weather icon Overcast

Pennsylvania key to House control after Kavanaugh fight

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Temple University student Daisy Confoy represents the “blue wave.”

Opposed to President Donald Trump’s policies, she is registering new voters in the Philadelphia subway and on sidewalks, working to turn out Democratic voters in the midterm elections.

“We’re here fighting against a culture of intolerance,” said Confoy, 19, a first-time voter. She lists her concerns with Trump administration policies: immigration, civil rights, health care and the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“The Kavanaugh hearings were a wake-up call for a lot of young women,” she said.

Confoy was protesting outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center when Trump received applause from about 3,000 men and women inside at a National Electrical Contractors Association convention.

The crowd roared when Trump spoke about economic gains spurring hiring by American companies and policies geared toward increased domestic manufacturing.

At campaign events around the country, Trump also touts the Kavanaugh confirmation as a GOP success — and a loss by lawmakers who may seek to impeach the controversial judge if Democrats win control of the House.

With less than 30 days before Nov. 6, the midterm election is largely seen as a referendum on Trump’s performance, which political strategists on both sides claim has energized their voter base.

While the Kavanaugh fight is expected to help the GOP hold its majority in the Senate, putting red state Democrats in peril, Republicans could lose control of the House of Representatives as Democrats target suburban Republican and independent women voters.

Pennsylvania races key

Pennsylvania is a Rust Belt state that Trump won in 2016, but the state is key to the Democratic Party’s strategy to win 23 seats nationally and take back control of the House.

Unlike Nevada, where Democrats are playing defense trying to hold two suburban Las Vegas congressional districts, Pennsylvania gives the party a chance to flip six House seats — nearly a quarter of those needed to win control.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in January ruled that a seven-year old GOP redistricting map was unconstitutional, and the court drew new congressional lines aimed at making districts more competitive.

“I am appalled that a partisan (state) Supreme Court could rewrite a map the way they did,” said Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “I think those judges should be impeached.”

In addition, pollsters have found Democrats are more motivated to vote in the upcoming election.

A recent poll by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, showed that 64 percent of registered Democrats were enthusiastic about voting Nov. 6, compared with 58 percent of registered Republicans.

The Pennsylvania poll echoes a national survey by the Pew Research Center that found voter enthusiasm is at its highest level during any midterm in more than two decades. A record share of registered voters, 72 percent, said the issue of which party controls Congress will be a factor in their vote.

Trump also continues to be a consideration for voters. The Pew survey found 60 percent of those who responded said their vote would be an expression about the president’s performance — with 37 percent against and 23 percent for Trump.

“There is something incredible happening across America,” said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“We are running strong in places where Democrats have not been competitive for some time: North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois,” Lujan said.

Nevada’s competitive races

In Nevada, the NRCC and DCCC are optimistic about competitive races in the 3rd and 4th congressional districts.

Democrat Susie Lee and Republican Danny Tarkanian are battling for the District 3 seat being vacated by Rep. Jacky Rosen, a Democrat, who is running for Senate.

In the open Nevada District 4 race, Democrat Steven Horsford and Republican Cresent Hardy are fighting to win the seat each has already held, years earlier. Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., announced he would not seek re-election following allegations of sexual misconduct, which he has denied.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which analyzes congressional contests, has rated the District 4 race as “likely Democrat” and the District 3 contest as “leans Democrat.”

Both Stivers and Lujan talk up their recruits in the two Nevada races and express confidence in their campaigns.

“Nevada on the whole is a very competitive state,” Lujan said. “And we have important races on the top of the ballot.”

Nevada’s congressional races have been overshadowed by the nationally watched Senate battle between Republican incumbent Dean Heller and Democratic challenger Rosen.

With Heller considered the most vulnerable Republican senator up for re-election, national media focus has been on the race that could reshape the makeup of the upper chamber, where the GOP has a razor-thin 51-49 majority.

Heller voted with Republicans to confirm Kavanaugh. The senator praised the nominee’s judicial record and said the FBI failed to find any evidence or witnesses to corroborate allegations of sexual misconduct from nearly three decades ago.

Rosen has attacked Heller for failing to take the allegations seriously, and calling them “a hiccup” in the confirmation process. Rosen characterized Heller as a “rubber stamp” to the reckless Trump agenda.

Heller has responded with attacks of his own. He said Rosen was a puppet of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

Effect on turnout

Charlie Cook, writing in the Cook Political Report, said the Kavanaugh confirmation battle is unlikely to sway party voters or play a big role in the decisions of independents, but it may affect turnout.

Even before the Kavanaugh battle, Cook noted, “one can make a case that this blue Democratic wave is actually a pink wave, as we are seeing surging numbers of women voters, donors and candidates this year.”

Fundraising for the 2018 midterm is higher than during the last election cycle, with candidates raising $1.7 billion, the parties raising $1.3 billion and outside spending from political action committees and interest groups totaling $550 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, home to Philadelphia suburbs and parts of three congressional districts, voter registration appears to be up, but the totals won’t be known until after mail-in registrations are tabulated. The last day to mail in a form was Tuesday, according to Karley Sisler, director of voter services.

Madeleine Dean, a Democratic state representative, opposed Kavanaugh and voiced concern about abortion rights in her campaign against Republican Dan David, a businessman, in the newly drawn 4th Congressional District. It includes Norristown in Montgomery County, where Hillary Clinton won 59 percent of the vote in 2016.

Nearby, in the new 7th Congressional District, an open seat, attorney Susan Wild, a Democrat, faces Republican Marty Nothstein, an Olympic cyclist, and Tim Silfies, a television reporter running as a Libertarian.

Wild is running as a mom with a platform to protect Medicare and Social Security, health care benefits and civil rights for minorities and the LGBT community. She is endorsed by former President Barack Obama.

Nothstein is touting economic gains made with a Republican president and Congress — “results versus resistance.”

Dean and Wild have teamed with two other women congressional candidates for Pennsylvania seats, Chrissy Houlahan and Mary Gay Scanlon, who call themselves the “Fab 4.”

In Pennsylvania, notably Philadelphia, its suburbs and its exurbs, the Kavanaugh confirmation could be a factor at the ballot box.

“If something as serious as Kavanaugh’s confirmation doesn’t push women to the polls, I don’t know what will,” Confoy said. “It’s crucial that we rise to the occasion.”

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Las Vegas City Council Ward 1 race
Candidates for Las Vegas City Council Ward 1. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O’Rourke campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke addresses attendees during a campaign stop at Arandas Taqueria in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Beto O'Rourke House Party in Las Vegas
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke delivered a message of unity inside a Las Vegas living room Saturday night, outlining a mission to bridge the divide in a polarized America and rally behind “big defining ambitions that we have in common.” (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks at Atomic Liquors
Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand talks to her supporters at Atomic Liquors.
Presidential candidate Gillibrand meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., meets with UNLV Immigration Clinic student attorneys at her first stop in Nevada as a candidate Thursday, March 21, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto promotes the Rebuild America’s Schools Act
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., co-sponsor of the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, speaks at Hoggard Elementary School in Las Vegas to promote the bill that would provide $100 billion for infrastructure improvements at schools across the country. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Scholar Max Eden on how restorative justice decreases student achievement - VIDEO
Across the country, restorative justice is lowering test scores and increasing the number of students who feel unsafe at schools. That’s according to Max Eden, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, who recently released a study discipline reform.
NV Dems Want To Gut Read By Three - Video
Nevada’s students have a major problem. They aren’t very good at reading. In 2017, just 31 percent of fourth graders were proficient at reading according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. The number proficient falls to 28 percent in eighth grade. Read by Three could change that. If a student can’t read at grade level by the end of third grade, he repeats the grade.
Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard stumps in Las Vegas
Presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, holds a meet and greet at the Asian Culture Center in downtown Las Vegas Monday, March 18, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nye County pushes back against state gun bill
Gun store owner Robby Brentlinger and John Koenig, Chairman of the Nye County Board of Commissioners, discuss their thoughts on gun rights and Nevada Senate Bill 143. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Atkinson pleads guilty
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday.
Atkinson pleads guilty to wire fraud charges
U.S. Attorney’s Office announces plea deal for charges against former Nevada Senate majority leader Kelvin Atkinson during a press conference on Monday, March 11, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleads guilty
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Monday, less than a week after resigning from his post. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Melania Trump Speaks Out About Opioid Epidemic - VIDEO
Melania Trump speaks at the Westgate hotel about the Opioid epidemic in the United State and how this generation can be the group that ends it.
Nevada Legislative Session Preview: Education, Yucca Mountain and Microchips
The Nevada Legislature will be meeting to look at new bills that involve education and marriage age restrictions. Governor Sisolak has also requested to meet with the White House about the plutonium shipments sent to Nevada.
Cortez Masto, Rosen For Infanticide - VIDEO
If an abortionist — armed with scissors, clamps and a vacuum cleaner — can’t kill a baby while she’s still in the womb, he shouldn’t get another chance after she’s born. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen disagree.
Abortion Bill Would Decriminalize Causing A Pregnant Woman To Miscarry - VIDEO
If abortion advocates believed their own rhetoric, they’d oppose the Trust Nevada Women Act.
Las Vegas city council candidate Diaz talks about Badlands, public safety and homelessness
The residents of Las Vegas’ Ward 3 aren’t thinking about the development issues surrounding Badlands golf course. They do, however, want more neighborhood police patrols to increase public safety. Other jurisdictions should help the City of Las Vegas with its growing homelessness population. That’s according to former Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz who’s running for the Ward 3 city council seat.
Nevada State Senate Looks At Red Light Cameras - VIDEO
The Nevada State Senate looks at a bill that will add red light cameras to all of the traffic lights in Las Vegas.
Nye County OKs deal to hold ICE detainees in Pahrump

The contract will allow Nye County to reopen the Tonopah Jail, which was shut down in March 2015 as the result of budget deficits.