Erik Paulsen

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith Picked to Replace Al Franken in Senate
Says she will run for election in 2018 in Likely Democratic race

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, seen here with former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, will fill the Senate seat vacated by DFL Sen. Al Franken. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday said he would appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill the Senate seat being vacated by outgoing Sen. Al Franken, who has yet to announce his resignation date. 

Smith said Wednesday she will run for the remainder of Franken’s term, which is up in 2020. The special election will be held concurrently with next year’s midterms, when Democratic-Farmer-Labor Sen. Amy Klobuchar also faces voters.

Minnesota Governor to Announce Senate Appointment Wednesday
Senator Al Franken still hasn’t said when he’s resigning

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, seen here leaving the Capitol on Dec. 7 with his wife, Franni, after announcing he’d resign last week, hasn’t set a date for his resignation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday will announce his selection to fill the seat of Sen. Al Franken, who has yet to set a date for his resignation. 

Dayton has been expected to appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, his former chief of staff, to the seat. She’d have the option of running next fall to fill out the rest of Franken’s term, which is up in 2021. 

What Happens to Franken’s Seat If He Resigns?
Governor would appoint placeholder, followed by special election in November 2018

There could be two Senate elections next fall in Minnesota instead of just one. If Sen. Al Franken steps down, there would be a special election for the remainder of his term. Senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s seat is also up next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken isn’t up for re-election until 2020. But if he announces his resignation Thursday, the North Star State will be holding two Senate elections next fall.

Ahead of next November, though, not much would shift in the Senate. If Democratic-Farmer-Labor Gov. Mark Dayton appoints another Democrat immediately, the balance of power in the Senate would remain unchanged.

New Democrats’ PAC Adds 10 More Challengers to Watch List
PAC now has 23 candidates on watch list for 2018

Lauren Baer, who’s running in  Florida’s 18th District, is one of 10 more Democratic candidates that NewDemPAC is adding to its list of candidates to watch in 2018. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo).

The political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is adding 10 more challengers to its list of candidates to watch in 2018 — a continued effort to get involved in House races earlier this cycle. 

The latest additions by NewDemPAC, obtained first by Roll Call, come from across the country and include a second former member of the coalition. The PAC announced its first 13 candidates to watch earlier this year. 

DCCC Launches Digital Ads Over GOP Tax Vote
Seven Republicans who voted against the tax plan are also targeted

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock speaks with reporters as she leaves the Capitol after voting for the GOP’s tax plan Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Seizing on the House’s passage of the Republican tax plan Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching digital ads in more than 40 GOP-held districts, including against Republicans who voted against the plan.

The ads, provided first to Roll Call, will run on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The committee is also rolling out a website, TaxCutsandJobsAct.com, that allows voters to submit their own video testimonials about the tax plan. The site will be promoted in Google search ads.

Photos of the Week: A House Tax Marathon as Senate Starts Action
The week of Nov. 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

From left, Rep. Sam Johnson, Chairman Kevin Brady and ranking member Richard Neal open a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans’ tax overhaul plan in Longworth Building on Monday. Rep. David Schweikert also appears. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ways and Means Committee finished its marathon markup of the GOP tax overhaul plan Thursday, as attention shifted to the Senate, which will be marking up its own version of the bill next week. 

Here’s the entire week in photos:

Kevin Brady: A Low-Profile Tax Writer for the Highest-Stress Time
Texan may be the most obscure Ways and Means chairman in such a pivotal role

Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, places books of the current tax code on the dais, during a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans’ tax reform plan titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in Longworth Building on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Millions of taxpayers, not to mention seemingly all of K Street’s lobbyists, are focused this week on the work of a man precious few outside the Beltway have ever heard of — but who’s among the most powerful people at the Capitol at the moment.

Perhaps expecting Kevin Brady to be a household name is asking too much of the typical American household, where two out of three people can’t name their own member of Congress.

Democratic Recruits Pounce on GOP Budget Vote
Candidates defend state and local tax deduction in competitive districts

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen was the only Garden State Republican to vote for the budget resolution on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats looking to pick up House seats in wealthier, suburban districts next fall pounced on Thursday’s narrow adoption of a budget resolution that could clear the way for the elimination of the state and local tax deduction that benefits many of those districts.

Republican leaders heralded the vote as bringing them closer to achieving a tax overhaul — a legislative priority to which many GOP strategists are pinning their party’s midterm fate.

Word on the Hill: Drag Racing
Bonus digital challenge results, ‘Flint’ screening, and raising funds from ‘Hamilton’

Members of Gays Against Guns DC dress in drag as Rep. Barbara Comstock during the costume parade before the start of the 30th Annual 17th Street High Heel Race in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

So what is Gays Against Guns DC’s problem with Rep. Barbara Comstock?

The group, known has GAG, will be back at the annual 17th Street High Heel Race tonight, high heels and all, protesting the Virginia Republican. While last year’s protest was a week before her re-election, this year’s will focus on her stance on guns and “her lack of action for common sense gun violence prevention measures,” the group said in an emailed statement. 

Democrats Passing on Corporate Money Snag New Endorsement
End Citizens United PAC is backing candidates focused on campaign finance

Four Democratic challengers have pledged not to accept corporate PAC money. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Four House Democratic challengers are pledging not to accept corporate PAC money in their campaigns, earning them the endorsement of the End Citizens United PAC.

End Citizens United’s executive director, Tiffany Muller, said the challengers’ decision marks a shift among candidates who see campaign finance overhaul as a winning message.