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David Koch leaves behind legacy of dark money political network
Allies and foes agree libertarian billionaire transformed the nation's politics

David Koch will be remembered for the political fundraising network he and his brother, Charles, built to promote conservative causes. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Republican mega-donor David Koch, who helped pioneer a network of often surreptitious organizations aimed at influencing elections and public policy, leaves behind a legacy of dark-money groups and a volatile political landscape.

Koch, one half of the Koch Brothers along with his older brother Charles, died at age 79, the billionaires’ company, Kansas-based Koch Industries, said Friday. David Koch had stepped away from business and politics in 2018 for health reasons and had previously battled cancer, though the company did not say the exact cause of death.

Trump vulnerability in a primary is more fiction than fact
President has solid GOP support, a huge cash advantage, and it’s already late in the process

Former Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina is considering a challenge to President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford is seriously considering challenging President Donald Trump in the primary, even though he called the idea “preposterous” on many levels. It’s a rare moment when you should take a politician at his word.

Even if you look past the huge hurdles of the president’s popularity among the Republican base and the humongous fundraising advantage, the anti-Trump movement is simply running out of time, and it’s arguably too late to mount a serious presidential campaign at all.

Former Republican congressman and inflammatory radio host Jason Lewis to run for Senate
Trump team hopes running ‘Mini Trump’ candidate will ramp up turnout in a key presidential state

Former Rep. Jason Lewis will challenge Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, he announced Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A former Republican congressman and conservative radio personality with a history of inflammatory remarks will challenge Minnesota Democratic Sen. Tina Smith

Former Rep. Jason Lewis, who served one term in Congress and worked for 25 years as a radio personality, will run against Smith, he announced Thursday. 

Democrats tried to ‘blackmail’ casino owner to let employees unionize, conservative group claims
Lawmakers say ethics accusations by Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust are baseless

Rep. Mark Pocan, D- Wisc., speaks with reporters as he leaves a House Democrats' caucus meeting in February. Pocan is one of 14 Democrats who wrote a letter to a casino mogul that a conservative ethics watchdog group says was part of an effort to coerce him to allow employees to unionize. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conservative watchdog group asked the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday to review whether 14 Democratic lawmakers and one Republican inappropriately used their office to try to coerce a Las Vegas casino mogul into allowing his employees to unionize.

In May, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan and 13 other Democrats wrote a letter to Frank Fertitta III, the CEO of the Las Vegas-based casino management company Red Rock Resorts Inc., urging him to “respect the rights of employees” at the company “to form a union and collectively bargain.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ends presidential campaign
Inslee centered his campaign on combating climate change

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:53 p.m.| Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who staked his presidential campaign on combating climate change, announced Wednesday night that he is dropping out of the race for the White House after failing to qualify for the third round of Democratic primary debates.

Inslee announced on Thursday that he would be running for a third term as governor.

House freshmen try to keep it local as presidential race steals the spotlight
Iowa Democratic Reps. Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer are taking similar approaches to their reelections

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, flips pork burgers at the Iowa State Fair. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES — Rep. Cindy Axne’s letter to Customs and Border Protection about African swine fever didn’t make national news. But it did prompt a “thank you” from a man with the Iowa Pork Association as Axne flipped pork burgers last week at the Iowa State Fair.

Attention to issues like that disease, which could threaten the country’s pork industry if it reached the U.S., is how first-term Democratic lawmakers like Axne are working to win reelection in 2020.

Joe Biden rebounds, Kamala Harris drops in new poll
After support ballooned in June, California Sen. Harris dropped back down to just 5 percent in August

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake on Friday August 9, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Former Vice President Joe Biden rebounded in the latest 2020 Democratic presidential primary poll conducted by CNN and SSRS, after his numbers appeared to be sagging earlier this summer.

Nearly one in three Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters said they back Biden among the field of candidates fighting for the party nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.

Hickenlooper says he’ll give ‘serious thought’ to Senate run after dropping presidential bid
Colorado and national Democrats see former governor as best chance to capture Gardner’s seat

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, shown in Iowa on Saturday, announced Thursday he is ending his bid for the presidency. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ended his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, and said he will consider a run against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in a battleground state Democrats need to win to take control of the upper chamber.

“People want to know what comes next for me,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.”

Why North Carolina candidates aren’t talking about the ‘bathroom bill’
Modern campaigning allows candidates to tailor messages to different platforms

Democrat Dan McCready, who’s running in the redo election in North Carolina’s 9th District, has made health care and education the focus of his campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. — Asked about immigration at a town hall last weekend, Dan McCready talked about securing the border and respecting the law.

He didn’t sound like “an Elizabeth Warren Democrat,” which is how the National Republican Congressional Committee is trying to tar him

Sen. Ted Cruz gifted Houston Rockets tickets worth $12K
Texas Republican was criticized for cursing the team in last year’s Game 7 loss to the Warriors

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz received over $12,000 worth of Houston Rockets tickets in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Sen. Ted Cruz stood courtside, gleefully grinning during pregame on the night the Houston Rockets were bounced from the 2018 NBA playoffs in a devastating Game 7 Western Conference finals home loss to the Golden State Warriors, a marquee matchup the Texas Republican was able to watch for free thanks to a powerful Republican donor.

Cruz attended the May 28, 2018, game with a ticket gifted to him by Robert Marling, the CEO of Woodforest National Bank and a financial supporter who contributed to his Senate and presidential campaigns.