Iraq

In Ralph Norman, Trump Gets a Strong Ally
Incoming South Carolina congressman gives president an A-plus

South Carolina Rep.-elect Ralph Norman won on his second attempt for the 5th District seat. (Courtesy Ralph Norman for Congress)

Republican Ralph Norman, a developer of hotels, shopping centers, and retail stores, won a House seat 11 years after his first unsuccessful bid for the same South Carolina seat in 2006.

In Tuesday’s 5th District special election to replace former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who resigned from the House to become head of the Office of Management and Budget, Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell, a former Goldman Sachs executive and tax lawyer by an unexpectedly close 51 percent to 48 percent margin.

Senators Look for Path on New War Authorization
Current authorization dates to 9/11 attacks

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he would only pursue a new war authorization if it had bipartisan consensus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators on Tuesday gamely struggled to see if there was a way to set aside longstanding partisan differences over a new authorization for use of military force amid expanding military campaigns in Syria and Iraq, and under a new president who has delegated significant tactical authority to his commanders.

The Trump administration is waging its anti-ISIS campaign under the authority of the 2001 AUMF, which Congress passed shortly after the September 11 attacks. Sixteen years later, experts on both sides of the aisle increasingly agree the authorization (PL 107-40) has been stretched beyond almost all legal recognition to justify the occasional air strike on Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria and even far-flung groups like Al-Shabab in East Africa.

Rep. Mike Coffman Announces Divorce
Mike and state AG Cynthia Coffman were considered power couple in Colorado

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., may skipping voting for president entirely. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Colorado Republican power couple Rep. Mike Coffman and state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman have filed for divorce.

The Coffmans are breaking up after 12 years of marriage, the Denver Post reported on Monday.

Opinion: A Don’t-Blame-Us Congress Ducks on Syria
Be bipartisan and authorize a war

Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., conduct a news conference in the Capitol to introduce an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Taliban on May 25, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It is, of course, not nearly as important as the struggle in GA-6 that is testing what happens when you inject more than $50 million into a single House race and batter the voters into submission with attack ads.

And the topic could not possibly compete with the learned analyses of Megyn Kelly’s NBC interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones — a TV show that was probably the biggest broadcast since King Edward VIII went on British radio to announce his abdication to marry “the woman I love.”

Former Security Official Launches Bid Against MacArthur
Andy Kim pointed to MacArthur's work on the GOP health care bill

In announcing his campaign against Republic Rep. Tom MacArthur, Andy Kim said, “Nobody voted to send a representative to Washington to gut health care.” (Andy Kim for Congress)

A former White House national security official announced Monday that he is challenging GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur, who was instrumental in negotiating a key amendment to the Republican health care bill.

Democrat Andy Kim is a native of New Jersey’s 3rd District and served as the National Security Council’s director for Iraq during President Barack Obama’s administration. In Afghanistan Kim worked as a diplomat and strategic adviser to Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen in Afghanistan.

Opinion: In Praise of Congressional Openness
Why the tension at the core of American democracy is worth it

An FBI evidence response team gathers outside of the Aldi grocery store near Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during baseball practice on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In the tear-stained hours after the baseball field shootings, House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy sounded the right note as he said in his opening prayer, “We are blessed by a free and open society. … But once again, we are reminded there is a vulnerability that comes with that openness.”

That is the tension at the core of American democracy as we stumble through this terror-soaked century. How do we maintain the close connection between the government and the governed without elected officials having to don bulletproof vests every morning along with their American flag pins?

Yoder Gets New Challenger in Kansas
Democrat Andrea Ramsey points to GOP health care bill as a catalyst

Democrat Andrea Ramsey is challenging Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder in 2018. (Courtesy Andrea Ramsey for U.S. Congress Facebook page)

Kansas Republican Rep. Kevin Yoderreceived another challenger Tuesday when the former president of a children’s health clinic launched her campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd District.

Andrea Ramsey recently left her position as president and board chairwoman of Turner House Children’s Clinic Kansas City, Kansas, the Associated Press reported.

Democrats Look to Oust Mike Coffman — Again
Colorado Republican remains a top Democratic target

Rep. Mike Coffman has been a top target in the past three campaign cycles. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats are once again eyeing Rep. Mike Coffman’s elusive Colorado seat as they look to take back the House in 2018.

For the past three election cycles, the Republican congressman’s personal brand and relationships with minority communities in the diverse 6th District in suburban Denver, along with a relentless campaign apparatus, have propelled him to re-election since the district was redrawn in 2012. Some Democrats say an anti-Republican environment could sweep Coffman out of office, while others aren’t as confident. 

Schumer Passes on Chance to Star With Kate Mara
Capitol Hill gets cameo in new film ‘Megan Leavey’

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, left, is portrayed by actor Andrew Masset in the new film “Megan Leavey.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo, Ben Rose/Getty Images for Corday Productions)

The old saying that the most dangerous place in Washington is between Sen. Charles E. Schumer and a camera? New evidence suggests otherwise.

“I didn’t want to ruin the film,” the New York Democrat said about turning down an offer to play himself in the new movie “Megan Leavey.”

Iraq War Vet Will Challenge Faso
West Point grad is the seventh Democrat to run against Republican incumbent

Democratic House candidate Pat Ryan said his grandfather is his inspiration in announcing his challenge to Rep. John Faso. (Pat Ryan for Congress via Facebook)

Iraq War veteran Pat Ryan became the seventh Democrat to announce he would attempt to challenge New York Republican Rep. John Faso in 2018.

Faso won an open seat in New York’s 19th Congressional District, beating law professor and liberal activist Zephyr Teachout last year.