staffers

Meet the Democrat Who’s Not Giving Up on Rural, Working-Class Districts
Charlie Kelly is executive director of House Majority PAC

Charlie Kelly, the executive director of House Majority PAC, controls tens of millions of TV spending for the fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By 7 a.m. on a recent Monday morning, Charlie Kelly was well into the weeds of America’s congressional districts and halfway through a cup of coffee.

Seated in a cramped conference room in downtown Washington, the executive director of House Majority PAC was meeting with each of his regional political desks. He rattled off candidates’ names — their strong suits, as well as their flaws — and dropped encyclopedic knowledge of each district.

Congress Doesn’t Report Diversity Because It Doesn’t Have to
While federal agencies must report the diversity of their employees, there is no such requirement of Congress

Kemba Hendrix, director of the House Democrats’ Diversity Initiative, took on her role in November. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:30 a.m. with figures for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s staff | If you ask a House or Senate office to break down the diversity of its staff, chances are it won’t. Because it doesn’t have to.

While the executive branch has to provide data on the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff for the public record, there is no rule mandating that congressional offices do the same.

Political Foes Turned Podcasting Friends
Democrat Ali Lapp and Republican Liesl Hickey bring House race expertise to podcast

Democratic strategist Ali Lapp and and Republican strategist Liesl Hickey chat before recording an episode of their podcast “House Talk with Ali and Liesl” at the EMILY’s List office in Washington, D.C. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ali Lapp spent several hundred thousand dollars trying to defeat Rep. Mark S. Kirk in 2006. The Illinois Republican, whose office was led by Chief of Staff Liesl Hickey, held on.

Fast forward 10 years, and the two women met for the first time at Tonic, a bar in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood, for what they jokingly call their “blind date.”

In Rare Public Comments, Frelinghuysen Sounds Ready to Get out of D.C.
House Appropriations Committee chairman is retiring at end of his 12th term

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., is retiring at the end of his term in December. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, in a rare public appearance in his district on Monday, sounded more than ready to leave the chaos of government behind, saying he’s keeping his “head down” amid “all sorts of sideshows” in his final eight months in Congress.

The New Jersey Republican, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced in January that he would retire at the end of his 12th term.

McConnell Gets Head Start on 2020 Re-Election
Senate majority leader makes first campaign hire in Kentucky

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has begun his re-election campaign for 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, ever the political tactician, isn’t one to wait around for others to make the first move — his 2020 campaign is already underway.

Last week, the Kentucky Republican hired Shane Noem, a senior political aide, to begin laying the groundwork for his campaign, nearly 2½ years before Election Day, Pure Politics in Kentucky reported.

Palin Disputes That McCain Regrets 2008 Vice President Pick
‘Like a perpetual gut punch’ every time she sees the assertion, former running mate says

Sen. John McCain appears with running mate then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin after he accepted the Republican nomination for president on the last night of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, September 4, 2008. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sarah Palin is disputing revelations from Sen. John McCain’s new book that he regrets choosing her to be his running mate on the GOP ticket in 2008.

“That’s not what Senator McCain has told me all these years,” the former Alaska governor told the Daily Mail on Thursday. “I attribute a lot of what we’re hearing and reading regarding McCain’s statements to his ghostwriter or ghostwriters.”

Rep. Shea-Porter’s Former Chief of Staff Running to Replace Her
Naomi Andrews is ninth Democrat on September primary ballot in New Hampshire’s 1st District

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s former chief of staff announced Wednesday she will run to replace the retiring congresswoman in New Hampshire’s 1st District.

Naomi Andrews, who has worked for Shea-Porter for more than a decade and managed two of her past campaigns, became the ninth Democrat to join the September 11 primary ballot, touting her middle-class background and experience working with Shea-Porter.

Texas Governor Wants Blake Farenthold to Pay for Special Election
GOP lawmaker resigned earlier this month over sexual misconduct and hostile workplace allegations

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, resigned from Congress in April amid an Ethics Committee investigation into him and his office for a hostile work environment and sexual misconduct. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is asking former Rep. Blake Farenthold to pay for the June 30 special election to fill the seat the congressman vacated when he resigned earlier this month.

Abbott wrote a letter to Farenthold Wednesday to “demand” that he “cover all costs” for the June 30 special election in Texas’ 27th District.

Texas Governor Wants ‘Emergency’ Special Election for Farenthold’s Seat
Special election must wait until Nov. 6 midterm under current rules

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, resigned earlier in April amid an Ethics Committee investigation into claims of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment within his congressional office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to have a special election to replace former GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold as soon as possible, and he’s asking whether he can suspend certain election laws to do so.

Abbott sent a letter Thursday to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton outlining his desire to hold a special election soon and asking what laws he could bypass to speed up the process.

Appropriators’ Right-Hand Man Sounds Off on the Current Senate
Staff director is deeply steeped in Senate culture, history

Bruce Evans, staff director for the Senate Appropriations Committee, speaks with Roll Call on April 12. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Bruce Evans may be one of the last remaining staffers of a Senate that is slowly fading into the rearview mirror of history.

His list of influencers reads like a checklist of the chamber’s all-time most prominent Republican members. Evans learned tenacity from the late Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, tried to keep up with the intellect of former Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington, and was taught how to connect to constituents by former Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana.