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Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 15
Ousted ambassador to Ukraine defends herself against ‘smear campaign,’ Trump attacks her during testimony

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Friday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post by President Donald Trump, spent much of her opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday dismissing allegations that she worked against the president while in her post in Kyiv.

[Former ambassador to Ukraine talks of Foreign Service ‘degradation’ under Trump]

Trump goes after Adam Schiff at Louisiana rally for GOP governor nominee
President’s ‘brand is winning’ so ‘losing anything, anywhere … hurts that brand,’ Republican strategist says

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 4. He was in Louisiana on Thursday night for a rally for GOP gubernatorial nominee Eddie Rispone. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday night used a political rally in Louisiana, billed as a late-race assist to the Republican candidate for governor, to blast the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and insult House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff.

“While we are creating jobs and killing terrorists, the radical left — Democrats — are ripping our country apart,” he said to boos from the crowd inside the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City. He later accused Democrats of trying to “sabotage our democracy.”

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

Sen. John Cornyn’s reelection and a handful of House seats where Republicans have retired make Texas one of the key states to watch next year. (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.

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

Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist is one of several incumbents facing competitive races in Florida, a perennial battleground in the presidential race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

 

 

Impeachment frenzy? Not so much in the other Washington
Even among Democrats, impeachment trails health care, climate change

“You don’t see the inside-the-Beltway frenzy because we’re not inside the Beltway,” Herrera Beutler said of her constituents' attitude toward impeachment of the president. (Jacob Fischler/CQ Roll Call)

VANCOUVER, Wash. — At three official events throughout her southwest Washington district last week, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s constituents bemoaned the lack of national unity seen during World War II, related troubling stories of new mothers struggling with insufficient health care and watched their children sing at a Veterans Day commemoration.

They did not ask the five-term Republican, a target of House Democrats’ campaign arm, about the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Campaigns look to capitalize on first impeachment hearings
Both parties used different strategies on the campaign trail

Campaigns sought to capitalize on national attention on Wednesday’s impeachment hearing that featured testimony by senior diplomats William Taylor, center, and George Kent, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Loath to waste a national spotlight, campaigns on Wednesday sought to take advantage of the first public impeachment hearing in two decades, though groups pushing Republicans seemed more willing to urge angry voters to contribute as the hearing unfolded while Democrats were more low-key.

War rooms for the Democratic and Republican national committees each issued dueling fact checks as the House Intelligence panel began public hearings into whether President Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense by withholding military aid while pressing Ukraine to investigate a chief political opponent. But the similarities between the parties’ approaches stopped there.

Going all in on Louisiana governor’s race, Trump tries to ‘thread a needle’
‘This is not a Republican Party like it was two or three years ago,’ GOP strategist says

President Donald Trump looks on as Eddie Rispone, the Republican nominee for governor in Louisiana, speaks during a rally last week in Monroe, La. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday continues his considerable effort to rally Louisiana Republicans to oust the Democratic governor, making his fourth trip to boost GOP candidate Eddie Rispone.

The attempt to take personal ownership of the contest comes with some risk for Trump, who has already seen control of the House go to the opposite party in the 2018 midterms and a personal pitch to help the Republican governor in Kentucky, a state he won by 30 points in 2016, seemingly come up short last week.

Democrats hope impeachment support grows but proceeding regardless of public sentiment
Public support is important but members' constitutional duty is more so, Democrats say

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B.  Schiff, D-Calif., joined by other House Democrats, speaks during a press conference after the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats hope the open impeachment hearings they began Wednesday will convince the public that President Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses, but if the proceedings fail to produce an increase in public support, it won’t stop or slow down their inquiry.

More than half a dozen Democrats interviewed Wednesday — as the Intelligence Committee held its first of what will be at least five days of public testimony from 11 witnesses — said their decisions on whether to impeach Trump will not be influenced by polls capturing public sentiment.

Some Democrats see political system overhaul as winning 2020 issue
Bill to revamp campaign finance and voting passed House early, then stalled in Senate

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., talks with the media after votes on Capitol Hill in September. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Rep. Max Rose’s voters expected the freshman lawmaker from Staten Island, New York, to quiet down this election cycle about a major overhaul of the nation’s political system, they were mistaken.

It was a centerpiece of the Democrat’s campaign-trail mantra in 2018. And now, as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Congress, he’s not stopping. Neither are many of his similarly situated colleagues.

Surprise billing fight highlights hurdles for bolder health care changes
Disagreements over payments foreshadow difficulty of moving overhaul like ‘Medicare for All’

National Nurses United union members wave "Medicare for All" signs during a rally in front of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in Washington on April 29. A September poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 30 percent of people consider implementing a national Medicare for All plan a top priority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The challenge of passing legislation to stop surprise medical bills is underscoring just how hard it is in Washington to change the health care system, even in small ways, and raising questions about Democrats’ far more ambitious overhaul plans. 

Stopping surprise medical bills wasn’t supposed to be this difficult. Lawmakers in both parties want to protect patients from certain unanticipated out-of-pocket costs, and industry groups say they agree with the broad goal. But fights over payments to doctors and other medical providers that so far have stalled the legislation foreshadow the hurdles of moving a major overhaul, such as a “Medicare for All” government-run health care plan, after the 2020 elections.