Abortion

Women’s health political fights heat up in battleground states
Opponents and supporters of abortion rights gear up for record-setting advocacy campaigns

Control of state governments, Congress and the White House could depend on the ability of proponents and opponents of abortion rights to turn out core supporters. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fights over abortion and birth control in all three branches of government are fueling record-setting advocacy campaigns by liberal and conservative groups ahead of the 2020 elections.

Control of state governments, Congress and the White House could depend on special interests turning out core supporters and elevating issues such as the Supreme Court’s consideration this term of a potentially landmark abortion case.

Kamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in race to replace Katie Hill
Smith is consolidating support among California Democratic leaders

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is endorsing Assemblywoman Christy Smith in the 25th District race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris has taken sides in the race to replace former California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, endorsing Assemblywoman Christy Smith in the special election.

“In the State Assembly, Christy has been an effective leader and a fearless voice for the people she represents,” Harris said in a statement shared first with CQ Roll Call. “I know Christy will do the same in Congress — working to enact tougher gun safety laws, combat the climate crisis, fully fund public schools, invest more in emergency response and public safety, lower the cost of prescription drug prices and build an economy that works for everyone.”

In the West, an outsize role for Texas in the 2020 elections
Battles for Senate and numerous House seats will drive interest in Lone Star State

Sen. John Cornyn’s reelection and a handful of House seats where Republicans have retired make Texas one of the key states to watch next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

Some Democrats see political system overhaul as winning 2020 issue
Bill to revamp campaign finance and voting passed House early, then stalled in Senate

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., talks with the media after votes on Capitol Hill in September. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Rep. Max Rose’s voters expected the freshman lawmaker from Staten Island, New York, to quiet down this election cycle about a major overhaul of the nation’s political system, they were mistaken.

It was a centerpiece of the Democrat’s campaign-trail mantra in 2018. And now, as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in Congress, he’s not stopping. Neither are many of his similarly situated colleagues.

New York GOP Rep. Peter King announces ‘it is time to end the weekly commute’
Statement to supporters cites bipartisanship and work for victims of 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., announced he will retire rather than seek a 15th term in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Peter T. King, a 14-term Republican from New York’s Long Island, announced Monday on Facebook he will not run for reelection.

“The prime reason for my decision was that after 28 years of spending 4 days a week in Washington, D.C., it is time to end the weekly commute and be home in Seaford,” King said in a post on Facebook.

Without Beto O’Rourke, Texas Senate primary is ‘wide open’
Crowded field of Democrats vying to take on three-term Republican John Cornyn

After ending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is not expected to run for Senate in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s not difficult to find a former presidential candidate who swore off running for Senate and then changed his mind. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper did in August. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio did it too, in 2016.

Just don’t expect former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke to join them after ending his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination

Democrats lean into 2019 victories to build case for 2020
But next year's reality in red states may be more complicated

Democrat Amy McGrath, who lost a House race in 2018, is trying to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The day after a Democrat declared victory in the Kentucky governor’s race and Virginia voters gave full control of state government to the party’s legislative candidates, national Democrats were eager to spin those victories as a sign of good things to come in 2020.

But the reality in some places, especially longtime red areas, is more complicated.

DCCC’s Lucinda Guinn hopes to turn tragedy and turmoil into triumph
Texas mass shooting, recent committee upheaval strengthen executive director’s resolve

Lucinda Guinn, the first Latina executive director at the DCCC, has tried to emphasize the importance of diversity on campaign staffs throughout her career. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This summer, Lucinda Guinn was weighing whether to apply to be the next executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It was already several months into the 2020 cycle, and the committee staff was in upheaval.

Then tragedy struck her hometown.

Shimkus ‘reconsidering’ retirement after top GOP committee post opens up
12-termer from Illinois also seems to soften Trump criticism

Rep. John Shimkus may reconsider a decision to retire to pursue the top GOP post on the Energy and Commerce Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, a 12-term Republican who had announced in August he would retire rather than run again in 2020, said Tuesday he is “reconsidering” his decision.

The change of heart comes a day after Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, the top Republican on the Commerce Committee, announced his retirement. Shimkus is third in Republican seniority on the committee, after a former chairman, Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, who would need a waiver from GOP rules to become the panel’s chairman or ranking member in the next Congress.

Katie Hill’s exit shakes up competitive race in Southern California
Expensive special election in Los Angeles TV market would face both parties

California Democratic Rep. Katie Hill has said she plans to resign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s decision to resign amid allegations of an improper relationship with her staffer has upended the battle to control a competitive district in Southern California.

Republicans believe they can win the 25th District back, especially now that they don’t have to face Hill and her sizable war chest, which was already at $1.5 million on Sept. 30. But Democrats contend that the district will stay in their hands, citing partisan dynamics and demographics of the district.