Barbara Comstock

At the Races: Is Lesko’s Win in the Desert a Mirage?
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Could a Blue Wave Sweep Away More GOP Women?
It’s not just members like Barbara Comstock who could be in trouble

Democrats are targeting some Republicans, like Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski, even in Solid Republican races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

WARSAW, Ind. — Jackie Walorski made the rounds at the Kosciusko County fish fry earlier this month like a political pro.

She took the time to sit down with veterans enjoying their fish, and she seemed to hug or clasp hands with everyone she encountered at this biannual Republican fundraiser.

Opinion: Will the Marches Make a Difference?
Marches are where change can start, but elections are where the change happens

A group from Pittsburgh marches down the West Front of the Capitol on Saturday to join the student-led “March for Our Lives,” calling for action to prevent gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The National Rifle Association went into the 1994 midterm elections with a plan: Target politicians who had voted for that year’s crime bill.

A Washington Post story just before Election Day detailed a granular and aggressive plan inside the NRA to unseat anyone who had failed to support the group’s position on the landmark legislation pushed by President Bill Clinton that included a ban on new sales of some assault weapons.

Lawmakers Push for Sexual Harassment Bill in Spending Package
Bipartisan coalition, Speaker want legislation included in omnibus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., left, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., arrive to hold a press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans and Democrats are making a last-minute bid to add legislation that would address the sexual harassment of staffers by members of Congress on the omnibus appropriations bill.

With dozens of policy issues still in flux as part of the full-year fiscal 2018 spending package, some lawmakers are upset by indications a bill that would implement robust sexual harassment policies in Congress is currently not part of the omnibus. The House passed the anti-sexual harassment measure, as well as sweeping rules changes aimed at protecting staffers, by voice vote on Feb. 6.

Paul Ryan Yields to Trump on High-Profile Issues
Speaker hedges on omnibus, sexual harassment, tariffs

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., closes the door as he prepares to hold a press conference following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday. Also pictured, from left, are Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan laughed Tuesday when a reporter asked him if he thinks President Donald Trump should stop attacking special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. 

“The special counsel should be free to follow through with his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely,” Ryan said. “I am confident that he’ll be able to do that. I’ve received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration.”

At the Races: The Wheels on McDaniel’s Bus Go ’Round and ’Round
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. Sign up here. We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings at attheraces@cqrollcall.com. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

This week … Chris McDaniel launched another Senate primary run in Mississippi, voters picked their candidates in Arizona, and underdog Democrats used the gun debate to make their mark.

Decision Time in the Desert: Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko won the GOP primary Tuesday in the special election to replace GOP Rep. Trent Franks (who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations). She’s in a strong position heading into the April 24 special election, since President Donald Trump carried the seat by 21 points. Lesko will face emergency room physician Hiral Tipirneni, whom Democrats see as a strong candidate. So Lesko might not want to get too confident. Nathan Gonzales shifted this race rating from Solid Republican to Likely Republican, because, well, special elections have been pretty crazy this cycle.

Bob Dold Starts New Group to Thank ‘Centrist’ GOP Incumbents
American Solutions Action Project is already running ads for Walters and Comstock

Former Illinois Rep. Robert J. Dold is behind a new nonprofit social welfare organization educating Americans about “center-right” Republicans and their work in Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Illinois Rep. Robert J. Dold knows what it’s like to break from his party. 

That wasn’t enough to save the moderate Republican lawmaker in 2016. He lost to Democrat Brad Schneider, while Hillary Clinton was carrying his 10th District by nearly 30 points. 

Post-#MeToo, Stalled Careers, Alienation Still Haunt Sexual Harassment Victims
Lawmakers say they are aware of challenges

Marion Brown, whose $27,000 sexual harassment settlement prompted the resignation of former Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr., wants to stay active in the #MeToo movement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Shortly after Marion Brown’s account of sexual harassment toppled a powerful congressman last fall, she returned to Washington on a frigid afternoon to ask for support from the lawmakers who had lauded her as a hero.

Wearing a smartly tilted fur cap, she left her business cards with aides who, to her, looked two generations her junior. She hoped for a reference, a lead on a new job, a bit of advice. She left the Capitol feeling disappointed, although lawmakers told Roll Call they want to do all they can to help.

Active-Duty Candidates Can Run — But Can They Campaign?
Even Matt Reel’s staff doesn’t know where he’s deployed

Matt Reel is running for Congress. But he’s also on active duty. (Screen Shot/Matt Reel for Congress/YouTube)

Matt Reel is running for Congress. But he can’t campaign until June — two months before Tennessee’s August primary.

Even if his staff knew where he is — which they don’t — and even if he had time while overseas, Reel can’t legally communicate with them about campaign strategy for his 7th District race while he’s on active duty.

House Leaders Face Threats of Intraparty Rebellion on Budget Deal
Conservatives are already balking and DACA proponents could be right behind

Speaker Paul D. Ryan arrives in the Capitol on Jan. 29. Ryan is already facing conservative opposition from his GOP conference to the reported budget deal in the works. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Republicans’ day of reckoning is almost here.

As early as Wednesday, the four corners of congressional leadership are expected to announce a sweeping budget deal that could increase the sequestration spending caps by nearly $300 billion over two years, extend the debt ceiling without any spending changes designed to reduce the deficit, and appropriate more than $80 billion for disaster relief without pay-fors.