outside-groups

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill
Rokita sends off successor, Loebsack is lonely no more, and Pearce gets a new post

Sgt. Maj. Julian Ayers, drum major for the U.S. Army Band, leads a rehearsal on the East Front of the Capitol before the arrival former President George H.W. Bush’s casket last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for it. We look, but we don’t find everything. We want to know what you see too.

The Dingell-est Things John Dingell Said in His #AMA
Longest-serving member of Congress pulls no punches

Former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., hosted a Reddit AMA session Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. John Dingell, the longest-ever serving member of Congress, is known for his frankness and wit.

The former Michigan lawmaker lived up to that reputation in a refreshingly honest Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session Thursday, dishing on President Donald Trump, the inanity of term limits, and how the Senate and Electoral College are inherently undemocratic institutions.

Dan Conston Takes Helm of Top House GOP Outside Groups
Conston will lead the Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network

Interns work the phones at the Congressional Leadership Fund office in GOP Rep. Steve Knight’s district in Lancaster, Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two major GOP outside groups involved in House races are getting a new leader. Dan Conston will take over as the president of both American Action Network and its related Super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the groups announced Tuesday. 

The move comes after Republicans lost 40 seats in the midterm elections, meaning Republicans will shift from defense to offense in the upcoming 2020 elections. Conston will replace Corry Bliss, who oversaw record fundraising for the group and the creation of a new Congressional Leadership Fund field program with offices in 40 districts. Bliss will remain an advisor to both groups.

Elise Stefanik Wants to Play in Primaries to Help Republican Women
NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer thinks playing in primaries is a “mistake”

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik is stepping back from her role at the NRCC. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik recruited more than 100 women as the first female head of recruitment at the National Republican Congressional Committee. But only one of them prevailed, with many failing to make it through their primaries.

So Stefanik is stepping back from the NRCC to be involved where she thinks it matters.

Party Leadership Duped Voters With Millions for ‘Dubious’ Midterm Ads, Report Finds
Congress, FEC could close loopholes so voters know who is paying for campaigns, group says

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly elected members of Congress benefited from millions of dollars indirectly tied to party leaders in Washington. But much of that money was spent on ads that appeared to be from local groups, according to a study released Thursday.

The tactic is legal, thanks to campaign finance laws that have not been updated since the dawn of the digital age and Supreme Court rulings that have struck down limits on money in politics. But such strategies, laid out in the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center’s “Dodging Disclosure” report, represent the acceleration of “big money trends” that have given deep-pocketed groups outsize influence over elections and made the 2018 midterms the most expensive in American history, the report said.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Successor Announce New PAC to Boost Latino Turnout
Announcement follows reports that Democratic Party was slow to engage Latinos during midterms

Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and House Democrats hold a rally in June on the steps of the Capitol to call for passage of “The Keep Families Together Act,” that would stop the separation of parents and children at the border of the U.S. and Mexico. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Outgoing Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez and his successor, Rep.-elect Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, will form a political action committee aimed strengthening Latinos’ political clout.

According to a Chicago Tribune report, the Progressive Caucus Democrats will raise money for candidates with strong positions on issues of immigration, affordable housing and poverty, ideally from Latino donors.

With an Ambitious Policy Agenda, Pelosi is Poised to Lead the House Again
Calls increased from Democratic incumbents and candidates asking for new generation of leaders

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference in the Capitol on Nov. 7, the day after Democrats had retaken control of the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Basking in House Democrats’ midterm election wins, Nancy Pelosi is focused on the planks of the Democratic campaign platform that will become the new majority’s agenda: health care, infrastructure and cleaning up corruption in Washington.

But the California Democrat cannot escape questions about another theme that emerged on the campaign trail — opposition to her leadership.

Meet Carol Miller. She Could Be the Only New Republican Woman Coming to Congress Next Year.
The GOP’s only new woman, so far, will represent West Virginia’s 3rd District

West Virginia Republican Carol Miller may be the only new GOP woman in the next Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Among the 33 new women elected to the House this week, only one is a Republican. 

Carol Miller, the majority whip in the West Virginia state House and daughter of a former Ohio congressman, won the Mountain State’s 3rd District seat Tuesday night, defeating Democratic state Sen. Richard Ojeda.

Scott Taylor Served ‘Poetic Justice’ in Election Loss, Prosecutor Says
Virginia Republican lost House race, but petition signature scam investigation goes on

Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., acknowledged “there's no question” that his re-election campaign was hurt by allegations that his campaign staff forged signatures on a petition to get an independent candidate on the ballot. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A special prosecutor will press on with his investigation into allegations of fraud by Virginia Rep. Scott Taylor’s re-election campaign, but for now, he’s gratified.

“There’s no hurry,” attorney Don Caldwell told the Virginian-Pilot. “It looks to me like there already was some poetic justice served down there in Virginia Beach to Mr. Taylor.”