Science group eyes Dem candidates in Washington, Tennessee

Science group eyes Dem candidates in Washington, Tennessee

A group focused on recruiting and training scientists to run for office is eyeing two more key House and Senate races as it plans to ramp up involvement in the 2018 midterms.

314 Action, named after the first three digits of pi, is closely watching the race for Rep. Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertLymphedema Treatment Act would provide a commonsense solution to a fixable problem Yoder, Messer land on K Street Ex-GOP lawmaker from Washington joins lobbying firm MORE’s (R-Wash.) open seat and the Tennessee Senate race, which has garnered some national attention. But the group has yet to make endorsements in either race.

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), who has a bachelor’s degree in physics, is running for the open seat in Tennessee. He’s seen as a top recruit for Democrats in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in nearly 30 years.

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In the race to fill Reichert’s seat, the group is closely watching pediatrician Kim Schrier (D), who’s running in a crowded primary for a seat in a district that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic strategist laments 'low bar' for Biden debate performance Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel Trump to hold campaign rally in Pennsylvania next month MORE carried by 3 points in 2016.

Schrier is the leading fundraiser in the 8-person Democratic primary. She has the backing of EMILY’s List, which aims to elect women who support abortion rights to office.

314 Action founder Shaughnessy Naughton told The Hill that there’s a “greater realization among scientists that it’s not just somebody else’s problem to deal with those wacky, anti-science politicians.”

The group has already endorsed seven Democratic incumbents with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering or math as well as seven House candidates and one Senate candidate. Naughton said she expects the group to play a major role in boosting Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senators introduce bill to create 'parity' among broadband programs Senators introduce cybersecurity workforce expansion bill MORE (D-Nev.) in her Senate run.

314 Action is also expanding its “Under the Scope” program which targets “anti-science” GOP incumbents. The group said that list will include Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.) and Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaWhy the GOP march of mad hatters poses a threat to our Democracy Elijah Cummings, native son of Baltimore, gets emotional send-off from Democratic luminaries Lawmakers come together to honor Cummings: 'One of the greats in our country's history' MORE (R-Calif.). Clinton won Issa’s district and the state of Nevada, and both Republicans are top Democratic targets in 2018.

Naughton said she’s seen 314 Action’s membership balloon from 4,000 to 400,000 this year. And she estimated that 1,400 scientists have gone through the group’s training.

“Next year we will see more scientists running than we’ve ever seen before in our country’s history,” Naughton said.