NotedDC — Pence’s homecoming

Mike Pence
Hill Illustration, Madeline Monroe/AP Photo, Michael Conroy

REPUBLICANS ARE GREETING former Vice President Mike Pence with open arms in Washington this week, despite his feud with former President Trump heating up.

Pence, who served in the House representing Indiana for more than a decade from 2001 to 2013, including a stint as chair of the House Republican Conference, is reuniting with some of his former colleagues at events in D.C. this week.

He addressed the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative members, on Wednesday after appearing at a “Young Guns” fundraising dinner hosted by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at Del Frisco’s steakhouse on Tuesday.

During the event Wednesday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) praised Pence for showing courage when he certified the 2020 election results against Trump’s wishes on Jan. 6, 2021.

As our colleague Emily Brooks reports, other Republicans in the group who objected to the certification of the electoral results at the time also applauded Pence during his appearance on Capitol Hill.

PENCE’S PITCH, per Brooks: “Pence spoke about his ‘Freedom Agenda’ policy platform, distributing paper copies of it to members in attendance, and praised the House GOP for having a plan for after the midterms.”

Pence is ramping up his schedule with more public appearances and is heading to New Hampshire next month to headline the Politics and Eggs forum, a stop historically known for guests with plans to run for president. 

While Trump remains deeply popular in the GOP, images of his former vice president getting a warm welcome from rank-and-file Republicans raise pressure on the former president as he weighs announcing another presidential bid before the midterms.

The show of support for Pence also underscores the role he played rejecting Trump’s false election claims and comes at a time when the Jan. 6 House select committee is staying laser-focused on Trump’s actions during the Capitol riot, with another prime-time hearing — the panel’s eighth and final scheduled one — slated for Thursday.

Welcome to NotedDC: Your guide to politics, policy & people of consequence in D.C.

In today’s issue: Trump-Pence proxy battle plays out in Arizona, and Republicans go on the record on same-sex marriage.

Plus: A new mural in D.C. with a geopolitical message.

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Grand Canyon showdown

THE PROXY BATTLE between Trump and Pence will move to Arizona on Friday when they stump for two different gubernatorial candidates in a heated GOP primary. 

  • Pence endorsed businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson on Monday
  • Trump backed former news anchor Kari Lake in September

The pair are preparing for a similar showdown from one that took place in Georgia in May, our colleague Max Greenwood reports:

“Pence, who appears to be gearing up for a possible 2024 run against Trump, has endorsed candidates running against rivals backed by his former boss before, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who prevailed over his Trump-endorsed opponent in May.”

It’s unclear whether the Arizona primary will shake out the same way for Pence. A recent Arizona Public Opinion Poll conducted by OH Predictive Insights suggested the race is virtually a dead heat, with Robson narrowly trailing Lake.


Democrats in Arizona are touting Lake as the more conservative candidate in hopes that if she wins the gubernatorial primary she’d be easier to defeat in November.

NBC News reported earlier this month that the Arizona Democratic Party thanked Robson in a campaign email for previously donating to Democratic candidates, depicting her as a “longtime” supporter of the party despite running as a Republican.

It’s a strategy Democrats have employed in other states too, bolstering candidates who spread Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud in an effort to win more support in the fall from independents and Republican voters who don’t like Trump.

Here’s how it played out Tuesday night in Maryland: 

  • Trump-endorsed candidate Dan Cox — who helped organize buses to Washington on Jan. 6 — won the Republican gubernatorial primary in the race to succeed Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
  • The Democratic Governors Association spent more than $1 million in ads seeking to boost Cox, according to NPR, against more moderate candidate Kelly Schulz, the state’s commerce secretary.
  • Hogan was not happy: “He’s selfishly colluded with national Democrats to cost us a Governor’s seat in Maryland where I ran 45 points ahead of him.”  

Read more from The Hill’s Julia Manchester on what to expect in upcoming primaries

“We have to engage Latinas and Latinos…year round and making sure that we’re…having contact with them, that we’re talking in their language, that we’re knocking on their doors.”

— Rep. Nanette Díaz Barragán (D-Calif.) at The Hill’s Latina Leaders Summit on Wednesday.


The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom has a weekly roundup of where people are moving in the lobbying world (and you can send us your professional updates, too!). Here are some highlights: 

  • Steve Pinkos will head Intel Corp’s global government affairs team as senior director of security policy, previously serving as deputy national security adviser under former President Trump and policy director for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
  • Stacy Papadopoulos will serve as the Consumer Brands Association’s interim CEO, previously serving as general counsel and senior vice president of operations.
  • Kenneth Gross joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as senior political law counsel and consultant.
  • Diana Oo joined Netflix Inc. as head of U.S. federal affairs, previously serving as vice president of government relations and policy at Univision. 

Senate barrels toward same-sex marriage vote

Democrats’ attempt to enshrine marriage equality in federal law might be successful as some Senate Republicans are coming out in support of the House-passed bill. 

  • The Senate bill, which would repeal a 1996 law that recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman, found allies in co-sponsors Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
  • The House passed it on Tuesday night with the support of every Democrat and 47 Republicans.  

The bill comes as a response to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggesting that he wants to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalized same-sex marriage.

The legislation would need 10 Republican votes to advance in the supper chamber. A number of Republicans have said they are waiting to see the text of the bill, The Hill’s Alex Bolton reported.

The issue is likely to make a mark on the 2024 campaign trail, with several GOP senators weighing White House bids.

  • Two senators seen as presidential prospects — Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) — already told NBC News that they will not support the bill.
  • GOP Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), who is facing a challenge in his reelection bid from Rep. Val Demings (D), will also vote against it, per CNN’s Manu Raju.

More from our colleague Brett Samuels on how the White House is pushing the bill

‘No magic’ to in-person legislating, Hoyer says

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) defended the decision of the lower chamber to allow members to keep voting by proxy this summer.

  • “There’s no magic about being on the floor,” Hoyer told reporters this week, after the House in late June extended its proxy voting through Aug. 12.
  • Hoyer said he recognizes that face-to-face contact is important in legislating, but said “you don’t preclude the people they represent from having their voice heard” because a member can’t be in person.

The House adopted a rules change in May 2020 to allow lawmakers to cast votes and conduct committee meetings remotely amid the pandemic.

House GOP leadership had initially filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of proxy voting, but it’s since become a tool used by members of both parties.

The nonpartisan Brookings Institution found earlier this year that about 80 percent of members used proxy voting through mid-December 2021, including a majority of House Republicans.

Art with a message

If you’re walking in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, you might see a new mural of the faces of 18 Americans currently detained abroad. 

During an unveiling ceremony Wednesday, Jonathan Franks, a consultant who helped free former Marine Trevor Reed from Russia in April, said the campaign is pushing Biden to “make use of all the tools in the toolbox to bring others home.”

Biden is currently under pressure to free WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russia, which has prompted calls for him to help others detained, including Paul Whelan.

Have some news, juicy gossip, insight or other insider info? Send us tips: Elizabeth Crisp and Kelsey Carolan. And encourage friends to sign up here:

We’ll see you tomorrow!


Tags Arizona gubernatorial race Chip Roy dan cox dan cox Donald Trump House Republicans Kari Lake Karrin Taylor Robson Kevin McCarthy Larry Hogan Mike Pence Mike Pence Republican Study Committee Rob Portman Steny Hoyer Susan Collins

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