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Covering the Capitol: Adjusting to New Realities
 

Pence Delays Trip to Preside Over Senate Tax Vote
Move signals GOP expects a close count

Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the Capitol to preside over the Senate and cast a possible tie breaking vote on the confirmation of Betsy Devos to be Secretary of Education on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence will remain in Washington next week to preside over the Senate’s vote on the Republican tax overhaul bill, his chief spokeswoman said, a signal GOP leaders expect to thread the needle.

“Yesterday the White House informed Senate Leadership that due to the historic nature of the vote in the Senate on tax cuts for millions of Americans, the VP would stay to preside over the vote,” Alyssa Farah, Pence’s press secretary, said in a statement. “The Vice President will then travel to Egypt [and] Israel where he’ll reaffirm the United States’ commitment to its allies in the Middle East and to working cooperatively to defeat radicalism.

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Flake’s Son Says He was ‘Terrified’ of Arpaio’s Prosecution
Senator’s son Austin testifies in malicious prosecution trial against sheriff

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio leaves U.S. District Court in Phoenix during his trial for disobeying a court order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants in July . (Ross D. Franklin/AP file photo)

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s son Austin testified Wednesday he was “terrified of what was going to come” as former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio pursued what he says were politically motivated charges against him.

Austin Flake said he lost faith in the criminal justice system due to Arpaio's pursuit of an animal cruelty case against him and his ex-wife Logan Brown, AZ Central reported.

Keith Ellison Will Not Challenge Smith for Franken‘s Seat in 2018
Says he supports appointed replacement Tina Smith

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., will not challenge newly appointed interim Sen. Tina Smith in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Keith Ellison will not run in Minnesota’s special election for Senate to replace Sen. Al Franken in 2018, the six-term Democratic lawmaker signaled Wednesday.

Minnesota Lieutenant Gov. Tina Smith has been pegged to replace Franken through January 2019. Smith, a Democrat, said she plans to run in the November 2018 special election.

Embattled Farenthold Won’t Seek Re-election in 2018
Congressman has been subject of renewed Ethics Committee probe

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in October 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Facing renewed allegations of misconduct, Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold will not seek re-election in 2018, according to a source familiar with the situation. 

The embattled Republican congressman plans to serve out the rest of his term and is not resigning, the source said.

Texas Republican Williams Backs Farenthold Challenger Amid More Accusations
Former staffer details fits of rage, discussion of oral sex, and using obscene language to insult staff

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, is seen Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Justice Department's investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A primary challenger to Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold says he has the endorsement of Farenthold’s fellow GOP Rep. Roger Williams as more accusations of him sexually harassing staffers emerged.

Former Texas Water Development Board Chairman Bech Braun announced Williams’ support in a news release, the Texas Tribune reported.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol
Spielberg film and Wawa debut, Warren gets a comic book sequel

From left, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.,  chats with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, at the Senate-House Conference Committee meeting in the Capitol on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. And some of the best ones are those that we come across while reporting the big ones.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

After Alabama, How Optimistic Should Democrats Be for 2018?
The special election may have been unique, but strategists see important lessons

Supporters of Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrate his victory over Judge Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Within minutes of Doug Jones’ victory Tuesday night, they started coming in — a flood of fundraising emails from other Democrats around the country, many running in red territory.

“Next up, Texas,” read the subject line for a fundraising email from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who’s hoping to topple Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz next year.

No-Alias: Smith & Jones Will Alter the Senate in ’18
Two newest Democrats will join as powerful a minority as possible, whether they skew left or to the center

The Senate will be a very different place after the arrival of two new Democratic senators: Doug Jones, the winner of Tuesday’s stunning upset in Alabama, and Tina Smith, who was tapped on Wednesday to fill the pending vacancy in Minnesota. (CQ Roll Call file photos)

Turns out, the Senate is going to be quite a different place next year even without Roy Moore — and that’s not only because senators named Smith and Jones will be serving together for the first time in 86 years.

The chamber will have its closest partisan split in a decade, and the narrowest divide in favor of the Republicans since the spring of 2001. The roster of women will expand to a record 22, and for the first time a pair of women will comprise the Senate delegations of four states. The Deep South will be represented by a Democrat for the first time in four years.