Cheri Bustos

Most House Democrats Will Be in Majority for First Time Ever
In contrast, most House Republicans have never been in the minority

New York Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng have never served in the majority, with both first elected in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most House Democrats in the next Congress will be new to the majority and an overwhelming majority of Republicans will be new to the minority — a dynamic that could create a steep learning curve for members as they grapple with party strategy and messaging changes under the new power structure.

Even more significant is that a majority of leadership candidates for both parties have not served in a Democrat-led House.

Steaks and Scotch Can Restore Sanity, According to One Hill Staffer
An invitation to the Bipartisan Dinner Group is mysterious and vague

The late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., right, is the inspiration behind the Bipartisan Dinner Group for staffers. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Michael Hardaway was in an elevator with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy when he was just a young Senate staffer. He seized the opportunity to ask the liberal giant for advice on navigating D.C.

“Sen. Kennedy told me that members in the old days were able to pass bills and get things done because of friendships formed after hours, when members often gathered for steaks and scotch,” said Hardaway, now communications director for New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

From Speaker on Down, Here’s Who’s in the Hill Leadership Hunt
House and Senate Republican conferences set to vote this week

The race to lead the House Republicans next Congress comes down to California’s Kevin McCarthy, center, and Ohio’s Jim Jordan, right, who face off in a Wednesday GOP caucus vote. Also pictured above, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated Tuesday, 3:44 p.m. | With the midterms — mostly — behind us, attention has shifted to the intraparty leadership elections on Capitol Hill for the House and Senate. 

Here’s a look at the various positions that members of both parties and chambers will be voting on in the coming weeks. 

Sean Patrick Maloney Fourth Candidate to Enter DCCC Chair Race
N.Y. Democrat joins Bustos, DelBene and Heck in race for campaign chief

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., is running to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on Saturday became the fourth candidate to enter the race to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee heading into the 2020 cycle. 

The position to head up the House Democrats’ campaign arm is quickly becoming the most coveted leadership slot, even though the party will be defending a number of seats in traditionally Republican districts in two years time. The current DCCC chairman, New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján — coming off a strong midterm election that has seen the party pick up over 30 seats and take back the House — is running for assistant Democratic leader.

Cheri Bustos Drops Out of Assistant Leader Race to Run for DCCC Chair
Illinois Democrat’s decision avoids face-off with current DCCC chairman Luján

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is dropping out of the assistant Democratic leader race to run for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos announced Friday that she was dropping out of the race for the next assistant Democratic leader and would instead seek to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

“One of the greatest challenges we face in the next Congress is defending and expanding our majority,” Bustos said.

Luján Jumping in Assistant Democratic Leader Race, Creating 3-Way Contest
Reps. Cheri Bustos and David Cicilline are also running for the No. 4 leadership slot

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., is running for assistant Democratic leader. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Outgoing Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján announced a bid for assistant Democratic leader Wednesday, creating a three-way race for the incoming majority’s No. 4 leadership slot.

The New Mexico Democrat is running against Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois and David Cicilline of Rhode Island in the caucus’s first contested election for the assistant leader post. 

Trump Country Democrats Hold Their Own
Trump’s policy agenda was not a winning message for Republican challengers

Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois was one of nine Democrats who have held onto their seats in districts Donald Trump won in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Of the 12 Democrats running for seats in districts won by Donald Trump in 2016, nine had claimed victory by Wednesday afternoon.

Democrats were aided by flawed opponents who ran on Republican legislative priorities that poll poorly among independent voters — including the 2017 tax bill and the prolonged push to strip protections for patients with preexisting conditions from the 2010 health law.

It’s Not Too Early to Start Looking at the 2020 Senate Map
The fight for the Senate should once again be a prime battle.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is up for re-election in 2020 in a state carried by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The votes haven’t all been counted in the 2018 Senate elections, but we know the size of the incoming majority will be critical, because the 2020 Senate map offers limited initial takeover opportunities for both parties.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the presidential race will look like, how voters will feel about the economy and direction of the country, and whether they’ll believe more Democrats are needed in Washington.

Democrats Spin McConnell Entitlement Comments Into Political Messaging
McConnell says Republicans cannot tackle program on their own but Democrats warn of GOP action

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., says a vote for the GOP is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, spinning Senate Majority McConnell’s comments that Republicans can’t execute that goal on their own. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are spinning comments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently made on overhauling entitlements to craft a political message that electing Republicans will lead to cuts in safety net programs. 

“Sen. McConnell gave the game up in his comment yesterday,” Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on a press call Wednesday. “It was very clear from what he said that a vote for Republican candidates in this election is a vote to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. That’s what he said.”

Cheri Bustos Joins Race for Assistant Democratic Leader
Sets up contest that could show diversity of House Democratic caucus next year

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., has joined the race for assistant Democratic leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Cheri Bustos has formally announced she wants to move up in House Democratic leadership, setting up a contested race with candidates from different parts of the caucus.

The Illinois Democrat said her candidacy for assistant Democratic leader will focus on efforts to support the most vulnerable members of the House Democratic caucus, and that will include significant support for new staff.