DSCC HOLDS GOP ACCOUNTABLE AS TAX SCAM MOVES THROUGH CONFERENCE. This week Senate and House Republicans voted to begin debate on their tax scam that is “riddled with glitches” and that Moody’s has referred to as “a fiscal policy mistake.” “Preview[ing] the approach” Democrats will use in 2018 to hold Republicans accountable, the DSCC expanded its initial buy for “Mailbox,” our tax ad that features an individual learning how the Republican tax plan would increase their taxes in order to benefit the wealthy and well-connected. The expanded digital buy will target voters in Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Watch Mailbox:

HELLER UNDER FIRE FOR TAX BILL, BUT HE WANTS YOU TO KNOW: HE “HELPED WRITE IT.” Heller returned to Nevada after his late-night vote to increase taxes on middle-class Americans to find that his constituents weren’t happy about his vote – and they let him know it:

The Nevada Independent: Hours after tax reform vote, Heller defends the bill at Las Vegas event.
“The comment drew some cheers and jeers, which has become par for the course any time Heller attends a public forum in Southern Nevada. Organizers led more than a handful of people out of the room during the event after they interrupted and repeatedly shouted at the senator. The first disrupter pointed his finger at Heller and demanded to know if he had read the tax bill.
The question prompted Heller to reply via Twitter shortly after the event: ‘I was asked earlier today if I read the tax bill… Read it? I helped write it!’”

KSNV Las Vegas: At least 10 protesters ousted from Hispanic forum attended by Sen. Heller.
“Less than 24 hours after helping pass the tax reform bill in the nation’s capital, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller took part Saturday afternoon in a Hispanic political forum in Las Vegas.
And foes of the bill’s passage were ready to greet him… [and] during the question-and-answer session, opponents made their feelings known.”

But Heller, who seems solely concerned with pleasing his donors and running to the right to win his primary, bragged about crafting the disastrous bill. We know that this bill is a losing issue in 2018 and, to hold Heller accountable, the DSCC is expanding its digital buy in Nevada to include a promoted tweet from Heller in which he takes credit for the bill:

From Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Communications Director Lauren Passalacqua: “If Senator Heller thinks the best way to win reelection is to take credit for raising taxes on the middle class, gutting Medicare, and exploding the deficit in order to favor the donors bankrolling his campaign, then we’re not going to stand in his way.”

BRUISING” GOP PRIMARIES IN #WVSEN, #INSEN. The Hill reports that in both West Virginia and Indiana, “wealthy candidates [are] threaten[ing] to shake up” already bruising GOP Senate primaries. In West Virginia, former coal executive Don Blankenship, “fresh off a one-year prison sentence,” could upend the race with an influx of cash and isn’t holding back against his opponents, saying he’s “fed up” with both of them. In Indiana, former state Rep. Mike Braun, who started as an unknown candidate, has been flooding the airwaves since the end of summer, making this a “three-man race.”

‘CONSERVATIVE’ BRAUN VOTED IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES UNTIL 2012. A new report from the Associated Press has found that Braun, despite his claim that he is a conservative Republican, “consistently cast Democratic ballots until 2012,” a revelation which could threaten his conservative credentials in this acrimonious primary. From the report:

  • That could spell trouble for Braun, a businessman and former state lawmaker who elbowed his way into the competitive GOP Senate primary by investing more than $800,000 of his own money. In recent years, such races have been Republican purity competitions; next May’s election determining who will face Democrat Joe Donnelly in the fall appears to be no exception.
  • Both of Braun’s chief rivals, Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, have long been involved in Republican Party politics, with each taking public office in the early 2000s. Braun, on the other hand, is listed as a “Hard Democrat” in a voter database maintained by the Republican National Committee, according to records obtained by the AP.
  • Braun, who owns a national auto parts distribution business, has already drawn heat over a vote this year in favor of a 10-cent-per-gallon fuel tax increase, which occurred before he stepped down from the Legislature to focus on his Senate campaign. That vote, combined with the revelation that he regularly voted as a Democrat, could open him up to charges of being a “RINO,” a derisive acronym for “Republican In Name Only” often used by conservative activists.

In contrast to the “GOP’s nastiest primary,” Senator Donnelly has been recognized as the second-most bipartisan Senator to serve since 1993 – a tribute to his record of delivering results for Hoosiers by working across the aisle. Be sure to check out this profile in Politico Magazine: A “Democrat in Trump Country,” “Bipartisan” Donnelly is “a more formidable candidate than he gets credit for.”

  • From Senator Richard Lugar: “He has done a good job…He has been thoughtful and constructive. It’s not been by accident that he has been able to pull together majorities and has been successful in doing that.”
  • From Christine Matthews, pollster to former Governor Mitch Daniels: “This looks like the ratings Senator Lugar had for much of his career—well regarded by both Democrats and Republicans…For that to be the case in these times is crazy good.”
  • From Trump Voter and 9x Iraq and Afghanistan Vet Bryan Johnson: “Primarily, he’s a huge supporter of vets. I’ve only been down here from Detroit for a few years. I heard a saying when I moved down here that an Indiana Democrat is like a Republican, a moderate Republican. It hits him right on the head. I feel he’s putting the military first.”
  • From an Indiana Republican Operative: “But the problem is that Donnelly is not particularly partisan. Overall, he’s done a pretty good job being vocal on the right issues, and he’s chosen his spots carefully. He’s done a good job of walking that line. He’s being underestimated nationally.”

SMACKDOWN” FOR MANDEL: GIBBONS EARNS ENDORSEMENT OF MAJOR GOP COUNTY IN “UPSET.” In this world of uncertainty, one thing is clear: Ohio Republicans do not like Josh Mandel. In what the Columbus Dispatch called a “big upset,” the Franklin County Republican Party endorsed Mike Gibbons over Mandel. This isn’t the first time Mandel has earned the scorn of his fellow Republicans. Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled Ohio state legislature passed the “Mandel Amendment,” a move aimed at preventing Mandel’s shady use of taxpayer money.

MUST CLICK: for Mandel’s LinkedIn profile. Highlights include his qualifications for U.S. Senate:

  • Went 152 days without being available to the Ohio press corps for questions.
  • Stood with date-rape denier and Pizzagate promoter.
  • Began raising money for my second Senate campaign nearly three years before Election Day 2018.
  • Earned a “smackdown” from Republican lawmakers.

BARLETTA RECEIVES “MOSTLY FALSE” RATING FOR OVERSTATING BENEFITS OF TAX PLAN. It’s no secret that Republicans have been lying about the effects of their tax plan to sell it to voters – no wonder, a majority of voters disapprove of it – and Congressman Barletta is no exception. PolitiFact gave him a “mostly false” rating for stating that, under the House GOP tax bill, all taxpayers would have reduced rates.

AL – WBRC: Doug Jones: “I’m an independent voice”
FL – WTLV: Bill Nelson looks to expand Florida’s solar industry through ‘Green Banking Act’
IN – Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Donnelly ranks 2nd on bipartisan list
ND – AG Week: Heitkamp introduces bill to help farmers, ranchers, beekeepers recover from drought
OH – WLIO: Sen. Brown looking for extension to CHIP program
WI – Wisconsin State Farmer: Baldwin highlights efforts to protect biofuel production, rural Wisconsin jobs
WV – Metro News: Manchin, Capito make moves in CHIP reauthorization effort
(MORE) WV – Metro News: Manchin hears from coal industry about impact of Senate tax reform bill
WY – Jackson Hole News & Guide: Trauner to run for U.S. Senate


And a bonus video – because we all need a few laughs this week.

Lauren Passalacqua

Ben Ray

David Bergstein

Courtney Rice

Justin Lavoie

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