Robert Pittenger

Let Us Now Praise President Donald Trump
Republicans describe their rally with president

President Donald Trump makes a brief statement to the media as Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, right, look on, after a meeting with the House Republican Conference in the Capitol to discuss the GOP’s tax reform bill on November 16, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Unbelievably engaging.”Mark Meadows, N.C.

DCCC Names First 11 Candidates in ‘Red to Blue’ Program
2018 program will include more targeted and frequent additions

Angie Craig, back for a rematch against Rep. Jason Lewis in Minnesota’s 2nd District, is one of 11 candidates named to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is naming 11 candidates Wednesday in the first round of its Red to Blue program, which highlights strong Democratic recruits.

The list of 11 candidates, obtained first by Roll Call, includes recruits running in 10 competitive Republican-held seats and in an open seat Democrats are hoping to keep blue.

Opinion: Will 2018 Midterms Follow Scorched-Earth Playbook?
Look to lessons from 2017

Polls that showed a tight race were no predictor of the result in Charlotte's mayoral contest Tuesday, which saw the outspent Democrat Vi Lyles win by nearly 20 points. (Courtesy Vi Lyles/Facebook)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was a nice little mayor’s race in the largest city in North Carolina, considering that Charlotte has gone through a lot of mayors (seven) in the past nine years. And that’s even taking into account Democratic incumbent Jennifer Roberts losing, in the primary, her chance to defend her spot because of her part in a “bathroom” bill that labeled the state in all the wrong ways and her handling of protests that turned violent after a police-involved shooting.

But all that aside, the scorched-earth campaign between two mild-mannered city council members competing to move into the mayor’s office was a bit unexpected. It reached a heated crescendo with a digital ad from the N.C. Values Coalition, which supported Republican Kenny Smith. The ad said Democrat Vi Lyles “is Jennifer Roberts” and featured an ominous voice-over, a man entering a bathroom to the frightened chagrin of a girl already claiming the space, scenes of rioting and the image of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a blurred severed head.

Meet the Challengers Who Outraised House Incumbents
Some Democrats raised two to three times more than GOP lawmakers in third quarter

Democrat Anthony Brindisi raised more money during the third quarter than GOP freshman Rep. Claudia Tenney in New York’s 22nd District. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Nearly one year out from the 2018 midterms, challengers outraised nearly 30 percent of the incumbents in competitive races during the third quarter.

Sixteen Republican incumbents in competitive races raised less than their Democratic challengers during the third quarter. One Democratic incumbent was outraised by a GOP challenger.

Word on the Hill: Practice Mindfulness on Your Long Weekend
Chief of staff band warms up for the Nationals, and meatless dining in D.C.

The statue of Christopher Columbus is framed by wreaths left over from the 2014 Columbus Day celebration at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate staffers have the opportunity to work on being mindful today.

Mindcare: Mindfulness at Work, hosted by the Employee Assistance Program, is the first of several guided instruction sessions to help establish a mindful practice. It’s for Senate employees only from 11 a.m. to noon in the Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC-215. Call 202-224-3902 to register.

Moulton Raises $600,000 for Veteran Candidates He Endorsed
Massachusetts Democrat says Congress needs the ‘fresh perspective’ that his fellow veterans bring

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., is backing 11 fellow military veterans in their bids to unseat Republican members in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton raised $600,000 for the Democratic candidates he endorsed in his attempt to recruit more veterans to run for Congress.

The announcement came after a forum at Harvard University, Moulton’s alma mater, with four of the candidates he has endorsed: Dan Feehan in Minnesota’s 1st District, Roger Dean Huffstelter in Virginia’s 5th District, Amy McGrath in Kentucky’s 6th District, and Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey’s 11th District.

Ratings Changes in 15 House Races
Expanding battleground benefits Democrats

With 14 months to go before Election Day, the House battleground continues to take shape. Even though there is some uncertainty about what the political climate will look like next fall and whether normal historical midterm trends will hold under President Donald Trump, the House playing field is expanding, almost entirely in the Democrats’ direction.

As we’ve mentioned plenty of times before (and will likely repeat over and over again), history puts the Republican Party at a disadvantage: The president’s party has lost seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, with an average loss of 33 seats. Democrats need to gain 24 seats next year for a majority.

Opinion: A Veteran Takes on a House Incumbent — and Other N.C. Political Tales
One candidate is ‘REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL’

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger has carved out a special public space for himself with a series of startling statements, Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Purplish-red North Carolina is hard to figure out. That may be why national eyes tend to watch local, state and federal races for clues of political trends, particularly whether or not the Donald Trump phenomenon is fading. Or perhaps it’s just the state’s unpredictability and the entertainment value of its outsize personalities who make news, even when they wish they had not.

Take the long-shot candidate in Charlotte’s upcoming mayoral primary. While it’s pretty certain that city council member Kenny Smith will be representing the Republicans in the November election against one of the Democrats fighting it out, one GOP candidate, Kimberley Paige Barnette, earned a rebuke from her state party when, on social media, she listed her qualifications as being “REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL.” In a race that has drawn national money and will probably still turn out an embarrassingly low number of voters, it managed to be a lowlight.

Word on the Hill: Murphy Walks Again
Updates from the OOC, LOC and Historical Society

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy is taking questions as he walks across the Nutmeg State. (Courtesy Murphy via Snapchat)

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., is making his way across the Nutmeg State on foot … again.

Today is Day Three of the walk. On Monday, he walked from Willimantic to Portland, where he held an evening town hall.

Post Office Naming Sparks Feud in North Carolina
G.K. Butterfield says 2 GOP congressmen are retaliating over Jesse Helms snub

Rep. G.K. Butterfield said two of his fellow North Carolina congressmen are retaliating against him over naming buildings in their home state. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Bills intending to rename post offices and other federal buildings routinely make their way through the House — but one is causing a rift among the North Carolina congressional delegation.

Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield told The (Durham) Herald Sun that two of his Republican colleagues are refusing to sign on to a bill he introduced that would rename a federal building after a civil rights leader in retaliation for his not supporting a bill that would rename a building after former North Carolina Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.