At the Races

Texas Rep. Kay Granger grabs spotlight with tough primary ahead
Granger led effort condemning Pelosi for ripping up Trump's State of the Union text

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, is facing a competitive primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to rip up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on live television enraged House Republicans. But it was Rep. Kay Granger, who once said Trump doesn’t deserve to be in the same room as war veterans, who led the effort to defend the president.

The Texas Republican introduced the resolution condemning Pelosi on Wednesday after talking with Minority Whip Steve Scalise about how “appalled they were by the Speaker’s actions,” according to a person familiar with their thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

At the Races: Is Iowa over yet?

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Doug Jones, facing ‘lose-lose’ situation, opts to convict Trump
Alabama Democrat’s impeachment vote could shore up support among his base

Vulnerable Alabama Sen. Doug Jones voted to remove President Donald Trump from office. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Long before the impeachment process began, Sen. Doug Jones was considered the most vulnerable senator in 2020. The Alabama Democrat’s vote Wednesday to remove President Donald Trump from office doesn’t change that.

Jones, a former prosecutor, said that after “many sleepless nights,” he concluded that Trump abused his power by pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, and that Trump obstructed Congress’ investigations of those allegations. The Senate later voted Wednesday to acquit Trump on both impeachment charges. 

Trump’s speech rolled out Republicans’ blueprint for general election
Democrats must present contrast to Trump without looking out of touch on humming economy

President Donald Trump greets lawmakers as he walks into the House chamber on Tuesday to deliver his State of the Union address. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

For an hour and a half, President Donald Trump used his third State of the Union speech to remind Republicans why they supported him in the past and why they will stand with him in November.  

“From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the U.S. economy — slashing a record number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements,” he boasted. “Our agenda is relentlessly pro-worker, pro-family, pro-growth, and, most of all, pro-American.”

Trump popularity reigns in Ohio county tying its future to natural gas
‘I’m not tired of winning,’ car wash owner says

Many in Washington County, Ohio, see the region’s natural gas reserves as a bright point in its economy. (Jessica Wehrman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio — The oldest county in Ohio was founded two years before the other Washington — the nation’s capital.

Back then, the pioneers placed their hopes in a rich swath of unsettled land.

Cummings’ predecessor, Kweisi Mfume, wins Democratic nod in Maryland
Mfume last served in the House in 1996

Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume has won the Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 7th District, which has been vacant since Elijah E. Cummings died last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who last served in the House in 1996, has won the Democratic nomination for the seat vacated by his successor, the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings. Defeating 23 Democrats — including Cummings’ widow — he’s heavily favored to be the next member of Congress from the solidly Democratic Baltimore-area seat.

With nearly all the precincts reporting, Mfume had 43 percent of the vote. Cummings’ widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, was in second place with 17 percent, followed by state Sen. Jill Carter with 16 percent.

Iowa lawmakers band together with early caucus spot on the line
Democratic chaos raises new questions about whether the state should be first in presidential contest

Iowa voters wait for the start of a Democratic satellite caucus at the IBEW headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

With Iowa’s “first in the nation” status on the line after chaotic Democratic caucuses rocked the presidential primary, Iowa lawmakers in both parties banded together Tuesday to defend their state’s role in the process. 

It took until early Tuesday evening for the Iowa Democratic Party to announce results from Monday’s caucuses. And even then it was less than two-thirds of the tallies because of uncertainty and confusion around a new app used for reporting voter preferences as well as the calculations for allocating delegates.

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

For the first time, the Iowan-on-Iowan politicking that characterizes quadrennial presidential caucuses happened outside the state, and about 100 people attended a caucus Monday at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers headquarters in downtown Washington. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

 

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.

Illinois poll illustrates one challenge in campaign coverage
How results are released can influence whether polls are taken seriously

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., faces another competitive primary after winning a close race in 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While polling elections is a challenge, analyzing polls can be even more dangerous. I considered scrapping a couple days of reporting work on a survey memo on an upcoming Democratic primary, but decided to share what happened to provide a small window into how I digest polling.

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski fended off a competitive challenge in the 2018 Democratic primary and recently released a poll that showed him with a 23-point lead in a 2020 rematch with Marie Newman. That felt like a stretch considering their 2-point race a couple years ago.

Even after witness vote, Collins remains in a tough spot in Maine
Collins was one of just two GOP senators to break with party in impeachment trial

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, left, here with West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Friday, voted to call new witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was already clear she would be on the losing side, but in voting Friday night to support calling new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Maine Sen. Susan Collins did what she’s known for: She bucked her party.

Collins was one of two Republican senators — and the only one up for reelection this fall — to vote against her party.

Iowa congressional campaigns try to tap presidential energy
Both parties use gatherings to collect signatures, enlist volunteers for House and Senate battles ahead

Theresa Greenfield’s Senate campaign is launching a digital ad targeting Democratic Iowa caucus-goers and deploying volunteers to gather petition signatures for her bid to challenge Republican incumbent Joni Ernst. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats scrolling through their social media feeds at Monday night’s Iowa caucuses may encounter an ad for “Caucus Trivia Night,” a game where they can answer trivia questions via text message.

But the game wasn’t devised by a presidential candidate hoping to make a last-minute voter connection. It was the work of Democrat Theresa Greenfield’s Senate campaign.

Dollar dominance: Average vulnerable House Democrat starts 2020 with $1.8 million
Eye-popping numbers and other takeaways from fourth quarter

New York Rep. Max Rose, left, and Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin raised the most among vulnerable House Democrats in the latest fundraising quarter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nine months out from Election Day, the latest fundraising reports provide new clues about both parties’ prospects in the battles for the House and Senate. 

In the fight for the House, vulnerable Democrats continued to raise eye-popping numbers as their party tries to hold on to its majority. Republican leaders last week sounded the alarm about their candidates’ fundraising, and the latest reports show why.

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

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton’s district in Michigan is one of the Republican seats Democrats are seeking to capture this year. A liberal advocacy group endorsed one of the Democrats vying to unseat him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.

EMILY’s List ‘hyper-focused’ on Senate elections in 2020
Abortion rights group’s leader urges voters who care about Supreme Court to get involved

EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said Thursday that Senate races are critically important in 2020. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

While the presidential race will dominate the 2020 cycle, EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock is imploring Democratic voters to recognize the importance of flipping the Senate, especially because of its role in confirming Supreme Court justices.

If President Trump wins reelection in 2020 and Republicans maintain control of the Senate, Schriock predicted a “massive fight” over the next Supreme Court vacancy.  A vacancy could further shift the ideological balance of the court, which has influence over issues including abortion, a core issue for EMILY’s List. 

At the Races: Iowa still matters after Monday

By Stephanie Akin, Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathé 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.