Blake Farenthold

The Dizzying Life of Midcycle Newbies
For arrivals in the middle of a Congress, it can be tough to hit the ground running

Conor Lamb waits for Speaker Paul D. Ryan to arrive for a mock swearing-in ceremony in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In April, just a few days after being sworn in following his stunning special election win in Pennsylvania, Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb strode into the Capitol, hand clutching a coffee cup, as he made his way to the House floor for a vote. But before he could make it inside, a guard abruptly stopped him. Beverages in the chamber, she explained, are strictly forbidden. “You can go through the cloakroom,” she helpfully suggested. Lamb gave a blank stare. “It’s around the corner,” she said, pointing down the hall.

The first few days and weeks for new lawmakers can prove a disorienting adjustment, especially for winners of special elections.

Republican Michael Cloud Sworn In to House, Replacing Blake Farenthold
Newest member of the House cuts number of vacancies to six

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., conducts the mock-swearing in for Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Republican Michael Cloud took the oath of office on Tuesday, becoming the latest member of the House and bringing the whole number of the chamber to 429, comprised of 236 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with six vacancies.

A media consultant with roots in his church and local Republican Party, Cloud describes himself as a constitutional conservative.

At the Races: Take Me Home, Country Roads
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Republicans Hold On to Farenthold Seat in Texas Special Election
Michael Cloud avoids 27th District runoff by comfortably clearing 50 percent of the vote

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, resigned in April amid a sexual harassment scandal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Michael Cloud won the special election Saturday to replace former Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, comfortably taking a majority of votes to avoid a runoff. 

Nine candidates from multiple parties competed for the 27th District on the same ballot Saturday. With 63 percent of precincts reporting, Cloud, the former chairman of the Victoria County GOP, led the field with 54 percent, when The Associated Press called the race. Democrat Eric Holguin, a former congressional aide, was in second place with 32 percent. 

Special Election to Replace Farenthold Could Head to a Runoff
Nine candidates are on ballot Saturday in Texas’ 27th District

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, resigned in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Voters in Texas’ 27th District will head to the polls Saturday for a special election to replace former Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, who resigned in April. But the election might not be over for two more months. 

With nine candidates from multiple parties competing on one ballot, it is possible they could divide the vote and no one will secure a majority to win the seat outright. That would prolong the election to a runoff, likely in September.

Supreme Court Maintains District Maps in N.C., Texas
Voter dilution, racial and partisan gerrymandering at issue in court actions

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court ruled Monday to keep the current congressional maps in Texas and North Carolina, in separate cases that dealt with voter dilution and racial and partisan gerrymandering.

In the Texas case, a sharply divided court overturned a lower court ruling that found intentional voter dilution in the 27th District and racial gerrymandering in the 35th District. The 27th District is currently vacant, after Republican Blake Farenthold resigned in April, while the 35th is held by Democrat Lloyd Doggett.

What Lawmakers Do When They Leave After Harassment Allegations
Six have left so far this Congress

Former Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., here at a news conference in December 2016, resigned his seat last October amid revelations of an extramarital affair. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Six members of Congress have left office in the past few months after allegations ranging from firing female staffers who rejected sexual advances to pressuring a lover to get an abortion.

While their resignations mean they no longer have a vote in Congress, that doesn’t mean their careers are over. Former lawmakers are moving forward by flying under the radar, grabbing the sides of a lectern or sticking with politics.

Farenthold to Keep Lobbying Job After Board Deadlocks
After hiring disgraced former congressman in closed meeting, board holds public meeting to reconsider

The hiring of former Rep. Blake Farenthold as a lobbyist has divided the board of the Calhoun Port Authority in Texas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold will get to keep his job as a lobbyist for the Calhoun Port Authority after a board vote on whether to fire him ended in deadlock.

A vote by the authority’s board Thursday on whether it should fire the former Republican congressman was tied, with three members voting for the motion and three voting against it, the Victoria Advocate reported.

Senate Anti-Harassment Bill Could See Fast Action
Lawmakers would be held personally liable for misconduct

Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says that victims of workplace harassment in the Senate are confronted by a process that is “stacked against them.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:34 p.m. | The Senate is moving to combat sexual harassment on Capitol Hill with a bill aimed at overhauling the process for reporting and resolving claims of harassment and discrimination, in addition to holding lawmakers personally liable for misconduct settlement payments.

The proposal, unveiled Wednesday, has the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer. And the chamber could pass it as early as Thursday. The House passed a sweeping overhaul of harassment procedures in February.

Democrats Get Preferred Candidates in House Races in Texas
GOP sees mixed fortunes for establishment candidates in runoffs

Air Force veteran Gina Ortiz Jones won the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 23rd District. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

General election matchups in Texas were set following Tuesday’s runoffs, including a few expected to be competitive in the fall. 

Democrats saw new opportunities in the Lone Star state after Hillary Clinton carried three Republican-held seats in 2016. Each of those races on the Democratic side went to a runoff after no one took more than 50 percent of the vote in the March 6 primary. A slew of Republican retirements sparked crowded GOP primaries, which led to runoffs in five open seats. The winners of most of these contests are likely to come to Congress from the Republican-leaning districts.