tossup

Democrats Face Messaging Hurdles on GOP Tax Plan
Condensed timeline, dissension complicate strategy

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, followed by Hawaii Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons walks to the microphones in the Capitol after the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats and their supporters had a unified message when it came to standing against Republican efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. But when it comes to resisting President Donald Trump and the GOP on tax legislation, it might get more complicated.

Democratic leadership is sending signals it is not willing to negotiate on the GOP tax bill until the current partisan effort fails, but some members of the conference appear ready to buck that message, if need be.

Flake’s Exit Rocks GOP and Arizona Senate Race
Trump critic sees a narrowing path for traditional conservatives in the GOP

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and his wife, Cheryl, enter the Russell Building on Tuesday after he announced he would not be running for re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Flake announced on Tuesday that he is leaving the Senate. But his speech was an indictment of modern politics at large.

The Arizona Republican took to the Senate floor to decry the state of political discourse, the leadership of President Donald Trump and the future of conservatism.

Rating Change: New Hampshire Open Seat Moves to Toss-Up
Shea-Porter was already considered vulnerable in 1st District

New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, right, will not seek a fifth term next year.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s retirement leaves an already competitive seat more vulnerable for her party as an open one, considering President Donald Trump carried New Hampshire’s 1st District 48 percent to 46 percent last fall.

“I felt the tug of family at our reunion on Independence Day, and I have continued to feel it,” Shea-Porter said in a statement Friday.

As Messer and Rokita Squabble, Third GOP Indiana Senate Hopeful Sees Opening
Self-funded state representative looks to sneak around infighting en route to nomination

Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun, who owns an automotive supply business, said if you’re not willing to spend big, it doesn’t “matter how well people might like you.”  (Mike Braun for Indiana)

With Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita trading insults in the Indiana Senate Republican primary, a third candidate seeks to quietly bypass the kerfuffle en route to the GOP nod.

State Rep. Mike Braun has flooded his war chest with nearly $800,000 of his own money and raised $200,000 more, mostly from business associates of his automotive supply business. The GOP primary winner will face vulnerable Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly

Court Finds Two House Districts in Texas Were Illegally Drawn
27th and 35th districts were drawn on the basis of race, judges rule

A federal court found that the drawing of Texas Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s 35th district violated federal law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal panel ruled Tuesday that the drawing of two Texas House districts violated federal law and that the state’s congressional map needs to be redrawn ahead of the 2018 midterms.

The unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel found that the 35th District, represented by Democrat Lloyd Doggett, and the 27th District, represented by Republican Blake Farenthold, were drawn primarily on the basis of race, violating the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. 

McCaskill Gets Primary Challenger
Former Obamacare marketplace worker running to Missouri Democrat’s left

Missouri Senate candidate Angelica Earl says Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is too conservative on issues such as health care. (AngelicaforMissouri.com)

A former health care marketplace worker is challenging Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill for the Democratic nomination in 2018, calling the incumbent “too conservative.”

Angelica Earl, a political novice, said she rejects McCaskill’s push for a bipartisan solution to health care. The 31-year-old from St. Louis County said she supports “single-payer health care for all,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer Running for Senate
GOP primary candidates have already been sparring

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announced he’s running for Senate on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:30 p.m. | Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announced on Wednesday he’s running for Senate.

In declaring his bid to challenge vulnerable Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly, the third-term Republican congressman tweeted, “We’re in!!” with a link to his new campaign site just before noon.

Internal Poll Shows Tight Nevada Race if Titus Challenges Heller
Congresswoman would first face Jacky Rosen in Democratic primary

Nevada Rep. Dina Titus is expected to make her decision on whether to challenge Sen. Dean Heller after the August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An internal poll shows Nevada Rep. Dina Titus in a tight race against Sen. Dean Heller if she decides to challenge him in 2018.

The 1st District Democratic congresswoman is mulling a run against the vulnerable Republican, but would have to first face off against Rep. Jacky Rosen of the 3rd District in a primary.

Rating Change: Nevada Senate Race Moves to Toss-Up
Feeling pressure from both sides, Dean Heller is more vulnerable

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller faces a credible Democratic challenger in Rep. Jacky Rosen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the only Republican senator up for re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton last fall, Dean Heller had a tough task ahead of him next year.

And that was even before he started enduring attacks from within his own party.

One Reason Why Republicans Don’t Have More Women in the Senate
GOP misses a rare opportunity in Missouri

Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner, left, and Tennessee Rep. Diane Black at a news conference on Capitol Hill in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Women make up less than 10 percent of the Republican senators in Congress, and the GOP’s most qualified (and only top-tier) female hopeful just walked off the Senate playing field with nary a protest from Republican leaders.

Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner’s challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has been one of the worst-kept secrets of the cycle. The third-term congresswoman, a former United States ambassador and onetime co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, had $2.8 million in her campaign account at the end of March. She had been doing everything a future Senate candidate was supposed to do, right up until Monday when she announced she was running for re-election to her 2nd District seat instead.