House and Senate primaries

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:

How the Republicans Fell for Trump’s Overconfidence Game
With the base seeing all criticism as ‘Fake News,’ the GOP could be in for a rough November

Convinced that polls are rigged for the Democrats, strong backers of President Donald Trump have convinced themselves that the Republican Congress is an impregnable fortress, Shapiro writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION  — The topic never pops up in statistical analyses or pundit roundtables on cable TV, but one of the most underappreciated factors shaping politics is overconfidence.

Historically, second-term presidents have been particularly vulnerable to arrogant overreach. For eight decades, the prime example has been Franklin Roosevelt’s ill-fated plan following his 1936 landslide re-election to pack the Supreme Court with six new justices. (A personal plea: Please don’t mention this scheme to Donald Trump.)

Candidates Get Candid About Their Cancer Diagnoses in TV Ads
Democrats open up about personal medical struggles to talk about health care

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is just the latest candidate to talk about her own cancer diagnosis in a campaign ad this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got personal in a recent ad, talking about something that she’s never addressed in a political spot before: cancer — specifically, her own diagnosis.

“Two years ago, I beat breast cancer,” the two-term Democrat says to camera. “Like thousands of other women in Missouri, I don’t talk about it much.”

Primary Challengers Aren’t Always More Partisan in Congress
Some successors have been more willing to work across the aisle

Ayanna Pressley defeated Rep. Michael E. Capuano in the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 7th District earlier this month. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

It’s often said that conservative challenges to Republican incumbents in primary elections — the prime example being Dave Brat’s victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 — have led to more polarization in Congress, with the challengers less willing to compromise than their predecessors.

Now that two incumbent Democrats, Michael E. Capuano of Massachusetts on Sept. 4 and Joseph Crowley of New York in June, have fallen to upstart challengers, it raises the question whether the phenomenon has now spread to the Democratic Party, foreboding even more dysfunction at the Capitol.

Lori Trahan Wins Democratic Primary in Massachusetts’ 3rd District
Opponent Daniel Koh conceded after recount for Niki Tsongas’ open seat

Lori Trahan is the apparent winner of the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 3rd District after a recount. (Courtesy Lori Trahan for Congress)

Lori Trahan, a onetime aide to former Rep. Martin T. Meehan, is poised to go to Congress from Massachusetts’ heavily Democratic 3rd District after winning the Democratic primary in a recount Monday.

Trahan had a 139-vote advantage when second-place finisher Daniel Koh conceded to her hours before a 5 p.m. deadline.

EMILY’s List to Spend $37 Million in 2018 Cycle
Pro-abortion rights group is looking to play in roughly 30 House races

EMILY’s List trained thousands of women looking to run for office, many of whom were energized by the Women’s March in 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:04 p.m. | EMILY’s List, a group that backs female Democrats who support abortion rights, said it expects to spend more than $37 million this election cycle, which includes the $14 million it already spent in Democratic primaries. 

Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List, told reporters in a briefing Monday that the group plans to play in more than 30 House districts to help Democrats net the 23 seats needed to win a chamber majority. 

All Eyes in Congress on the Hurricane, and Beto and Willie
Religion, mother nature cut week short in Washington, so it’s back to the campaign trail

First Ted Cruz had to deal with Beto O’Rourke. Now he has to deal with Willie Nelson. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Thanks to the weather and religion, Congress had one short work week. Due to Rosh Hashanah, neither chamber was in Monday or Tuesday, and didn’t get back into town until Wednesday afternoon. Then Hurricane Florence’s approach to the Atlantic seaboard brought with it worries of flight cancellations.

At the Races: Second to Last in the Nation
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

Trump: Jamie Dimon Doesn’t Have the ‘Smarts’ to Be President, PR Hurricane Death Toll Inflated
President contends Democrats inflated Puerto Rico numbers

President Donald Trump walks from the South Lawn to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews on July 27. (Photo By Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:43 a.m. | President Donald Trump warned those in Hurricane Florence’s path of the storm’s power, but then returned to attacking his foes and painting himself as the victim of an internal FBI scheme to damage him politically. And he essentially accused Puerto Rican officials and Democrats of lying about how many people died there after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island.

“That doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know why he’d say that,” Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo told reporters when informed of the president’s tweet saying the death toll from Hurricane Maria was a ploy by Democrats.

As Primaries End, Jayapal Launches Medicare For All PAC
Health care idea has not attracted universal support among party

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., announced the formation of a Medicare for All PAC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the day of the final primary election of the midterm cycle, Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal announced she was launching a PAC focused on helping candidates who support Medicare For All, an idea that divided Democratic candidates.

The PAC will support both candidates and initiatives promoting universal health care. The announcement did not specify an initial investments.