editorial

Letters in Amy McGrath campaign launch video were postmarked the same day
Three-minute video announcing challenge to McConnell was titled ‘The Letter’ about her own unanswered plea

The campaign launch video for Amy McGrath included four Kentuckians writing letters to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Screenshot)

Kentucky Senate candidate Amy McGrath’s three-minute campaign launch  video retells her personal story of getting no answer to letters to members of Congress, then features four Kentuckians writing to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for help with personal crises.

The video implies that McConnell never responded, but it appears the letters were sent Tuesday, the same day that McGrath announced her bid for the Democratic nomination to challenge him. 

Harry Reid still has a few punches left
Former Senate majority leader keeps working more than a year after pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks with CQ Roll Call about Nevada politics, the presidential horse race and how much he hates the Yankees in his office at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on July 2. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LAS VEGAS — Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid retired from Congress back at the end of 2016, but the old boxer still has a few punches left for the institution he served in for 30 years, not to mention the New York Yankees. 

The 79-year-old Nevada Democrat met with CQ Roll Call in his office off the casino floor at the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip last week to talk his health, politics and a little baseball.

Harry Reid in winter: Still grappling, and dabbling, in politics
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 81

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks with CQ Roll Call about Nevada politics, the presidential race and baseball in his office at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on July 2. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Harry Reid might have retired from the Senate in 2017 and started battling cancer a year later, but the former Senate Democratic leader doesn’t seem to be the retiring type, especially when it comes to Nevada politics.

“I’m a political junkie, to say the least,” he tells our own Niels Lesniewski in a wide-ranging interview in Las Vegas that we’ve excerpted for this edition of the Political Theater podcast.

Harris and Ocasio-Cortez team up on improving housing access for people with past criminal records
New legislation would raise burden of proof for evicting people from public housing

California Sen. Kamala Harris wants to improve access to housing for previously incarcerated people. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Sen. Kamala Harris and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are coming together on a new proposal to help with access to housing for previously incarcerated individuals.

The legislation from the two Democrats would, among other provisions, raise the burden of proof for making eviction and screening determinations related to criminal records. The lawmakers also want to ban the practice of allowing families to be evicted from public housing because of crimes that may be committed by visitors rather than residents.

What we can learn from the 2004 presidential race
At this point 16 years ago, John Kerry was nowhere near the top tier of Democratic primary hopefuls

Sen. John Kerry arrives in Boston on July 28, 2004 to accept the Democratic nomination for president. Kerry's candidacy was left for dead before the Iowa caucuses due to his standing in polls. His victory in Iowa changed the dynamics of the race, Rothenberg writes. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Beware of reading too much into presidential polls. Take, for example, the 2004 race.

An August 2003 CNN/USA Today/Gallup national survey found Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice president, leading the party’s presidential field with 23 percent. He was trailed by former House Majority (and Minority) Leader Richard A. Gephardt (13 percent), former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (12 percent) and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (10 percent).

Why 2020 Democrats need to pay so much attention to Nevada
State Democratic Party will further boost influence with virtual caucus, early voting

Presidential candidate Cory Booker poses with supporters Veronica Rodriguez and Patrick Hirsch, both of North Las Vegas, at the Rotary Club of Boulder City pancake breakfast before the start of the Boulder City Damboree Celebration 4th of July parade. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BOULDER CITY, Nev. ⁠— Like most Nevada Democrats, Sen. Jacky Rosen always wants to see more 2020 candidates paying attention to her state, and a new early caucus voting process may further boost the party’s influence.

“What I try to tell people about Nevada is that you might know us for beautiful Lake Tahoe or [the] Las Vegas Strip, but we’re a string of communities that have been here a long time, people who deeply care and are committed to each other,” Rosen told CQ Roll Call on the side of the parade route here at the annual Damboree Celebration last week.

2020 hopefuls say Nevada Fourth of July celebration more American than the one in D.C.
Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Seth Moulton flip pancakes in Boulder City

Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., watches as a pancake slips off his spatula while manning the grill at the Rotary Club of Boulder City pancake breakfast before the start of the Boulder City Damboree Celebration 4th of July parade in Boulder City, Nev. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BOULDER CITY, Nev. ⁠— The Democratic presidential candidates who made the trip to the “Damboree” on the morning of the Fourth of July say that this classic Nevada celebration better represents America than the military showcase headlined by President Donald Trump back in Washington, D.C.

After flipping pancakes and marching in a parade, Sen. Cory Booker praised the atmosphere, which featured supporters of a handful of 2020 Democratic candidates.

Field notes from a North Carolina runoff and a reparations hearing
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 79

The GOP primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd District has become somewhat of a proxy war between House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows, left, and Jim Jordan, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There is always a special congressional election somewhere. For the purposes of this particular Political Theater podcast, it is the upcoming Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd District.

This is the seat that became vacant when longtime GOP Rep. Walter B. Jones died earlier this year. The April 30 GOP primary ended with two candidates heading to a July 9 runoff: state Rep. Greg Murphy and political newcomer Joan Perry. (The winner will face Democrat Allen Thomas, the former mayor of Greenville, in a Sept. 10 special general election to serve out the remainder of the 116th Congress.)

For the 2020 Democratic field, ‘electability’ doesn’t mean much — for now
Candidate deemed most likely to defeat Trump today may be different in three months time

Sen. Bernie Sanders leads President Donald Trump in several polls, but not typically by as much as former Vice President Joe Biden. Does that make Sanders, or other candidates, less electable, Rothenberg asks? (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Most discussions about “electability” boil down to what path Democrats need to take to win the White House.

Do they need a presidential nominee who mobilizes the base (including nonwhites, younger voters and those on the left) or one who attracts white, suburban swing voters and maybe even a 2016 Trump voter or two?

Schumer pushes for vote to make clear Trump needs congressional approval for Iran War
Democrats returning from a White House meeting on the same page about limitations of current authorizations

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is pushing for a floor vote to say that any military action against Iran requires congressional approval (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Returning to Capitol Hill after a meeting at the White House about the shooting down of an American drone, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer increased the pressure for a floor vote to make clear that authorization would be needed for military action against Iran.

The New York Democrat highlighted an amendment that has been filed to the fiscal 2020 defense policy bill led by Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Tim Kaine, D-Va. The Senate is expected to proceed to the Pentagon legislation Monday evening.