North Dakota

Lindsey Graham Sees Big Election Night for Senate Republicans
Speaking at Heritage Foundation, Mitch McConnell was predictably more reserved

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is upbeat about the chances for big Senate Republican wins on Election Day. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham is very bullish on the chances of Republicans expanding their Senate majority on Election Day in three weeks.

“We’re off to the races. Everything is breaking our way,” the South Carolina senator said Tuesday night. 

Botched Heitkamp Sexual Assault Ad ‘Desperate’ Move, Cramer Says
Survivor names published without consent

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., attends a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Implementation of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act," on October 2, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans in North Dakota shook their collective heads after Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign ran an ad in local newspapers naming sexual assault and domestic abuse victims without their consent in an open letter to her opponent — and, in some cases, listed names of women who said they have never been sexually mistreated.

“This is what happens when desperate people do things for their own personal political gain,” Rep. Kevin Cramer, the GOP nominee challenging Heitkamp, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “She proved a point that her personal politics matter more than someone’s personal pain.”

Is Beto O’Rourke the Next Jon Ossoff?
Democrats can’t seem to help falling for white, Southern men in unlikely races

Democrat Beto O’Rourke historic fundraising numbers set off alarm bells in the GOP that the Texas Senate race was not one to be ignored, Murphy writes. Above, O’Rourke arrives for a rally in Lockhart, Texas, on Oct. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There have been so many glowing profiles of Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic Senate hopeful in Texas, that there is a running joke  among journalists about the ingredients for a perfect O’Rourke piece. The short version goes something like this: He looks like a Kennedy! He’s got tons of cash! He’s a Democrat in a Red State! Let’s do this thing!

The one detail that’s almost always missing in those profiles is reality — namely, the fact that O’Rourke could run a perfect race against Sen. Ted Cruz and will still probably lose based solely on the fact that far more Republicans are likely to vote in Texas this November than Democrats. Although twice as many Texans (about 1 million) voted in the Democratic primary this year compared to 2014, 1.5 million votes were cast in the Republican primary. Even as the state’s demographics are changing, the math for Texas Democrats still doesn’t look good.

Trump PAC Spends More Defending Texas House Seat Than Any Race This Cycle
America First Action has spent $2.6 million to help longtime GOP Rep. Pete Sessions keep his seat

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The top super PAC aligned with President Donald Trump is releasing another ad Tuesday in Texas’ 32nd District, where longtime GOP Rep. Pete Sessions is facing arguably his toughest test for re-election yet against Democrat Colin Allred.

America First Action, the super PAC promoting candidates who support the president’s agenda, has sunk $2.6 million into defending Sessions’ seat. That’s the most the PAC has spent on any race this cycle.

Tuesday Is the Voter Registration Deadline in These States
For Maryland and D.C. residents, it’s the last day to register online

The midterm elections are approaching fast and many voter registration deadlines have already passed. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)

If you live in one of 18 states and haven’t registered to vote, you’ve already missed your chance to cast a ballot in the midterm elections on Nov. 6.

Other deadlines are fast approaching. Virginia residents, get your postmarks going. Monday is the last day you can register online, in person or by mail.

Breaking the Midterm Mode: Both Parties Make it About Trump
2018 provides yet another departure from political norms

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is among the Democrats whose re-election prospects could be hurt by the nationalizing of the midterms, Rothenberg writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — For decades, the rule of thumb for campaigns during midterm elections has been the same: When the president is popular, the president’s party tries to nationalize the election, and the opposition attempts to localize it. On the other hand, when the president is unpopular, his party’s nominees try to localize while the opposition tries to make the election a national referendum on his performance. Perhaps not surprisingly, 2018 has broken that mold.

Both sides are trying to nationalize the November election.

Elizabeth Warren to Trump: Pay Up on $1 Million DNA Pledge
Trump said he’d donate to charity if DNA test proved Native American heritage, she said her test did

President Donald Trump promised to donate $1 million to charities in June in North Dakota if a DNA test proved Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage. She said results of a test she released the results for on Sunday did that. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is asking Donald Trump to make good on a $1 million bet, but Trump’s memory of the bet is fuzzy.

Trump promised to donate $1 million to the charity of Warren’s choice if she released the results of a genetic test that proved Native American heritage. Trump has claimed Warren used a false story of Native American heritage to further her career as a professor at Harvard Law. On Monday Warren released the results of a test administered by an genetics expert showing a Native American ancestor within six to ten generations of the senator.

Three States Get Ready to Vote on Abortion
Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia have measures on the ballot

Students protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in June. When voters in three states go to the polls this November, they’ll see abortion initiatives on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia voters will face separate ballot initiatives next month aimed at restricting abortion access in those states.

These initiatives fit into a larger fight over abortion that continues to heat up. Anti-abortion advocates hope that changes at the state level can be used as test cases and later implemented more broadly, while abortion rights advocates hope to defeat them. A particularly contentious ballot initiative can be used as a messaging move to drive voters to the polls in tight elections such as this fall’s West Virginia Senate race.

Two Elections: Democrats’ Chance of Taking the Senate Fading, House Likely to Flip
Senate results in midterms crucial for GOP and Democratic prospects in 2020

The North Dakota Senate race looks all but over for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Rothenberg writes.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — The Democrats’ chances of netting at least two Senate seats always seemed like a long shot. But a month ago, the stars looked to be aligning for them. Today, those stars tell a different story.

With the Republican challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, opening up a clear lead over Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, the North Dakota Senate race looks all but over now, according to multiple insiders. That means Democrats will need to swipe at least three GOP seats to take back the Senate — an outcome that currently appears somewhere between unlikely and impossible.

Health Care Exchange Premiums Dip, Finally
After steep increases in 2017 and 2018, states on the exchanges see a decline of 1.5 percent

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says the lower premiums are “encouraging,” but that the health care law is set up to fail over time. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Health insurance premiums in the 39 states that use HealthCare.gov will fall 1.5 percent on average for the most commonly purchased plans in 2019, marking the first time that rates have dropped since the 2010 health care law was implemented.

The decline is a significant departure from steep increases in 2017 and 2018. Premiums for HealthCare.gov plans grew by an average of 37 percent for plans this year, after rising by 25 percent the year before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday.