Ryan Zinke

19 House Races Shift Toward Democrats
List of competitive seats grows amid shifts against president’s party

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s race for re-election has switched from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The midterm elections are still nearly a year and a half away, and the political dynamics could yet change, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that history and the current environment are merging together for a potentially great set of elections for Democrats in November 2018. 

The president’s party has lost House seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, and it’s lost an average of 33 seats in those 18 elections. Democrats need to gain 24 seats in order to take back the majority. 

Opinion: Montana Special Election Unlikely to Predict Larger Political Trend
But get ready for a barrage of talking points

Democrat Rob Quist, right, is vying with Republican Greg Gianforte in the race for Montana’s at-large House seat. (Courtesy Greg for Montana, Rob Quist for Montana)

Sometime after 10 p.m. Thursday in Washington, everyone in politics will feign being an expert on Montana or, as they will call it with an insider’s flourish, Big Sky Country. The returns from the first statewide race of the Trump era will inevitably trigger the type of frenzied over-analysis reserved for special elections at moments of political turmoil.

If the Republicans hang on to the House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the sighs of relief from imperiled GOP incumbents may set off every wind chime in the D.C. area. Greg Gianforte, who ran 47,000 votes behind Donald Trump in a losing 2016 bid for governor, brings to the race two decided advantages — he is rich (he sold his software company for $1.5 billion in 2011) and he is a Republican.

Sanders to Campaign for Democrat Quist in Montana
Vermont senator won state’s primary over Hillary Clinton last year

Sen. Bernie Sanders will campaign for Montana Democratic congressional candidate Rob Quist in four cities over two days next weekend.

Montana Candidate’s Comments Raise Questions About Corporate Money
Gianforte and Quist both claim they refuse industry PAC contributions

Republican Greg Gianforte, left, is running against Democrat Rob Quist in a special election to fill the at-large Montana congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Ryan Zinke, who’s now serving as secretary of the Interior.

Comments made by Montana Republican Greg Gianforte on a national fundraising call last week raise questions about what he meant when he said that industry PACs could contribute to “our Victory Fund.”

Both Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist say they have refused to accept corporate PAC money in the race for Montana’s at-large House seat. But when asked on last week’s call, audio of which was obtained by CQ Roll Call, whether he still did not accept PAC money, Gianforte gave a confusing answer. 

Supreme Court to Explore Power of Congress to Affect Lawsuits
Separation of powers between branches is at issue

Chief Justice John Roberts has previously been skeptical of allowing Congress to weigh in on dismissing lawsuits with legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide a case that could reshape Congress’ power to use legislation to affect the outcome of specific ongoing court cases — in this instance, a 2014 law about a Michigan land tract and its use as a Native American casino.

The move puts the justices back into a long chain of litigation and legislation about whether the Interior Department could take that tract into trust for the Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians to pave the way for gaming operations — and whether a nearby resident can sue to stop it.

One Month Until Republicans’ Latest Round of Excuses
Special election for Montana seat moves from Solid Republican to Likely Republican

If Republicans struggle to hold Montana’s at-large district, where Republican Greg Gianforte, left, takes on Democrat Rob Quist in a May special election, it would be yet another indication of the effect President Donald Trump is having on Democratic enthusiasm, Gonzales writes. (Photos courtesy Greg for Montana, Rob Quist for Montana)

When it comes to special election results, Republicans always have an excuse, and their stumbles are never a national trend.

In Kansas, Republicans turned a 27-point victory for Donald Trump in 2016 into a recent 7-point special election victory for state Treasurer Ron Estes even though Democratic lawyer James Thompson had virtually no support from local or national Democrats.

GOP Super PAC Ties Montana's Rob Quist to Nancy Pelosi
Congressional Leadership Fund begins $800,000 media campaign

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As national attention turns to the special election in Montana, the super PAC backed by House GOP leadership is deploying House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a new TV attack on Democratic nominee Rob Quist. 

The ad, which will debut Friday on broadcast and cable, marks the start of an $800,000 media buy from Congressional Leadership Fund. The super PAC ran its first TV ad against Quist last month, using many of the same attacks.  

DFA Endorses Democrats in Kansas, Montana Uphill Races
‘The only way we can win everywhere is if we run everywhere’

Musician Rob Quist, left, shown here with Montana Sen. Jon Tester in February, faces an uphill battle in the race for Montana’s open House seat. (Courtesy Rob Quist for Congress)

Liberal group Democracy for America has endorsed Democratic candidates in special congressional elections Kansas and Montana.

The group announced it would back musician Rob Quist in Montana, who is running against Republican Greg Gianforte for the state’s at-large seat, which was left vacant after Ryan Zinke left Congress to the serve as secretary of Interior in President Donald Trump’s administration.

The Not-So-Special Elections
Of 5 upcoming contests, only Georgia race presents chance of a partisan flip

Karen Handel is hoping to succeed Tom Price in Georgia’s 6th District, but first, she faces an April 18 jungle primary with 17 other candidates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Money is pouring into the suburbs north of Atlanta, the site of the first competitive congressional election of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Georgia’s 6th District, left vacant by the confirmation of Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary, is one of five special elections taking place across the country this spring, but the only one which offers much of a chance of a partisan flip.

Opinion: Bears Ear Needs to Keep National Monument Designation
Those who serve appreciate the nation’s public lands

Former President Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation in December establishing Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Opponents, including members of Congress,  want to reverse that or greatly reduce its size. (Courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management)

Today our public lands play an essential role in our nation’s collective identity, reminders of the creed, principles, and freedoms that our Armed Forces protect and defend every day.

For this reason, servicemembers are among the greatest advocates for, and supporters of, our national public lands. We work aggressively to ensure that the stories of our nation’s origins are safeguarded and can continue to be told for future generations. Bears Ears is one such story.