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Capitol Ink | Special Relationship

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announces 2020 presidential run
New York Democrat announced the news on ‘Late Night with Stephen Colbert’

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has promised to stay away from corporate PAC money and has said it has a "corrosive effect" in politics. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has formed an exploratory committee to begin fundraising for a 2020 campaign for president.

The New York Democrat announced the news on “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday, and laid out her answer to the question every candidate is asked: Why do you want to run for president?

Kirsten Gillibrand laying tracks for 2020 presidential run
Hired former DCCC chief spokeswoman, planning NY campaign HQ and heading to Iowa

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York shows all the signs of someone who is about to announce a presidential run. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has begun laying most of the groundwork for a 2020 presidential campaign — virtually all she has left to do now is announce she’s jumping into the race.

The New York Democrat has recruited former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief spokeswoman Meredith Kelly to head the communications staff for her prospective campaign and a handful of other seasoned Democratic operatives for senior staff positions, The New York Times reported Friday.

Reports: Kamala Harris to launch 2020 presidential run around MLK Day
California Democrat could put campaign headquarters in Baltimore

Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California is finalizing plans to announce a 2020 presidential run, multiple outlets have reported. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Pool file photo)

Sen. Kamala Harris is finalizing plans to announce her entry into the 2020 presidential race around Martin Luther King Day, multiple outlets reported late Wednesday night citing sources close to the California Democrat.

Harris would be the fourth person so far to join the race for the Democratic nomination, though that number is expected to balloon to dozens of candidates by the time campaign season kicks into full swing.

House Republicans came back from being written off before. They can again
Close 2018 midterm losses show a path for the GOP

The House Republican leadership team for the 116th Congress speaks to the media on Nov. 14, 2018. From left, Tom Emmer, R-Minn., Gary Palmer, R-Ala., Jason Smith, R-Mo., Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Steve Scalise, R-La., and Mark Walker, R-N.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Through much of 2018 and especially in the weeks following the midterm elections, many opinion writers and other political pundits enthusiastically declared the Republican Party dead or at least relegated to life support.

The commentary was eerily reminiscent of the post-2006 declarations that the GOP was finished … over … no longer a viable political party.

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?
Bob Corker on ‘Widdle Bob,’ Jim Hagedorn gets hitched, and Dan Crenshaw on the media

Former FBI Director James Comey arrives on Capitol Hill for a meeting with Republican members of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

Are the Suburbs Getting More Progressive on Guns? Moms Demand Action Bets Yes
Gun control group found winning candidates within its own ranks

Rep.-elect Lucy McBath, D-Ga., was previously a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid a debate within the Democratic Party about whether progressive ideas can sway voters in suburbia, candidates affiliated with an advocacy group that campaigns against gun violence sought — and won — elected office even in historically conservative suburban districts.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America appealed to suburban women on overhauling gun laws amid a rash of mass shootings in recent years, including the one in Parkland, Florida, in February. 

Sen. Kamala Harris Aide Resigns After $400,000 Sexual Harassment Settlement Emerges
California senator did not know about the lawsuit, her office says

A top aide to Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., resigned Wednesday after a settlement for $400,000 over a lawsuit levying gender harassment allegations against him surfaced. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A longtime aide to Sen. Kamala Harris resigned Wednesday after another news publication asked about a $400,000 sexual harassment and retaliation settlement stemming from his time working for the California Department of Justice.

The Sacramento Bee first reported this story.

North Carolina Woman Admits to ‘Harvesting’ Ballots for Mark Harris Operative
State elections board officials delay certifying Harris’ victory over Democrat Dan McCready

Fall leaves frame the dome of the U.S. Capitol building on Nov. 8, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A North Carolina woman on Tuesday admitted to illegally “harvesting” ballots for a campaign operative working for GOP candidate Mark Harris in the race for the state’s 9th District U.S. House seat.

Ginger Eason, a Bladen County resident, told a reporter for WSOC-TV on Tuesday that she had done campaign work for Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., who paid her $75 to $100 per week to collect absentee ballots in the county and deliver them to him.

NC Prosecutor Has Been Probing Election Fraud in 9th District Going Back to 2016
State elections board has twice declined to certify Republican Mark Harris’ slim victory amid fraud claims

A North Carolina prosecutor has been investigating election irregularities in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District long before Mark Harris’ contested election in November’s election. (John D. Simmons /The Charlotte Observer file photo via AP)

The district attorney in Wake County, North Carolina, has been investigating claims of election tampering in North Carolina’s 9th District for months, long before the results of the district’s congressional race were thrown into question over claims of fraud.

Lorrin Freeman opened a probe earlier this year to examine irregularities in the 2016 election in the 9th-District section of Bladen County, and has since added similar allegations from the 2018 primary and general elections to her investigation.