“GOP CONFRONTS NO WIN SITUATION ON HEALTH CARE.” The Republican health care agenda keeps getting worse for 2018 Senate candidates. The AP reports that Republicans will either “alienate a majority of the population” or “anger the crucial group of GOP base voters.” Our take: In every version of their health care plan, Republicans have chosen to spike costs and strip coverage for hardworking Americans while the big insurance companies and the wealthiest few get a break. At this point, the only relief voters can expect will come on Election Day when they hold Senators Heller, Flake, and every Republican Senate candidate accountable for raising costs and cutting coverage.
REPUBLICANS: HELLER CAN BE “BOUGHT OFF” ON HEALTH CARE. In a not-so-shocking twist, Senator Heller announced that he is undecided on whether to vote for a motion to proceed on the Senate GOP health care bill, despite denouncing the bill just two weeks ago. A new report today from Axios reveals Republicans think Heller can be “bought off” on health care – the latest confirmation that he’s the kind of dishonest politician who will do anything to help himself.
AZ REPUBLIC’S MONTINI: FLAKE “TRADES SICK PEOPLE FOR VOTES.” Flake is the only Senator up for re-election in 2018 with an “underwater approval rating” – he’s facing a GOP primary challenger with more waiting in the wings and now he’s backing the Cruz amendment, which would skyrocket costs for individuals with pre-existing conditions. All of that earned him a blistering column from the Republic’s EJ Montini – read it here.
IN FL, SCOTT DOUBLES DOWN ON GOP HEALTH CARE PLAN. Florida Politics reports that Rick Scott is continuing to urge Republicans to advance their toxic health care agenda. From the article: “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee criticized Scott’s call for lawmakers to pass a bill, saying Scott is ‘only ever looking out for himself.’”
🚨RATINGS CHANGE ALERT. Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales moved Nevada and Arizona towards Democrats in his latest 2018 Senate rankings, with Nevada moving to “Toss-Up” just days after “credible challenger” Jacky Rosen launched her race – and Arizona moving to “Lean R.” 🚨
DEMS’ RECORD-BREAKING 2nd QUARTER. Democrats “continued their strong fundraising rate in the second quarter of 2017. As the National Journal noted: “As GOP recruitment efforts move slowly in the Senate, strong fundraising numbers from several Democrats could cause potential challengers to think twice about running.”
Tammy Baldwin brought in $2.5 million this quarter, and now has $3.9 million cash-on-hand – $1 million more than either 2016 Wisconsin Senate candidate did at this point in the cycle.
Sherrod Brown raised a “record” $2.6 million, the most he has raised during an off-election-year. He now has $6.7 million cash-on-hand.
Bob Casey took in donations from all 67 of Pennsylvania’s counties during Q2, raising $2.6 million with $5.5 million cash-on-hand.
Joe Donnelly had the “best off-year second-quarter in Hoosier history,” bringing in $1.5 million – 79 percent of which came in contributions of $50 or less – and has $3.7 million cash-on-hand.
Heidi Heitkamp’s fundraising total – $1.3 million – “exceeds the amount any other North Dakota Senator has raised in the same quarter of an off-year,” and she now has $3 million cash-on-hand.
Tim Kaine raised $2.6 million, with an impressive $7.3 million cash-on-hand at the end of the second quarter.
Joe Manchin “more than doubled” his first quarter fundraising, bringing in $1.4 million in the second quarter with $3.5 million cash-on-hand.
Claire McCaskill brought in $3.1 million, 97 percent of which came in donations of $100 or less, and now has $5.1 million cash-on-hand.
Bill Nelson received more than 25,000 donations from nearly 21,000 individual donors, totaling $2.13 million with $5.1 million cash-on-hand.
Debbie Stabenow raised $2.1 million this quarter, and has $5.8 million cash-on-hand.
Jon Tester “raked in more than $2 million” this quarter, with 91 percent of contributions coming in at $100 or less. He has $4.7 million cash-on-hand.
Beto O’Rourke raised $2.1 million in his first quarter as a candidate from more than 45,000 individual donors – “outraising” Senator Ted Cruz by $500,000.
AND THREE NEW STORIES ON THE GOP’S RECRUITMENT FAILURES AND SENATE DEMOCRATS’ STRENGTH – “HEAVYWEIGHT CONTENDERS AREN’T CLIMBING INTO THE RING.”
NewsMax: Republicans Pass on Key Senate Races in 2018.
FiveThirtyEight: Red-State Senate Democrats Haven’t Drawn Strong Opponents — Yet.
NY Magazine: “Things Are Looking Up for Democratic Senators in Trump Country. “In 2018, Republicans won’t have the luxury of running against Hillary Clinton. Instead, they will be up against well-known Senate incumbents with their own public profiles, and in a midterm environment where there is usually a wind blowing against the party controlling the White House… Another problem for the GOP is that it is struggling to find credible challengers to theoretically vulnerable Democrats in some states (as in Missouri, where consensus GOP favorite Representative Ann Wagner decided not to take on McCaskill), and is facing potentially fractious Republican primaries (as in Indiana, where Representatives Luke Messer and Todd Rokita are already attacking each other) in others…If congressional Republicans continue to flail around in the clumsy pursuit of an unpopular agenda, the odds of survival for Democrats in Trump Country will only go up.”
See also: Wall Street Journal: GOP Scrambles to Recruit Senate Candidates; Washington Post: Do Senate Republicans have a Trump recruiting problem? (Part 2); Associated Press: Senate GOP struggles to find challengers for some Democrats; Real Clear Politics: Slow Pace of 2018 Senate Bids a Growing GOP Concern; Washington Post: Do Senate Republicans have a Trump recruiting problem?; Politico: Senate GOP recruiting slow-going for 2018
NYT & AP DETAIL REPUBLICANS’ FAILURE TO GOVERN: GOP CANDIDATES HAVE NOTHING TO RUN ON (“AND THEY KNOW IT”). The New York Times details how Republicans “are failing at governance. And they know it” (which made us think of this), while the AP wrote that the GOP has “nothing to show” for their total control of Washington. What does this mean for 2018? Republican Senate candidates will have nothing to run on except an unpopular health care agenda that voters hate.
“APPALACHIA INFIGHTING” BETWEEN JENKINS AND MORRISEY BEGINS IN #WVSEN. It’s already as nasty as we expected and it’s being described as a “vicious,” “bruising,” “battle-royale.” Grab some 🍿🍿and stay tuned.
OHIO PASSES “MANDEL AMENDMENT” TO PREVENT ANOTHER POLITICIAN FROM SPENDING TAXPAYER $$ WITHOUT OVERSIGHT. “Something for everyone” – that’s how one reporter described the Ohio budget that included an amendment to prevent the type of shady spending Treasurer Josh Mandel snuck through, purposefully avoiding scrutiny to benefit his own political aspirations. The Columbus Dispatch highlighted how the new state budget affects Ohioans, including if you “want to skirt oversight of public spending” (looking at you, Josh).
TESTER WANTS ANSWERS. Take two minutes to watch Senator Tester demand answers for Montanans at a hearing this week on proposed budget cuts to Indian Health Services. And read this Bozeman Chronicle editorial “commending” Tester’s bipartisan work on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs:
“Tester, however, is doing veterans and all his constituents a favor by showing that compromise is not a dirty word. It’s a way of moving forward in a way that gives opposing interests something, just not everything. The rest of Congress could learn from the work of these two committees.”
IN THE STATES.
CT – Hartford Courant: Murphy Raises $2M In Second Quarter Of 2017
FL – Ocala Star Banner: Editorial: Some potential relief from student debt
MA – Politico: Warren delivers strong fundraising haul
MI – UPMatters: Senator Stabenow introduces the Growing Small Businesses Act
MT – Ravalli Republic: Tester announces additional assistance for Montana counties affected by drought
NV – CBS Las Vegas: Political Action Group Endorses Rosen For Nevada Senate
PA – Lebanon Daily News: Senator hears from families who need Medicaid to survive
WI – South Florida Gay News: Make it Official: Senators Aim to Recognize LGBT Pride Month
WV – Metro News: Manchin, Capito remain popular as election and health care talks build
TWEET OF THE WEEK.
Tweet of the week goes to Michael McAuliff for pointing out Heller’s health care hypocrisy.