Trey Gowdy, the Reluctant Congressman
Reclusive yet often in the limelight, retiring S.C. lawmaker is eyeing his next move

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy has been talking about leaving Congress ever since he arrived seven years ago. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Trey Gowdy has been talking about leaving Congress since he arrived seven years ago.

It’s what came to his mind when he ran into an old friend in the weeks after he was first sworn into office in 2011: “I hate this place,” he told Republican strategist Luke Byars that January. “I want to go home.”

Legislators, Advocates Prepare Ahead of Abortion Case
California law on crisis pregnancy centers stirs free speech debate

Supporters and opponents of abortion rights rally outside the Supreme Court in June 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers and advocacy groups are readying themselves for a highly anticipated U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine whether a California law violates free speech for so-called crisis pregnancy centers.

On March 20, the nation’s highest court will begin oral arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. At issue is the constitutionality of a California state law that requires crisis pregnancy centers to post signs explaining that the state offers subsidized family planning services including abortion.

Opinion: Congress Likely to Ignore Parkland Teens’ Case for Action on Gun Violence
Former Rep. Forbes: Even children’s tiny caskets could not get Congress to act

Students hold flowers as they arrive for classes Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for the first time since the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As a Republican member of Congress, I was compelled to abandon my party in 1999. America’s children had been murdered in their school and the GOP, which controlled the fix to gun violence, did nothing about it.

I sat listening to the debate on gun control in the United States House of Representatives with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York, whose husband had been murdered and son wounded several years earlier by a deranged gunman. It was June 19, 1999. The unspeakable tragedy of Columbine had sparked an intense debate on the House floor to do something to protect our children in the nation’s schools. After all, these were America’s children, these were all our children, our future. It could have been my child, or your child, murdered at Columbine High School.

‘The Looming Tower’ Learning Curve
What the creative team behind the series learned about Washington

Hulu’s new series “The Looming Tower” shows just how D.C. infighting can have tragic consequences. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome back to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

HULU’s new mini-series “The Looming Tower” traces the rising threat of al-Qaida in the runup to the 9/11 attacks and is adapted from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

Graham Lies at Center of Politics He Both Embraced and Eschewed
Biographer: Nixon ‘used’ reverend, making him leery of most politicians

President Donald Trump touches the casket of the Rev. Billy Graham as he lies in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Capitol Rotunda went mostly silent late Wednesday morning, with just the precise footsteps of eight military pallbearers echoing and camera shutters fluttering. The servicemembers moved slowly but with purpose as they placed Billy Graham’s brown casket on a stand covered by a black cloth.

The towering and sometimes polarizing American religious figure — hailed for his sermons and criticized for anti-Semitic remarks once caught on tape — had arrived to lie in honor in a building that symbolizes the politics he both embraced and eschewed.

GOP Candidate’s Brother Also Donated to Democratic Sen. Baldwin
Kevin Nicholson comes from a Democratic family

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., is one of the more vulnerable incumbents running for re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP candidate Kevin Nicholson’s brother has donated to his Democratic opponent, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, campaign finance documents show. Nicholson’s parents also donated to Baldwin. 

Nicholson, a former Democrat, has acknowledged that he has a “different worldview” than his parents. 

Opinion: After Billy Graham, the Deluge
Graham walked a fine evangelical line. Now his son is veering toward partisanship

Billy Graham speaks in 2004 as part of his “Heart of America” crusade. After his death on Wednesday, evangelicalism is at a crossroads, Curtis writes. (Larry W. Smith/Getty Images file photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s difficult to ever imagine another faith leader being dubbed “America’s Pastor.” That’s because of the person Billy Graham was and the current political, social and cultural divisions in our country. And there is also the question of whether pluralistic America wants, needs or should have a pastor — now, then or ever.

Graham was never the universally revered and uncontroversial figure that many of those who now praise him remember. But in reviewing the legacy of a man who lived through much of a century that defined American change and who died at the age of 99 on Wednesday in his home in the North Carolina mountains, it is important to give him his singular, flawed due.

Challenger Nicholson’s Parents Max Out Contributions to Baldwin
Nicholson was once head of the College Democrats of America

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., received maximum donations from Republican challenger Kevin Nicholson’s parents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Kevin Nicholson’s parents aren’t being very encouraging when it comes to his bid to beat Sen. Tammy Baldwin — both donated the maximum allowed to the Wisconsin Democratic incumbent.

Federal Election Commission documents showed each of Nicholson’s parents donated $2,700 to Baldwin’s campaign.

Analysis: Response to Abuse Charges Dulls Trump’s Religious Message
President urges Americans to be generous to all, but he’s silent on Porter matter

President Donald Trump, seen here at his State of the Union address, told the audience at the National Prayer Breakfast “we praise God for how truly blessed we are to be American.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump on Thursday merged his “America first” governing philosophy with his religious views, saying Americans should feel lucky God placed them here.

But Trump’s religious-based message about being generous to one another and following God’s path to become “heroes to everybody” aligns imperfectly with how he and his staff have handled on-the-record allegations of domestic abuse by one of his closest aides.

Active-Duty Candidates Can Run — But Can They Campaign?
Even Matt Reel’s staff doesn’t know where he’s deployed

Matt Reel is running for Congress. But he’s also on active duty. (Screen Shot/Matt Reel for Congress/YouTube)

Matt Reel is running for Congress. But he can’t campaign until June — two months before Tennessee’s August primary.

Even if his staff knew where he is — which they don’t — and even if he had time while overseas, Reel can’t legally communicate with them about campaign strategy for his 7th District race while he’s on active duty.