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« Week In Midterms: Winning The Money War | Blog Home Page | Slipping In Polls, Boxer Gets A Presidential Boost »

The Week Ahead: Will D.C. Get Voting Rights?

It's a good time to be a Washingtonian. We have the never-dull, first place Capitals in the NHL playoffs, the Nationals are .500 (!) 12 games into the season, and the Redskins have the 4th pick in Thursday's NFL Draft. In what will certainly be a great week of sports in D.C., here's what we'll be watching for in politics:

The White House: President Obama has meeting at the White House today before heading west to California for three, count 'em, three fundraisers to benefit the DNC and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D). Boxer is among the more vulnerable incumbents on the ballot this November, with the RCP Averages against potential GOP opponents finding her ahead by 1 to 6 points. The funds to benefit the DNC will also point to a commitment made to spend tens of millions this fall supporting Democrats.

Obama returns to Washington Tuesday night. Wednesday he'll host a bipartisan group of senators including the leadership and the top members of the Judiciary Committee to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy. The focus seems to remain squarely on Elena Kagan, currently the Solicitor General. On Wednesday the president also honors Olympic and Paralympic athletes who competed in Vancouver. Thursday, Obama will travel to New York City to speak about financial reform.

On Friday he and the first lady head for a weekend getaway in Asheville, North Carolina.

Capitol Hill: This is the week many in Washington, D.C. proper have been waiting for. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) are leading the charge this week for the House to pass a law giving the District a full voting member. Republicans in the Senate added a gun-control poison pill in the upper chamber's successful bill last year, pulling the process to a halt. But Norton now says she's ready to overlook the controversial add-on (which restricts the city's ability to pass gun control laws), and the House is expected to vote as early as Wednesday.

With financial regulatory reform atop the Senate legislative agenda, it begins the week debating and voting on the nomination of Lael Brainard as Under Secretary of Treasury. Others awaiting a Senate vote this week include Marisa J. Demeo for D.C. Superior Court, Christopher H. Schroeder for Assistant Attorney General, Thomas I. Vanaskie for 3rd Circuit Judge and Denny Chin for 2nd Circuit Judge.

Politics: There are no filing deadlines on tap this week. We're still two weeks away from the start of a long stretch of primaries, with the first coming May 4 in Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio. Mitt Romney stops by a Tampa conference center this morning to formally endorse Marco Rubio for Senate. Rubio's been running for more than a year, but it now seems a foregone conclusion that Gov. Charlie Crist (R) will drop out of the primary.

On Friday, we get a showdown in one of the biggest looming primaries as Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) debates challenger Bill Halter (D) and a third candidate, businessman D.C. Morrison at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Don't overlook the fact that Arkansas is one of the states that requires a candidate to reach 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff. It's possible, based on recent polling, that neither Halter nor Lincoln could get to 50 and thus extend the fight to June 8.

Also on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden will head to southwest Pennsylvania to campaign with and raise money for Mark Critz, the Democratic candidate in a May 18 special election to replace the late John Murtha (D). Biden's visit, long in the works, signals national Democrats' engagement in the race, expected to be much more competitive than last week's Florida 19 special election. Democrats still have not lost a special election for the U.S. House since President Obama took office, and have not lost a Democratic-held seat in a special election since 2001.

**Sunday Show Highlights at RCP Video.

**Poll Watch:
Obama Job Performance: Approve 48.1 / Disapprove 47.1 (+1.0)
Congress Job Performance: Approve 22.8 / Disapprove 71.2 (-48.4)
Generic Ballot Test: Republicans +3.2

**In Case You Missed It: The Washington Post has long advocated for Washington, D.C., to receive a full voting member in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the paper argued against passage of the bill yesterday in an editorial. The editorial board also used the opportunity to take a shot at the Republican lawmaker who included the gun amendment as a poison pill.

The Post wrote that the bill would "remove the District's ban on military-style weapons, repeal the city's firearm registration system, allow teenagers to possess semiautomatic assault rifles and undermine federal anti-gun trafficking laws. In a final insult, it would prohibit local officials from passing any law that could 'discourage' gun possession. This is not -- as its disgraced and morally craven author, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), claims -- about restoring Second Amendment rights to the District."

--Mike Memoli and Kyle Trygstad