Podcast: Voters have their say
Pundits and politicians have been talking about the coming election for months but the only opinions that really matter come from voters.
This week we handed the microphone over to voters around the country and asked what is driving them to the polls this year. They are concerned about the economy, jobs, immigration and the environment. Lots and lots of people are worried about health care.
Podcast: An indicted candidate, party infighting, taxes, the environment -- all things California
With one House candidate under indictment, infighting among the Democrats,
Podcast: Outside groups pour money into politics
A considerable portion of campaign activity voters see is paid for by donors who live outside the district or state, often through a political committee. Some of those donors are public, but so-called dark money groups don't have to identify their sources of income.
Eight years since the Supreme Court declared that political spending is free speech, corporations, unions and nonprofits spend massive amounts to support or denounce candidates.
Money talks: Campaigns draw millions in ‘outsider’ cash
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — It's been eight years since the U.S. Supreme Court declared that political spending is free speech. The decision eased the way for corporations, unions or nonprofits to spend massive amounts to support, or more often, denounce candidates in tight races.
Citizens United, as the ruling is commonly known, has transformed American political campaigns, most notably over the airways.
Parties take fight for votes straight to suburban women
McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Suburban women could hold the keys to control of Congress this election year. Once considered reliably Republican, college-educated, affluent women may be turned off by President Donald Trump and some of his party's policies, recent polling has shown, and Democrats are eager to offer them an alternative.
The outer suburbs of Washington, D.C., provide a case study.
Podcast: McCaskill’s uphill fight to keep her seat in deep red Missouri
Claire McCaskill was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and she has been in an uphill fight to hold onto her office ever since as a Democrat in a Republican state.
After President Donald Trump won Missouri in 2016 by about 19 percentage points, McCaskill's seat was immediately seen as prime for picking up by the Republicans.
Show-Me State Showdown: McCaskill’s fight to keep her seat
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is making a bid for a third term in a state that's trended increasingly red in recent years, setting up a nationally watched showdown that could be pivotal to party control of the Senate.
Podcast: Will Gary Johnson play spoiler with New Mexico Senate bid
Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is setting his sights on the U.S. Senate, arguing the time is ripe for a third-party politician who can act as swing vote and voice of common sense on matters from the federal deficit to cannabis.
Spoiler alert? Johnson Senate bid ups tension in New Mexico
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former presidential candidate Gary Johnson is setting his sights on a U.S. Senate seat from New Mexico as a Libertarian candidate, arguing that he can act as an influential swing vote and a voice of reason in bitterly divided Washington. The former governor wants to downsize federal spending to offset President Donald Trump's tax cuts and push let-live policies on cannabis and education. Democrats warn that he would work to torpedo social spending.
Podcast: Some Dems on thin ice in once-reliable Minnesota
Podcast: Stage is set for an unpredictable midterm
Podcast: Is Massachusetts upset a sign of a younger, more progressive Democratic party?
Grassroots activists on the left have a mixed record in Democratic primaries this election year, but the self-described progressive movement has scored enough victories to suggest it’s popularity is based on more than just protesting the Trump White House. The movement is also remolding the Democratic Party into a younger, more diverse and decidedly liberal party.
Democratic Party transforming as it searches for leaders
BOSTON (AP) — When Ayanna Pressley topped a 10-term congressman in a Massachusetts district once represented by John Fitzgerald Kennedy, she became the latest face of a burgeoning movement of the grassroots left. "This is a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our democracy," Pressley said. That movement is reshaping a Democratic Party still searching for leaders and identity in the era of Donald Trump.
Podcast: How does AP call elections?
Podcast: Packing, cracking and the art of the partisan gerrymander
Both parties do it.
Whoever is in power when it comes time to redraw Congressional districts tries to give their party a boost by "packing," "cracking" and other tricks to gerrymander the map.
On this episode of Ground Game, politics reporter David Lieb and decision editor Stephen Ohlemacher talk about the impact of redistricting.
Podcast: Is #MeToo shaking up politics? In state houses, not so much
Podcast: Trump doesn’t wait until Election Day to wade into Florida politics
Presidents tend to stay out of primary politics in midterm elections, backing nominees only after voters have had their say. But Donald Trump has put his finger on the scale in Florida's gubernatorial race by endorsing Rep. Ron DeSantis, who has closely aligned himself with Trump.
Podcast: Has Arizona changed enough to vote a Democrat into the Senate?
In a year when Democrats are mostly playing defense to keep their U.S. senate seats, Arizona presents a rare pickup opportunity with the retirement of GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema hopes to claim the political middle ground as a trio of Republicans edge each other rightward ahead of Aug. 28 party primaries.
In Arizona’s Senate race, Democrat seeks to flip a GOP seat
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona is a political rarity this year, one of the few places where Democrats have any hope of flipping a Republican Senate seat.
In a year when the Senate map isn't favorable for Democrats, changing demographics could put the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake within reach.
State lawmakers surviving allegations in the age of #MeToo
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — When the #MeToo movement swept across the country, triggering a national reckoning about sexual misconduct, some politicians lost their positions and power amid such allegations. Many others did not. As voters return to the polls this year, The Associated Press has found that scores of politicians accused of sexual misconduct are running again and poised to win — particularly in state races. That includes the deposed speaker of the House in Kentucky, who despite an ethics commission reprimand is running unopposed.
Podcast: Will Trump’s tariffs sting Republican candidates in trade-dependent red states?
Jack Daniel’s whiskey and Jimmy Tosh’s hog farm are among those warning that President Trump’s trade policies — and the Republican candidates who support them — are hurting the very people who backed the Republican president in the first place.
On this episode of Ground Game, national political reporter Steve Peoples, Tennessee reporter Jonathan Matisse and economic writer Josh Boak discuss tariffs and the politics of trade in the age of Trump.
Trump tariffs put GOP on defense in Tennessee’s Senate race
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Marsha Blackburn is supposed to do well among Tennessee's hog farmers and whiskey makers.
Yet the Republican Senate candidate is struggling to explain President Donald Trump's nascent trade war to her state's local business community. Jack Daniel's whiskey and Jimmy Tosh's hog farm are among those warning that Trump's trade policies — and the Republican candidates who support them — are hurting the very people who backed the Republican president in the first place.
Podcast: Georgia’s Abrams faces uphill battle to history
Democrats have long pointed to a Georgia electorate that is increasingly urban and less white as a sign they may be able to break the Republican hold on statewide offices. This year, after previous disappointments, their gubernatorial candidate has already made history as the first black woman to win a major party nomination for governor. That’s raising Democratic hopes for an upset.
Ga. Democrat shows the way for other black women in politics
ATLANTA (AP) — Democrats have long pointed to a Georgia electorate that is increasingly urban and less white as a sign they may be able to break the Republican hold on statewide offices. This year, after previous disappointments, their gubernatorial candidate has already made history as the first black woman to win a major party nomination for governor. That's raising Democratic hopes for an upset.
Podcast: Candidates navigate delicate path in Trump Country
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces the daunting political challenge of running as a centrist Democrat in a state President Trump won handily. The nomination of a new Supreme Court justice who could shift the court’s philosophy for decades adds intense pressure from both sides.
And in Trump-friendly Alabama, Rep. Martha Roby was forced into a run-off after facing charged of disloyalty because she initially said she would not vote for Trump. But her rival has baggage of his own.
Heitkamp’s political tightrope walk gets even trickier
MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's daunting political challenge just got that much harder.
A North Dakota Democrat seeking re-election in a fiercely Republican state, she is running as a centrist, of course. She is even running as a sometimes partner to President Donald Trump. But the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice who could shift the court's philosophy for decades adds intense pressure on centrists like Heitkamp from both sides.
Podcast: Supreme Court vacancy puts spotlight on state abortion restrictions
A Supreme Court vacancy has pushed abortion to the forefront of election year politics, with both supporters and opponents suggesting that the emotional issue could drive more voters to the polls. That’s especially true in states like Iowa, where Republicans have enacted restrictive measures on abortion in the past two years.
Podcast: The one in which Mitt Romney does not ride a donkey
Mitt Romney did not ride a donkey.
But the one-time presidential nominee and now candidate for Senate did cheer enthusiastically at a donkey basketball game, campaigning on the ground in Utah like a homegrown hero — even though he grew up somewhere else. What he isn’t doing much is talking about President Trump.
Court vacancy fuels abortion politics in midterm elections
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrats and Republicans once largely agreed that the upcoming midterm elections would hinge on the economy, health care and President Donald Trump's popularity. Not anymore.
Podcast: How will outcry over family separations play out in Texas?
Ted Cruz, the firebrand Republican senator, and Beto O’Rourke, the ex-punk rocker turned Democratic congressman trying to unseat him, don’t agree on much.
Ground Game: Will family separation outcry hurt Texas GOP?
McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Ted Cruz, the firebrand Republican senator, and Beto O'Rourke, the ex-punk rocker turned Democratic congressman trying to unseat him, don't agree on much.
But when it comes to the immigration crisis on the border, both have introduced bills that do almost the same thing: They want to prohibit U.S. authorities from separating children from parents who are charged with crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
#NeverTrump to #OKTrump: Romney’s evolution mirrors party
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Mitt Romney did not ride a donkey.
But the one-time presidential nominee and now candidate for Senate did cheer enthusiastically at a donkey basketball game, where 4-H members shot hoops while mounted on the beasts. Romney's campaigning on the ground in Utah like a homegrown hero — even though he grew up somewhere else.
What he isn't doing much is talking about President Trump.