RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Changes made to North Carolina’s elections board over the last year were unconstitutional, but the board can remain in place through the November elections, a three-judge panel ruled Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States announced Wednesday that it is preparing to pull out of an international postal treaty that allows China to ship packages to America at discounted rates. The move would escalate a trade dispute with China.
U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May on Wednesday ordered a hearing for next Tuesday in the case the ACLU has brought against Georgia election officials for how they handle absentee ballots they reject because they don’t believe the signatures match those on record. Earlier Wednesday, the ACLU filed a temporary restraining order seeking certain procedures be put in place to let voters address signature mismatch issues before the ballots are rejected.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said his party might take another whack at Obamacare if they hold onto their congressional majorities in November’s elections.
“If we had the votes to completely start over, we’d do it. But that depends on what happens in a couple weeks,” he told reporters Wednesday, according to Reuters. “We’re not satisfied with the way Obamacare is working.”
The GOP’s Obamacare repeal efforts failed by just one vote last year. And with a number of red-state targets this fall, there’s a good chance Senate Republicans can grow their majority by a few seats if things break their way in the closing weeks of the election.
The House appears more likely than not to flip to Democrats, but it’s no sure thing. House Republicans will almost certainly have a smaller majority next year if they do hold the chamber, but they’re most likely to lose their more moderate members, meaning it might not be as hard for them to get on the same page with a repeal effort.
It seems highly unlikely this will happen. But as McConnell points out, there’s a chance.
Democrats have campaigned hard on protecting Obamacare this election cycle.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it is putting off for at least a year any final announcement on a controversial proposal overhauling how the agency evaluates science.
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) have two things in common (besides living not too far from Chicago): Their parties aren’t popular where they’re running. As they fight to win tough reelection battles they’re looking to tout their bipartisan credentials.
That both men are key players in the fight for congressional control shows how divergent the House and Senate maps are this election cycle — and why even if Democrats have a great night nationally they might get some disappointing Senate results.
I visited both last weekend in greater Chicagoland. I wrote stories on Donnelly and Roskam, including the broader context for why their races matter so much. But the races are also a useful point of comparison. I wrote more than a year ago about how Democrats would need to win both of these divergent types of territory for a big win in 2018, and how the House and Senate diverged. These races illustrate how that’s come true.
While the southeastern tip of Roskam’s district is only about 30 miles from the Indiana border and both are grappling with how to handle a president Roskam described as “mercurial,” they couldn’t be dealing with different political circumstances.
Roskam, a former member of House GOP leadership, represents the kind of upscale, suburban territory that’s shifted hard against his party in the Trump era, while Donnelly (the Democrat) is in a more rural, red state where populist rhetoric has an appeal. Trump dominated here, and Indiana has become harder for state-level Democrats to win in recent years.
The Senate map is stacked in most election years against modern Democrats because of the GOP’s strength in smaller, more rural states. But that’s especially severe this year, with 10 Democrats running in states Trump won and just one Republican running in a state he lost. Hillary Clinton didn’t get higher than 37 percent of the vote in five of those states.
That includes Indiana, where Donnelly is in a dogfight with businessman Mike Braun and where he needs to win large numbers of blue-collar voters with more populist political leanings.
Donnelly’s latest ad quotes Ronald Reagan and attacks “the radical left.” He’s been on air touting his support for Trump’s wall and vote for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Roskam has similarly tacked to the center in a district that once leaned Republican, breaking with Trump on some high-profile issues and touting his few bipartisan accomplishments while mostly trying to disqualify his opponent as a tax-and-spend cog in the Chicago Democratic machine.
The House map isn’t an even playing field either, due to Republican gerrymandering as well as Democratic voters’ tendency to cluster together in more densely populated areas. But there are roughly two dozen House Republican-held seats Clinton carried — about enough for the party to win a majority.
Democrats need to win the popular vote by roughly seven points to have a good shot at winning House control. But they have a lot more suburban territory to target.
Democratic and GOP strategists think Roskam is fighting an uphill battle for reelection, while Donnelly is essentially tied in his race.
Across the country, strategists have found races settling back to what you might expect as the electorate appears increasingly polarized. If Trump won a district or state by more than a few points, chances are it’s looking tough for Democrats, and if he barely won or lost a district, Republicans are sweating bullets. That’s much more helpful for House than Senate Democrats.
There are a ton of margin-of-error races in both the House and Senate right now, and even small changes in the national mood could turn this into a huge Democratic wave or completely gut Democrats on election night. But right now it looks like voters are simply coming home to their parties, with Democrats continuing to hold an enthusiasm edge. And while that’s good news for House Democrats and Senate Republicans, it’s not for Donnelly or Roskam.
The new New York Police Department concrete blocks lining the outside of the New York Times building are part of the Times’ ongoing efforts to “enhance security,” and were not placed there in response to a threat, Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told TPM Wednesday.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Mandela Barnes was tagged as the co-host of a lingerie party in 2009 when he was 22, extending an online invitation that joked about “stimulus packages” and used derogatory slang to refer to people who would be turned away.