John J Duncan Jr

The Price of Voting Against the Iraq War
Retiring Tennessee Republican looks back on another time he thought his career was over

John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., during the Transportation Committee markup of legislation which would create a new Department of Homeland Security. The Committee approved amendments to keep the Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency separate from the proposed new department. (Scott Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The five decade-long tradition of Duncan family dominance in Tennessee’s 2nd District will end with the 115th Congress. With an ethics probe clouding his legacy and retirement closing in, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. looked back to another time he thought his career might be ending.

In 2002, as fear and speculation swirled, Duncan sided with just a handful of other House Republicans, including Amo Houghton of New York, in voting against the Iraq War. He knew it could be political suicide.

Office of Congressional Ethics Sees Huge Uptick in Citizen Outreach
More than 8,000 private citizens contact office for information or requests

An investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, was halted when he resigned in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Office of Congressional Ethics saw a considerable uptick in citizen outreach in the second quarter of 2018. At the same time, three referrals were sent to the House Ethics Committee for action.

Over 8,300 private citizens contacted the Office of Congressional Ethics during the second quarter, up from 580 in the first quarter of 2018, according to the OCE’s most recent quarterly report. In the last year, citizen contacts had previously topped out at 1,450 per quarter. The contacts fall into two categories: Allegations of misconduct and requests for information about the OCE.

Tennessee Poised to Return to All-Male House Delegation in 2019
Tim Burchett, John Rose win contested GOP primaries; David Kustoff survives challenge

Tennessee Republican John Rose won the GOP nod in the 6th District on Thursday night. (Courtesy John Rose)

Tennessee appears poised to switch to an all-male House delegation next Congress after the only woman in a contested open-seat Republican primary lost Thursday night. 

The two women in the state’s current House delegation opted not to run for re-election. 6th District Rep. Diane Black lost her GOP primary for governor Thursday night, while 7th District Rep. Marsha Blackburn easily secured the Republican nod for Senate. There has been at least one woman in the Volunteer State’s House delegation since Blackburn was first elected in 2002. 

3 Things to Watch in Tennessee’s Thursday Primaries
Can a woman win a seven-way GOP primary in Knoxville area?

Ashley Nickloes is the only woman running in a seven-way GOP primary in Tennessee’s 2nd District. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tennessee has the honor of voting on a Thursday — yes, a Thursday. While most of the attention will be on the competitive Republican gubernatorial primary, there’s plenty of action on the GOP side at the congressional level, too.

Three House Republicans from the Volunteer State aren’t seeking re-election. Diane Black is running for governor, Marsha Blackburn is running for Senate and John J. Duncan Jr. is retiring. That’s made for a few crowded primaries among ambitious conservatives looking to take advantage of open-seat races. Meanwhile, a freshman in the delegation is being outspent more than 2-to-1 by his primary challenger.

GOP Primary Will Bring New Name to Tennessee District for First Time in Half Century
Seven Republicans are vying to replace longtime Rep. Jimmy Duncan

Tennessee Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. is retiring after 15 full terms in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the first time in more than 50 years, voters in the Knoxville area of Tennessee won’t be represented by a man named Duncan next year.

The retirement of John J. Duncan Jr. (whose father held the seat before him) has given way to a crowded Republican primary on Aug. 2 that will likely determine who will represent the 2nd District in 2019.

One Foot in Congress, the Other in Grad School
Staffers starting your higher education, you’re in good company

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., received his law degree from Georgetown University. Here he is addressing the law center in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As orientation kicks off for graduate school programs, staffers who are going part time and keeping their Capitol Hill jobs begin the balancing act.

Those higher knowledge-seekers are not alone. It’s common for staffers to get degrees on top of work.

Only Woman in Crowded Tennessee GOP Primary Touts Her Combat Experience
Ashley Nickloes, candidate in 2nd District, released her first ad Thursday

Tennessee Air National Guard Lt. Col. Ashley Nickloes, a Republican running for Tennessee’s 2nd District, is touting her experience as a combat aviator. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats aren’t the only ones with female veterans who are dipping their toes into politics for the first time year by deciding to run for Congress. 

Republican Ashley Nickloes, a lieutenant colonel in the Tennessee Air National Guard, is highlighting her combat aviation experience in her first TV ad that debuted on broadcast Thursday in the Knoxville media market. The starting buy is 550 gross ratings points.

House Experience Poised to Nose-Dive
Following a rash of retirements, incumbent losses in November could bring the body’s experience to a low not seen since the 1990s

Michigan Democratic Reps. John Conyers Jr. and Sander M. Levin and Texas Republican Reps. Joe L. Barton and Lamar Smith are the four most senior House members to end their service during the current Congress. (Bill Clark and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photos)

If this election year ushers in as big a wave as Democrats are hoping for, it could end not just with a new party in control of the House, but with a major brain drain in the chamber. Departing members take with them their institutional knowledge and experienced staff. The freshmen who replace them will not only be starting from scratch, but, like Tea Party members did in 2010, could arrive by virtue of an antagonistic attitude and may be reluctant to back established party leadership.

The 69 representatives who for one reason or another won’t be a part of the House membership next year represent a significant portion of the House’s cumulative experience, a combined 828 years of experience in the chamber — roughly a fifth of the House’s total at the time this Congress began. 

W.Va. Race Offers Hope That GOP Women Will Get Help in Primaries
Small investment for West Virginia candidate seen as early encouraging sign

West Virginia state Del. Carol Miller, who is seeking the GOP nod in the 3rd District, participates in a National Day of Prayer event in Point Pleasant, W.Va., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Republicans have a woman problem, and they know it.

While the party is recruiting female candidates, many say that’s not enough. The next step, operatives suggest, needs to be helping the women through GOP primaries. 

Ethics Committee Acknowledges Investigation of John Duncan Jr.
Tennessee Republican campaign reportedly paid felon son $300,000

U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., shown here in 2009, came under fire in July after reports that his campaign had made $300,000 in payments to his son, who pleaded guilty in 2013 to a felony charge of official misconduct.

The House Ethics Committee acknowledged Tuesday an investigation of Rep. John Duncan Jr, a scion of a Tennessee political dynasty who announced his retirement in July. 

Duncan, a Republican, came under fire that month after reports that his campaign paid his son, John Duncan III, almost $300,000. In the five years since the younger Duncan pleaded guilty to a felony charge of official misconduct. Those payments were made in monthly installments of $6,000 recorded as salary expenses, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.