At the Races

Supreme Court Halts North Carolina Redistricting
2018 midterms will likely proceed under existing map

The Supreme Court said North Carolina does not immediately have to redraw its congressional map. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Thursday evening said that North Carolina does not have to redraw its congressional map by the end of January, as a lower court had instructed it to do earlier this month.

The high court’s order granting a stay of the lower court’s decision, pending the disposition of the state’s appeal, likely means the existing congressional map will be in place for the 2018 midterms. 

At the Races: 2018 Starts in PA-18
Our weekly newsletter on the latest in House and Senate races

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Subscribe here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget BowmanThis week … Trump is wading into another special election, Democrats went after one of their own and Tim Pawlenty said “no thanks” to a Senate run.

The Next Special Election in the Heart of Trump Country
President will travel to Pennsylvania’s 18th District on Thursday

Democrats see Conor Lamb’s moderate profile and background as a Marine and federal prosecutor as an advantage in Pennsylvania’s 18th District. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

It’s no accident that President Donald Trump will travel Thursday to an equipment manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh. And it’s no accident that Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone will be there too. 

The visit is an official one, but with a political backdrop. H&K Equipment is located in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, where Saccone will face Democrat Conor Lamb on March 13, the first special election of the year.  

Two Democratic Lawmakers Go After One of Their Own in Illinois
Schakowsky and Gutiérrez endorse Marie Newman in Democratic primary

Marie Newman, center, speaks during an event in Washington on Wednesday to receive the endorsements of Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis V. Gutiérrez in her primary challenge to their fellow Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are optimistic about their chances of kicking out GOP incumbents in 2018, but first a few sitting Democrats would like to kick out one of their own.

Illinois Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis V. Gutiérrez on Wednesday endorsed a primary challenger to fellow Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski, a Blue Dog Democrat who’s opposed to abortion rights. 

Democrats See New Opportunity in McSally’s Old House Seat
Democrats see Arizona’s 2nd District as a top pickup opportunity

Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is running in Arizona’s 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Martha McSally’s decision to enter the Arizona Senate race has opened up her hotly contested House seat, giving Democrats even more hope that they can win back the seat in 2018.

Republicans say they still have a chance at holding the 2nd District seat in southern Arizona, especially with the right candidate. But Democrats see energy on their side, fueled in part by a backlash to President Donald Trump. And they are hopeful the race will be an example of a Democrat flipping a seat that Hillary Clinton carried in November.

Tim Pawlenty Not Running for Senate in Minnesota
Republicans saw him as strongest recruit to take on Tina Smith in November

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will not run for Senate in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday he will not run in November’s special election for Senate.

“I am very interested in public service and service for the common good — there are a lot of different ways to do that — but I’ll tell you today running for the United States Senate in 2018 won’t be part of those plans,” Pawlenty told Fox Business. 

Illinois House Primaries Will Be Early Testing Ground for Democrats
Democrats have several pickup opportunities, but they need viable candidates first

Democrats are confident they’ll have a general election nominee who can take on Illinois GOP Rep. Peter Roskam. The primary is on March 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With early voting starting in less than a month, Illinois will be a testing ground for Democrats’ ability to nominate general election candidates they think can win out of crowded primaries. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting four Republican-held districts, but the committee is not explicitly picking favorites in all those primaries. 

Arizona Senate Primary Battle Officially Kicks Off
Martha McSally joins Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward in likely drawn-out primary

Rep. Martha McSally kicked off her bid for the open Arizona Senate seat on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Arizona Senate primary officially kicked off Friday, and it’s going to be a battle — with war planes and all. 

Republican Rep. Martha McSally launched her Senate run at the Tucson Jet Center on Friday morning and will travel to other areas of the state later in the day. She donned a blue flight suit to fly in a World War II-era AT-6 trainer to Phoenix, and then to Prescott. McSally, of course, is piloting the plane herself. 

McSally Launches Senate Run in Arizona
Congresswoman will likely face a contentious GOP primary

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona GOP Rep. Martha McSally officially announced her Senate campaign Friday, kicking off what is likely to be a divisive Republican primary.

“Like our president, I’m tired of PC politicians and their BS excuses,” McSally said in a video announcement emphasizing her service in the Air Force. “I’m a fighter pilot and I talk like one. That’s why I told Washington Republicans to grow a pair of ovaries and get the job done.”

At the Races: Senate Challengers — One In, One Out
Our weekly newsletter with the latest on House and Senate races

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

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

Cramer Passes on North Dakota Senate Run
Trump encouraged him to challenge Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, GOP rep said

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., has decided not to run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 11: 14 a.m. | GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer said Thursday he does not plan to run for Senate in North Dakota and instead will run for re-election to the House. He had faced pressure from President Donald Trump to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Cramer told WZFG-AM’s “Scott Hennen Show” in North Dakota that passing on a Senate run was the best decision for his family.

Renacci Ending Gubernatorial Campaign for Ohio Senate Bid
Ohio Republican made decision after White House meeting

Ohio Rep. James B. Renacci is ending his gubernatorial campaign to run for the Republican nomination for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio Rep. James B. Renacci is ending his gubernatorial campaign to launch a bid for the Republican nomination for Senate, he announced Thursday.  

Renacci made his decision after a Wednesday morning meeting at the White House. 

Darrell Issa Retiring, Opening Up Competitive House Seat
Issa was one of the most vulnerable incumbents in 2018

California Rep. Darrell Issa is retiring, leaving behind a competitive Southern California seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:58 p.m. | Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is retiring after nine terms in Congress, opening up a competitive House seat in California.

“While my service to California’s 49th District will be coming to an end, I will continue advocating on behalf of the causes that are most important to me, advancing public policy where I believe I can make a true and lasting difference, and continuing the fight to make our incredible nation an even better place to call home,” the congressman said in a statement Wednesday.

Joe Arpaio Senate Candidacy ‘Won't Last Long,’ Flake Says
Former sheriff fires back, saying Flake didn’t have the ‘guts’ to run again

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has been critical of his own party for nominating controversial conservative candidates for high office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake on Wednesday dismissed Joe Arpaio’s bid for his Arizona Senate seat in 2018, laughing off the controversial former sheriff as a fringe candidate whose campaign will quickly fizzle.

“You’d better write about it and talk about it fast because it won’t last long,” Flake said in an interview with CNN.

DCCC Announces Second Round of ‘Red to Blue’ Candidates
With seven additions, Red to Blue program includes 18 challengers so far

Army veteran Max Rose, who’s running in New York’s 11th District, has been named by the DCCC to its Red to Blue list. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is naming seven more candidates to its Red to Blue program, which highlights Democratic recruits who have met certain campaign goals.

The list of challengers, obtained first by Roll Call, brings the total number of Red to Blue candidates to 18. The DCCC is rolling out additions to its list more frequently and in more targeted batches than in previous cycles. The committee released its first round of picks in November.