Bridget Bowman

Democrats pick women from key 2020 states for State of the Union response
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar to follow Trump

Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar will give the Democrats’ Spanish-language response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic leaders announced Friday that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, who both hail from critical 2020 states, will give the responses to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Feb. 4.

Whitmer leads Michigan, a top presidential and congressional battleground that Trump won by less than half a percentage point in 2016. Escobar, who will give the Spanish-language response to the president’s address, represents a deep-blue district in Texas, where Democrats are hoping to make gains in the state’s diversifying suburbs. 

At the Races: Trial vs. Trail

By Simone Pathé, Stephanie Akin and Bridget Bowman 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Impeachment trial takes vulnerable senators off the campaign trail, too
Some senators are refraining from sending fundraising emails

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones walks to the Senate chamber Wednesday before the start of the impeachment trial. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Doug Jones’ campaign is holding an event Friday, but the Alabama Democrat won’t be there. Instead, Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former President Barack Obama, is hosting the forum on women in leadership in Birmingham.

Jones, the most vulnerable senator in 2020, will be in the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, alternating between blue and red felt-tipped pens as he takes notes on opening arguments. Sitting with him will be other colleagues who face competitive races, either in November or sooner in party primaries.

Potential ballot confusion complicates California special election for Katie Hill’s seat
Voting starts Feb. 3, but there are two elections for the 25th District on the ballot

California Rep. Katie Hill resigned from Congress amid allegations of improper relationships with staffers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An unusual message will soon hit mailboxes and social media feeds in former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s Southern California district: “For once in your life, vote twice!”

The tagline will be featured in mailers and a digital media campaign from Assemblywoman Christy Smith, a Democrat running in the special election to replace Hill in the 25th District. The message underscores concerns that voters may be confused by multiple elections for the same office on the same day, March 3.

Crimes required? Trump’s impeachment defense could set new standard
Trump defense team seizes on the lack of an article charging the president with a crime

A clerk places a tray of pens before Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signs the articles of impeachment during an engrossment ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 15. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s defense team is arguing that a president should not be convicted by the Senate on articles of impeachment that do not include a criminal violation, putting the very definition of an impeachable offense at the center of the Senate trial set to begin Tuesday.

And some legal experts said the outcome of that debate could set a new, higher standard for removing a president from office in future impeachments.

At the Races: Managing impeachment (and the spotlight)

By Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin 

Welcome to At the Races! Each week we’ll bring you news and analysis from the CQ Roll Call team that will keep you informed about the 2020 election. Know someone who’d like to get this newsletter? They can subscribe here.

Liz Cheney is not running for Senate in Wyoming
Cheney is the only woman in House GOP leadership

Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., announced Thursday that she is not running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Liz Cheney, the only woman in House Republican leadership, announced Thursday that she is not running for an open Senate seat in Wyoming.

“I believe I can have the biggest impact for the people of Wyoming by remaining in leadership in the House of Representatives and working [to] take our Republican majority,” Cheney told the Casper Star-Tribune.

New Hampshire’s Kuster backs Buttigieg
Kuster is first from Granite State delegation to make an endorsement

New Hampshire Rep. Ann McLane Kuster is backing Pete Buttigieg for president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Hampshire Rep. Ann McLane Kuster backed former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg for president Wednesday night, less than a month before the Democratic presidential primary in the Granite State.

“With our country so consumed by division, Pete Buttigieg is the leader who can finally turn the page on the Trump presidency and bring our nation together,” Kuster tweeted. “He has the courage to break from the past to lead us to a better future — I’m excited to endorse him to be our next president.”

Impeachment managers all represent safe Democratic seats
GOP faces steep challenge to oust prosecutors of Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Wednesday news conference to announce the House impeachment managers: from left, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia R. Garcia, Jerrold Nadler, Adam B. Schiff, Val B. Demings, Zoe Lofgren and Jason Crow. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call photo)

Updated Jan. 16 10:45 a.m. | Speaker Nancy Pelosi went with Democrats from politically safe districts to prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the Senate.

All seven impeachment managers named Wednesday are in races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic. Many of their Republican challengers haven’t even raised any money yet. That could change given these Democrats’ new, high-profile role, but the fundamentals of their races would have to shift significantly to make a difference in the outcome.

Dems say GOP broke ethics rules using video trackers in House office buildings
Democratic campaign arm seeks ethics probe

Democrats accused Minnesota GOP Rep. Tom Emmer of violating House ethics rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is accusing its GOP counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee, of violating ethics rules by sending trackers to video record members of Congress in House office buildings. 

The DCCC filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday alleging the NRCC and its chairman, Minnesota GOP Rep. Tom Emmer, violated House rules barring lawmakers from using official resources for political purposes.  Twitter accounts for the NRCC and some of the committee’s spokespeople posted videos of Democrats in House office building hallways being questioned by someone in December and January.