Ryan Zinke

Gianforte Gets First Challenger
John Heenan is a former consumer protection lawyer

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., shown here being sworn in in June, is being challenged by Billings attorney John Heenan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte got his first Democratic challenger for the 2018 midterm election on Monday when attorney John Heenan announced his candidacy.

Heenan said he plans to use his experience as a consumer protection lawyer and focus on access to “quality, affordable health care” in Washington, the Spokesman Review reported

Murkowski and Zinke Mend Fences Over Beers
Comes after reports that Interior secretary threatened Alaska senator over health care vote

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke takes a selfie with Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski sharing a Alaskan craft beer. (Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke via Twitter)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski met to mend fences over beers to settle their feud over the senator’s vote on the Republican health care bill.

Zinke tweeted a photo of himself and the Alaska Republican holding what appears to be a local pale ale.

Gianforte to Fulfill Community Service With Montana Nonprofit
Comes as part of his sentence for assaulting a journalist

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., has until Nov. 28 to complete his court-ordered community service. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Opinion: Summertime and the Living Is Easy in Trump’s Washington
But there’s still time for a cornered chief executive to lash out

The danger with President Donald Trump is that when he feels cornered, he lashes out in irrational directions, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thursday was the kind of molasses-slow news day in Washington, reminiscent of the summers before air-conditioning when Congress and most of the Executive Branch fled the capital for sea breezes and temperate climes.

For the sake of historians chronicling the torpor of the Trump years, here are some of the things that happened on this forgettable Thursday:

Collins, Murkowski Set the Stage for McCain’s Dramatic Vote
Female senators came under withering criticism, threats in run-up to health care vote

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, second from left, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska flank President Donald Trump as he meets with Senate Republicans on the GOP health care bill in June. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine withstood withering criticism — including a rhetorical challenge to a duel and a threat from the White House — to set the stage for the dramatic last-minute health care vote early Friday morning. 

In the end, though, it was Arizona Sen. John McCain — returning to Washington during treatment for brain cancer diagnosis — who got the spotlight.

Now McCain is Schumer’s Hero
Senate Minority Leader said McCain told him about his vote in the afternoon

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., left, praised Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for his vote against the Republican plans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When it was announced Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, members of both parties hailed him as “an American hero.”

When he returned to Washington, presumably to cast the deciding vote on the Republican health care bill, President Donald Trump, who once famously disputed McCain’s heroism, called him “Brave – American hero!”

Murkowski Pushes Back on Trump
Comes after Murkowski and Sullivan faced threats

An Alaska news outlet reported that Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, above, and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, received a threatening phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke due to Murkowski's vote against the Republican health care bill.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski pushed back against President Donald Trump amid reports that his administration supposedly threatened retribution for her opposition to the health care bill.

Murkowski's words come as her vote against repealing the 2010 health care law led to her and fellow Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan both received a call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke saying that the vote could harm the state’s future, Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Democrats Want Probe of Interior Scientists' Reassignments

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and other Democrats are concerned the administration is reassigning scientists to try to get rid of them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats at a hearing for Interior and Energy Department nominees seized on the published comments of an Interior scientist who claims that Secretary Ryan Zinke was using forced reassignments to coax experienced scientists to resign.

The top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Maria Cantwell of Washington, said at the Thursday hearing that she will ask Interior’s Inspector General to investigate the allegations raised by the scientist, Joel Clement, in an op-ed published by The Washington Post.

Meet the Special Election Class of 2017 (So Far)
This year’s elections have brought a new crop of freshmen to Congress

California Rep.-elect Jimmy Gomez hugs his mother, Socorro, as his wife, Mary Hodge, looks on, during his ceremonial House swearing-in Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By CHRIS HALE, BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

California Democrat Jimmy Gomez became the newest member of the House on Tuesday after being officially sworn in by Speaker Paul D. Ryan

GOP Waiting on Rosendale in Montana Senate Race
With top contenders passing on contest, crowded primary emerging

Montana State Auditor Matt Rosendale, seen here in 2013, is expected to run for Senate. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican field for Montana’s Senate race keeps growing, but the GOP is hopeful that an imminent announcement from state Auditor Matt Rosendale will give them a top-tier challenger against Sen. Jon Tester, one of 2018’s most vulnerable Democrats. 

“He is 95 percent there,” a Republican close to Rosendale said last week. The first-term auditor is expected to make a decision within the month.