Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* It may seem a little early to start thinking about 2020 retirements – the 116th Congress began literally yesterday – but Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) will announce this afternoon that he’s retiring at the end of this term. As ruby-red as Kansas has been in recent years, Dems made some important progress in the state in 2018, and I imagine they’ll recruit aggressively for this race.
* And speaking of retirements, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), a longtime gadfly congressman who’s frequently annoyed his party’s leadership, has also decided not to seek re-election next year.
* Donald Trump’s interest in Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) personal ancestry continues to be a little creepy.
* Republican state legislators in North Carolina asked a federal court to intervene and protect their gerrymandered General Assembly districts, before the state Supreme Court could strike it down. A federal judge this week declined to hear the case.
* Don’t be surprised if many of the Democratic congressional candidates who performed well but came up short in 2018 try again in 2020. For example, Ammar Campa-Najjar (D), who ran a very competitive race against indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) in California’s 50th last year, filed the paperwork this week for a rematch. Hunter prevailed in November, 51.7% to 48.3%.
* Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News this week that if Donald Trump agrees to re-open the government without funding for a border wall, it would “probably” mean “the end of his presidency.” Then again, many of Graham’s over-the-top predictions turn out to be wrong, so perhaps the White House shouldn’t take the warning too seriously.
* And in case there were any doubts, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told CNN this week that he will not run against Trump in a 2020 primary. Asked, however, whether he intends to support the president’s re-election, the new Republican senator replied, “I think it’s early to make that decision and I want to see what the alternatives are.”