Joe Donnelly

Democrats Notching Key Legislative Victories Ahead of Elections
Members hope achievements can drive support among voters in rural states

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, is one of several moderate Democrats in the chamber who have notched key legislative victories under President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2018 are racking up a number of key legislative victories in advance of what is expected to be a bitter midterm election cycle.

The successes, on bills ranging from veterans’ issues to bank regulation and tax credits for so-called clean coal technology, are the kind that can drive support among voters in the rural states that many of these members call home.

At the Races: Keystone State Nail-Biter
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns


Mark Your Calendars: The second congressional primaries in the country are in Illinois on Tuesday. Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in the state, where EMILY’s List has played an early, influential role backing candidates it thinks will be viable in the general election. But the Prairie State primary that’s received the most attention is actually in a solid Democratic seat. EMILY’s List is involved in this race too (although it took a while for the group to endorse), and it’s quickly become a flashpoint in the fight over the identity of the Democratic Party. On one side is first-time candidate Marie Newman, who’s backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (who carried the 3rd District in 2016), two members of the Illinois delegation (pictured above), New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, SEIU and a coalition of reproductive rights and progressive groups.

Luke Messer Launches Second TV Ad in Indiana Senate Primary
Positive spot features GOP lawmaker as son’s basketball coach

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer is releasing the second TV ad of his Senate campaign on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Luke Messer is launching Thursday his second TV ad in the Indiana Republican Senate primary.

The ad, shared first with Roll Call, features the congressman in his role as coach for his son’s fifth grade basketball team and is timed to air during the start of March Madness, the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament. It’s backed by a cable and broadcast TV and digital buy in the mid six-figures.

AFP Launches New Ads Targeting Donnelly and McCaskill on Tax Vote
Conservative group hits Democratic senators for opposing GOP overhaul

Americans for Prosperity is launching another $4 million in TV and digital ads targeting Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, above, and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Americans for Prosperity is rolling out another $4 million ad campaign targeting Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill over their votes against a bill overhauling the tax code.

It’s the second phase of a $20 million digital and TV campaign and comes a month after AFP launched the first $4 million initiative, also against Donnelly and McCaskill.

Trump Intensifies War on California’s Immigrant ‘Sanctuaries’
So far, little to show for effort to crack down on illegal immigration

Protesters arrive at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles during a march on Feb. 28. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

The legal struggle over immigrant “sanctuaries” is escalating, and deep-blue California is ground zero.

“This is basically going to war,” Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown said after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that the Trump administration is suing the state over three recently enacted laws limiting local and state law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.

Congress Warns North Korea — and Trump — on Nuke Talks
Messer says Trump deserves a Nobel Prize

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said President Donald Trump's position on North Korea gave an opportunity for diplomacy with North Korea. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress were cautious in response to the news that President Donald Trump will meet with Kim Jong Un to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a hawkish Republican who went from being a major Trump critic to ally, said Trump’s “strong stand” against the regime gives the United States the best opportunity for peace.

Banking Debate Splits Democrats, but They Might All Win
Friends or foes hope to capitalize on the topic

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota is one of several Democrats who helped negotiate the bipartisan banking bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats might all be winners in the chamber’s debate this week on curtailing some provisions of the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul.

On the one hand, progressives can again prove their bona fides as voices against big financial institutions, while more conservative Democrats on the ballot in 2018 from largely rural states can boast they are making the Senate work to support their community banks.

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.

How Vulnerable Senate Democrats Have Pushed to the Center
Of the 10 running in Trump states, four stand apart for siding with the president

Joe Manchin III voted with the president 71 president of the time last year when his wishes were clear in advance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you’re wearing a blue uniform but your game is in a stadium where most of the crowd usually roots for the reds, try accessorizing with as much purple as possible.

That bit of fashion advice is one cheeky way of describing the politically pragmatic behavior of most, but not all, of the 10 Democratic senators hoping to hold their seats this fall in states that went for President Donald J. Trump.

Todd Rokita Launches His First TV Ad in Indiana Senate Primary
Ad by self-identified “pro-Trump” candidate attacks the “liberal elites”

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita is airing his first TV ad of the Senate primary on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita’s Senate campaign is hitting the airwaves Wednesday with its first TV ad before the May 8 primary. 

The ad, obtained first by Roll Call, opens with a short clip of former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and launches into an attack on “liberal elites” who “disrespect our flag” and “riot in our streets.”