Cheri Bustos

Get to know these new congressional caucuses
Agritourism not your bag? Try the Air Cargo Caucus!

Let’s hear it for the Agritourism Caucus! Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton hopes it will spur more visits to places like wineries in her district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are dozens of caucuses in Congress. Here’s a roundup of a few new ones formed this year.

Money generated by vineyards, orchards, breweries, distilleries and farm markets totaled $949 million in 2017, according to Virginia Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who formed this caucus to “strengthen the agritourism industry” and “highlight the positive impacts they have.” Wexton recently touted on Twitter a visit to a winery and farm in her suburban D.C. district. North Carolina Republican David Rouzer serves as caucus co-chair. 

Mostly smoke, and little fire, from Republicans to Democrats on impeachment
GOP hasn’t yet launched a credible campaign against 8 of the 13 vulnerable Democrats it is targeting

Republicans are targeting Virginia Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, center, and other Democrats who are defending districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016 even though no credible candidate has yet to emerge to challenge her. (Screenshot from RNC ad)

ANALYSIS — Republicans are publicly celebrating impeachment as a political boon and trying to hold House Democrats’ feet to the fire with television ads and protests. But without credible challengers, it’s little more than expensive hot air.

Last week, President Donald Trump’s campaign manager bragged about turning up the heat on a freshman Democrat who supports the impeachment inquiry, and the Republican National Committee is on television targeting a dozen Democratic members for supporting it. But in most instances, there’s a lot of smoke and little fire, considering Republicans are still searching for credible candidates in many of the districts.

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.

DCCC polling shows half of voters support impeaching Trump
House Democrats’ campaign arm shared polling as lawmakers returned home for two-week recess

DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., shared results of a new poll on impeachment with her caucus before members left for a two-week recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Democrats’ campaign arm had a parting message as members headed back home for a two-week recess Friday night: A new poll shows more than half of likely voters support opening an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

The poll, commissioned by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and obtained by CQ Roll Call, found voters supported an impeachment investigation by a margin of 54 percent to 43 percent.

Photos of the Week: A statehood hearing, climate activists and a new way to wear glasses
The week of September 20 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser rides a double-decker bus on Monday with American flags featuring 51 stars down Pennsylvania Avenue along with 51 military veterans ahead of this week’s House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on making D.C. the 51st state. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

If it’s possible to ‘win’ August recess, these members did
Just don’t call it a vacation

Iowa's senior senator celebrates touring all of Iowa’s 99 counties with a brain freeze. (Courtesy Sen. Chuck Grassley/Instagram)

August is traditionally the time when members of Congress take a monthlong break from D.C., escaping the sweaty, oppressively hot swamp for their individual states. Recess, a tradition that predates air conditioning, is now known as a “district work period” — because lawmakers HATE that you’re in any way implying that they’re on vacation.

While their constituents are judging members on how much “work” they did during their time in their districts this August, we’re judging them based on who looked like they had the most fun.

These 4 Democrats want a rematch in 2020 after narrow losses in 2018
Races in California, Illinois, Iowa and New York already on parties’ radar

Democrat J.D. Scholten is running again in Iowa’s 4th District after losing to Rep. Steve King by 3 points in 2018. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several Democrats have already announced they will run for the House again in 2020 after losing by 4 points or less in their first-ever campaigns last cycle.

Four of those candidates — Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, Ammar Campa-Najjar, Nate McMurray and J.D. Scholten — say they know more now about how to run, and feel there’s unfinished business that merits a sequel.

Democrats go on defense in crucial heartland House race in Iowa
GOP has sights on Iowa’s 2nd District, which backed Trump in 2016

Former Iowa state Sen. Rita Hart is running for the Democratic nomination for Iowa’s 2nd District after Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack opted against reelection. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

WHEATLAND, Iowa — Republicans sense an opportunity in the rolling corn and soybean fields in southeastern Iowa. But Democrats won’t be giving up their hold on this heartland district without a fight.

Republicans’ path to the House majority runs through the 31 Democrat-held districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. And one of them, Iowa’s 2nd District, ranks among the GOP’s best pickup opportunities next year because it’s the only one of the 31 without an incumbent defending the seat.

Exodus at the DCCC: Top aides quit House Democrats' campaign arm
Allison Jaslow, a close ally of Bustos, had started at the committee this cycle

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, flew back to Washington to meet with DCCC staff this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos announced the appointment of a new interim executive director Monday as she seeks to quell internal jousting between lawmakers and the committee about diversity representation in its upper ranks.

“Today has been a sobering day filled with tough conversations that too often we avoid, but I can say confidently that we are taking the first steps toward putting the DCCC back on path to protect and expand our majority, with a staff that truly reflects the diversity of our Democratic caucus and our party,” Bustos said in a statement.

Targeted House members boost fundraising, as Democrats’ dominance continues
On average, targeted Democrats raised $100,000 more than targeted GOP members

California Rep. Katie Porter raised the most of any Democratic lawmaker whom Republicans are targeting in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Targeted House members in both parties generally improved their second-quarter fundraising compared to the same period two years ago, but Democrats continued to outpace their Republican counterparts as they worked to protect their majority.

The fundraising reports, which cover the three-month period of April through June and were filed on Monday, will likely quiet questions about whether the wave of cash that bolstered Team Blue in the midterms would return for Democratic lawmakers facing tough reelections in 2020.