Cheri Bustos

A Clash of Experiences in Kentucky’s 6th District Democratic Primary
McGrath and Gray tout their backgrounds ahead of Tuesday primary

Tim Armstrong, the chief executive officer of Oath and former U.S. Marine and congressional candidate in Kentucky Amy McGrath speak onstage during The 2018 MAKERS Conference at NeueHouse Hollywood on February 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for MAKERS)

Even a casual observer of politics has probably heard of Amy McGrath. 

The retired Marine fighter pilot made a splash last year with an introductory video about the letters she wrote to members of Congress asking them to change the law so that women could fly in combat.

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.”

Women Reaching New Levels in Political Donations
Rise parallels similar surge in female candidates for public office

Demonstrators rally outside the Capitol on March 8, 2017, in support of “A Day Without a Woman” protests across the country to coincide with International Women’s Day. There has been a surge in female donors to federal candidates this election cycle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos)

An unprecedented rise in female donors to political campaigns, fueled largely by opposition to President Donald Trump, continues to grow in the run-up to the 2018 elections.

The number of women donating to federal candidates has surged by 182 percent when compared with this time in the 2016 cycle, according to new data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Much of the activity has been among Democratic donors, a trend that first began to appear after the Women’s March on Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration.

Most Illinois General Election Match-Ups Set for November
Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in Prairie State

Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan will face off against Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois’ 13th District. (Courtesy Betsy Dirksen Londrigan for Congress/YouTube)

Updated 3/21/18

Tuesday’s Democratic primaries in Illinois are setting the stage for general election match-ups in four Republican-held districts that Democrats are targeting in November.

Illinois Democrats Seek to Chip Away at Republicans’ House Majority
Second-in-nation primaries set stage for targeting GOP seats

Democrats are targeting four GOP-held seats in Illinois, where voters head to the primaries Tuesday. (Composite by Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are targeting four seats in Illinois, where voters will pick their nominees Tuesday in the second congressional primaries of the year. 

It’s an early test for the party’s ability to nominate candidates it thinks are viable in the general election. Unlike in Texas, which held the cycle’s first primaries two weeks ago, there are no runoffs in Illinois. So a simple plurality would be enough to advance to the November general election. 

Democratic Showdown in Illinois’ 3rd District
Lipinski-Newman primary is flashpoint in party’s identity struggles

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski is facing a tough primary challenge on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a state where Democrats are targeting four Republican-held seats in November and need viable candidates to make it through Tuesday’s primaries, the nominating contest in Illinois that’s receiving the most attention is in a safe Democratic district. 

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, co-chairman of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, is facing the toughest contest of his seven-term congressional career with a primary challenge from marketing executive Marie Newman for his 3rd District seat.

Hoyer Heads to Rust Belt on Second ‘Listening Tour’
House minority whip will stop in Pittsburgh, Toledo and Indianapolis

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is going on a listening tour this weekend to talk about entrepreneurship, education and infrastructure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Democrats try to fine tune their economic message heading into this year’s midterms, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer is hitting the road this weekend for his second “Make It in America” listening tour.

Starting Saturday and continuing through Tuesday, the Maryland Democrat will travel to Pittsburgh, followed by Toledo, Ohio, and finally Indianapolis with members of his House caucus. He’ll be meeting with small groups to talk about entrepreneurship, infrastructure and education.

Which House Members Voted Against Their Leadership on the Budget Deal
Both Democrats and Republicans bucked their party's leaders

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., was able to deliver enough of his GOP colleagues to pass the latest stopgap spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House’s early Friday morning passage of a bill to reopen government after a brief shutdown was not your typical budget deal vote.

Unlike similar measures Congress has passed in recent years to lift sequestration spending caps and suspend the debt ceiling, this one drew a limited amount of Republican opposition and minimal Democratic support.

House Democrats Move Retreat to D.C.
Immigration and funding deadlines, 2018 messaging expected to be on agenda

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks at a press conference with female House Democrats in the Capitol on Jan. 21. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 10:30 p.m. | With a Thursday government funding deadline looming and negotiations ongoing, House Democrats decided late Tuesday to move their retreat scheduled for Wednesday through Friday from Cambridge, Maryland, to the Capitol complex.

“Given the pressing issues Congress will likely vote on over the next three days, House Democrats will hold their United for A Better Tomorrow Issues Conference at the U.S. Capitol,” Democratic Caucus spokeswoman Lauren French said. “Scheduling updates will be shared as soon as they are available.” 

Shutdown Ended, but Democrats Still Have Leverage Over Budget Caps
Sequester-mandated cuts still have to be resolved

From left, Colorado Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons talk in Russell Building on Monday after the Senate voted to end debate on a continuing resolution to reopen the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 9:20 p.m. | Even though Congress has voted to reopen the government after a brief shutdown, House Democratic leaders, who didn’t sign off on the deal their Senate counterparts helped negotiate, plan to continue their push on immigration and spending issues with a key leverage point: the budget caps.

The House on Monday evening quickly passed a stopgap funding bill that will reopen the government through Feb. 8 by a 266-150 vote, sending the bill to President Donald Trump, who signed the continuing resolution that night.