NRSC

Rating Change: Alabama Senate Race No Longer Solid GOP
Polarizing potential nominee could give Democrats a shot at takeover

Alabama Republican Roy Moore finished first in Tuesday’s special election GOP Senate primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Alabama Senate special election certainly isn’t a toss-up, but the possibility that former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore might become the Republican nominee creates the potential for a Democratic upset.

President Donald Trump’s polarizing persona is creating significant risk for congressional Republicans in next year’s midterm elections. But his decision to pluck Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions out of the Senate for his Cabinet created a special election this year that is turning out to be more adventurous than expected, considering Trump won the Yellowhammer State by 28 points less than a year ago.

McCaskill to Hold 25 Town Halls Amid Challenges From Right and Left
‘Whether they agree with me or not, every Missourian is my boss,’ Missouri senator says

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., faces a tough road to re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facing a tough re-election campaign next year, Sen. Claire McCaskill said she she plans to hold 25 town hall meetings with constituents this month.

President Donald Trump won Missouri by nearly 20 points, and Republicans are eager to try and flip the seat. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tossup.

McCaskill Gets Primary Challenger
Former Obamacare marketplace worker running to Missouri Democrat’s left

Missouri Senate candidate Angelica Earl says Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is too conservative on issues such as health care. (AngelicaforMissouri.com)

A former health care marketplace worker is challenging Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill for the Democratic nomination in 2018, calling the incumbent “too conservative.”

Angelica Earl, a political novice, said she rejects McCaskill’s push for a bipartisan solution to health care. The 31-year-old from St. Louis County said she supports “single-payer health care for all,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Americans Dubious of GOP Health Care Reform, Poll Finds
GOP operatives say party leaders must press on

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, are trying to push a health care overhaul forward. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new poll found a third of Americans think a GOP health care policy would marginally affect their health care. Just 15 percent think their coverage would improve. So why are Republicans hellbent on dismantling the 2010 health care law before the August recess?

Nine out of every 10 respondents to a new Economist/YouGov poll agreed health care is an issue that is at least “somewhat important,” with seven out of 10 saying health care was “very important.”

Brooks Suggests Sessions Could Return to Senate if GOP Candidates Drop Out
Alabama Republican criticizes “public waterboarding” of attorney general

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks criticized the “public waterboarding” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks is calling on his fellow Republicans vying for the GOP nod for Senate to drop out of the special election race to allow Attorney General Jeff Sessions to return to the chamber.

“If all Republican candidates collectively agree to simultaneously withdraw from this race, then we clear the way for the Republican Party of Alabama to nominate Jeff Sessions to be the Republican nominee for the December 12, 2017 general election,” Brooks wrote in a Wednesday afternoon statement from his campaign. 

Conservatives Plot Payback for Obamacare Repeal Failure
Outside groups warn that Republicans could lose control of Congress

A man holds a sign during an anti-health care overhaul rally in 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the effort to repeal the 2010 health care law on the brink of failure, conservatives are warning that the Republican base will abandon the party. And some are already turning on GOP senators holding up the process.

Three GOP senators have said they would not support moving forward with an effort to repeal much of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, which would be enough to block the effort. Conservatives, livid with lawmakers reneging on a seven-year promise to undo the law, say not fulfilling that pledge threatens the GOP majorities in Congress.

Alabama GOP Senate Candidates Fight Over Loyalty to Trump
Strange and Brooks both claim allegiance to the president

Alabama Senate candidate, Rep. Mo Brooks, says he supported President Donald Trump in the general election, after backing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump may be embroiled in scandal in Washington, D.C. But in Alabama — a state he won by nearly 30 points last fall — he remains extremely popular.

Look no farther the the state’s midsummer Republican Senate primary, where 10 candidates are running for the nomination to fill out the term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general. Two of the top three candidates — with their supporters’ help — are trying to outdo each other in expressing loyalty to the president.

GOP Campaign Tracker Violates Bipartisan Truce (Again)
But party campaign committees still say Senate hallways are off limits

Tessa Gould, chief of staff to North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, tweeted a photo of a tracker outside the senator’s Hart Building office last week. (Courtesy Twitter/@Tessa_Gould)

Trackers have become standard operating procedure in today’s campaigns, as young operatives follow and record candidates’ every move and whisper with the hope of catching a gaffe. But up to this point, there has been rare bipartisan agreement that the Senate hallways were off limits.

“New low for 2018 campaign season- Rs are so threatened by @Heidi4ND they have a tracker waiting in the hall outside her Senate office #NDPol,” tweeted Tessa Gould on June 27. Gould is North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s chief of staff and former campaign. 

Pro-Trump Group Pulls Heller Ad After Backlash
Senate Republicans say ads against members of their own party not productive

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said he would not support proceeding to the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A political group aligned with President Donald Trump is pulling its ad targeting a Republican senator for opposing the GOP health care plan, following a backlash from lawmakers who criticized the group for going after a member of their own party.

America First Policies had television ads on the air targeting one Republican and eight Democrats on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The group’s decision to target GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada after he said he would not support the bill drew sharp criticism from Senate Republicans. Politico first reported Tuesday evening that the group is pulling the ad and a spokeswoman confirmed the move. 

Health Care Politics Serve as Senate Bill Text Prelude
Wednesday’s campaign fodder a preview of Thursday’s discussion draft

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing to release a draft bill to rework the U.S. health insurance system he has assembled in secret. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate procedural wonks huddled Wednesday with the parliamentarian’s office, making their case for whether Republican legislation to rework the health insurance system complies with the chamber’s rules, even as Washington braced for the release of the draft GOP measure. 

Over the next week, though, the debate will play out on both the procedural and political fields.