Jim Costa

The Largest Congressional District, Montana’s, Also Had the Highest Turnout
In contrast, California’s 21st District saw fewest number of voters show up

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., won a first full-term representing Montana’s at-large district, defeating Democratic opponent Kathleen Williams by 5 points. Above, the two talk at the Crow Fair in Crow Agency, Mont., on Aug. 18. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., appears at left. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The turnout for the midterm elections was the highest — 49 percent of those eligible to cast ballots did — since 1914, according to the United States Election Project.

But the enthusiasm was not evenly spread. The number of votes cast in some House districts was much higher than others and it did not depend on the competitiveness of the races.

Problem Solvers to Back Pelosi for Speaker After Reaching Agreement on Rules Changes
Move further whittles down California Democrat’s opposition

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, and other Democrats from that group who have been leveraging their speaker votes for changes to House rules, reached an agreement with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 9:39 p.m. | Democrats in the Problem Solvers Caucus extracted concessions from Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday regarding changes to House rules in exchange for support from eight holdouts for her speaker bid. 

The agreement came early in the afternoon right as the Democratic Caucus reconvened their leadership elections and began the process for nominating Pelosi for speaker. She’s expected to win that simple-majority vote but has a tougher hurdle to climb heading into a Jan. 3 vote on the floor where she’ll need a majority of the House. 

Pelosi and Her Opponents Downplay Importance of Caucus Vote in Speaker Battle
Secret ballot may not provide a clear picture on how much support Pelosi will have on the floor

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is confident the closed-door Democratic Caucus leadership elections Wednesday will prove she has strong support for her speaker bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the small contingent of members who oppose her are both heading into Wednesday’s leadership elections knowing she’ll emerge as the caucus’s nominee for speaker.

But the two sides still have different expectations for what will happen in a Jan. 3 floor vote five weeks from now, as Pelosi remains confident she’ll have the support of the majority of the House to secure the gavel and her opponents are still predicting she won’t.

Blue Dog Coalition Elects 3 New Co-Chairs to Lead Them in Next Congress
Stephanie Murphy, Tom O’Halleran and Lou Correa will head up fiscal hawk caucus

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., elected Monday as one of three new co-chairs of the Blue Dog Coalition, will be the first woman of color to lead the group of fiscally conservative Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Blue Dog Coalition on Tuesday elected three new co-chairs — all current freshmen — to lead the group of two dozen fiscally conservative Democrats in the next Congress. 

Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy will serve as the administration co-chair, Arizona Rep. Tom O’Halleran as the policy co-chair and California Rep. Lou Correa as the communications co-chair.

More Problem Solvers Members Pledge to Tie Speaker Vote to Rule Changes
Bipartisan caucus now has 19 members ready to oppose a candidate for speaker if they don’t back process changes

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and the other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus say they are gaining support for the effort to revamp House rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trying to show their push to amend House rules to create more bipartisan legislative processes is serious, the Problem Solvers Caucus announced Thursday that 19 of its members are willing to oppose any speaker candidate who won’t bring about change.

The bipartisan caucus unveiled a package of proposed House rules changes in July called “Break the Gridlock” and has been coalescing support for it on both sides of the aisle. Some of the caucus members have decided to add some oomph to their sales pitch by pledging not to support a candidate for speaker unless that person commits to enacting the rules package.

Stivers Thinks House GOP Can Grow Number of Women but That’s Unlikely
Six GOP women aren’t running for re-election to the House

Republican Diane Harkey is running in California’s 49th District to succeed GOP Rep. Darrell Issa. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo).

Despite a quarter of the women in the House Republican Conference not running for re-election, the head of the House GOP’s campaign arm said he is “very confident” the party can increase its female members in the chamber next year. 

But looking at the number of female GOP lawmakers leaving the House and how few Republican women won nominations in open seats this year, just breaking even might be hard for House Republicans. 

John McCain’s Cellmate: No More ‘Hell on Earth’
Hanoi Hilton survivor taps out a tribute to his late colleague

Sen. John McCain greets fellow Vietnam veteran Rep. Sam Johnson in 2008. The Texas Republican honored his colleague Thursday. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Retiring Rep. Sam Johnson saluted his fellow former prisoner of war, Sen. John McCain, on the House floor Thursday night.

“John was more than just a colleague in Congress. We were friends, and that friendship was forged in the infamous Hanoi Hilton,” Johnson said. The two shared a cell.

Blue Dogs See Single-Digit Majority as Their ‘Sweet Spot’
Moderate Democratic caucus hoping to regrow its power through midterm gains

Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore, who heads the Blue Dog Coalition’s political arm, says a single-digit majority is a sweet spot for the group, which is looking to rebuild its influence next Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The nearly moribund Blue Dogs, the coalition of moderate-to-conservative House Democrats, are looking to rebuild influence in the next Congress — and they think they’re in an especially good position to do so if the November midterms result in a single-digit House majority. 

The leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition, speaking with a small group of reporters Wednesday, said they obviously prefer a Democratic majority, but they think they will have power even if Republicans hold on to the majority with just a handful of seats. 

Capitol Hill Figures Out What to Do With 280 Characters
Members finding creative ways to use Twitter’s expanded limit

Members of Congress are already making the most of the 140 extra characters available for tweets. (Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers are experimenting with new ways to communicate with the extra characters Twitter has given them.

The increased 280-character limit for tweets is already being used to post full statements, Q&As with experts or the member, more hashtags and longer lists in a single posting, instead of a series of tweets.

House Defeats Amendment to Cut One-Third of CBO Staff
‘It was CBO’s reluctance to change their erroneous forecasts’

Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., offered the amendment that would have gotten rid of an 89-person CBO budget analysis division. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Wednesday night rejected, 116-309, an amendment that would have eliminated one-third of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The amendment, offered by Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith to the four-bill appropriations minibus the House is currently debating, would have abolished CBO’s 89-employee budget analysis division and saved a total of $15 million in salaries. Roughly half of Republicans joined Democrats in voting down the amendment.