Robert Pittenger

GOP Senate Candidate Returns Contributions From Conservative PAC
FEC has questions for Club for Conservatives PAC

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter to Club for Conservatives PAC last month with questions about its previously filed reports. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn is locked in a competitive and expensive race for Senate. But the Tennessee Republican’s campaign decided to return a sizable contribution from a political action committee that’s facing scrutiny from campaign finance regulators.

“Club for Conservatives PAC did not meet our standards for transparency,” Blackburn campaign spokeswoman Abbi Sigler said. 

Court’s Gerrymandering Punt Looks to Land in North Carolina
Current House map was drawn by partisan greed, its author says. Is that unconstitutional?

Gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 28 as the court prepares to hear the a Maryland partisan gerrymandering case. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When it sidestepped an opening to decide the future of partisan gerrymandering this week, the Supreme Court may have turned a tobacco grower and farm equipment dealer into one of the most important people in American politics.

The farmer and John Deere salesman, 47-year-old David Lewis, is also an influential state legislator who represents the rural geographic center of North Carolina — the state that will now be Ground Zero in the three-decadeslong debate over whether electoral boundaries can ever be drawn with so much partisan motivation that they’re unconstitutional.

Why Republicans Aren’t Sweating After 2 Incumbents Lose Primaries
For one, GOP lawmakers who publicly criticize Trump are getting scarcer

Alabama GOP Rep. Martha Roby was forced into a primary runoff last week, largely over her past criticism of candidate Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The defeat of one of the party’s most notorious political survivors this week wasn’t enough to scare House Republicans.

South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, the disgraced former governor, had never lost an election before Tuesday. But his criticism of President Donald Trump did him in.

How Mark Sanford Proudly Failed His Loyalty Test
No regrets from second House Republican ousted by someone claiming stronger Trump allegiance

Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., spent heavily but lost narrowly Tuesday in the Republican primary in South Carolina’s coastal low country to a state legislator who aligned closely with President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Today’s Congress deserves its reputation for uniformity in the ranks. Gender and ethnicity aside, the place is overrun with members priding themselves on their message discipline, policymaking tunnel vision and personal lives scrubbed and shielded from public view. And for the Republicans, of course, unflinching loyalty to President Donald Trump is now the core of the homogenized brand.

So is Hill survival even possible anymore for a member capable of thoughtful departures from his partisan talking points, open to ideological subtlety, with a home life that’s been a national melodrama — and who on top of all that has called out the president on more than one occasion?

Pittenger Sues Would-Be Neighbors
Says house next door to his is too big

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., leaves a House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in May. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger has filed a lawsuit against a would-be neighbor over the size of the home he’s building next door to Pittenger’s.

The outgoing congressman, who lost in his re-election primary last month,  and his wife are suing Doug Lebda, CEO of Lending Tree, who is building a home near the Quail Hollow golf course, WSOC TV reported.

South Carolina’s Mark Sanford Falls in GOP Primary
Frequent Trump critic becomes second incumbent to lose this year

South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford lost his primary Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford on Tuesday became the second incumbent of the year to fall in a Republican primary, losing to a challenger who questioned his loyalty to President Donald Trump.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, state Rep. Katie Arrington was leading Sanford 51 percent to 47 percent when The Associated Press called the race.

Opinion: Is It Too Early for North Carolina Democrats to Get Their Hopes Up, Again?
After years of dashed dreams, progressives are back to seeing blue

The Rev. William Barber hosts a “Moral Monday” in Raleigh in 2016. With efforts like Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign gaining steam in North Carolina, progressives are once again seeing blue at the end of the tunnel, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 2008, Barack Obama’s slim North Carolina victory in his first presidential run had Democrats in the state celebrating in the present and dreaming of a blue future in what had been considered a (relatively) progressive Southern state. Boy, were those dreams premature.

But 10 years later — after new redistricting and voting rules solidified GOP control in both the state and U.S. House delegations and a bill on LGBT rights made the state a poster child for conservative social policies — Democrats are again seeing light at the end of a deep-red tunnel.

Ratings Change: 5 GOP Open House Seats Shift Toward Democrats
Recent Republican struggles in special elections don’t augur well for party in fall

The race for retiring Michigan Rep. Dave Trott’s 11th District seat is now a Toss-up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s dangerous to extrapolate too much from any single special election, but the trend is clear across nearly all of the special contests over the past year: Democrats are over-performing and Republicans are struggling to hold open seats.

The over-performance by Democratic candidates hasn’t been limited by geography, considering they have done better than expected in Montana, Kansas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona, even if they’ve fallen short in all but one of those races.

North Carolina’s Robert Pittenger Is First Incumbent to Lose in 2018
GOP congressman fell to repeat primary challenger Mark Harris

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger has lost a GOP primary rematch with former pastor Mark Harris. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger is the first incumbent of 2018 to lose, falling to former pastor Mark Harris in Tuesday’s 9th District Republican primary.

Harris defeated Pittenger 48.5 percent to 46 percent, reversing the result from two years ago when the latter won by just 134 votes in a recount.

5 Things to Watch on Primary Day This Tuesday
Nasty GOP Senate primaries remain ugly until the end

Former Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun, right, and Rep. Todd Rokita, speaking, are running for the GOP nomination for Senate, along with Rep. Luke Messer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tuesday marks the first big primary day of 2018. Voters go to the polls in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Most of the exciting action is on the Republican side. In all of those states (except for North Carolina), Democratic senators are trying to hold on to seats in territory President Donald Trump won in 2016, which means the GOP primaries are high-stakes contests. (More on that below.)