The race is on
June 20, 2019

Britain's race for prime minister is officially set.

Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson will face off in a runoff vote to decide the next British prime minister, a Tory leadership vote decided Thursday. Johnson, the heavy favorite to win the race, got the support of 160 MPs, while Hunt earned 77 votes, per The Associated Press. The winner of the runoff will be announced July 22.

Hunt, the foreign minister, beat his nearest competitor, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, by just two votes on Thursday. Home Secretary Sajid Javid was also edged out of the race in a vote earlier that day. Meanwhile, Johnson secured more than half of his party's support, even after his supporters reportedly "lent votes to the foreign secretary to knock out his bitter rival Gove," The Guardian writes.

Johnson is one of Britain's most recognizable political figures, previously serving as foreign secretary to outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May and as mayor of London. He's so far campaigned on pulling Britain out of the EU by the Oct. 31 deadline with or without a trade deal. May has so far been unable to deliver Brexit, requesting extensions on withdrawal deadlines and even offering up her own resignation if Parliament would agree to the deal she drew up. But even that didn't work, so May has committed to stepping down as prime minister as soon as her party chooses a new leader. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 10, 2018

The 2019 Academy Awards might already have a Best Picture frontrunner now that Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born has received rave reviews from critics at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The musical, which Cooper directed and also stars in with Lady Gaga, recently screened at TIFF, which every year is a key stop on the road to the Oscars. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the response was rapturous, with the movie getting a standing ovation at the end and numerous rounds of applause throughout. Critic Scott Feinberg writes that in the 12 years he has spent covering TIFF, he has "never seen a film evoke the sort of response that the North American premiere of A Star Is Born did Sunday night at the Elgin Theatre."

Critics have almost universally praised A Star Is Born so far, and it currently holds a score of 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie is now widely considered to be a major Oscar contender. Collider reports that both Cooper and Gaga will likely compete in the acting categories, as Cooper delivers "the best performance of his career" and Gaga is "nothing short of a revelation." It also looks likely to earn a Best Picture nomination and potentially a Best Director nod for Cooper. The Hollywood Reporter expects it to receive at least 10 nominations.

A Star is Born is the third remake of the 1937 film of the same name, with the 1957 version starring Judy Garland and the 1976 version starring Barbra Streisand. So far, every incarnation of the film has scored at least four Academy Award nominations. Brendan Morrow

May 22, 2018

Four competitive races in the House of Representatives have shifted, and are more likely to be won by Republicans than they once were, the Cook Political Report predicted on Tuesday, in the latest sign that Democrats' midterm advantage is disappearing.

Democrats are still solidly favored nationally, but the landscape surrounding high-stakes primaries is rapidly changing. And while Democrats still lead Republicans by four percentage points in Real Clear Politics' congressional generic ballot, that lead is a fraction of the 13-point advantage they held in December.

California's 39th and 49th districts have both shifted from "lean Democratic" to "toss up," the Cook Political Report says, as a crowded field of Democratic candidates threaten to splice the share of votes. The open ballot policy in California means it's possible for two Republicans and no Democrats to make it through the primaries to the general election.

In South Carolina's 5th district, ratings shifted from "likely Republican" to "solid Republican." South Carolina's race has been affected by recent allegations that Democrat Archie Parnell assaulted his ex-wife in the 1970s — Parnell has so far opted to stay in the race even though top Democrats and his own staffers have renounced support.

Nebraska's 2nd district went from "toss up" to "lean Republican." After progressive candidate Kara Eastman beat out the Democratic Party's moderate pick in Nebraska's primary, analysts say Eastman may be too liberal for the district as she goes up against incumbent Rep. Don Bacon (R).

Read more analysis at the Cook Political Report. Summer Meza

September 30, 2015

Less than a week ago, House Speaker John Boehner announced his unexpected retirement from Congress; on Wednesday, he followed up by setting the date for elections that will choose both his replacement as well as the next majority leader.

"After consulting with our conference, a large majority of our members have made clear they want these elections held next week," Boehner said in a written statement. "With their considerations in mind, the House leadership elections will take place on Thursday, October 8."

Boehner's last day in Congress is October 30. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has so far been the favorite to take over the speakership in Boehner's wake, and the short notice between Boehner's resignation and the election may help ensure that, as opposition now has less time to organize. More uncertain is the House majority leader race, in which Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) are going head-to-head, even while some Republicans hastily search for a third candidate to throw into the mix. Jeva Lange

September 30, 2015

Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, who announced last week that he'll resign at the end of October, is widely expected to be replaced as speaker by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). And while Boehner has not publicly endorsed a candidate for the new House majority leader who would replace McCarthy, it sounds like he has a favorite. As reported by Politico, Boehner met in secret with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Tuesday to encourage him to jump into the race; Gowdy, however, publicly stated he was not interested later in the day.

As The Washington Post explains, "Gowdy is a member of the Republican class of 2010, sent to Washington in a wave election fueled by Tea Party groups and other conservative activists outraged over ObamaCare. His ascension to leadership would mark a generational milestone in a GOP caucus where well over half of members have served three terms or less."

Gowdy's popularity with the Tea Party could have been a boon for McCarthy. "Many Republicans close to Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy believe Gowdy could help protect the California Republican's right flank," Politico reports.

With Gowdy out, the race for the majority leader spot appears to be a contest between House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) — unless Republicans succeed in drafting another candidate. Jeva Lange

June 23, 2015

Though 2024 may seem far off, the race to declare a host city for the 2024 Olympic Games has already begun. And now, the city of light has thrown its beret into the ring, officially launching its bid Tuesday while surrounded by top French athletes at the French Olympic Committee's headquarters. Paris joins Boston, Hamburg, and Rome in being considered, and Budapest is also expected to join the contest.

If Paris manages to snag the bid, this would be the first time the city has hosted the Olympics in precisely 100 years. Paris last hosted the games in 1924, and before that in 1900. The French city has placed bids three times in recent years for the 1992, 2008, and 2012 Games, but has yet to be successful. Olympic Committee members will not select the host city until 2017. Becca Stanek

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