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Photos of the Week: They’re Back!
The week of September 13 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Over the August recess, the Ohio Clock’s two arms were returned to full working order. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returned to Washington with just one working arm after breaking his shoulder at his home in Kentucky. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One rocky Donald Trump week tends to breed another... and another
Analyst: ‘If the election were held tomorrow, President Trump would lose — badly’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

After another rocky week for Donald Trump, former officials and experts see a president likely to become even more bold and unpredictable as his path to reelection appears to grow more difficult.

From a tumbling approval rating and worries among voters about his economic stewardship to his firing of another national security adviser to remarks at a 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon that raised eyebrows to a special election in a Republican stronghold that was closer than expected, the president’s brash style was on full display.

McCarthy ‘not concerned about any retirement’ except Hurd’s
Minority leader predicts Trump will carry more districts held by Democrats than he did in 2016

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to the media at the U.S. House Republican Member Retreat in Baltimore on Friday. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the only Republican seat that will be open in 2020 due to a member of his conference retiring that he’s worried about losing is Rep. Will Hurd’s in Texas’ 23rd District. 

“That’s a tough seat. Will Hurd is an exceptional person,” the California Republican told reporters Friday morning as House Republicans kicked off the second day of their conference retreat here. 

Two top Architect of the Capitol employees have left the agency after investigation
Senate Building Superintendent Takis Tzamaras and House Building Superintendent Bill Weidemeyer both left in July

Acting Architect of the Capitol Thomas Carroll. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two top employees at the Architect of the Capitol who oversaw building operations in the House and Senate are no longer working there, months after they were put on administrative leave while they were investigated for emails critical of Christine Merdon, the former head of the agency.

Senate Building Superintendent Takis Tzamaras and House Building Superintendent Bill Weidemeyer both left the agency in July. Tzamaras said he resigned and Weidemeyer said he retired.

Why the GOP victory in North Carolina spells disaster for Democrats in 2020
Republicans had a unified message with a unified focus, NRCC chairman writes

Republican Dan Bishop’s victory in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District confirms the effectiveness of President Donald Trump as a GOP surrogate and the unpopularity of the Democrats’ socialist agenda, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Republicans’ special election victory Tuesday in North Carolina’s 9th District is the latest evidence that 2020 will be a very different election from 2018.

Rep.-elect Dan Bishop didn’t just overcome his Democrat opponent’s two-year head start and millions of dollars in out-of-state money. He also outperformed the GOP candidate’s 2018 efforts by 2 points — quite a different narrative from what the cable news pundits want voters to believe and great news for Republican prospects next year.

Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins compares committee’s work to an Instagram filter

Ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., speaks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What a close Republican win in a North Carolina House race means (maybe) for 2020
Expect an emboldened Trump to remain the center of attention — just as he likes it

No matter how carefully GOP candidates calibrate their own campaigns in 2020, President Donald Trump is likely to remain the center of attention, just as he likes it, Curtis writes. (Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

[OPINION] CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though Republicans tried to downplay the importance of an off-year special House election in North Carolina, President Donald Trump certainly thought differently. Why else would he have held an election eve rally alongside Dan Bishop, the GOP nominee in the state’s 9th District? And if that was not enough to belie the seeming lack of official party interest, Vice President Mike Pence also managed a North Carolina campaign trip the same day.

It paid off Tuesday, as Election Day turnout gave Bishop a 2-point win over Democrat Dan McCready. Bishop certainly credited Trump — the president, of course, took all of it — who helped the candidate overcome scandal over the race and his own controversial support of a “bathroom bill” that hurt business in the state. The newly elected congressman portrayed himself as Trump’s “mini-me” on every issue, from guns to abortion rights to immigration.

Even Joe Biden was once the upstart
Former vice president’s 1972 Senate race was long-shot campaign that paid off

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Ruth Burrows at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Thursday August 8, 2019. Biden is making his third run for president. But his first run for the Senate provide clues to how far he has come in politics. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This is the sixth installment in “Battle Tested,” a series analyzing early campaigns of some Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Earlier pieces focused on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Joe Biden was an unknown lawyer in his first term on the New Castle County Council when he started talking to people about his next move.

North Carolina’s 9th District highlights trouble spots for both parties
McCready’s strength in Mecklenburg County underscores GOP’s suburban weakness

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop won the special election in North Carolina’s 9th District on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Within eight minutes of each other Wednesday morning, the two House campaign committees blasted out dueling memos about what Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop’s 2-point victory in North Carolina’s 9th District means for the country’s political future.

The posturing was typical of reactions to special elections in the era of President Donald Trump. Publicly, at least, Republicans say everything is fine, while Democrats celebrate a narrow loss in a district that shouldn’t have been competitive. 

House takes aim at Trump’s drilling plan with three bills
Bills would block offshore exploration in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts

A surfer rides a wave at the Huntington Beach pier with an oil rig and Catalina Island in the background in Huntington Beach, CA in 2018 (Photo by Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Lawmakers from both parties evoked the memory of the 2010 BP oil spill Tuesday to drum up support for a trio of House bills that would hamper offshore drilling and President Donald Trump's energy agenda. 

The House is expected to vote Wednesday and Thursday on three bipartisan bills that would block exploration in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.