Alaska

Getting Stung Is All in a Day’s Work for This Senator
When he’s home, Pennsylvania Republican tends daily to his ‘aggressive’ beehive

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey's beehive produced seven gallons of honey last year. (Courtesy Patrick Toomey)

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey holds out both his hands.

“You notice any difference?” the Pennsylvania Republican asks.

North Dakota Senate Race Could Come Down to Fossil Fuels
The problem? Heitkamp and Cramer have strikingly similar stances on energy

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer are vying for North Dakota’s Senate seat. They’re also racing to show off their energy chops. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two candidates in the North Dakota Senate race — a tight matchup with massive implications for control of the chamber next Congress — are touting their Capitol Hill energy policy chops to gain an edge in one of the closest contests of the midterms. 

The race has triggered an escalating argument between vulnerable Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp and her GOP challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, over which one is the best champion of the state’s fossil fuel industries that rank among the most productive in the nation.

Republicans Face Critical Moment With Kavanaugh
Allegation against Supreme Court nominee heaps cultural importance on what senators do

Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh meets with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, in July. Graham said on Sunday that he is willing to hear Kavanaugh’s accuser, but said that should happen “immediately.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS: President Donald Trump’s pick for a pivotal spot on the Supreme Court already put the Senate at the confluence of the nation’s contentious political and legal movements.  But a woman’s allegation of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh  — dating back decades to when he was a teenager — heaps cultural importance as well on what senators do at this moment.

Senators, particularly Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans who have relentlessly insisted on a confirmation vote this month, now have to decide what to do amid a “Me Too” movement that has exposed how these types of allegations have been hidden, mishandled or simply ignored by powerful men in the past. 

Three Ways Kavanaugh Nomination Could Play Out After Accuser Speaks
Female GOP senators could have big say in what happens next

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, arrives for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building on Sept. 4. His wife, Ashley, daughter, and Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, also appear. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | What was an anonymous letter with serious allegations against Supreme Court nominee are now vivid words from an accuser, putting a name and face on the charges and raising new questions about the nomination.

A California professor contends she instantly thought a “stumbling drunk” Kavanaugh might “inadvertently kill” her during a party in the early 1980s while they were in high school, breaking her public silence and handing Republican leaders and the White House tough decisions about what to do next.

Floor Charts for the Floor Show — September So Far
Our favorite garish visual aids from a month of congressional floor-watching

(Courtesy of @FloorCharts, screenshot of C-SPAN)

When it’s all Kavanaugh, all the time, watching the House and Senate floors can be a thankless task. But the floor charts make it all worthwhile and a lot of them over the last month have been about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Lawmakers like these oversized and sometimes garish visual aids because they help them get their point across. The Twitter handle @FloorCharts posts some of the daily highlights, and Roll Call now provides a monthly roundup of the best of the best.

Democrats Weighing Earmark Revival if They Take Back House
Elimination of earmarks led to an “abdication of Congress’ power of the purse,” Hoyer says

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is calling for lawmakers to bring back earmarks. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At the end of a speech Wednesday outlining what he billed as congressional Democrats’ vision to renew the county’s faith in government, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer called for lawmakers to bring back earmarks.

It was a noteworthy mention from the Democrats’ No. 2 in House leadership during a talk that focused on his party’s plans — should it win control of the chamber in the midterms — to overhaul campaign finance and government ethics laws and to weed out the perception of corruption on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch.

Civil Rights Commission Calls for Action on Voting Rights Fix
State actions since 2013 have hurt minority voting rights, new report says

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, second from right, at a rally outside the Supreme Court in January to oppose an Ohio voter purge law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urged Congress on Wednesday to update the landmark law that protects voter rights, finding in a new report that a 2013 Supreme Court decision helped lead to elections with voting measures in place that discriminate against minorities.

But opposition from Republican lawmakers has stalled legislation to change the Voting Rights Act of 1965 since the 5-4 decision in Shelby County v. Holder that struck down a key enforcement mechanism in the law. Current efforts appear stuck for the same reason.

With Kavanaugh Hearings Underway, Supreme Court Ads Fill the Airways
Advertising, direct mail and fundraising continues on both sides

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, arrives for his Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing Tuesday in the Hart Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In Washington, all eyes may be on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, but people who would rather watch “Bachelor in Paradise” won’t be able to escape the Supreme Court debate either.

That is especially true in some key states, where interest groups on both sides of the aisle have continued to spend on advertising seeking to influence senators who have not announced their positions on whether they will support President Donald Trump’s second nominee for the nation’s highest court.

It’s Kavanaugh Week on the Hill. Here’s What to Expect
Labor Day weekend screeches to a halt with confirmation hearing for Trump’s Supreme Court pick

It’s the big week for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation hearing starts Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brett Kavanaugh starts his confirmation hearing Tuesday with a clear political path to the Supreme Court, if he can avoid a major misstep when Democrats press him on controversial topics like abortion rights, health care and the criminal investigations swirling around President Donald Trump.

The grilling won’t change minds on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which appears on track to approve Kavanaugh with an 11-10 party-line vote. Instead, Democrats will aim to sway a handful of centrist senators who aren’t on the committee but could cast key confirmation votes on the Senate floor — as well as residents in their states.

At the Races: Big Sky Test(er)
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

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, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin