governors

Does open seat in Montana help or hurt Democrats’ pickup opportunity?
Gianforte, who underperformed a generic Republican in the past, is leaving the House to run for governor

The decision by Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., to run for governor creates an open seat that could be easier for Republicans to defend.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Parties crave open seats, considering the vast majority of incumbents win re-election. But in the case of Montana’s at-large district, Democrats may have lost their preferred opponent when Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte filed to run for governor.

While it might have been daunting for Democrats to face Gianforte’s personal wealth in a presidential year in a state President Donald Trump carried by 20 points, the congressman has actually underperformed the partisan lean of the state in past elections. It might have something to do with him assaulting a reporter in 2017.

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte may run for governor, opening up at-large House seat
Republicans haven’t won governor’s mansion since 2000

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., might join a crowded Republican race for Montana governor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, Montana’s lone House member, is planning to announce a 2020 run for governor, according to the state’s MTN News network.

Gianforte, who was first elected to the House in a 2017 special election, would be the sixth Republican to enter the race to succeed Democratic incumbent Steve Bullock, who is term-limited and running for president.

Steve Bullock announces presidential run
Montana governor touts record of winning in a Trump state and taking on dark campaign money

Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock won re-election in 2016 while Donald Trump was winning his state in a landslide. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock became the 22nd major Democratic candidate for president when he announced his entry into the race on Tuesday.

The two-term governor, who won re-election in 2016 while Donald Trump was winning the state by 20 points, made his announcement in a video that touted his electability and promised to take dark money out of politics.

States spend big on make-or-break 2020 census
California has already allocated $100 million as citizenship question looms

People gather outside the Supreme Court in April to protest the Trump administration’s census citizenship question. The question will lead to inaccurate population counts, opponents say. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Freed from the budget constraints that dogged them during the last census and with a growing understanding of what accurate population counts mean for the possibility of federal dollars, states are spending at an unprecedented rate on efforts to boost census outreach.

California has already allocated more than $100 million on efforts aimed at getting all its residents counted in the 2020 census. No state approaches that total, but 10 others have enacted laws to spend a total of $31.7 million to make sure as many residents as possible are counted, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Johnny Cash is replacing one of the Capitol’s Civil War statues
The country music legend and civil rights leader Daisy Gatson Bates will replace controversial Civil War figures

A statue of Uriah Milton Rose of Arkansas is seen in the Capitol's Statuary Hall on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The times are changing, and so is the marble. Arkansas is leaving behind statues of the old guard and sending a few new faces to the U.S. Capitol.

Civil rights icon Daisy Gatson Bates and musician Johnny Cash will join the Statuary Hall collection in D.C., replacing 19th-century attorney Uriah Milton Rose and statesman James Paul Clarke. The governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, made the plan official by signing a bill last week. 

Democratic presidential hopefuls appeal for union votes
Infrastructure, apprenticeships and attacks on GOP tax law highlight conference

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the North America’s Building Trades Unions conference at the Washington Hilton on Wednesday. Many Democratic presidential hopefuls attended the conference in hopes of drawing the labor vote. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

“Unions are here to stay!” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren exclaimed Wednesday to an enthusiastic crowd as leaders and members of construction unions packed a Washington Hilton ballroom to hear from nine Democrats running for president or thinking about it.

The audience at the North America’s Building Trades Unions conference heard promises to boost spending on infrastructure, expand apprenticeships, and redirect money that went for tax cuts in 2017 toward the middle class.

Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings, South Carolina senator and WWII veteran, has died
Longtime statesman known for his quick wit died Saturday at the age of 97

During an interview in his office in 1993, Sen. Ernest F. Hollings, D-S.C., looks at a photo of himself with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (Scott Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ernest Frederick “Fritz” Hollings, a longtime statesman with a rumbling baritone known for a quick wit and as a champion of environmental and social policy, has died at the age of 97.

The South Carolina Democrat, who ran for president in 1984 and served in the Senate for nearly 40 years — most of his tenure as the junior senator to Republican Strom Thurmond — died Saturday after a period of failing health, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported

Single-payer health care systems are no easier in the states
Politics, costs and federal restrictions have already undercut efforts in Vermont and California

Former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin pushed for — and later abandoned — a single-payer health care system during his time in office. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The hurdles for a government-run, single-payer health care system are amplified at the state level, where universal coverage ambitions are hampered by politics, costs and federal restrictions.

These realities ultimately undercut efforts in two of the nation’s most liberal states — Vermont, which ended its attempts to institute a single-payer system in 2014, and California, which is expected to fall short again this year.

Governors vs. senators: Hickenlooper, Inslee will test old theory
Democrats are desperate to beat Trump, but do previous measures of experience still matter?

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper entered the Democratic presidential race last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the entrance of John Hickenlooper and Jay Inslee into the crowded 2020 presidential contest,  Democrats are set to test once again the conventional wisdom that governors make better candidates than senators.

On the surface, it looks like the rules have changed with the odds stacked against the two. Hickenlooper, a former governor of Colorado, and Inslee, the current governor of Washington, are up against a wealth of hopefuls from the Senate, many with national profiles and a demonstrated ability to raise serious amounts of cash. The winner will have to face off against President Donald Trump, who defied political wisdom when he won in 2016 in spite of his inexperience and unconventional campaign.

Rep. Dan Kildee interviewed by Alec Baldwin for Flint documentary
Congressman met with actor for an upcoming documentary on the city’s water crisis

Rep. Dan Kildee, right, poses with actor Alec Baldwin on Wednesday in Flint, Michigan. Baldwin interviewed the Michigan Democrat for an upcoming documentary on the Flint water crisis. (Courtesy Rep. Dan Kildee)

Rep. Dan Kildee met with actor and “Saturday Night Live” Donald Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin on Wednesday for an interview in Michigan that will be featured in an upcoming documentary film about the Flint water crisis.

The untitled documentary, which has been in the works since 2015, is being directed by British filmmaker Anthony Baxter, The Detroit News reported. Baxter wanted to tell the story of Flint from the perspective of its residents, instead of politicians and celebrities, Variety reported in 2017. The film does not yet have a release window.