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Republicans facing ‘a five-alarm fire’ in suburban districts they’ll need in 2020

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Republicans won a narrow victory in Tuesday’s special election in North Carolina, but their chances of retaking the House next year look bleak.

More than a dozen GOP lawmakers are retiring as President Donald Trump’s unpopularity sinks even lower, with a possible recession on the horizon, and Republicans are headed into their annual retreat in a gloomy mood, reported Politico.

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“I see an easy path for 12 pickup seats,” said Rep. Mark Meadow (R-NC), head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “It’s the last six that will be tough, and that actually runs through California. If we don’t pick up any in California, it will be virtually impossible.”

Trump will join House Republicans in Baltimore for their three-day retreat buoyed by Dan Bishop’s narrow win in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, but they recognize signs are ominous heading into 2020.

Bishop eked out a 2-point win in a district Trump won by 12 points in 2016, but he performed dismally in the suburbs that turned against GOP candidate in last year’s midterms.

“This is like a five-alarm fire for Republicans in prosperous suburbs,” said Dave Wasserman, the House editor for the Cook Political Report. “[The GOP] averted disaster, but there’s nothing in the results to persuade House Republicans who are sitting on the fence about running for reelection that they are any likelier to take back the majority.”

The GOP is hoping to hold on to 35 House seats in districts that are even less reliably Republican than Bishop’s, and the party is losing its only black House member and two of its 13 women.

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Most of those retirements have come from deeply red districts, but at least three of those races have become more competitive with the loss of GOP incumbents.

“We consistently have a lot more turnover than the Democrats, and that’s been the case when we’re in the majority or the minority,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), whose Washington roommate Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) is among the retirements. “We have a real opportunity to win the majority back.”

The wild card remains the economy, which has shown signs of falling into recession before next year’s election.

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“The stronger the economy, the better it will be for the president and Republicans,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY). “If the economy is not going well, I guess it depends on how so, which factors of the economy aren’t going well.”

Republicans remain publicly confident the economy will hold strong through the election, but political analysts say they’re in trouble either way.

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“In both 2018 and last night, House race results have been highly correlated with Trump’s approval ratings,” Wasserman said. “It’s unlikely that [Republicans] win back control of the House either way. Right now, I would put the chances at somewhere between 25 and 35 percent.”


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Rudy Giuliani eager to testify against John Bolton: ‘If he shows his face I would say — You’re an atomic bomb’

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Rudy Giuliani denied claims by former national security adviser John Bolton, and kept the door open to his own possible impeachment testimony.

The former New York City mayor said he was still President Donald Trump's personal attorney, but explained why he had not been added to his impeachment trial defense team, reported CBS News.

"Well, I am, but I can't participate in what goes on in the Congress, because I'm a possible witness," Giuliani said, adding that he's ready to testify if he got White House approval.

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Trump flings insults at John Bolton as Senate weighs subpoena: ‘If I listened to him we would be in World War Six’

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President Donald Trump hurled insults at his former national security adviser John Bolton -- who could be called to testify against him in the Senate impeachment trial.

Bolton revealed in his forthcoming book that Trump explicitly tied Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe Biden, and Democratic senators -- and possibly some Republicans -- want to subpoena him to testify in the trial.

"For a guy who couldn’t get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn’t get approved for anything since, 'begged' me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying 'Don’t do it, sir,' takes the job, mistakenly says 'Libyan Model' on T.V.," Trump tweeted, "and many more mistakes of judgement, gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?"

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2020 Election

Democrats already prepping for possible Trump transition sabotage — assuming he accepts election loss

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Democrats are preparing for the possibility that President Donald Trump and his staff will sabotage their transition if he loses the 2020 election.

At least one outside group -- National Security Action -- has started making preparations for the Democratic campaigns in the event their candidate wins, and Elizabeth Warren has just released a plan that describes how she would quickly staff the government to smooth the transition if she won the White House, reported Politico.

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