redistricting

Fewer members taking the leap to governor
Don’t expect a chunk of House seats to open up because of people wanting to run

Louisiana Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham is currently the only member running for governor and he doesn’t have to give up his seat to do it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last cycle, nine members left Congress to try to become governor and five ended up winning the state’s top job. But this cycle will be a different story. While 38 states elected a governor in 2017 or 2018, just 14 states will elect a governor in the next two years. And fewer opportunities to move up will limit the exodus from the House.

Currently, there’s just one House member running for governor, and he doesn’t have to give up his seat to do it.

House Democrats unveil first major legislative package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls
Committees will soon begin marking up aspects of the package ahead of floor vote on H.R. 1

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., plan to bring a bill to the floor in the coming weeks to overhaul voting and campaign finance laws. Democrats are introducing it as H.R. 1 to signal that it’s their top priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Automatic voter registration, independent redistricting commissions, super PAC restrictions, forced release of presidential tax returns — these are just a handful of the provisions in a massive government overhaul package House Democrats will formally unveil Friday, according to a summary of the legislation obtained by Roll Call. 

The package is being introduced as H.R. 1 to show that it’s the top priority of the new Democratic majority. Committees with jurisdiction over the measures will hold markups on the legislation before the package is brought to the floor sometime later this month or early in February. 

Court Orders New Maryland Map in Partisan Gerrymandering Case
State officials expected to appeal decision to Supreme Court

Campaign signs outside the Activity Center at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg, Md., for early voting on June 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A federal court on Wednesday ordered Maryland to adopt a new congressional map for the 2020 elections, ruling that the state’s current map unconstitutionally diminished the value of Republican voters in the 6th District in the western neck of the state.

The three-judge panel’s ruling in the partisan gerrymandering case, which has gone twice to the Supreme Court on preliminary procedural issues, means the Maryland map once again will be before the high court if state officials appeal, as expected. 

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Government Overhaul Like ‘Caffeine’ for Economic Agenda, Dems Say
Minority whip to deliver speech Wednesday outlining campaign finance, voting, ethics, rules overhauls

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will deliver a speech Wednesday calling for Democrats to quickly pass a government overhaul package in January if they are in the majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats win the House majority, Steny Hoyer believes their economic agenda will do better if they first pass a government overhaul package to help restore Americans’ continuously eroding trust in government.

“To regain that trust, our response must be vigorous and innovative,” the minority whip plans to say in a speech Wednesday morning, according to excerpts shared with Roll Call.

This Is Not Your Father’s Bible Belt. Can Dems Make It Theirs?
Republicans have long claimed a monopoly on religion, but that could be changing

Ninth Congressional district Democratic candidate Dan McCready. (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

OPINION — There’s a series of striking images in a televised ad for Dan McCready, who is seeking to represent North Carolina’s reliably conservative 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. It puts the candidate’s military record and faith front and center — not entirely surprising for someone vying for voters in a swath of the state that includes an affluent section of Charlotte, as well as parts of rural counties all the way to the Fayetteville area, with its strong military presence.

In the ad, McCready stands with his troops as an announcer states that after 9/11, he “was called to serve his country.” Then the scene shifts, and the narrative continues to describe the Marine Corps veteran as finding another calling when he was baptized “in the waters of the Euphrates River.”

Court Strikes Down North Carolina’s Congressional Map as a Partisan Gerrymander
State’s voters could cast ballots in new districts come November

The North Carolina state Legislature building in Raleigh. The state’s congressional map, drawn by its GOP-controlled Legislature, was ruled Monday to be an illegal partisan gerrymander. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A three-judge panel on Monday struck down North Carolina’s congressional map as a partisan gerrymander, setting up the possibility that this fall’s midterms will be held under new lines.

The panel for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled that the Republican-controlled state legislature redrew the map in 2016 to favor the GOP. That redraw was response to an earlier court decision that invalidated the state’s map as a racial gerrymander.

Congress Isn’t Perfect but the Politicians Aren’t Always to Blame
Fixing the Hill is easier said than done

Politicians aren’t always to blame for the dysfunction in Congress and the perceived solutions are more complicated than many realize, Gonzales writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After 30 years of covering Congress, David Hawkings has a good idea of how Capitol Hill works — or more important, how it doesn’t — and he laid out five key reasons why Congress is broken.

But whether it’s money, maps, media, mingling or masochism, there are no easy solutions. Nor are they entirely the responsibility of the politicians to address.

The 5 M’s for Describing Why Congress Is Broken
Remembering the root causes of Hill dysfunction will surely be easier than correcting them

Explaining what ails Capitol Hill can be distilled to five elements: money, maps, media, mingling and masochism, Hawkings writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thirty years covering Congress leave me totally convinced the institution is more badly broken today than at any other point in my career, which means getting asked time and again to enumerate the causes for the deepening dysfunction.

Proposing how to cure the place of its metastasizing polarization and partisanship is up to the politicians who work there. But decoding what ails Capitol Hill is the central work of today’s congressional correspondent. And after plumbing the topic with hundreds of people in recent years — senators and House members, staffers and think tankers, lobbyists and advocates — I have reduced what’s a pretty complex diagnosis to five elements.

Bennet Fields Supreme Court Gerrymandering Punt
Colorado Democrat introduces bill to ban partisan redistricting at federal level

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced a bill last week to ban partisan gerrymandering on a federal level. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After the Supreme Court dodged a definitive ruling on partisan redistricting last week, Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is taking the gerrymandering debate to Congress.

Bennet introduced a bill last week to outlaw partisan gerrymandering at a federal level. If passed, the bill would end the practice of partisan gerrymandering, by which majority parties in state legislatures redraw congressional districts to finagle an advantage at voting booths.