Barbara Comstock

Opinion: Moms, Guns and 2018
GOP’s issues with women have nothing to do with Stormy, #MeToo or Russia

Crosses line the lawn in front of Santa Fe High School on Monday in Santa Fe, Texas, where a 17-year-old student opened fire with a shotgun and pistol, killing 10 people. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Women are coming for you, Republicans. That’s the message of 2018 so far, isn’t it? Between the record number of women running for office (mostly as Democrats), the record number of women winning primaries, and the enormous gender gap that shows up in polling everything from the president’s approval rating to generic House races, there’s a theme showing up — Republicans have a problem with women.

And they do. But from the conversations I’ve had with suburban women voters, and especially the mothers of young children I see every day as the mom of 5-year-olds myself, there’s much more to the story of the GOP’s trouble with women, and it has nothing to do with Stormy Daniels, #MeToo, Russia or the Resistance.

Virginia GOP Primaries Overwhelmed by Personal Attacks, Candidates Say
Racist attacks on candidates’ names, fake blog posts on penis enlargement among the attacks

Corey Stewart, President Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign chairman for 2016 now running for the Senate says politics has always been a “blood sport.” (Corey Stewart for U.S. Senate via Facebook)

The Republican primaries in Virginia have become a haven for schoolyard bully tactics as candidates unleash personal attacks on each other in ways and to a degree seldom seen in American politics.

One candidate blazing that trail is Senate hopeful and President Donald Trump’s former state campaign chairman Corey Stewart.

Six Months Out: The 10 Most Vulnerable House Incumbents
Republicans fill out the list

As he was for much of 2016, Iowa Rep. Rod Blum is back at the top of the list of most vulnerable incumbents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the House GOP on defense in a difficult national environment, the 10 most vulnerable incumbents six months out from Election Day are all Republicans.

Republicans have pickup opportunities in November, but this is a ranking of the incumbents most likely to lose, not of seats most likely to flip — so there are no open seats on the list.

House Experience Poised to Nose-Dive
Following a rash of retirements, incumbent losses in November could bring the body’s experience to a low not seen since the 1990s

Michigan Democratic Reps. John Conyers Jr. and Sander M. Levin and Texas Republican Reps. Joe L. Barton and Lamar Smith are the four most senior House members to end their service during the current Congress. (Bill Clark and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos)

If this election year ushers in as big a wave as Democrats are hoping for, it could end not just with a new party in control of the House, but with a major brain drain in the chamber. Departing members take with them their institutional knowledge and experienced staff. The freshmen who replace them will not only be starting from scratch, but, like Tea Party members did in 2010, could arrive by virtue of an antagonistic attitude and may be reluctant to back established party leadership.

The 69 representatives who for one reason or another won’t be a part of the House membership next year represent a significant portion of the House’s cumulative experience, a combined 828 years of experience in the chamber — roughly a fifth of the House’s total at the time this Congress began. 

At the Races: Is Lesko’s Win in the Desert a Mirage?
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 by subscribing here. 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

Could a Blue Wave Sweep Away More GOP Women?
It’s not just members like Barbara Comstock who could be in trouble

Democrats are targeting some Republicans, like Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski, even in Solid Republican races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WARSAW, Ind. — Jackie Walorski made the rounds at the Kosciusko County fish fry earlier this month like a political pro.

She took the time to sit down with veterans enjoying their fish, and she seemed to hug or clasp hands with everyone she encountered at this biannual Republican fundraiser.

Opinion: Will the Marches Make a Difference?
Marches are where change can start, but elections are where the change happens

A group from Pittsburgh marches down the West Front of the Capitol on Saturday to join the student-led “March for Our Lives,” calling for action to prevent gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The National Rifle Association went into the 1994 midterm elections with a plan: Target politicians who had voted for that year’s crime bill.

A Washington Post story just before Election Day detailed a granular and aggressive plan inside the NRA to unseat anyone who had failed to support the group’s position on the landmark legislation pushed by President Bill Clinton that included a ban on new sales of some assault weapons.

Lawmakers Push for Sexual Harassment Bill in Spending Package
Bipartisan coalition, Speaker want legislation included in omnibus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive to hold a press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans and Democrats are making a last-minute bid to add legislation that would address the sexual harassment of staffers by members of Congress on the omnibus appropriations bill.

With dozens of policy issues still in flux as part of the full-year fiscal 2018 spending package, some lawmakers are upset by indications a bill that would implement robust sexual harassment policies in Congress is currently not part of the omnibus. The House passed the anti-sexual harassment measure, as well as sweeping rules changes aimed at protecting staffers, by voice vote on Feb. 6.

Paul Ryan Yields to Trump on High-Profile Issues
Speaker hedges on omnibus, sexual harassment, tariffs

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., closes the door as he prepares to hold a press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday. Also pictured, from left, are Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan laughed Tuesday when a reporter asked him if he thinks President Donald Trump should stop attacking special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. 

“The special counsel should be free to follow through with his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely,” Ryan said. “I am confident that he’ll be able to do that. I’ve received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration.”

At the Races: The Wheels on McDaniel’s Bus Go ’Round and ’Round
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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

This week … Chris McDaniel launched another Senate primary run in Mississippi, voters picked their candidates in Arizona, and underdog Democrats used the gun debate to make their mark.

Decision Time in the Desert: Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko won the GOP primary Tuesday in the special election to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks (who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations). She’s in a strong position heading into the April 24 special election, since President Donald Trump carried the seat by 21 points. Lesko will face emergency room physician Hiral Tipirneni, whom Democrats see as a strong candidate. So Lesko might not want to get too confident. Nathan Gonzales shifted this race rating from Solid Republican to Likely Republican, because, well, special elections have been pretty crazy this cycle.