Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake is getting challenged from both the right and the left in his bid for a second term. The first hurdle will be a competitive primary. If he clears that obstacle, he will likely face a competitive challenge from Democratic U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who announced her candidacy via YouTube video last night.
Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee became the first incumbent this cycle to announce his retirement at the end of this Congress. His retirement also means that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell loses an important ally, and it opens up the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee in the next Congress.
There seems little question that President Trump has enjoyed his September dalliance with the two top Democratic leaders in Congress, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Aside from the Supreme Court confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, which isn’t technically legislation, this is the only significant legislative victory the president has had this year.
This morning, Michigan Rep. Dave Trott became the third Republican in five days to announce he will retire from a marginal seat in 2018. Unlike Reps. Charlie Dent (PA-15) and Dave Reichert (WA-08), Trott is only in his second term and was already vulnerable after receiving 53 percent in 2016. Furthermore, Democrats already have a potentially strong candidate running: former Obama administration Auto Task Force chief of staff Haley Stevens.
Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Charlie Dent's decision to retire in 2018 not only gives Democrats another valuable pickup opportunity, it further depletes the ranks of moderate Republicans in the House.
If Democrats could have picked one House GOP incumbent to retire in 2018, it would have been GOP Rep. Dave Reichert, who represents a suburban Seattle seat Hillary Clinton won by three points, but has cruised to reelection on the strength of his reputation as the former King County sheriff. Today, Democrats got their wish. Reichert's exit moves Washington's 8th District all the way from Likely Republican to the Toss Up column.
Donald Trump has always reveled in being an outsider. His candidacy was a sharp rebuke to the elites, the establishment and status quo. Instead of relying on tired and dysfunctional institutions to bring change, Trump boasted at the GOP convention, “I alone can fix” the challenges facing the country.
Democrats haven't been able to crack the code in Maine's blue-collar 2nd CD since Rep. Mike Michaud left to run for governor in 2014. Once a Democratic bastion, the district swung hard to GOP Gov. Paul LePage in 2014 and President Trump in 2016, and Republican Bruce Poliquin defied expectations. But Marine veteran and state Rep. Jared Golden's entry into the 2018 field gives Democrats hope they can capitalize on a favorable political environment.
As most of official Washington enjoys the lull of August recess, voters in Alabama are headed to the polls on Tuesday for the first round in the special election to serve the remainder of former GOP U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions’ term.