At the Races

Kamala Harris discusses campaign struggles with Cosmo
Democratic presidential hopeful also talks women’s issues, climate change and skin care

California Sen. Kamala Harris is latest presidential contender to sit down with Cosmopolitan magazine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s still five women in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and after three men beat them to it, one stopped by the headquarters of the magazine that bills itself the “biggest media brand in the world for young women” for an interview.

California Sen. Kamala Harris, in the latest entry for Cosmopolitan magazine’s “The Candidates Come to Cosmo” series, discussed tough decisions to pare her campaign staff, issues such as climate change, and even her skin care regimen.

Moneyball, meet politics: Could VAR settle arguments about candidate strength?
Vote Above Replacement puts Klobuchar atop presidential field, Collins way above other senators

Maine Republican Susan Collins, center, outranks the entire Senate on Inside Elections’ Vote Above Replacement statistic, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, right, ranks highest among Democratic presidential contenders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the era of data and metrics and models in political analysis, at least one question still remains: How do we quantify the strength of individual candidates?

Arguing over whether a candidate or incumbent is good or bad is an age-old tradition in the political media and among party operatives. Typically, candidate strength is measured by fundraising or the margin of a win or loss. But that can fail to account for the particular election cycle or the possibility that any candidate running on a particular party’s line in a particular year or state would do just as well.

Mark Sanford ends his primary challenge to President Trump
Two other Republicans are still challenging Trump for the nomination

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford ended his presidential bid Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday — just two months after his campaign began. 

“I am suspending my race for the Presidency because impeachment has made my goal of making the debt, deficit and spending issue a part of this presidential debate impossible right now,” Sanford said in a statement. He made the announcement at a news conference at the New Hampshire Statehouse. 

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is running for late husband’s House seat
Maryland Democrat will undergo a preventative double mastectomy on Friday

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, center, participates in a swearing-in ceremony with her husband, the late Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in January. Rockeymoore Cummings announced Monday she will run for her husband’s seat. (Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, is running for the Democratic nomination to replace him in Maryland’s 7th District.

Rockeymoore Cummings resigned Monday night as chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party before announcing her candidacy on MSNBC ahead of a formal campaign kickoff Tuesday in Baltimore. Elijah Cummings was chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee when he died last month.

Rating change: King retirement weakens GOP hold on New York seat
Long Island district is suburban, but differs from places that swung to Democrats in 2018

Rep. Peter T. King’s decision to retire makes his New York seat more vulnerable for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Years of predictions finally came true Monday as New York Republican Peter T. King announced he will not seek reelection in the 2nd District. His decision leaves behind another competitive open seat in the suburbs for the GOP to defend.

In 2016, President Donald Trump carried the southern Long Island district by a significant margin, 53 percent to 44 percent, but the longtime congressman’s narrow 6-point margin of victory last fall is fueling Democratic optimism, particularly now that he is not running.

New York GOP Rep. Peter King announces ‘it is time to end the weekly commute’
Statement to supporters cites bipartisanship and work for victims of 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., announced he will retire rather than seek a 15th term in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Peter T. King, a 14-term Republican from New York’s Long Island, announced Monday on Facebook he will not run for reelection.

“The prime reason for my decision was that after 28 years of spending 4 days a week in Washington, D.C., it is time to end the weekly commute and be home in Seaford,” King said in a post on Facebook.

Former VA nominee Ronny Jackson eyes run for Congress
Jackson withdrew from consideration amid misconduct allegations he called ‘completely false’

Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, a onetime nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary, is considering running for Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson is considering a run for Congress in Texas, two sources familiar with his plans said Friday.

Jackson was the chief White House physician in 2018, when President Donald Trump nominated him to be Veterans Affairs secretary. But Jackson withdrew his name from consideration amid allegations that he abused alcohol and mishandled prescription drugs, although he said at the time the charges were “completely false and fabricated.”

Jeff Sessions’ return could be rocky, thanks to Trump
President is a major factor in GOP primaries, which could be a problem

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to run for his old Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ decision to return to politics might be rockier than he anticipated, given his clashes with President Donald Trump. 

Loyalty to the president is a central factor in GOP primaries and, as Trump’s attorney general, Sessions drew the president’s ire for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 7
Bolton says he’ll fight subpoena, Pence aide to testify on Trump call with Zelenskiy, Jordan says he’ll subpoena whistleblower

Jennifer Williams, Vice President Mike Pence’s special adviser on European and Russia affairs, arrives at the Capitol on Thursday for a deposition to the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At the conclusion of Thursday’s closed-door testimony from Jennifer Williams, a longtime State Department official who is detailed to work with Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Eric Swalwell told reporters that it's not yet clear whether she'll be the last witness deposed in the first phase of the inquiry.

The committee would still like to hear from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday, although Swalwell acknowledged Mulvaney is unlikely to show. The California Democrat and member of House Intelligence, one of the three committees leading the impeachment inquiry, said the committee is still finalizing its schedule for the remainder of the week.

Senate Democrats skeptical of Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ push
Hesitation from rank-and-file Democrats shows how fraught the issue is within the party

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said she was confident Medicare for All could earn support in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s colleagues aren’t exactly jumping to voice support for her plan to finance “Medicare for All.”

The hesitation from rank-and-file Democrats across the political spectrum on backing the Massachusetts Democrat’s plan shows how fraught the issue is within the party – and how challenging it would be for a Democratic White House to shepherd a plan through Congress.

Despite Ukraine heat, Pompeo seen as front-runner if he seeks Kansas Senate seat
Transcripts show State Department veterans wanted him to stand up to White House pressure

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has faced criticism over how he dealt with White House pressure to fire the ambassador to Ukraine. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recently released transcripts in the House impeachment inquiry have led to criticism of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for not stepping up to protect diplomats from White House political pressure over Ukraine.

Republicans in Washington and his native Kansas, however, told CQ Roll Call that nothing they have heard would lead them to back off efforts to recruit Pompeo to run for an open Senate seat in the Sunflower State. They say the former four-term congressman and CIA director would be the immediate front-runner in the race. 

Without Beto O’Rourke, Texas Senate primary is ‘wide open’
Crowded field of Democrats vying to take on three-term Republican John Cornyn

After ending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is not expected to run for Senate in Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s not difficult to find a former presidential candidate who swore off running for Senate and then changed his mind. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper did in August. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio did it too, in 2016.

Just don’t expect former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke to join them after ending his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination

Jeff Sessions to run for Senate in Alabama again
Former attorney general’s tangles with Trump could be a liability in campaign

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions left the Senate to become attorney general but tangled with President Donald Trump, which could be a liability. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to run for his old Senate seat in Alabama, a source familiar with his plans said.

He has yet to file with the state Republican Party, according to a party spokeswoman. The deadline is Friday. 

Democrats lean into 2019 victories to build case for 2020
But next year's reality in red states may be more complicated

Democrat Amy McGrath, who lost a House race in 2018, is trying to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The day after a Democrat declared victory in the Kentucky governor’s race and Virginia voters gave full control of state government to the party’s legislative candidates, national Democrats were eager to spin those victories as a sign of good things to come in 2020.

But the reality in some places, especially longtime red areas, is more complicated.

Indiana’s Peter Visclosky won't run for reelection in 2020
18-term congressman will leave behind a safe Democratic seat

Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana announced his retirement on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky won’t run for a 19th term in 2020, he announced Wednesday — exactly 35 years after the day he first won election to the House. 

“For my entire career I have worked to build support for our domestic steel industry and organized labor, secure investments in transformational projects and improve our quality of place to benefit the only place I have ever called home,” Visclosky said in a statement.