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Pelosi Blows Off Calls to Step Down
‘It's not up to them,’ she says of Democrats calling for new leadership

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed calls on Thursday for her to step down. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Describing herself as “worth the trouble,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Thursday blew off calls from some chamber Democrats for her to step down from leadership in the wake of special election losses this year and a failure to win a House majority in four straight national elections. 

“It’s not up to them,” the California Democrat said of members calling for her to let someone else give it a try, before calling herself a “master legislator.”

11 Things I Think I Think After the Special Elections
Lessons from the Georgia and South Carolina races

Jon Ossoff supporters at the Georgia Democrat’s election night watch party are stunned as CNN calls the state’s 6th District race for Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of the best parts about covering elections is that there is a final result. What seems like an endless stream of campaigning and ads and analysis finally comes to an end every time with vote tallies to digest until the next round.

President Donald Trump and the Republicans continue to play with electoral fire, but the GOP pulled off two more special election victories; this time in Georgia’s 6th District and South Carolina’s 5th District. As with the previous results in Kansas and Montana, there are enough tidbits in each result to formulate whatever conclusion helps you sleep better at night.

Karen Handel Proves Third Time’s the Charm
Georgia Republican heads to Congress after 2 losing bids for higher office

Karen Handel gives her victory speech to supporters in Atlanta on Tuesday, as her husband Steve Handel looks on. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Republican Karen Handel comes to Congress after a 28-year career with a diverse portfolio of public- and private-sector jobs ranging from overseeing elections as Georgia’s secretary of state to heading the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to serving as the vice president of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which supports breast cancer research.

Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 52 percent to 48 percent in Tuesday’s 6th District special election runoff to replace former Rep. Tom Price, who vacated the seat to become secretary of Health and Human Services.

In Ralph Norman, Trump Gets a Strong Ally
Incoming South Carolina congressman gives president an A-plus

South Carolina Rep.-elect Ralph Norman won on his second attempt for the 5th District seat. (Courtesy Ralph Norman for Congress)

Republican Ralph Norman, a developer of hotels, shopping centers, and retail stores, won a House seat 11 years after his first unsuccessful bid for the same South Carolina seat in 2006.

In Tuesday’s 5th District special election to replace former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who resigned from the House to become head of the Office of Management and Budget, Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell, a former Goldman Sachs executive and tax lawyer by an unexpectedly close 51 percent to 48 percent margin.

Karen Handel Keeps Georgia Seat in GOP Hands
Republican defeats Jon Ossoff in most expensive House election

Karen Handel is the first Republican woman elected to Congress from Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief with GOP nominee Karen Handel defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff in the special election in Georgia’s 6th District on Tuesday.

Handel carried 52 percent of the vote to Ossoff’s 48 percent with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. She becomes the first Republican woman to be elected to Congress from Georgia.

Republican Ralph Norman Wins Close Race in South Carolina
GOP winner likely to join House Freedom Caucus

Republican Ralph Norman won the special election in South Carolina’s 5th District (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Ralph Norman had a good birthday Tuesday night, winning the special election to fill South Carolina’s 5th District seat, albeit by a closer-than-expected margin.

Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell 51 percent to 48 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. 

Opinion: Jon Ossoff and the New Breed of Yellow Dog Democrats
How politics in a onetime Southern GOP stronghold have changed

By the kind of campaign he ran in Georgia’s 6th District, Jon Ossoff is emblematic of a New Southern Democrat, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s Election Day in Georgia, so this column goes to print before we know the outcome of the 6th District special election to replace Dr. Tom Price in Congress. But whether Karen Handel, the Republican, pulls off a win or Jon Ossoff, the Democrat, manages an upset, it is well-understood here that the politics of this once solidly Republican district have changed, almost overnight.

The fact that Ossoff became so competitive, so quickly in this race was almost entirely because of Donald Trump. Trump was certainly the reason Democratic activists across the country pumped $20 million into a district where the biggest tourist attraction is a giant red chicken in front of a vintage KFC. Trump was also the reason countless Ossoff volunteers told me they were working for him “because at least it is something I could do” after Trump won in November.

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Partisan Redistricting
Wisconsin case challenges politically motivated gerrymandering

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the Wisconsin redistricting case in October. (Courtesy Phil Roeder/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear arguments in a Wisconsin case about partisan redistricting and gerrymandering, taking on a longstanding question that could change the way states draw congressional and legislative districts.

The justices have never fully answered when partisan gerrymanders — or maps that benefit one political party to the detriment of another — could be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court hasn’t weighed in on the issue in more than a decade and could be sharply divided.

Race Rating: 2018 Montana At-Large Race Starts as Leans Republican
Gianforte not in immediate danger of losing re-election

Montana Rep.-elect Greg Gianforte is a favorite for re-election next year. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

It’s not good to start your tenure in Congress with a misdemeanor assault charge, but that’s where Republican Greg Gianforte finds himself. It also doesn’t mean he is immediately and automatically vulnerable in 2018.

On May 25, Gianforte won a special election to replace Republican Ryan Zinke (who vacated his seat to become secretary of the Interior) in a race that received some national attention but went viral after an altercation between the candidate and a reporter resulted in assault body-slamming allegations and formal charges. Gianforte pleaded guilty on June 12 and narrowly avoided a few days in jail with 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management counseling.

Race Rating: Virginia Governor Contest Still Leans Democratic
Primary results don’t change GOP nominee’s uphill battle

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, right, seen here posing for a selfie with Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia last year, remains the favorite in the commonwealth’s governor’s race this fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While the margins, if not the outcomes, of Virginia’s gubernatorial primaries may have been a surprise, the long view of the race remains the same — Democrats are in position to hold the commonwealth’s governorship in November.

In the Republican primary, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie defeated Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors, 44 percent to 43 percent. It was a closer-than-expected margin of victory for Gillespie, the 2014 Senate nominee, over Stewart, former state chairman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.