Special Election

Opinion: The Obama Effect — Pros and Cons for Republicans and Democrats
Former president could unite a party in distress

Former President Barack Obama’s influence could unite a Democratic Party that showed togetherness after President Donald Trump’s win but is already breaking apart on issues such as abortion rights, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Barack Obama, the charismatic former president, can cause a scene just by walking into a coffee shop, as the rapturous crowds in usually blase New York City demonstrated at one of his cameos. So as he gently re-entered the public and policy eye this week, it’s no surprise that he could throw both Democrats and Republicans off balance — though of course for very different reasons.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave President Donald Trump possibly his most important first-100-day achievement by spearheading the maneuver to transform Obama’s Supreme Court pick to replace Antonin Scalia into the conservative Neil Gorsuch, whose first significant vote allowed an Arkansas execution to proceed. McConnell’s obstruction and subsequent “nuclear option” may have played a part in breaking the democratic process, but isn’t that a small price to pay for a win —  at least I’m sure the president feels that way.

GOP Super PAC Pours Millions More Into Georgia Runoff
Congressional Leadership Fund invests additional $3.5 million to boost Handel

The Congressional Leadership Fund is more than doubling its spending in the special election runoff for Georgia’s 6th District to boost Republican nominee Karen Handel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Now that the Republican field has been winnowed from 11 to one in Georgia’s 6th District, a major GOP super PAC is increasing its spending to boost GOP nominee Karen Handel in the June runoff. 

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC endorsed by House GOP leadership, is investing an additional $3.5 million in the race, bringing their total investment in the district to $6.5 million. 

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.

Should Democrats Turn to South Carolina’s Special Election Next?
Next week’s primaries could set up another competitive contest

Archie Parnell is the leading Democrat running for the seat left behind by former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who’s now the director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Screenshot, Courtesy Archie Parnell for Congress)

Democrats enthused by last week’s primary in Georgia, and their strong showing in Kansas earlier this month, have been making noise about playing more aggressively in upcoming elections that were previously dismissed as long shots — specifically Montana.

Mentioned less often, however, is South Carolina.

Ethics Group Questions Hank Johnson’s Ossoff Help
Conservative nonprofit says Georgia Democrat used House website to help 6th District campaign

Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson is being accused of using his House website to help the campaign of John Ossoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conservative-leaning ethics foundation filed an inquiry Monday with the Office of Congressional Ethics, asking it to look into Rep. Hank Johnson’s use of official resources to help Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign.

Johnson, himself a Georgia Democrat, posted links to stories about Ossoff and problems with people finding where to vote in that state’s 6th District on his official House website, violating the chamber’s ethics code, according to a copy of the inquiry lodged by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, also known as FACT.

Ossoff Campaign Steps Up Field Efforts for June Runoff
Georgia Democrat’s campaign spent $2 million in field for primary

A volunteer for Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff arrives at a campaign office to canvass the district the day before the April 18 open primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ahead of the June runoff in Georgia’s 6th District, Democrat Jon Ossoff’s big-spending campaign is ramping up its “field-first” strategy for the next two months.  

Ossoff’s team spent nearly $2 million on its field efforts for last week’s primary, including paying for a Lyft code in the district so that voters without a ride could get to the polls on Election Day.

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.  

Photos of the Recess: A Tax Protest, Special Election and 4/20 Event
The weeks of April 10 and April 17 as seen by Roll Call's photographers

A Hill staffer reads a book during the lunch hour on the East Lawn of the Capitol on April 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Warm weather punctuated the spring recess in Washington. As congressmen took two weeks back home in their states and districts, some Hill staffers were able to enjoy the sun on lunch breaks and head early to happy hours.

But it wasn't all that quiet on the congressional front. A Tax March on Saturday, April 15 brought protesters to Capitol Hill to demand President Donald Trump release his tax returns. CQ Roll Call hit the road to Atlanta for the special election to fill Tom Price's seat. And back in Washington, the recess neared its end as a 4/20 event resulted in seven arrests for marijuana possession and possession with intent to distribute near the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Government Shutdown Prevention on Republicans, Democrats Say
Leaders urge members to oppose stopgap measure if no bipartisan agreement is reached

Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., told House Democrats its unlikely a bipartisan agreement on funding the government will be ready by the April 28 deadline. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are putting the onus on Republicans to prevent a government shutdown.

It’s unlikely a bipartisan deal could be reached in time to meet the April 28 funding deadline, and unless an agreement is in place Democrats should vote-against a short-term stopgap measure, Democratic leaders said Thursday.

Comstock Gets Third Challenger
Virginia state Sen. Jennifer Wexton announced Thursday

Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., has three Democrats vying to challenge her. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock received a third Democratic challenger on Thursday when state Sen. Jennifer Wexton announced her candidacy.

Wexton joins two other Democratic challengers: Dan Helmer, an Army veteran and Rhodes Scholar, and Fairfax County teacher Kimberly Adams.