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Prepare to Be Disappointed on Election Night
Close races, voting schemes and mail-in ballots could all complicated calling control of Congress on Nov. 6

The race for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Mississippi seat lists among the complicating factors that might impede calling control of the Senate on Nov. 6, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After two years of campaigning in the latest most consequential election of our lifetimes, Election Night could be a huge letdown. The disappointment is not about which party prevails Nov. 6, but the reality that a combination of close races and West coast contests could prevent enough races from being called to determine majorities in Congress until days later.

In the Senate, more than 10 races could finish within single digits, and a handful of those contests look like they’re neck and neck. The close margins could make it difficult for media outlets to project a winner on Election Night. Since Republicans have just a two-seat majority, every Senate race matters, so anything left uncalled could make it difficult to figure out who will control the chamber next year.

Trump: ‘Decision’ Would Follow ‘Credible’ Kavanaugh Accuser Testimony
President signals willingness to reconsider nomination, also sides with accused over accuser

President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the East Room of the White House in July. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump appeared to signal he might reconsider Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination if his accuser is believable in potential testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But he also appeared to side with the federal judge over the woman.

“Look, if she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting and we’ll have to make a decision,” he said Wednesday as he departed the White House for the hurricane-drenched Carolinas.

Schumer Backs Kavanaugh Accuser’s Call for FBI Investigation
Christine Blasey Ford wants bureau to open probe before she testifies

Brett Kavanaugh adjusts his nameplate as he takes his seat for day three of his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on Sept. 6. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is backing a call by Christine Blasey Ford, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, for a FBI investigation into her contention that the nominee sexually assaulted her 36 years ago.

“An immediate FBI investigation is not only consistent with precedent, it is also quite clearly the right thing to do,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “Dr. Ford’s call for the FBI to investigate also demonstrates her confidence that when all the facts are examined by an impartial investigation, her account will be further corroborated and confirmed.”

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Dingell update, In Search of Erik Paulsen, and a pricey GOP fundraiser

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Louisiana Rep. Johnson Claims California Atheists Are Trying to Spy on Students
Accusation relates to a federal lawsuit against public schools accused of teaching Christianity

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., accused atheist groups in California of spying on a school in his district where officials have been accused of teaching Christianity. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mike Johnson, who represents a vast swath of Louisiana’s northwestern corner, accused California atheist groups of trying to spy on students at a school in his district by taking covert video.

“WARNING TO OUR FRIENDS IN BOSSIER SCHOOLS (Please share),” Johnson wrote on Facebook Tuesday, referring to Louisiana’s Bossier Parish (the state’s equivalent of a county) that includes parts of Shreveport.

Lawmakers Unhappy With Pompeo’s Lowered Cap on Refugees
New cap of 30,000 is a historic low

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez called the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap “truly repugnant.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers of both parties are criticizing the Trump administration’s decision to lower the annual refugee cap to 30,000 people for fiscal 2019 — a sharp decrease from the 45,000 cap set for fiscal 2018, and also a historic low.

“At a time when we should be defending our values and ideals as Americans and working to alleviate the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, it is truly repugnant to see the Trump administration double down on its efforts to reject our foundational values and humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection and safe haven,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Monday.

Rep. Eshoo Reveals Her First Conversation with Kavanaugh Accuser
California Democrat met with Christine Blasey Ford over July 4th weekend

Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California said her constituent Christine Blasey Ford has come forward “for all the right reasons.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Blasey Ford, the California clinical psychology professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, did not first share her story with Congress in the widely reported anonymous letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

More than three weeks before she wrote that letter on July 30, Ford sat down at a conference table in Palo Alto, California, to share her story with Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, her congresswoman.

DCCC Raises $15.4 Million in August
Nearly half came from online donations, House Democrats’ campaign arm says

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján says Democrats are in “a strong position to take back the House.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is boasting its best August fundraising numbers ever, raking in more than $15.4 million last month, according to figures provided first to Roll Call.

That’s $4.5 million more than the committee’s fundraising total in August 2016, and $5.1 million more than the committee raised in August 2014.  Nearly $7 million of last month’s total came from online donations, with an average donation of $20.

Kavanaugh Is Already Reshaping the Supreme Court
As Trump’s pick defends himself, justices will meet behind closed doors

Nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be on the justices’ minds as they meet to set the agenda for the Supreme Court’s coming term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

On the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee plans a televised hearing on a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the eight current members of the high court will meet behind closed doors to discuss which new cases to hear.

The confluence of those events set for Monday underscores how the high-profile political fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination will also color the public perception of the Supreme Court, and could prompt the justices to steer clear of more controversial cases in the coming term that starts in October.

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.”