Robert Pittenger

Opinion: Is It Too Early for North Carolina Democrats to Get Their Hopes Up, Again?
After years of dashed dreams, progressives are back to seeing blue

The Rev. William Barber hosts a “Moral Monday” in Raleigh in 2016. With efforts like Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign gaining steam in North Carolina, progressives are once again seeing blue at the end of the tunnel, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 2008, Barack Obama’s slim North Carolina victory in his first presidential run had Democrats in the state celebrating in the present and dreaming of a blue future in what had been considered a (relatively) progressive Southern state. Boy, were those dreams premature.

But 10 years later — after new redistricting and voting rules solidified GOP control in both the state and U.S. House delegations and a bill on LGBT rights made the state a poster child for conservative social policies — Democrats are again seeing light at the end of a deep-red tunnel.

Ratings Change: 5 GOP Open House Seats Shift Toward Democrats
Recent Republican struggles in special elections don’t augur well for party in fall

The race for retiring Michigan Rep. Dave Trott’s 11th District seat is now a Toss-up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s dangerous to extrapolate too much from any single special election, but the trend is clear across nearly all of the special contests over the past year: Democrats are over-performing and Republicans are struggling to hold open seats.

The over-performance by Democratic candidates hasn’t been limited by geography, considering they have done better than expected in Montana, Kansas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona, even if they’ve fallen short in all but one of those races.

North Carolina’s Robert Pittenger Is First Incumbent to Lose in 2018
GOP congressman fell to repeat primary challenger Mark Harris

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger has lost a GOP primary rematch with former pastor Mark Harris. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger is the first incumbent of 2018 to lose, falling to former pastor Mark Harris in Tuesday’s 9th District Republican primary.

Harris defeated Pittenger 48.5 percent to 46 percent, reversing the result from two years ago when the latter won by just 134 votes in a recount.

5 Things to Watch on Primary Day This Tuesday
Nasty GOP Senate primaries remain ugly until the end

Former Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun, right, and Rep. Todd Rokita, speaking, are running for the GOP nomination for Senate, along with Rep. Luke Messer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tuesday marks the first big primary day of 2018. Voters go to the polls in Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Most of the exciting action is on the Republican side. In all of those states (except for North Carolina), Democratic senators are trying to hold on to seats in territory President Donald Trump won in 2016, which means the GOP primaries are high-stakes contests. (More on that below.)

Tech Companies Oppose Expanded Oversight of Sensitive Technology
Legislation focuses on on foreign deals

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., is pushing a bill that would broaden oversight over offshore sales or transfers of sensitive technology. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Representatives of the technology industry are warning lawmakers that a plan to give an interagency panel authority over offshore sales or transfers of sensitive technology would impede routine business deals.

The House Financial Services Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee held its fourth and final hearing Thursday on a bill by Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., that would broaden the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to include a range of business deals involving U.S. and foreign companies, including offshore joint ventures involving technology transfer.

North Carolina Delegation on Swapping Out a White Supremacist for Billy Graham
Statue of Charles Aycock would come down to put Graham up following his death on Wednesday

Tourists pass by the statue of Charles Brantley Aycock in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When the Rev. Billy Graham died last week at the age of 99, it set in motion a plan to memorialize him in the U.S. Capitol — and to kick out a white supremacist.

Graham will briefly lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. But his likeness could endure in the building for much longer than that.

At the Races: Jonesing for Another Special Election Yet?
Doug Jones pulled off an upset in Alabama, giving Democrats hope for 2018 wave

AT-THE-RACES-LOGO-01

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races by subscribing to this weekly newsletter 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 BowmanThis week … A Democrat won in deep-red Alabama, Minnesota’s getting a new female senator and another Texas Republican isn’t coming back in 2019.

Holding on: We’ll get back to Alabama in a second, but first ... embattled Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold is retiring, GOP sources confirmed Thursday. But he says he’s not going anywhere yet. The four-term Republican will serve out the remainder of his term, which means an ethics probe into allegations of his misconduct will continue. Some of his fellow Texas members were already ready to show him the door. Just last night, Roger Williams endorsed one of Farenthold’s primary challengers. The filing deadline for Texas congressional races was Monday.

Opinion: Will Tax Bill Open Church Doors Wider Still for Politics?
Knocking down the Johnson Amendment would cheapen America’s pluralism

Rep. Robert Pittenger’s new heavy-handed ad makes one wonder which constituents the North Carolina Republican will serve, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A place of worship has never been completely clear of politics in America. But that physical and spiritual space for contemplation and reflection may grow smaller still, and moments without intrusion from the bitterness and division in the world could grow shorter.

Tucked into the House version of the tax plan that Republicans dearly crave as “a win” is a provision that would remove a check on places of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — and some nonprofits. The in-danger Johnson Amendment of 1954, one with more intent than teeth, supposedly prohibits pastors and other faith leaders from endorsing or opposing political candidates from their perches of religious authority or risk losing their tax-exempt status.

New Democrats’ PAC Adds 10 More Challengers to Watch List
PAC now has 23 candidates on watch list for 2018

Lauren Baer, who’s running in  Florida’s 18th District, is one of 10 more Democratic candidates that NewDemPAC is adding to its list of candidates to watch in 2018. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo).

The political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition is adding 10 more challengers to its list of candidates to watch in 2018 — a continued effort to get involved in House races earlier this cycle. 

The latest additions by NewDemPAC, obtained first by Roll Call, come from across the country and include a second former member of the coalition. The PAC announced its first 13 candidates to watch earlier this year. 

Just in Time for Christmas, Robert Pittenger Primary Ads Get Religious
North Carolina Republican facing repeat challenge from former pastor

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger, speaking to reporters in the Capitol earlier this month, is launching a TV ad campaign running through Christmas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facing a primary challenge from the same GOP candidate who nearly defeated him last year, North Carolina Republican Robert Pittenger is launching an ad campaign about “putting Christ back in Christmas.”

“Let’s end political correctness and put the true meaning of Christ back into Christmas,” Pittenger says in the ad, standing in front of a fireplace and Christmas tree as a holiday jingle plays in the background.