Griffin Connolly

Poll: Democrats want an experienced politician as president, not an outsider
Seventy-three percent of Democratic voters said they would be ‘more excited’ to vote for a politically experienced candidate

Candidates in the historically diverse field for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have highlighted their age, gender, race and military experience as defining traits separating them from their peers. 

But Democratic voters find none of those characteristics as important as a candidate’s experience in elected office, according to a new poll from The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs at the University of Chicago.

Jessica Cisneros wants to put her old boss out of office
Insurgent Democratic challenger was an intern in Henry Cuellar’s office five years ago. Now she’s running against him

Five years ago, Jessica Cisneros was a 20-year-old intern in Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar’s Washington office.

Now, two bachelor’s degrees and a law degree later, she’s running against him in the 2020 Democratic primary for Texas’ 28th District with backing from the group that helped New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sweep out longtime Democratic leader Joseph Crowley in a primary last year.

Education Department investigating Duke-UNC event for ‘anti-semitic rhetoric’
Duke-UNC Middle East studies consortium that hosted event slated to receive $235,000 per year over next four years

The Department of Education plans to investigate a Middle East studies event hosted by Duke University and the University of North Carolina in which a Palestinian guest performer appeared to lead the attendants in anti-semitic rhetoric.

The Duke-UNC consortium on Middle East studies used $5,000 of federal grant money from DOE for the event, the News and Observer in Raleigh reported at the time.

Group that backed AOC targeting longtime New York Rep. Eliot Engel
Public school educator Jamaal Bowman, 43, will challenge longtime House Democrat in 2020 primary

Longtime New York Rep. Eliot L. Engel is getting a primary challenger who has support from the progressive group that backed New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her bid for office.

Jamaal Bowman, 43, a public school principal from the Bronx, announced Tuesday he is challenging Engel in the Democratic primary for New York’s 16th District, a longtime bastion for the party.

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar gets primary challenger
Immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros interned for Cuellar in 2014

Texas Rep. Henry Cueller, one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress, is getting a primary challenger who has support from the progressive group that backed New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her bid for office.

Immigration and human rights lawyer Jessica Cisneros, 26, who was an intern for Cuellar five years ago, announced her primary campaign Thursday to unseat the eight-term incumbent in Texas’ 28th District that stretches along the southern border with Mexico and reaches north into San Antonio.

Trump stiffs Iowa Democrat from ethanol tour in her own district, she claims
White House says Rep. Axne was never invited on tour with president in the first place

Rep. Cindy Axne and the White House spiraled down a classic he-said-she-said argument this week over Axne’s omission from the president’s guest list as he toured an ethanol facility in her district on Tuesday.

Axne, a Democrat representing Iowa’s 3rd District, has claimed that the White House rescinded its invitation for her to join President Donald Trump on his tour of the facility. The White House has said Axne was never invited to join Trump on the tour in the first place, but rather to attend his remarks after the tour as a guest.

Fresno city officials keep Ocasio-Cortez baseball video controversy alive
Minor league baseball team showed video on Memorial Day equating New York Democrat to Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-Un

The controversy involving a video that a California minor league baseball team played at its Memorial Day game equating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with despots Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un just won’t fade, through no fault of the congresswoman.

Fresno City Councilmember Garry Bredefeld denounced two of his Democratic colleagues for spending taxpayer money on a trip to Washington, D.C., where they apologized to Ocasio-Cortez for the incident.

Rep. King’s ‘Diamond and Silk Act’ gets ripped by conservative pundits
Iowa Republican’s bill aimed at helping veterans, homeless was product of conversation with conservative YouTube personalities

Conservative media pundits panned Rep. Steve King’s new bill aimed at providing aid and resources to veterans and homeless people as a politically motivated ploy that unnecessarily involves the controversial conservative YouTube personalities known as “Diamond and Silk.”

“I understand the need for cheap shots in politics. But really, at the expense of the homeless and veterans?” Washington Examiner opinion columnist Becket Adams wrote in an article Monday titled, “Rep. Steve King makes a mockery of homelessness, veterans issues.”

Rep. Ken Buck home after hospitalization for chest pains at congressional baseball practice
Colorado Republican stayed in D.C. hospital overnight with heart pains, but is ‘doing well’

Rep. Ken Buck is at home resting and appears to be in high spirits after experiencing chest pains and being rushed to the hospital earlier this week in Washington, D.C.

A spokeswoman for the Colorado Republican confirmed in an email to Roll Call Friday that the congressman was back home after an overnight hospital stay Wednesday night.

Beto O’Rourke ‘very likely’ to back Democrat over GOP friend Rep. Will Hurd, reversing his 2018 position
Hurd defeated Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones by 1,000 votes in 2018 midterms, as O’Rourke declined to endorse her

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke will “very likely” support the eventual Democratic nominee challenging one of his best friends in Congress, GOP Rep. Will Hurd. It’s a reversal from O’Rourke’s vow of neutrality in the 2018 midterm elections.

Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer who raised more than $6 million in her failed bid to unseat Hurd in 2018, recently announced she is jumping into the race to challenge Hurd again in 2020. O’Rourke indicated Wednesday that he does not plan to repeat his neutrality vow and, instead, “will be supporting” Ortiz Jones if she emerges victorious from the Democratic primaries.

Lawmakers fear that the FBI and TSA are misusing facial recognition tech
Law enforcement and national security agencies implementing new technology ‘without any real guard rails,’ top Democrat warns

Both Democrats and Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform grilled leaders of the FBI and Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday about how their use of facial recognition software conflicts with transparency and privacy laws.

“This technology is evolving extremely rapidly without any real guard rails,” Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings warned in his opening statement at Tuesday’s hearing, the panel’s second in less than a month on facial recognition. “Whether we are talking about commercial use or government use, there are real concerns about the risks that this technology poses to our civil rights and liberties and our right to privacy.”

More sponsors abandon baseball team over AOC ‘enemy of freedom’ video
Heineken International joins raisin company Sun-Maid in leaving sponsorship of Fresno Grizzlies

First, the Fresno Grizzlies lost their raisins. Now they’ve lost their beer.

Heineken International, which owns its namesake beer brand as well as Dos Equis and Tecate, announced via Twitter on Thursday that it was yanking its sponsorship of the Grizzlies. The company decided to cut ties after the team played a video at its Memorial Day game that equated Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with controversial figures including despots Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un.

Ex-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher joins ‘Craigslist of weed’ board
California Republican was a longtime champion of cannabis while in Congress

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has become a major shareholder and advisory board member of BudTrader, a California-based marijuana advertising website that has been christened the “Craigslist of Weed.

“I’m proud to announce I’ve joined [BudTrader] as a shareholder and advisory board member, so I may continue the fight for cannabis legalization on a national level,” the California Republican tweeted earlier this week.

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte may run for governor, opening up at-large House seat
Republicans haven’t won governor’s mansion since 2000

Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte, Montana’s lone House member, is planning to announce a 2020 run for governor, according to the state’s MTN News network.

Gianforte, who was first elected to the House in a 2017 special election, would be the sixth Republican to enter the race to succeed Democratic incumbent Steve Bullock, who is term-limited and running for president.

Democrat criticizes Rep. Duncan Hunter for posing with enemy corpse
In defending Navy SEAL accused of war crimes, congressman says posing with enemy dead was common practice

The Democratic opponent of Rep. Duncan Hunter battered him for admitting that he posed for a photo with a slain enemy combatant while serving with the U.S. Marines in the early 2000s.

Hunter, a Republican, won re-election over Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar in California’s 50th District in 2018 despite being indicted on 60 counts related to spending more than $250,000 in campaign cash for personal expenses that included vacations to Italy and Hawaii, dental work, and flying his family’s pet rabbit across the country.

Twitter scratches its head as Meghan McCain tells Klobuchar leave her father out of presidential politics
‘The View’ co-host gets ratioed after she asks Klobuchar not to invoke John McCain on the campaign against Trump

The Twitterverse scratched its collective head on Memorial Day as Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late GOP Arizona Sen. John McCain, tweeted at Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar to keep her father’s name out of “presidential politics.”

“On behalf of the entire McCain family - @amyklobuchar please be respectful to all of us and leave my fathers legacy and memory out of presidential politics,” McCain, a co-host on the popular daytime television show “The View,” wrote.

Reps. Crenshaw, Gallagher, Waltz urge more GOP veterans to run for Congress
Republicans cite Democratic successes in 2018 midterms, and seek to recruit more veteran GOP candidates

Three Republican congressmen who served in the military are relaunching a PAC to help recruit more GOP veterans like themselves to run for Congress.

Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Michael Waltz of Florida announced Wednesday they are forming the War Veterans Fund PAC this cycle, which aims to recruit Republican veterans of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to run in their home districts and assist them with funding.

DOJ, House Intel return to norms, compromise on redacted Mueller report materials
DOJ will furnish 12 categories of counterintelligence materials ‘by the end of next week,’ Chairman Schiff says

The House Intelligence Committee chairman has accepted a Justice Department offer to provide the panel with 12 categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials underlying the Mueller report.

As a result of the eleventh hour agreement, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff canceled a Wednesday committee meeting where members were expected to vote on an “enforcement action” to compel Attorney General William Barr to comply with a sweeping subpoena. The committee was seeking the full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s on his investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 and its underlying materials.

Hope Hicks, Ann Donaldson the latest ex-Trump officials to get subpoenas

Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and Ann Donaldson, the former chief of staff for ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn, were issued subpoenas Tuesday to provide documents and testimony to the House Judiciary Committee for its probe into corruption and obstruction by President Donald Trump and his associates.

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., sent Hicks and Donaldson document requests on March 4, but the requested materials were never furnished.

Nadler prepares contempt vote for McGahn — but what are the consequences?
The White House argued McGahn has ‘absolute immunity’ and isn’t legally required to comply with a congressional subpoena

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler is preparing a committee vote to hold former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress, the second Trump official to get such treatment for defying one of Nadler’s subpoenas to testify about the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Let me be clear: this Committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it. We will not allow the President to prevent the American people from hearing from this witness,” Nadler said at a hearing Tuesday for McGahn that the former White House lawyer skipped per the administration’s orders.