Joe Donnelly

Surprisingly, the Senate Is Now in Play
Despite heavy odds stacked against them, Democrats are in the hunt

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., must win her Arizona Senate race for Democrats to have a chance at winning back the chamber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — I have argued repeatedly that while the House is up for grabs — and indeed likely to flip to the Democrats in November — the Senate is not in play. I now believe that it is, so I must revise and extend my remarks.

Only about three weeks ago, I reiterated my view that Democrats didn’t have a path to a net gain of two Senate seats, which they need for a chamber majority. But a flurry of state and national polls conducted over the past few weeks suggest Democratic prospects have improved noticeably, giving the party a difficult but discernible route for control.

Poll: Democrat Joe Donnelly Leading Trump-Backed Mike Braun in Indiana
Donnelly’s lead within the margin of error

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., held a slight lead over GOP nominee Mike Braun in a new poll. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Joe Donnelly, one of a handful of vulnerable Senate Democrats from Trump-won states up for re-election this cycle, held a slight 3-point lead over his GOP opponent in a new poll.

Donnelly paced businessman and political newcomer Mike Braun, the Republican nominee backed by President Donald Trump, 44 percent to 41 percent among likely voters, according to an NBC News/Marist poll released Wednesday.

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators in 2018: Heidi Heitkamp Moves to Top Spot
North Dakota Democrat tops Roll Call’s latest list of endangered Senate incumbents

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., tops the list of most vulnerable Senate incumbents. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats continue to dominate the latest list of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents two months out from Election Day, with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp moving into the top spot.

Heitkamp displaces Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who nevertheless remains the most vulnerable incumbent on the Republican side and the only GOP senator running in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Big Sky Trip Highlights Trump’s Focus on Senate Races
President also involved in gubernatorial races, Pence takes House contests

President Donald Trump at the White House in July. He will spend part of Thursday and Friday in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota campaigning and raising funds for GOP Senate and gubernatorial candidates. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump will return to Montana on Thursday night for another political rally aimed at ousting incumbent Democrat Jon Tester, part of the president’s midterm focus on keeping the Senate under Republican control.

White House and Trump campaign officials have signaled Trump will hit as many as eight states this month alone before picking up the pace in October as the midterm campaign enters its final sprint. Trump will continue to publicly stump for Republican Senate and gubernatorial incumbents and candidates, while Vice President Mike Pence primarily focuses on competitive House races.

With Kavanaugh Hearings Underway, Supreme Court Ads Fill the Airways
Advertising, direct mail and fundraising continues on both sides

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, arrives for his Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing Tuesday in the Hart Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In Washington, all eyes may be on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, but people who would rather watch “Bachelor in Paradise” won’t be able to escape the Supreme Court debate either.

That is especially true in some key states, where interest groups on both sides of the aisle have continued to spend on advertising seeking to influence senators who have not announced their positions on whether they will support President Donald Trump’s second nominee for the nation’s highest court.

It’s Kavanaugh Week on the Hill. Here’s What to Expect
Labor Day weekend screeches to a halt with confirmation hearing for Trump’s Supreme Court pick

It’s the big week for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation hearing starts Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Brett Kavanaugh starts his confirmation hearing Tuesday with a clear political path to the Supreme Court, if he can avoid a major misstep when Democrats press him on controversial topics like abortion rights, health care and the criminal investigations swirling around President Donald Trump.

The grilling won’t change minds on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which appears on track to approve Kavanaugh with an 11-10 party-line vote. Instead, Democrats will aim to sway a handful of centrist senators who aren’t on the committee but could cast key confirmation votes on the Senate floor — as well as residents in their states.

Trump’s Rally, Biden’s McCain Eulogy Offer Possible 2020 Preview
Former VP rejects tribal politics. The president embraces it

President Donald Trump greets former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden after he was sworn in on in January 2017. They both spoke Thursday and offered a potential 2020 preview. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Two very different speeches by two very different politicians Thursday  — made 1,600 miles apart  —  provide a possible preview of the next presidential campaign.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, went first by feting his longtime friend Sen. John McCain at a memorial service for the late Arizona Republican in Phoenix. Biden spoke about “values, fairness, honesty, dignity, respect,” and McCain’s belief in “giving hate no safe harbor.”

Is the Senate Up for Grabs Yet?
The map and demographics still give the edge to Republicans

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., talks with constituents before a parade at Crow Fair in Crow Agency, Mont., on August 19, 2018. Tester is being challenged by Republican Matt Rosendale for the Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump’s problems continue to mount, raising more questions about turnout and how independent voters and college-educated women will vote. But the Senate map remains daunting for Democrats, and the polarized nature of our politics continues to limit Democrats’ Senate prospects.

While handicappers generally label Nevada as a toss-up and the early polls are tight, the Democratic nominee, Rep. Jacky Rosen has an edge over incumbent Republican Dean Heller in a state that went narrowly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Democrats Continue Camera Shy Ways With Brett Kavanaugh
Senate courtesy meetings continue, but with nary a photo op

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh arrives to meet with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic senators have, at least from Republican states, started meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but they are mostly avoiding the press when doing so. 

With senators back in town, meetings with President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court resumed Wednesday, with a pair of Democrats on the agenda.

Kavanaugh Makes Strategic Stops on His Senate Tour as Chamber Returns
Heitkamp, Donnelly and other swing votes are on his schedule

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., are among those expected to meet with Trump’s Supreme Court pick. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will ramp up his behind-the-scenes preparation over the next three weeks for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, starting with more one-on-one meetings Wednesday with senators whose votes could prove pivotal.

Kavanaugh, who is more used to asking questions from the dais as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the past 12 years, has been going through mock hearings that last several hours with questions from people assigned to the role of different senators, a White House official said.