Evan H Jenkins

$177.1 Billion Labor-HHS-Education Moves Forward With Family Separation Changes
House Appropriations has approved 11 of 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., wants the Labor-HHS-Education bill linked to the Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday evening approved, 30-22, a $177.1 billion fiscal 2019 bill to fund the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

The committee has now approved 11 of its 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures, following the marathon 13-hour markup of the massive nondefense bill that left lawmakers from both parties exasperated at various points. The debate covered family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, gun research funding, abstinence-only sex education and thorny political issues around religious adoption agencies.

The Unlikely Campaign Behind Richard Ojeda’s Rise in West Virginia
Democrat’s campaign manager was still driving a tractor trailer three months ago

West Virginia Democrat Richard Ojeda, left, stands outside his campaign headquarters Thursday in Logan, W.Va., alongside his communications director Madalin Sammons, center, and campaign volunteer Heather Ritter. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

LOGAN, W.Va. — Richard Ojeda has become one of the stars of the 2018 midterms.

First, the national media latched on to this Trump-voting Democrat, and now the national party is behind him too. A recent independent poll found him ahead here in southern West Virginia’s coal-mining 3rd District that President Donald Trump carried by nearly 50 points in 2016.

Manchin, Morrisey Sweat Over West Virginia Voters in Heart of Trump Country
Senate campaigns in marquee race hit July Fourth parade circuit

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, left, shakes hands with Sen. Joe Manchin III before the start of a Fourth of July parade in Ripley, W.Va. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

RIPLEY, W.Va. — It was just one of hundreds of handshakes, a momentary truce before the battle that will escalate after the July Fourth recess.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the Republican nominee for Senate, stood patiently waiting Wednesday for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III to finish his conversation with a Gold Star mother.

Rating Changes in 19 House Races, All Toward Democrats
In total, 68 GOP-held seats are now rated competitive

New Mexico Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is running for the seat GOP Rep. Steve Pearce is vacating to run for governor. The 2nd District race is now rated Leans Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite forecasts of a blue tsunami, it’s still not guaranteed that Democrats will win back the House majority. But the playing field of competitive House races is expanding and shifting to almost exclusively Republican territory.

After the latest round of changes, Inside Elections now has 68 Republican seats rated as vulnerable compared to just 10 vulnerable Democratic seats. And there are at least a couple dozen more GOP-held seats that could develop into competitive races in the months ahead.

Sinema Breaks Record at ACLI Capital Challenge Race
Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher is fastest member of Congress for second year in a row

Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, number 120, watches as Reps. Mike Gallagher and Kyrsten Sinema celebrate their victories at Wednesday’s ACLI Capital Challenge. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:30 p.m. | Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was the fastest female lawmaker and set a new course record for her division at the 37th annual ACLI Capital Challenge three-mile race Wednesday.

Sinema finished in 22 minutes and 3 seconds to break the course record of 22:41 held by former Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio.

Drafting Cotton May Not Work Again for Gallagher in ACLI Capital Challenge
Wisconsin Republican won for the lawmakers in last year’s 3-mile race

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher runs twice a week. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

 

Rep. Mike Gallagher has been running along to his “ACLI 2018 Crush Cotton” playlist to prepare for Wednesday’s 3-mile race.

At the Races: 6 Months to Go
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Way Out in West Virginia, the Political Vortex
The Mountain State keeps taking the stage for U.S. politics

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The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

West Virginia occupies a unique place in the political universe. A small state, it hosts one of the most tightly contested Senate races of the midterms. But it also finds itself in the political conversation again and again. 

Six Months Out: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018
Nevada Republican Dean Heller remains in top spot

Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican running for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are still defending 10 states that President Donald Trump won in 2016, but six months out from Election Day, the most vulnerable senator remains a Republican.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller no longer faces a primary threat, but he’s the only Republican up for re-election in a state Hillary Clinton won, and in this national environment that’s a tricky place to be.

Podcast: Joe Manchin and the Mountain State Midterm Melee
Political Theater, Episode 18

(Manchin, Morrisey, Energy CEO Don Blankenship and Rep. Evan Jenkins (CQ Roll Call)