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There have been three special elections in the Trump era, and although Democrats have yet to flip a seat, they've gained considerable ground in each compared to results in the general.

Expand chart

Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: These are tangible signs of progress for Democrats and indicators that the House could be in play in 2018. Princeton electoral politics statistician Sam Wang, citing a 12-point GOP underperformance in the Kansas race and a 7-point underperformance in Georgia, emails Axios that "even a 5-point underperformance in November 2018 would be enough to put House control within reach for Democrats."

We've seen this before: A similar situation unfolded in 2009 when three blue-state seats opened up following Obama's win. The GOP gained ground in each of those special elections (without winning), foreshadowing the 2010 midterms when Republicans picked up 63 seats and took control of the House.

Caveats: 'The Resistance' has invested money and energy into these special elections, juicing the turnout for races that would otherwise be more largely ignored. Jon Ossoff, the Democrat in the Georgia race, raised a state-record $8.3 million. Rob Quist pulled in more than $5 million in the Montana campaign, and it couldn't hurt to have run against a candidate who allegedly assaulted a reporter the night before the election.

Coming up: The final round of the Georgia runoff election between Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will be on June 20. Mick Mulvaney's vacated South Carolina seat will be up for grabs the same day, and a blue-state seat will be contested in California on June 6.

Go deeper

38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans sink short-term government funding, debt limit bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Republicans on Monday voted down the House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: Congress is just 72 hours away from a potential shutdown, so now comes Democrats' Plan B. Democratic leadership is expected strip the short-term funding bill of language about raising the debt limit — the part that Republicans' reject — in order to pass a bill before federal agencies close down on Friday.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Laurene Powell Jobs' $3.5 billion climate campaign

Laurene Powell Jobs, president of Emerson Collective, is investing $3.5 billion in her new climate-action group, the Waverley Street Foundation — all to be spent in 10 years, as a way to show urgency on the issue.

  • Then the group will sunset.

The big picture: The foundation "will focus on initiatives and ideas that will aid underserved communities who are most impacted by climate change," an official tells Axios.

R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking

Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Singer R. Kelly on Monday was found guilty of racketeering and eight counts of violating an anti-sex trafficking law, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Sexual misconduct allegations have surrounded R. Kelly's career, including a child sexual abuse image case in 2008 where he was acquitted. Multiple other victims have come forward to speak about the abuse in recent years.