North Dakota

The ‘Emotional Space’ Inside High-Stakes Diplomacy
Looking back at Obama, looking square at Trump

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama take time for reflecting in the new documentary “The Final Year.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here

The civil war in Syria. Boko Haram. Russia. Climate change. American foreign policy operates in a high-stakes environment in a very public glare. And in 2016, in the midst of a contentious election year, President Barack Obama oversaw a team of players trying to solidify a legacy in his last year in office. Documentary filmmaker Greg Barker went along for the ride, from the cramped quarters of the West Wing to an emotional speech at Hiroshima, Japan for his new film, “The Final Year.”

Analysis: It’s a Blue House Wave, but Not Yet a Senate One
Rural, Trump-friendly states make for a formidable map for Democrats

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are among the Democrats’ many vulnerable incumbents this cycle, which complicates the party’s efforts to retake the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

“The odds are greater than half we will take back the Senate.” — Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday night 

Democrats ought to temper their optimism about the fight for the Senate this year.

Supreme Court to Revisit Internet Sales Tax Ruling
Bipartisan group of lawmakers want previous decision overruled

From left, Sens. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois want the Supreme Court to overrule a decision that prevented states from collecting sales tax on internet purchases. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court will decide whether businesses must collect sales tax on online transactions in states where they don’t have a physical presence, in a case closely watched by lawmakers, states and online retailers.

The case gives the justices a chance to reshape internet commerce, something Congress hasn’t done since the high court last ruled on the issue in 1992. Back then, the court barred states from collecting sales tax from vendors that were out of state.

Questions Could Derail Confirmation of Trump’s Indian Health Nominee
Robert Weaver was already under scrutiny over his qualifications

Participants in a “Rock Your Mocs” fun walk/run in Shiprock, New Mexico, sponsored by the local Indian Health Service facility. (Courtesy Indian Health Service/Facebook)

President Donald Trump’s nominee to oversee health care services for two million Native Americans — who already faces questions about whether he is qualified — failed to disclose donations to the Trump campaign in his official Senate questionnaire, Roll Call has learned.

Robert Weaver, a health insurance salesman and consultant who was nominated in October to lead the $6.1-billion Indian Health Service, has been touted by the administration as “a staunch advocate of innovative programs to improve Native American health.” But some lawmakers are concerned that the administration inflated his qualifications. The questions surrounding his nomination raise the possibility that he might not have the votes to win confirmation.

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

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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 attheraces@cqrollcall.com 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.

North Dakota Senator Isn’t Closing Office — or Wearing a Coat — for Any D.C. Weather
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes,’ Heidi Heitkamp says

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., talks about cold weather back home in North Dakota outside her Washington office in a freezing wind. (Bian Elkhatib/ CQ Roll Call)

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp recalled her first D.C. winter.

“‘Are you kidding?’ That’s what I kept thinking, ‘Are you kidding me?’” she said, standing outside her Hart Senate Office Building Thursday, coatless and holding an iced coffee in 25 degree-weather and an icy wind.

Cold Weather Doesn’t Bother Heitkamp
 

Tina Smith Has Just 10 Months to Keep Her New Job
New Minnesota senator will face voters in November special election

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, appointed to replace Sen. Al Franken, will face voters in a special election in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Tina Smith just got here. And now she has 10 months to try to keep her new job as Minnesota’s junior senator.

She’ll face voters in a November special election to fill out former Democratic-Farmer-Labor Sen. Al Franken’s term. It’s an incredibly condensed timeline for what could be a competitive race in a state Hillary Clinton won by less than 2 points in 2016.

Cramer ‘Trending’ Toward Senate Run After Trump Meeting
Would face Heitkamp, considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., met Tuesday with President Donald Trump, who is urging him to get in the Senate race against Democrat Heidi Heitkamp. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After meeting Tuesday with President Donald Trump, North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer said he’s “trending” toward challenging Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp this year.

“It was certainly a persuasive case that the president had made, and I appreciate the time and thoughts for this and appreciate his knowledge of North Dakota,” Cramer told KFYR-TV.