Matt Cartwright

The Political Turnpike Runs Through Pennsylvania
Resignations, retirements and redistricting scramble the midterm calculus

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If you’re confused about what comes next in Pennsylvania, even after this week’s primary elections set the midterm slate, don’t worry. That just means you’re paying attention. 

November House Matchups Almost Set in Pennsylvania
Democrats eye several pickup opportunities under new congressional map

A cutout of Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., at a protest outside his town hall meeting in Bensalem, Pennsylvania., in August 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania hosted its first primaries Tuesday under a new congressional map, solidifying general election matchups in an important swing state. And the Keystone State appears set to add at least one woman to its all-male congressional delegation in the next Congress.

Democrats view Pennsylvania as key to their effort to flip 23 seats and win back the House, eyeing between three and five pickups in the state alone. Tuesday’s primaries set the stage for some competitive races in November, as well as likely new members of Congress in some of the open seats. 

Pennsylvania Remapped: Primaries Enter New Territory
Keystone State is hosting several competitive House primaries

After losing a special election in March, Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone seeks another shot at the House on Tuesday from the new 14th District. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images file photo)

Tuesday’s primary elections in Pennsylvania will be the first contests under the state’s new congressional map, and they will set the November matchups in a state that has seen a surge of House candidates.

Ninety-four people — 59 Democrats and 35 Republicans — filed to run for Congress in the Keystone State this cycle. The high number of candidates is due in part to several open-seat races.

Federal Courts Make Changes in Response to #MeToo Movement
Judicial branch is creating more informal ways to file complaints

James Duff, left, and John Lungstrum testify before the House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. (Courtesy Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts)

A federal court official said Wednesday that a main barrier to reporting sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct in the judicial branch is the “formality of our complaint process,” as well as employees misunderstanding confidentiality provisions in ethics rules and being unaware of protections against retaliation.

James Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, told a House Appropriations subcommittee that the courts will create more informal ways to file complaints. The judiciary will also take extra steps to educate employees and law clerks about protections against retaliation for reporting misconduct, Duff said. The courts have already revised their confidentiality provisions, he added.

New Pennsylvania Map, New Pennsylvania House Ratings
Six races shift in Democrats’ direction, two in GOP’s favor

Under the new lines, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s district shifted from one carried narrowly by President Donald Trump to one carried narrowly by Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you’ve been wondering what political handicapping is like in a redistricting cycle — or it’s been long enough for you to forget — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court offered a good reminder.

With newly drawn districts, misplaced incumbents and new district numbers, confusion is inevitable. But the bottom line for Pennsylvania is that Democrats had a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the old map and they have a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the new map, although they have a distinctly better chance at gaining those seats.

Supreme Court Denies Request to Halt Pennsylvania Redistricting
Current map was thrown out on partisan gerrymandering grounds

Supreme Court justices have denied a Republican request to halt a redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania state lawmakers to halt a redrawing of congressional districts for the 2018 primary and general elections. The state’s Supreme Court had thrown out the current map last month, ruling that it was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

The decision means Pennsylvania will have a new congressional map for the upcoming midterm elections. The primaries are scheduled for May 15.

NRCC Launches Digital Ads Targeting Democrats After Shutdown
Facebook ads take aim at 10 Democrats

Iowa Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, center, is a target of the NRCC’s new post-shutdown ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee wants to make sure Democrats don’t forget the three-day government shutdown. The group launched digital ads Tuesday that target 10 House Democratic members.

The ads, which will run on Facebook for one week, are part of a “five-figure buy,” according to details provided first to Roll Call. Five of the Democratic targets represent districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.

At the Races: Senate Challengers — One In, One Out
Our weekly newsletter with the latest on House and Senate races

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

NRCC Targets Democrats on Tax Overhaul in New Digital Ads
Republicans see taxes as a potent campaign issue

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolanis one of the Democrats targeted in the latest NRCC ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching new digital ads targeting Democrats who voted against the tax overhaul that passed the House on Thursday. No members of the minority party voted for the legislation.

The 15-second videos, provided first to Roll Call, will start running on Facebook on Friday and target 25 House Democrats. The NRCC ad buy was described as “five figures” and the ads will run online for a week.

Congressional Funding an Issue for the 2020 Census
GAO includes it on ‘high-risk list’ of programs facing peril

In this photo provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, tabulators in Washington record the information from the more than 120,000 enumerators who gathered data for the 1940 U.S. Census. (AP/National Archives and Records Administration File Photo)

The United States Census Bureau is facing a host of challenges with 2020 on the horizon, from budget shortfalls and cost overruns to a shakeup atop the agency — the sudden resignation of Director John H. Thompson in June. There’s apprehension among some groups that President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration could depress participation, though questions are not asked about immigration status.

It all adds up to one central fear: a census that falls short of an accurate count of the population. The data from that decennial survey is used to map congressional districts, inform policymaking and steer billions of dollars in government resources where they’re needed.