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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.)

Brett Kavanaugh Isn’t Clarence Thomas, but It’s Still About Race
Black and brown kids don’t get their slates wiped clean

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, left, has urged his colleagues to see past sexual assault allegations and consider who Brett Kavanaugh “is today.” But only certain folks get their slates wiped clean, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Orrin G. Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah, is nothing if not consistent.

His words about distinguished lawyer and professor Anita Hill in 1991 — when she testified in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings before the Judiciary Committee on which he sat — were clear. He said there was “no question” in his mind that she was “coached” by special interest groups. “Her story’s too contrived. It’s so slick it doesn’t compute.” Hatch mused she may have cribbed some of her testimony from the novel “The Exorcist” — the horror!

McCaskill to Vote ‘No’ on Kavanaugh
Missouri Democrat is one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she will not support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill announced Wednesday that she will not support Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. 

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Democrat attributed her decision mostly to the nominee’s positions on “dark, anonymous money that is crushing our democracy.”

Grassley Says Monday Hearing Not Likely Without Kavanaugh Accuser
Judiciary Committee chairman doesn’t think Feinstein leaked letter that identified Christine Blasey Ford

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks with ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., before the start of a hearing in June. He doubts she leaked a letter from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley said Wednesday a planned Monday hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would likely not go on without accuser Christine Blasey Ford.

Asked about Ford saying she wouldn’t appear on Monday, the chairman indicated it would not go on without the accuser present because the nominee would not know the full scope of allegations against him.

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. 

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.

Trump: ‘Decision’ Would Follow ‘Credible’ Kavanaugh Accuser Testimony
President signals willingness to reconsider nomination, also sides with accused over accuser

President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the East Room of the White House in July. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump appeared to signal he might reconsider Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination if his accuser is believable in potential testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But he also appeared to side with the federal judge over the woman.

“Look, if she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting and we’ll have to make a decision,” he said Wednesday as he departed the White House for the hurricane-drenched Carolinas.

Schumer Backs Kavanaugh Accuser’s Call for FBI Investigation
Christine Blasey Ford wants bureau to open probe before she testifies

Brett Kavanaugh adjusts his nameplate as he takes his seat for day three of his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on Sept. 6. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is backing a call by Christine Blasey Ford, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, for a FBI investigation into her contention that the nominee sexually assaulted her 36 years ago.

“An immediate FBI investigation is not only consistent with precedent, it is also quite clearly the right thing to do,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “Dr. Ford’s call for the FBI to investigate also demonstrates her confidence that when all the facts are examined by an impartial investigation, her account will be further corroborated and confirmed.”

Louisiana Rep. Johnson Claims California Atheists Are Trying to Spy on Students
Accusation relates to a federal lawsuit against public schools accused of teaching Christianity

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., accused atheist groups in California of spying on a school in his district where officials have been accused of teaching Christianity. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Mike Johnson, who represents a vast swath of Louisiana’s northwestern corner, accused California atheist groups of trying to spy on students at a school in his district by taking covert video.

“WARNING TO OUR FRIENDS IN BOSSIER SCHOOLS (Please share),” Johnson wrote on Facebook Tuesday, referring to Louisiana’s Bossier Parish (the state’s equivalent of a county) that includes parts of Shreveport.