endorsement-watch

Orrin Hatch and the Origins of Mitt Romney’s Senate Bid
Lunch at the Marriott plants seeds for Romney’s political second coming

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is expected to announce his bid for Sen. Orrin G. Hatch's open Senate seat in Utah on Feb. 15. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Utahns await Mitt Romney’s expected Feb. 15 announcement that he will run for Orrin G. Hatch’s Senate seat, the story of why the former GOP presidential nominee decided to make his political comeback now has begun to emerge.

It all started nearly a year ago over lunch with Hatch at the JW Marriott in downtown Washington, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

Thanks, but No Thanks, Bryant Tells McConnell, Trump of Cochran’s Seat
Mississippi governor not interested in potentially replacing ailing senator

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., could step down amid lingering health concerns, many around Capitol Hill believe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is not interested in replacing Sen. Thad Cochran if Cochran steps down due to health concerns.

Bryant will not appoint himself to fill Cochran’s seat, the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson reported Thursday, even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump both broached the idea in separate conversations with the governor.

Issa Announces Who He Wants to Replace Him
Diane Harkey was one of the first of a slew of Republicans to get into the race

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., endorsed Diane Harkey, a member of the California Board of Equalization, to replace him as he retires from Congres. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa endorsed California Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey to succeed him in California’s 49th District.

Issa endorsed Harkey in an interview Fox5 San Diego

AFL-CIO Passes on Endorsing O’Rourke
Comes after concerns about his support for free trade

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, said he was unable to attend the Texas AFL-CIO convention because of other commitments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas branch of the AFL-CIO passed on endorsing Rep. Beto O’Rourke at its convention in his challenge against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

O’Rourke did not attend the labor group’s convention in Austin on Sunday and was not listed on the slate of statewide candidates the group was endorsing, the Texas Tribune reported.

Joe Arpaio Senate Candidacy ‘Won't Last Long,’ Flake Says
Former sheriff fires back, saying Flake didn’t have the ‘guts’ to run again

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has been critical of his own party for nominating controversial conservative candidates for high office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake on Wednesday dismissed Joe Arpaio’s bid for his Arizona Senate seat in 2018, laughing off the controversial former sheriff as a fringe candidate whose campaign will quickly fizzle.

“You’d better write about it and talk about it fast because it won’t last long,” Flake said in an interview with CNN.

DeSantis Touts Trump Endorsement in Announcing Florida Governor Run
Florida rep is 10th GOP House member to announce run for higher office

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., announced Friday he will run for governor of Florida. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ron DeSantis will run for Florida governor in 2018, the third-term Republican announced Friday morning.

Appearing on the morning cable show “Fox & Friends,” DeSantis touted his strong relationship with President Donald Trump — who endorsed the 39-year-old lawmaker for a governor bid in recent weeks — before revealing his intention to run.

GOP Candidates Shun Bannon After Trump ‘Treason’ Remarks
Former chief strategist praises POTUS after controversy

Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, aides to President Donald J. Trump, are seen on the West Front of the Capitol after Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The brigade of insurgent GOP candidates backed by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon showed signs of disunity Wednesday after controversial remarks Bannon made for a book about links between the Russian government and some members of President Donald Trump’s campaign team.

“I strongly denounce the comments by Steve Bannon as quoted by Michael Wolff,” said Michael Grimm

Advice for Donald Trump After Alabama
‘Stay out of the primaries,’ one GOP lawmaker says

President Donald Trump arrives with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., before a Republican caucus luncheon in the Capitol on Nov. 28. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After the Republican Party suffered a stunning loss in deep red Alabama, an ever-defiant President Donald Trump is selling himself as the party’s soothsayer — but some lawmakers and strategists have some advice for Trump.

Republicans are both relieved that Roy Moore will not bring his sexual misconduct allegations to the Senate and evaluating whether his inability to protect a seat that had been safely in GOP hands since 1992 signals a Democratic wave ahead. The president, who last week did something rare by calling himself “the leader of the party,” signaled Monday he believes he knows best which candidates can and cannot win general elections.

Keith Ellison Will Not Challenge Smith for Franken’s Seat in 2018
Says he supports appointed replacement Tina Smith

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., will not challenge newly appointed interim Sen. Tina Smith in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Keith Ellison will not run in Minnesota’s special election for Senate to replace Sen. Al Franken in 2018, the six-term Democratic lawmaker signaled Wednesday.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been pegged to replace Franken through January 2019. Smith, a Democrat, said she plans to run in the November 2018 special election.

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.