Debbie Stabenow

Moneyball, meet politics: Could VAR settle arguments about candidate strength?
Vote Above Replacement puts Klobuchar atop presidential field, Collins way above other senators

Maine Republican Susan Collins, center, outranks the entire Senate on Inside Elections’ Vote Above Replacement statistic, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, right, ranks highest among Democratic presidential contenders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the era of data and metrics and models in political analysis, at least one question still remains: How do we quantify the strength of individual candidates?

Arguing over whether a candidate or incumbent is good or bad is an age-old tradition in the political media and among party operatives. Typically, candidate strength is measured by fundraising or the margin of a win or loss. But that can fail to account for the particular election cycle or the possibility that any candidate running on a particular party’s line in a particular year or state would do just as well.

The 10 most vulnerable senators in 2020: Republicans play defense
2 GOP senators must win in states that went for Hillary Clinton in ’16

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones is the most vulnerable senator seeking reelection in 2020, but the top 10 list is dominated by Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Although most competitive Senate races in 2020 involve Republicans defending their seats, it’s a Democratic senator who tops the list of the most vulnerable incumbents in the chamber one year out from Election Day.

Alabama’s Doug Jones is running for a full Senate term after winning a special election in 2017, and he faces the difficult task of overcoming the partisan dynamics of a deeply Republican state. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters is the other Democrat running in a state that President Donald Trump won in 2016, but he is further down the list, since Trump won the Wolverine State by a much smaller margin.

Awkward pauses, THC and a geography lesson: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Oct. 21, 2019

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., at podium, speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside the Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, deposition related to the House's impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. The Republican members were calling for access to the deposition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans pulled a high school prank, Delaware Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper gave a geography lesson and no one could remember how basic floor procedure worked.

All that plus Sen. John Cornyn learned the basics of marijuana plants, lawmakers forgot each others’ home states, and Democratic D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton challenged Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to a World Series wager.

Senate Democrats prepare marathon floor session on gun violence
Late night is expected as 22 senators are prepared to call for legislation

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., will lead nearly two dozen senators in a marathon of floor speeches on gun violence Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats plan to make it a late night on Tuesday, speaking out on the Senate floor about the impact of gun violence and legislative proposals Congress could explore.

The speeches are expected to begin around 5:30 p.m. and run late. Connecticut Democrat Christopher S. Murphy is leading the effort, spurred by mass shootings in Texas and Ohio during the August recess and the lack of clear response from the White House on what, if any, gun control measures they could agree to.

Despite pressure, still no gun legislation position from White House
Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill intend to keep up pressure

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley were among the participants at a news conference in the Capitol to call on the Senate to vote on the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Democrats intend to keep pressuring President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to support bipartisan efforts to close what they see as loopholes in background checks for gun purchases.

But a meeting Monday between White House officials and leaders of the U.S. Conference of Mayors left little room for optimism.

3 ways Democrats couldn’t escape Congress in Wednesday’s debate
Seven of the 10 candidates on stage have congressional experience

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand both touted their accomplishments in the Senate during Wednesday night’s debate. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The 10 Democrats on Wednesday’s debate stage were vying for the White House, but with seven of them having congressional experience, much of the evening came back to the legislative branch.

Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Michael Bennet all currently serve in the Senate. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a four-term member of the House, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee previously served eight nonconsecutive terms in the House. Former Vice President Joe Biden spent 36 years in the Senate — plenty of time to accumulate a record that was the source of frequent attacks Wednesday night.

Finance advances drug price measure with tepid GOP support
Only six of the panel’s 15 Republicans voted to advance the measure

Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, pushed back against criticism that the measure represented “price controls” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved, 19-9, a draft bill meant to reduce the cost of drugs in Medicare and Medicaid.

Only six of the panel’s 15 Republicans voted to advance the measure, joining all 13 Democrats. The most controversial amendments to the measure were rejected on mostly party-line votes.

NHL’s first black player deserves a medal from Congress, senators say
Stabenow, Scott want Willie O’Ree to get a Congressional Gold Medal

Sen. Tim Scott meets with Willie O’Ree, the first black player to compete in the National Hockey League, in Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s office on Thursday. Stabenow, who was running late, and Scott announced their bipartisan legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to O’Ree. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Willie O’Ree almost didn’t make the Hockey Hall of Fame. He almost didn’t even have a lasting professional hockey career.

For the first black player to compete in the National Hockey League, it nearly ended during his first trip to Chicago in 1960, his second year in the NHL. An opposing Blackhawks player made some incendiary racist remarks that Willie initially brushed off. But then things got physical and the two were ejected, with O’Ree getting his two front teeth knocked out for his troubles.

Finance drug price bill faces GOP resistance before markup
Proposals target Medicare drug prices

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, on Tuesday offered a details on a drug price bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday outlined a long-anticipated drug price bill, but a planned Thursday markup may not go smoothly because of Republican discontent with the measure.

The bill is meant to slow the growth of Medicare’s prescription drug spending, limit cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries, and make it easier for state Medicaid programs to pay for expensive treatments, according to a summary.

USDA official says agencies can find new staff after they move to Kansas City
Research chief also disputes reports that USDA is burying climate science research

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced new homes for the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A top Agriculture Department research official told a Senate committee that two agencies slated for a contested move out of Washington can recover from an exodus of employees and denied media reports the department has hidden agency documents on climate change.

Scott Hutchins, deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics, said Thursday that many employees eligible to move to the Kansas City metropolitan area with either the Economic Research Service or National Institute of Food and Agriculture have notified USDA that they will stay in Washington. Employees who have agreed to move have until Sept. 30 to make the trek west, where the agencies will operate out of a temporary space until USDA finds a long-term landlord.