Kevin Cramer

Republicans Downplay Pennsylvania Race, But Note Tough Road Ahead
GOP huddled Wednesday to discuss the special election

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, chairs the NRCC and addressed the conference Wednesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans downplayed Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania, where a Democrat is poised to win in a solidly GOP district. But it’s another reminder of the tough midterm election cycle ahead, they said.

The race in Pennsylvania’s 18th District had still not been called late Wednesday morning. Democrat Conor Lamb currently leads GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone by 627 votes in a district President Donald Trump carried by 20 points in 2016. Republicans were bracing for a loss in the final days of the race and were already placing blame on Saccone’s lackluster fundraising.

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.

Cramer Ahead of Heitkamp in NRSC North Dakota Poll
GOP congressman leads Democratic incumbent by 5 points in Senate race

North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer is challenging Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp this fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, who recently entered the North Dakota Senate race, leads Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp by 5 points, according to a poll commissioned by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and shared first with Roll Call. 

First elected in 2012, Heitkamp is among the more vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election this fall, especially considering President Donald Trump won North Dakota by 36 points in 2016. 

At the Races: A Not-So Golden Opportunity?
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns


This week … Democrats fretted about primaries, Republicans were rethinking running for Senate, and some candidates got personal in ads.

Cramer Running for Senate
The congressman had originally said he wouldn’t run

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is running for Senate in North Dakota. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer is reversing course and running for Senate in North Dakota after all, according to multiple media reports and an announcement notice posted on his campaign’s Facebook page.

The name of his campaign’s Facebook page, linked to on his congressional campaign website, is now titled, “Kevin Cramer for US Senate.” The page also links to a Friday event in Bismarck titled “Cramer for Senate Announcement & Rally.” A GOP strategist confirmd Cramer is running.

Cramer Reverses Course, Reconsiders North Dakota Senate Run
GOP lawmaker expects to make a decision over the weekend

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is reconsidering running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer is reconsidering running for Senate in North Dakota, despite previously saying he would run for re-election to the House. Cramer said he expects to make a final decision by the end of the weekend.

Cramer said Tuesday night that he had received encouragement from people in D.C. and in North Dakota to reconsider his decision not to run. He did not directly answer a question as to whether President Donald Trump was personally encouraging him to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Report: Republicans Trying to Get Cramer to Run for Senate
North Dakota congressman earlier passed on challenging Democrat Heitkamp

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N. Dak., passed on a senate run last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans are trying to change North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer’s mind about challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders are worried about opposition research on state Sen. Tom Campbell, the Washington Examiner reported. 

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


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 with your questions, tips or candidate sightings and sign up for the newsletter here. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Cramer Passes on North Dakota Senate Run
Trump encouraged him to challenge Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, GOP rep said

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., has decided not to run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 11: 14 a.m. | GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer said Thursday he does not plan to run for Senate in North Dakota and instead will run for re-election to the House. He had faced pressure from President Donald Trump to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Cramer told WZFG-AM’s “Scott Hennen Show” in North Dakota that passing on a Senate run was the best decision for his family.

Senate Match-Ups Yet to Take Shape Ahead of 2018 Primaries
Competitive Republican primaries begin in just four months

The first competitive GOP Senate primaries are in May (Illustration by Chris Hale).

With Ohio’s Josh Mandel ending his Senate bid last week, the one Senate race in which the matchup long looked like a foregone conclusion won’t be a rematch of 2012 after all.

The Republican challenger is still unknown in plenty of other races too, with competitive primaries beginning in just four months.