Bridget Bowman

Rep. Lamar Smith Out of Touch With Science, Challenger Says
Aerospace engineer — a veteran — is taking on Science committee chairman

GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, is getting a Democratic challenger who says Smith is out of touch with science and his constituents.

Joseph Kopser announced Tuesday that he is taking on Smith, who is running for re-election for a 17th term in Congress in the solidly Republican central Texas district. Kopser, a combat veteran who served in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star, is one of a slew of candidates in science and technology fields running for elected office as political outsiders.

2018 Senate Recruitment: Too Early to Talk About It?
Challengers in tight races typically take their time to announce

With the 2018 midterm elections about 18 months away, attention is shifting to the battle for the Senate — and who could emerge as potential challengers.

But history shows that prospective contenders have a few more months before they typically announce their candidacies.

Chaffetz Resignation Sparks Conflict, Compressed Campaigns in Utah
Governor and state legislature disagree on special election timeline

In any other year, Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s decision to resign would have sparked a crowded Republican primary. But as one Utah GOP operative put it, this year is not like any other year. 

Consultant Chuck Warren sat down with a state lawmaker Friday morning to talk about a possible run for Congress. The lawmaker pointed to a picture of his family and his home and said, “Why would I give that up to go up there and pound my head against a wall?”

New Mail Campaign Highlights AHCA Impact on Older Voters
Save My Care highlights higher cost for seniors under GOP bill in two GOP districts

Older voters in two GOP districts are the targets of a new direct mail campaign highlighting higher costs for seniors under the GOP health care bill.

The liberal advocacy group Save My Care is launching a direct mail campaign this weekend aimed at 30,000 voters between the ages of 50 and 64 in Arizona’s 2nd District, home to Rep. Martha McSally, and Nevada’s 2nd District, represented by Rep. Mark Amodei

White House Turmoil Ramps Pressure on Vulnerable Republicans
Some are speaking out, others still waiting for more facts

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and SIMONE PATHÉ

No matter what he did or how much he tweeted during his first four months in office, President Donald Trump has mostly held on to the loyalty of congressional Republicans — even those who might have the most to lose at the ballot box next year. 

Cornyn Withdraws From Consideration as FBI Director
Majority Whip says the best way he can serve is by remaining in the Senate

Sen. John Cornyn has taken himself out of consideration to be the next F.B.I. director, he informed President Donald Trump’s administration Tuesday.

The Texas Republican said in a statement that the best place for him to serve is in the Senate.

Sasse: Possibility of Hacks in 2018, 2020 ‘Keeps Me Up at Night’
‘We know what the Russians are trying to do’

Sen. Ben Sasse is a member of one of the committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but he’s more worried about the upcoming congressional midterms and beyond. 

“We need to know a lot more about 2016. But the thing that keeps me up at night is 2018 and 2020” the Nebraska Republican said in an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep Friday morning. “We know what the Russians are trying to do. We know that the technology around info-ops is getting better and better.”

Senate Leadership Fund Requests Records in Alabama Race
Super PAC wants records onStrange’s primary challengers

In another sign that the Senate Leadership Fund is aggressively supporting GOP Sen. Luther Strange, the Super PAC filed a public records request Thursday for correspondence between his challengers and Alabama’s current governor. The governor recently moved up the special election for the Alabama Republican’s seat by a year.

Strange is facing a primary in August to remain in the Senate. He was appointed to the Senate in February after former Sen. Jeff Sessions became Attorney General. Strange already has one primary opponent, and could face at least two more. 

Political Reaction to Comey Strikes Familiar Pattern
Democrats see opportunity, Republican responses vary

A familiar pattern emerged after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey: Democrats pressured Republicans to weigh in, vulnerable Republicans tried to distance themselves, and others stayed quiet.

With the 2018 midterms still 18 months away, political operatives in both parties say it’s difficult to predict what issues will dominate the campaigns. But what followed Comey’s dismissal suggests that both parties may be continuing strategies they developed during last year’s elections: Democrats seek to tie Republicans to Trump, and Republicans try to stay above the the fray of the ever-changing news cycle. 

Super PAC Revives Ads Targeting GOP Senators on Russia
American Bridge’s ads are focused on Heller and Flake

A Democratic Super PAC is re-airing digital ads calling on two Republican senators to back an independent probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, following former F.B.I. Director James B. Comey’s firing Tuesday night.

Comey was leading the agency’s investigation into Russian interference and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign team colluded with the Russians. Trump fired Comey Monday night, purportedly for how he handled an investigation into Hillary Clinton, raising questions about the future of the Russia probe.

Some Democrats ‘Adopt a District’ to Talk Health Care
At least 4 House Democrats have held or plan to hold events in GOP districts

One House Democrat was in enemy territory Monday night, and he was on a mission.

“I’m Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney,” the New York lawmaker told a crowd gathered at an industrial event space in Kingston in a neighboring Empire State district. “Where the heck is your congressman?”

Labrador to Run for Idaho Governor
Republican congressman is sixth House member to announce he's running for governor instead of re-election

Rep. Raul R. Labrador intends to run for governor of Idaho, according to multiple local media reports.

The Idaho Republican has reportedly filed paperwork with the state in order to run for governor. Labrador told CBS affiliate KBOI that he would formally announce his candidacy in the coming weeks.

Blum Defends GOP Health Care Bill but Not Process
Iowa Republican is among handful holding town halls this week

Rep. Rod Blum faced his constituents Monday night to defend the Republican health care bill, but agreed with critics who chided the “rushed” process.

The Iowa Republican attempted to explain what he viewed as the merits of the bill, known as the American Health Care Act. Though he agreed with one constituent who raised concerns that House Republicans did not hold any hearings on the legislation before passing it last week.

DCCC Targets 10 Republicans on Health Care in New Ads
Digital ads will run in Google searches and on YouTube

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching new digital ads Monday as part of its media campaign targeting House Republicans who voted for their health care overhaul. 

The committee is zeroing in on 10 lawmakers who voted for the bill last week with ads that show up in Google searches of the members and health care terms, and with 15-second pre-roll ads that play before YouTube videos. The five-figure ad campaign is one of several steps the DCCC is taking to highlight Republican lawmakers’ votes on the bill. 

2018 Campaigns Already Racing to Define Health Care Bill
Groups focused on the midterms leaped into action after vote

Health care is likely to be a central issue in the 2018 election cycle, and that messaging began within minutes of Thursday’s vote on the Republicans’ overhaul bill.

Now the race is on for both parties to sway voters. 

Meet the Republicans Who Voted ‘No’ on the Health Care Bill
All of them outran Trump in their districts in 2016

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and SIMONE PATHÉ

Twenty Republicans bucked their party and voted against the health care overhaul on Thursday.

GOP Identifies More Vulnerable House Members
NRCC adds 10 more members to its Patriot Program

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Tuesday that 10 additional lawmakers have been identified as members who could face tough re-election fights in 2018.

The House GOP’s campaign arm added those lawmakers to its Patriot Program, which supports Republican lawmakers in potentially tight races through fundraising and organizational assistance.

Senators Learning to Shrug Off Trump’s Tweets
President’s social media lobs on government funding talks largely dismissed

A number of senators shrugged off President Donald Trump’s decision to express his views on the latest government funding debate on Twitter, suggesting that the social media platform might not be the best way for the president to convey his views to Congress.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they did not pay much attention to the president’s Twitter missives, as talks to avert a government shutdown continued.

Rob Bishop Discounts Prospect of Senate Run
Utah Republican chairs House Natural Resources Committee

If Sen. Orrin G. Hatch decides not to run for an eighth term, at least one Utah congressman is not likely to run for his Senate seat.

Rep. Rob Bishop said in an interview with C-SPAN’s Newsmakers airing Sunday that he would rather stay in the House. The Utah Republican was first elected to the House in 2002 and chairs the House Natural Resources Committee.

Gardner Sees ‘Refreshing’ New Focus on North Korea
Senators will be briefed on North Korea threat at the White House Wednesday

Senators will be bused to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on North Korea, and one Republican senator says attention on the threat is long overdue.

Sen. Cory Gardner has been among the lawmakers calling on the Trump administration to prioritize addressing the threat of North Korea launching nuclear weapons, and the Colorado Republican said it is “refreshing” to see some action.