Economy

Meet the Man Behind the Ossoff Campaign — He’s Just Getting Started
Keenan Pontoni’s a rising star in a party desperate for fresh blood

Keenan Pontoni, campaign manager for Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th District, conducts one final tele-town hall session in his Sandy Springs office on the final day of the runoff campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Just 45 minutes after polls closed Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th District, Keenan Pontoni knew Jon Ossoff was in trouble.

The Democratic candidate’s advantage in early voting didn’t look like it was going to be enough to make up for Republican turnout on Election Day.

Now vs. Then: Senate Republicans on Health Care Overhaul
Some singing same song, others flip flop

A group of 13 Senate Republicans worked on the health care overhaul bill released Thursday. From left, Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas on June 6, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Prior to the release of Senate legislation to overhaul U.S. health care Thursday, Democrats took aim at Republican leadership for crafting a bill largely behind closed doors.

Seven years ago, roles were reversed as Senate Republicans railed against Democrats for a lack of transparency in the passage of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. 

Karen Handel Proves Third Time’s the Charm
Georgia Republican heads to Congress after 2 losing bids for higher office

Karen Handel gives her victory speech to supporters in Atlanta on Tuesday, as her husband Steve Handel looks on. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Republican Karen Handel comes to Congress after a 28-year career with a diverse portfolio of public- and private-sector jobs ranging from overseeing elections as Georgia’s secretary of state to heading the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to serving as the vice president of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which supports breast cancer research.

Handel defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff 52 percent to 48 percent in Tuesday’s 6th District special election runoff to replace former Rep. Tom Price, who vacated the seat to become secretary of Health and Human Services.

Republicans Vent About Lack of Health Care Details
Majority leader is driving the process as member frustration mounts

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has kept details of the massive rewrite of the health insurance under lock and key. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY JOE WILLIAMS AND NIELS LESNIEWSKI

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken full control of the chamber’s effort to rewrite the U.S. health insurance system, prompting frustrated Republican members to vent their dissatisfaction over the secretive process.

White House to Tighten Cuba Rules on Travel, Business

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., come at the issue of normalizing relations with Cuba from different angles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump plans to outline Friday a tougher stance with Havana by partially tightening travel and business rules that had been eased under the Obama administration to normalize relations with communist Cuba.

The changes were made with input from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American and a harsh critic of the Cuban government. But even senior administration officials admitted in a briefing with reporters Thursday that “You can’t put the genie back into the bottle,” referring to some Obama-era policies that have become popular.

Trump Contradicts His Own Account of Comey Firing
Appears to acknowledge that he is being investigated for obstruction of justice

President Donald Trump fired off another round of tweets on Friday decrying the “Witch Hunt” against him over the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey and possible ties between his associates and Russia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, who has contradicted top aides about his firing of FBI Director James Comey, on Friday fired off a tweet at odds with his own statements about the decision that triggered a special counsel probe.

Trump, alluding to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, wrote that he is being “investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!” He then, as he does almost daily, referred to the Justice Department’s Russia election meddling probe as a “Witch Hunt.”

Republicans Prove Press Releases Are Useless
RNC’s statement after Virginia primaries includes some ‘alternative facts’

RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said the Democratic gubernatorial contest in Virginia was “a nasty race to the left” while the GOP managed to “emerge unified” from its own contested primary. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

I hate press releases, and election night press releases are a special breed of terrible. They are often a string of cliches and manicured facts in search of a sucker to print them. And the Republican National Committee release on Tuesday night after Virginia’s gubernatorial primaries only reinforced my opinion.

“I would like to congratulate Ed Gillespie on securing the Republican nomination and moving one step closer towards becoming Virginia’s next governor,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel in a statement emailed to reporters at 10:46 p.m. Tuesday.

James Hodgkinson Had Been Frequent Critic of GOP
66-year-old Illinois man identified as shooter at Republicans’ baseball practice

In this undated file photo, James Hodgkinson holds a sign during a protest outside of a United States Post Office in Belleville, Ill. Hodgkinson has been identified as the suspect in the Wednesday, June 14, 2017, Washington D.C. shooting. (Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat via AP)

James T. Hodgkinson, who wounded five people at Republicans’ congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning before later dying at a local hospital, had been critical of the Republican party.

Hodgkinson, 66, was from Belleville, Illinois, a town outside St. Louis represented by GOP Rep. Mike Bost. The two-term member is not on the baseball team.

Democrats Decry ‘Legislative Malpractice’ on Health Care
GOP cites seven-year repeal effort as justification for current process

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is throwing Republicans’ prior statements about health care back at them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats on Tuesday continued to assail how Republican leaders are crafting legislation to overhaul the U.S. health care system, calling it “legislative malpractice,” and are using GOP leaders’ own statements from years past to make their point.  

While Republican members routinely criticize the manner in which Democrats passed the 2010 health care law on a strictly party-line vote, there are stark differences between that process and the current one.

Opinion: Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Challenge of 2018
Over-interpreting British results a risk for Democrats

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party of the United Kingdom, arrives at party headquarters in London on June 9. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

If campaign consultants in both parties had their way, congressional challengers would never utter an interesting word and incumbents would have their Capitol Hill voting records airbrushed from history. Politics would be reduced to a clash between two physically attractive candidates (preferably with photogenic families), obediently reciting robotic talking points.

The major problem with this beguiling fantasy is a pesky group of human beings known as voters. Increasingly, voters crave authenticity, a hard-to-define attribute that comes across as the antithesis of poll-tested and blow-dried.