Tim Walz

Rothenberg’s Dangerous Dozen Open House Seats
Republicans find themselves more on the defensive as November looms

Former Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan, seen here after being pulled from the Congressional Baseball Game in 2014, has left behinda an open seat that is the most likely to flip party control, Rothenberg writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Yes, it’s time for another of my “dangerous dozen open House seats” columns, which I have been writing since shortly after the establishment of the Jamestown Settlement (or so it seems).

This cycle’s version has a plethora of seats to choose from, given the 38 Republican and 19 Democratic seats where an incumbent is not seeking re-election, either because he or she is retiring or running for a different office. (The number does not include those districts where a special election has already filled a vacancy or will be held before November.)

Nine House Members Pushing for Gubernatorial Promotion
But for many, the road to the governor’s mansion won’t be easy

Of all the House members running for governor this year, Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa may have the best shot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just seven of the 50 current governors have previously served in the House, and only five of those were elected directly from the House without holding a statewide office or another job in the interim period. But a handful of lawmakers are hoping to buck the trend and push that total number closer to double digits.

Many of them have to navigate competitive primaries first, and the precedent for members getting elected governor isn’t great. But while most of them are leaving behind safe seats, there’s an upside: becoming their state’s top elected official and departing from an unpopular Congress.

Special, Special, Special Elections
Gearing up for the midterms amid one special election after another

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Emmer Wins First Franken-less Minnesota Hotdish Competition
Sen. Tina Smith took over as host of the 8th annual event

Minnesota congressional delegation members, from left, Reps. Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz, and Betty McCollum, and Sen. Tina Smith pose for a selfie Wednesday during the eighth annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Tom Emmer’s “Hotdish of Champions” won the eighth annual Minnesota Congressional Delegation Hotdish Competition on Wednesday.

He was originally tied for first with Rep. Rick Nolan’s “Last Dish Effort” — aptly named because the congressman is retiring after this term — but the master of ceremonies, MinnPost Washington bureau chief Sam Brodey, broke the tie. 

Lawmakers From High-Export Areas Mum on China Tariffs
White House blames Beijing as one pork state Dem says 'Trump isn’t cutting it'

U.S. and Chinese flags during military leaders' meetings in 2014. Four years later, the two economic giants are exchanging import tariffs amid lawmakers' worries about a trade war. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle via Wikimedia Commons)

Lawmakers in states and districts most likely to be affected by the Chinese tariffs on an array of American products from pork to wine to fruits and nuts were noticeably mum Monday on Beijing’s retaliation against the Trump administration’s trade actions.

The Chinese government was unhappy when President Donald Trump decided to impose import penalties of 25 percent on most steel and 10 percent on aluminum coming into the United States. Beijing hit back Monday with $3 billion worth of tariffs on nearly 130 American goods — but members had very little to say about the latest skirmish in the trade brouhaha.

The Slow Breakup Between Democrats and the NRA
Group’s all-or-nothing approach to gun rights is forcing some to abandon ties

New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich, left, and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid both received donations from the National Rifle Association in 2010, two of 66 incumbent Democrats to receive money from the group that cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just eight years ago, the National Rifle Association dished out $372,000 in campaign contributions to a record 66 Democratic incumbents.

By the 2016 cycle, that number had dwindled to four.

Democrats Rain on Trump’s Military Parade
Army veteran Walz: ‘Stupidest thing I’ve ever heard’

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., said the idea of a military parade is “the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic members of Congress criticized reports that President Donald Trump had directed the military to plan for a parade in Washington, D.C. 

Trump reportedly told the Pentagon he wanted a parade similar to the one in France he witnessed on Bastille Day. 

The Best of HOH in 2017
It was a year of congressional highs and lows

Republican fans watch the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was a year of high political drama, but 2017 was also big on Capitol Hill culture and wonky fun.

From cacti and CrossFit to road trips and angry art “vigilantes,” HOH had it all.

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.

Pulling Out of Politics: How Members Retire From the Hill
Every lawmaker handles announcements a little differently

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen didn’t tell leadership or the NRCC she was leaving before making her announcement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s getting to be that time of year when family moments over holiday recesses inspire lawmakers to think twice about making the weekly slog back to Capitol Hill.

Sixteen current House members have already announced they’re not running for anything next year — short of the 22 members, on average, who have retired each cycle since 1976 without seeking another office. Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is expected to make a retirement announcement Tuesday.