Jan Schakowsky

At the Races: 2018 Starts in PA-18
Our weekly newsletter on the latest in House and Senate races

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Subscribe here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget BowmanThis week … Trump is wading into another special election, Democrats went after one of their own and Tim Pawlenty said “no thanks” to a Senate run.

Two Democratic Lawmakers Go After One of Their Own in Illinois
Schakowsky and Gutiérrez endorse Marie Newman in Democratic primary

Marie Newman, center, speaks during an event in Washington on Wednesday to receive the endorsements of Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis V. Gutiérrez in her primary challenge to their fellow Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are optimistic about their chances of kicking out GOP incumbents in 2018, but first a few sitting Democrats would like to kick out one of their own.

Illinois Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis V. Gutiérrez on Wednesday endorsed a primary challenger to fellow Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski, a Blue Dog Democrat who’s opposed to abortion rights. 

Illinois House Primaries Will Be Early Testing Ground for Democrats
Democrats have several pickup opportunities, but they need viable candidates first

Democrats are confident they’ll have a general election nominee who can take on Illinois GOP Rep. Peter Roskam. The primary is on March 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With early voting starting in less than a month, Illinois will be a testing ground for Democrats’ ability to nominate general election candidates they think can win out of crowded primaries. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting four Republican-held districts, but the committee is not explicitly picking favorites in all those primaries. 

House Democrats Pick Nadler Over Lofgren for Judiciary Post
Caucus sticks with seniority tradition

House Democrats picked Jerrold Nadler, right, over Zoe Lofgren to be the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. (CQ Roll Call file photos)

House Democrats voted Wednesday to elect New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee over California Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

The vote was 118-72, according to Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, who declined to say whom he voted for, citing the secret ballot process. The caucus action followed the recommendation made Tuesday by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Word on the Hill: Cousins Bernie and Larry
Airbnb surge, and Pet Night results

Sen. Bernie Sanders reacts as his distant cousin is revealed. (PBS.org)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and comedian Larry David, who portrayed him on “Saturday Night Live” last season, are reportedly distant cousins.

The two found out on PBS’ “Finding Your Roots,” which released a preview of its Season 4 premiere, People reported. In the preview, David is told researchers matched his DNA against others who have appeared on the show, turning up a cousin.

Ryan Says He’s Working on Update to Capitol Dress Code
Move comes after recent furor over sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally pointed out in a floor speech Wednesday that she was violating the House dress code. (CQ House floor video screenshot)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday to look “soon” for an update on the dress code inside the Speaker’s Lobby and around the Capitol.

The Wisconsin Republican said he would work with the House sergeant-at-arms to update the code without providing specifics on whether it would address women wearing sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes, which became an issue last week. The current rules date back to the manual for parliamentary procedure that Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1801.

Word on the Hill: JFK and Memorial Day Weekend
Logistics for Saturday’s parade and spottings this week

The Kennedy Stamps. (©2017 USPS)

Happy Memorial Day weekend, which is also President John F. Kennedy’s Centennial weekend.

Kennedy was born 100 years ago Monday. To celebrate, the United States Postal Service released a commemorative “forever” stamp to honor the late president.

Take Five: Pramila Jayapal
Washington Democrat wants hearings on bills before committee votes

Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal brings her special green tea from home. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, 51, talks about breaking barriers, what surprises her as a freshman in Congress, and working on airplanes.

Q: What has surprised you so far about being in Congress?

Word on the Hill: Hotdish Time
West Virginia, baseball and women

Last year's hotdish made by Minnesota Sen. Al Franken was titled "The Most Beautiful Hotdish in the World," in honor of Prince. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Minnesota tradition of eating “hotdish” and listening to Al Franken’s jokes is here again.

Franken is hosting the seventh annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition, and will be joined by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Collin C. Peterson, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, Rick Nolan, Erik Paulsen, Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis.

Lawmakers Hunt Around the Capitol for Obamacare Repeal Bill
Several members searched the building Thursday for legislation they say is being kept out of public eye

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., stands with his copier on a cart as he speaks to reporters after trying to gain access to the room housing the House Republicans' so-called secret health care plan on Thursday. Paul hoped to make copies of the plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle went on an unsuccessful hunt around the Capitol on Thursday to find a bill that aims to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, with one congressman calling the need for such a probe "extremely bizarre."

Sen. Rand Paul, armed with a copy machine, crisscrossed chambers to a Capitol office room in the House guarded by an armed police officer asking to see the bill. After he was denied entry, Paul criticized House leaders for not being more transparent.