open-seat

Democrats See New Opportunity in McSally’s Old House Seat
Democrats see Arizona’s 2nd District as a top pickup opportunity

Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is running in Arizona’s 2nd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Martha McSally’s decision to enter the Arizona Senate race has opened up her hotly contested House seat, giving Democrats even more hope that they can win back the seat in 2018.

Republicans say they still have a chance at holding the 2nd District seat in southern Arizona, especially with the right candidate. But Democrats see energy on their side, fueled in part by a backlash to President Donald Trump. And they are hopeful the race will be an example of a Democrat flipping a seat that Hillary Clinton carried in November.

Sinema Stalked for Years by New York Man, According to Court Document
Amos Olagunju entered a not guilty plea to federal stalking Tuesday in D.C. District Court

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., walks up the House steps for votes in the Capitol on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A New York man entered a not guilty plea Tuesday to a federal charge of stalking Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema after he was arrested last Friday outside her office on the seventh floor of the Longworth House Office Building.

Amos Olagunju of Brooklyn, New York, has been shadowing and attempting to make contact with Sinema since 2014, according to an affidavit from a federal agent obtained by NBC Washington’s News4 I-Team.

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. 

Opinion: The Women Who Could Take Back the House for Democrats
Trump presidency a catalyst for action

Pediatrician Mai Khanh Tran is vying to replace Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who is not seeking re-election. (Courtesy Dr. Tran for Congress)

In a typical election cycle, EMILY’S List hears from 900 or so women who are interested in running for political office. As of this week, less than a year after President Donald Trump took office, more than 25,000 women have reached out to the group, whose goal is to help elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.

That unprecedented number tracks with what I’ve seen covering special elections for the House and Senate in 2017. Particularly in Alabama and Georgia, I kept seeing female voters showing up in huge numbers to work for Democratic candidates, even when the women themselves weren’t Democrats, or had never been particularly political at all.

Rating Update: Race for Issa’s Open Seat Remains a Toss-Up for Now
California’s 49th District rejected Trump in 2016

California Rep. Darrell Issa is not be seeking a tenth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new day, a new Republican retirement, but a similar story. On Wednesday, GOP Rep. Darrell Issa announced he will not seek re-election to his Southern California district, leaving Republicans to defend another open seat that Hillary Clinton carried.

Similar to California’s 39th District, where GOP Rep. Ed Royce just announced his retirement, Issa’s 49th District has in recent history usually voted for Republican candidates but rejected Donald Trump for president in 2016. Voters there also nearly threw out Issa, who had become known for his Benghazi investigations.

O’Rourke Backs Off ‘Mandatory Year of Service’ Idea After Criticism
‘I made a mistake,’ Texas Democrat challenging Sen. Ted Cruz says

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, backtracked Monday on an idea to create a mandatory year of national service for all young Americans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke blew out his own match on the idea to introduce a bill making a year of service mandatory for all Americans just days after floating the possibility.

At a town hall outside Dallas last week, the Democratic Senate hopeful proposed a “national service bill” that would require every young person to spend at least a year of service “in a military unit, conservation corps unit, in a medical unit, in a teaching unit — in some way that they’re going to help make this country better and stronger.”

Ratings Change: Open Seat Shifts California Race to Toss-Up
Rep. Ed Royce’s retirement gives Democrats a shot

California Rep. Ed Royce announced Monday he would not run for re-election. That gives Democrats an opportunity take over a seat without having to defeat an incumbent, Nathan L. Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats have been targeting California’s 39th District ever since Hillary Clinton carried it over Donald Trump in the last presidential race. But Republican Rep. Ed Royce’s retirement announcement Monday gives them an opportunity to take over a seat without having to defeat an entrenched incumbent who had $3.5 million in his campaign account at the end of September.

The scope of the Democratic opportunity in Southern California depends on whether Clinton’s performance is the new normal (she carried the district 52 percent to 43 percent) or whether 2016 was an aberration. The 39th District could still be fundamentally Republican, considering 2012, when Mitt Romney carried it 51 percent to 47 percent and Republican Elizabeth Emken outperformed Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein 51 percent to 49 percent, even though she lost statewide by 25 points.

At the Races: Escape Hatch
2018 is here, and more senior Republicans are heading for the exits

The Senate is losing a longtime member — and a songwriter. Utah GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is known for his compositions. His song “Souls Along the Way,” written about the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy and Kennedy’s wife, was included on the “Ocean’s Twelve” movie soundtrack. Hatch and Kennedy worked together on major health care legislation, and the pair were good friends. (Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly file photo)

You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. (If you didn’t get it in your inbox, *subscribe here.*) We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.This week … 2018 has arrived! Three Republicans announced their retirement, two Senate Democrats arrived and Steve Bannon put some conservative candidates in a tight spot.

Hatch Heads for the Exit: Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch ended months of speculation Tuesday by announcing he was retiring after seven terms in the Senate. That opens the door for former presidential nominee/Massachusetts governor/Trump critic/skillful ironer Mitt Romney to run for Hatch’s seat. So is he running? It’s widely believed he will, but Romney has yet to officially say so. He did casually change his location on Twitter from Massachusetts to Utah following Hatch’s announcement. #WeSeeWhatYouDidThere.

Supreme Court to Hear Maryland Gerrymandering Case
Republican voters are challenging 6th District lines drawn by Democrats

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Maryland’s 6th District lines. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court late Friday agreed to hear a challenge to the lines of a Maryland congressional district that were drawn by Democrats.  

The court has already heard a partisan gerrymandering case from Wisconsin, where Republicans drew the state legislative map. 

Ratings Change: Franken Steps Down Amid Allegations, Seat Starts Likely Democratic
Minnesota Senator resigns after colleagues call for his exit

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and his wife Franni, leave the Capitol on Thursday, after Franken announced on the Senate floor that he will resign his seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Al Franken’s resignation puts another Democratic seat into the 2018 mix, but it’s still unclear whether his departure provides Republicans with a legitimate takeover opportunity.

To handicap a race, it’s helpful to know where the contest will take place and who is running. In this case, we know the place is Minnesota, where, despite Donald Trump’s surge in the Midwest, Hillary Clinton narrowly prevailed in 2016, 46-45 percent, and where Republicans haven’t won a Senate race since Norm Coleman’s 2-point victory in 2002.