North Dakota

Rating Change: GOP House Open Seat in New Jersey Shifts to Likely Democratic
Republicans face uphill battle to retain seat of retiring Frank LoBiondo

Rating change for New Jersey's 2nd District race: The open seat contest to replace retiring GOP Rep. Frank LoBiondo, pictured here, shifts to favor Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sometimes political handicapping can be difficult. Shifting a well-liked Democratic senator in North Dakota, who has won a close and competitive race previously, to Tilts Republican from Toss-Up wasn’t an easy decision. But Republican Seth Grossman is making it easy for political analysts.

The former Atlantic County Freeholder won the GOP nomination in New Jersey’s 2nd District on June 5, but the National Republican Congressional Committee disavowed him on Monday after multiple offensive statements came to light. “Bigotry has no place in society — let alone the U.S. House of Representatives,” said NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers of Ohio.

At the Races: The Unlikely Team Behind a 2018 Star
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Senate Delivers Mild Rebuke to Trump on Trade
Sen. Corker secured the vote as a non-binding motion

Sen. Bob Corker offered the motion regarding trade policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Bob Corker has finally got his colleagues on the record in support of Congress playing a role in national security-related trade decisions like those made recently under President Donald Trump.

The Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee secured the vote on a motion to instruct conferees on the pending package of three spending bills, which does not have a binding effect on the members of the Appropriations Committee who will be serving on the conference committee to resolve differences with the House.

Why Former Sen. Jon Kyl Got Tapped to Guide Brett Kavanaugh
Supreme Court nominees need an experienced ‘sherpa’ to navigate the Senate’s unique ways

White House Counsel Don McGahn, right, and former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday as they escort Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence to meetings with senators. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

He spent 18 years as a senator on the Judiciary Committee, the last six as the Republican whip and No. 2 in leadership. Now his lobbying clients include a group already spending millions to push the federal courts hard right. His big gig on the side is rooting out perceived liberal bias on social media.

If Jon Kyl does not have the ideal background for successfully shepherding a Supreme Court nominee through this Senate, perhaps no one does.

Analysis: Brett Kavanaugh and the Midterm Effect
Three scenarios provide mixed bag on effect of tight Senate races

Reporters swarm Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as she arrives in the Capitol on Tuesday, the day after President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Murkowski, who supported Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is an expected to be a key vote on the current nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The selection of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court will have less of an impact on November’s midterms than you think. Sure, depending how the confirmation process develops, it’s possible the nomination could affect a handful of races, but the most likely scenario will not change the overall trajectory of the November elections.

The most likely outcome of the Kavanaugh nomination involves all 50 Republican senators voting to confirm him to the Supreme Court (with John McCain not voting).

GOP Senate Candidate Returns Contributions From Conservative PAC
FEC has questions for Club for Conservatives PAC

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter to Club for Conservatives PAC last month with questions about its previously filed reports. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn is locked in a competitive and expensive race for Senate. But the Tennessee Republican’s campaign decided to return a sizable contribution from a political action committee that’s facing scrutiny from campaign finance regulators.

“Club for Conservatives PAC did not meet our standards for transparency,” Blackburn campaign spokeswoman Abbi Sigler said. 

NRCC Names 18 Likely New Members to Young Guns ‘Vanguards’ Program
All except one are running in races rated Solid Republican

Indiana state Rep. Jim Baird, the GOP nominee in the 4th District, has been named to the NRCC’s Young Guns “Vanguards” program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday named the first members of its Young Guns “Vanguards” program for GOP candidates likely heading to Congress next year. 

Young Guns is the committee’s program to boost House candidates in competitive general election races. But there’s also a Vanguards program for those Republicans in mostly open-seat races who are favored to win in November. The NRCC first launched the program in 2010 to connect these likely new House members to the committee and GOP lawmakers.

Brett Kavanaugh Must Make His Case, Senate Democrats Say
Minority cites standards GOP used for previous nominees like Elena Kagan

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, center, walks up the Capitol's Senate steps with Vice President Mike Pence for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on July 10, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh made his first appearances Tuesday on Capitol Hill, several Senate Democrats said the judge had to make his case for their support.

For instance, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont is a senior member of the Judiciary Committee that will oversee Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. He pressed Republicans to use their own standard for Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court Justice nominated by former President Barack Obama.

Trump Taps Brett Kavanaugh For Supreme Court, Rightward Shift in Mind
Schumer: Nominee should disclose personal views on abortion, other issues

President Donald Trump introduces Supreme Court pick Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his family on Monday night at the White House East Room. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump, seeking a rightward shift on the Supreme Court and to force vulnerable Senate Democrats into a tough vote, tapped D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Should Kavanaugh be confirmed by the Senate, it would give the president an early legacy with two high court appointments. Notably, while much about this presidency has been unconventional, how Trump has selected Supreme Court nominees has been routine — aside from the reality television-like flair in announcing them.

Outside Groups Ready for Supreme Court Fight
Organizations from both sides are already rallying supporters, hitting the airwaves

Liberal groups, worried about the future of federal abortion rights, have already begun piling on the pressure on Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, left, and Susan Collins of Maine.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The outside advertising deluge began well before President Donald Trump formally named his choice to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

With federal abortion rights potentially in the balance, television viewers in Alaska and Maine were already seeing commercials from the liberal group Demand Justice featuring a March 30, 2016, exchange between candidate Trump and MSNBC host Chris Matthews at an event in Wisconsin.