Andy Barr

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

Andy Barr Started Out as Mitch McConnell’s Intern
‘I kind of dove right in,’ Kentucky Republican says

From Mitch McConnell’s intern to Heritage Foundation hire, Andy Barr had worn a lot of hats in Washington before he returned as a lawmaker. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thousands of House and Senate staffers storm across Capitol Hill each day, many with ambitions of their own for one day holding higher office. They may want to take a page out of Rep. Andy Barr’s book.

The Kentucky Republican, fresh off a 51-48 victory over Democratic fighter pilot Amy McGrath in the midterms last month, will be back for a fourth term in January. It all started with an internship in Mitch McConnell’s office.

How FEC Babysitting Decision Could Pave Way for More Hill Diversity
Candidates, advocates say barrier has been broken for young mothers and middle-class candidates

Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath was among a handful of 2018 candidates who reported child care as part of their campaign expenses. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amy McGrath broke records with the millions of dollars she raised in her congressional bid in Kentucky. But for most of her campaign, the first-time Democratic candidate struggled to pay for one critical expense: the $15-per-hour babysitter that federal officials said she had to pay from her own pocket.

So she did what dozens of other candidates with young children do. She brought plastic cars and old puzzles to her campaign headquarters for after-school entertainment. She brought her kids to her stump speeches. And every time she was expected to attend an evening campaign event with her husband, she paid from a family budget already stretched to its limits, or she stayed at home. 

Women Won at the Ballot in Record Numbers. Here’s What’s Next
4 things we’ll watch as the ‘Year of the Woman’ matures

Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton watches election returns as campaign staffers yell out returns in the campaign's war room on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Historic wins for women in the midterm elections drove home the interpretation that 2018 was, indeed, the “Year of the Woman.” But it remains unknown whether women’s political capital will continue to rise.

The 101 women and counting who won House races face numerous obstacles to standing out in a divided Congress where seniority often plays more of a role in determining political power than success at the ballot box or legislative ingenuity.

Democrats Take Control of the House With Victories in the Suburbs
Republicans struggled in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016

Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell defeated GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Florida's 26th District.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are poised to take over the House after notching key victories in the suburbs.

NBC, ABC News and CNN projected Democrats would take control of the chamber even as the outcome in number of competitive races remains unclear. But early Democratic victories signaled a tough night for Republicans, especially in the 25 GOP-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Amy McGrath’s Millions Weren’t Enough to Unseat Andy Barr
Democrat raised millions of dollars and national attention

Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr won re-election Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Kentucky Republican Andy Barr has survived a competitive challenge from Marine veteran Amy McGrath, who raised record sums of money as a House candidate and whose viral videos captured national attention. 

With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Barr led McGrath 51 percent to 48 percent when The Associated Press called the 6th District race. 

Democrats Start the Party as Jennifer Wexton Flips Virginia Seat
As the results rolled in, Democrats in Dulles snapped pictures of the TV screen

Jennifer Wexton delivers her victory speech on election night after defeating Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., for Virginia's 10th district seat on Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

DULLES, Va. — Hundreds of energetic Democrats spilled into the ballroom where Jennifer Wexton is holding her election night party in Virginia’s 10th District.

It turned into a victory celebration even faster than many had hoped. CNN declared it a win for Wexton well before 8 p.m., projecting she would unseat Rep. Barbara Comstock in one of the first red-to-blue flips of the night as Democrats aim to take back the House.

Paid Family Leave Could Make It To Next Congress After Midterm Boost
Elections have seen unprecedented push for paid leave

Vangie Williams, the Democratic nominee for Virginia’s 1st District and a mother of six, says her support for paid family leave comes from her experience balancing work while caring for a sick daughter and returning to work shortly after childbirth. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vangie Williams, a mother of six, was facing foreclosure and a pile of medical bills for her 2-year-old daughter’s rare lung condition when she wrote to her congressman. She wanted help. But she got a form letter, she recalled.

The experience was one of many that convinced the Virginia Democrat several years later to challenge 1st District Republican Rep. Rob Wittman on a platform that includes paid leave so families caring for sick relatives can avoid some of the impossible financial decisions that she faced.  She and her husband ended up tapping out their retirement accounts and losing their home, she said. 

Ryan, Barr Lament but Defend Trump’s Tariff Strategy at Toyota Visit
Speaker campaigns for vulnerable GOP incumbent in Kentucky

Kentucky Republican Rep. Andy Barr says the general objectives of the Trump administration’s trade policies were “right on.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr and Speaker Paul D. Ryan navigated a sensitive trade issue on the campaign trail Tuesday as they both lamented and defended President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs during a joint appearance at Toyota Tsusho America in Georgetown, Kentucky.

“Obviously, this is a very trade sensitive industry,” Barr said to the auto manufacturer’s employees, before launching into a defense of Trump’s trade inclinations.

Too Much Money Is Too Good a Problem for Democratic Hopefuls
At least 60 candidates raised more than $1 million in third quarter

Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath is among a slew of Democratic House candidates reporting eye-popping fundraising figures for the third quarter. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Record-breaking campaign hauls in House races across the country have left some nominees with an enviable conundrum: How can they possibly spend all the money?

At least 60 House Democratic candidates reportedly raised more than $1 million each in the third quarter of the campaign cycle that ended Sept. 30, eye-popping sums that defy even the most optimistic of projections. But with Nov. 6 less than a month away, some political observers have wondered publicly whether a candidate could have too much cash.