Gene Green

11 Almost, Probably, Most Likely Members of the 116th Congress
These candidates in open seats are all but assured of joining the next Congress

The hopes of some congressional candidates have come to a head early. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s spring in Washington, but for several candidates it may as well be fall. With six months left in their campaigns, these 11 candidates are already virtually assured of becoming new members in the 116th Congress — and the roster of such virtual freshmen could get three times bigger, or more, before Election Day.

Members of this unusual political class have the luxury of running for open seats in places where — thanks to demographics and past election results — locking down one party’s ballot line is tantamount to winning in November.

Ratings Update: Texas Primaries Narrow Democratic Fields
Some top recruits fail to make runoffs

Texas Democrat Colin Allred finished first in the 32nd District primary and will face Lillian Salerno in the May runoff for the chance to take on GOP incumbent Pete Sessions (Courtesy Colin Allred for Congress)

After months of speculation, the 2018 midterm elections are officially underway with initial primaries in Texas.

There’s more evidence of a Democratic surge previously seen in Virginia and in special elections around the country, but also the reality that some of the swarm of Democratic candidates aren’t even going to make it to the general election.

Competitive Primaries in Texas Yield Few Outright Wins
Most are heading for May 22 runoff

Gina Ortiz Jones has made the Democratic primary runoff in Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tuesday’s elections in Texas were the first congressional primaries of the 2018 cycle. But many competitive intraparty contests in the Lone Star State are heading for runoffs, with no candidate clearing 50 percent. 

Former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones advanced to the Democratic runoff in her quest to take on two-term Republican incumbent Will Hurd in Texas’ 23rd District, one of the most competitive seats in the country.

Texas Primaries: What to Watch in the First Contests of 2018
March 6 will see several competitive primary races in the Lone Star State

Gina Ortiz Jones is a Democratic candidate in Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas. That includes congressional primaries.

The March 6 elections will be the first primary contests of 2018, and the initial tests of first-time candidates running for Congress — Democrats competing in newly targeted seats and Republicans vying to replace outgoing GOP lawmakers.

Plan to Boost Coal and Nuclear Could Cost Consumers
Should consumers pay more so coal and nuclear plants can survive?

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Oct. 12. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For years, federal regulation of the electric grid has focused on keeping prices low and competition stiff. But that could change with a recent proposal from the Trump administration to put more emphasis on what it calls resiliency.

According to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the electric grid is more resilient — able to bounce back from disasters of the natural and man-made variety — when it has plenty of so-called baseload power that can run 24/7, with or without sunshine or wind and regardless of supply snags.

Gene Green Will Not Seek Re-Election
Democrat represents Texas’ 29th District

Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Gene Green told his congressional staff Monday he will not run for re-election.

“I think that it is time for me to be more involved in the lives of our children and grandchildren,” the Texas Democrat said in a statement. “I have had to miss so many of their activities and after 26 years in Congress it is time to devote more time to my most important job of being a husband, father and grandfather.”

Word on the Hill: Schneider Rides the Bus
McCain’s award, Conaway’s life in D.C., McSally on sexism

Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider is getting on a commuter bus around 8 a.m. Tuesday to meet with constituents. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., is taking his town hall on the road today.

He will use his “Commuter Town Hall” on the PACE bus in his suburban Chicago district to meet constituents during their work commutes.

House Begins Work on Over-the-Counter Drug Fees
FDA director: Consumers unprotected and manufacturers open to liability

(U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Scott Jackson)

The House began public deliberations Wednesday on a bill that would boost the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of over-the-counter drugs in exchange for industry-paid fees.

A bipartisan draft bill released earlier this week has support from the FDA and the over-the-counter drug industry. Under the new proposal, drug manufacturers would pay an annual fee for their facilities and an extra fee each time they submit a request to review proposed changes related to their product.

Word on the Hill: Get Cultured in Rayburn
Yappy hour, and honoring the Mooch

A preview of the artwork from Asian-American artists on display in Rayburn today. (Courtesy Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation)

There are three different opportunities today to check out Asian-American artists and history in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is hosting an art exhibit “War and Refuge: Reflections on the Vietnamese Refugee Experience and Its Applicability to the Global Migration Crisis” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the building’s foyer. The foundation works to educate people about the ideology, history, and legacy of communism in order to create “a world free from the false hope of communism.”

One Thing Congress Agrees On: Vaccines Work
They said lawmakers should support the use of vaccines

From left, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., at a HELP hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are stressing the need to highlight benefits of vaccines amid reports of local outbreaks of infectious diseases.

“The science is clear: FDA-licensed vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and save the lives both of those who receive them and vulnerable individuals around them,” the lawmakers wrote in a Tuesday letter sent to their colleagues. “As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases.”