Simone Pathé

Mueller report isn’t changing 2020 campaign dynamics — yet
Conclusions have emboldened some Republicans, but Democrats still aren’t talking about Russia

As news of the just-completed Russia investigation engulfs Washington, not much has changed on the campaign trail — for either party.

The full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has yet to see the light of day. And with the 2020 elections more than a year and a half away, plenty could change between now and then. But so far, the calculation on both sides isn’t too different from the past two years.

Even congressmen can’t pump their own gas in New Jersey
Gottheimer manned the squeegee at recent ‘Josh on the Job’ tour

Even a congressman can’t pump gas in New Jersey — the last state in the country where drivers can’t fuel up their own vehicles. 

Although the advisory for Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s March 16 “Josh on the Job” event at a Rochelle Park Amoco station said he’d be pumping gas for Jersey drivers, the sophomore Democrat was resigned to squeegeeing windshields.

Karen Handel wants a 2020 rematch for the Georgia 6th seat
The former GOP congresswoman lost by 1 point last fall to Lucy McBath

Former GOP Rep. Karen Handel announced on Monday she’s running for her old seat in Georgia’s 6th District in 2020.

Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath defeated Handel by 1 point last fall to flip the longtime Republican-held seat, which Democrats had spent millions of dollars trying to do in the 2017 special election. With the help of outside spending from national GOP groups, Handel — a former Georgia secretary of state — defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff that year in the most expensive contest in House race history.

‘Bless Her Heart’: NC Republican makes her first ad all about AOC
The Michele Nix ad may preview what’s to come in 2020, as Republicans take aim at the rising Democratic star

North Carolina Republican Michele Nix, one of 17 Republicans running for the nomination in North Carolina’s 3rd District special election primary, has made New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the focus of her first ad.

The ad could be a preview of what’s to come in 2020, as the freshman Democrat solidifies her place as the new boogeywoman in campaign messaging from Republicans.

House GOP is down to 13 women. Will North Carolina special elections boost their ranks?
Of the 27 Republicans running in 3rd or 9th districts, seven are women

With two special elections in North Carolina this year, Republicans have a chance to send to Congress some company for West Virginia Rep. Carol Miller, the only female GOP lawmaker in the House freshman class.

The number of Republican women in the chamber is at a new low with just 13 in the 116th Congress, down from 23 the previous session. About 100 GOP women ran for the House in the 2018 cycle, but many of them struggled to get through primaries. 

Meet the 12 GOP senators who voted to terminate Trump’s national emergency
Group includes conservatives worried about precedent and a moderate facing a tough re-election

Twelve Senate Republicans rebuked President Donald Trump on Thursday by voting to block his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.

The group includes moderate senators — including one up for re-election in 2020 — and conservatives who balked at the president circumventing Congress. Trump declared a national emergency last month after lawmakers failed to appropriate his desired funds for a border wall. (Six of the 12 Republicans who joined every Democratic senator in supporting the resolution serve on the Appropriations Committee.)

Former Indiana Democratic Sen. Birch Bayh dies at 91
Bayh was considered the father of Title IX

Former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh, the man behind the landmark Title IX legislation, died Thursday morning from pneumonia at the age of 91.

Besides serving in the Senate for three terms, the liberal Democrat was also the father of former Indiana Gov. and Sen. Evan Bayh, who lost a comeback Senate bid in 2016. 

Can Republicans make up any ground in New England in 2020?
Only real pickup opportunities for party are in Maine and New Hampshire

The prospects for a Republican rebirth in New England in 2020 are dim.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the only New England Republican left in Congress, is likely facing her most competitive re-election next year.

DCCC wastes no time launching positive ads on HR 1 passage
Democrats view legislation as key campaign message even if it won't pass the Senate

Immediately after the House passed Democrats’ political money, ethics and voting overhaul on a straight party-line vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched digital ads praising the legislation in 44 districts where its incumbents may be facing tough re-elections.

The early digital spending, shared first with Roll Call, underscores how important Democrats view the political optics of HR 1, which is unlikely to go anywhere in the Senate. 

Marie Newman gearing up for another primary challenge to Dan Lipinski
Illinois challenger came within 2 points of defeating the longtime Democratic incumbent

After falling 2 points short of defeating longtime Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski in a Democratic primary last year, Marie Newman is raising money for a 2020 challenge to the eight-term incumbent. 

“I want you to know the rumors are true: I’m actively exploring another run for Congress,” she wrote in an email to supporters Thursday morning. 

It’s no longer all about Republican primaries for the Club for Growth
The club played in more general elections in 2018 and expects that to continue in 2020

The Club for Growth has long been an arbiter of crowded primaries in safe Republican seats, but its role is evolving in the era of President Donald Trump. 

The group’s super PAC and PAC are still major players in internecine battles — the club successfully torpedoed a candidate in a Pennsylvania nominating convention over the weekend and is already interviewing candidates for two House special elections in North Carolina. 

Why this North Carolina Democrat thinks he can succeed Walter Jones
Conservative 3rd District backed Trump by 24 points in 2016

No Democrat stepped up to challenge Rep. Walter B. Jones last fall. The Republican congressman ran unopposed for a 13th term in North Carolina’s 3rd District.

But Jones’ death last month has triggered a September special election, and some Democrats are giving this military-heavy district another look. 

Republicans, seeing opportunities in the suburbs, advance paid leave plans
Current GOP proposals on tap in Congress could be the first of many in 2020 cycle

Democrats have dominated discussions surrounding parental leave for decades. But Republicans are now poised to introduce a raft of new proposals in the coming weeks, reflecting the party’s effort to win back the suburban women it lost in the midterms.

Lawmakers working on new legislation include Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri, Roll Call has confirmed.

Gun safety group hits Democrats and Republicans on background check vote
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is running digital ads in seven districts

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is running digital ads to try to hold accountable lawmakers who voted against expanding background checks in the House this week. 

The ads, obtained first by Roll Call, target five Republicans who voted against the so-called Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019, as well as the two Democrats who opposed it. The legislation would require background checks for all gun sales between private individuals.

Meet the lawmakers who didn’t stick to their parties’ position on guns
Eight Republicans and two Democrats crossed the aisle on Wednesday

With the help of eight Republicans, the Democratically-controlled House on Wednesday passed new gun safety legislation that would expand background checks.

And while the legislation isn’t likely to go anywhere in the Senate, it was a top priority for many new Democratic members who came to power last fall by making gun safety a salient campaign issue. An overwhelming majority of Americans support universal background checks.

Does Michael Cohen testimony change political strategies?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 58

Sure, as one cable news talking head says, Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony on Wednesday is “very, very explosive” and spread out over “several, several hours” but does it change the political parties’ 2020 strategy? Roll Call political reporters Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman discuss. 

Republicans from moderate districts bucking their party on background checks
Five Republicans have co-sponsored gun safety legislation hitting the floor on Wednesday

Wednesday’s House vote on legislation expanding background checks for gun sales is a top priority for a handful of Republicans from more moderate districts.

But while they’re largely in line with public opinion on the issue — and with the chamber’s new Democratic majority — they’re at odds with other Republicans in Congress.

Meet the 13 Republicans who rebuked Trump over his national emergency
President wants to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border

Thirteen Republicans rebuked President Donald Trump on Tuesday, supporting a Democratic effort to block his national emergency declaration to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

A resolution of disapproval to overturn Trump’s move passed the House by a vote of 245-182, with almost every Democrat and 13 Republicans supporting the measure. Trump declared a national emergency earlier this month when Congress failed to meet his request of $8 billion for a barrier along the southern border. Lawmakers allocated nearly $1.4 billion for 55 miles of barriers in a recent government funding bill.

Mark Harris will not run in North Carolina’s 9th District special election
2018 GOP nominee cites health reasons for decision

Less than a week after his surprise call for a new election in North Carolina’s 9th District, Republican Mark Harris announced he will not be a candidate in that contest. 

Harris, the 2018 GOP nominee for the seat, cited health reasons and noticeably didn’t mention the election fraud scandal that was the subject of last week’s dramatic evidentiary hearing before the North Carolina State Board of Elections. He led Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes after last fall’s election, but the board refused to certify the result because of allegations that a contractor for the Harris campaign had tampered with absentee ballots. 

With 2020 around the corner, North Carolina special election isn’t just about 9th District
Tar Heel State is a must-win for Republicans in 2020 presidential and Senate contests

What may be the most high-profile special election of 2019 is likely to attract national attention as a harbinger of things to come in a competitive state next year. 

The North Carolina State Board of Elections hasn’t yet set a date for the special primary or general election in the 9th District. But the contest is already taking shape with a burgeoning field of prospective GOP candidates in a race with potential consequences for next year’s presidential and Senate elections in the Tar Heel State. (House contests are more unpredictable since the North Carolina congressional map may change ahead of 2020.)