Campaigns

Stefanik launches PAC to boost female candidates, now with GOP leadership support
New York Republican says party’s problem with women goes beyond Trump

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., aims to help more Republican women win primaries in the 2020 cycle through early political money and mentorship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have trouble electing women. And for at least one afternoon in Washington, everyone recognized that problem.

House GOP leadership, consultants, members and former candidates all showed up Thursday to a five-hour confab just off Capitol Hill to help New York Rep. Elise Stefanik launch her rebranded leadership PAC, which will be dedicated to helping women in primaries.

Pennsylvania 12 special election: Is Marino’s seat at risk?
It’s a solid red seat, but nothing has come easy for the GOP the last two years

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., is saying goodbye to the House for a job in the private sector. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina’s 9th District was the clear front-runner to host the first congressional election of 2019 until Republican Tom Marino announced his resignation from Pennsylvania’s 12th District. The seat has a significant GOP lean to it, but Republicans seem to find new ways to make special elections closer and more competitive than they should be.

The four-term congressman said Thursday he would be leaving Jan. 23 for a job in the private sector. Marino was re-elected last November with 66 percent and just began his fifth term. 

Armed Services experience is ‘in’ for 2020 presidential
Gillibrand, Warren and Gabbard will play up their national security cred as they vie to be commander in chief

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard greets veteran Celestino Almeda in 2017. The Hawaii congresswoman is one of three sitting Armed Services members eyeing the presidency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three sitting members of Congress who have announced plans to seek the presidency in 2020 have a few things in common: they’re all Democrats, they’re all women, and they all sit on their respective chamber’s Armed Services committee.

To date, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have formed committees to explore a challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020, while Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has officially launched her presidential campaign.

Which ballot measure would you rather have a beer with?
Voters routinely back initiatives that clash with their candidate picks — and that’s changing how things get done

In Colorado, liberal enthusiasm propelled Jared Polis into the governor’s mansion. But it wasn’t enough to carry any of three high-profile ballot measures supported by the state Democratic Party. (Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images file photo)

As voters across the country made their choices last year on ballot issues and political candidates, a disconnect emerged.

While Democrats in Colorado swept statewide races, voters sent a different message on taxes and spending by rejecting ballot measures endorsed by Democrats that would have increased revenue for education and transportation.

Vote Mama helps moms with young children to run for office
New York’s Liuba Grechen Shirley launches PAC to support progressive candidates

Liuba Grechen Shirley, shown here with her children Mila, left, and Nicky, persuaded the Federal Election Commission to allow her to use campaign funds from her House campaign to pay for child care expenses. (Courtesy Liuba Grechen Shirley)

Liuba Grechen Shirley attracted national attention when she persuaded federal election officials to allow her to use money she raised for her 2018 congressional campaign to pay for babysitting expenses.

She still lost her 2018 House campaign. So did the six other women with children under 2 who ran for Congress last year, she said, in spite of what has been universally recognized as a watershed moment for women in politics.

They raised millions and lost. Now what?
Democrats who were top fundraisers look to stay involved in politics

Kentucky’s Amy McGrath was one of the top Democratic fundraisers of the 2018 cycle in her unsuccessful challenge to GOP Rep. Andy Barr. (Jason Davis/Getty Images file photo)

Democrats who ran for the House in 2018 shattered fundraising records, some even surpassing Senate candidates. But not all of the cycle’s top fundraisers ended up winning their races. 

That’s left a number of candidates — with high profiles and massive donor lists — pondering their next moves. And some are still eyeing careers in politics. 

STEM group launches ‘Draft Mark Kelly’ effort in Arizona
314 Action is urging former astronaut to challenge appointed Sen. McSally

Mark Kelly, the husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is being encouraged to run for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

314 Action, a group that backs candidates with scientific backgrounds, is launching a new effort Wednesday to encourage former astronaut and Navy veteran Mark Kelly to run for Senate in Arizona. 

Kelly, who is married to former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is among a handful of potential Democratic challengers to appointed Sen. Martha McSally. The race is expected to be a top party target in 2020, and 314 Action is hoping a show of support will bolster Kelly’s decision to run.

Tulsi Gabbard ‘regrets’ past anti-gay activism as she prepares for presidential race
Hawaii Democratic congresswoman announced she’s running for party’s 2020 nomination

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, received criticism for her past opposition to same-sex marriage. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s positions on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights have shifted dramatically, from working for her father’s anti-gay marriage organization in the early 2000s to joining the Congressional Progressive Caucus as a U.S. House member.

The Hawaii Democrat announced Friday that she will seek the Democratic party nomination for president in 2020. She has already received criticism for her past anti-gay activism.

Henry Cuellar says liberals targeting him don’t understand his district
Texas congressman says his polling shows his Democratic constituents are moderates

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, is among the more conservative Democrats in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar said Friday that the liberal Democrats recruiting primary challengers against him are in for a rude awakening. 

The Washington Post first reported that Justice Democrats, a group targeting sitting Democratic lawmakers, launched a fund to support a primary challenge against Cuellar, one of the more conservative House Democrats.

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.

5 reasons why there’s still no end to the shutdown
They can’t end the standoff because Democrats and Republicans are trying to solve different problems

Members of the Association of Flight Attendants participate in the National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly three weeks into the government shutdown, I’m not sure how this standoff ends, but I do know there are multiple reasons for how we got here.

What’s the problem? Democrats and Republicans can’t find a solution because they’re trying to solve two different problems. If you listen carefully, Democrats are trying to end the government shutdown while Republicans are trying to find money to build a wall.

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.

Steve King primary challenger slams his ‘caustic nature’
Iowa Republican won re-election by just 3 points in solid GOP district

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King is facing a GOP primary this cycle after a narrow re-election in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Controversial Iowa Rep. Steve King will face a Republican primary challenger next year, with state Sen. Randy Feenstra announcing Wednesday that he is running in the 4th District.

Feenstra, the assistant majority leader in the state Senate, did not mention the nine-term incumbent by name in his statement announcing he was forming a congressional campaign committee, but slammed King’s lack of influence.

As Mark Harris runs from reporters, his path to House seat narrows
House Democrats say they won’t seat NC Republican, citing ongoing investigations into absentee ballots

GOP congressional candidate Mark Harris speaks as President Donald Trump and Republican Rep. Ted Budd listen during a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C., in October. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images file photo)

Republican Mark Harris regrets running from reporters earlier this week, he said Tuesday, as the controversy drags on over his 905-vote midterm election lead in North Carolina’s 9th District.

After attending a meeting of the Mecklenburg GOP on Monday, Harris raced past reporters down a back stairwell, setting off the fire alarm and declining to answer any questions.

USPS IG clears conservative group of wrongdoing in Spanberger file release
At least 6 other former employees had their files improperly released after FOIA requests, IG found

The U.S. Postal Service improperly released a highly sensitive personnel file of Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., to a conservative opposition research group last summer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Postal Service inspector general officially cleared a prominent conservative research group of any wrongdoing for getting its hands on Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s complete and unredacted official personnel file last summer.

America Rising, a conservative opposition research group contracted by dozens of conservative PACs and campaign committees each election cycle to dig up dirt on Democratic candidates, went through the proper channels, submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for Spanberger’s file to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the IG concluded in its report released in late December.