In Like a Conor Lamb

Democrats are over the Moon (Township) over the returns in Pennsylvania

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at Wednesday's anti-gun violence rally at the Capitol, in animated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at Wednesday's anti-gun violence rally at the Capitol, in animated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Jason Dick
Posted March 15, 2018 at 9:00am

Welcome to Political Theater, Roll Call’s podcast and newsletter on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here

On the Lamb

As Democrat Conor Lamb zeroed in on an unlikely victory in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, his likely future colleagues back in Washington could hardly contain their glee. 

“It was like a roller coaster!” watching the results Tuesday night, said Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., holding up his hands as if was back in his native New York on the Cyclone. 

Republican leaders and many in the rank and file, as one might expect, downplayed the likely defeat of their candidate Rick Saccone, in the heavily GOP area outside Pittsburgh, although some of the retiring members, like Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, said it was a wake-up call, even for those in seemingly safe districts. 

Roll Call Senior Political Reporter Bridget Bowman, who was on the trail in southwestern Pennsylvania shortly before Tuesday’s election, shared her thoughts, as well as what she has been hearing since the returns, on this week’s Political Theater Podcast. 

Have a listen:


Thank You For Calling

(PhotoAtelier/Flickr - CC-BY-2.0)
(PhotoAtelier/Flickr - CC-BY-2.0)

Sometimes, you nail it on the first try. Other times, it’s a blooper reel. Staffers in the currently Representative-less Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District Office attempted to record a voicemail explaining that there would be a member of Congress soon (how long will it take them to call this Lamb-Saccone race anyway?) and a staff to take all their calls. 

It didn’t go well, as this Heard on the Hill post shows

Holy Toledo!

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, stands next to a picture of herself as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hosts a reception in Kaptur's honor in the Capitol on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The reception was held to honor Rep. Kaptur's passing the milestone as the longest-serving woman in House history. She will be breaking the record currently held by Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers, R-Mass., on Sunday, March 18. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Marcy Kaptur at Wednesday's reception honoring her upcoming milestone. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, was first elected in 1982  and on Sunday, March 18 is slated to become the longest serving woman in House history. 

The one-time urban planner and former White House aide under Jimmy Carter has seen a lot in the intervening years, from changes in the House majority to surviving a tough redistricting induced contest between her and fellow Democrat Dennis Kucinich in 2012. 

The first woman speaker, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, recognized Kaptur’s milestone on the floor on Wednesday then hosted a reception afterward for the woman from Toledo, Ohio. 

“She’s a person of the greatest integrity, sincerity, she knows her purpose, she knows her subjects, her judgment is respected and she always has a plan. And, therefore, as I said so many times, if you want to save yourself some time, just do what Marcy asks you to do the first time around,” Pelosi said on the floor.

Festival Time

UNITED STATES - APRIL 25 - Adaeze, a one and a half year old Cheetah, from the Leo Zoo, in Greenwich, Ct., licks a hand following a briefing on
Adaeze the Cheetah, on a recent visit to the Capitol. Perhaps there's a movie for big cats at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Elephants and bears and carnivorous glowworms oh my!

The 26th annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital gets under way on Thursday.

“A lot of film festivals are for film people, for people who are really interested in the art of film. And come to see the latest, whether it’s narrative or documentary,” says Maryanne G. Culpepper, the festival’s executive director. “We are not that festival. We are, and it sounds high-minded, but it really is, we are a mission-driven festival,” she adds. “And although many of our filmgoers love film, their first priority really is environment.”

If that is truly the case, filmgoers have a pretty full palette to choose from among the 101 films representing 28 countries are fiction and non-fiction stories about everything from climate change to anti-food waste crusaders like celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain to the wild side of Romania.

Among the unique attributes the festival touts is the proximity of experts for every topic the films being screened explore, as well as the access of many of the filmmakers to the audiences. That’s the way Culpepper and her staff like it, because they know their filmgoers come armed with knowledge, as well as different political persuasions and preferences, be it Democrat, Republican, documentary fans or animation buffs. 

“We want a big tent. We want everybody in the tent,” Culpepper says. 

The festival kicks off at National Geographic Thursday night with a screening of “The Last Animals” and runs through March 25.

The Kicker

UNITED STATES - MARCH 14: Demonstrators pet a dog while attending a rally on the West Front of the Capitol to call on Congress to act on gun violence prevention during a national walkout by students on March 14, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Go to a gun rally at the Capitol, get your tummy rubbed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)