Joe Donnelly

Republicans Need a Cold Compress With Less Than One Month to Go
Presidential pain still plagues vulnerable incumbents ahead of the midterms

President Donald Trump may turn out Democrats better than any Democrat could. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Weather metaphors are often used (and overused) in election analysis, but there’s a better way to describe the Republicans’ challenge in 2018. The GOP is dealing with many headaches as it tries to preserve the Republican congressional majorities.

From tension to cluster to migraine, they can vary in frequency and severity. And Republicans’ ability to alleviate them will determine control of the House and Senate in the 116th Congress.

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators: Cruz, Menendez Make the List
One month before Election Day, Casey and Brown drop off

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has been added to the list of vulnerable senators. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the first time this cycle, the senators on the list of most vulnerable incumbents have changed.

Operatives in both parties agree Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania are favored to win re-election even though they are running in states that backed President Donald Trump in 2016. Texas Republican Ted Cruz and New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez replace them on the list.

White House Puts ‘Fabergé Egg’ Ford in Frying Pan
Trump aides focus on Christine Blasey Ford’s ‘memory lapses,’ ‘factual inconsistencies’

President Trump heads for Marine One on the White House’s South Lawn on Monday. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Senior White House officials for two weeks treated Christine Blasey Ford, as one put it Wednesday, like a “Fabergé egg.” Then the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault found out that, eventually, everything for President Donald Trump is still all about his base.

At the White House on Wednesday, the focus was on attacking Ford. Aides discussed her “memory lapses” and “factual inconsistencies” as they tried to paint her as an unreliable witness or an untruthful one. They turned up the heat on vulnerable Democratic senators to focus on the “facts” rather than “emotions” of the situation as they decide how to vote; they also reminded them of pro-Kavanaugh polls that could influence their decision. And, in the form of none other than presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, who once said Ford deserved to be heard, Democrats were warned to avoid being “complicit” in a plan to “destroy” the nominee.

Kellyanne Conway Threatens Democrats Over Kavanaugh
White House adviser warns vulnerable Trump state Democratic senators not to vote no on nominee

Kellyanne Conway speaks to the media outside of the White House on the North Lawn in June. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House on Wednesday turned up the heat on vulnerable red-state Democrats, with a senior adviser to President Donald Trump warning them against being “complicit” in a scheme to “destroy” Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Trump, sharply criticized Senate Judiciary ranking member Dianne Feinstein for an “unpardonable sin” to have kept a letter from Christine Blasey Ford with accusations against the nominee to herself.

Lindsey Graham Has a Fallback Plan if Kavanaugh Goes Down
GOP senator challenges vulnerable Senate Democrats in states that Trump won on their vote on nominee

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina  points at Democrats as he defends Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing looking into allegations of sexual abuse. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Sen. Lindsey Graham has a Plan B if the Senate fails to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh: Let’s run this back and take it to voters in the midterms.

In an interview with Fox News Monday night, the South Carolina Republican all but dared his red-state Democratic colleagues to vote against Kavanaugh, who he called a “good man” who “should not be destroyed.”

How Will Kavanaugh Shape the Midterms?
Debacle over his Supreme Court nomination likely to yield mixed results

Barring something unforeseen, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is likely to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. The effect on the midterms is likely to amount to a split decision. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Assuming the FBI investigation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t uncover some startling new information, the Senate is likely to confirm him to the Supreme Court and the political effects on the midterms could go in two different directions. 

Democratic lawmakers will complain, of course, that the inquiry wasn’t thorough enough, that Kavanaugh lacks a judicial temperament, that he is too partisan to sit on the land’s highest court, and that he wasn’t completely honest with the Senate Judiciary Committee about his drinking.

Your Boss Is Becoming More Vulnerable. When Do You Move On?
A breakdown of when your paychecks will stop coming in

If election night doesn’t look like this for you and your boss, how long will you have to pound the pavement? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Staffers, start updating your résumés. Your job security just took a hit in the latest round of ratings changes from Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.

Inside Elections downgraded the re-election chances of 21 Republican House members last week. Of the GOP incumbents running for another term, 22 are now either underdogs or dead even in their bids.

Amid Talks of FBI Investigation, Judiciary Committee Advances Kavanaugh Nomination
Flake joins other Republicans to set up floor vote despite call for delay

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., exits the Senate Judiciary meeting Friday on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Judiciary Committee, after a gut-wrenching spectacle of a hearing Thursday and last-second negotiations between Republican Jeff Flake and panel Democrats to delay a floor vote, advanced Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to the chamber floor despite multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him.

The Friday vote was along party lines, 11-10, with all Democrats voting against him after siding with Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before the panel for four hours Thursday about her contention that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and intended to rape her in the early 1980s. She told the panel she came forward because she does not believe he should be a high court justice with a lifetime appointment.

Red State Democrats Start to Line Up Against Kavanaugh
Donnelly, Nelson, Tester announce opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., will vote against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:27 p.m. | Three Democratic senators running for re-election in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016 announced Friday they will not support his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Bredtt Kavanaugh. 

Two of them, Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Jon Tester of Montana, represent states Trump won by double digits. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, whose state Trump carried by 1 point, also announced on Twitter he would vote against confirming Kavanaugh. 

Surprisingly, the Senate Is Now in Play
Despite heavy odds stacked against them, Democrats are in the hunt

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., must win her Arizona Senate race for Democrats to have a chance at winning back the chamber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — I have argued repeatedly that while the House is up for grabs — and indeed likely to flip to the Democrats in November — the Senate is not in play. I now believe that it is, so I must revise and extend my remarks.

Only about three weeks ago, I reiterated my view that Democrats didn’t have a path to a net gain of two Senate seats, which they need for a chamber majority. But a flurry of state and national polls conducted over the past few weeks suggest Democratic prospects have improved noticeably, giving the party a difficult but discernible route for control.