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Karen Handel Proves Third Time’s the Charm
Georgia Republican heads to Congress after 2 losing bids for higher office

Karen Handel gives her victory speech to supporters in Atlanta on Tuesday, as her husband Steve Handel looks on. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Republican Karen Handel comes to Congress after a 28-year career with a diverse portfolio of public- and private-sector jobs ranging from overseeing elections as Georgia’s secretary of state to heading the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to serving as the vice president of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which supports breast cancer research.

Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 52 percent to 48 percent in Tuesday’s 6th District special election runoff to replace former Rep. Tom Price, who vacated the seat to become secretary of Health and Human Services.

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Partisan Redistricting
Wisconsin case challenges politically motivated gerrymandering

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the Wisconsin redistricting case in October. (Courtesy Phil Roeder/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear arguments in a Wisconsin case about partisan redistricting and gerrymandering, taking on a longstanding question that could change the way states draw congressional and legislative districts.

The justices have never fully answered when partisan gerrymanders — or maps that benefit one political party to the detriment of another — could be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court hasn’t weighed in on the issue in more than a decade and could be sharply divided.

EMILY's List Names Maine’s Emily Cain Executive Director
Former state legislator ran against GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2014 and 2016

EMILY’s List has named two-time Maine congressional candidate Emily Cain its new executive director. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EMILY’s List named two-time Democratic congressional candidate Emily Cain as its executive director Wednesday.

Cain ran against Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District in 2014 and 2016, with the endorsement of the group, which backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. She replaces Jess O’Connell, who is now the CEO of the Democratic National Committee. 

Opinion: Republicans’ Biggest Problem in Georgia Isn’t the Special Election
Health care looms large in the 6th District

Whether or not Democrat Jon Ossoff wins in Georgia’s 6th District next week, health care could spell serious trouble for the GOP in 2018, Murphy writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

ATLANTA — Of all of the numbers that should give Republican leaders heartburn in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where a special election runoff is scheduled for next Tuesday, the most worrisome number might be in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll from last week.

That survey of likely and early voters showed Democrat Jon Ossoff leading Republican Karen Handel by 7 points. That’s not great news in the district where its former congressman, HHS Secretary Tom Price, won 62 percent of the vote just six months ago. But special elections being what they are, no one can confidently predict the result of this contest until it happens next week.

GOP Super PAC Releases Closing Ad Against Jon Ossoff
Congressional Leadership Fund is spending $7 million in Georgia race

Screenshot of CLF ad.

The biggest outside spender in Georgia’s 6th District race is taking one final shot at Democrat Jon Ossoff.

Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC backed by House GOP leadership, is launching its final TV ad in the race Tuesday, with just a week to go until the June 20 runoff. 

Democrats Stick to Health Care Message Amid Russian Intrigue
Party sees health care as more salient campaign issue

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., says health care is the issue that concerns her constituents the most, adding that she has gotten “zero questions about Russia.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite the daily drip about Russia and the Trump administration, national Democrats who hope to exploit Republicans’ vulnerabilities in 2018 are focusing their messaging squarely on health care before the July 4 recess.

Just minutes after former FBI Director James B. Comey concluded his testimony Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee — in which he said the president lied to the America people — the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee blasted out a release.

The Levin Legacy: Next-Gen Congressional Oversight
Retired Michigan Democrat’s center trains staffers on effective oversight

Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin built a legacy of tough oversight as chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

More than 100 congressional staffers have now completed boot camps designed to boost the investigative skills of House and Senate staff, thanks in part to the retirement work of former Sen. Carl Levin.

The Michigan Democrat had a particular interest in oversight, wielding the gavel of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations through hearings on topics from the 2008 financial crisis, to oil and gas speculation, to “dirty bomb” vulnerabilities, and issues within the United Nations Development Program.

EMILY’s List Backs First House Challenger of 2018 Cycle
Democrat Katie Porter is challenging GOP’s Mimi Walters in California

Democrat Katie Porter, right, has already been endorsed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in her bid for California’s 45th District seat. (Courtesy Katie Porter for Congress)

Updated 9:11 a.m.| In its first endorsement of a House challenger in the 2018 cycle, EMILY’s List is backing Katie Porter, a law professor challenging California Republican Rep. Mimi Walters. The early endorsement signals that the abortion rights group will be aggressively targeting House Republicans in the midterm elections.

“EMILY’s List is thrilled to endorse Katie Porter in this critical race to take back the House of Representatives,” Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List, said in a statement. “We need leaders on Capitol Hill who aren’t afraid to stand up to [Donald] Trump associates, big banks, and entrenched special interests who wield tremendous power over the White House, the Trump family, and a Republican-controlled Congress.”

Trump’s Ethics Waivers Grant Ex-Lobbyists Wide Influence
Ethics watchdogs, some lobbyists decry movement between K Street and administration

Supporters greet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after he spoke at a rally February 19, 2016 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images file photo)

The batch of ethics waivers released by the White House offered more evidence of what everyone already knew: The Trump administration, despite pledges to “drain the swamp,” has embraced the revolving door between government and the private sector.

The waivers are more sweeping in scope than those of the Obama administration, and reveal that former lobbyists and other senior officials may freely take part in meetings and decisions that affect their former clients and onetime employers.

Opinion: African-American Women Call Out the Democratic National Committee
But are Democrats listening?

Then-Labor Secretary Tom Perez and California Rep. Maxine Waters at a news conference in April 2016. A group of African-American women have sent Perez, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a letter warning that most black voters feel the party takes them for granted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We crave the hard-to-get while ignoring the one who has stuck with us through thick and thin. In a letter to the DNC chair, a group of black women — activists, community leaders and elected officials — has accused the Democratic Party of falling into that too-often-true cliche. Who can blame them? 

Shades of “Moby-Dick” in the narrative that took hold after the party’s 2016 losses, with white working-class males replacing the elusive white whale of Melville’s imagination. Will the results for the Democrats be just as tragic as Captain Ahab’s if the party doubles down on that strategy for election cycles to come?