Simone Pathé

Has Booker’s Jersey political experience prepared him to take on Trump?
N.J. Democrat talks about fighting a Newark political machine that used Trump-like tactics

This is the second installment in a series, “Battle Tested,” that analyzes early campaigns run by some Democrats seeking the presidential nomination. For our first story, on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, click here.

On heels of Senate loss, Montana’s Matt Rosendale running for Congress — again
Republican state auditor lost to Sen. Jon Tester by 4 points last fall

Matt Rosendale, the Montana state auditor, announced Monday that he’s seeking the Republican nomination for the state’s at-large House seat. 

Because Montana’s member of Congress represents the whole state, Rosendale will be fighting for the same voters he did last cycle, when he won a four-way GOP primary for Senate and then lost to Democratic incumbent Jon Tester by less than 4 points. The House seat opened after GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte declared a bid for governor. 

Brooks wants more Republican women to run in 2020 — even if she won’t
NRCC recruitment chair says she’ll have more time now to recruit and mentor candidates

The party that’s already lacking in women in the House is losing a giant in Indiana Republican Susan W. Brooks, who announced her retirement Friday.

One of just 13 women in the GOP conference, the four-term lawmaker had been heavily involved in recruiting and mentoring Republican women well before she was named recruitment chair this cycle for the National Republican Congressional Committee, a role she’ll keep despite not seeking re-election in 2020

Susan Brooks won’t seek a fifth term, opening up targeted Indiana seat
GOP congresswoman will stay on as recruitment chair for the NRCC for 2020

Rep. Susan W. Brooks — one of just 13 Republican women in the House — is not running for re-election in Indiana’s 5th District, a Democrat target in 2020.

“It’s a very, very personal decision — not really a political decision, as odd as that may sound,” Brooks told CQ Roll Call on Friday morning. She solidified her decision after spending time at the end of May in Alaska with her son, who recently moved there to teach.

Rep. Mark Walker won’t challenge him, but Sen. Thom Tillis still faces a primary
Walker may be eyeing open North Carolina Senate seat in 2022

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker will not be launching a primary bid against Sen. Thom Tillis, one of the most vulnerable Republicans facing re-election next year.

“After prayerful reflection and consideration, I am confident that my continued service in the House will best help our efforts to reclaim the majority from Nancy Pelosi and advance our shared conservative goals,” Walker said in a statement to Politico, which first reported the news. 

Georgia House races could be ground zero for abortion debate
Restrictive anti-abortion laws could put Republicans on defense with suburban voters

The sponsor of Georgia’s so-called heartbeat law is launching a congressional bid this week, which is likely to keep the abortion debate alive in a crucial state for both parties up and down the ballot in 2020. 

State Sen. Renee Unterman is expected to announce Thursday her campaign for the Republican nomination in Georgia’s 7th District, a demographically changing seat outside Atlanta that had the closest margin of any House race in the country last year. 

More 2020 Democrats join call for House to start impeachment inquiry
But Pelosi says she wants ‘ironclad case’ first

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s brief public remarks Wednesday led more Democratic presidential candidates to call for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

But concerns remained among House Democratic leaders, as well as Democrats trying to hold their chamber majority in 2020, that going down that road could exacerbate divisions in the country and imperil Democratic electoral prospects.

Runoff for safe Republican seat in North Carolina divides the conference
GOP women in the House line up against Mark Meadows and the Freedom Fund

The runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd District is dividing the House Republican Conference between one powerful man and more than a dozen women.

It’s North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows and the political arm of the House Freedom Caucus versus the Republican women in the chamber — all 13 of them — plus another male lawmaker from the North Carolina delegation.

Supreme Court delays redrawing of Ohio and Michigan House districts
Lower-court rulings found partisan gerrymandering, ordered new maps within months

The Supreme Court on Friday put a hold on lower-court decisions mandating that Ohio and Michigan draw new congressional maps this year.  

Federal three-judge panels had struck down portions of Michigan’s map and all of Ohio’s map as partisan gerrymanders in separate cases earlier this spring. The court ordered Michigan to draw a new map by Aug. 1, while the Ohio was given a June 14 deadline.

Here’s what House Democrats are saying about impeaching Trump
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 154

Democrat Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee that would lead an impeachment inquiry, says he believes President Donald Trump has committed high crimes, both in obstructing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation and in refusing to cooperate with congressional investigators. CQ Roll Call senior politics reporter Simone Pathé talks about her interviews this week with Democrats from competitive House districts. They told her they are more open to beginning impeachment proceedings because of Trump’s refusal to cooperate with congressional investigators.

Show Notes:

An ‘obvious trap’? Democrats weigh political cost of impeachment
Vulnerable Democrats may be more open to impeachment but aren’t ready to go there yet

Congressional Democrats have a decision to make: Where are they going on impeachment, and at what political cost?

A group that has been pushing since 2017 for President Donald Trump’s impeachment will be airing ads this weekend in Iowa and New Hampshire urging Democratic leaders to take action. 

Get used to talking about Pennsylvania
Political Theater, Episode 74

For pure Political Theater, it will be hard to beat Pennsylvania during the 2020 campaign. The Keystone State will be, well, key to an Electoral College victory. President Donald Trump knows it. That may be why he has visited it six times since taking office, including to Montoursville in the north central part of the state on May 20.

He won’t be alone, though, because the current Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was born in Scranton, represented neighboring Delaware in the Senate for decades and opened his official campaign headquarters in Philadelphia on May 18. Pennsylvania has long been a swing state in presidential politics, and Democrats’ ability to flip several Republican seats in 2018 paved the way for them retaking the majority in the House.

These two Democratic presidential contenders voted for a gas tax increase
Both Sanders and Biden voted for the last federal gas tax hike 26 years ago

When he meets with Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday, a key question will be whether President Donald Trump backs an increase in the federal gas tax the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been pressing him to support.

Trump reportedly backed an increase in private meetings before, but the 2020 election could be a reason for hesitation.

These Democratic women don’t want to be ‘show ponies’
Political Theater: Episode 73

Five Democratic freshmen, all women with military or intelligence backgrounds, are banding together to help each other fundraise for their 2020 races. They all flipped Republican districts in 2018, and they know winning districts like theirs is the key to holding and expanding the House majority in 2020. 

After a few months in Congress, they’ve figured out who are the “workhorses” and who are the “show ponies,” in the words of Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, and they’re tired of the latter getting all the attention. Along with Slotkin, Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania are fighting to hold the majority.

Republicans avoid primary runoff in North Carolina redo
Dan Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready in September

State Sen. Dan Bishop has won the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 9th District, avoiding a runoff and kicking off the general election in this year’s most competitive special election.

He’ll next face Dan McCready, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and has amassed a large campaign war chest. National groups from both sides are already eyeing this race, with Republicans hoping to keep a longtime GOP seat in their column and Democrats hoping a Marine veteran will help them grow their House majority. 

3 things to watch in the redo primary for North Carolina’s 9th District
Dan Bishop could win GOP nod even if he doesn’t clear 30 percent

The race for North Carolina’s 9th District is the 2018 election that just won’t end. Tuesday’s Republican primary will go a long way toward determining where this competitive special election is headed next. 

It all started with Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger. Just over a year ago, he became the first incumbent of the cycle to lose. He lost his primary to Mark Harris, who’d come within 133 votes of knocking him off in a recount two years earlier. Harris then faced Democrat Dan McCready, a solar energy financier and Marine veteran. 

Democratic female freshmen signal Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t represent them
Democrats with military, CIA backgrounds unite to fundraise for each other

Five freshman Democratic women in the House want the world to know that the newcomers receiving the most attention so far in the 116th Congress aren’t reflective of the women who ran and won in tough districts last fall.

At an event to tout their formation of a joint fundraising committee to tap each other’s donors (and hopefully bring in more), the five, all with military or intelligence backgrounds, never mentioned New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by name.

Who’s afraid of political gerrymandering?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 71

Political gerrymandering is losing friends fast, at least in the courts. Ohio and Michigan recently got smacked by federal judges for rigging the maps in favor of Republicans. At the same time, the Supreme Court could decide next month whether Maryland and North Carolina drew unconstitutional gerrymandered maps to favor Democrats and Republicans, respectively.  Why all the interest all of a sudden in such an esoteric part of politics? CQ Roll Call campaign reporters Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin are our guides through the maze of maps on the latest Political Theater podcast. 

More GOP women want to run for the House. But why now?
Female Republicans are stepping up to run earlier than last cycle

Stephanie Bice is a Republican from a deeply conservative state that’s only sent three women to Congress. But the election of a record-breaking number of female freshmen to the House in 2018, all but one of them Democrats, helped her decide to run for the chamber herself.

“It was a signal to all women that politics isn’t just … a man’s world,” said the Oklahoma state senator, who recently announced her candidacy for the 5th District. “It shows that women have as much of an ability to win these seats. We just need to field the candidates.”

Will the ‘bathroom bill’ animate yet another North Carolina election?
Dan Bishop may be on track to avoid a runoff in 9th District GOP primary

The email from Dan McCready was telling.

The North Carolina Democrat, who’s amassed more than $2.6 million for a redo election in the 9th District, was fundraising off a poll that showed state Sen. Dan Bishop leading the 10-person Republican field for next Tuesday’s primary.