Politics

The Best Little Midterm in Texas

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, center and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, right, provide two of the more interesting political stories as Texas voters head to the polls this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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The Texas Midterm Melee

Texas is as Texas does: A giant place with outsize political actors: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Sam Rayburn, Tom DeLay, George W. Bush. And now a new generation is duking it out in the Lone Star State, with implications for the congressional majorities.  

Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke wants to take on Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and is raising more cash than the former presidential candidate. GOP Rep. Will Hurd faces another potentially tough race in the perpetually swingy 23rd District. Two veteran Republicans might be in the races of their lives. 

In the latest Political Theater Podcast, Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman leads us through the upcoming March 6 primary, which will set the stage for a tough battle leading up to the November midterms. 

Listen to the full podcast: 

Here a Map, There a Map, Everywhere a Map Map

(Public domain)
(Public domain)

It’s hard to get through the week without a court fight over the partisan map-drawing known as gerrymandering. But there isn’t a simple alternative, explain Roll Call election analyst Nathan Gonzales and Roll Call Senior Editor David Hawkings. It’s very difficult to draw districts that are at once competitive, compact and fair to minority voters. Oh, and the 2018 midterms, as we just stated, get started in less than a month.

Listen to the latest Roll Call Decoder Podcast for the full story: In Search of the Ideal Political Map

Retreating to Washington

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 21: Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech on U.S. foreign policy to a gathering of members of Congress a during the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay in Cambridge, Md. President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak later in the evening. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call)
House Democrats will have to settle for their Biden time in Washington, not on the Chesapeake. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats were all set to head for Cambridge, Md., and the picturesque Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina on the banks of the Choptank River for their annual retreat. Then the latest shutdown showdown happened, and they moved everything to D.C., to the Capitol no less, so they could be on hand to help deal with the latest episode of governing-by-crisis. 

Read about the last-minute decision to pull up stakes from Dorchester County, Md.: House Democrats Move Retreat to D.C.

More Than a Warm Bucket of Spit

UNITED STATES - MARCH 21: Vice President Mike Pence shakes hands with a young tourist as they look up in the Capitol rotunda on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Pence stopped to shake hands with tourists as he was leaving the Senate Republicans' policy lunch. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Vice President Mike Pence shakes hands with a young tourist as they look up in the Capitol Rotunda. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Not worth a warm bucket of spit.” That’s the vice presidency, as apocryphally attributed to former Veep John “Cactus Jack” Garner, a crusty Texan who went from the speakership to the second-highest office in the land under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 

But there’s more to the vice presidency! As outlined in the Constitution, the vice president breaks ties in the Senate. And current VP Mike Pence has already broken eight of them, putting him on track to maybe break a record or two in his time as Donald Trump’s No. 2.

Read the full story by Ed Pesce: Mike Pence, Breaking Ties and Maybe a Senate Record

The Kicker

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 7: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., poses for selfies in Statuary Hall with female students touring the Capitol as part of the Closeup Foundation program on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also spoke to the group in Statuary Hall. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., poses for selfies in Statuary Hall with female students touring the Capitol as part of the Closeup Foundation program on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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