Bridget Bowman

Impeachment trial takes vulnerable senators off the campaign trail, too
Some senators are refraining from sending fundraising emails

Sen. Doug Jones’ campaign is holding an event Friday, but the Alabama Democrat won’t be there. Instead, Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former President Barack Obama, is hosting the forum on women in leadership in Birmingham.

Jones, the most vulnerable senator in 2020, will be in the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, alternating between blue and red felt-tipped pens as he takes notes on opening arguments. Sitting with him will be other colleagues who face competitive races, either in November or sooner in party primaries.

Potential ballot confusion complicates California special election for Katie Hill’s seat
Voting starts Feb. 3, but there are two elections for the 25th District on the ballot

An unusual message will soon hit mailboxes and social media feeds in former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s Southern California district: “For once in your life, vote twice!”

The tagline will be featured in mailers and a digital media campaign from Assemblywoman Christy Smith, a Democrat running in the special election to replace Hill in the 25th District. The message underscores concerns that voters may be confused by multiple elections for the same office on the same day, March 3.

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.

Liz Cheney is not running for Senate in Wyoming
Cheney is the only woman in House GOP leadership

Rep. Liz Cheney, the only woman in House Republican leadership, announced Thursday that she is not running for an open Senate seat in Wyoming.

“I believe I can have the biggest impact for the people of Wyoming by remaining in leadership in the House of Representatives and working [to] take our Republican majority,” Cheney told the Casper Star-Tribune.

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.

Dems say GOP broke ethics rules using video trackers in House office buildings
Democratic campaign arm seeks ethics probe

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is accusing its GOP counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, of violating ethics rules by sending trackers to video record members of Congress in House office buildings. 

The DCCC filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday alleging the NRCC and its chairman, Minnesota GOP Rep. Tom Emmer, violated House rules barring lawmakers from using official resources for political purposes.  Twitter accounts for the NRCC and some of the committee’s spokespeople posted videos of Democrats in House office building hallways being questioned by someone in December and January. 

Max Rose backs Mike Bloomberg, who donated to his 2018 opponent
Rose is one of the most vulnerable House Democrats running in 2020

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg picked up his first congressional endorsement Monday, with New York Democratic Rep. Max Rose backing his bid, even though Bloomberg donated to Rose’s 2018 opponent.

Bloomberg gave $5,400, the maximum allowed from an individual, to Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in April 2018, Federal Election Commission documents show. The donation came two months before the June primary, when Donovan was facing a challenge from former GOP Rep. Michael G. Grimm. Donovan went on to win the primary but lost to Rose by 6 points in November. 

Meet the lawmakers who bucked their parties on vote to limit Trump’s war powers
Eight Democrats opposed the resolution, while three Republicans supported it

Updated Jan. 10 11:30 a.m. | The House voted largely along party lines Thursday to adopt a resolution directing President Donald Trump to not use military force against Iran without congressional approval unless it was necessary to defend Americans.

But 11 lawmakers, mostly Democrats, bucked their parties on the vote. Most of those Democrats face competitive reelections this year.

Biden may not be the only beneficiary of endorsements he is getting
Vulnerable Democrats backing mainstream candidate could help them battle GOP ‘socialism’ charge

Through 2019, most House Democrats facing competitive reelection races kept their attention focused on their own brands at home and stayed away from the crowded and hotly contested battle for their party’s presidential nomination.

Recently, however, a few vulnerable lawmakers have started jumping into the fray and backing former Vice President Joe Biden. Some strategists say those decisions could end up helping the endorsers as much as Biden, and more may follow.

California governor declines to call a special election to replace Duncan Hunter
Gavin Newsom’s decision means 50th District seat will remain vacant until 2021

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday he would not call a special election to replace Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is resigning next week after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds.

“The governor’s office received Rep. Hunter’s resignation letter. Based on the timing of the resignation, a special election will not be called,” Newsom spokeswoman Vicky Waters said.

Arizona’s GOP Sen. Martha McSally target of new super PAC ad
Race could be one of the most competitive in the country

A new super PAC is targeting GOP Sen. Martha McSally in an early sign that the competitive Arizona Senate race could attract plenty of outside spending.

The group, named “Middle Class Fighting to Restore Arizona’s Unity and Decency,” or “McFraud,” is launching a five-figure TV and digital ad buy with a 30-second spot accusing McSally of changing her positions on immigration issues and highlighting an Arizona Republic editorial that labeled her as “disingenuous.”

Three Democrats who flipped House districts endorse Joe Biden
All three are military veterans and got Biden’s backing in 2018

Three House Democrats who flipped Republican-held districts in 2018 announced Sunday that they are endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in the crowded presidential primary. All three served in the military.

Pennsylvania’s Conor Lamb, a Marine veteran, and Chrissy Houlahan, an Air Force veteran, along with Elaine Luria of Virginia, who is a retired Navy commander, all said Biden is the right candidate to unify the country. Last week, first-term Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer also announced that she was backing Biden.

Name Trump or not? Senate responses to Soleimani killing highlight 2020 tightrope
Some facing toughest reelection battles do not mention president

Mixed responses to the U.S. military drone strike that killed a top Iranian leader highlighted the tightrope that politically vulnerable senators walk this year when it comes to praising or criticizing President Donald Trump.

Congressional reaction fell largely along party lines to Trump’s order that led to the death in Iraq Thursday of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. While there was universal condemnation of Soleimani’s role in terrorist strikes and support for militants who battled Americans, Republicans cheered Trump’s use of force while Democrats questioned whether he had congressional authorization and a strategy to deal with Iranian retaliation.

Presidential field narrows again as Castro suspends campaign
Still more than a dozen Democrats competing for nomination to challenge Trump

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro announced Thursday that he is suspending his presidential campaign. But the Democratic primary field remains crowded, with 14 candidates still in the race.

“I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together,” Castro said in a tweet Thursday morning. “I’m going to keep fighting for an America where everyone counts — I hope you’ll join me in that fight.”

Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer endorses Joe Biden
Finkenauer is the first House member from Iowa to back a candidate in the presidential race

Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer announced Thursday that she is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential primary, becoming the first Iowa Democratic House member to back a candidate in the race.

Joe Biden’s character, record, and commitment to rebuilding the backbone of the country — the middle class — is what Iowa and this country needs,” the first-term congresswoman said in a statement. “Across the country, and especially in Iowa, too many families are being left behind by our current president. It’s time we have leadership in the White House who believes in the value of not only uniting a divided Congress, but uniting our country through common sense, dignity, and respect.”

House retirements already outpace average for past election cycles
Decisions by 27 lawmakers compares with average of 23 per election cycle, and more could be coming

The number of House members deciding to retire has already exceeded the average for recent election cycles, and more could be coming as lawmakers return to the nation’s capital after the holidays.

Since 1976, an average of 23 House members have retired each two-year election cycle, according to CQ Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales, the publisher of Inside Elections. In 2019 alone, however, 27 House members announced they will retire, opting not to run for reelection nor for another office (these figures do not include lawmakers who have resigned or died while in office). 

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.

These Democrats helped launch the impeachment inquiry. What’s their next move?
Pelosi called for probe after op-ed by seven freshmen with national security backgrounds

Two months ago, seven freshman Democrats in the House published an op-ed column in The Washington Post that helped launch the impeachment inquiry. Now that the inquiry’s over, the freshmen are not saying what they will do next.

The op-ed made clear the writers, who all have national security backgrounds, thought it would be “an impeachable offense” if reports were true that President Donald Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival while withholding aid to the country.

Pelosi endorses Christy Smith in race to replace Rep. Katie Hill
Democrat has been racking up endorsements from the California delegation

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is taking sides in the race to replace former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill in California, endorsing Assemblywoman Christy Smith over liberal talk show host Cenk Uygur.

“I am proud to endorse Christy Smith because she will work to fight corruption, lower the cost of prescription drugs, fully fund public schools and build a strong middle-class economy that works for all Americans,” Pelosi said in a statement shared first with CQ Roll Call.