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You lost a House race in 2018? Now run for Senate in 2020
Some failed House candidates may try to ‘fail up’ to the Senate

National Democrats are encouraging Kentucky’s Amy McGrath, who narrowly lost a race for the 6th District last fall, to consider challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020. (Jason Davis/Getty Images file photo)

“What’s next?” is a question J.D. Scholten often hears when he’s at the grocery store.

For most failed House candidates like Scholten, the answer doesn’t include running for Senate. But the Iowan is not your average losing candidate.

The dead earmarks society
Congress gave up pork years ago. Now it could be making a comeback

Steny Hoyer says he’s working to restore congressionally directed spending, with “reforms to ensure transparency and accountability.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

From the outside, they looked like a collection of political misfits akin to the characters from “The Breakfast Club.” This peculiar little crew of lobbyists, ethics watchdogs and government spending hawks included the likes of Public Citizen’s Craig Holman and former House member-turned-lobbyist Jim Walsh.

Instead of serving Saturday detention, like the high schoolers of the 1985 hit movie, they spent their meetings nearly a decade ago seeking compromise on one of Congress’ most politically fraught but powerful tools: earmarks. “It was a strange group, an eclectic group,” concedes Holman, whose liberal Public Citizen is best known for taking on K Street, not working with the lobbyists and lawyers in the sector. “We identified what the real problem with earmarks is — and earmarks do pose a serious problem with corruption.”

To run or not to run again? Failed 2018 candidates weigh 2020 options
House nominees who fell short consider repeat bids

Arizona Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who lost two elections in the 8th District last year, is leaning toward running in the 6th District in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Carolyn Bourdeaux was at a thank-you party for her supporters in December when she decided she was running for Congress again in 2020. 

She’d just lost a recount in Georgia’s 7th District to Republican incumbent Rob Woodall — by 419 votes. 

One year after Parkland, gun control advocates eye 2020
Advocates say midterm results proved gun control was a winning policy issue

Students rally on the West Front of the Capitol on March 14, 2018 as they participate in a national school walkout to call for action on preventing gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One year after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that galvanized young voters and jump-started a movement to combat gun violence, gun control advocates say there’s still more work to be done.

“We’re just gearing up,” said Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and proponent of stricter gun laws. “There were a lot of candidates who got it in 2018. But there are more candidates that are going to learn the lesson from 2018.”

Colorado has never had a female senator. Could that change in 2020?
Democratic Senate primary field expected to be a ‘mosh pit’

Former Colorado state House Speaker Crisanta Duran has been working with EMILY’s List as she considers a Senate run. (Brennan Linsley/AP file photo)

Colorado Democrats have their sights on Sen. Cory Gardner, one of the most vulnerable senators in 2020 and one of two Republicans running in a state won by Hillary Clinton. And some see the race as an opportunity to do something historic: send a woman to the U.S. Senate. 

Women now make up a majority in the state House after the recent midterms. And wins by Democratic women helped the party recapture the state Senate. But higher office has proved more elusive. Colorado is one of just five states that has never elected a female governor or senator. 

Ilhan Omar called ‘anti-Semitic’ for tweet criticizing pro-Israel lobby
The spat spurred a conversation about the political influence of AIPAC

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., tweeted about the influence of AIPAC, received swift rebuke. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., received an onslaught of criticism Sunday night for her tweet that ascribed Republicans’ fierce opposition to boycotting Israel to the power of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, D.C.

“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar tweeted Sunday in reference to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. 

Michael Bennet went viral. Now what?
Colorado Democrat running digital ads about his speech in early primary states

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet on his way to the Senate floor last month, when he surprised even his own staff by delivering a lengthy and fiery retort to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been two weeks since Colorado’s senior senator made a national splash with a Senate floor speech that went viral.

But you’d be forgiven if you’d already forgotten about Michael Bennet. He hasn’t been included in most polling of the Democratic field and barely makes the cut in stories about potential candidates.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls out dark money ‘shaping’ questions about reform bill
Ethics expert calls it a ‘fox guarding the henhouse situation’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., attends a House Financial Services Committee organizational meeting in Rayburn Building on Jan. 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a hearing about government ethics, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned the spotlight on her colleagues in the room.

Can members of Congress finance their campaigns with the aid of corporate PACs representing industries like fossil fuels and pharmaceuticals, and then legislate according to the interests of those industries?

One speech, two Trumps
Despite softer touches, president’s State of the Union still divides

President Donald Trump greets lawmakers as he prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican lawmakers stood and roared Tuesday night as President Donald Trump described the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border as a hellscape awash in drugs and violent criminals moving freely into the country. Democrats sat statuesque and silent, displaying no sign that his call for cross-party cooperation resonated inside the House chamber.

Trump stood before Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and delivered what has become customary for Republican and Democratic presidents alike, saying that the state of the country is “strong” and that the American people hope “we will govern not as two parties but as one nation.”

Anti-corruption, campaign finance overhaul bills preview likely 2020 campaign theme
Issue is likely to remain a signature theme for Democrats running for the White House and Congress

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even as House Democrats have made a political overhaul a top priority, numerous lawmakers, including freshman members, have filed their own campaign finance and anti-corruption bills, a sign the topic will dominate into the 2020 campaigns.

Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat who unseated Republican Mike Coffman last November, introduced his first bill last week: a measure that could lead to disclosures of donors to 501(c)(4) “social welfare” tax-exempt groups that play in politics.