Barbara Comstock

Breaking the Midterm Mode: Both Parties Make it About Trump
2018 provides yet another departure from political norms

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is among the Democrats whose re-election prospects could be hurt by the nationalizing of the midterms, Rothenberg writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — For decades, the rule of thumb for campaigns during midterm elections has been the same: When the president is popular, the president’s party tries to nationalize the election, and the opposition attempts to localize it. On the other hand, when the president is unpopular, his party’s nominees try to localize while the opposition tries to make the election a national referendum on his performance. Perhaps not surprisingly, 2018 has broken that mold.

Both sides are trying to nationalize the November election.

Two Elections: Democrats’ Chance of Taking the Senate Fading, House Likely to Flip
Senate results in midterms crucial for GOP and Democratic prospects in 2020

The North Dakota Senate race looks all but over for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Rothenberg writes.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The Democrats’ chances of netting at least two Senate seats always seemed like a long shot. But a month ago, the stars looked to be aligning for them. Today, those stars tell a different story.

With the Republican challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, opening up a clear lead over Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, the North Dakota Senate race looks all but over now, according to multiple insiders. That means Democrats will need to swipe at least three GOP seats to take back the Senate — an outcome that currently appears somewhere between unlikely and impossible.

Republicans Need a Cold Compress With Less Than One Month to Go
Presidential pain still plagues vulnerable incumbents ahead of the midterms

President Donald Trump may turn out Democrats better than any Democrat could. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Weather metaphors are often used (and overused) in election analysis, but there’s a better way to describe the Republicans’ challenge in 2018. The GOP is dealing with many headaches as it tries to preserve the Republican congressional majorities.

From tension to cluster to migraine, they can vary in frequency and severity. And Republicans’ ability to alleviate them will determine control of the House and Senate in the 116th Congress.

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Incumbents: Blum’s Still the One
Erik Paulsen and Bruce Poliquin make the list for first time this cycle

Iowa Rep. Rod Blum remains the most vulnerable incumbent. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With one month to go until Election Day, two new names are on our latest ranking of the most vulnerable House incumbents, but once again, the list remains all-Republican.

Despite widely over-performing President Donald Trump in his district in 2016, Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen looks to be in tougher shape this year in a seat Hillary Clinton comfortably carried. He has company — four of the most vulnerable incumbents are running in Clinton districts, with Colorado’s Mike Coffman and Kansas’ Kevin Yoder moving up on the list. 

House GOP Moving Right, Democratic Direction Less Clear
With pragmatists in fewer supply among Republicans, conference will be in less of a mood to compromise

The retirement of pragmatic Republicans like Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., threatens to move the House Republican Conference further to the right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — We don’t know exactly how many House seats Democrats will gain in November, though Democratic control of the chamber next year looks almost inevitable. But even now it is clear that the midterm results will move Republicans further to the right. Where the Democrats will stand is less clear.

In the House, GOP losses will be disproportionately large in the suburbs and among members of the Republican Main Street Partnership, the House GOP group that puts “country over party” and values “compromise over conflict,” according to its website.

Steny Hoyer's Election Night Watch List
Minority whip has a dozen races he says he will focus on for early hints

Steny Hoyer will be watching 12 races on election night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Steny H. Hoyer has high hopes that Democrats will take back control of the House in November and he’s trekked to 94 districts in 22 states and campaigned for 75 candidates and 37 incumbents this cycle to try and make it happen. And of those races, on Nov. 6th, there are 12 races he says he’ll be watching.

The House minority whip called five East Coast races in particular “bellwethers.” The returns will be in relatively early and they are just a few of the seats that Democrats are trying to snag from Republican control:

How Will Kavanaugh Shape the Midterms?
Debacle over his Supreme Court nomination likely to yield mixed results

Barring something unforeseen, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is likely to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. The effect on the midterms is likely to amount to a split decision. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Assuming the FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t uncover some startling new information, the Senate is likely to confirm him to the Supreme Court and the political effects on the midterms could go in two different directions. 

Democratic lawmakers will complain, of course, that the inquiry wasn’t thorough enough, that Kavanaugh lacks a judicial temperament, that he is too partisan to sit on the land’s highest court, and that he wasn’t completely honest with the Senate Judiciary Committee about his drinking.

Wexton Ties Comstock to Trump in First Negative Ad
Ad accuses Comstock of siding with Trump on health care

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock is running for re-election in a district Hillary Clinton carried by 10 points. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

State Sen. Jennifer Wexton, the Democrat running in Virginia’s 10th District, is airing her first negative ad against GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock Saturday.

The ad, shared first with Roll Call, tries to tie the two-term Republican to President Donald Trump, who lost this suburban district by 10 points in 2016.

How to Read Midterm Polls
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 121

A voter arrives at the Philomont, Va fire station in Virginia's 10th Congressional district, Rep. Barbara Comstock's district, on primary election day in Virginia on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While Washington is obsessed with the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, voters — Republicans and Democrats— are more concerned about the economy, says Democratic pollster Brad Bannon, who adds that the positive top-line numbers cloak Americans' continuing economic fears.

Show Notes:

Giffords PAC Airs New TV Ad Against Comstock in Virginia
Second spot is part of $1 million ad campaign against two-term Republican in 10th District

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' PAC is investing $1 million in Virginia’s 10th District against GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. Giffords is shown here with Jennifer Wexton, Comstock's Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The gun violence prevention group founded by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is launching its second TV ad against Rep. Barbara Comstock, specifically going after the Virginia Republican’s ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association. 

The spot, debuting Wednesday and obtained first by Roll Call, opens with footage of a parent playing with a small child.