elections

Cruz, O’Rourke Steal Spotlight, but House Races in Texas Are Heating Up Too
Democrats eye multiple pickup opportunities in Lone Star State

Democrats say energy around Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign could help their House candidates in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Texas Senate race has been grabbing headlines lately, but Democrats hoping for good news in November from the Lone Star State might want to focus further down the ballot, where several contests could be critical to House control.

Both parties have ramped up their activities in a handful of competitive Texas districts, with the Republican and Democratic campaign committees launching television ads in key races last week.

How the Republicans Fell for Trump’s Overconfidence Game
With the base seeing all criticism as ‘Fake News,’ the GOP could be in for a rough November

Convinced that polls are rigged for the Democrats, strong backers of President Donald Trump have convinced themselves that the Republican Congress is an impregnable fortress, Shapiro writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION  — The topic never pops up in statistical analyses or pundit roundtables on cable TV, but one of the most underappreciated factors shaping politics is overconfidence.

Historically, second-term presidents have been particularly vulnerable to arrogant overreach. For eight decades, the prime example has been Franklin Roosevelt’s ill-fated plan following his 1936 landslide re-election to pack the Supreme Court with six new justices. (A personal plea: Please don’t mention this scheme to Donald Trump.)

It Can Take Years for a Lawmaker to Get a Bill Enacted
Candidates freely share ideas for bills they’d like to pass, but then reality sets in

Michigan Rep. Sander M. Levin, who entered Congress in 1983, waited 23 years before getting his first bill passed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional candidates are crisscrossing the campaign trails with less than two months until the election, pitching voters their ideas for bills to pass. But those who make it to Washington will likely have a long wait before seeing their legislation become law.

Less than a third of the current members of the House had one of their bills signed into law in their first term. The Senate, with fewer members and generally more legislative experience, has a steeper learning curve. Only 12 of the current senators completed or went past their first term with a law to their name.

GOP Groups Jump Into Nevada’s 3rd District Ahead of Trump Rally
Congressional Leadership Fund reserved new airtime Wednesday

Republican Danny Tarkanian is running for Nevada’s open 3rd District seat, which Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is vacating for a Senate run. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Nevada on Thursday, outside Republican groups are ramping up their spending in the 3rd District to help GOP nominee Danny Tarkanian in one of the party’s few pickup opportunities. 

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, made a new ad reservation in the district in the Las Vegas media market that starts Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the media buy. CLF spokeswoman Courtney Alexander confirmed the $2.5 million reservation to Roll Call. 

Photos From the Road: Minnesota Loves a Parade
Roll Call visits the Gopher State, home to several key races this cycle

Dan Feehan, the Democratic nominee in Minnesota’s 1st District, greets guests at the Multicultural Fiesta in St. James, Minn., on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota is ground zero for the 2018 midterms. With four competitive House races, two Senate elections and a gubernatorial contest, there’s been no shortage of campaigning across the Gopher State. 

Roll Call is in the state all week, capturing the candidates and talking to voters, so keep following along for more coverage.

Prepare to Be Disappointed on Election Night
Close races, voting schemes and mail-in ballots could all complicate calling control of Congress on Nov. 6

The race for Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Mississippi seat lists among the complicating factors that might impede calling control of the Senate on Nov. 6, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After two years of campaigning in the latest most consequential election of our lifetimes, election night could be a huge letdown. The disappointment is not about which party prevails Nov. 6, but the reality that a combination of close races and West Coast contests could prevent enough races from being called to determine majorities in Congress until days later.

In the Senate, more than 10 races could finish within single digits, and a handful of those contests look like they’re neck and neck. The close margins could make it difficult for media outlets to project a winner on election night. Since Republicans have just a two-seat majority, every Senate race matters, so anything left uncalled could make it difficult to figure out who will control the chamber next year.

Candidates Get Candid About Their Cancer Diagnoses in TV Ads
Democrats open up about personal medical struggles to talk about health care

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is just the latest candidate to talk about her own cancer diagnosis in a campaign ad this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got personal in a recent ad, talking about something that she’s never addressed in a political spot before: cancer — specifically, her own diagnosis.

“Two years ago, I beat breast cancer,” the two-term Democrat says to camera. “Like thousands of other women in Missouri, I don’t talk about it much.”

What Constitutes a Wave Election?
With half of independents still up for grabs, a blue wave is not a foregone conclusion

Democrats may be predicting a blue wave, but surveys show many independents are still up for grabs and Republicans could yet win that battle of ideas, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Is 2018 going to be a wave election? The better question is: “What constitutes a wave election?”

In a CNN interview last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Christiane Amanpour, “People ask me, is this a tsunami or is it wave? And I said, in neither case, it’s many drops of water and it’s all very close. So it won’t be a big margin, it will be small margins in many races that will produce the victory.”

Giffords PAC Airs New TV Ad Against Comstock in Virginia
Second spot is part of $1 million ad campaign against two-term Republican in 10th District

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' PAC is investing $1 million in Virginia’s 10th District against GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. Giffords is shown here with Jennifer Wexton, Comstock's Democratic challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The gun violence prevention group founded by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is launching its second TV ad against Rep. Barbara Comstock, specifically going after the Virginia Republican’s ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association. 

The spot, debuting Wednesday and obtained first by Roll Call, opens with footage of a parent playing with a small child.

Wisconsin Democrat Randy Bryce Snubbed by Brother in New Ad
Paul Ryan-aligned super PAC put out the ad in speaker’s home district

James Bryce, the brother of Wisconsin Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce, endorsed his brother’s opponent, Bryan Steil, a former aide to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. (CLFSuperPAC/YouTube)

Strangers from around the country have poured millions of dollars into Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce’s campaign after his video announcing a grass-roots bid against Speaker Paul D. Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st District went viral.

But the “Iron Stache,” as he has been nicknamed on the web, has not managed to secure the support of someone much closer to home: his brother.