Midterm voters to decide control of Congress

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 seats in the Senate are on the ballot this year. The latest polls show close races in the suburbs, with Democrats with an edge going into Tuesday.

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 8:13 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2018 8:33 PM

As Congress braces for the midterm elections, "Blue Dogs" -- a nickname for the most moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill -- are hoping to make a comeback.

The partisan gap in Congress has widened as Blue Dogs' membership has been whittled down to its current 18-member standing, but ahead of Election Day, the Blue Dog PAC has endorsed more than 20 congressional candidates it hopes to add to its ranks.

While some Democrats are finding success in leaning into using their campaigns as a referendum on President Donald Trump, Oregon Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader, who serves as the chief candidate recruiter for the coalition, said that that strategy doesn't work for districts with prospective Blue Dogs.

"We're trying to recruit candidates that can get us into the majority. And there's an understanding, for the first time in 10 years, that the path to the majority is through the Blue Dog-type districts we need to win," Schrader told CNN. "There are no more liberal districts to win. And that requires a candidate that can relate to the red in their state, not just the blue."

Blue Dogs' push to elect more moderates to Congress bucks the current trend associated with midterm elections -- that each party is working to energize their voters with candidates appealing to their base. On the left, there are some high-profile liberals running who could also help shape a possible Democratic majority, including New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. These potential members could find themselves at odds with Blue Dogs -- particularly on issues like defense and federal spending. Still, it's unclear where these new members will fall on the issue of potentially selecting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as House speaker should Democrats retake the chamber.

Supporters of the Blue Dogs have argued they could be the key deciding group determining what legislation comes up to the House floor for a vote if Democrats obtain the chamber's majority.

Kristin Hawn, a Democratic strategist working with the Blue Dog PAC, said she expects that if Democrats do win, the dynamic between party members will be different than it was when Democrats led by large majorities.

"Having a slim majority will be very different from a 30-something seat majority in the House. It's not something I've ever lived through personally, but it'll be really interesting. It'll be good for the country ... how the House is run, because you have to have people actually come together," Hawn told CNN. "Suddenly, the Freedom Caucus -- they don't have the balance of power anymore."

Schrader said one issue is that even in his district the President's popularity has only increased since the 2016 election.

"They've been able to localize the race, not take on Donald Trump, not take on you know -- well, not take on Donald Trump, frankly," Schrader said about the candidates the PAC has endorsed.

Instead, Schrader has encouraged candidates to come out against Pelosi, who plans to run for the House speakership should Democrats take control of the House.

"You know, I told all our candidates at the beginning of this year that you don't want to be coming out against Donald Trump. Let's not run against him," he said. "You want to come out against Nancy Pelosi because you are running against her. That'll be the first question you'll get asked. If you don't answer that question right, you won't have an opportunity to talk about anything else. They'll just write you off."

Pelosi's office did not respond to CNN's request for comment on Schrader's push, but Pelosi has previously said she is not offended by Democrats who oppose her leadership.

"I'm OK. Just win, baby," Pelosi said in May. "I think many of them are saying we need ... new leadership, yeah. I don't take offense at that."

More recently, Pelosi has billed herself as a "transitional" speaker who would bridge the current generation to the next, though that exact timeline has not been specified.

Still, Pelosi is a heavy favorite to win the speakership, and if Democrats win by a big majority, she may not even need some of these candidates to get to 218 votes. She also has leverage in her corner to help sway some of these candidates to support her in the end, such as committee assignments and PAC money.

Of 26 Democrats in toss-up races, 11 have said they would oppose Pelosi as speaker, while an additional 19 Democrats who are in districts that lean Democratic or are solidly in their party's favor said they would oppose her, according to a CNN tally. Those numbers grow among Democrats in districts that lean Republican.

Salt Lake County mayor Ben McAdams, a Blue Dog-endorsed candidate attempting to unseat Utah Republican Rep. Mia Love, is among the majority Blue Dog PAC-endorsed candidates opposing Pelosi's speakership run.

And though Trump's favorability polling is "under water" in his district, McAdams said he's chosen not to focus on the President during his campaign.

"I've made a conscious decision in this race -- I think my candidacy is about my reputation as the mayor of Salt Lake County, somebody who works across party lines and gets stuff done by bringing together Republicans and Democrats," he said. "And that's the campaign I've tried to run. I don't think that message blends very well with an anti-anything message."

McAdams also said that if he wins, he hopes to work with Republicans on a transportation infrastructure package and on a fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a policy Trump has sought to end but has been in legal limbo for months.

Schrader said that during the last Democratic majority, he felt that Blue Dogs "were shunned."

He said he anticipates that "it's going to be tough negotiating out what legislation we put forward and how we word it."

But compared to the last time Democrats had a majority, "fast forward to 10 years later and suddenly my progressive colleagues are like 'Well I don't agree with a number of your votes but you sound honest and you're representing your district,'" he said.

As for how Trump will work with a Democratic majority -- Schrader isn't so concerned. He said he thinks the President is "a pliable guy."

"I think he'd be fine. The President, he's totally amoral. He has no values. He'd be easy to work with," he said. "Whatever we decide, he'd get in front of at the end of the day and make sure everyone knew it was his idea. I think we're in good shape."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48201

Reported Deaths: 2693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11624683
Lake5146242
Elkhart328546
Allen2762129
St. Joseph194366
Cass16389
Hamilton1552101
Hendricks1403100
Johnson1278118
Porter72837
Tippecanoe7158
Madison65864
Clark65144
Bartholomew58544
Howard57557
LaPorte57326
Kosciusko5464
Vanderburgh5226
Marshall4924
Noble47828
Jackson4703
LaGrange4708
Hancock44835
Boone44243
Delaware44250
Shelby42525
Floyd37944
Morgan32931
Grant29426
Monroe29428
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Dubois2736
Henry26315
White26310
Decatur25032
Lawrence24425
Dearborn23623
Vigo2348
Warrick21429
Harrison21322
Unassigned193193
Greene18832
Miami1822
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1607
Daviess14317
Wayne1386
Orange13623
Steuben1292
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1167
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Huntington812
Gibson802
Randolph794
Jefferson722
Wells721
Fulton701
Jay680
Washington671
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown391
Posey390
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Tipton321
Fountain312
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57150

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10271422
Cuyahoga7724373
Hamilton5924197
Marion273238
Lucas2723302
Pickaway219141
Summit2131206
Montgomery198126
Mahoning1825232
Butler157644
Columbiana130360
Stark1107112
Lorain102167
Trumbull93965
Warren83921
Clark7659
Delaware56815
Fairfield55916
Tuscarawas55210
Belmont54622
Medina51632
Lake49718
Licking47712
Miami46331
Portage44058
Ashtabula43344
Wood42151
Geauga40542
Clermont4006
Wayne36251
Richland3375
Allen31540
Mercer2818
Greene2519
Darke24825
Erie24222
Holmes2313
Huron2152
Madison1958
Ottawa14323
Crawford1355
Sandusky13414
Washington13220
Putnam12815
Ross1243
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Auglaize1064
Coshocton972
Monroe8917
Jefferson872
Union851
Muskingum831
Hancock781
Hocking788
Preble731
Guernsey703
Lawrence700
Williams702
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Carroll593
Wyandot586
Athens561
Brown561
Knox511
Defiance503
Fayette460
Highland451
Champaign401
Scioto380
Perry341
Van Wert340
Seneca332
Henry290
Jackson230
Paulding230
Pike230
Adams221
Vinton222
Gallia171
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
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