open-seat

Former Rep. Pete Sessions met with indicted Giuliani associates, accepted donations
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested on campaign finance violations

Former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, met with and accepted campaign donations from two men indicted this week on campaign finance charges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, who just last week announced a new bid for the House, appears to play a role in the indictment Thursday of two Soviet-born businessmen who are also subjects of the House impeachment inquiry.

While the indictment does not mention Sessions by name or charge him of any crime, he told a Texas radio show on Sunday that he met with them and Federal Election Commission documents show he accepted campaign donations from them last cycle. 

Democratic polls show competitive House races in Texas
Surveys are early sign of Democratic groups’ willingness to spend in Lone Star State

Democrats are targeting GOP Rep. Michael McCaul in Texas’ 10th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A handful of Republican-held House seats in the Texas suburbs represent fertile ground for competitive races in 2020, according to recent Democratic polling. 

The surveys in six GOP districts, shared first with CQ Roll Call, are a sign that Democratic outside groups are willing to spend resources in the Lone Star State, where party leaders believe they can make gains next year. The polls were commissioned by House Majority Forward, the nonprofit arm of House Majority PAC, a super PAC tied to the chamber’s Democratic leadership.

Early Trump ally Chris Collins resigning ahead of plea hearing
New York Republican was reelected while fighting indictment on insider trading charges last year

New York Rep. Chris Collins is resigning ahead of a plea hearing Tuesday in his insider trading case. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Chris Collins is resigning ahead of a hearing related to insider trading charges.

The New York Republican on Monday submitted a resignation letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It will be effective when it is read on the House floor during a pro forma session Tuesday, her office confirmed.

When members of Congress seek county office instead
Rep. Paul Cook cites broader powers of California supervisors, but GOP’s minority status also a factor

California Rep. Paul Cook announced Tuesday that he is retiring from Congress to run for county office. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Republican Paul Cook’s decision to run for county office next year rather than a fifth House term might have raised a few eyebrows, especially since more than five dozen of his colleagues have used county positions as stepping stones to Washington.

But what seems like a downward move is not unheard of, particularly in California, where county supervisors wield a fair amount of power. Influencing local policy can also be more appealing than a weekly cross-country commute, especially when working in the nation’s capital means governing in the minority.

9 things I think I think after the North Carolina redo election
GOP efforts to hold 9th District unlikely to be replicated in other suburban races

Outside Republican groups helped Dan Bishop over the finish line in North Carolina’s 9th District, but replicating that effort in similar districts will not be possible, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nearly a year after the two parties fought to a draw in North Carolina’s 9th District, Republican Dan Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready ended with another close race. Bishop prevailed 51 percent to 49 percent, with absentee ballots remaining to be counted.

A win is better than a loss (and the result affects the fight for the majority), but the overall lessons from the race should not be dramatically different whether a candidate finishes narrowly ahead or behind. And even if the results aren’t predictive, there are implications for the 2020 elections.

Democrats line up to challenge David Perdue. But what about the other Georgia Senate seat?
Jon Ossoff announced his candidacy for the Senate on Tuesday

Jon Ossoff is running for Senate in Georgia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Georgia got another Senate candidate Tuesday — a familiar face who’s running in the same race that several Democrats are already running for.

Jon Ossoff, who lost the most expensive special House election in U.S. history, is challenging Republican incumbent David Perdue.

Why Georgia will be the wildest ride in politics heading into 2020
Peach State is playing host to several marquee races next year

Georgia Democrat Lucy McBath last year won a suburban Atlanta seat once held by Newt Gingrich, a sign of the state’s shifting demographics. Republicans are determined to take the seat back next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — You could almost hear the collective “Holy #&%!” across Georgia last week after Sen. Johnny Isakson’s surprise announcement that he will retire from the Senate at the end of the year. The first reaction among Republicans and Democrats alike was that the highly respected GOP senator would be sorely missed.

The next reaction was the realization that for the next year and a half, politics in Georgia will be one wild ride. The 2020 ballot in the state had already been filled with marquee races — GOP Sen. David Perdue’s fight for a second term, two House seats up for grabs in once-solidly Republican suburban Atlanta, and President Donald Trump’s reelection bid. The addition of the race to replace Isakson makes Georgia a legitimate battleground for both parties for the first time in nearly two decades.

Rating changes in four House races, but Flores’ seat isn’t one of them
Outlook shifts toward Democrats in Texas and Iowa races, and toward GOP in one California contest

Texas Rep. Bill Flores is not seeking a sixth term in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s not a question of if more House Members will retire; it’s a question of when and where.

On Wednesday, Rep. Bill Flores became the fifth Texas Republican to announce he will not seek reelection or another office in 2020. Of the 13 members retiring in 2020, 11 are Republicans and two are Democrats. And more exits are likely to come, considering that, on average, 23 members have retired each election cycle, going back to the 1970s.

Her father just pleaded guilty to raping her. But Usha Reddi hopes that won’t define her Senate bid
Kansas Democrat enters race for Pat Roberts’ open seat

Usha Reddi is running for the Democratic Senate nomination in Kansas. (Courtesy Reddi for Senate)

Usha Reddi, a Democrat who launched her Kansas Senate campaign Thursday, never meant for her experience as a survivor of sexual assault to be central to her platform.

But when her father pleaded guilty this summer to raping her when she was a child, Reddi, a city commissioner in Manhattan, Kansas, decided she should be the one to make it an issue.

House freshmen try to keep it local as presidential race steals the spotlight
Iowa Democratic Reps. Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer are taking similar approaches to their reelections

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, flips pork burgers at the Iowa State Fair. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES — Rep. Cindy Axne’s letter to Customs and Border Protection about African swine fever didn’t make national news. But it did prompt a “thank you” from a man with the Iowa Pork Association as Axne flipped pork burgers last week at the Iowa State Fair.

Attention to issues like that disease, which could threaten the country’s pork industry if it reached the U.S., is how first-term Democratic lawmakers like Axne are working to win reelection in 2020.