Simone Pathé

Mark Sanford considering primary challenge to Donald Trump
Sanford lost his primary in 2018 after Trump came out against him

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, who lost in a 2018 Republican primary after President Donald Trump endorsed his opponent, is contemplating challenging the president.

Sanford will make his decision about running for president over the next month, he told the Charleston Post and Courier Tuesday. He said his goal is to drive a conversation about the national debt and government spending. 

Trump endorses Hagerty in Tennessee Senate race
President’s early involvement could keep other Republicans out

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted his endorsement of Bill Hagerty, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, for the open Senate seat in Tennessee, likely limiting what could have been a crowded GOP field for the seat.  

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is not running for fourth term.

Competitive Tennessee Senate primary likely after Haslam decision not to run
Hagerty and Kustoff could run, while Green and Black have passed on the race

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced Wednesday he will sit out the race for Senate this cycle, teeing up a competitive Republican primary in the contest to succeed retiring GOP incumbent Lamar Alexander.

Haslam, 60, described his choice to forgo another bid for public office as “the hardest vocational decision of my life” in a letter published in The Tennessean

North Carolina gears up for competitive special election in 9th District
Voters in the 9th and 3rd districts head to polls on Sept. 10

With the Republican drama in North Carolina’s 3rd District primary runoff now settled, attention in the Tar Heel State shifts to the more competitive of the two House special elections to be held on Sept. 10. 

Voters in the 9th District will choose a new representative in a redo election of last fall’s contest, which was never certified because of ballot fraud connected to the GOP nominee’s campaign. 

End Citizens United names first 12 Republican targets for 2020
Liberal PAC is going after GOP incumbents in House and Senate

End Citizens United, a liberal PAC that was a major player in last year’s midterms, announced Wednesday its top targets for 2020. 

The initial list of targets, dubbed the “Big Money 20” and obtained first by CQ Roll Call, includes 12 Republican incumbents — five senators and seven House members. 

North Carolina likely sending another white male Republican to Congress
Greg Murphy, backed by Freedom Caucus chairman, beats Joan Perry in 3rd District primary runoff

State Rep. Greg Murphy has won the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s heavily red 3rd District, making him the strong favorite to succeed the late Walter B. Jones, who died in February.

Murphy, who was backed by the political arm of the House Freedom Caucus, defeated pediatrician Joan Perry in a low-turnout primary runoff that attracted more than $1 million in spending from outside groups dedicated to electing GOP women. With all precincts in, Murphy got 60 percent of the vote to Perry’s 40 percent, The Associated Press reported.

North Carolina Republican runoff tests the future of the House GOP
Outside groups backing GOP women have spent more than $1 million for Joan Perry

Voters in eastern North Carolina are heading to the polls Tuesday for a low-profile special election with a lot at stake. 

Regardless of who wins the Republican primary runoff, the 3rd District seat formerly held by the late Rep. Walter B. Jones will almost certainly remain in GOP hands after the special general election on Sept. 10. But the outcome of Tuesday’s internecine contest could say a lot about how the GOP approaches identity politics heading into 2020.

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash leaves GOP, declares independence
Amash was only Republican to say Trump committed impeachable offenses

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, the first GOP lawmaker to say that President Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses, is leaving the Republican Party.

“No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us,” he wrote in a Thursday op-ed in The Washington Post that does not mention Trump.

Democrats eye Pennsylvania district that became more favorable turf in 2018 redraw
Supreme Court opted not to stop partisan gerrymandering, but Democrats could still gain from state courts

The Supreme Court’s decision last week not to stop partisan gerrymandering was a blow to congressional Democrats who were hoping several states could see more favorable maps for 2020.

But in at least one state, a new map implemented last year to redress partisan gerrymandering is giving Democrats another 2020 pickup opportunity. That map resulted from a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that found the old congressional lines violated the state constitution.  And Democrats are now looking to other state courts in their fight for less partisan maps. 

Women’s group launches second TV ad in North Carolina GOP runoff
Winning for Women is supporting Joan Perry over Greg Murphy in the open 3rd District seat

Winning for Women, an outside group that helps elect female Republicans, is launching its second ad in North Carolina’s 3rd District special election, accusing the male candidate backed by the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus of being an unreliable supporter of President Donald Trump.

Winning for Women supports pediatrician Joan Perry in the GOP primary runoff that takes place July 9. Perry represents the party’s best chance of adding another woman to its conference in the House, which is down to just 13 this year. All the Republican women in the chamber, as well as a growing list of men, are backing Perry. 

6 ‘food fights’ in Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate
Candidates take shots at Trump, Congress and each other in second Miami debate

Democratic presidential candidates were on attack mode in the second night of their first Democratic debate, with the 10 contenders onstage taking aim at President Donald Trump and each other.

Trump’s name came up more often during Thursday’s debate than during Wednesday’s, which featured 10 other candidates. Thursday’s contenders also directly challenged one another, with the two leading the polls, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, facing the most criticism.

6 dividing lines from the first Democratic debate
10 of the Democratic presidential candidates faced off, with another 10 following tonight

The first Democratic presidential debate offered the clearest picture yet of where candidates are divided — well, about half of them anyway.

The 24 candidates vying for the nomination to succeed President Donald Trump have been circling each other in the early primary states, releasing competing proposals and vying for attention. Ten of them stood side by side for the first time Wednesday night, the first of two debates this week televised on NBC.

Field notes from a North Carolina runoff and a reparations hearing
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 79

There is always a special congressional election somewhere. For the purposes of this particular Political Theater podcast, it is the upcoming Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd District.

This is the seat that became vacant when longtime GOP Rep. Walter B. Jones died earlier this year. The April 30 GOP primary ended with two candidates heading to a July 9 runoff: state Rep. Greg Murphy and political newcomer Joan Perry. (The winner will face Democrat Allen Thomas, the former mayor of Greenville, in a Sept. 10 special general election to serve out the remainder of the 116th Congress.)

North Carolina runoff becomes proxy war for D.C. interests
GOP ‘will never be a majority party’ without more women, Kevin McCarthy says

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. — The Republican candidate who has the best chance of adding to the party’s dwindling ranks of women in the House insists she’s running on her own merits, not her gender.

But in the GOP primary runoff for the special election in North Carolina’s 3rd District, pediatrician Joan Perry subtly argues that her gender is an important part of why she’s the real outsider candidate running for Congress. 

EMILY’s List backs Sara Gideon to take on Maine Sen. Susan Collins
State house speaker is one of several women running for the Democratic nomination

EMILY’s List is endorsing Maine state House Speaker Sara Gideon for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, the day after the Democrat announced her challenge to Republican incumbent Susan Collins

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee followed, backing Gideon about an hour later. 

Democrat Sara Gideon is challenging Maine’s Susan Collins
Gideon is the speaker of the Maine state House

Maine state House speaker Sara Gideon is running against Sen. Susan Collins, one of Senate Republicans’ most vulnerable incumbents in 2020. 

The Democrat, who had long been expected to run but was waiting until the end of the legislative session, announced her candidacy in a video Monday morning. 

These 103 House Democrats have a message for the presidential candidates
Moderate New Democrat Coalition wants to talk with hopefuls about issues important to their voters

More than 100 House Democrats, including many of the freshmen who won in moderate districts, want to talk to the Democratic presidential candidates. 

The New Democrat Coalition, the largest ideological group in the House Democratic caucus, is sending a letter to all the Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday requesting individual meetings with them. 

Has Booker’s Jersey political experience prepared him to take on Trump?
N.J. Democrat talks about fighting a Newark political machine that used Trump-like tactics

This is the second installment in a series, “Battle Tested,” that analyzes early campaigns run by some Democrats seeking the presidential nomination. For our first story, on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, click here.

When New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker talks about defeating President Donald Trump, he often alludes to another political battle.

On heels of Senate loss, Montana’s Matt Rosendale running for Congress — again
Republican state auditor lost to Sen. Jon Tester by 4 points last fall

Matt Rosendale, the Montana state auditor, announced Monday that he’s seeking the Republican nomination for the state’s at-large House seat. 

Because Montana’s member of Congress represents the whole state, Rosendale will be fighting for the same voters he did last cycle, when he won a four-way GOP primary for Senate and then lost to Democratic incumbent Jon Tester by less than 4 points. The House seat opened after GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte declared a bid for governor. 

Brooks wants more Republican women to run in 2020 — even if she won’t
NRCC recruitment chair says she’ll have more time now to recruit and mentor candidates

The party that’s already lacking in women in the House is losing a giant in Indiana Republican Susan W. Brooks, who announced her retirement Friday.

One of just 13 women in the GOP conference, the four-term lawmaker had been heavily involved in recruiting and mentoring Republican women well before she was named recruitment chair this cycle for the National Republican Congressional Committee, a role she’ll keep despite not seeking re-election in 2020