Mike Bost

Ratings Changes in 15 House Races
Expanding battleground benefits Democrats

With 14 months to go before Election Day, the House battleground continues to take shape. Even though there is some uncertainty about what the political climate will look like next fall and whether normal historical midterm trends will hold under President Donald Trump, the House playing field is expanding, almost entirely in the Democrats’ direction.

As we’ve mentioned plenty of times before (and will likely repeat over and over again), history puts the Republican Party at a disadvantage: The president’s party has lost seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, with an average loss of 33 seats. Democrats need to gain 24 seats next year for a majority.

GOP Super PAC Expands Field Presence to 17 Districts
Congressional Leadership Fund opens offices in six more districts

Congressional Leadership Fund is opening a field office in New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance’s district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican super PAC backed by House leadership is expanding its field program by opening new offices in six GOP-held districts. 

Congressional Leadership Fund now has a 17 field offices across the country.

Lawmakers Watch Eclipse From Back Home
With Congress on recess, members watched the show with friends, family, and constituents

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,  watches Monday’s eclipse from San Antonio, where he was visiting the Chamber of Commerce. (Sen. Ted Cruz via Twitter)

Unlike President Donald Trump, many lawmakers listened to the warnings and wore solar eclipse glasses to look at the sun on Monday.

The president briefly looked skyward before putting on his protective glasses when he and first lady Melania Trump joined millions of Americans to view the solar eclipse.

House Sends Veterans' Appeals Bill to Trump's Desk
Measure aims to pare down backlog appeals for disability benefits

House Veterans Affairs Chairman Phil Roe, R-Tenn., right, seen here earlier this year with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., applauded passage of the veterans' measure Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House during a pro forma session Friday cleared a bipartisan bill aimed at paring down a massive backlog of appeals for veterans’ disability benefits.

Passage of the measure brings to three the number of major veterans’ bills that now await President Donald Trump’s signature. In addition to the appeals bill, Congress before leaving for the August recess cleared a $2.1 billion funding patch for a private medical care access program, and the “Forever GI Bill,” which extends education benefits to future veterans for an entire lifetime instead of the current 15-year window.

At the Races: A Case of the Mondays
Busy day for annoucements, from North Carolina to California

Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., has picked up a top-flight GOP challenger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Minnesota Republican Pete Stauber, a St. Louis County commissioner, announced his candidacy for the state’s 8th District on Monday.

House elections in the northern Gopher State district, represented by Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan, have been among the most competitive and expensive in the country for the last two cycles.

Rating Change: Bellwether Illinois District Returns to the Playing Field
Democrats land top recruit to challenge Rep. Mike Bost

Illinois Rep. Mike Bost has drawn a high-profile Democratic challenger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fourth Democrat Announces Run Against Bost in Illinois
St. Clair County State Attorney Brendan Kelly announces he’s running

Brendan Kelly is another Democratic congressional candidate who pointed to Republicans’ attempts to repeal the 2010 health care law as a reason for running. (St. Clair County State Attorney Brendan Kelly via Facebook)

Illinois Rep. Mike Bost received a fourth Democratic challenger Wednesday as St. Clair County State Attorney Brendan Kelly announced his candidacy for the state’s 12th Congressional District.

Bost first won his seat in 2014, beating incumbent William Enyart. He won re-election last year with 54 percent of the vote.

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.

Word on the Hill: Happy Holidays
See you in 2017!

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, right, gives a tour of the Capitol Rotunda to friends on Tuesday. Let us know what other members are up to over the holidays. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whether you’re staying in D.C. or traveling, I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a Happy New Year!

Word on the Hill will be on a break until Jan. 3, 2017.

This 2014 House Race May Have Predicted Trump’s Success
Illinois district revealed an angry electorate when it flipped into GOP hands last cycle

The same people attracted to GOP Rep. Mike Bost are also attracted to Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sixteen months ago, no one predicted Donald Trump would become the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. But back in 2014, a seemingly random Illinois House race should have been an early indicator of an angry electorate that would be receptive to the billionaire businessman’s anti-establishment profile and message.

Republican Mike Bost gained national attention last election cycle for a video of him ranting on the Illinois House floor, which fueled Democratic optimism about holding the seat in the face of a challenging political climate.