Joe Donnelly

Why Former Sen. Jon Kyl Got Tapped to Guide Brett Kavanaugh
Supreme Court nominees need an experienced ‘sherpa’ to navigate the Senate’s unique ways

White House Counsel Don McGahn, right, and former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday as they escort Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence to meetings with senators. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

He spent 18 years as a senator on the Judiciary Committee, the last six as the Republican whip and No. 2 in leadership. Now his lobbying clients include a group already spending millions to push the federal courts hard right. His big gig on the side is rooting out perceived liberal bias on social media.

If Jon Kyl does not have the ideal background for successfully shepherding a Supreme Court nominee through this Senate, perhaps no one does.

Analysis: Brett Kavanaugh and the Midterm Effect
Three scenarios provide mixed bag on effect of tight Senate races

Reporters swarm Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as she arrives in the Capitol on Tuesday, the day after President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Murkowski, who supported Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is an expected to be a key vote on the current nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The selection of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court will have less of an impact on November’s midterms than you think. Sure, depending how the confirmation process develops, it’s possible the nomination could affect a handful of races, but the most likely scenario will not change the overall trajectory of the November elections.

The most likely outcome of the Kavanaugh nomination involves all 50 Republican senators voting to confirm him to the Supreme Court (with John McCain not voting).

Trump Taps Brett Kavanaugh For Supreme Court, Rightward Shift in Mind
Schumer: Nominee should disclose personal views on abortion, other issues

President Donald Trump introduces Supreme Court pick Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his family on Monday night at the White House East Room. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump, seeking a rightward shift on the Supreme Court and to force vulnerable Senate Democrats into a tough vote, tapped D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Should Kavanaugh be confirmed by the Senate, it would give the president an early legacy with two high court appointments. Notably, while much about this presidency has been unconventional, how Trump has selected Supreme Court nominees has been routine — aside from the reality television-like flair in announcing them.

Outside Groups Ready for Supreme Court Fight
Organizations from both sides are already rallying supporters, hitting the airwaves

Liberal groups, worried about the future of federal abortion rights, have already begun piling on the pressure on Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, left, and Susan Collins of Maine.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The outside advertising deluge began well before President Donald Trump formally named his choice to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

With federal abortion rights potentially in the balance, television viewers in Alaska and Maine were already seeing commercials from the liberal group Demand Justice featuring a March 30, 2016, exchange between candidate Trump and MSNBC host Chris Matthews at an event in Wisconsin.

Former Coal Lobbyist Would Face a Fight if Tapped to Head EPA
Wheeler served as deputy to Scott Pruitt

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned amid a series of ethical scandals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off a long fought victory to rid the EPA of the scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt, Democrats and environmental groups have already turned their attention to the next head of the agency that is charged with protecting the nation’s air and water.

And while Pruitt’s ethical lapses provided easy fodder for their effort to oppose the Trump administration’s environmental record, the new leadership at the EPA — for the time being, Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler — brings years of steady Washington experience to the position, making the upcoming battles more about policy than personality.

Hawley Launches Website on McCaskill’s Supreme Court Votes
Missouri Republican is challenging McCaskill for Senate

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is running for re-election in a state President Donald Trump carried by 19 points. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Senate hopeful Josh Hawley is launching a new digital campaign to highlight Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s previous positions on Supreme Court nominees, as the latest high court vacancy shakes up competitive Senate races across the country.

new website by the Hawley campaign is highlighting McCaskill’s support for former President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees, with less than a week before President Donald Trump is expected to name a replacement for the retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. While Kennedy has often sided with the court’s conservative wing, he’s also been a pivotal swing vote on issues relating to abortion and same-sex marriage. 

Trump Talks Supreme Court Picks With Democrats Who Voted for Neil Gorsuch
Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin among White House invitees Thursday evening

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, seen here at a Senate Banking meeting last year, were among the attendees at a Thursday White House meeting in which the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy was discussed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wednesday night, President Donald Trump was visiting North Dakota, attacking its junior senator, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, in the most recent of his campaign-style rallies ahead of the midterms.

“Heidi will vote ‘no’ on any pick we make,” the president said of Heitkamp’s vote on the next Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. 

Democrats Search for a Winning Campaign Strategy on Immigration
Republicans have a well-rehearsed message. Will Democrats get rolled?

From left, Reps. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Luis V. Gutierrez, R-Ill., John Lewis, D-Ga., Al Green, D-Texas, Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., sit outside Customs and Border Protection on June 13 to protest of the Trump administration’s policy of separating parents and children at the border. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Donald Trump’s America, the immigration debate has grown ugly.

Images of undocumented children, separated from their parents at the border and held in cages inside a former Walmart, dominate the news cycle, leading Trump’s critics to invoke the horrors of Nazi Germany. And Trump’s rhetoric has only intensified, as he warns of subhuman immigrants transforming American neighborhoods from Long Island to California into “blood-stained killing fields.”

At the Races: The Fight for the Forgotten Borough
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Senate Majority PAC Joins TV War Over Outsourcing in Indiana Senate Race
Democratic super PAC debuts two statewide TV spots Tuesday

Former state Rep. Mike Braun is the Republican nominee for Senate in Indiana against Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The outsourcing of American jobs — along with allegations of having done so — has become a common refrain in the Indiana Senate race.

The latest paid communication on the issue comes from Senate Majority PAC. The Democratic super PAC is debuting two statewide TV ads on Tuesday — one positive spot about incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly and one negative ad attacking the GOP nominee, former state Rep. Mike Braun. The ads, obtained first by Roll Call, are backed by a $450,000 buy.