Primaries

Opinion: Montana Special Election Unlikely to Predict Larger Political Trend
But get ready for a barrage of talking points

Democrat Rob Quist, right, is vying with Republican Greg Gianforte in the race for Montana’s at-large House seat. (Courtesy Greg for Montana, Rob Quist for Montana)

Sometime after 10 p.m. Thursday in Washington, everyone in politics will feign being an expert on Montana or, as they will call it with an insider’s flourish, Big Sky Country. The returns from the first statewide race of the Trump era will inevitably trigger the type of frenzied over-analysis reserved for special elections at moments of political turmoil.

If the Republicans hang on to the House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the sighs of relief from imperiled GOP incumbents may set off every wind chime in the D.C. area. Greg Gianforte, who ran 47,000 votes behind Donald Trump in a losing 2016 bid for governor, brings to the race two decided advantages — he is rich (he sold his software company for $1.5 billion in 2011) and he is a Republican.

Chaffetz Resignation Sparks Conflict, Compressed Campaigns in Utah
Governor and state legislature disagree on special election timeline

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he will resign on June 30. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In any other year, Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s decision to resign would have sparked a crowded Republican primary. But as one Utah GOP operative put it, this year is not like any other year. 

Consultant Chuck Warren sat down with a state lawmaker Friday morning to talk about a possible run for Congress. The lawmaker pointed to a picture of his family and his home and said, “Why would I give that up to go up there and pound my head against a wall?”

Jon Ossoff Launches Planned Parenthood Attack on Karen Handel
New ad targets Handel’s tenure at Susan G. Komen Foundation

A new attack ad from Jon Ossoff attacks Karen Handel for cutting Susan G. Komen’s financial ties with Planned Parenthood.  (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff is going after Karen Handel’s opposition to Planned Parenthood in a new TV ad launching Tuesday, as he tries to paint a contrast between him and his Republican opponent in the upcoming the 6th District special election runoff.

The ad features Mindy Fine, who identifies herself as an OB-GYN in Cobb County.

Congressional Women’s Softball Prepares to Lose a Staple
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who has played since game was started in 2009, announced retirement earlier

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is expected to play her final Congressional Women’s Softball Game next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After an election, there are always comings and goings from the Congressional Women’s Softball Game rosters. But the biggest news of the offseason this year was that the game will soon be losing Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

The Florida Republican has played in the charity event pitting female lawmakers against members of the media since the first one in 2009. But she announced last month that she will be retiring after her current term. 

California Lawmakers Vote to Move Primary to March
2016 primary came after Trump and Clinton secured nominations

Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigns in Santa Monica, Calif., in June 2016, after Hillary Clinton had already won enough delegates for the Democratic presidential nomination. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

California’s state Assembly and Senate both passed legislation Thursday to move the state’s presidential primary from June to March.

The legislation comes after complaints that the primaries came too late for voters to have a say in the contest, The Associated Press reported.

Brooks ‘Very Much’ Weighing Challenge to Strange
Alabama congressman

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said the time he’d have to spend away from family is a “big factor” in his consideration of running for the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks said he is “very much” considering a challenge to Sen. Luther Strange in the state’s Republican primary.

"We are very much exploring it as a possibility," Brooks told the Montgomery Advertiser.

South Carolina GOP Race Heads to Runoff
Winner will face Democrat Archie Parnell in June special election

Republicans Tommy Pope, left, and Ralph Norman have advanced to the Republican primary runoff in the special election in South Carolina’s 5th District. (Photos courtesy Pope for Congress, Ralph Norman for Congress)

The race to fill the open seat in South Carolina’s 5th District is advancing to a primary runoff on the Republican side, with the eventual winner to face Democrat Archie Parnell in the June special election.

None of the seven Republicans earned more than 50 percent of the vote. The top two finishers in Tuesday’s GOP primary, Tommy Pope and Ralph Norman, will face each other in a May 16 runoff.

Byrne and Aderholt Pass on Alabama Senate Race
Join Alabama Republican House colleagues in not challenging Luther Strange

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., said he would focus on protecting his district’s priorities in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Alabama Reps. Bradley Byrne and Robert B. Aderholt both announced they will not challenge Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican senate primary this year.

Byrne said Monday he will be focused on protecting district priorities like the Littoral Combat Ship program and securing money for the Interstate 10 bridge project, AL.com reported.

Luther Strange Gets First Primary Challenger
Suspended state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore enters Alabama Senate race

Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., will face a primary challenge from the state's suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Roy Moore, the suspended Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, announced Wednesday that he’ll challenge Alabama Sen. Luther Strange in the Republican primary next year.

Moore, who was suspended in 2016 for telling probate judges not to follow federal orders on same-sex marriage, had previously been interviewed to replace Sen. Jeff Sessions after Sessions became U.S attorney general, but now-former Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Strange, the former state attorney general, to the seat, AL.com reported.

Should Democrats Turn to South Carolina’s Special Election Next?
Next week’s primaries could set up another competitive contest

Archie Parnell is the leading Democrat running for the seat left behind by former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who’s now the director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Screenshot, Courtesy Archie Parnell for Congress)

Democrats enthused by last week’s primary in Georgia, and their strong showing in Kansas earlier this month, have been making noise about playing more aggressively in upcoming elections that were previously dismissed as long shots — specifically Montana.

Mentioned less often, however, is South Carolina.