Ivan Levingston

Take Five: Rep. John Katko

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

This week, Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., talks about playing in the beer leagues and his love of "Dumb & Dumber."  

Take Five: Rep. Brendan Boyle

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

This week, freshman Rep. Brendan F. Boyle, D-Pa., talks about Philadelphia foods, a magical week and the time he was on Russian TV. Q: When it comes to the Philly cheesesteak, is Pat’s or Geno’s your favorite — or do you have a different restaurant you go to? A: As a true Philadelphian, I would say that my local neighborhood place is the best and not necessarily Pat and Geno’s. ... As a good Philadelphian too, you have one place where you order your cheesesteak, a different place where you get your pizza and potentially a third place for the best cheese fries, and I take care of all of them.  

Take Five: Rep. Lee Zeldin

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.  

This week, freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., talks about his vice, putting his twin daughters in time out and the biggest difference between serving in the military and serving in Congress. Q: Did you have a first goose bump-causing moment in Congress? A: I would say literally the very first time I stepped onto the House floor. I had seen the chamber on the TV, but literally that first moment of stepping on, and it really meant a lot to me.  

Democratic Primary to Challenge Zeldin Will Be Competitive (Updated)

Updated August 4 11:05 a.m. | The Democrat who challenges GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin in New York’s 1st District will face a close race. But the eventual nominee will have a primary shaping up to be just as competitive, political handicappers say.  

The only two declared candidates for the Democratic nomination are Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and former federal prosecutor and venture capitalist David Calone. They are locked in a tight race, with each candidate drawing on different bases of support in the Long Island district, and both having raised close to a half million dollars so far.  

Democratic Primary to Challenge Zeldin Will Be Competitive (Updated)

Updated August 4 11:05 a.m. | The Democrat who challenges GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin in New York’s 1st District will face a close race. But the eventual nominee will have a primary shaping up to be just as competitive, political handicappers say.

The only two declared candidates for the Democratic nomination are Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and former federal prosecutor and venture capitalist David Calone. They are locked in a tight race, with each candidate drawing on different bases of support in the Long Island district, and both having raised close to a half million dollars so far.

The Software That Draws the Political Landscape

Maptitude for Redistricting may not be a household name, but it is dominant in the niche market of redistricting software and is used to literally shape the political landscape.  

Its client roster features a majority of state legislatures, two national party committees and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, plus the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which was upheld in a Supreme Court decision last month.  

Tech Experts: Expect Innovation, Investment on Established Platforms for 2016

Two weeks before Scott Walker announced his presidential bid, he set up a Snapchat account so followers could get a behind-the-scenes look at the Wisconsin governor grilling brats and singing karaoke. When Hillary Rodham Clinton held her first major campaign rally of the cycle on Roosevelt Island in New York, she live-streamed it on Periscope so supporters could tune in from afar.  

As candidates utilize the latest social media platforms ahead of the 2016 elections to expand their potential reach with voters, political and technology experts say they should be investing the most in the older guard (relatively speaking) technologies, led by email and established giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads. For congressional candidates with smaller budgets and shorter timelines than their presidential counterparts , experts say innovations in targeting and increased efficiency for turning eyeballs into donors, such as one-click donations, are far more important than maintaining an active Vine or Instagram account.  

Tech Experts: Expect Innovation, Investment on Established Platforms for 2016

Two weeks before Scott Walker announced his presidential bid, he set up a Snapchat account so followers could get a behind-the-scenes look at the Wisconsin governor grilling brats and singing karaoke. When Hillary Rodham Clinton held her first major campaign rally of the cycle on Roosevelt Island in New York, she live-streamed it on Periscope so supporters could tune in from afar.

As candidates utilize the latest social media platforms ahead of the 2016 elections to expand their potential reach with voters, political and technology experts say they should be investing the most in the older guard (relatively speaking) technologies, led by email and established giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads.

Democrats' Window to Find Strong House Candidates Slowly Closing

When former Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller passed on a bid in the Silver State’s 3rd District last week, it sent Democrats back to the drawing board again to find a nominee for this Tossup seat in 2016.

Miller’s decision to sit the race out was a disappointment for national Democrats, who thought his profile would make him a strong candidate for this highly competitive seat. But it’s indicative of a larger issue Democrats face this cycle: Recruiting House candidates in 2016 hasn’t been as easy as many predicted two years ago.

Lightning Strikes as GOP Hangs on to Roll Call Cup

Lightning cut short the second half of Monday's First Tee Congressional Challenge, leaving the Republican side victorious for the fourth year in a row and retaining possession of the coveted Roll Call Cup.  

Headed by their captain, Rep. Ander Crenshaw of Florida and anchored by the play of fashion twin South Carolinians Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulvaney, the GOP's successful morning of match play was enough to edge their Democratic opponents, 8-4.  

Coveting a New Roll Call Cup

Democratic lawmakers hope to put an end to their losing streak and retake the coveted Roll Call Cup from their Republican counterparts at this year’s 14th annual First Tee Congressional Challenge.  

Lawmakers will hit the Columbia Country Club links in Chevy Chase, Md., on Monday for 36 holes of golf, culminating in a reception and trophy ceremony that evening at Cornerstone Government Affairs. Veteran team captains Reps. Ander Crenshaw , R-Fla., and John Yarmuth , D-Ky., are in their fourth and fifth years leading their sides, respectively. “We both have become very good friends because of it, I think that's one of the great values of the tournament,” Yarmuth said.  

Tossup New York House Race Starting to Take Shape

The heart of summer may have passed, but the temperature in New York's 19th District is only starting to warm up.  

Democrats see it as a top-tier pickup opportunity, a rare open-seat House race in a tossup district that President Barack Obama won twice. The GOP is gearing up to defend it in a presidential election year that could include former Empire State Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of the ticket. For now, most of the action is taking place behind the scenes.  

Making Their Mark: Rating 2016 Campaign Logos

Presidential candidates’ logos are just part of a campaign’s effort to connect with voters, but they say a lot about the candidate’s brand and help with name recognition.

CQ Roll Call asked designers who specialize in creating logos and brand identity what they thought about the 2016 crop of candidates’ logos. Here are some of their critiques.

Designers on 2016 Presidential Campaign Logos: Meh

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s entrance into the 2016 presidential race  also meant the unveiling of his campaign logo: a bolded version of his last name with an American flag standing in for the letter “E.”  

Professional designers for the most part were not impressed with Walker’s logo — especially given its similarity to the logo of eyewear company America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses . And the general consensus on his logo and those of his rivals? A resounding "meh."  

Making Their Mark: Rating 2016 Campaign Logos

Presidential candidates’ logos are just part of a campaign’s effort to connect with voters, but they say a lot about the candidate’s brand and help with name recognition.

CQ Roll Call asked designers who specialize in creating logos and brand identity what they thought about the 2016 crop of candidates’ logos. Here are some of their critiques.

Lindsey Graham Raises Specter of Brad Pitt Presidency

GOP presidential candidate and foreign policy hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has issued numerous warnings about threats to the free world. On Thursday afternoon, he raised the alert on the latest one: Brad Pitt. Mixing bold face type and all caps, Graham said he would "get right to the point ... Under current debate rules supported by the RNC, Brad Pitt would have a better shot of being on the debate stage than real candidates for president ," the email states. "Voters should control our nominating process for president - NOT the media."  

The message — with the subject line "Brad Pitt" (who taught Graham about clickbait!?)—included a link to a petition  urging supporters to sign and ensure "we have a real debate with equal rules for all!"  

Pro-Israel Groups Divided Over Iran Going Into 2016

With international negotiators in Vienna working to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, and the guarantee of a congressional vote on any accord, both hawks and doves among pro-Israel groups are mobilizing over an issue that's growing in importance ahead of the 2016 elections.  

"Next to the economy, nothing is more important to American voters than national security, and Iran is at the center of that debate," Omri Ceren, managing director at The Israel Project, a D.C. educational organization, told CQ Roll Call in an email.  

Pro-Israel Groups Divided Over Iran Going Into 2016

With international negotiators in Vienna working to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, and the guarantee of a congressional vote on any accord, both hawks and doves among pro-Israel groups are mobilizing over an issue that’s growing in importance ahead of the 2016 elections.

“Next to the economy, nothing is more important to American voters than national security, and Iran is at the center of that debate,” Omri Ceren, managing director at The Israel Project, a D.C. educational organization, told CQ Roll Call in an email.

Academics Say Higher Education Prepared Them for Higher Office

When sociology professor John Trammell ran for Congress in 2014, he was "amazed" by how well prepared he was to be a politician.  

Public speaking, prolific writing, research, the internal politics of higher education and the experience of being critiqued through peer review — all were skills applicable both in the ivory tower and in politics.  

Congress Beats the Press in Annual Softball Game (Video)

In a close game dominated by pitching and defense, the congressional women’s softball team prevailed over the press 1-0 in the seventh annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.  

The only run came in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., hit a line drive up the middle and scored one at-bat later when Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., drove her in with a single. That was the only run the members scored off of Bad News Babes’ pitcher Jill Agostino of the New York Times, who pitched six stellar innings, but it was all they needed.