Bridget Bowman

Former Rep. Pete Sessions met with indicted Giuliani associates, accepted donations
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested on campaign finance violations

Former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, who just last week announced a new bid for the House, appears to play a role in the indictment Thursday of two Soviet-born businessmen who are also subjects of the House impeachment inquiry.

While the indictment does not mention Sessions by name or charge him of any crime, he told a Texas radio show on Sunday that he met with them and Federal Election Commission documents show he accepted campaign donations from them last cycle. 

Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey announces retirement
New York Democrat has served in the House for three decades

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey announced Thursday that she is not running for reelection. The New York Democrat was the first woman to lead the powerful committee.

“After 31 years in the United States Congress, representing the people of Westchester, Rockland, Queens and the Bronx, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2020,” Lowey said in a statement. “It is my deep honor and privilege to serve my community and my country, and I will always be grateful to the people who have entrusted me to represent them.”

Texas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson says she’ll run for one final term
Longtime lawmaker chairs House Science, Space and Technology Committee

Longtime Texas Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is running for one final term in Congress. Her decision was first reported by the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.

“I fully intended to retire after my current term, but with much pressure and encouragement, I have agreed to one more term,” Johnson told constituents in a voicemail this week paid by her campaign, the newspaper reported. Her chief of staff confirmed the decision to CQ Roll Call.

John Hickenlooper's Senate fundraising outpaces presidential campaign
Former Colorado governor running to take on GOP Sen. Cory Gardner

Democrat John Hickenlooper’s latest fundraising numbers show that the former Colorado governor has caught more attention from donors as a top candidate in a critical Senate race than when he was one of two dozen presidential contenders.

Hickenlooper raised $2.1 million in the more than five weeks he has been running to take on GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, his campaign announced Tuesday. That’s a faster fundraising rate than Hickenlooper posted as a presidential candidate, when four months of effort raised less than $3.2 million. The fundraising numbers were first reported by The Colorado Sun.

Democratic polls show competitive House races in Texas
Surveys are early sign of Democratic groups’ willingness to spend in Lone Star State

A handful of Republican-held House seats in the Texas suburbs represent fertile ground for competitive races in 2020, according to recent Democratic polling. 

The surveys in six GOP districts, shared first with CQ Roll Call, are a sign that Democratic outside groups are willing to spend resources in the Lone Star State, where party leaders believe they can make gains next year. The polls were commissioned by House Majority Forward, the nonprofit arm of House Majority PAC, a super PAC tied to the chamber’s Democratic leadership.

Early Trump ally Chris Collins resigning ahead of plea hearing
New York Republican was reelected while fighting indictment on insider trading charges last year

Rep. Chris Collins is resigning ahead of a hearing related to insider trading charges.

The New York Republican on Monday submitted a resignation letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It will be effective when it is read on the House floor during a pro forma session Tuesday, her office confirmed.

Mac Thornberry joins Republican ‘Texodus’ from House
Top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee to retire rather than seek 14th term

Rep. Mac Thornberry is the latest Texas Republican to head for the exits, announcing Monday that he is not running for reelection. The 13-term lawmaker is the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.

Thornberry was facing GOP term limits on the committee, having served two previous terms as chairman before the start of the current Congress, where he became the ranking member after Democrats took over the House.

DCCC polling shows half of voters support impeaching Trump
House Democrats’ campaign arm shared polling as lawmakers returned home for two-week recess

The House Democrats’ campaign arm had a parting message as members headed back home for a two-week recess Friday night: A new poll shows more than half of likely voters support opening an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

The poll, commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call, found voters supported an impeachment investigation by a margin of 54 percent to 43 percent.

Why some Democrats aren’t calling for an impeachment probe
Districts help explain reasoning by a dozen vulnerable Democrats

A cascade of Democrats facing competitive races backed an impeachment inquiry this week, which likely spurred Speaker Nancy Pelosi to drop her objections to using that word to describe ongoing probes.

Some vulnerable incumbents are not using the “I” word, however, and the Republican-leaning districts they represent help explain why.

Beto O’Rourke’s White House run tests limits of early strategy
Early races focused on personal connections, but tactics may be hard to transfer nationwide

This is the seventh installment in “Battle Tested,” a series analyzing early campaigns of some Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination. Earlier pieces focused on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden.

After several months of struggling to break through in the crowded Democratic presidential field, Beto O’Rourke is back in the headlines and criss-crossing the country.

When members of Congress seek county office instead
Rep. Paul Cook cites broader powers of California supervisors, but GOP’s minority status also a factor

California Republican Paul Cook’s decision to run for county office next year rather than a fifth House term might have raised a few eyebrows, especially since more than five dozen of his colleagues have used county positions as stepping stones to Washington.

But what seems like a downward move is not unheard of, particularly in California, where county supervisors wield a fair amount of power. Influencing local policy can also be more appealing than a weekly cross-country commute, especially when working in the nation’s capital means governing in the minority.

Kennedy plans to launch challenge to Markey for Massachusetts Senate seat
Grandson of RFK, serving fourth House term, is last member of political dynasty in Congress

Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III will challenge Sen. Edward J. Markey in a primary, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday evening. Kennedy plans to announce his Senate bid on Saturday, the Globe reported.

Kennedy's decision comes after weeks of speculation that the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy would challenge fellow Democrat Markey, who is serving his the first term. Kennedy had filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in late August.

California’s Paul Cook joins parade of House Republicans retiring
Cook will run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors

Four-term California Rep. Paul Cook is retiring from Congress to run for county office instead, continuing the stream of House Republicans heading toward the exit.

Cook’s chief of staff, John Sobel, told the Los Angeles Times that the congressman plans to run for the San Bernadino County Board of Supervisors. Sobel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wrote the bill, read the bill: Lawmakers dominate Democratic debate
All but three of the candidates on Thursday's debate stage have served in Congress

Although the 10 Democratic presidential candidates in Thursday night’s debate talked about the importance of unity, they spent plenty of time trying to one-up each other with their own congressional records.

The debate stage was stacked with current or former members of Congress: only businessman Andrew Yang, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana have never served in Congress.

GOP group defends ad showing burning image of AOC during Democratic debate
Elizabeth Heng said ad “is about fighting the socialist agenda”

The founder of a new Republican group is defending an ad that aired during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate that featured a burning image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The New York Democrat criticized the spot as racist. 

New Faces GOP was founded by Elizabeth Heng, who lost a House race in California last cycle. Heng, who is the PAC’s executive director, was featured in the 30-second TV ad, which ran both during and after the debate on ABC. 

Elizabeth Warren backs primary challengers against sitting House Democrats
Warren is endorsing Jessica Cisneros against Henry Cuellar and Marie Newman against Dan Lipinski

Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorsed two House Democratic primary challengers Monday, backing two women taking on sitting lawmakers.

The Massachusetts Democrat is endorsing Marie Newman, who is taking on Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois’ 3rd District and immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros, who is challenging Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas’ 28th District, Justice Democrats announced in a news release.

Democrats need rural voters to put Iowa in play in 2020
Party hopes to build on midterm gains, but hasn’t settled on the right approach

GREENFIELD, Iowa — The sunlight sparkled on Greenfield Lake on a hot Sunday in August as the Democrats passed around a paper bowl, tossing in a few dollars they had in their pockets.

It was a scene that could easily have taken place in a church earlier that day, when parishioners offer donations as baskets are passed through the pews.

Why you should keep watching Iowa
Roll Call’s Bridget Bowman explains why Iowa is important, before and after the caucuses

DNC blocks virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada
Committee cites cybersecurity concerns as reason not to go forward with plan

The Democratic National Committee formally decided Friday not to move forward with virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada amid cybersecurity concerns.

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee agreed by voice vote to adopt the recommendation from DNC Chairman Tom Perez that the virtual caucuses should not take place since they would not be secure or reliable. Both states had devised plans to allow people to participate in the caucuses by phone to fulfill a DNC requirement that states provide an absentee voting option.

Republican retirements raise questions about GOP optimism in 2020
Serving in the minority is a new experience for most House Republicans

The recent string of House Republican retirements — even those from ruby-red districts — have raised new questions about whether GOP lawmakers are pessimistic about winning back the House in 2020.

Some Republican political operatives were split on what the recent retirements say about lawmakers’ political calculations, and whether they’re heading for the exits at the prospect of spending a few more years in the minority.