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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 Lt. 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.

10 Thoughts After the Alabama Senate Election
Republicans avoid one headache but the civil war isn’t over

Supporters of Democrat Doug Jones celebrate his victory over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election Tuesday night in Birmingham, Ala. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of the best parts about covering elections is that there is always a result. After all the prognosticating, projecting, discussing and arguing, there’s a winner. But determining the true meaning of victory and loss can be difficult.

There will be plenty of time to analyze the Alabama Senate special election (at least until the next special election on March 13 in Pennsylvania’s 18th District), but here are some initial postelection thoughts:

Ratings Update: Tennessee Senate Remains Solid R for Now
Democrats may still have uphill battle, even with Bredesen

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. (Courtesy the American Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Democrats made a big splash this week with the entry of former Gov. Phil Bredesen into the Tennessee Senate race, but the party still has an uphill battle in a state President Donald Trump won convincingly, and it’s not even clear Bredesen gives Democrats the best chance of winning.

On the surface, having a former two-term governor running for an open seat (GOP Sen. Bob Corker is not running for re-election) looks like a great takeover opportunity for Democrats, but there are some signs that the race should still be considered a long shot.

No One Is Afraid of a Government Shutdown
Democrats nor Republicans while White House seems to encourage it

A person walks across the Capitol Visitor Center on Oct. 7, 2013, the seventh day of the government shutdown. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Call me crazy, but I don’t think we’ll see a compromise before the looming budget deadline. Why? Because no one in Washington is particularly afraid of a government shutdown.

Democrats aren’t afraid of a government shutdown because Republicans are in control of the legislative and executive branches, and they believe the GOP will get blamed for the impasse.

Podcast: A Mystery PAC and the Rest of the Strange Alabama Senate Finale
The Big Story, Episode 82

Roy Moore is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A week before Alabama's special election, Roll Call election analyst Nathan Gonzales describes how he unearthed an obscure political action committee supporting Roy Moore — just one more twist in a campaign where his alleged preying on teenage girls is the main issue, and has created a deep rift among his fellow Republicans.

 

The Battle for Orange County in the Fight for the House
A handful of competitive races could decide the majority

After coasting to re-election in previous years, California Rep. Ed Royce could be in for a competitive race this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Celina Estrada and Sam Zapata weren’t even born when Republican Ed Royce was first elected to Congress in 1992. Yet a year before the 2018 elections, the two students spent a recent evening knocking on doors in the hills of Orange County, California, to support the vulnerable congressman.

Royce hasn’t had a close race in years. In 2016, he won with 57 percent and outspent his Democratic opponent, $3.7 million to $77,000. This cycle, however, inspired to counteract the effects of a Donald Trump presidency, five of his Democratic challengers had over $100,000 in their campaign accounts at the end of September, and two of them are self-funders.

Texas Democrats on Pelosi’s Help: Meh
Senate and House hopefuls unite in calls for new party leadership

Support from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is an afterthought for the Democratic hopefuls in Texas' 23rd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When it comes to support from their party’s House leader, Texas Democratic hopefuls can take it or leave it.

In Texas’ 23rd District, all four Democrats running against Republican Rep. Will Hurd were at best lukewarm in their enthusiasm for a potential endorsement from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — with some suggesting they would not welcome the California Democrat’s help.

Breitbart Mocked for Trying to Discredit Washington Post’s Roy Moore Exposé
Story on conservative site appears to confirm original report

GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore has been accused of sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. It is yet unclear what effect the report will have on his election odds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The popular alt-right website Breitbart News Network was the object of ridicule Sunday after it published a story ostensibly to discredit the Washington Post’s exposé on U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.

The Breitbart story’s critics said it actually appeared to bolster the meticulous journalism the Post reporters used to secure on-the-record interviews with four women who say they were teenagers when Moore tried to date or had sexual contact with them when he was in his mid-30s.

Rick Scott Faces Lawsuit Over Financial Disclosures
Florida governor and potential Senate candidate’s spokesman calls it a ‘publicity stunt’

Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., would be the Republican front-runner if he enters the 2018 Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott weighs a potential challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in 2018, he will have to stamp out a new lawsuit accusing him of breaking state laws that require him to release his financial holdings.

Don Hinkle, a Tallahassee lawyer and top fundraiser for Barack Obama, alleged in court that Scott has hidden his personal finances in a blind trust and family trust. Scott last reported his net worth to be $149 million in the summer.

9 Thoughts After Democrats’ Big Wins in Virginia
As with early GOP victories, resist reading too much into Tuesday’s results

A supporter of Democrat Ralph Northam celebrates Tuesday at an election night rally in Fairfax, Va., as early projections pointed to a Northam victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Everyone take a deep breath. We’re all starving for tangible election results and now we have them. But just as earlier Republican wins in congressional special elections this year are no guarantee the party will have a good 2018, losses on Tuesday night don’t necessarily tell us a Democratic wave in the House has developed.

Democrats had to win the governorship in Virginia, and they did. After coming up short in every House special election this year in districts President Donald Trump carried last fall, Democrats didn’t have an excuse to lose a state that Hillary Clinton won by more than 5 points. And Ralph Northam responded with a resounding victory for Democrats. That being said, the win maintains the status quo considering Virginia already has a Democratic governor.