Republicans Split on Supreme Court Strategy in Lame Duck
Sen. Flake vows hearings, vote for Merrick Garland if Hillary Clinton wins

Republicans have been blocking Merrick Garland’s nomination for 225 days. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said Thursday that he would work to advance the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland this year if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the White House.

Flake’s comments come less than two weeks ahead of an election that is expected to shape the ideological balance of the Supreme Court, possibly for decades. And they foreshadow a growing divide among Senate Republicans about what to do with Garland’s long-languishing nomination when Congress returns Nov. 14 for the lame-duck session.

White House Blasts GOP Over Calls to Block Clinton Supreme Court Picks
Sen. Ted Cruz contends court has operated with fewer justices in past

Arizona Sen. John McCain (left) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have spoken of the possibility of blocking Hillary Clinton's potential Supreme Court nominees if she becomes president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House on Thursday slammed three Senate Republicans for saying their party should refuse to take up any Supreme Court nominees submitted by Hillary Clinton if she becomes president.

At various points during the 2016 campaign, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and John McCain of Arizona have made such declarations.

Voting Rights Groups Brace for Election Day ‘Chaos‘
Reports of disenfranchisement already cropping up during early voting

Voting rights advocates are preparing for the first presidential election since 1964 without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Voting rights advocates are preparing for a “perfect storm of chaos” on Election Day — and not just because a hurricane has already affected registrations in some key battleground states.

Reports of voter disenfranchisement have already cropped up during early voting, the advocates say. Some Texas election officials are implementing a voter ID law that a federal appeals court struck down as discriminatory. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he fears the election will be rigged and urged voters to “go out and watch the polls,” prompting fears of voter intimidation among minorities, particularly.

Chaffetz Sixth Member to Reverse Course and Back Trump
His seat's safe, but Utah has become an unlikely White House battleground

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he won't defend or endorse Republican presidential candidate, but he will vote for him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of unexpected-presidential-battleground Utah has become the sixth Republican member of Congress to reverse his repudiation of Donald Trump.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Wednesday he would vote for the GOP presidential nominee because he’s slightly preferable to the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Trump Asks ‘What is going on’ with Texas Vote Flipping
Complaints over voting machines have surfaced in several states

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is concerned about the reliability of voting machines in certain Texas counties. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stirred the vote-flipping pot on Thursday, claiming on Twitter that he was getting “a lot of call-ins” about irregularities in Texas.

A handful of voters in at least three counties in Texas reported selecting the GOP ticket of Trump and running mate Mike Pence but then the Hillary Clinton-Tim Kaine Democratic ticket would show up instead, NPR reported.

Flake Gets 2018 Primary Challenge
Kelli Ward recently ran an unsuccessful campaign against John McCain

Former state Sen. Kelli Ward said she’s going to “take on the establishment once again” in Arizona. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The 2016 elections aren’t over, but Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is already facing a primary challenge in 2018 from former state Sen. Kelli Ward. 

Ward announced Wednesday on her radio show “The Kelli Ward Connection” that she will take on the Republican senator, who has been a consistent critic of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. 

Good Signs for Clinton in Early Voting Battlegrounds
Democrat shows strength in states Donald Trump must win

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has an advantage in states that have started voting early. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Early voting in crucial battleground states point to an advantage for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. 

Clinton shows strength in states Republican rival Donald Trump must win to have a shot: Florida and North Carolina, along with battleground states Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, The Associated Press reported. 

Poll: Fleming and Boustany Falling Short in Louisiana Senate Race
GOP's John Kennedy and Democrat Foster Campbell are the front-runners

Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany went from being in a statistical tie as front-runner to falling to third place in a new poll of the Louisiana Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Reps. John Fleming and Charles Boustany Jr. are looking less and less likely to make it to the runoff in the Louisiana Senate race, according to a new poll.

Southern Media & Opinion Research found Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy leading the race with 22 percent among likely voters, followed by Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell with 16 percent.

Green Party Candidate Escorted From Maryland Senate Debate
Both major party candidates were fine with Margaret Flowers participating

Green Party candidate Margaret Flowers, center, is led away by security as state Del. Kathy Szeliga and Rep. Chris Van Hollen wait before Wednesday's Maryland Senate debate. (WJZ-TV)

Green Party candidate Margaret Flowers was escorted off the stage Wednesday after trying to crash the Maryland Senate debate between Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Republican state Del. Kathy Szeliga.

Flowers wasn't invited to debate at the University of Baltimore, but attended as an audience member. When others in the audience called for her to join, she got out of her seat and shook hands with Van Hollen and Szeliga, The Associated Press reported.

Harris Widens Senate Race Lead in California Poll
State's attorney general beating Sanchez by 22 points

California Attorney General Kamala Harris appears comfortably in the drivers seat in her Senate race against fellow Democrat, Rep. Loretta Sanchez. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Variety file photo)

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has widened her lead over Rep. Loretta Sanchez in their race for the California Senate seat, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by theJames Irvine Foundation and the Public Policy Institute of California, found Harris leading the two-way, all-Democratic contest by 22 points, 42 percent to 20 percent, among likely voters. Twenty percent were undecided and 18 percent said they would not be voting. Harris led Sanchez by 7 points in the September edition of the poll.

Kirkpatrick's Closing Argument: McCain Picked Palin, Backed Trump
Democratic nominee for Senate in Arizona is a long shot to win her race

Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick has not been able to get much traction in her challenge to Sen. John McCain. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick has her closing argument, and it looks an awful lot like Donald Trump.

The latest TV ad from the Arizona Democratic nominee for Senate focuses on Sen. John McCain’s prior support for the Republican presidential nominee, arguing that he put his own re-election above the interests of the American public even when he later withdrew his endorsement. 

Could the GOP Deficit in California Grow This Year?
Turnout could be a problem for Golden State Republicans

With Democrats trying to tie California Rep. Jeff Denham to the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the GOP is now spending in the Golden State's 10th District, too. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans have a California problem.

The party has been slowly losing representation in the state’s congressional delegation over the past two decades. And with GOP enthusiasm for Donald Trump lacking, there’s concern about low turnout hurting the state’s Republican incumbents.

Paul Ryan's Primary Opponent Now Challenging Him for Speaker
Paul Nehlen announces bid for speakership after 68-point primary loss

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan trounced his Republican primary foe in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryantrounced his Republican primary opponent Paul Nehlen by a 68-point margin in August in Wisconsin's 1st District, but that defeat isn’t stopping Nehlen from challenging Ryan again. 

This time Nehlen is vying with Ryan for nothing less than the speaker’s gavel. The speaker of the House does not have to be a sitting member of Congress, though a nonmember has never been elected to that position. 

GOP Poll Gives Challenger Late Edge in Rare GOP Pickup Opportunity
Republican Don Bacon narrowly leads Nebraska Democrat Brad Ashford

Republican polling gives Nebraska's Don Bacon a late advantage in his challenge to Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford in the state's 2nd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican polling shows the party's chances improving in Nebraska's 2nd District, one of the GOP's three top opportunities to knock off a Democratic incumbent this year.

Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bacon led incumbent Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford 48 to 44 percent among registered voters in a North Star Opinion Research poll, shared first with Roll Call. The poll was conducted Oct. 22-24 for the Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC tied to House GOP leadership. The fund has invested $950,000 on TV and digital in the Omaha-based district. 

The Surprise Senate Race: How Missouri Became a Key Battleground
Jason Kander's success and Roy Blunt's struggles turned contest into one neither party is confident they'll win

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander's Army background and straight-talking style made him the perfect Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Sen. Roy Blunt in the Show-Me State, GOP operatives say. (Courtesy Kander for Missouri Facebook page)

Last year, long before even most Democrats thought he could win, Jason Kander explained why he deserved to unseat Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. His message, delivered in a succinct video announcing his campaign, was blunt and personal.

“We can’t change Washington if we don’t change the people we send there,” the Missouri Democrat said, looking directly into the camera.