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:
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.
“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:
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:
Philly.com: 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 (Cincinnati.com: 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.
IN THE STATES.
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: