In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.
The special election for Ohio's 12th CD -- a heavily Republican district -- was extremely close. Ron Brownstein at The Atlantic:
The Republican Troy Balderson’s slim advantage over the Democrat Danny O’Connor in a district Republicans have held without much drama since the 1980s reaffirms the core geographic and demographic divides that have defined almost all major elections since Trump’s victory in 2016. Pending the count of absentee and provisional ballots,
Balderson maintained huge leads in the 12th district’s blue-collar, small-town, and rural areas, but faced a Democratic surge in the white-collar suburbs, particularly those closest to Columbus. Balderson arrested that surge just enough in the reliably Republican outer suburbs and exurbs of Delaware County to emerge with a 1,754 vote advantage.
Whoever ultimately prevails, the Ohio contest, like last year’s big Democratic wins in Virginia and Alabama, again suggested that the Trump era is producing a “new normal” in American politics defined by greater polarization along almost every possible front.
On balance, these sharpening divisions leave Democrats in a strong, but not guaranteed, position to win back the House by maximizing their gains in well-educated suburbs and picking off even a few Republicans outside of the major metropolitan areas. By the count of David Wasserman, the House race analyst for The Cook Political Report, there are 68 House Republican districts whose voting history leans less reliably toward the GOP than Ohio-12. “We won a district where we can nominate a bag of cement … and we won by [about] 1,000 votes,” says the longtime GOP strategist Mike Murphy, a Trump critic. “That means … they are playing 50 seats deep in our infield and almost winning. What does that tell you about our midterms?”At Axios, Neal Rothschild reports: "Democrats have outperformed in each special election since President Trump took office by an average of 8.5 points, according to the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index, which measures the partisan tilt of each district based on the two previous presidential elections."
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) insists he will remain on the ballot and run for reelection this fall despite being indicted and charged -- along with two others Wednesday -- with securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements to the FBI. Collins, the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, pleaded not guilty in court and called the charges “meritless” in a brief media appearance. He told reporters he would “mount a vigorous defense in court to clear my name” and said he anticipates being “fully vindicated and exonerated.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said during a recent Republican fundraiser in Spokane, Washington, that conservatives’ effort to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had stalled because it would delay Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, according to audio of a released Wednesday.
“So it’s not a matter that any of us like Rosenstein. It’s a matter of, it’s a matter of timing,” he said. “The Rachel Maddow Show” obtained the audio from a member of the progressive group “Fuse Washington” who paid the $250 entry fee to attend the fundraiser for House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.). Nunes was also recorded saying that if Attorney General Jeff Sessions won’t “unrecuse” himself and special counsel Robert Mueller “won’t clear the president,” then “we’re the only ones, which is really the danger.” He said Republicans have to keep their majority, or “all of this goes away.” More: https://nbcnews.to/2OQq27s