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Internal Poll: Republican Harkey Has Slight Lead Over Levin in Race for Issa’s Seat
California’s 49th District is a top target for Democrats in November

Republican Diane Harkey will face Democrat Mike Levin in November in California’s 49th District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo).

The open-seat race in California’s 49th District is already close, according to an internal poll from Republican Diane Harkey’s campaign, obtained by Roll Call.

Harkey, an elected member of the California State Board of Equalization that oversees taxation, led Democratic environmental lawyer Mike Levin, 46 percent to 43 percent. Nine percent of respondents were undecided. 

The Great Outdoors Threatened by a Funding Battle
Congress is divided on reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Stony Man Trail, part of the Appalachian Trail, winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The $887 billion outdoor recreational economy is a massive economic engine for rural areas. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Sen. Richard M. Burr’s sinking of the $14 billion rescissions package last month was not about saving the Energy Department loan guarantee program or children’s health care contingency funding — which represented the vast majority of the money on the chopping block.

The North Carolina Republican voted against the package because it would rescind $16 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which represented approximately 0.1 percent of all the funding in the bill.

Democrats Keep Raking In the Cash After Costly Primaries
Challengers in key races have on average twice as much money in the bank

California Democrat Katie Porter reported a significant boost in her cash on hand since the pre-primary reporting period in her race against GOP Rep. Mimi Walters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The surge in Democratic candidates running for the House raised a critical question at the start of the cycle: Would crowded and costly primaries weaken the eventual nominees by draining their campaign cash? So far the answer appears to be “no.”

On average, Democrats in competitive races who faced expensive primaries have more than doubled their cash on hand from shortly before their primary elections to the end of the most recent fundraising quarter, campaign finance reports show. 

Opinion: McCain’s Legacy of Stronger Military Reflected in Senate’s Landmark Defense Bill
This year’s NDAA could be a big win for military personnel and their families

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, left, hands the gavel to House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry before a National Defense Authorization Act conference meeting in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain has served on the committee for over three decades, helping it draft and pass dozens of National Defense Authorization Acts — some seemingly routine, others carrying historic significance.

This year’s NDAA, the annual policy bill for the Defense Department, has the potential to rank among the latter. Many provisions in the Senate version, drafted under McCain’s leadership, would have a positive long-term effect on military readiness, servicemember satisfaction and, crucially, the well-being of military families, who are often overlooked.

Republican Main Street Partnership Backs Four More Candidates
Three of the four endorsees are women

Republican Main Street Partnership is endorsing West Virginia state Del. Carol Miller in the 3rd District after originally backing one of her opponents in the primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican PAC that supports lawmakers from the “governing wing of the GOP” is endorsing four more candidates Monday.

The Republican Main Street Partnership’s endorsement comes with a $5,000 PAC check. The group made its first 10 nonincumbent endorsements in April. Three of those endorsees have since lost their primaries. 

California Democratic Party Endorses Dianne Feinstein Opponent Kevin de León
De León took 65 percent of the delegate vote

California state Sen. Kevin de León is challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the all-Democratic general election in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The California Democratic Party has endorsed state Sen. Kevin de León over Sen. Dianne Feinstein, backing a challenger who is taking on a longtime incumbent.

The endorsement came after Feinstein had encouraged party leaders not to endorse either candidate for Senate in the name of party unity. But on Saturday, de León won 65 percent of the delegates’ votes, surpassing the 60 percent threshold necessary to secure the endorsement.

Does a Clinton Campaign Staffer Stand a Chance in Trump Country?
Talley Sergent banks on her West Virginia roots in bid to unseat Rep. Alex Mooney

Democrat Talley Sergent, who is running against GOP Rep. Alex X. Mooney in West Virginia’s 2nd District, marches in a July Fourth parade in Ripley, W.Va., last week. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

RIPLEY, W.Va. — There are few places where Hillary Clinton is more toxic than West Virginia. 

So why does a former Clinton campaign staffer think she stands any chance of flipping a House district here?

New Democrats’ PAC Endorses 13 More Candidates
NewDemPAC is now backing 27 hopefuls, most running for GOP-held seats

NewDemPAC is endorsing Mel Hall, who’s running in Indiana’s 2nd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is endorsing 13 more candidates on Thursday, bringing to 27 the PAC’s current endorsements for the 2018 cycle.

The endorsed candidates, whose names were obtained first by Roll Call, are all running in GOP-held seats. Each candidate received a maximum contribution of $5,000 for their primary, with the endorsement now signaling additional support to come for the general election. 

GOP Senate Candidate Returns Contributions From Conservative PAC
FEC has questions for Club for Conservatives PAC

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter to Club for Conservatives PAC last month with questions about its previously filed reports. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn is locked in a competitive and expensive race for Senate. But the Tennessee Republican’s campaign decided to return a sizable contribution from a political action committee that’s facing scrutiny from campaign finance regulators.

“Club for Conservatives PAC did not meet our standards for transparency,” Blackburn campaign spokeswoman Abbi Sigler said. 

Opinion: When Political Discourse Becomes Bullying
With the extremes sucking the oxygen, we’ve traded thoughtful argument for shaming

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia last month. The hounding of government officials in their private lives is not protest but bullying, Winston writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There was a time when I saw appearing on cable news shows, both left and right, as an opportunity for a civil debate on serious policy issues. That was probably naive, but I believed in the inherent value of proof-based and polite argument in providing the nation with the information to make good policy choices.

But as time went on, I began to feel like Michael Palin in the famous Monty Python “Argument Clinic” sketch. In the comedy bit, Palin goes to the “clinic” to buy an argument. He pays out his five pounds, but when he meets his “arguer,” Graham Chapman immediately goes on the attack.