Luke Messer

At the Races: Desert Drama
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

The primary in the race to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks is Tuesday. Franks resigned in December amid allegations of sexual harassment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thanks for subscribing to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Attacks Come to Life in First Indiana Senate Primary Debate
Messer, Rokita and Braun sparred in Americans for Prosperity debate

Three Indiana Republicans, including Rep. Todd Rokita, sparred in Tuesday’s debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The first debate among Indiana’s three Republican Senate candidates began much as this primary race started — with some punches.

In his opening statement, Rep. Todd Rokita came out swinging. “Mike, welcome to the Republican Party. Luke, welcome back to Indiana,” he said.

Rokita Taunts Pelosi by Introducing CRUMBS Act
References House Minority leader characterizing tax overhaul’s benefits to most Americans as ‘crumbs’

Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., introduced legislation to make bonuses received in 2018 up to $2,500 tax-free. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita plans to take a not-so-subtle dig at Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi with new legislation.

Rokita plans to introduce the CRUMBS Act, an acronym for Creating Relief and Useful Middle-Class Benefits and Savings, Fox News reported.

Pyeongchang Send-Off: Members of Congress Wish Their Local Celebrities Well
States with only a few Olympians will have all eyes on those events

Ted Ligety, a constituent of Utah Rep. John Curtis, won a gold medal in alpine skiing in the 2014 games. (Fred Hayes/Getty Images file photo)

Athletes representing Team USA in the Olympics are local celebrities back home. And members of Congress are some of their biggest fans.

As skiers, skaters and lugers head off to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 games, lawmakers from their districts are giving them a rousing send-off.

House GOP Has Message for Senate on Shutdown: Nuke the Filibuster
McCarthy, other lawmakers joins Trump in reiterating call for changes

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy renewed his call for the Senate to change its rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Sunday, 1:18 p.m. | House Republicans say Senate Democrats are holding government funding “hostage” to their demands on immigration. And they’ve got an idea for ending the crisis: Throw away the filibuster.

The legislative tool of the minority is one of the few remaining things that distinguish the Senate from the House. The Senate GOP is coming under pressure from House Republicans and President Donald Trump to pursue the so-called nuclear option — change chamber rules and end the legislative filibuster, at least on spending bills.

Analysis: It’s a Blue House Wave, but Not Yet a Senate One
Rural, Trump-friendly states make for a formidable map for Democrats

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are among the Democrats’ many vulnerable incumbents this cycle, which complicates the party’s efforts to retake the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

“The odds are greater than half we will take back the Senate.” — Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday night 

Democrats ought to temper their optimism about the fight for the Senate this year.

Some GOP Senate Candidates Follow Party’s Evolution on Moore
Like McConnell, candidates moved away from calling on Ala. Republican to step aside

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita said he’d be “comfortable” with Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore in the Senate. He previously suggested Moore should drop out. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While many sitting Republican senators — including Alabama’s own Richard C. Shelby — have continued to criticize Roy Moore, a few candidates who’d like to join them in the Senate have taken a more measured tone leading up to Tuesday’s election.

In several cases, that warmer embrace (or less forceful rejection) of the Alabama GOP Senate nominee is a change in tone from their previous public statements.

At the Races: ‘I Want to Spend More Time With Family’
With holiday recesses, come congressional retirement announcements

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., points at Michigan Rep. John Conyers, Jr., during a 1999 press conference. Conyers is facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, and is now hospitalized for stress. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Thursday for him to resign. Despite relinquishing his ranking member post on the Judiciary Committee, the longest-serving lawmaker hasn’t said he’ll step aside. The 13th District is a Solid Democratic race, but Conyers barely made the ballot in 2014 after failing to file the necessary signatures. Local reports suggest the 88-year-old dean of the House will announce in January he won’t seek re-election. If he does try to run again, expect to see a primary here. (Scott. J. Farrell/CQ)

Thanks for subscribing to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. We want to hear what you think. Reply to this email with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

This week … two more lawmakers announced their retirements, red-state Democrats took a stand on taxes, an Indiana super PAC jumped into the Alabama Senate race and liberals started attacking Democrat Dan Lipinski.

Why Did an Indiana Super PAC Endorse Alabama’s Roy Moore?
Locally, Indiana First PAC endorsed Jim Banks, plans to play in open 4th and 6th Districts

Indiana First PAC has endorsed Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, above, but has no plans to play in Indiana’s Senate primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana First PAC earned attention this week for endorsing Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.

But what is an Indiana-based super PAC — which has yet to file with the Federal Election Commission — doing in another state’s Senate race when it doesn’t even plan to play in its own?

Businessman Makes Indiana Senate Primary Three-Person Race
Mike Braun making first statewide TV ad buys in the race

Screenshot of Mike Braun for U.S. Senate ad.

In what’s been largely characterized as a contest between two Republican members of Congress, a businessman with the ability to self-fund has made the first statewide TV and radio buys in the Indiana Senate primary.

Former state Rep. Mike Braun’s $329,000 three-week radio and TV buy signals he’s making this a three-person race. He announced his campaign in August.