Bruce Poliquin

States in the East with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Pennsylvania remains a presidential battleground, while Collins bid in Maine will be closely watched

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is a Republican running in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016, but she has a strong personal brand that will help her if she seeks another term as expected 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.

A closer look at what the alumni of the 115th Congress have been up to
Some have moved on to other offices, consulting or punditry. Some are plotting their way back

At the end of her brief tenure last Congress as representative for Michigan’s 13th District, Rep. Brenda Jones returned to the Detroit City Council where she serves as president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One hundred and fifteen former House members and senators, who served full or partial terms in the 115th Congress, are newly adapting to life after Capitol Hill. CQ Roll Call finds them in a wide variety of roles, ranging from the expected to the unusual.

Three lawmakers from the last Congress have died, either while serving or since leaving office. Here’s what the rest of the alums have been up to. 

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

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, right, is the only New England Republican left in Congress. Republicans could pick up another seat by defeating New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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.

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

New York Rep. Peter King voted for expanded background checks and has long been the lead Republican co-sponsor of the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

White House wants $7 billion more for DHS to fund wall
More than half of the request is for a ‘steel barrier’ along the southwest border

Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin couldn’t give a timetable on when the government would open back up: “I can’t say that we’re close because the president’s made it clear he doesn’t care.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House formally asked lawmakers Sunday to provide an additional $7 billion beyond what Senate appropriators proposed in their bipartisan Homeland Security spending bill last year, with more than half earmarked for a “steel barrier” along the southwest border.

The request, outlined in a letter from Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, doesn’t seem likely to lead to an immediate breakthrough in reopening large portions of the federal government that have been closed since Dec. 22.

Vulnerable new Democrats savor first day as 2020 looms
Democrats now shift to defense after winning back the House

Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., said voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker was in the best interest of her district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Standing a few strides away from the House floor on Thursday, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips put his arm around another new Democrat, Haley Stevens of Michigan.

“It’s for real!” Phillips exclaimed.

2018 in 5 Minutes: The Best of Congressional Hits and Misses
 

As the 115th Congress limps across the finish line with several unfinished spending bills and a partially shutdown federal government, Hits and Misses takes a look back at our favorite funny, awkward and downright bizarre moments from the House and Senate in 2018.

Rep. Poliquin Clings to Power, Appeals Ranked-Choice Voting Decision
GOP congressman challenges federal court ruling on Maine’s new voting system

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, is one of four plaintiffs who will appeal a federal court's decision to support ranked-choice voting for federal candidates in Maine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin and three of his constituents in Maine’s 2nd District are appealing a U.S. district court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of the state’s new ranked-choice voting system that boosted Democrat Jared Golden over Poliquin, who had more first-place votes.

Poliquin’s lawyers will file a brief with the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston on Tuesday, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Defeated GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin Calls for Recount to End
Maine Republican still has concerns about state’s ranked-choice voting system

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, lost his re-election to Democrat Jared Golden. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin called Friday for the recount in his 2nd District to end. The Maine Republican initially requested the recount following his apparent loss to Democrat Jared Golden

Poliquin lost his race as part of the state’s new ranked-choice voting system for congressional races. Voters rank their choices in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority, the last place candidate’s votes are distributed to his or her supporters’ second choice. The process of elimination continues until a candidate gets majority support.

At the Races: The Ghost of Midterms Past
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.

This week … Some Republicans started worrying about retirements, Mainers have been recounting ballots faster than expected, and one Pelosi rebel faced a primary threat.