to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and has worked to consolidate Democratic support behind the scenes before he announced for one of the most competitive House seats in the country. Rating: Toss-up.
Montana’s 1st District: Former Olympic rower Monica Tranel lost a 3-point race to Republican Ryan Zinke in 2022 and is running again. Earlier in the cycle, Zinke was mentioned as a potential Senate candidate, but it looks like both candidates are headed for the House finish line once again, this time in a presidential year. Rating: Likely Republican.
Nevada Senate: Sam Brown finished second in the 2022 Senate Republican primary as the anti-establishment candidate, but received good reviews for that campaign. Now he’s the establishment choice to take on Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen. But Brown, a disabled Afghanistan War veteran, will need to get past former state Assemblyman/2022 Secretary of State nominee Jim Marchant first. Rating: Battleground.
Ohio’s 1st District: Republican attorney Orlando Sonza is challenging Democratic Rep. Greg Landsman in the Cincinnati-area district. It should be competitive, but the specifics of the race are unclear pending new Republican-drawn congressional lines.
Oregon’s 5th District: Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner lost to Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in 2022 by 2 points and is back for a rematch. But McLeod-Skinner will first have to navigate a competitive primary with Metro Council President Lynn Peterson and state Rep. Janelle Bynum, who defeated Chavez-DeRemer in two state House races. Rating: Toss-up.
Pennsylvania’s 7th District: Republican Kevin Dellicker is running again against Democratic. Rep. Susan Wild. The Pennsylvania Air National Guard intelligence officer came within 500 votes of knocking off 2020 GOP nominee Lisa Sheller in the 2022 GOP primary. State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie and other Republicans could still run, in what should be a competitive race to the end. Rating: Tilt Democratic.
Texas Senate: State Sen. Roland Gutierrez joined Rep. Colin Allred in the Democratic race to take on GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. It’s a long-shot takeover opportunity for Democrats, and some Democrats believe Allred has the temperament, profile and infrastructure to win. But the congressman can’t take the primary for granted. Rating: Battleground.
Wisconsin’s 3rd District: Home goods boutique owner Rebecca Cooke is back for another run after finishing second in the 2022 Democratic primary. She may still have competition for the nomination next year before taking on GOP Rep. Derrick Van Orden. Rating: Likely Republican.
Nathan L. Gonzales is an elections analyst with CQ Roll Call.