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 ReichertYoder, Messer land on K Street Ex-GOP lawmaker from Washington joins lobbying firm Outgoing GOP rep says law enforcement, not Congress should conduct investigations 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 ClintonGraham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI Why Mueller's hedge on obstruction decision was a mistake Giuliani says news media treat Dems better than GOP 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 RosenThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations 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 HellerTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds MORE (R-Nev.) and Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaThe Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles Senate throws hundreds of Trump nominees into limbo 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.