Inside Politics: 6 months to the midterm elections

Republican candidates embrace Trump 6 months out from the midterms, the battle heats up over Trump's nominee for CIA director, Paul Ryan faces scrutiny over his decision to fire the House chaplain, and teacher strikes continue--it's all on Inside Politics.

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 4:18 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 4:20 PM

Here are the stories our D.C. insiders are talking about in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow's headlines today.

1. Who can hug Trump tightest in Indiana?

A nasty Senate primary is just 10 days away in Indiana: Two Republican congressmen and a wealthy businessman are competing to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, one of the most endangered incumbents in the country.

The Republican nomination fight may hinge on which candidate can tie themselves closest to President Trump, CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports. "The three Republican candidates are in a fight to see who can out-Trump themselves, who likes him more, who can support his policies more," Zeleny says.

So far, the President has not weighed in publicly. But, Zeleny says, "If he is drawn into this by television coverage, that could be fascinating."

2. Lawmakers want answers on House chaplain's firing

There was bipartisan outrage on Capitol Hill this week over the forced departure of the House chaplain, Catholic priest Patrick Conroy. Conroy says House Speaker Paul Ryan asked for his resignation.

Democrats are demanding an investigation, but even Republicans want to know why Ryan, who is a practicing Catholic, did what he did.

"Basically, Ryan had been hearing a lot of complaints from a small faction of the Republican conference that was more evangelical," Politico's Rachael Bade reports. "They wanted a chaplain to minister to them who was married and who had kids and who can sort of speak to that walk of life."

3. Day 3 of Arizona teachers strike

Teachers in Arizona will stay on strike tomorrow, demanding higher pay and more funding for education. It's yet another example of teachers in red states demanding more resources for education. "This is a broader issue we are seeing all over the country now," reports FiveThirtyEight's Perry Bacon.

"The fight is really about a lot of states have cut taxes a lot in these last five or six years, and teachers are now saying it's cut too much, there needs to be more money invested in public education, more in teacher pay."

4. Battle lines drawn over CIA nominee

Now that the Senate has confirmed Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, attention will turn to another controversial nominee: Gina Haspel, President Trump's pick to run the CIA. And The Washington Post's Karoun Demirjian reports she may have a tough road to confirmation.

"The numbers right now, if Democrats don't back her, are not in her favor. She can't necessarily get through, and so it's going to be a very tight, touch-and-go game," Demirjian says. "You've got a lot of tension brewing right now between senators and the administration."

Haspel's confirmation hearing is scheduled for May 9.

5. T-minus six months 'til Election Day

The 2018 midterms are six months from Tuesday, and some primaries coming in the days ahead will begin to set the battle lines in a few more key races. The President's big rally Saturday night was a reminder that his midterm role is somewhat unresolved, too; some Republicans will be thrilled to have a presidential visit while others worry he is toxic with some key voting blocs.

There is no dispute that both the GOP's House and Senate majorities are at risk. But six months out, CNN's John King reports there are widely different assessments within the GOP ranks about how difficult the environment will be, and about how certain it is that the losses will run deep.

The biggest factor in midterm years is the President's approval rating. President Trump's in the the 40% range, and most Republicans believe it is unrealistic to expect it to get much better. The "generic ballot" test has been more of a moving target. Voters consistently prefer Democrats to control Congress, but the margin has gyrated over the past few months.

King says some Republicans tell him they are already resigned to losing the House. Asked to offer his assessment of the climate, one seasoned Republican replied that "30-plus" was his current estimate of House losses. That would be more than enough to hand Democrats the majority. Another veteran GOP strategist, however, says he believes it possible the losses could be kept in the mid to high teens, a result that would narrowly leave the GOP in control.

The Senate math is also the subject of considerable debate.

Republicans entered the year hoping to defy history and gain seats, based on a 2018 map that has far more Democratic incumbents on defense. Indiana's May primary is one of the key dates ahead in Senate calculations. Republicans also feel more upbeat about North Dakota in recent days, in part because of encouraging GOP polling numbers, and there is a better mood about Florida now that Gov. Rick Scott is officially in the race and is beginning to get more active on the trail.

On the flip side, some Republicans are increasingly worried about GOP-held seats in Tennessee and Arizona where Democrats have strong candidates.

Six months seems like a long time, but the May primaries will kick things into a higher gear.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1490496

Reported Deaths: 20500
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2039162521
Lake1001941500
Allen923541011
Hamilton72207547
St. Joseph64053755
Elkhart48903625
Vanderburgh47506523
Tippecanoe43182336
Johnson37906521
Hendricks35984459
Porter34277466
Madison28722537
Clark25552325
Vigo25251344
LaPorte23269307
Monroe22751244
Howard21818377
Delaware21391366
Hancock18487220
Bartholomew17860213
Kosciusko17769201
Warrick16642213
Wayne16062300
Floyd15640257
Grant15143296
Morgan14245231
Boone13388136
Noble11656140
Dearborn11560112
Henry11546201
Shelby11483150
Marshall11258167
Dubois11123152
Jackson10425104
Cass10121142
DeKalb10101129
Lawrence10082220
Huntington10016139
Gibson9415125
Montgomery9153141
Knox8942124
Harrison8874112
Whitley861871
Steuben8488104
Jasper8192114
Clinton810295
Putnam806199
Miami8032133
Jefferson7773124
Wabash7726139
Ripley7118112
Adams6595101
Daviess6455127
Scott638586
White613282
Greene5999112
Clay597573
Wells5902120
Decatur5885119
Jennings586278
Fayette5735121
Posey543448
LaGrange524197
Randolph5027129
Washington494368
Owen491499
Fountain472479
Spencer446556
Starke438686
Sullivan437465
Fulton431891
Orange420882
Jay409764
Rush403937
Carroll377549
Perry376755
Franklin375850
Vermillion352062
Parke319238
Pike316245
Tipton313774
Blackford271755
Pulaski270874
Newton231561
Brown226754
Benton215721
Crawford215131
Switzerland194214
Martin186722
Warren174821
Union165519
Ohio122616
Unassigned0739

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2439205

Reported Deaths: 31245
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2637212065
Cuyahoga2582743018
Hamilton1696091714
Montgomery1126771604
Summit1074271391
Lucas909371160
Butler80397942
Stark754911400
Lorain63313792
Warren51040475
Mahoning50162915
Lake47051605
Clermont44631429
Delaware39611212
Trumbull38910755
Medina37850419
Licking37593408
Fairfield34482334
Greene32823422
Portage31698360
Clark30769445
Richland28751423
Wood28217297
Allen24942395
Miami23274395
Muskingum22683245
Columbiana22370403
Wayne21565356
Tuscarawas19096427
Erie18282222
Ashtabula18102342
Marion17861232
Scioto17031207
Ross16556252
Pickaway15812178
Hancock15561228
Geauga15320223
Lawrence14172186
Union1359984
Huron13584182
Belmont13554247
Jefferson13090258
Sandusky12933199
Athens12126106
Knox11721198
Seneca11631200
Darke10950198
Ashland10916178
Washington10729168
Auglaize10364142
Crawford10062175
Shelby9961157
Brown9610140
Fulton9453150
Guernsey9304117
Highland9215148
Defiance9209135
Logan9114142
Clinton8950127
Mercer8816111
Madison8730106
Preble8145162
Williams8014135
Putnam7863135
Ottawa7752121
Champaign7696112
Jackson7510117
Perry725998
Coshocton7137136
Morrow706382
Fayette678287
Pike632586
Hardin6311128
Gallia605891
Adams5913124
Van Wert5877121
Henry577093
Hocking5634104
Carroll4877100
Wyandot487590
Holmes4787161
Paulding409064
Meigs380473
Monroe303368
Noble285051
Harrison284461
Morgan280348
Vinton245145
Unassigned08
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
17° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 12°
Feels Like: 10°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
15° wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 8°
Huntington
Mostly Cloudy
11° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 12°
Feels Like: 11°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
17° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 10°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
13° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 13°
The colder air is expected to linger into the weekend and there is a small chance of light snow.
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