Virginia

Three States Get Ready to Vote on Abortion
Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia have measures on the ballot

Students protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in June. When voters in three states go to the polls this November, they’ll see abortion initiatives on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia voters will face separate ballot initiatives next month aimed at restricting abortion access in those states.

These initiatives fit into a larger fight over abortion that continues to heat up. Anti-abortion advocates hope that changes at the state level can be used as test cases and later implemented more broadly, while abortion rights advocates hope to defeat them. A particularly contentious ballot initiative can be used as a messaging move to drive voters to the polls in tight elections such as this fall’s West Virginia Senate race.

Republicans Laud Trump after Turkey Releases Pastor Andrew Brunson
Democrats welcome pastor home with open arms, but say there’s unfinished business with Turkey

American pastor Andrew Brunson, partially obscured at left, arrives at his home after being released from court in Izmir, Turkey, on Friday. Brunson had been under house arrest in Izmir since October 2016 while awaiting trial on charges of abetting terrorist groups and supporting Fethullah Gulen, the cleric blamed for the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers lauded President Donald Trump and his administration and Democrats offered words of support after Turkish officials released U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson from custody on Friday.

“Thank you President [Trump], [Vice President Mike] Pence and [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] for your work to get Pastor Brunson released,” GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Brunson’s home state, tweeted Friday after news broke that a Turkish judge had decreed that Brunson be freed and sentenced to time served since he had already been in government detention for roughly two years.

Rep. Scalise Falsely Accuses Eric Holder of Inciting Violence at Georgia Rally
Holder clarified that he urged supporters to be ‘be tough’ against GOP political attacks

Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks during a press conference with House Republican Leaders in the House Studio Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Steve Scalise apparently took former Attorney General Eric Holder’s words at a campaign rally for Georgia Democratic candidates literally when Holder said, “When they go low, we kick ’em.”

The Louisiana Republican and third-in-line in House GOP leadership said Holder’s comment amounted to a “call for violence” in an op-ed for Fox News published Thursday.

6 Close House and Senate Races That Hurricane Michael Could Hit
Hurricane projections meet 2018 congressional election handicapping

Scott Brazer and his dog Franklin take shelter in a parking garage as Hurricane Michael passes through the area on October 10, 2018, in Panama City, Florida. The hurricane made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a category 4 storm. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Hurricane Michael made landfall along the Florida panhandle Wednesday and is expected to wreak havoc on many states and congressional districts as it winds up the east coast of the southern United States.

The Category 4 storm, which President Donald Trump dubbed a “massive tornado” Wednesday (note: the storm is not a tornado), will test the commitment of campaign volunteers in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, where incumbents and newcomers are locked in tight races with the 2018 midterm elections less than four weeks away.

GOP Poll Puts Morrisey and Manchin Almost Even After Kavanaugh Vote
Manchin led Morrisey by 1 point in a poll conducted for the NRSC and Morrisey campaign

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey trailed Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin by 1 point in an NRSC and Morrisey campaign poll of the race. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new Republican poll of the West Virginia Senate race shows a tighter race between Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Manchin led Morrisey 41 to 40 percent in the survey conducted for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Morrisey’s campaign and obtained first by Roll Call. 

Neck-and-Neck Race in Virginia’s 10th District, Comstock Poll Shows
Comstock led Wexton 48 to 47 percent among likely voters

Polling from Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock’s campaign shows a tight race in the 10th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New polling from Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock’s campaign shows a closer race in the 10th District than recent public polling would suggest.

Comstock led Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Wexton 48 to 47 percent in the survey by McLaughlin & Associates. Only 5 percent of voters were undecided.

Senate Dems Want Republicans to Take a Position on ‘Junk’
Baldwin hopes to force a vote to overturn Trump administration rule on short-term health care plans

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is leading the charge to reverse the Trump administration’s rule on short-term health insurance plans — or at least to get Republicans on the record. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are planning to force a vote this week on a resolution that would overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans.

Critics call them “junk” plans, since they’re not required to comply with all the regulations of the 2010 health care law.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski Could Face Reprisal from Alaska GOP
Alaska Republican was only member of her party to vote against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, talks with the media in the Capitol after voting “no” on a cloture vote that advanced the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to a final vote on October 5, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski could face severe consequences from her state party for her decision to reject new associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation vote over the weekend.

The Alaska Republican was the only GOP senator to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which passed 50-48 mostly along party lines. (Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted with Republicans.)

Midterm Elections Hold Ultimate Verdict on Kavanaugh
McConnell asserts confirmation process driving up Republican enthusiasm

The final verdict on President Donald Trump’s nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh may be delivered in the midterm elections. (POOL PHOTO/SAUL LOEB/AFP)

Even before Saturday’s Senate vote made Brett Kavanaugh a Supreme Court justice, senators from both parties said voters soon would deliver the final verdict on President Donald Trump’s divisive appointment.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in an interview with Roll Call a month ahead of Election Day, said the contentious debate about the confirmation process was driving up base enthusiasm for the 2018 midterm elections.

Brett Kavanaugh to Be Rare Beneficiary of Senate Paired Voting
Votes of Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Steve Daines will be offset

Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and  Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, will pair their votes on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, enabling Daines to attend his daughter’s wedding and Murkowski to voice her position. Also pictured above, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When the Senate votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, two senators will engage in a practice that’s all but died out.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only member of the Republican Conference opposed to elevating the current D.C. Circuit Court judge to the high court, announced Friday that ordinarily she would vote “no.”