How Vulnerable is Deb Fischer in Nebraska?

By Nathan L. Gonzales

Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn is heading to federal court to get his name back on the ballot for the Republican primary after the Colorado Supreme Court knocked it off.

Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Lamborn was not eligible for the ballot.

The court said Lamborn’s campaign violated state rules when two of the 1,000 GOP signatures required to be on the ballot were from two people not in the state.

But Lamborn’s campaign is now appealing to the U.S. District Court of Colorado, saying the residency is a violation of free speech and free association, the Denver Post reported.

“We believe that the part of Colorado law that requires petition gatherers to be residents of the state is manifestly unconstitutional, and controlling case decisions here in Colorado and courts around the country have agreed with that assessment,” Lamborn's spokesman Dan Bayens said in a statement.

Bayens said people who signed the petitions were being deprived of their constitutional rights.

Many of the people who were behind the petition challenge were supporters of one of Lamborn's challengers, state Sen. Own Hill.

“The court did not decide an election. The court determined that Lamborn’s campaign broke the law, committed petition fraud and should not be allowed to appear on the Republican primary ballot,” said Kyle Fisk, a spokesman for the group behind the lawsuit.

The other challenger is El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who lost in his challenge to Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016.

Colorado’s primary is June 26. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican.

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Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi fielded fewer reporter questions than usual during their weekly press conferences Thursday so they could interact directly with the congressional press corps’ kids.

“Welcome to all our junior members of the press,” Ryan said, telling the kids, “It’s great that you get to come here and see what your parents do every day.”

Ryan still took more questions from the adults, five compared to four from the kids who joined their parents for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. But Pelosi only took three adult questions before taking at least eight from the kids.

Both leaders opened their press conferences by speaking directly to the children. 

“I want you to know that what your parents do is really important. ... Your parents are here upholding and protecting the First Amendment of our country,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “That’s a really big deal, and you should be really proud of your parents for what they do. And we’re — we don’t always say it, but we’re very grateful for what they do.”

Pelosi, who often starts her weekly pressers later than the scheduled 10:45 a.m., was on time Thursday and remarked to the kids, “We like to be on time, right?”

The California Democrat then launched into some of her favorite talking points, which happen to involve children.

“When people ask me what are the three most important issues facing the Congress I always say the same thing: our children, our children, our children — their health, their education, the economic security of their families, a clean safe environment in which they can thrive and grow, a world at peace in which they can reach their fulfillment,” Pelosi said. “So we have important work to do for you.”

Two kids asked the same question to both Ryan and Pelosi: How do they plan to pay off the $21 trillion national debt?

“That’s a really good question. People like me have actually passed some plans to pay off this debt,” Ryan said, then referenced budget resolutions with entitlement overhaul proposals Republicans passed that he said “regrettably” haven’t made it into law.

Pelosi noted that her grandson has asked her the exact same question about the debt.

“The national debt in my view is something that robs from our children’s future,” she said. “One of the big ways to reduce the debt is to invest in education. Nothing brings more money to the Treasury than education.”

Pelosi also talked about the pay-go rule that says any new spending has to be offset with cuts elsewhere.

The other question asked to both leaders was about what they’re doing about the National Rifle Association and the gun violence in Florida.

Ryan talked about the STOP School Violence Act Congress passed that he said “helps give resources to local school districts and law enforcement to better prepare for these kind of violent acts.” He also referenced a measure to strengthen the background check reporting system. Both bills were signed into law as part of the omnibus spending bill.

Pelosi talked about Democrats being proud of their F ratings from the NRA and the message she delivers to her colleagues who are afraid they’re going to lose their re-election campaigns if they support gun control. 

“No one’s political survival is more important, for sure, than the personal survival of our children,” she said.

Some of the other questions Pelosi fielded were more personal, about how she got involved in politics and what it was like being the first female speaker.

She also held one of the children in her lap while she answered their questions. Twice the minority leader conducted a sing-along with the kids, accepting suggested choices of the ABC song and Baa Baa Black Sheep.

Both leaders took photos with the children. 

One kid asked Ryan if he wants his children to be reporters and he said he would support them if they were to decide to pursue that path.

“I want them to do what they want to do,” he said. 

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Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, announced Thursday he was stepping aside aside amid new allegations of alcohol abuse and faulty prescription practices.

Jackson’s withdrawal comes two days after Trump publicly advised him to bow out and just hours after a report surfaced, citing Senate Democrats’ summary of allegations against him, that he once got intoxicated and crashed a government automobile. That Democratic document also alleges Jackson prescribed himself drugs and asked a physician’s assistant to supply the drugs when he got caught.

In a statement, Jackson denied the allegation.

“Going into this process, I expected tough questions about how to best care for our veterans, but I did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity,” he said.

But he said he decided to withdraw the nomination because allegations had become a distraction for the president.

“The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated. If they had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted and entrusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over the past 12 years,” Jackson said.

The nomination was questioned by Democratic senators from the start because Jackson, a Navy rear admiral, has no command or major management experience.

[White House: No Red Flags In Multiple Jackson Background Checks]

Trump acknowledged that point on Tuesday. When asked about other allegations of drinking on the job and creating a hostile office, the president said of Jackson that he would “always stand behind him.”

But he also appeared to give Jackson an out. “If I were him ... the fact is I wouldn’t do it,” Trump said. “What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians who ... aren’t thinking about the country?”

Speaking on Fox & Friends, Trump criticized said he advised Jackson to step aside "a day or two ago" because "I saw where this was going."

Senior Senate Democrats like Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York in recent days have panned the White House for what they call a faulty personnel vetting process. They say the allegations against Jackson are among the best examples to support their view.

His bowing out means Trump and his team must find a new VA nominee and will push that Senate vetting and confirmation process back weeks on a legislative calendar that is truncated due to both parties’ need to campaign for November’s midterm elections. Moving another Cabinet nominee through a confirmation process that has plodded during Trump’s tenure — to the White House’s chagrin — will get tougher as the heart of campaign season nears.

[Macron Denounces Nationalistic Wave That Propelled Trump to White House]

The White House tried to mount a defense of Jackson on Monday evening and through Tuesday.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used her Tuesday afternoon briefing to note that multiple background checks on Jackson since he became a White House physician turned up no red flags.

And on Tuesday evening, a senior White House official provided a statement defending the nominee and pointing to praise from former President Barack Obama of Jackson that included the 44th president’s recommendation that Jackson be promoted quickly ahead of his peers.

Watch: Trump Stands Behind VA Pick but Says, ‘I Wouldn’t Do It’

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Capitol Ink | Consolation Prize

By Robert Matson
Heard on the Hill

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?

By Alex Gangitano

Special, Special, Special Elections

By Jason Dick