senate

So much Iowa, so little time
Snapshots of a state that will be a big deal politically for a while

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg talks with attendees at a campaign event in Fairfield, Iowa, on Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — It is difficult for some people to accept that Iowa, a relatively small state in the middle of the country, has such an outsize role in determining the next president. But the Hawkeye State is more of a microcosm of U.S. politics and the country than it might first appear.

Iowa’s population of roughly 3 million people is tiny compared to mega-states like California, Texas and Florida, and it has a lack of racial diversity (it is about 87 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). But its voting patterns and political infrastructure make it a valuable barometer. 

Rep. Rashida Tlaib rejects Netanyahu’s terms and forgoes trip to visit grandmother
A day after rejecting Muslim Democrats’ visit, Israel said it would allow Tlaib entry on ‘humanitarian’ grounds

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, agreed not to voice support for BDS in order to secure a trip to her grandmother's village in the West Bank but then rejected the conditions of the trip. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib will forgo a trip to see her aging grandmother in the West Bank after the Israeli government said it would allow a visit on “humanitarian” grounds.

In a reversal, Tlaib rejected the conditions laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the humanitarian visit, namely, that she not broadcast her support for boycotting Israel over its actions against Palestinians during her stay. 

The Iowa State Fair: Our hits, misses and lessons learned
Political Theater, Episode 88

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, says a quick hello to her son, Gunnar, as he works at a corn dog booth at the Iowa State Fair on Monday August 12, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

DES MOINES, Iowa — For all its quaintness and fun, the Iowa State Fair does a pretty good job of approximating politics at the national level, be it questions about electability and charisma or trade and agricultural policy.

“The debate within the party that is happening right now, is happening right in front of me at the Iowa State Fair between these two people,” CQ Roll Call senior politics writer Bridget Bowman says, recounting a conversation between a couple after hearing South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg speak at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox on Aug. 13. The couple, both of whom told Bridget they were impressed with Buttigieg, were torn between what was more important for a Democratic candidate: offering bold ideas or being more likely to beat President Donald Trump.

Trump appointees routinely bullied State Department staffers, IG reports
Numerous employees subjected to ‘disrespectful,’ ‘hostile’ and ‘inappropriate’ treatment

Two top officials at the State Department engaged in "generally unprofessional behavior" toward staffers, the inspector general's report found. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

A long-awaited investigation by the State Department’s inspector general concluded in a report released Thursday that multiple career employees were subjected to “disrespectful,” “hostile” and “inappropriate” treatment at the hands of political appointees.

The review specifically focused on allegations of political retaliation against career employees at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which leads and coordinates U.S. policy toward the United Nations. For over a year, House and Senate Democrats have pushed for a thorough investigation into whistleblower complaints and news reports that political appointees were vetting career employees at the State Department and retaliating against those they deemed insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump and his administration’s conservative agenda.

Democrats seek info on CFPB official’s ties to Christian group
Paul Watkins spent three years at the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats want documents from the CFPB on the hiring of Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A group of Democrats, including presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, are continuing to pressure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over a senior official’s ties to a conservative Christian group.

In a letter sent Wednesday to CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger, Warren — along with Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Katie Porter of California — demanded documents related to hiring Paul Watkins as director of the Office of Innovation, which has the power to grant fintech firms limited immunity from consumer protection laws.

Hickenlooper ends presidential campaign, but doesn't rule out Senate
Former Colorado governor was unable to gain traction in crowded Democratic field

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, shown in 2017, has dropped his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.”

Undeterred Trump to tout economy in ‘toss-up’ New Hampshire despite stock tumble
It’s not ‘guaranteed’ every Clinton state will remain blue in 2020, analyst says

President Donald Trump greets Blake Marnell of San Diego during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. He will hold another rally Thursday night in New Hampshire. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A White House official grimaced slightly Wednesday as a cable news chyron showed stocks plummeting, potentially undercutting President Donald Trump’s Thursday plans to say his stewardship of a strong economy should help earn him a second term.

Trump will make another campaign-trail pitch to voters Thursday evening in what his aides see as a likely 2020 battleground state that could be a photo finish next November: New Hampshire.

Suicide prevention hotline to get three-digit phone number
FCC chairman says he will move ahead following legislation, staff report

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to move ahead with establishing a three-digit suicide prevention hotline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It should soon be easier to call a suicide prevention hotline.

The Federal Communications Commission plans to move forward with establishing a three-digit number for the federally-backed hotline.

The Iowa State Fair: Why do you have to come here to be president?
Political Theater, Episode 87

Iowa State Fair mascots walk by the Administration Building at the Iowa State Fair on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Iowa plays a big role in presidential politics because of its first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Even by that standard, though, the Hawkeye State this time feels busier, more significant.

There are more than 20 Democrats running for president, and unlike in previous years, no one is writing the state off. There are also several competitive congressional races here. That means a very busy Iowa State Fair, because all these politicians want to meet voters, make their case at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox, flip pork chops at the pork tent and eat.