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SENATE GOP LEADER: I BELIEVE WOMEN ACCUSING MOORE

Roy Moore

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believes the women accusing Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct and that GOP leaders are considering a write-in candidacy in the race. The head of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, said Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he wins the December special election. As Republican leaders grappled over how to deal with Moore, a fifth woman came forward to allege that Moore tried to force himself on her when she was just 16. (Posted November 12)

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NEIGHBOR CHARGED IN ASSAULT ON U.S. SENATOR RAND PAUL

Boucher’s mug shot

Paul was assaulted and shoved to the ground while mowing the grass outside of his home on November 3, according to the senator’s office and Kentucky State Police. Rene Boucher, 59, an anesthesiologist who lives next to Paul in a gated community outside of Bowling Green, was arrested and charged with fourth-degree assault. Paul was not seriously injured and later sent out a tweet saying he and his wife “appreciate the overwhelming support” after the attack. The assault on Paul comes amid increased security concerns after a gunman shot four people at a congressional softball practice in June. (Posted November 5)

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TENNESSEE SENATE RACE: HASLAM OUT, BLACKBURN IN

Blackburn

Haslam

Governor Bill Haslam, the popular governor who is term-limited in 2018, says running for his state’s open U.S. Senate seat would be a “distraction” from his work as governor. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, an eight-term congresswoman from Brentwood, announced she is running in a video in which she describes herself as a “hardcore card-carrying Tennessee conservative” who carries a gun in her purse. She also offered a full-throated blast at sitting senators in her own party for not repealing Obamacare, saying she would fight “to make our Republican majority act like one.” (Posted October 5)

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ROY MOORE OUSTS LUTHER STRANGE FROM ALABAMA SENATE SEAT

Roy Moore

Alabama Republicans rebuked GOP Senate leaders and President Trump by choosing Moore, twice removed as chief justice of the state’s highest court for defying federal court orders on displaying the Ten Commandments and same-sex marriage. Moore took 55 percent of the vote in the primary runoff to 45 percent for Strange, who failed to secure by election the post he gained by appointment seven months ago. Strange had been backed by both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As the results rolled in, Trump tweeted congratulations to Moore. (Posted September 26)

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STEWART VOWS “VICIOUS, RUTHLESS” RUN FOR VIRGINIA SEAT

Stewart

Just a month after narrowly losing a Republican primary for Virginia governor, President Trump’s one-time state chairman, Corey Stewart, is vowing to run “the most vicious, ruthless” campaign to unseat U.S. Senator Tim Kaine in 2018, accusing Hillary Clinton’s running mate of having “blind hatred” for Trump and trying to stop the president’s agenda. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, lost June’s GOP gubernatorial primary by just 4,500 votes to former Bush White House aide Ed Gillespie. (Posted July 13)

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JENKINS CHALLENGING MANCHIN FOR WEST VIRGINIA SEAT

Jenkins

U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins announced that he will try to defeat U.S. Senator Joe Manchin in 2018, in what is expected to be one of the South’s hottest Senate races. Although Manchin, a former governor, styles himself as a moderate, Jenkins put out a blistering campaign video accusing Machin of straying from the values he was elected to represent by supporting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Jenkins also tied himself firmly to Donald Trump, who won the Mountaineer State by a staggering 41 points in 2016. (Posted May 8)

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SOUTHERN SENATORS SPLIT OVER HIGH COURT FILIBUSTERS

Gorsuch

With the support of all 24 Southern Republicans, the U.S. Senate changed its rules to eliminate filibusters for Supreme Court nominations, clearing the way for confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to a lifetime seat on the high court. Three of the four Southern Democratic senators — Bill Nelson of Florida and Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia — supported a filibuster to block Gorsuch, prompting Republicans to end the practice. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who did,’t join the filibuster but voted against changing the rules, criticized both sides for “hypocrisy,” saying the filibuster flap shows “precisely what is wrong with Washington.”(Posted April 6)

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O’ROURKE KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN TO UNSEAT CRUZ IN TEXAS

O’Rourke kicks off campaign in El Paso.

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is giving up his safe House seat in order to make a long-shot bid to unseat U.S. Senator Ted Cruz,  kicked off his campaign March 31 with a rally in his hometown of El Paso, which he represents in Congress, followed by a weekend of stops in major cities around the Lone Star State. Without mentioning Cruz by name, O’Rourke accused him of putting political ambition above his job as a senator, saying that to meet the challenges of the future, Texans will need “a senator who’s working full time for Texas, a senator who’s not using this position of responsibility and power to serve his own interests, to run for president, to shut down the government.” O’Rourke is also positioning himself as aDonald Trump critic, saying the new administration is “focused on the wrong things instead of the right things that (are) going to get us ahead.” (Posted April 1)

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KAINE RULES OUT ANY RUN FOR 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION

Kaine

Kaine

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia says he is through with presidential-level politics and will not run for the Democratic nomination in 2020. Kaine made those remarks in a November 17 interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, his first in-depth interview since he and Hillary Clinton went down to defeat on November 8. “I want to run and serve in the Senate for a long time,” Kaine said. “I think the Catholic in me likes to go to the place where there is the most work to be done.” Kaine is up for re-election in Virginia in 2018. (Posted November 18)

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