Iowa

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

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s reelection is one of several that make Iowa at battleground state in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

Senate Democrats pick fight over gun provisions in VAWA
Bipartisan talks broke down over renewing law aimed at curbing domestic violence

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar urged Republicans to stand up to the National Rifle Association after a dispute over gun provisions led to a breakdown in bipartisan talks over renewing the Violence Against Women Act. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced the same Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill passed by the House, days after they say talks with Republicans about a compromise broke down over controversial gun provisions.  

The entire Democratic caucus has backed the bill, which has provisions restricting gun rights of certain convicts that helped spur the split with Senate Republicans. While promoting the measure during a news conference Wednesday, Democrats blamed the National Rifle Association’s sway in the chamber for the Republicans’ reluctance to back the bill.

Kamala Harris discusses campaign struggles with Cosmo
Democratic presidential hopeful also talks women’s issues, climate change and skin care

California Sen. Kamala Harris is latest presidential contender to sit down with Cosmopolitan magazine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s still five women in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and after three men beat them to it, one stopped by the headquarters of the magazine that bills itself the “biggest media brand in the world for young women” for an interview.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, in the latest entry for Cosmopolitan magazine’s “The Candidates Come to Cosmo” series, discussed tough decisions to pare her campaign staff, issues such as climate change, and even her skin care regimen.

Moneyball, meet politics: Could VAR settle arguments about candidate strength?
Vote Above Replacement puts Klobuchar atop presidential field, Collins way above other senators

Maine Republican Susan Collins, center, outranks the entire Senate on Inside Elections’ Vote Above Replacement statistic, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, right, ranks highest among Democratic presidential contenders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the era of data and metrics and models in political analysis, at least one question still remains: How do we quantify the strength of individual candidates?

Arguing over whether a candidate or incumbent is good or bad is an age-old tradition in the political media and among party operatives. Typically, candidate strength is measured by fundraising or the margin of a win or loss. But that can fail to account for the particular election cycle or the possibility that any candidate running on a particular party’s line in a particular year or state would do just as well.

‘Embrace the suck,’ Ernst and McSally tell young women considering military
Republican senators reflect on their ‘boot camp’ experience

Republican senators Martha McSally and Joni Ernst share a message for young women considering entering the military. (Sen. Joni Ernst’s Twitter)

Veterans Day is a significant time to honor those who have fought to serve the country. And while Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Martha McSally of Arizona did just that, the two military veterans also took time to address future generations of servicemembers, particularly young women.

In a video posted to Twitter Monday evening, the Republican senators gave advice to young women considering entering basic training, or “boot camp,” which is known to require significant physical and psychological stamina.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 12
GOP outlines Trump defense for public hearings, Mulvaney reverses course

Republicans plan to drive home the point that both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and President Donald Trump have said there was no pressure on the Ukrainian leader to launch an investigation into Trump’s political rivals to free up a stalled U.S. military aid package for Ukraine. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter Tuesday to panel Chairman Jerrold Nadler expressing concern that Democrats have moved at such a “breakneck speed” to conduct the impeachment inquiry, members and the American people won’t have the information needed to properly consider removing President Donald Trump from office.

The GOP members requested Nadler make up for “procedural shortfalls” in the House Intelligence Committee-led inquiry by ensuring that Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff transmits all evidence obtained in the inquiry to Judiciary and that the panels have an open line of communication.

Fighting election disinformation is a bipartisan issue
#TrustedInfo2020 campaign urges Americans to rely on state and local elections officials for accurate information

By directing voters to their state and local election officials for accurate information, we can cut down on the misinformation and disinformation that can surround elections, Pate and Toulouse Oliver write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — As we head into 2020, Americans should turn to their state and local election officials for their election questions — anything from voter registration and polling locations to voting methods and more.

These officials are the verified, trusted sources for election information. By driving voters to them, we can cut down on the misinformation and disinformation that can surround elections and ensure that all citizens have the accurate information they need to vote.

Photos of the Week
The week of Nov. 8 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Fans cheer for the Washington Nationals along Constitution Avenue during a parade to celebrate the World Series champions on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House had its district work period — a.k.a. recess — this week, but there was still plenty of news.

Senate talks on crafting bipartisan Violence Against Women Act break down
Iowa's Ernst to push her own bill, calls House version ‘nonstarter’

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Thursday that talks with Democrats on a bipartisan update to the Violence Against Women Act have dissolved. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Bipartisan Senate talks over a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act fell apart this week, Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said in a floor speech Thursday.

Ernst said she’ll introduce her own version of the bill that can pass the Republican-controlled Senate and gain the support of President Donald Trump. The House, controlled by Democrats, passed a version of the bill in April.

Trump judicial pick blows off Democrats’ questions on Ukraine
An appeals court nominee has ignored a request from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but still advances

Steven J. Menashi during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on  September 11, 2019. He refused to answer questions on Ukraine, but his nomination was advanced to the Senate floor anyway.  (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An appeals court nominee has ignored a request from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to say whether he played a role in White House events now at the heart of the accelerating House impeachment probe — and Republicans haven’t let that halt his move through the confirmation process.

The committee voted 12-10 along party lines Thursday to advance the nomination of Steven Menashi, who works in the White House counsel’s office. President Donald Trump picked him for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit based in New York.