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On the roster: Presenting your Fox News House Power Rankings - Florida Senate race gets real with Scott entry - Feds raid Trump lawyer’s office - Gowdy begins looking into Pruitt’s conduct - Poppin’
PRESENTING YOUR FOX NEWS HOUSE POWER RANKINGS
The battle lines for control of the House have been drawn and Republicans find themselves on defense – deeply.
We looked at all 435 House seats in fashioning the first installment of our Fox News House Power Rankings, but as you know, relatively few incumbents face serious challenges in any election year. In fact, 374 of the races don’t look very competitive, at least at this point. Those we have classified as either likely Republican or likely Democratic.
If you do not see a race listed below, you can assume that we think it is out of play for now and that the seat is safe for whatever party controls it.
One housekeeping note here: Those “Likely” categories include three seats expected to change hands, one Democratic and two Republican, all three from Pennsylvania. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., has been redistricted out of the seat he won, which is expected to return to Republican hands this fall. And Philadelphia-area Reps. Patrick Meehan and Ryan Costello, both of whom are retiring, hail from what are now solid blue districts.
What you will see below is a ranking of races based on their competitive status and ranked in order of their likelihood to flip parties this fall.
So let’s take a hypothetical example:
OH-19 - Rep. James Garfield (R)**
What that code means is that the seat held by Congressman Garfield, who represents the 19th District of Ohio, is more likely to remain in Republican hands than switch parties, but the race looks competitive. The two asterisks after his name indicate that he is not running for the seat and that he is seeking another office. In his case, the presidency.
Or how about this one:
AR-02 - Rep. Wilbur Mills (D)*
The single asterisk means that Arkansas Democrat Mills is not seeking reelection. And the rating of “Toss Up” means we think that the two parties are evenly matched in their efforts to win the open seat.
But we don’t want you to get bogged down in the alphabet soup. The important takeaway is that of the 61 most competitive races, Republicans are playing defense in 52 of them. If we drill down a little deeper we see that of the 25 races that are pure Toss Ups, 15 of the districts are ones that voted Democratic in the 2016 presidential election.
There are only seven of the 25 districts that Republicans carried in the 2016 presidential by 3 points or more.
Democrats are 25 seats short of a majority now, which makes having so many Republican seats in play good news for the Blue Team. Just having more than five dozen seats as at least marginally competitive gives Democrats a lot of ways to try to put together a majority. Geography tells us a lot here. As you look through the lists, you will see clusters of seats, particularly in the northeast and California, places where Democrats have been resurgent since Republican victories in 2010 and 2014.
As we get closer to the election, we will continue to keep you up to date on ratings changes, as we have with Senate and gubernatorial contests. But we would encourage you to also try to think nationally as you watch the battle for control of the House. That’s why we have and will continue to share a daily average of generic ballot polls, which are aimed at getting the general sense of the electorate.
PA-07 - Rep. Charles Dent (R)*
CA-39 - Rep. Edward Royce (R)*
MN-01 - Rep. Timothy Walz (D)**
MN-02 - Rep. Jason Lewis (R)
MN-08 - Rep. Richard Nolan (D)*
NJ-11 - Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R)*
VA-10 - Rep. Barbara Comstock (R)
WA-08 - Rep. David Reichert (R)*
CA-10 - Rep. Jeff Denham (R)
CA-25 - Rep. Stephen Knight (R)
CA-48 - Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R)
CO-06 - Rep. Mike Coffman (R)
FL-26 - Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R)
IA-01 - Rep. Rod Blum (R)
MI-11 - Rep. David Trott (R)*
NE-02 - Rep. Don Bacon (R)
NY-19 - Rep. John Faso (R)
NY-22 - Rep. Claudia Tenney (R)
PA-01 - Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)
PA-17 - Rep. Keith Rothfus (R)
IL-12 - Rep. Mike Bost (R)
MN-03 - Rep. Erik Paulsen (R)
TX-23 - Rep. Will Hurd (R)
IL-06 - Rep. Peter Roskam (R)
TX-07 - Rep. John Culberson (R)
FL-27 - Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R)*
AZ-02 - Rep. Martha McSally (R)**
CA-49 - Rep. Darrell Issa (R)*
NJ-02 - Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R)*
NH-01 - Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D)*
NV-03 - Rep. Jacky Rosen (D)**
AZ-01 - Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D)
NJ-05 - Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D)
FL-07 - Rep. Stephanie N. Murphy (D)
MN-07 - Rep. Collin Peterson (D)
NV-04 - Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D)*
CA-45 - Rep. Mimi Walters (R)
KS-02 - Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R)*
KS-03 - Rep. Kevin Yoder (R)
KY-06 - Rep. Andy Barr (R)
MI-08 - Rep. Mike Bishop (R)
NJ-07 - Rep. Leonard Lance (R)
UT-04 - Rep. Mia Love (R)
GA-06 - Rep. Karen Handel (R)
IA-03 - Rep. David Young (R)
ME-02 - Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R)
NC-09 - Rep. Robert Pittenger (R)
NC-13 - Rep. Ted Budd (R)
TX-32 - Rep. Pete Sessions (R)
VA-02 - Rep. Scott Taylor (R)
OH-01 - Rep. Steve Chabot (R)
CA-21 - Rep. David G. Valadao (R)
MT-01 - Vacant (R)
NM-02 - Rep. Stevan Pearce (R)**
NY-11 - Rep. Daniel Donovan (R)
OH-12 - Vacant (R)
VA-07 - Rep. Dave Brat (R)
WA-05 - Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R)
FL-18 - Rep. Brian Mast (R)
NJ-03 - Rep. Thomas MacArthur (R)
NY-01 - Rep. Lee M. Zeldin (R)
**Running for another seat
THE RULEBOOK: TRICKLE DOWN
“In those instances in which the monarch finally prevailed over his vassals, his success was chiefly owing to the tyranny of those vassals over their dependents.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 17
TIME OUT: PUT YOUR FINGER ON IT
Smithsonian: “For years, archaeologist Huw Groucutt and his team had driven one particular stretch of desert on their way to dig sites in Saudi Arabia. As they drove they caught glimpses of what looked like bones, emerging from the slowly eroding sand. Finally, in 2014, the team decided to explore the array of bones at Al Wusta. Within two years, amidst more than 800 fossilized animal bones and nearly 400 stone artifacts, they discovered something remarkable: the middle digit of a finger bone, from what appeared to be a modern human. Anatomically modern, that is. The fossilized finger dated to at least 85,000 years ago. … The discovery is 'a dream come true, because it supports arguments that our teams have been making for more than 10 years,' said archaeologist Michael Petraglia, another co-author of the study, in a press conference. ‘This find together with other finds in the last few years suggests that modern humans, Homo sapiens, are moving out of Africa multiple times during many windows of opportunity in the last 100,000 years or so.’”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 41.4 percent
Average disapproval: 53.4 percent
Net Score: -12 points
Change from one week ago: down 1 point
[Average includes: Gallup: 39% approve - 55% disapprove; IBD: 38% approve - 56% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; Marist College: 42% approve - 51% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 52% disapprove.]
Control of House
Republican average: 41.4 percent
Democratic average: 47.8 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 6.4 points
Change from one week ago: no change in Democratic advantage
[Average includes: CNN: 50% Dems - 44% GOP; Marist College: 44% Dems - 39% GOP; Fox News: 46% Dems - 41% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 49% Dems - 43% GOP; NBC News/WSJ: 50% Dems - 40% GOP.]
FLORIDA SENATE RACE GETS REAL WITH SCOTT ENTRY
Fox News: “Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott struck an anti-Washington tone as he announced plans Monday to run for the Senate against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, setting up what could be one of the most highly-watched races in the country. ‘Some say as governor, I have never fit in or played by the political rules in Tallahassee,’ Scott said in a video released by his campaign. ‘Well that’s true. And I never planned to fit in.’ Scott, first elected governor in 2010, kicked off his campaign Monday during a morning event in Orlando. He called for enacting term limits in Congress and discussed how he was raised in low income housing by a mother and stepfather who worked multiple jobs. ‘I won’t fit in in Washington either,’ Scott said. ‘It’s time to shake that place up. We don’t need another politician in Washington. It’s full of politicians. And that’s why it’s broken.’ Nelson, a longtime lawmaker who famously went through NASA training and spent six days orbiting Earth aboard the space shuttle Columbia, is the only statewide elected Democrat.”
Gov. Rick Scott's press secretary, 33, dies in Florida Keys boating accident - WSVN: “Governor Rick Scott’s longtime Press Secretary Jereima Bustamante died Sunday night after the boat she was in crashed in the Florida Keys. Bustamante, 33, suffered blunt force trauma, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and died at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier. Florida Keys News reported the boat that Bustamante was in crashed into mangrove branches lining a narrow channel in Islamorada shortly after 6 p.m. ‘It is with true sadness that we learned today of the passing of our long time Press Secretary, Jeri Bustamante, who faithfully served in our administration for many years,’ Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott said in a statement. “Anyone who ever spent time with Jeri knows what a terrific and selfless person she was. Her personality filled rooms and hearts. We grieve with her family today. FWC says alcohol is not suspected to be a factor in the crash.”
Hoyer campaigns for House Dems where Pelosi can’t - AP: “Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is not welcome in Trump country, which was probably one reason another top Democrat — her long-term rival Steny Hoyer — was zipping through Republican-friendly corners of western Wisconsin this past week. Hoyer, the Maryland centrist and perpetual leader-in-waiting in the House of Representatives, was on a mission to woo blue-collar voters and help his party win back control of the House. He was also looking for what could be his last shot. … Hoyer has been eying the top spot for more than a decade, living in the shadow of a San Francisco Democrat who has a white-knuckle grip on power. Now, as the party wrestles with its ideological impulses and younger lawmakers push for a generational shift — both he and Pelosi are 78 years old — Hoyer may be looking for one more play.”
Congressman brandishes pistol to illustrate responsible gun ownership -[Palmetto] Post and Courier: “A South Carolina Republican congressman is not backing down from critics after he pulled out his own personal — and loaded — .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun during a meeting with constituents Friday. U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, told The Post and Courier he pulled out the weapon and placed it on a table for several minutes in attempt to make a point that guns are only dangerous in the hands of criminals. ‘I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords,’ Norman said afterward, referring to the former Arizona Democratic congresswoman who was shot outside a Tucson-area grocery store during a constituent gathering in 2011. Norman was speaking to constituents about gun violence during a public meeting at the Rock Hill Diner. The act drew immediate criticism from Democrats and others.”
FEDS RAID TRUMP LAWYER’S OFFICE
NYT: “The F.B.I. on Monday raided the office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing records related to several topics including payments to a pornographic-film actress. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search ‘completely inappropriate and unnecessary.’ The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York. … Mr. Cohen plays a role in aspects of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He also recently said he paid $130,000 to a pornographic-film actress, Stephanie Clifford, who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. Ms. Clifford is known as Stormy Daniels.”
GOWDY BEGINS LOOKING INTO PRUITT’S CONDUCT
Politico: “House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) indicated he has begun inquiring into EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s activities, according to a video shot by activists on Friday and released by Friends of the Earth. ‘I don't have a lot patience for that kind of stuff,’ Gowdy told activists at a signing of his new book co-authored with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Gowdy didn’t say whether his committee has begun a formal investigation of Pruitt or some more preliminary review, but he said that public servants must ‘be a good steward’ of taxpayer money. Pruitt has faced a stream of questions about his $50-a-night condo rental from the wife of an energy lobbyist, as well as his expensive security arrangements and first-class air travel. Asked by the activists whether Pruitt had turned over all requested documents, Gowdy said his committee has viewed them, but has not actually obtained copies.”
Email raises doubts about Pruitt’s claims on raise - The Atlantic: “An email that suggests Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt personally signed off on a controversial pay raise for a favored aide last month is roiling the agency. In the last few days, top staffers became aware of an email exchange between one of two aides who received such a raise and the agency’s human resources division. In mid-March, Sarah Greenwalt, senior counsel to the administrator, wrote to HR in an attempt to confirm that her pay raise of $56,765 was being processed. Greenwalt ‘definitively stated that Pruitt approves and was supportive of her getting a raise,’ according to an administration official who has seen the email chain.’ … Now, the agency’s IG is probing whether Pruitt abused that hiring authority.”
Top federal ethics watchdog puts Pruitt on notice - NYT: “The federal government’s top ethics official has taken the unusual step of sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency questioning a series of actions by Administrator Scott Pruitt and asking the agency to take ‘appropriate actions to address any violations.’ The letter, sent to Kevin Minoli, the E.P.A. official designated as the agency’s top ethics official, addresses questions about Mr. Pruitt’s rental for $50 a night of a condominium linked to an energy lobbyist, as well as his government-funded flights to his home state of Oklahoma. The letter also cites reporting last week in The New York Times that agency staff members who raised concerns about these and other actions found themselves transferred or demoted.”
How ‘news desserts’ shaped the 2016 vote - Politico
Woman who accused Missouri Gov. Greitens’ of blackmail wavering - WashEx
Duckworth becomes first serving senator to give birth - Chicago Sun Times
Graham says he expects another push for immigration deal - Politico
Crowley won’t take on Pelosi if she remains - The Hill
Battle lines take shape as Scalise, McCarthy eye Ryan’s gavel - Politico
Report: Evidence raises new doubts about meeting with Russian oligarch and key Trump backer - ABC News
AUDIBLE: TOUGH HARVEST
“These are great patriots. They understand that they're doing this for the country. And we'll make it up to them. And in the end, they're going to be much stronger than they are right now.” – President Trump speaking about US farmers and the continued trade disputes with China.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Read your closet-Democrat polemic damning Scott Pruitt on Friday. Given Pruitt’s excellent performance in reining in the extraordinary political excesses of his predecessor, Trump would be a fool to get rid of him for travel expense issues or allowing two staffer raises, since rescinded, to get past him. The Obama government gave Lois Lerner a pension and left Koskinen in place, after obvious and more serious corruption (notwithstanding the former President’s assertion to O’Reilly that there was ‘not a smidgen’ of corruption at the IRS). Given a choice between getting rid of Pruitt or getting rid of Nixon’s Folly (the entire EPA), I’d axe the EPA and send Pruitt after another waste-laden destructor of freedom. Our government has far too many of them. On your part, stirring the Pruitt and Farenthold stories together was simply yellow journalism. Ethics First, indeed!” – Howard Bartlett, Casselberry, Fla.
[Ed. note: If you recall, Mr. Bartlett, we pointed out that one reason for Trump to overlook Pruitt’s many lapses is that doing so is good base politics. Not only do big-business Republicans and liberty-minded conservatives agree that Pruitt’s reductive approach to the EPA is good stuff, but Pruitt’s presence also upsets liberals. It is often good politics for leaders to do things that will connect with the angriest, most resentful members of their bases. After coming up short on a variety of issues lately and now facing new challenges as it relates to military action in the Middle East, Pruitt can prove helpful to Trump if he, as they say on the Twitter machine, “makes liberal’s heads explode.” And, having read your note, I can see that, at least in some cases, the calculations about Pruitt prove correct. I would caution you, though, about allowing your ethical boundaries to be set by people you claim are corrupt. Keeping high standards for corruption is important regardless of which party is in power, so I would only suggest that you make sure you’re giving those to whom you give your support high standards to meet.]
“Responding to Sherman’s comment about the Union’s defeat, Grant laconically remarked, ‘Yup. We’ll lick ‘em tomorrow.’ That’s Grant in a nutshell. My respects to Dana, the brightest star in the Fox Firmament.” – Jim Wofford, Upperville, Va.
[Ed. note: And fittingly, Mr. Wofford, today is the anniversary of the surrender of Appomattox. I will most certainly pass on your kind words to my friend.]
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HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
CDL Life: “The Michigan State Patrol has issued a warning to the state’s residents to refrain from bubble wrapping the 100th Street bridge in Byron Township, which has been hit by five trucks so far this year. … The release says that MSP is ‘strongly advising against this event and strict enforcement action will be taken if necessary.’ … The bridge, which goes over US-131, was hit for the fifth time in 2018 on March 22 when it was struck by a truck hauling wood chips. Earlier in March, the 100th Street bridge was hit by a truck hauling a forklift, and back in January it took strikes from a truck hauling a mobile home and later by two trucks hauling an oversized shipping container. The 100th Street bridge is hit so frequently that it has garnered near-celebrity status and even has its own Facebook page.”
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.