independents

Rating Change: Democratic Challenger Puts Utah Seat in Play
Rep. Mia Love facing competitive race with Salt Lake County mayor’s entry

Utah Rep. Mia Love faces a competitive re-election contest next year. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

It’s not hard to see Democratic takeover opportunities in districts where Hillary Clinton prevailed or President Donald Trump won narrowly last fall, but Democrats have expanded the map with at least a couple of recruits who should make Republicans work to defend some deeper red territory next year.

Former Kansas state Rep. Paul Davis, for example, announced his candidacy in August, giving Democrats a credible candidate in the Sunflower State’s 2nd District, which Trump carried by 18 points, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. Davis, a former state House minority leader, carried the district in his 2014 gubernatorial bid, and when he entered the congressional race for retiring Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ open seat, we changed the rating from Likely Republican to Leans Republican.

Opinion: The Short Life Span of the Trump-McConnell Buddy Movie
Quest for lower taxes brings unlikely pair together

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talk to reporters in the Rose Garden following a lunch meeting at the White House on Monday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Dating back to the days of Walter Winchell, there was a standard photo display that newspapers used when celebrity couples headed to Splitsville. Tabloids would feature an earlier picture of the couple frolicking on a beach or walking down the aisle with the caption, “In Happier Days.”

The odds are high that Monday’s buddy-movie Rose Garden press conference with the odd couple of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell will soon invite similar “In Happier Days” nostalgia. For did anyone believe Trump’s hyperbolic claims that the two men are “closer than ever” and that “the Republican Party is very, very unified”?

With One Now in the White House, Celebrities Crowd the Political Stage
It doesn’t end with Kid Rock; actors, a former Olympian and one of the ”sexiest men alive” plan to run

Kid Rock may have been among the first celebrities to emerge as a potential candidate in 2018, but he wasn’t the last. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

That led to chatter that Peyton Manning, the legendary NFL and University of Tennessee quarterback, could take the Republican senator’s Tennessee seat. But with Manning quickly quashing speculation he would make the race, Kid Rock was back on top.

“We will be scheduling a press conference in the next 6 weeks or so to address this issue amongst others, and if I decide to throw my hat in the ring for US Senate, believe me …  it’s game on mthrfkers,” his campaign website states.

In Iowa, Heartland Democrats Ask ‘What About the Economy, Stupid?’
But candidates are divided on how populist their messages need to be

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan talks with Heather Ryan (no relation), a Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 3rd District, during a steak fry in Des Moines on Sept. 30. (Charlie Neibergall/AP File Photo)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Democrats in the Midwest know that the way to win back voters in states like Iowa is to talk about the economy, but they’re debating how exactly to do it.

As a state that can make or break presidential campaignsand one that had regularly sent liberal Democrats to Washington, Iowa now serves as a test of whether Democrats can win back white voters who have swung toward the Republican Party over the last decade.

Democratic Poll: Poliquin Narrowly Leads Potential Self-Funder in Maine
Lucas St. Clair leads Democratic primary field by double digits

At least six Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

At least six Democrats are running to challenge Maine Republican Bruce Poliquin in a district President Donald Trump carried by 10 points last fall. 

A new poll from the Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group gives Lucas St. Clair a double-digit lead over the rest of the Democratic primary field. The poll was paid for by “an independent organization with an interest” in the 2nd District, according to a Democratic activist in the state. 

From Legislation to Attraction, The Wharf Officially Opens
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton helps open mile-long stretch along the Southwest D.C. Waterfront

From left, Monty Hoffman, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen appear during the opening ceremony of the Wharf complex along Maine Avenue on Thursday. Hoffman is a member of the development team. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton saw her bill turn into the grand opening of The Wharf, a sprawling and vibrant mile-long strip along D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront.

“With the opening of this site, D.C. is becoming a true waterfront community,” she said Thursday at the opening ceremony, attended by hundreds of Washingtonians, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen and The Wharf’s managing director, Monty Hoffman.

Over Ribs, Angus King Fosters Senate Collegiality
Senator talks barbecue and Maine lobster

“For the record, I don’t think this is the rib joint from ‘House of Cards.’”

That’s what Sen. Angus King said between bites of pulled pork and coleslaw inside the recently-renovated Kenny’s BBQ Smokehouse at 732 Maryland Ave. NE.

At the Table: Sen. Angus King Builds Senate Friendships With BBQ
 

Roll Call’s senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski sat down with Maine Sen. Angus King for a barbecue lunch at Kenny’s BBQ Smokehouse near Capitol Hill. King frequently orders from this local joint, serving barbecue ribs at bipartisan Senate relationship-building dinners he hosts at his D.C. residence nearby.

Space Growing More Contested for Military, Experts Say
‘A few dragons have been replaced by 100 snakes,’ one said

The space shuttle Discovery hitches a ride in 2012 on NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747, on its way to be displayed in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Space is becoming an increasingly contested military domain, and U.S. assets may be increasingly at risk without a comprehensive strategy, experts told members of the National Space Council.

The council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, met for the first time during the Trump administration on Thursday at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The council includes five Cabinet secretaries — State, Defense, Commerce, Transportation and Homeland Security — as well as the national security adviser, director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, among others.

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.