Matt Cartwright

Primary Challengers Aren’t Always More Partisan in Congress
Some successors have been more willing to work across the aisle

Ayanna Pressley defeated Rep. Michael E. Capuano in the Democratic primary in Massachusetts’ 7th District earlier this month. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

It’s often said that conservative challenges to Republican incumbents in primary elections — the prime example being Dave Brat’s victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 — have led to more polarization in Congress, with the challengers less willing to compromise than their predecessors.

Now that two incumbent Democrats, Michael E. Capuano of Massachusetts on Sept. 4 and Joseph Crowley of New York in June, have fallen to upstart challengers, it raises the question whether the phenomenon has now spread to the Democratic Party, foreboding even more dysfunction at the Capitol.

5 States That Will Decide the House Majority
Watch these states to tell if Democrats are having a good election night

California Democrat Harley Rouda, here with a supporter at a rally in Laguna Beach in May, is challenging GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the 48th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With a growing number of vulnerable House districts, there might be too much to watch for on election night. But by focusing on just a handful of states, you can get a pretty good idea of whether Democrats are having a good enough night to gain the 23 seats necessary to win back the majority.

Competitive races: 5

Republican John Chrin Launches Opening Ad in GOP Targeted District
Chrin is challenging Pennsylvania Democrat Matt Cartwright

Republican John Chrin is challenging Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call)

Republican John Chrin launched his opening argument Monday in his campaign against Democrat Matt Cartwright in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. The seat represents a rare pickup opportunity for the GOP this cycle in which it is largely on defense.  

Republicans, hoping to stave off potential losses in the House, are looking to win in districts like the 8th, one of a dozen held by a Democratic lawmaker that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.  

House Democratic Leadership Talk Starts Moving Into the Open
Lee, Sánchez could face off again, this time for caucus chairmanship

California Rep. Barbara Lee is among the House Democrats looking to fill an upcoming leadership vacancy left by New York Rep. Joseph Crowley who lost his primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats have largely tried to avoid talking about potential leadership battles in an effort to focus on winning the majority in November, but an unexpected opening is making that more difficult.

When New York Rep. Joseph Crowley lost his primary June 26, it created a guaranteed opening for the caucus chairmanship in the next Congress. It’s the only leadership slot where the current officeholder won’t be able to run in intraparty elections in late November or early December.

At the Races: He’s Off the Trail
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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

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

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The spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our newsletter here.

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.