2018

Ted Nugent vs. Kid Rock in Michigan Race?
Motor City Madman threatens Senate run

The Michigan Republican committee member who floated the idea of Kid Rock as a Senate candidate said he has no inside info on whether the musician is interested in running. But another Michigan rocker is threatening to jump into the race.

Cory Booker’s Mysterious Mission to Texas
New Jersey senator spent recent weekend visiting a private prison

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has been one of the leading voices of the congressional effort to overhaul the criminal justice system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As most of his colleagues headed home last weekend, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spent Friday night on a journey to the center of the country.

After flying from Washington to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Feb. 10, one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party sat unnoticed at a charging station, at the far end of Terminal B, where small regional jets arrive and depart.

Fight for the House Centers on Five States
More than one-third of targeted districts reside in a handful of states

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is tasked with leading House Democrats back to the majority, including picking up handfuls of seats in a few key states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Both parties haven’t wasted any time unveiling their House target lists for next year’s midterm elections, and a few states have emerged as early battlegrounds. 

At the end of January, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ambitious list of 59 Republican-held districts, followed by the National Republican Congressional Committee’s ambitious list of 36 Democratic-held districts just more than a week later.

Like Democrats Before Them, GOP Dismisses Town Hall Threat
There’s little data to gauge electoral threat protests pose for 2018

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen says he’ll be sticking with tele-town halls for the near future. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ask Republican lawmakers about the specter of protests in their districts next week, and they’ll likely shrug off constituent outbursts as “manufactured” or “scripted.” 

The GOP is largely adopting the Democratic posture from the summer of 2009 that angry voices at town halls don’t represent a political threat. That may be true. The question is how Republicans now, and Democrats back then, arrived at that conclusion. 

Wisconsin’s Sean Duffy Will Forgo Senate Bid
Other potential candidates had been waiting on congressman’s decision

Rep. Sean Duffy announced he’s passing on a challenge to Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Update 9:35 a.m. Feb. 16 with Duffy announcement

Wisconsin Rep. Sean P. Duffy announced Thursday he will pass on a run for Senate in 2018.

Castro Takes Round 1 in Twitter War with Cruz
Texas congressman has hinted at running against Republican senator

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, took a swipe at Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Twitter for how he was treated by Donald Trump in the presidential race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, decides to run against Sen. Ted Cruz next year, he might already have a leg up on Twitter.

Castro has been hinting at a run against Cruz, who has faced the possibility of a primary challenge after he waffled on his support for President Donald Trump, possibly making him a weakened general election candidate.

Activists Send Out Draft-Nolan for Minnesota Governor Letters
More than 1,000 get letters urging them to push congressman to run

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., is seeing numerous Democratic-Farm-Labor activists calling on him to run for Governor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A letter calling on Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., to run for governor next year is being circulated to more than 1,000 members of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

The letter, signed by DFL activists, lawmakers and lobbyists, warns that Minnesota could become like Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported.

Jason Kander May Have Made a Big Mistake
Missouri Democrat hits national stage with potential long-term consequences

Jason Kander’s recent association with national Democratic super PAC could complicate his chances in future elections in Missouri, Gonzales writes. (Courtesy Jason Kander Facebook page)

Missouri Democrat Jason Kander came close to getting elected to the Senate after he burst onto the scene last year with a memorable campaign ad and a strong challenge to GOP incumbent Roy Blunt. Now Kander is widely viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party, but his postelection choices may complicate future bids for higher office.

Last year, Kander gained national attention for his ad, “Background Checks,” in which he reassembled a rifle blindfolded. It was one of the most memorable ads of the cycle, if not recent campaign history.

Republicans Identify Vulnerable Members for 2018
NRCC announces initial round of Patriot Program

Minnesota freshman Rep. Jason Lewis is part of the NRCC’s initial Patriot Program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named 10 members to its Patriot Program for incumbents who are expected to face tough re-election races in 2018.

“Our Patriots are a group of battle-tested members who won hard-fought races in 2016 and are ready to win once again,” Rep. Steve Stivers, the NRCC chairman, said in a statement Wednesday. 

For the GOP, a Dangerous Gamble on the All-Important Town Hall
Old-school constituent connections work best, but the anger is proving tough to withstand

Police escort California Rep. Tom McClintock through a town-hall audience in Roseville, California, last Saturday. (Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Consider 10 and 19 as two more figures that help illustrate the risky congressional Republican strategies of passivity, defensiveness and avoidance during the first month of the Trump administration.

Ten is the total number of GOP lawmakers who have town hall meetings scheduled next week, the longest period Congress will be back home since the inauguration.