tossup

Texas Primaries: What to Watch in the First Contests of 2018
March 6 will see several competitive primary races in the Lone Star State

Gina Ortiz Jones is a Democratic candidate in Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas. That includes congressional primaries.

The March 6 elections will be the first primary contests of 2018, and the initial tests of first-time candidates running for Congress — Democrats competing in newly targeted seats and Republicans vying to replace outgoing GOP lawmakers.

Manchin Gets Saltier at Pence: No One Is More Bipartisan Than Me
Vulnerable West Virginia senator ‘shocked’ at VP’s speech to Republican retreat in home state

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has tried to position himself as a Democratic ally of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 2:05 p.m. | Sen. Joe Manchin apparently did not vent enough on Wednesday when he responded to Mike Pence’s speech in West Virginia in which the vice president criticized the Mountain State Democrat for voting against the Republican tax code overhaul in December.

So he did what most politicians do now when they’re frustrated: let loose on Twitter.

Some in Arizona GOP Trying to Nudge Arpaio Out of Senate Race
Would be ‘miracle’ if former sheriff beat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in general election, GOP operative says

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks with members of the Arizona delegation on the floor of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A cohort of state GOP officials in Arizona is trying to nudge Joe Arpaio out of the Senate primary race, according to a draft resolution the group plans to propose at the party’s annual meeting in Phoenix this weekend, according to The Arizona Republic, which broke the story.

The officials are worried the former sheriff would severely hamper Republicans’ chances of keeping outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat red in the general election were Arpaio to win the party’s nomination in the Aug. 28 primary.

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. 

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.

New Democrats’ PAC Adds 10 More Challengers to Watch List
PAC now has 23 candidates on watch list for 2018

Lauren Baer, who’s running in  Florida’s 18th District, is one of 10 more Democratic candidates that NewDemPAC is adding to its list of candidates to watch in 2018. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo).

The political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is adding 10 more challengers to its list of candidates to watch in 2018 — a continued effort to get involved in House races earlier this cycle. 

The latest additions by NewDemPAC, obtained first by Roll Call, come from across the country and include a second former member of the coalition. The PAC announced its first 13 candidates to watch earlier this year. 

Democrats Face Messaging Hurdles on GOP Tax Plan
Condensed timeline, dissension complicate strategy

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, followed by Hawaii Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons walks to the microphones in the Capitol after the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats and their supporters had a unified message when it came to standing against Republican efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. But when it comes to resisting President Donald Trump and the GOP on tax legislation, it might get more complicated.

Democratic leadership is sending signals it is not willing to negotiate on the GOP tax bill until the current partisan effort fails, but some members of the conference appear ready to buck that message, if need be.

Flake’s Exit Rocks GOP and Arizona Senate Race
Trump critic sees a narrowing path for traditional conservatives in the GOP

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and his wife, Cheryl, enter the Russell Building on Tuesday after he announced he would not be running for re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Flake announced on Tuesday that he is leaving the Senate. But his speech was an indictment of modern politics at large.

The Arizona Republican took to the Senate floor to decry the state of political discourse, the leadership of President Donald Trump and the future of conservatism.

Rating Change: New Hampshire Open Seat Moves to Toss-Up
Shea-Porter was already considered vulnerable in 1st District

New Hampshire Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, right, will not seek a fifth term next year.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s retirement leaves an already competitive seat more vulnerable for her party as an open one, considering President Donald Trump carried New Hampshire’s 1st District 48 percent to 46 percent last fall.

“I felt the tug of family at our reunion on Independence Day, and I have continued to feel it,” Shea-Porter said in a statement Friday.

As Messer and Rokita Squabble, Third GOP Indiana Senate Hopeful Sees Opening
Self-funded state representative looks to sneak around infighting en route to nomination

Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun, who owns an automotive supply business, said if you’re not willing to spend big, it doesn’t “matter how well people might like you.”  (Mike Braun for Indiana)

With Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita trading insults in the Indiana Senate Republican primary, a third candidate seeks to quietly bypass the kerfuffle en route to the GOP nod.

State Rep. Mike Braun has flooded his war chest with nearly $800,000 of his own money and raised $200,000 more, mostly from business associates of his automotive supply business. The GOP primary winner will face vulnerable Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly