From Time: "The House voted overwhelmingly on Friday to send a $15.3 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump, overcoming conservative objections to linking the emergency legislation to a temporary increase in America's borrowing authority. The legislation also keeps the government funded into December."
The bill passed the House in a bipartisan 316-90 vote. The 90 no votes, all Republican, were primarily on a philsophical objection to tying debt ceiling and government funding actions to other issues.
Curious how your (or any) Representative voted? Click or tap the map below. On the landing page, you can see how your Representative voted, as well as the votes of those expected to be in competitive 2018 races. You can also click or tap any individual state to see how all that state's representatives voted.
The Washington Post reports that "Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, leader of an influential caucus of GOP moderates in the House, has announced he will not seek re-election to an eighth House term next year."
Dent has been a frequent critic of President Trump.
This somewhat surprising announcement puts Pennsylvania's 15th district in play for 2018. The rating moves from safe to leans Republican. Six of Pennsylvania's 18 districts, primarily those in the suburbs/exurbs of Philadelphia, look to be competitive this year:
Dave Reichert (WA-08) announced that this will be his final term. The seven-term Republican represents a swing district east of Seattle. While the incumbent easily won reelection last November, it is one of 23 GOP-held districts where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump. The retirement opens up a new targeting opportunity for Democrats in 2018, with the race rating moved from likely Republican to toss-up.
Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) will forego another term in the House to challenge incumbent David Ige in next year's Democratic gubernatorial primary. This is Hanabusa's 2nd attempt at departing the House for higher office; she lost the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in 2014. Hawaii is one of the most Democratic states in the nation, and both the congressional and governor's races are seen as safe Democratic holds next November.
President Trump plans to nominate Republican Jim Bridenstine (OK-01) to serve as NASA's next administrator. If confirmed, a special election would be held to fill the remainder of his term. Note that Bridenstine had previously indicated that this term, his third, would be his last. This is a safe Republican district.
The president has nominated Republican Tom Marino (PA-10) to be the next drug czar. If confirmed, a special election would be held here to fill the remainder of his term. This is also a safe Republican district.
The announcements by Reichert and Hanabusa bring to 23 the number of House members not seeking reelection in the 2018 midterms. The updated chart follows.
Republican 4th term Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11) will forego reelection to the House next year to challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey. This race is currently rated Likely Democratic by Sabato's Crystal. Ball. In their latest review, from late August, they said:
"Let’s start in the two states that hypothetically should be the easiest for [Democrats] to hold, Michigan and Pennsylvania. They, like New Jersey and Virginia, are rated as Likely Democratic, but we include them here as potentially more fruitful GOP targets, both because of the states’ 2016 turn toward Trump and also because of the potential for intriguing Republican nominees against Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Bob Casey (D-PA).
In the Keystone State, it appears as though Trump ally Rep. Lou Barletta (R, PA-11) is going to run. While there are other candidates running, Barletta would have the biggest profile, although Casey’s two victories both have been fairly comfortable."
Barletta was an earlier supporter of President Trump, who, in-turn, has urged the Congressman to run for the Senate. The state is one of 33 Senate seats up for election in 2018. Create and share your forecast with our Interactive Senate Map.
Update on House Retirements
Barletta becomes the 21st House member to announce they are not seeking reelection to that body in 2018. The updated list is here:
Our last update, from early August, also showed 21 announced retirements. In the interim, Colorado's Ed Perlmutter reversed his earlier decision and will seek reelection in 2018. Perlmutter had previously announced a run for Colorado Governor. However, his path to that office was not looking promising. He withdrew from the race in mid-July.
The Cook Political Report has made five ratings changes in their 2018 Senate forecast. Four races have moved to toss-up, including Indiana, Missouri, Nevada and West Virginia. Of those, only Nevada currently has a Republican incumbent.
Republicans currently have 52 Senate seats, to 48 for the Democrats. The Democratic number includes two independents that caucus with that party. Given the current political climate, it would seem that the party should be well-positioned to gain seats and control in the 2018 midterms. However, as we've noted before, that is unlikely to happen. Only 9 of the 34 seats to be contested - including this year's Alabama special election - are held by Republicans. Of those, only two, Arizona and Nevada, are likely to be competitive. That means even if Democrats hold all 25 of their seats -- many of which are competitive -- and win those two Republican seats, they still only get to 50 seats. In that scenario, Vice-President Mike Pence would break the tie vote, and Republicans would retain control.
Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange took the top two spots in Tuesday's Alabama Senate Republican primary. As neither received more than 50% of the vote, they will meet in a runoff on September 26th. The winner that day will face off against Democrat Doug Jones, who advanced to the general election by winning over 60% of the vote in the Democratic primary. The general election will be held on December 12th.
This off-year special election came about after former Sen. Jeff Sessions resigned to become the U.S. Attorney General in the Trump administration. Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Luther Strange, then the state's Attorney General, to take Session's spot, scheduling a special election in November of 2018 to fill the seat for the final two years of Session's term. At the time, Strange was investigating Bentley regarding a purported relationship the governor was having with an aide. This raised a few eyebrows in the state.
Bentley eventually resigned, and was succeeded by Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey. She moved the special election to this year.
Strange's main challengers in the primary were Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and Mo Brooks, who represents Alabama's 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Moore was suspended from the bench for ethics violations, and subsequently resigned his position to run for Senate. Having been eliminated from the Senate race, Brooks has plenty of time to decide if he wants to defend his House seat in 2018.
This seat has been in Republican hands for about 20 years. While the seat is highly likely to stay with the GOP, a runoff win by the controversial Moore could lead to a more competitive general election than would otherwise be expected in this deep red state.
6th Term Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas (MA-03) has announced she will not seek reelection to the House in 2018. This brings to 21 the number of Representatives that will not seek another term. The updated list, along with the current ratings, courtesy of Sabato's Crystal Ball, can be seen in the table below.
Of the 21 leaving the House, 13 are Republicans (R), eight are Democrats (D). Eight (5R, 3D) are running for governor of their state, while five (3R, 2D) are running for U.S. Senate. One Democrat is running for president in 2020. The remaining seven (5R, 2D) are retiring, or are not currently seeking another office. 15 seats (9R, 6D) are considered safe for the incumbent party, while the other six (4R, 2D) are expected to be at least somewhat competitive.
The Associated Press is reporting that Republican Rep. Todd Rokita (IN-4) will announce a Senate run on Wednesday morning. Rokita will join fellow Republican Rep. Luke Messer (IN-6) in the race to defeat incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly. This announcement was not unexpected. As only one of the two congressmen will make it to the general election, they have been feuding in recent weeks. Each has suggested that the other is "unhinged".
Donnelly is among the more vulnerable Democrats in 2018. The race is currently rated toss-up by Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball. An interactive version of that forecast can be found here.
Rokita will be the 20th House member to announce a departure from that body in 2018. Most are running for U.S. Senate or to be Governor of their state.
A poll of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire finds that Ohio Governor John Kasich would beat either President Trump or Vice-President Pence. Kasich saw 52% support to Trump's 40%, while Kasich led Pence 41% to 27%. About 1/3 of those responding were undecided in the case of Kasich vs. Pence.
Beyond the many obvious reasons why a poll 900 days before an election is of limited predictive value, we wanted to highlight the note at the bottom of the poll's report:
"This is only the second time since the New Hampshire Poll began in 1976 that potential challengers of the same party were tested against an incumbent president. The first time was in the September 1978 New Hampshire Poll when Jerry Brown and Edward Kennedy were included in a ballot question with Jimmy Carter. In that poll among likely Democratic primary voters, Kennedy took the lead with 40%, followed by Carter at 25%, Brown at 13%, and with 22% undecided."
As in today's poll, the incumbent president -- then Jimmy Carter -- trailed by double digits. However, Carter would go on to win the 1980 New Hampshire primary by nearly 10% and would be renominated for a 2nd term. Carter would eventually be defeated in the 1980 presidential election.
The New York Times is reporting that some high-profile Republicans "have begun what amounts to a shadow campaign for 2020 — as if the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue weren’t involved." Courting of prominent donors, visits to Iowa and appearances at party-affiliated events are among the activities being undertaken. Names mentioned include Vice-President Mike Pence, Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Ohio governor John Kasich, and U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley.
At this point, most are indicating they would only be active in 2020 if President Trump declines to run for a second term. Of course, that could change pending the outcome of the Russia investigation, the results of the 2018 Midterms and the president's popularity. It is worth noting that election year nomination challenges to incumbent presidents have not been particularly successful. At the same time, they are indicative of a split and this usually portends the party's defeat in November.
While no date is set, the 2020 Iowa caucuses are about 900 days away.