GOP BREAKS OWN PROMISE, GUTS PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. There’s no shortage of analyses detailing how badly the latest GOP health care plan would hurt Americans – but here’s what Republican Senate candidates should expect to hear throughout 2018: you broke your promise to protect preexisting conditions. From The Hill:

House Republicans’ own website states that people should “never” be charged more for having a pre-existing condition, but the revised bill would allow just that in states that are granted a waiver from ObamaCare’s protections… 

The possibility that some states could go back to the days of insurers charging sick people high rates is testing Republican vows. 

President Trump had promised to keep ObamaCare protections for people with pre-existing conditions. “It happens to be one of the strongest assets,” Trump told CBS’s “60 Minutes” shortly after the election…

Many Republican lawmakers also pledged not to let people with pre-existing conditions get charged more. However, some of those lawmakers are now supporting the amendment that would allow states to repeal the ObamaCare protection. 

ICYMI: DSCC RELAUNCHES “THE PRICE” IN BATTLEGROUNDS. When we launched our first ad of the 2018 cycle, Rachel Maddow called it a “gut punch of an ad.” Now, it’s back as part of a six-figure buy on Facebook and Google search terms targeting persuadable midterm voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, North Dakota, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida, West Virginia, and Michigan.

PS – THIS REALLY HAPPENED – VOX: Republicans exempt their own insurance from their latest health care proposal.

WHAT THE FIRST 100 DAYS MEANS FOR 2018. DSCC Political Director Dan McNally penned our first Medium post of the cycle with a look at what the failed first 100 days of the Trump administration means for 2018 – and it isn’t good news for the GOP. Here’s an excerpt and read the full post here: 

The 100-day mark of the Trump administration spotlights your own broken promises and failure to hold the President accountable, carrying serious implications for 2018.

For voters, the story of your first 100 days is a definition of your wrong priorities. Instead of pursuing initiatives that grow jobs, investing in infrastructure and reforming the tax code, you worked to reduce the quality of our health care and spike costs for many Americans — even while giving insurance companies and the wealthy a tax break. 

What’s all this mean for 2018, 100 days in? Republican Senate candidates already have a lot of explaining to do and nothing to run on.


  • “Interviews with more than a dozen top Republican operatives, donors and officials reveal a growing trepidation about how the initial days of the new political season are unfolding. And they underscore a deep anxiety about how the party will position itself in 2018 as it grapples with the leadership of an unpredictable president still acclimating to Washington.”
  • “Potential GOP candidates whom party leaders want to recruit are afraid of walking into a buzz saw, uncertain about what kind of political environment they’ll be facing by the time the midterms come around — and what Trump’s record will look like… Would-be GOP midterm contenders are struggling to take measure of what they’d be getting themselves into. The election is bound to be a referendum on Trump’s first two years. Two Republicans, Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy and Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks, recently announced they will be forgoing Senate runs.”
  • “As Republican strategists examine [the Georgia] special election, and one for a conservative Kansas seat a week earlier, they’re seeing evidence of a worrisome enthusiasm gap. In the run-up to the Georgia election, low-propensity Democratic voters — people who in years past did not consistently turn out to the polls — cast ballots at a rate nearly 7 percentage points higher than low-propensity Republicans, according to private polling by one Republican group. In Kansas, the chasm was wider. Infrequent Democratic voters cast ballots at a rate of 9 percentage points higher than low-propensity Republicans did.”
  • “Not every Republican is confident about the Senate, either. McConnell has privately expressed concern about Trump’s approval ratings and lack of legislative wins, according to two people familiar with this thinking. A student of political history, the Senate leader has warned that the 2018 map shouldn’t give Republicans solace, reminding people that the party in power during a president’s first term often suffers electorally.”

See also:
Politico: Dems show surprising strength at start of brutal 2018 midterm
The Hill: Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups
RealClear Politics: Slow Pace of 2018 Senate Bids a Growing GOP Concern
Washington Post: Do Senate Republicans have a Trump recruiting problem?
New York Times: Suburban G.O.P. Voters Sour on Party, Raising Republican Fears for 2018

RINSE & REPEAT: HELLER HAD ANOTHER “ROUGH WEEK.” Dean Heller’s been having a “rough week” for weeks and he’s still taking fire from all sides for “trying to have it both ways” on funding for Planned Parenthood. 
WATCH – LAS VEGAS NOW: Dissecting comments made by Sen. Heller at town hall
WATCH – KLAS: How Does Heller Explain Back and Forth on Planned Parenthood?
Reno News & Review: Getting straight — A rough week for Dean Heller
“Since going to D.C., he has been uncommunicative with groups back home, preferring to communicate through telephone conference calls with selected Nevadans more than in American Legion halls and student unions. That reluctance to deal with the public ran head-on into the widepread citizen activism that was generated by Donald Trump’s election in November. There is little sign of it abating any time soon.”
Reno News & Review: Finally — Heller opens himself to town hall format
“[Heller] became relatively reclusive for a politician, restricting himself to appearances before safe sites and groups, GOP events, and obligatory campaign debates.”

SCOTT’S “PERSONAL AGENDA.” Rick Scott has a bad habit of putting himself and his political cronies first and Floridians are taking notice. It couldn’t come at a worse time as Scott tries to close the deal on a state budget – and it’s not going well. The Tampa Bay Times report that his push on budget priorities have “failed” and observers are calling him “powerless in his own party.”

Orlando Sentinel: Editorial: Who’s on first in Tallahassee? Personal agendas, not Florida voters
“Republican Gov. Rick Scott went AWOL, departing for Argentina on a four-day trade mission. His staff argues that the Legislature understands Scott’s priorities, but a serious governor wouldn’t leave town at this point of the session for anything but an emergency…

“All these Tallahassee players are thinking about how to run for higher office. How about if they show that they can do something good in the offices they hold now?”

Palm Beach Post: Editorial: Scott’s $100-million bid for Visit Florida misses the mark
“The move is pure Rick Scott. It deifies job creation as almost the sole priority for Florida. And it goes about that goal in a dubious way. As we’ve said before, a well-run Visit Florida is a good thing, but this state needs more than the low-wage service jobs typical of the tourism industry. We need to invest in education to attract the high-paying opportunities connected with the knowledge economy… 

Sun-Sentinel (Opinion): Florida Gov. Rick Scott powerless in his own party
Is there another governor in the nation whose party controls the entire state Legislature yet yields less power than Rick Scott

Florida Times-Union: Editorial: Governor must declare state of emergency for opioid crisis.
“It’s time for Gov. Rick Scott to call this enormous crisis what it is — a statewide health emergency. The size and impact of the crisis has become so intense that Jacksonville has joined the statewide group of cities petitioning Gov. Rick Scott to declare a statewide health emergency. Five states have already done just that… Assistance with this epidemic can’t arrive fast enough… The governor has directed the state to hold workshops to assess the extent of the crisis. Talk alone isn’t enough.”

ISN’T IT IRONIC: SCOTT LAYS BLAME WITH “POLITICIANS IN TALLAHASSEE.” Upset that the Legislature is eliminating funding for his slush fund, Scott pointed the finger at “politicians in Tallahassee.” Here’s our take, from DSCC spokesman David Bergstein: “If Rick Scott wants to condemn a self-serving Tallahassee politician who’s wasting Floridians’ tax dollars to promote his own political agenda he should look in the mirror. Throughout his years in Tallahassee Scott has always looked out for only person – himself – while Floridians who actually work for a living are paying the price.”

IN – Indy Star: Tully: Praise for politicians. Yep, you read that right
MORE IN – Journal Gazette: Donnelly 2nd in Senate in bipartisan rankings
EVEN MORE IN – Indiana Daily Student: Senator Donnelly is a workhorse
MN – Park Rapids Enterprise: Klobuchar bill aims to bring in more rural doctors
MO – The St. Louis American: McCaskill: Why I hold town halls
MORE MO – Hannibal Courier Post: Mo. Senator among bi-partisan push for federal watchdogs
MT – Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Tester lauded for standing up for YNP
OH – Martins Ferry Times Leader: Our Miners Can’t Wait
PA – Daily Local News: Sen. Casey speaks to chamber members in Downingtown
WV – CNN: Manchin charts own path in Trump-era West Virginia
WI – St. Ann Center: Sen. Tammy Baldwin to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award


Until next Friday,

Lauren Passalacqua

Ben Ray

David Bergstein

Courtney Rice

Justin Lavoie

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