Special Election

Voters head to polls after Trump dove into a safe special House race
GOP candidate expected to crush Democratic rival in heart of Trump country

Fred Keller, Republican candidate for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District speaks at a Trump campaign rally in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday evening as President Donald Trump looks on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. — There was little political risk for President Donald Trump when Air Force One rolled to a stop in front of a series of tree-dotted peaks his campaign used a backdrop for a campaign rally to boost a Republican candidate who is almost assured a House seat.

Voters here head to the polls Tuesday for a special election that almost certainly will send a Republican to the House to replace former Rep. Tom Marino. Almost no one interviewed Monday by Roll Call believes the outcome will produce anything other than GOP state Rep. Fred Keller defeating Democrat Marc Friedenberg.

3 things to watch in Pennsylvania’s 12th District special election
Vote in GOP-dominated district could signal party strength in 2020

Republican Fred Keller speaks during a rally Monday in Montoursville, Pa., as President Donald Trump looks on. Keller is the favorite in Tuesday’s special election in the 12th District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s 12th District to choose a new congressman, and Republican state Rep. Fred Keller is strongly favored in the deep-red district.

The race to replace GOP Rep. Tom Marino, who resigned in January, hasn’t garnered much national attention given the district’s partisan lean. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the contest Solid Republican.

‘I’ll be here a lot,’ Trump says of Pennsylvania in safe GOP district
President weighs in on special election after Biden kicks off campaign in Keystone State

Supporters of President Donald Trump, pose for a picture while waiting to enter his rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. — Air Force One landed here Monday evening ahead of a special House election as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared inside an airport hangar. Minutes later, with Air Force One parked in front of small tree-lined peaks, President Donald Trump issued a thunderous endorsement of a GOP House candidate and attack on Democrats.

And repeatedly, the friendly audience showered Trump with chants of “four more years!” And during one rare quiet moment, a man shouted, “We love you, Trump!” Minutes later, the entire crowd, which did not quite fill the hangar, shouted in unison, “We love Trump!”

In Pennsylvania’s Trump country, relief that he’s restoring ‘the old ways’
President rallies supporters amid trade war, home-state son Biden’s entrance

Supporters of President Donald Trump, pose for a picture while waiting to enter his rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The blue and red banners flapped in a late-spring morning breeze along U.S. Highway 15 here, greeting passersby with a simple but unmistakable message: “President Trump is coming.” It is a message Pennsylvanians are likely to see a lot of before the 2020 election, as the Keystone State becomes one of the campaign’s centers of gravity. 

Hours before Air Force One touched down at Williamsport International Airport in neighboring Montoursville, Terri Bruner of Geneva, Ohio, had set up her traveling roadside merchandise stand at the Ridgemont Motel. She was peddling the usual “Make America Great Again” gear, complete with one T-shirt depicting a Trump supporter urinating on the CNN logo and an assortment of pink Trump gear ostensibly aimed at women.

Abortion politics: Will Doug Jones’ opposition to Alabama ban hurt him?
Jones is a top GOP target, but state ban with no rape exception could also fire up Democrats

Sen. Doug Jones has spoken out against a bill in Alabama that would essentially ban abortion. It could both hurt and help his election chances, strategists say. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Abortion politics could put pressure on endangered Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones as his state pushes the strictest limits in the country, while presidential contenders seek to use new state abortion bans to rally core supporters.

Conservative state legislatures around the country have pushed curbs on abortion this year in an effort to turn back the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a national right to abortion.

North Carolina redo sets stage for copycat campaigns in 2020
Battle of the Dans offers a test of how far loyalty to Trump will take you

The race between Republican Dan Bishop, left, and Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina’s 9th District will serve as a preview of GOP attempts to win back seats they lost last year, Curtis writes. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress and Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer/AP file photo)

OPINION — After an election fraud scandal, North Carolina Republicans lost a House candidate. After an indictment and questions about possible bribery, the state GOP lost its chair.

But all that didn’t stop a gaggle of Republicans from vying for the chance to run for a House seat that, thanks to gerrymandering, still favors their party — that is, of course, if voters stay interested in a special election that now will be decided on Sept. 10, if everything goes as planned.

What can we learn from the North Carolina redo election?
September vote could signal whether rough GOP seas have calmed since November

Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop’s campaign in North Carolina’s 9th District redo race could be a barometer for the GOP’s fate in 2020 campaigns, Gonzales writes. (Courtesy Bishop for Congress)

By now, most journalists, handicappers, and party operatives are trained to restrain themselves when applying special election results to future general election forecasts.

But the redo election in North Carolina’s 9th District provides a unique opportunity to learn about the present political environment and how it’s changed since November.

Republicans avoid primary runoff in North Carolina redo
Dan Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready in September

State Sen. Dan Bishop easily crossed the threshold needed to avoid a primary.  (Courtesy Bishop for Congress)

State Sen. Dan Bishop has won the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 9th District, avoiding a runoff and kicking off the general election in this year’s most competitive special election.

He’ll next face Dan McCready, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and has amassed a large campaign war chest. National groups from both sides are already eyeing this race, with Republicans hoping to keep a longtime GOP seat in their column and Democrats hoping a Marine veteran will help them grow their House majority. 

Martha McSally: Short general election was key factor in 2018 loss
Appointed after loss, Arizona Republican is running for remainder of McCain’s term

GOP Sen. Martha McSally is a top Democratic target in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Republican Martha McSally said Tuesday that her unsuccessful Senate run in 2018 came down to one major factor: She ran out of time.

“We didn’t get a chance for [voters] to get to know me, what I’ve done all my life, what I did in the House,” McSally, a former fighter pilot, told reporters Tuesday. “We were very aware of these challenges at the time but we ran out of airspeed and altitude. And we weren’t defined and resilient enough.”

The Pennsylvania special election you haven’t heard about
Voters in 12th District will pick a replacement for Tom Marino next week

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., resigned in January shortly after being sworn in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It wasn’t that long ago that a special election in Pennsylvania attracted national attention and millions of dollars. But this year, the race in the state’s 12th District has flown under the radar.

Voters head to the polls next Tuesday to replace Republican Tom Marino, who resigned just shortly after the new Congress began. This election hasn’t captured the national spotlight — a marked shift from 14 months ago, when the special election in Pennsylvania’s old 18th District grabbed headlines. Democrat Conor Lamb pulled off an upset there even though President Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points in 2016.