Keith Ellison

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.

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.

Minnesota Governor to Announce Senate Appointment Wednesday
Senator Al Franken still hasn’t said when he’s resigning

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, seen here leaving the Capitol on Dec. 7 with his wife, Franni, after announcing he’d resign last week, hasn’t set a date for his resignation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday will announce his selection to fill the seat of Sen. Al Franken, who has yet to set a date for his resignation. 

Dayton has been expected to appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, his former chief of staff, to the seat. She’d have the option of running next fall to fill out the rest of Franken’s term, which is up in 2021. 

What Happens to Franken’s Seat If He Resigns?
Governor would appoint placeholder, followed by special election in November 2018

There could be two Senate elections next fall in Minnesota instead of just one. If Sen. Al Franken steps down, there would be a special election for the remainder of his term. Senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s seat is also up next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken isn’t up for re-election until 2020. But if he announces his resignation Thursday, the North Star State will be holding two Senate elections next fall.

Ahead of next November, though, not much would shift in the Senate. If Democratic-Farmer-Labor Gov. Mark Dayton appoints another Democrat immediately, the balance of power in the Senate would remain unchanged.

Opinion: Remembering Recy Taylor and the Too Familiar State of Alabama
The Yellowhammer State has real heroes. Why Roy Moore?

Recy Taylor (Courtesy “The Rape of Recy Taylor”/Augusta Films)

In “The Rape of Recy Taylor,” a recently released documentary, you see the face of bravery. It is Recy Taylor, the 24-year-old African-American — a wife and mother of an infant daughter — kidnapped in 1944 by a carful of young white men, some the sons of the “respectable” leaders of Abbeville, Alabama, where they all lived. A gun held to her head, she was blindfolded, driven to a remote spot and violated in unimaginable ways. She escaped being killed by promising to keep quiet.

But she did not keep that promise.

Flake Hits Colleagues Over Moore Enthusiasm

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake criticized his fellow Republican colleagues for welcoming Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in the caucus with open arms.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Flake, who announced he would not seek re-election in 2018, laid into Moore for his previous remarks that Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who is Muslim, should not be allowed to serve in Congress.

Roy Moore to Attend Senate GOP Lunch
Republicans attempt to consolidate support around Alabama Senate candidate

Roy Moore, holding an article about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during the U.S. Senate candidate forum held by the Shelby County Republican Party. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Roy Moore will attend the weekly Senate Republican luncheon Tuesday, a GOP source confirmed, as the party looks to unify around its candidate in the upcoming Alabama Senate race.

Moore will face former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 election to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general. Moore, the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was twice removed from the bench for defying federal orders. 

Word on the Hill: Drag Racing
Bonus digital challenge results, ‘Flint’ screening, and raising funds from ‘Hamilton’

Members of Gays Against Guns DC dress in drag as Rep. Barbara Comstock during the costume parade before the start of the 30th Annual 17th Street High Heel Race in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

So what is Gays Against Guns DC’s problem with Rep. Barbara Comstock?

The group, known has GAG, will be back at the annual 17th Street High Heel Race tonight, high heels and all, protesting the Virginia Republican. While last year’s protest was a week before her re-election, this year’s will focus on her stance on guns and “her lack of action for common sense gun violence prevention measures,” the group said in an emailed statement. 

Word on the Hill: No More Recess
Your social calendar for the week

Both chambers are in this week. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., rides the Senate subway to the Capitol for a vote on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Both chambers are in session with the House back this week.

Aside from policy news, keep up to date with the controversy over Cups. The beloved food and coffee joint in the Russell Senate Office Building is competing with other companies to keep its contract.

Word on the Hill: Music Advocates Go to Districts
#NoMuslimBanEver rally at the White House

Two teams from Texas compete in the annual King of the Hill softball championship game Wednesday night. (Roll Call File Photo)

The annual King of the Hill softball championship game is tonight. The event pits the best of the Hill staff softball teams from the House and Senate against each other.

For the first time in the game’s history, both teams are from Texas. The 2017 Senate champions, The RBIs of Texas, will take on the 2017 House champions, The Texas Republic, at 7:30 p.m. at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.