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House Cleaning #21: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM-1)

Welcome to House Cleaning, 2018 edition. This series explores House of Representatives members who have either left Congress early or have decided not to seek re-election. This series covers what a Representative has accomplished in Congress from 2016 until they either resigned, decided not to seek re-election, or decided to seek higher office.

New Mexico Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham of the 1st District decided not to seek re-election to the House on December 13th, 2016. She made this decision because he wanted to seek election to the Gubernatorial office of New Mexico.

In 2016, she fundraised for Joe Garcia (D-FL), who was challenging Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) for his old seat in the 26th District of Florida. Carlos Curbelo would go on to win this race.

She was also frustrated by the success of President Donald Trump’s campaign. She stated, “There’s no dearth of issues that you can attach to Trump as a candidate that are problematic. But if what folks are just saying is, ‘We don’t care,’ then that changes your strategy.”

Since Ms Grisham announced that she would leave office so early in the election cycle, there is no voting record on controversial issues until after she declared.

In 2018, Ms Grisham faced off against outgoing Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) in the gubernatorial race in New Mexico. She won the election with 57.08% of the vote.

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The General Election Primary #9-2018: Massachusetts’ 4th District

Welcome to the General Election Primary, a new series from Political Science Pulse. In this series, we examine “General Election Primaries,” which are elections in which no other candidate from an opposing party has registered, essentially making the primary determine the general election outcome.

Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District saw the primary for its 2018 General Election on September 4th, 2018. On the ballot were two Democratic candidates, incumbent Joe Kennedy III and Gary Rucinski.

In 2016, Joe Kennedy III endorsed Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for President. Hillary would wind up losing in the general election in 2016 to President Donald Trump (R-NY).

In 2017, Joe Kennedy gained national attention during his rebuttal of President Donald Trump’s (R-NY) State of the Union Address. The speech was unremarkable; however, what was remarkable was a bit of drool hanging off of his lips while he gave his response. The incident led to a number of jokes. In an interview with POLITICO, he called the reaction to the incident “Disappointing,” and added that it was “easy to understand why the people I was criticizing would look for any way to deflect it.”

One such deflector was Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren. Ms Lahren stated of Joe Kennedy, “The little limp dick’s response to President Trump’s State of the Union, I suggest you take some Pepto-Bismol or some Midol or whatever you need to do to get through it because it was pathetic and it was embarrassing. Oh. My. God.” The Independent Journal Review’s Josh Billinson, who tweeted the out the rant, called the incident “very insightful and professional political commentary.” Ms. Lahren eventually apologized and stated that her post, which was made on Instagram, had no connections to Fox News and was on her personal account instead.

On Abortion, the Representative voted against HR 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on October 3rd, 2017. This bill would make it a crime for anyone to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the fetus was 20 weeks or older, with exceptions being made to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.  The 20-week mark is when many pro-life Republicans believe that the fetus can feel pain, hence the name of this act. The bill passed the House by a 237-189 vote. The law later died in the Senate.

On the Economy, the Representative from Massachusetts did not cast a vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill passed the House, 227-205, and was signed into law by the President.

Joe Kennedy voted for an aid package for Hurricane Harvey victims, called the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2017. This bill passed the House  316-90, and was signed into law by President Trump.

On Finance, the Representative from Massachusetts  voted against the Financial CHOICE Act, which would weaken provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill passed the house, 233-186, largely on partisan lines. the bill has since died in the Senate.

The Representative would later vote against the successor to the CHOICE Act, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. This law would exempt some financial institutions from the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill passed over his objections, 258-159, on May 22nd, 2018, and was signed into law by the President.

On Foreign Policy, he voted for the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. This act would allow for Congress to review and counter acts of aggression by the governments of Iran, Russia, and North Korea. The bill passed almost unanimously, 419-3, on July 25th, 2017. It was later signed into law by the President.

On Health Care, Rep. Kennedy supported the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. Therefore, he voted “no” on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on May 4th, 2017. The bill passed the House, 217-213, largely along partisan lines. The law eventually died in the Senate.

On Immigration, he voted against Kate’s Law on June 29th, 2017. This bill would provide an increase in penalty severity for illegal immigrants who are convicted of certain crimes, are deported, and then re-enter the U.S. illegally. The law’s namesake is Kate Steinle, who was allegedly shot and killed by an illegal immigrant who had seven felonies. The alleged murderer was later acquitted after the vote, which essentially removes any legal connection it would have had with the illegal immigrant. his law passed the House 257-167, but died in the Senate.

He voted against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act on June 29th, 2017. This bill would withhold federal funds from states and localities that are “sanctuary cities/states” for illegal immigrants. The bill passed the House, 228-195. This bill also died in the Senate.

If voters did not want to stick with the Kennedy name, perhaps they would have chosen Gary Rucinski. Mr. Rucinski has a Ph.D. in experimental particle physics from the University of Rochester. He has also worked for a defense contractor, software development, and is the Cofounder of a startup that develops computers for Internet Service providers. He is a member of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. He also founded the Committee for a Green Economy, which is an a ballot initiative committee.

His number one issue was climate change. In fact, that is virtually the only issue on his website. He sees it as a boon to the economy (clean energy), a threat to human livelihood (rising sea levels and rising temperatures worldwide), and something Congress knows little about (he seeks to educate them.)

In the end, voters chose the incumbent, Joe Kennedy III. Mr. Rucinski’s one-issue campaign proved to be too esoteric for the electorate as Mr. Kennedy walloped Rucinski, with 93.4% of the vote to Rucinski’s 6.6%. Mr. Kennedy will be the 2019 House Representative from the 4th Congressional District of Massachusetts.

 

House Cleaning #20: Steve Pearce (R-NM-2)

Welcome to House Cleaning, 2018 edition. This series explores House of Representatives members who have either left Congress early or have decided not to seek re-election. This series covers what a Representative has accomplished in Congress from 2016 until they either resigned, decided not to seek re-election, or decided to seek higher office.

New Mexico Representative Steve Pearce of the 2nd District decided not to seek re-election to the House on July 10th, 2017. He made this decision because he wanted to seek election to the Gubernatorial office of New Mexico. This is the only news about him that made headlines from 2017-2018  prior to announcing his departure.

On Finance, the Representative from New Mexico voted for the Financial CHOICE Act, which would change provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill passed the house, 233-186, largely on partisan lines.

On Health Care, Representative Pearce is against the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. This explains his “yes” vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017, which would essentially turn Obamacare into Trumpcare. The bill passed the House, 217-213, along partisan lines. The law eventually died in the Senate.

On Immigration, he voted for Kate’s Law on June 29th, 2017. This bill would provide an increase in penalty severity for illegal immigrants who are convicted of certain crimes, are deported, and then re-enter the U.S. illegally. The law’s namesake is Kate Steinle, who was allegedly shot and killed by an illegal immigrant who had seven felonies. This law passed the House 257-167, but died in the Senate. The alleged murderer was later acquitted after the vote, which essentially removes any legal connection it would have had with the illegal immigrant.

He also voted for the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act on June 29th, 2017. This bill would withhold federal funds from states and localities that are “sanctuary cities/states” for illegal immigrants. The bill passed the House, 228-195. The law died in the Senate.

Steve Pearce would ultimately lose to the other departing New Mexico Representative, Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM). He lost the election, 52.9% to 42.8%.

 

House Cleaning #19: Raul Labrador (R-ID-1)

Welcome to House Cleaning, 2018 edition. This series explores House of Representatives members who have either left Congress early or have decided not to seek re-election. This series covers what a Representative has accomplished in Congress from 2016 until they either resigned, decided not to seek re-election, or decided to seek higher office.

Idaho Representative Raul Labrador of the 1st District announced that he would not to seek re-election to the House on May 10th, 2017. He made this decision because he wanted to seek election to the Gubernatorial office of Idaho.

In 2016, Mr. Labrador feuded with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI). Rep. Labrador was getting more and more frustrated over how the Speaker was not leaving up to promises he made during the internal Speaker race in the House. He told POLITICO, “It’s too early to judge the speakership of Paul Ryan and I think it is fundamentally unfair to try and judge the speakership of Paul Ryan over the last month or so. But, as I also have said, the honeymoon is over.” He put Ryan on notice and wanted Ryan to proceed with conservative legislation, as well as reform House rules, by the end of the year.

Rep. Labrador  wanted Speaker Ryan to offset the cost of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in the budget. Though Republicans had not yet articulated a plan, Mr. Labrador stated, “We will need to find funding for that wall and that will have to come from offsets.”

He also endorsed Ted Cruz (R-TX) for President. Though Cruz won the Idaho primary, he ultimately lost the Republican primary to President Donald Trump (R-NY). President Trump later passed over him for the nomination as Interior Secretary, but Mr. Trump did actually interview Mr. Labrador.

When Betsy DeVos was sworn in, he joined seven of his Republican colleagues in calling for the abolition of the Education Department by December 31st, 2018. He also signed legislation proposed by Thomas Massie (R-KY) to that effect.

Next, he co-sponsored and introduced House Joint Resolution 50. This resolution would amend the Constitution and introduce term limits on Representatives and Senators. It would limit the term a Representative could serve to 12 years (six terms), and the same for a Senator at 12 years (two terms).

In 2017, he took on the issue of Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA). After the leak of the conversation that President Donald Trump’s (R-NY) national security advisor, Michael Flynn had with a Russian ambassador, Labrador was now convinced that section 702 applied not only to foreign nationals, but to US citizens as well. “We have heard that there’s supposed to be all these guidelines that are supposed to protect the identity of people. And whatever your political persuasion is, for me it had a chilling effect – that I thought my political opponents could use my personal information that they maybe gathered in some private communication against me in the future. That should be quite terrifying to anybody, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat.” The revelation further bolstered the Libertarian cause that section 702 needed to be reformed, and that a verbatim reauthorization of section 702 would not protect an American’s right to privacy.

He also led the charge along to scuttle the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare. When asked about this, he stated, “The reality is that if we went home next week with a bill with only a 17 percent approval rating, I think we would all regret that vote.” Trump responded to the failed repeal by unleashing a tweetstorm on Freedom Caucus members, which Rep. Labrador belonged to.

Raul Labrador declared that he would run for the Idaho Gubernatorial office to replacing the outgoing Governor, Butch Otter (R-ID). He did not make it past the primary stage, losing to the state’s Republican Lieutenant Governor in a crowded primary field.

In 2018, Raul Labrador was replaced by Republican Russ Fulcher. He won with 63.3% over Democrat Cristina McNeil.

The General Election Primary #8-2018: Massachusetts’ 1st District

Welcome to the General Election Primary, a new series from Political Science Pulse. In this series, we examine “General Election Primaries,” which are elections in which no other candidate from an opposing party has registered, essentially making the primary determine the general election outcome.

Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District saw the primary for its 2018 General Election on September 4th, 2018. On the ballot were two Democratic candidates, Richard Neal and Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.

In 2017, Democratic incumbent Richard Neal was made ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He filled the vacancy left by Rep. Sandy Levin after he resigned that post. Richard Neal had a unique ability to shape history as the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee. This is because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was making its way through Congress.

If passed, the law would be the first significant change to the United States’ tax code in decades. Instead of immediately opposing the bill, he believed that the Act was a “legacy issue,” and was willing to cut a deal with Republicans if the situation arose. Such as situation never materialized and Mr. Neal opposed the law stated that “the legislation that we are marking up today lets the American people down at every step of their life – from birth through retirement.”

Rep. Neal was also concerned that the Democratic Party had lost touch with working class voters. In an interview with the Boston Globe, he stated, “We were the party of aspiration. You stuck with us, you were going to have job security and you were going to have pay raises, and I think that we’ve moved in the direction of more grievance than aspiration.”

On Abortion, the Representative voted against HR 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on October 3rd, 2017. This bill would make it a crime for anyone to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the fetus was 20 weeks or older, with exceptions being made to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.  The 20-week mark is when many pro-life Republicans believe that the fetus can feel pain, hence the name of this act. The bill passed the House by a 237-189 vote. The law later died in the Senate.

On the Economy, the Representative from Massachusetts voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill passed the House, 227-205, and was signed into law by the President.

Richard Neal voted for an aid package for Hurricane Harvey victims, called the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2017. This bill passed the House  316-90, and was signed into law by President Trump.

On Finance, the Representative from Massachusetts  voted against the Financial CHOICE Act, which would weaken provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill passed the house, 233-186, largely on partisan lines. the bill has since died in the Senate.

The Representative would later vote against the successor to the CHOICE Act, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. This law would exempt some financial institutions from the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill passed over his objections, 258-159, on May 22nd, 2018, and was signed into law by the President.

On Foreign Policy, he voted for the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. This act would allow for Congress to review and counter acts of aggression by the governments of Iran, Russia, and North Korea. The bill passed almost unanimously, 419-3, on July 25th, 2017. It was later signed into law by the President.

On Health Care, Rep. Neal supported the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. Therefore, he voted “no” on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on May 4th, 2017. The bill passed the House, 217-213, largely along partisan lines. The law eventually died in the Senate.

On Immigration, he voted for Kate’s Law on June 29th, 2017. This bill would provide an increase in penalty severity for illegal immigrants who are convicted of certain crimes, are deported, and then re-enter the U.S. illegally. The law’s namesake is Kate Steinle, who was allegedly shot and killed by an illegal immigrant who had seven felonies. The alleged murderer was later acquitted after the vote, which essentially removes any legal connection it would have had with the illegal immigrant. his law passed the House 257-167, but died in the Senate.

He voted against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act on June 29th, 2017. This bill would withhold federal funds from states and localities that are “sanctuary cities/states” for illegal immigrants. The bill passed the House, 228-195. This bill died in the Senate.

Perhaps voters had soured on Rep. Neal. The Democratic challenger, Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, had a graduate degree in law, and in 2016 was named a Top Woman of Law by Massachusetts Law Weekly. She was also a volunteer commissioner for the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, and is also a member of the Family Advisory Council of Boston Children’s Hospital.

On Civil Rights, she was against discrimination regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or identity, religion, ethnicity, and any other human characteristic.

On the Economy, she would bring high-speed internet access to all. To do this, she would have joined the House Rural Broadband Caucus. She would also advocate for it in the annual agriculture appropriations bill to fund programs such as the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service. Finally, she would support HR 1814, the Rural Spectrum Accessibility Act. She also favored net neutrality.

She also supported the Equal Pay Act, which guaranteed equal pay for equal work. She also supported workers’ rights, and expanding access to affordable housing.

On Education, she was in favor of universal public education and universal pre-K programs.. She also pledged to fund anti-bullying efforts in schools. Immigration enforcement would also be prohibited in schools. Finally, she supported strengthen the Civil Rights division within the Department of Education. Finally, public colleges and universities would be free to the public.

For Energy, she favored low head hydro and carbon, heat and power (CHP) systems. These systems would create more jobs, lower the carbon footprint of the nation, and create jobs.

On the Environment, she would combat climate change. She will co-sponsor HR 3782, the Climate Change Health Protection Act and fund the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Advanced Research Programs Agency-Energy, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which is in charge of approving pipelines would also be reformed if she was elected. First, FERC would see if subsidization of the pipelines was required, and then it would open the pipeline approval process to public comment.

On Health Care, she supported Medicare for All. On her website, she pointed out that her opponent was not in favor of it. She wanted to provide the public with health care “from the cradle to the grave.”  She would support all efforts to make this a reality, including H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.

Paperwork would also become less burdensome for health care providers, foreign subsidiaries would have their tax savings repatriated into the tax system (Which would be used on the new health care system should she have been elected), and she also pledged to join the Medicare for All Caucus.

Women would also have the right to make any decisions on their personal reproductive health. There would also be more funding for research on diseases and other disorders that especially affected women, including cancer, fetal heath, mental health, and heart health.

On Immigration, she would make sure the United States rejoin the UN Human Rights Council and sign the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. There would also be no separation of children from their parents at the border, hearings on abuses at the hands of immigration enforcement, and a path to citizenship for DREAMers.

At the end of the primary, Richard Neal won with 70.8% of the vote. Richard Neal will once again be a Representative in 2018.

 

House Cleaning #18-2018: Darrell Issa (R-CA-49)

Welcome to House Cleaning, 2018 edition. This series explores House of Representatives members who have either left Congress early or have decided not to seek re-election. This series covers what a Representative has accomplished in Congress from 2016 until they either resigned, decided not to seek re-election, or decided to seek higher office.

California Representative Darrell Issa of the 49th District decided not to seek re-election on January 10th, 2018. He retired because he was not popular in his own district.

During the 2016 General Election season, Darrell Issa endorsed Marco Rubio (R-FL) for President. Rep. Issa was actually caught in the crossfire of one of Rubio’s scathing critiques of Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) support for a surveillance bill. Issa also supported that same bill.

Next, after a poor debate performance by Rubio, Issa appeared on a radio interview where he called President candidate Chris Christie (R-NJ) obese. He stated, “He was told in a domineering manner by a slightly overweight governor — okay, he wasn’t slightly, he’s a lot overweight, I’m in a position to understand that.” Issa was responding to Rubio’s repeated assurances during the debate that President Barack Obama (D-IL) knew what he was doing.

Once candidate Donald Trump (R-NY) received the Republican nomination, Rep. Issa placated the Republican convention delegates from Illinois by telling them, “He says ‘build a wall,’ we all know it’s really code for ‘we’re finally going to fix immigration.’ We’re going to make it OK to come in through the front door, we’re going to make it wrong to sneak in the back door.”

Issa would later receive heat from Democrats when he joined Donald Trump’s national security team on the same day that the infamous “live mic” Access Hollywood tape was leaked. The tape, which featured Trump bragging about being able to grab women by the genitals and uncontrollably kissing them made national headlines, and Issa was caught in the crossfire.

The Californian Representative later defended his decision and distanced himself from candidate Trump, though he did not revoke his endorsement of the candidate. He stated, “I would’ve said the same thing if Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) people had called me the same day. Why wouldn’t you. If they’re calling on you to tell them what you  think, you’re not signing on to their agenda. They’re asking what your views are.”

Rep. Issa also faced a competitive challenge from retired Marine colonel Douglas Applegate (D-CA). However, Applegate brought his own bagged, including charges of stalking by his ex-wife. The ex-wife later obtained restraining orders on Applegate.  But Douglas Applegate was a resilient candidate. He started out the month of June trailing by only 6 points, and then closing the gap to three points.

With a combination of controversial comments from Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, Rep. Issa’s race became very competitive and there was now the possibility that he could eventually lose the Congressional race. In an act of desperation, Issa allied himself with longtime foe President Obama. He sent a full page ad with a big picture of President Obama on it to supporters. The ad read, “I was very pleased that President Obama has signed into law the Survivors’ Bill of Rights – legislation I co-sponsored to protect the victims of sexual assault.”

The move drew a sharp rebuke from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who stated that these tactics were “just a desperate attempt to hang onto his seat in the closing days of the election. Darrell Issa has been a major obstructionist in getting something done in the bipartisan way in the Congress.”

It looked very possible that Rep. Issa could, in fact, lose the 2016 Congressional race. But last-second luck from James Comey, who announced that he was restarting the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, may have saved him. Six days after the general election was held, Rep. Issa was declared the winner with 50.4% of the vote.

Darrell Issa’s secret to survival may have also been the enormous amount of funds that he had in his campaign’s war chest. By June, Darrell Issa had a war chest of $250 million of his own money as well as $3.8 million in donations for $253.8 million total. Mr. Applegate only had $136,000 available to his campaign. This disparity in campaign wealth almost definitely contributed to Issa’s victory.

In 2016, he critiqued FBI Director James Comey’s handling of an iPhone belonging to the shooter in San Bernardino, Syed Farook. When Comey suggested that the iPhone could not be unlocked, Issa went on the attack, stating, “It befuddles me that you haven’t looked at the source code and you don’t understand the disk drive. Why not make copies of the hard drive on San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone and try to find the passcode by making guesses on them?” Comey did not immediately reject the idea, but others did, noting that no copy of the iPhone operating system will have the cryptography key on it.

Later, after the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it had, in fact, been able to unlock the iPhone, Issa remarked, “It’s important that the government take all steps possible before asking for wide-reaching powers that would dramatically impact the future of cybersecurity for years to come. It’s now clear that, in this case, they hadn’t.”

Issa was also one of the deciding factors on a law that would bar contractors from government work if they discriminated against the LGBT community. In a last-second move that left Democrats chanting “Shame,”  Rep. Issa and seven other Republicans changed their votes from “yes’ to “no,” causing the bill to be defeated by a 213-212 margin.

From 2017-2018, Rep. Issa suggested that Obamacare be replaced by the federal employee health care plan. He also suggested that tort reform be included as part of any health care reform package. “Look at the cost drivers,” he said on a CNN interview segment. “Sen. Feinstein, the senior senator from my state, has for a long time championed various forms of tort reform — this is a Democrat. Tort reform that will help stop the kind of excess medicine that drives up the cost of health care.”

Later, at a town hall, he was booed and asked pointed questions about his opposition to Obamacare. It was the beginning of the end for Issa.

There were more signs that Darrell Issa’s career as a politician was deteriorating. First, he lost a defamation lawsuit against his general opponent, Douglas Applegate. Applegate had run a series of ads saying that Issa had opposed giving the medical benefits to the survivors of the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks. The judge in case found against Issa and affirmed that Applegate was, in fact, telling the truth: Issa and a bipartisan group of politicians had voted down the bill in question.

Next, Rep. Issa’s own internal polls showed that his favorability had dropped ten percent. This was largely due to his support of President Trump during the general election. His polls showed that the upcoming Congressional race in 2018 would be much harder to win. This caused Juanita Jean of Crooksandliars.com to opine, “Darrell Issa is sinking like a Sunset.”

Then, the left-leaning political coalition known as “Save My Care” attacked Issa over his support for an Obamacare repeal.

Rep. Issa, however, stuck to his principles and voted with Republicans to repeal Obamacare. This led to even more attacks from the left. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) attacked Issa on the air, airing radio ads for one week on Spanish-language stations. Mexican-Americans were a key demographic in the fight to unseat Darrell Issa.

He also butted heads with President Trump (R-NY), who won the election against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (D-NY). On HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, Issa suggested that Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R-AL) should recuse himself from the probe into whether President Trump colluded with Russian officials to win the 2016 election. Most Republicans expected him to say that Congress would take care of the investigation. Instead, he called for a special prosecutor. He stated, “You cannot have somebody, a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign and who is an appointee. You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office to take — not just to recuse. You can’t just give it to your deputy. That’s another political appointee.”

He was joined in his call for Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation by a number of high-profile Republican and Democratic politicians, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) himself. To buoy his case, Issa released a stronger, official statement. The statement read, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into Russia. We need a clear-eyed view of what the Russians actually did so that all Americans can have faith in our institutions.”

In what was perhaps his final death knell for his career, he also turned against Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, who actually hosted a fundraiser on his behalf. At issue was the Republican tax plan.

He was again targeted by a leftist group, this time the “Not One Penny” campaign. The campaign launched a seven-figure ad campaign, which targeted Issa and seven other Republicans. It urged the lawmakers to avoid changes to the tax code that “provide additional tax giveaways to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations at the expense of working families.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Issa was pushing to protect the state and local tax deduction that their constituents often claimed. He eventually sided against Kevin McCarthy and the rest of the Republicans. In the Orange County Register, he wrote in an op-ed, “Done right, it would have spurred economic growth, allowed Californians to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, enabled Americans to better save for the future, and helped dig hard-working families out of the mountain of tax increases piled on them in recent years. Unfortunately, I fear that the plan as approved could actually make the incredible burden our state’s taxpayers feel even worse. I voted no because my constituents don’t deserve a tax increase.”

Next, activist Tom Steyer invested $30 million in an effort to help the Democrats take back the House. He planned to use his own NextGen America political group to target Darrell Issa and two other Republicans.

On Abortion, the Representative voted for HR 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on October 3rd, 2017. This bill would make it a crime for anyone to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the fetus was 20 weeks or older, with exceptions being made to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.  The 20-week mark is when many pro-life Republicans believe that the fetus can feel pain, hence the name of this act. The bill passed the House by a 237-189 vote. The bill died in the Senate.

On the Economy, the Representative from California voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, voting against overhauling the tax code.  The bill passed the House, 227-205, and was signed into law by the President.

Darrell Issa voted for an aid package for Hurricane Harvey victims. This bill passed the House, 316-90, and was signed into law.

He did not vote for an earlier version of the bill, which would provide $7.85 billion to Harvey victims, and that had no debt ceiling raise. This bill passed the House almost unanimously, 419-3.

On Finance, the Representative from California voted for the Financial CHOICE Act, which would change provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill passed the House, 233-186, largely on partisan lines.

On Foreign Policy, he voted for the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. This act would allow for Congress to review and counter acts of aggression by the governments of Iran, Russia, and North Korea. The bill passed almost unanimously, 419-3, on July 25th, 2017. It was later signed into law by the President.

On Health Care, Representative Issa is against the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. This explains his “yes” vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017, which would essentially turn Obamacare into Trumpcare. The bill passed the House, 217-213, along partisan lines. The law eventually died in the Senate.

On Immigration, he voted for Kate’s Law on June 29th, 2017. This bill would provide an increase in penalty severity for illegal immigrants who are convicted of certain crimes, are deported, and then re-enter the U.S. illegally. The law’s namesake is Kate Steinle, who was allegedly shot and killed by an illegal immigrant who had seven felonies. This law passed the House 257-167, but died in the Senate. The alleged murderer was later acquitted after the vote, which essentially removes any legal connection it would have had with the illegal immigrant.

He also voted for the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act on June 29th, 2017. This bill would withhold federal funds from states and localities that are “sanctuary cities/states” for illegal immigrants. The bill passed the House, 228-195. The law died in the Senate.

Finally, it seemed that the pressure was too much for Darrell Issa in the end. On January 10th, 2018, he announced his intention that he would not seek another Congressional term. The combination of targeted political campaigns plus unpopularity with voters had made the prospect of winning nearly impossible.

His seat in Congress was replaced by Democrat Mike Levin, who defeated Republican Diane Harkey. He won by 54-45%.

General Election Primary: #7-2018: New York’s 5th District

Welcome to the General Election Primary, a new series from Political Science Pulse. In this series, we examine “General Election Primaries,” which are elections in which no other candidate from an opposing party has registered, essentially making the primary determine the general election outcome.

In New York’s 5th District, there will be a General Election primary featuring three Democratic candidates, incumbent Gregory Meeks, Mizan Choudhury, and Carl Achille.

Incumbent Gregory Meeks was at the center of many controversies in 2016. The first controversy was whether to allow Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) into the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Espaillat wages several nasty campaigns against former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), one of the founding members of the CBC. Even though Espaillat was already part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), he still wanted to be part of the CBC because, as Espaillat put it, he was a “Latino of African descent.” Mr. Meeks noted that Mr. Espaillat was the first Dominican to apply to be part of the CBC, and thus “we’re just trying to figure it out.”

Mr. Meeks was also at the center of the Awan brothers scandal. The Awan brothers, who were staffers working for the House of Representatives, were under investigation for hacking the Bank of Congress and stealing equipment, among other charges. While Debbie Wasserman Schultz D-FL) employed Imran Awan, Mr. Meeks employed his wife, Hina Alvi. Alvi and Awan’s access to the internal House network was cut, and Mr. Meeks fired Mrs. Alvi a month later.

Rep. Meeks also feuded with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders almost campaigned against Meeks because he did not support Keith Ellison (D-MN) for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Meeks was threatened with a primary challenge if he did not back Ellison and instead backed somebody else.

Next, he feuded with John Conyers (D-IL) over his alleged sexual misbehavior. Meeks called for Conyers to step down from his leadership position on the Judiciary Committee, stating, “No one is exempt from bad behavior, and I think that he’s agreed and I clearly see where Leader Pelosi has said there will be an immediate ethics committee, a review. I really think that probably the appropriate thing right now is that he should step down as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and be subject to this ethics investigation.”

Ironically, Meeks himself was a subject sexual harassment shortly thereafter. It came to light that, in March of 2006, Andrea Payne, a congressional aide, was paid through the same Congressional fund that Blake Farenthold (R-TX) used to pay his aide to settle sexual harassment allegations.

From 2017-2018, Rep. Meeks confronted President Donald Trump (R-NY) directly through legislation. He introduced the Hardest Hit Housing Act of 2018. This act was meant to restore funding from public housing, foreclosure mitigation, and rental assistance grants that were defunded under President Trump’s budget.

On Abortion, the Representative voted against HR 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on October 3rd, 2017. This bill would make it a crime for anyone to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the fetus was 20 weeks or older, with exceptions being made to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.  The 20-week mark is when many pro-life Republicans believe that the fetus can feel pain, hence the name of this act. The bill passed the House by a 237-189 vote. The law later died in the Senate.

On the Economy, the Representative from New York voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill passed the House, 227-205, and was signed into law by the President.

Gregory Meeks voted for an aid package for Hurricane Harvey victims, called the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2017. This bill passed the House  316-90, and was signed into law by President Trump.

On Finance, the Representative from New York voted against the Financial CHOICE Act, which would weaken provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The bill passed the house, 233-186, largely on partisan lines. the bill has since died in the Senate.

He also opposed a later version of the Financial CHOICE bill, which was S 2155, otherwise known as Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. He voted against it, but it passed the House by a vote of 258-159, and was later signed into law by the President.

On Foreign Policy, he voted for the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. This act would allow for Congress to review and counter acts of aggression by the governments of Iran, Russia, and North Korea. The bill passed almost unanimously, 419-3, on July 25th, 2017. It was later signed into law by the President.

On Health Care, Rep. Meeks supported the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. As a result, citing concerns about how it could negatively impact seniors, he voted “no” on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on May 4th, 2017. The bill passed the House, 217-213, largely along partisan lines. The law eventually died in the Senate.

On Immigration, he voted against Kate’s Law on June 29th, 2017. This bill would provide an increase in penalty severity for illegal immigrants who are convicted of certain crimes, are deported, and then re-enter the U.S. illegally. The law’s namesake is Kate Steinle, who was allegedly shot and killed by an illegal immigrant who had seven felonies. The alleged murderer was later acquitted after the vote, which essentially removes any legal connection it would have had with the illegal immigrant. This law passed the House 257-167, but has not yet passed the Senate.

He also voted against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act on June 29th, 2017. This bill would withhold federal funds from states and localities that are “sanctuary cities/states” for illegal immigrants. The bill passed the House, 228-195. This bill has yet to pass the Senate.

If voters have soured on Rep. Meeks, perhaps they should look at Mizan Choudhury. He worked in the Trump Tower as a busboy and then went on to get a degree in IT. He’s worked with Fortune 500 companies, and is active in four Democratic groups in New York State.

On Criminal Justice, he wants to end mass incarceration, is in favor of community policing, and also wants to improve gun control laws.

On the Economy, he wants to open a technology park in Jamaica, NY, which will provide jobs.

He also wants to provide public housing, access to housing loans, rental units, and wants to fully fund HUD so that seniors and working families will have housing.

On Healthcare, he is in favor of the Affordable Care Act, reducing medical costs, and giving medical subsidies for the underprivileged.

On Immigration, he wants to maintain family reunification policies, as well as support Dreamers.

If Mr. Choudhury wasn’t the ideal candidate of New York primary voters, perhaps Carl H. Achille would be. He was born in Haiti and lived in Jamaica, Queens Village, and Elmont. He is the President of the local civics association in Elmont. He was also a past member of the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, and was given the Businessperson of the Year Award in 2013 by the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce. He is also an Iraq war veteran and a patrol officer in his district.

On the Economy, Mr. Achille wants “smart, viable, and sustainable economic development.” He also wants to fix transportation infrastructure and increase transportation options to the Rockaways.

On Education, the challenger wants to strengthen the funding of education.

On the Environment, he wants to preserve the Department of Environmental Protection (EPA), wants to keep public waters and air clean, and reduce airplane noise.

On Gun Rights, he wants to ban military-grade weapons. He also wants background checks for all gun purchases.

On Health Care, the challenger wants to end the opioid epidemic. He also wants to fight cancer by increasing the funding of cancer research.

On Immigration, Mr. Achille wants to protect DREAMers and legislate a pathway to citizenship.

On Public Safety, he wants to combat the street gangs that have taken over communities.

On Veterans, the challenger wants to reform the Veterans Administration, cut back on regulations for home loans and VA housing, and ensure that all veterans services are accessible by veterans and their families.

In the end, Gregory Meeks won the Democratic primary with 81.6% of the vote. He was unopposed in the general election.