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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 3:20 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 3:20 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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 554536

Reported Deaths: 7083
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1155051679
Ramsey47786853
Dakota42410422
Anoka38477415
Washington24913273
Stearns20994218
St. Louis16774297
Scott15946117
Wright14764127
Olmsted1273297
Sherburne1060080
Carver980145
Clay781289
Rice7632101
Blue Earth695840
Kandiyohi627380
Crow Wing615086
Chisago548250
Otter Tail542673
Benton530597
Mower450532
Goodhue442471
Douglas441870
Winona438149
Nobles400248
Morrison394659
McLeod394355
Isanti375159
Beltrami372257
Itasca370752
Polk365367
Steele361914
Becker353948
Lyon347848
Carlton329352
Freeborn326829
Pine311821
Nicollet306542
Brown294439
Mille Lacs281250
Le Sueur269722
Todd268730
Cass249626
Meeker235937
Waseca231221
Martin212529
Wabasha19953
Roseau197318
Renville172043
Hubbard171841
Dodge17123
Redwood166435
Houston162614
Cottonwood156821
Fillmore15169
Pennington150619
Chippewa145836
Wadena144021
Faribault143419
Sibley135710
Kanabec130621
Aitkin128636
Watonwan12549
Rock122719
Jackson117310
Yellow Medicine110419
Pipestone109725
Murray10229
Pope10226
Swift99518
Marshall85617
Stevens82010
Lake78419
Clearwater77414
Koochiching76913
Wilkin76812
Lac qui Parle73522
Big Stone5644
Lincoln5592
Grant5478
Norman5229
Mahnomen5048
Unassigned49578
Kittson46622
Red Lake3877
Traverse3595
Lake of the Woods3053
Cook1450

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 357796

Reported Deaths: 5821
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk55970604
Linn20297330
Scott19082234
Black Hawk15550306
Woodbury14897221
Johnson1404281
Dubuque13153202
Dallas1089196
Pottawattamie10747162
Story1031147
Warren555186
Clinton537390
Cerro Gordo521986
Webster508291
Sioux506073
Marshall477174
Muscatine459896
Des Moines441465
Wapello4253120
Buena Vista421740
Jasper407670
Plymouth397079
Lee368155
Marion354575
Jones293055
Henry286137
Bremer279260
Carroll279151
Crawford262040
Boone258533
Benton250355
Washington249550
Dickinson242043
Mahaska224850
Jackson217942
Kossuth212663
Clay211025
Tama206671
Delaware202839
Winneshiek194433
Page190321
Buchanan188831
Cedar183823
Fayette182941
Wright180435
Hardin179942
Hamilton178049
Harrison176373
Clayton167055
Butler162534
Mills158620
Cherokee157138
Floyd155342
Lyon154741
Madison153919
Poweshiek152733
Allamakee149051
Iowa145524
Hancock143534
Winnebago136031
Grundy135232
Cass134354
Calhoun133211
Jefferson130635
Emmet128840
Shelby128337
Sac127219
Louisa126849
Appanoose126747
Mitchell125241
Union124032
Chickasaw122615
Humboldt118326
Guthrie117929
Franklin112721
Palo Alto110922
Howard102822
Montgomery100637
Unassigned10030
Clarke98223
Keokuk94530
Monroe94128
Ida89633
Adair84532
Pocahontas83621
Monona81230
Davis79924
Greene76710
Osceola75516
Lucas74923
Worth7078
Taylor65212
Fremont6139
Decatur5899
Van Buren55518
Ringgold53623
Wayne52123
Audubon4949
Adams3284
Rochester/St. Mary'S
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