North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a farm bill negotiator, is a White House target for defeat in the mid-term elections but President Trump will generally steer clear of the Midwest and races involving other members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Officials familiar with the president's plans said on Tuesday that North Dakota, where Heitkamp is in a tough race for re-election, is a likely Trump campaign stop on Tuesday but did not mention Indiana, where Joe Donnelly, another Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, is also in a toss-up race.
Tom Campbell, a Republican state senator in North Dakota, has announced that he’ll try to steal the U.S. Senate seat in 2018 from Heidi Heitkamp — the state’s sole Democrat in Congress. Heitkamp, who was considered for a role in President Trump’s cabinet, was both the first senator and the first Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee to endorse Sonny Perdue to lead the USDA.
In a 22-word tweet, President Trump dove into the Republican primary for Senate in Alabama, endorsing appointed Sen. Luther Strange, a reliably conservative vote on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Three front-runners are vying for two spots on the runoff that is expected to follow Tuesday's primary; Rep. Mo Brooks said Trump was "somehow misled" into endorsing Strange.
The first Republican elected governor of Georgia since Reconstruction is backing a key operative in the campaign, John Watson, in a four-way fight for Republican state chairman. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue endorsed Watson in an email that began circulating on Wednesday, saying, "I do not think there is anyone better prepared or positioned to lead our party organization to continuing victories."
Less than a week after the filing deadline for the special Senate election this year, the political action committee of the Alabama Farmers Federation endorsed appointed Sen. Luther Strange out of 19 candidates in the race.
Two former members of the House Agriculture Committee are running for governor in Florida — Democrat Gwen Graham, who served one term in Congress, and Republican Adam Putnam, the state agriculture commissioner since 2010. Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, is term-limited so the race for the governor's mansion is wide open, said Roll Call.
Vickie Rock, a member of the Democratic state central committee in Nevada, describes Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election this way: "The Democratic Party ceded rural America to the Republicans quite some time ago," reports Roll Call. It says rural Democrats "are now hatching plans to un-do the damage, convinced that a handful of simple steps would go a long way toward winning votes."
Founded four years ago as the first lobbying group for the food movement, Food Policy Action said it will work to defeat second-term Rep. David Valadao, a California republican and member of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing USDA and FDA funding.
Two days before the South Carolina primary, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts endorsed Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination. The Topeka Capital-Journal said Roberts described Rubio as inspirational, "just the antithesis" of businessman Donald Trump.
The Iowa caucuses, often the high point for attention to agriculture, passed with little discussion of food or farm policy. Yet, "there are a number of signals that farm policy could continue to be a factor in voters’ decisions all the way to the general election, says National Journal.