House Democrats Punt on Leadership Question After Anti-Pelosi Candidate Wins
Caucus members say individual candidates should decide whether to run on calls for a leadership change

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, hosts a reception in honor of Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, in the Capitol on Wednesday. The Democrats’ most likely new member ran amid promises to not support her as caucus leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After four straight elections falling short of the majority, House Democrats have had their fair share of discussions about their caucus leadership and whether it’s time for a change. But with momentum on their side in the current cycle, they’re not yet ready to revisit those talks — even after the strong special election performance of a Democratic candidate who pledged not to support Nancy Pelosi in another bid for Democratic leader.

Democrat Conor Lamb led Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th District special election, with all precincts reporting but the final outcome still undetermined at press time. Lamb’s expected victory is significant in a district President Donald Trump carried by nearly 20 points in 2016, although Republicans downplayed the chances of Democrats replicating that success in similar districts.

Opinion: Not the Pennsylvania Message You’d Expect, but One Heard Around the World
World is watching as America struggles with basic questions of democracy and representation

President Donald Trump spoke at a rally for Rick Saccone Saturday night. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The election for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania was over, yet not over, on Wednesday, with all eyes on the few hundred votes that gave Democrat Conor Lamb an initial edge over Republican Rick Saccone.

And the reckoning has only begun. Amid the hand-wringing from nervous Republicans fearing a midterm blue wave and cautious optimism from Democrats who realize November is a long way off were signs that the tensions of this campaign resonate far beyond a spot in the southwestern corner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Opinion: Why the Pennsylvania Special Election Is Not So Special
Such contests are more about storylines than winning

Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District between Republican Rick Saccone, left, and Democrat Conor Lamb boils down to a fight for national bragging rights, Murphy writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

All elections have consequences, but on a scale of zero-to-life-changing, Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb has fewer real-world consequences than most.

You wouldn’t know it from the screaming national headlines or the colossal amount of cash both parties are putting up to occupy the seat for the next nine months (almost $12 million in ad spending alone), but the reality of special elections this cycle is that they are more about winning a storyline than about winning any House seat.

House Majority PAC Reserves $43 Million in Airtime for Fall
Democratic super PAC’s initial reservations in 33 media markets

House Majority PAC is reserving nearly $1.8 million in the Denver media market, which could be used in the race against Colorado GOP Rep. Mike Coffman. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority PAC, the group that helps House Democrats, is making $43 million in TV reservations in 33 media markets for the final weeks of the 2018 campaign.

These initial reservations will be placed over the course of the month, which is the earliest the super PAC has booked time for the fall.

Banking Debate Splits Democrats, but They Might All Win
Friends or foes hope to capitalize on the topic

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota is one of several Democrats who helped negotiate the bipartisan banking bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats might all be winners in the chamber’s debate this week on curtailing some provisions of the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul.

On the one hand, progressives can again prove their bona fides as voices against big financial institutions, while more conservative Democrats on the ballot in 2018 from largely rural states can boast they are making the Senate work to support their community banks.

Democratic Super PAC Ties Hawley to Scandals in New Ad
Ad references the ongoing scandal involving GOP Gov. Eric Greitens

Senator Roy Blunt. R-Mo., greets newly elected Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (right) at a campaign event in 2016. A new television ad seeks to tie Hawley to recent scandals in the state.(Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 4:06 p.m. | A Democratic Super PAC launched a new television ad Thursday night that seeks to tie Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley to recent scandals in the state. Hawley is running against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

The ad from the Senate Majority PAC appears to be the first paid media tying Hawley to GOP Gov. Eric Greitens, who has been indicted with a felony charge of invasion of privacy for taking a nude photo of a woman with whom he had an affair. Greitens been accused of using the photo as blackmail, which he has denied. 

GOP Reaction to Trump Tariffs is Fast, Furious and Negative
Republicans fret about retaliatory action, effect on agricultural trade

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, among the president’s strongest allies in the Senate, warned that imposing tariffs was akin to a tax hike. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are calling for changes to the seldom-employed section of U.S. trade law that the Trump administration used to unilaterally impose steep new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The conversations are in the preliminary stages, but build upon discussions GOP members have had for weeks regarding concerns over the White House’s trade policy.

Analysis: Will the Suburbs Flip the House? Watch These Seats
If Trump keeps bleeding suburban support, GOP House majority could be at risk

Retiring Michigan Rep. Dave Trott’s 11th District is overwhelmingly suburban, offering Democrats a pickup opportunity. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If elections and national surveys over the past year have shown us anything, it is that suburban voters could well be the key to the 2018 midterm House elections.

Turnout among minority voters and younger voters could affect the result in a district here or there, but an increase in suburban turnout or a substantial shift by suburban voters (especially suburban women) from the Republicans to the Democrats could have a much broader impact on the fight for control of the House.

Justices Air Differences on Value of Congressional Reports
High court appears as divided as ever on giving weight to legislative history

While the Supreme Court agreed unanimously on Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections, justices disagreed on the reliability of congressional committee reports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An opinion Wednesday shows the Supreme Court is as divided as ever on whether congressional committee reports should be used to help understand what Congress meant when drafting and enacting a law.

All the justices agreed that the 2010 Dodd-Frank law only protects whistleblowers who tell the Securities and Exchange Commission about corporate wrongdoing. But the decision became a platform for justices to air their judicial philosophies about the long-contested idea of whether to give weight to legislative history.

Hoyer Heads to Rust Belt on Second ‘Listening Tour’
House minority whip will stop in Pittsburgh, Toledo and Indianapolis

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is going on a listening tour this weekend to talk about entrepreneurship, education and infrastructure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Democrats try to fine tune their economic message heading into this year’s midterms, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is hitting the road this weekend for his second “Make It in America” listening tour.

Starting Saturday and continuing through Tuesday, the Maryland Democrat will travel to Pittsburgh, followed by Toledo, Ohio, and finally Indianapolis with members of his House caucus. He’ll be meeting with small groups to talk about entrepreneurship, infrastructure and education.