Stephanie Akin

At first-ever Iowa caucus in DC, confusion, chaos and civic pride
Disorganization at satellite caucus reflects broader problems in Iowa

 

Iowa voters Susan and Jim Swain were prepared to board a flight from their winter home in North Carolina to participate in Monday’s caucus. But Iowa in February is cold. So they were happier to drive five hours and stay overnight in a hotel to fulfill their civic duty in Washington, D.C.

Liberal group endorses Democrats in competitive primaries
PCCC says its backing includes outreach to supporters seeking grassroots donations

Five Democrats in competitive House primaries in four states were endorsed Friday by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group pushing for liberal policies including the Green New Deal and expansion of Medicare and Social Security. 

The group called the move a “show of progressive energy,” in a news release obtained by CQ Roll Call, and said its endorsements follow those by preferred presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. The Massachusetts senator earlier this week endorsed two of the PCCC-backed candidates, Mondaire Jones in New York’s 17th District and Candace Valenzuela in Texas’s 24th. A third, Georgette Gómez  in California’s 53rd, was endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren’s rival for the progressive mantle in the Democratic presidential primaries.

Mayors see historic opportunity in presidential race
Bloomberg, Buttigieg make presidential pitches to mayors’ conference

A promise to repair potholes won’t get a laugh at most presidential campaign events. 

But Mike Bloomberg knew his audience.

Democrats try to expand House battlefield by targeting six more districts
With legislation stalled, campaign memo recommends blaming GOP and McConnell

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is adding six new targets to its 2020 battlefield, hoping to flip more Republican-held seats while protecting its House majority.

Having made historic gains in the 2018 midterms, Democrats started the year on defense. Republicans need a net gain of 18 seats to retake the House, and their first targets will be the 30 districts President Donald Trump won in 2016 that are currently represented by Democrats.

Impeachment managers all represent safe Democratic seats
GOP faces steep challenge to oust prosecutors of Trump

Updated Jan. 16 10:45 a.m. | Speaker Nancy Pelosi went with Democrats from politically safe districts to prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the Senate.

All seven impeachment managers named Wednesday are in races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic. Many of their Republican challengers haven’t even raised any money yet. That could change given these Democrats’ new, high-profile role, but the fundamentals of their races would have to shift significantly to make a difference in the outcome.

Tough political tactics are not criminal, ‘Bridgegate’ defendants argue
In Supreme Court appeal, ex-New Jersey officials rely on ‘get over it’ defense

As members of Congress prepared Tuesday for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, former New Jersey public officials convened at the Supreme Court to argue lingering questions from “Bridgegate,” the last major public corruption scandal to disrupt a presidential election campaign.

As Chris Christie — the former New Jersey governor and unsuccessful 2016 Republican presidential candidate — looked on from the court chambers, lawyers representing two of his former political allies presented an argument that would be familiar to anyone following the White House rebuttal to impeachment charges.

Money flows to Kansas Senate campaign with Pompeo out of the race
GOP Rep. Roger Marshall collects $250,000 in three days

Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall on Friday reported a surge of money into his campaign for Senate in the three days since Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would not enter the race. 

The $250,000 the Marshall campaign said it raised since Pompeo made his decision Tuesday is more than two of his top challengers for the Republican nomination — former Kansas City Chiefs defensive end David Lindstrom and former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — raised in the third quarter, which ended in September. Disclosures for fourth-quarter activity are due Jan. 31. 

GOP candidates seize on gun rights movement sweeping across Virginia
Opponents to Rep. Elaine Luria turn out to vocally support ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ movement

A gun rights movement spreading across Virginia came to the heart of Democrat Elaine Luria’s swing district Monday night, when city officials voted to make Virginia Beach — the site of a 2019 mass shooting — a “sanctuary” for Second Amendment rights. 

The resolution is one of more than 100 similar measures passed in Virginia localities since Democrats flipped the state legislature in November on a platform that included gun control, prompting blowback from some conservatives who say it could be a rallying cry up and down the ballot in Virginia and other purple states in the 2020 elections.

Their voters backed Trump. They voted to impeach him. Now what?
Trump-district Democrats eager to pivot forward. Republicans say not so fast

CLARKSTON, Mich. — Jeff Noftz, a bicycle shop owner in this quaint suburb, can’t wait to see Donald Trump go. Just a few blocks north on Main Street, Christina Calka, who owns a women’s boutique, defended Trump and thought the entire impeachment process has been a “waste of time.”

At Union Kitchen and Bar, a converted church known for its mac and cheese, Marcie Wagner compared Trump’s presidency to being married to an alcoholic. She’s more concerned about the direction of the country than ever before. “I’ve found myself actually weeping,” the 56-year-old psychotherapist said.

How House members who are most vulnerable in 2020 voted on impeachment
Supporters say Ukraine actions crossed a line; opponents see dangerous partisan precedent

It’s not clear how impeachment will impact the battle for the House in 2020, when every seat is on the ballot. But lawmakers in both parties will have to explain to voters about why they did, or did not, vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

That’s a particularly delicate task for members of Congress in competitive races. Lawmakers in swing districts break with their parties on occasion, but Wednesday’s impeachment vote fell almost entirely along party lines.

Florida Republican Ted Yoho announces he won’t seek a fifth term
Tells radio station he is honoring term limits pledge

Florida Republican Ted Yoho said Tuesday on a local radio show that he would not run for reelection in 2020, honoring a pledge that he would not seek more than four terms in Congress.

Yoho, a large-animal veterinarian, made his announcement on Florida’s WSKY radio, according to the station’s website. His departure brings the number of retiring House and Senate members to 25, all but six of them Republicans.

Missouri Democrat underscores challenge to Rep. Ann Wagner with eyebrow-raising 24-hour haul
Democrats are targeting St. Louis-area district in quest for further gains in the suburbs

Missouri Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp, who is challenging Republican Rep. Ann Wagner in a St. Louis-area district, raised over $225,000 in the 24 hours after she launched her bid Tuesday, her campaign said. 

Democrats are sure to seize upon the number as a sign of continued leftward momentum in the suburbs. 

Denver Riggleman keeps taking flak from other Republicans
Social conservatives look to move nominating process to convention, away from primary

Corrected 10:29 a.m. | Conservatives pushing for more control of the nominating process in a congressional district in Virginia insist it’s not just because freshman Republican Denver Riggleman officiated a gay wedding this summer.

But it’s hard to talk about the effort to replace Riggleman, a libertarian-leaning business owner, with a more socially conservative Republican without talking about the wedding. It is arguably the most prominent thing Riggleman has done in his 11 months in office.

GOP plan for suburbs includes bills focused on child care, health costs
Democratic wins in traditionally Republican areas helped fuel House takeover last year

Leaders of a group formed by House Republicans after Democrats routed GOP candidates in suburbs around the country in the 2018 midterms said Wednesday that they would roll out dozens of bills in the coming months to show the party can appeal to voters beyond rural areas.

The product of a new suburban caucus launched last spring by Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner, the agenda might look familiar to anyone following the Democratic presidential campaigns. Caucus task forces have been dedicated to making health care affordable, supporting family caregivers and increasing school safety, for example.

States in the Midwest with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Rust Belt states helped decide the presidency, and have numerous competitive races for House, Senate

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

States in the East with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Pennsylvania remains a presidential battleground, while Collins bid in Maine will be closely watched

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

In the West, an outsize role for Texas in the 2020 elections
Battles for Senate and numerous House seats will drive interest in Lone Star State

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

States in the South with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Florida, Georgia and North Carolina among key states to watch

 

 

Despite Ukraine heat, Pompeo seen as front-runner if he seeks Kansas Senate seat
Transcripts show State Department veterans wanted him to stand up to White House pressure

Recently released transcripts in the House impeachment inquiry have led to criticism of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for not stepping up to protect diplomats from White House political pressure over Ukraine.

Republicans in Washington and his native Kansas, however, told CQ Roll Call that nothing they have heard would lead them to back off efforts to recruit Pompeo to run for an open Senate seat in the Sunflower State. They say the former four-term congressman and CIA director would be the immediate front-runner in the race. 

The most vulnerable 2020 House and Senate incumbents, explained
Political Theater, Episode 99

One year out from Election Day 2020 and Senate Republicans and House Democrats find themselves in parallel universes. The GOP is on defense in Senate races, where more Republicans are on the ballot, and it’s the opposite in the House, where many Democrats who won in hostile territory last year find themselves in tough races. CQ Roll Call’s campaign team, Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin, run through the 10 most vulnerable members of both the House and Senate.

Show Notes: