NEW YORK TIMES: “REPUBLICANS ARE TERRIFIED.” Fissures within the Republican Party are complicating GOP Senate primaries and the New York Times reports “Republicans are terrified.” The candidates are hardly top-notch, and even McConnell has found GOP recruitment “alarming.” The crowded fields are leading to a dynamic that is quickly unraveling Republican prospects as primaries force candidates to become further out-of-touch with a general electorate. Take a look:

  • “If Mr. Trump’s backers are enthusiastic about the prospect of increasing their numbers in the Senate, mainstream Republicans are terrified that candidates who cast themselves in the mold of Mr. Trump will cost them seats.”
  • “It also shows the political headwinds the Republicans face: The party’s base voters remain loyal to the president and his agenda, even as the larger electorate drifts away.”  
  • “In two states — Arizona and Nevada — Trump Republicans are making life exceedingly difficult for Republican incumbents by waging primary challenges against them.”
  • “Mr. Heller has drawn a primary contest from Danny Tarkanian, a lawyer and the son of a well-known basketball coach; Mr. Tarkanian, a perennial candidate, has been described as a cheerleader for the Trump White House. In Arizona, Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican who has been harshly critical of Mr. Trump, is being challenged by Kelli Ward, a strongly conservative former state senator and osteopathic physician. Mr. Trump has made no secret that he favors Dr. Ward.”
  • “The party in power typically loses electoral seats during a midterm election… the rise of a divisive corps of Trump Republicans may complicate that task, said Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.”

HAWLEY MOMENTUM “SLOWS,” TOPPING OFF ROUGH MONTH. Attorney General Josh Hawley’s bad month got worse this week when a Presidential visit put a spotlight on just how bad he is at answering questions and playing it straight with Missouri voters. The blowback Hawley’s received from Missouri Republicans from refusing to pick a side between his mentor, former Senator Jack Danforth, and the President, has slowed his momentum. Meanwhile, a look at the work he was elected to do reveals that – once again – Hawley is all talk.

MissouriNet: GOP Party Drama Slows Missouri AG’s Momentum at Run for U.S. Senate.

  • “But last Friday, Danforth complicated Hawley’s political world.  He chastised Trump in an opinion piece for the Washington Post, referring to him as the most divisive President in history.  Danforth, who spent most of two decades representing Missouri in the Senate, encouraged other Republicans to disavow Trump in the column.”
  • “Hawley has so far declined to comment on Danforth’s admonishment of Trump.  That hasn’t gone unnoticed by former Missouri Republican Party Chair Ed Martin, who confronted Hawley in a tweet, saying if he couldn’t denounce Danforth’s criticism of Trump, then he shouldn’t run against McCaskill.”
  • “Conservative St. Louis talk show host Jamie Allman then disparaged Danforth’s column on the air as “awful” and “petty”, and said it would be “close to impossible that I could ever get behind a Hawley candidacy for Senate with John Danforth around”.”
  • “About Trump’s Springfield appearance, Allman said ‘if you’re a Republican and you avoid being there we’re taking your name.’  He went on to say ‘just keep in mind we will be watching to see who goes and who doesn’t go, and who stays away and who will not have the courage to stand up for the president of the United States. So, we’ll kind of keep an eye on that.’”
  • “Hawley’s future as a Senate candidate is unclear.  His absence at President Trump’s event in Missouri has captured a spotlight of its own.”

Kansas City Star: Donald Trump in Springfield: If McCaskill doesn’t support tax cuts ‘you have to vote her out of office’.

  • “Hawley has been catching flak from conservatives for not attending Trump’s event. He is on a weeklong vacation with his family, and even tweeted out vacation photos of his children on Tuesday.”
  • “Danforth, who represented Missouri for two decades, has diligently recruited Hawley to run for U.S. Senate, and last week he urged his fellow Republicans to disavow Trump and avoid being seen with him during his visit to Springfield.”

Kansas City Star: How goes Josh Hawley’s fight with public corruption?  Great, he says; Critics scoff.

  • “Among the major planks of Josh Hawley’s successful campaign for attorney general last year was his promise to create a public corruption unit to investigate and prosecute misconduct by elected officials.”
  • “On July 12, the Missouri Democratic Party filed an open records request for any emails or internal communications regarding a public corruption unit in the attorney general’s office. A few days later the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed a similar request.”
  • “The documents turned over to Democrats by Hawley’s office didn’t include any emails or correspondence pertaining to the public corruption unit by the attorney general’s staff before the open records request was filed. In a July 13 email, members of Hawley’s staff were informed that the attorney general wanted to add a page to his website for the public corruption unit. Staff then discussed what the page should say and look like.”
  • “A week later, Hawley’s office put out a press release touting a third prosecution by the “Public Corruption Team.” This was the first mention of such a team’s existence in a press release.”
  • “Loree Anne Paradise, Hawley’s spokeswoman, said the reason no emails from before July were turned over to the Democrats is that “public corruption investigations are highly sensitive and many records related to them are closed under Missouri law to protect the integrity of pending investigations.”

ROKITA’S BEHAVIOR OUTSIDE THE NORM.” Didn’t think it could get any worse than this? Well, a new report from the Associated Press details how Congressman Rokita treats his staff – and it’s no wonder as many as 10 staffers came forward to talk about Rokita’s “outside the norm” behavior. The story raises questions, not only about Congressman Rokita’s character, but also whether he violated ethics rules by compelling taxpayer-funded staff to do “volunteer political work.” Read the full story here and check out these highlights:

AP: Former aides say GOP lawmaker yelled at staff, docked pay.

  • “Staffers in tears. Pay cuts for small mistakes. Aides who walked out of the office — and never came back. Working for four-term Republican Rep. Todd Rokita of Indiana is an exacting job with long hours, made more difficult by a boss known for micromanaging and yelling at his staff, according to 10 former aides who spoke to The Associated Press.”
  • “Even in Congress, where ambition and ego can go hand-in-hand, Rokita’s behavior is outside the norm, according to the former aides, most of whom have worked for other elected officials. ‘Todd’s a hard boss to work for. He’s got some staff turnover issues,’ said Tony Will, who was a constituent service representative for Rokita for nearly three years.”
  • “During the 2010 campaign, a worker was booted from a staff meeting and instructed to clean Rokita’s vehicle, which included scrubbing the carpets, according to two people with direct knowledge of the incident. The reason? A volunteer driver had body odor the night before, they say.”
  • “Many also felt obligated to do volunteer political work, the three staffers said.”
  • “His temper has also flared when meeting with students… A Jasper County teacher asked Rokita to leave his high school civics class in November 2016 after a talk that was supposed to be about the Constitution got off on the wrong foot, according to two students[, where] he had a testy exchange with [the] teacher… whom he criticized.”
  • “Rokita’s abrasive nature is not limited to instances described by former staffers. He has rubbed many Indiana Republicans the wrong way, too, leading the GOP-controlled Legislature to cut him out of his district when they redrew congressional maps after the last census. While Rokita was still secretary of state in 2010, the Indiana Senate took the unusual step of calling up an amendment he wanted, only to have the entire chamber, including the amendment’s author, vote it down.”

BARLETTA CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCEMENT REACTION: “MEH.” After weeks of waffling, Trump-backed Congressman Barletta is officially launching his campaign – but The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that he “faces a potentially crowded and resource-draining primary” with “a hill to climb,” just to win the nomination, let alone take on Senator Casey. Furthermore, since his first announcement (literally one month ago), Barletta has faced scandals and attacks from his fellow Republicans: Republican Senate candidate Jeff Bartos launches TV ad swiping at expected rival Lou Barletta.
Hazleton Standard-Speaker: Ethics Questioned.

LATEST GOP ACTION ON HEALTH CARE WILL RAISE COSTS. The Trump Administration’s decision to dramatically cut the budget for outreach to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act will increase costs for Americans. These actions purposefully “depress” enrollment, causing the insurance marketplace to falter. The problem for Republicans: voters know who to blame for their spiked costs and stripped coverage, and will hold them accountable in November. 

HELLER “WALKS TIGHTROPE” ON HEALTH CARE. It’s not news that Heller is “walk[ing a] tightrope” on health care, having taken every possible position there is on the issue in the past few months as the “most vulnerable GOP senator […who] is under attack from both the right and the left and is trying to stake out a middle ground.” Heller’s latest attempt to “walk a fine line” is the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal which, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, would cause Nevada to lose more than $250 million in federal funding and would completely restructure Medicaid. Nevada guru, Jon Ralston, put it best: “The only consistent thing about Dean Heller on healthcare is his inconsistency… He has managed to alienate both the left and the right and confuse the middle.”

MANDEL’S POLITICAL AMBITIONS GET THE BEST OF HIM… AGAIN. Sigh. You’d think writing weekly about how Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s “political ambitions” and “cheap shots” would get tiring. Sadly, Mandel keeps providing us with new material to demonstrate just how far he is willing to go into the gutter for votes. This week saw another article slamming Mandel’s character ( The constant re-imagining of Josh Mandel) and a tweet that compares abortion to slavery.

NELSON CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO SCOTT-RUN FL MEDICAID PROGRAM. After CNN reported that thousands of children in Florida had been kicked off the Children Services Medicaid Program – a specialized, public health insurance program for sick children – presumably to reward donors to the Republican Party of Florida, Senator Nelson is calling for an investigation.

ANOTHER #WISEN RECRUITMENT FAILURE. “Republicans [still] haven’t [found] a clear candidate to take on Baldwin” after a string of recruitment failures. The latest example? State Representative Dale Kooyenga opted out of challenging Baldwin for the Senate seat.

FL – Florida Politics: Bill Nelson calls for federal intervention over kids’ health care
IN – News and Tribune: Sen. Joe Donnelly touts bipartisanship on campaign stop at The Exchange
(MORE) IN – WTHR: HOWEY: Donnelly starts reelection bid with key advantages
MT – KBZK: Sen. Tester kicks off Blue Collar Jobs tour in Butte
OH – WSKU: U.S. Sen. Brown Gathers with Groups to Talk About Hate in Ohio
(MORE) OH WKBN: Sen. Brown talks drug prevention bill in visit to Valley
WI – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Tammy Baldwin renews push for stricter oversight of hedge funds 

TWEET OF THE WEEK. There are a lot of great people and organizations working to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Learn how to help:

Here’s to the last few days of recess,

Lauren Passalacqua

Ben Ray

David Bergstein

Courtney Rice

Justin Lavoie

Next Post


Stay Connected

DSCC Statement On Republican Shutdown

4 weeks Ago

Carol Moseley Braun has been a woman of firsts: ✅ First black woman elected to the Senate ✅ First black Senator for…...

12 hrs ago on Twitter

Carol Moseley Braun has been a woman of firsts: ✅ First black woman elected to the Senate ✅ First black Senator for the Democratic...

17 hrs ago on Facebook


Help Elect a
Democratic Senate