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Democratic lawmakers ‘astonished’ by Trump’s claim that taking foreign ‘dirt’ is routine
Mitt Romney calls it 'unthinkable' to accept information from foreign government to influence elections

President Donald Trump argued accepting intelligence on a political opponent from foreign sources, which is illegal under federal campaign finance laws, is routine by presidential candidates and congressional campaigns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers pushed back strenuously on President Donald Trump’s claim during a television interview Wednesday that accepting “dirt” on political opponents from foreign sources is routine.

Democrats responded incredulously to Trump’s statement that he would accept intelligence on a political opponent from another country if offered, and that doing so is common practice in congressional campaigns. 

Republican John James will run again, this time against Sen. Gary Peters
The Michigan businessman’s run could shape the presidential race in a key swing state.

Republican businessman John James will challenge Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters in 2020. (Courtesy Facebook)

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, one of the two most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, picked up a Republican challenger on Thursday that national Republicans hope will put the Wolverine State in play in 2020. 

Army veteran John James, the 2018 Senate nominee, announced Thursday that he’s challenging Peters, one of just two Democratic senators up for reelection in a state that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.

Rep. Joaquin Castro won't challenge Cornyn for Senate in Texas
Castro's decision leaked on conference call with Cornyn

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro isn’t running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro won’t be challenging GOP Sen. John Cornyn in 2020. 

“Right now, I’m going to focus on my work in the House of Representatives. I’ve been doing what I feel is important and meaningful work here,” Castro told the San Antonio Express-News, which first reported the news. “If and when I run for another office, it is likely to be something that takes me back home to Texas.” 

Violence Against Women Act clears House
Measure includes firearms restrictions and expansion of transgender rights

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick was the lone Republican co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act. He was one of 33 Republicans to support the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House voted Thursday to renew the lapsed Violence Against Women Act, but the proposal stoked contention over provisions restricting gun rights and expanding rights for transgender individuals.

Lawmakers voted 263-158 to pass the measure, which highlighted divisions within the Republican caucus. While the bill does have one Republican co-sponsor, Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick, other House Republicans objected to new provisions included in the VAWA reauthorization measure. In all, 33 Republicans voted for the measure, and one, Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska, voted present.

‘It’s weird you’re bringing this up:’ Trump SOTU shoutout highlights disparity between Democratic and GOP women

Republican women know there is work to be done for more women to run and win elections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The dearth of Republican women in Congress was in the spotlight at the State of the Union when President Donald Trump praised the historic gains made in the 116th Congress, gains driven by Democratic victories and GOP losses.

The number of House Republican women slipped in 2019 down from 23 in the previous congress to 13 now. And only one woman, Wyoming’s Liz Cheney, holds a top House leadership position in the GOP conference.

Guest list: Here’s who you’ll see at the State of the Union
Cardi B won’t be there, but undocumented worker who worked at Trump’s golf club will

President Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union Address on Tuesday. Two of his former housekeepers will look on from the House chamber. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address Tuesday night. Two of his former housekeepers, both immigrants, will watch from the House chamber.

Each member of Congress gets at least one ticket for a guest, and though some bring family members, many are accompanied by a constituent whose story helps illustrate a policy priority.

Former Rep. Moran has Northam’s back, even as Democrats ditch him
Former Virginia Democrat has said Northam should be given opportunity for ‘redemption’

Former Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., pictured here in his last term in 2013 in the Rayburn House Office Building, has gone to bat for Gov. Ralph Northam after images appeared allegedly showing Northam in either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan outfit when he was in medical school. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Virginia Rep. Jim Moran is sticking by commonwealth Gov. Ralph Northam after a photo in Northam’s medical school yearbook surfaced showing a man wearing blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

Northam has cast doubt that he appears in the photo, even though it’s on his individual page in the yearbook.

5 Surprises from the 2018 Midterm Elections
From the Indiana Senate race to the Atlanta suburbs, a scattering of the unexpected

Republican Senate candidate for Indiana Mike Braun defeated Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, by nearly double digits. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most midterm elections have dozens of individual House and Senate races that remain unpredictable right up until — and after — the polls close on Election Day. The 2018 cycle was no different, with 22 House and three Senate races still uncalled by 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.

But each year, there are a few races that experts thought they had a handle on, only to be flummoxed by the results.

He Helped Write the GOP’s Health Care Bill. Now It’s Catching Up With Him
Pre-existing ire comes for Republican Tom MacArthur in New Jersey

New Jersey Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur’s bid for a third term is now rated Tilts Democratic by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

WILLINGBORO, N.J. — A year and a half ago, people worried about family members with pre-existing health conditions screamed at Rep. Tom MacArthur at a town hall here

The New Jersey Republican didn’t just vote for his party’s health care plan, which had passed the House the week before. He was one of its authors.

At the Races: You Only Raised $1 Million?
Our weekly newsletter on the latest in congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin