Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a member of President Trump’s agriculture advisory committee in 2016, is following the president’s no-apology campaign style in the Senate runoff election against former U.S. agriculture secretary Mike Espy, a Democrat. Hyde-Smith is the front-runner in strongly Republican Mississippi.
Even in the most agricultural districts of America, farmers are hardly thick on the ground, the result of decades of mechanization and consolidation, which has driven down farm numbers, as well as the United States becoming ever more urban. Nonetheless, the “farm vote,” while small in numbers, is a mighty force in U.S. politics.
Former two-term Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will not run for the Senate this year, “dashing Republican hopes that he would mount a strong bid for Al Franken’s old seat,” said the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
A report co-authored by Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois says that “national Democrats must acknowledge and stay focused on the bread-and-butter challenges facing hardworking families” to gain the rural and working-class support vital to winning elections in the Midwest.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who lists his occupation as farmer, could make a return appearance as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee with the retirement of the current chairman, Orrin Hatch of Utah, says Roll Call.
Breaking a quarter-century gap, President Trump will be the first U.S. chief executive since George H.W. Bush to address the annual convention of the nation’s largest farm organization, the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Fifth-term Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, a leading advocate in the House for small farmers and farmers’ markets, is considering a run for governor of Maine in 2018, says the Portland Press Herald.
Freshman Republican John Faso and veteran Democrat Rick Nolan, both of whom serve on the House Agriculture Committee, are among the 10 most vulnerable House incumbents a year ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, says Roll Call.
The Republican–Democrat battle for control of the House “looks something like a coin flip,” says Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which says three members of the House Agriculture Committee are toss-ups for re-election next year.
Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in 2018, and Republicans are lining up to take him on. Rep. Luke Messer, who currently represents Vice President Mike Pence’s former district, is the latest to announce his candidacy.