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DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS – DSCC LAUNCHES DIGITAL AD ON RISING GAS PRICES – GOP SABOTAGE SPIKES HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS – HELLER’S FAMILY DISCOUNT VIOLATES FEC RULES – BRAUN’S COMPANY UNDER SCRUTINY

DSCC LAUNCHES DIGITAL AD ON RISING GAS PRICES. Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, gas prices are surging and we’ve got an ad for that. The GOP just gave big oil and gas companies a huge tax break, but American families will pay more at the pump this year than they have in the last four – a total of $1 billion more on gas this Memorial Day weekend than last year. From Axios:

  • Why it matters: the brief ad signals how prices at the pump, which have risen alongside the oil price rebound, are seeping into election year politics. It arrives amid a broader effort by Democrats to link Republicans and President Trump to higher consumer costs.

HOOSIERS FACE HIGHEST GAS PRICE INCREASE IN NATION, THANKS TO BRAUN. Hoosiers heading to an Indy-500 watch-party over the weekend have former state Rep. Mike Braun to thank for the exponentially high gas prices they see at the pump. When Braun was a state Representative, he and the Republican-controlled legislature enacted a gas tax increase that has led to Indiana being “tied with California for the largest gas price increase in the U.S. over the past year.”

AS GOP CONTINUES HEALTH CARE SABOTAGE, PREMIUMS SET TO RISE. A slew of new reports this week demonstrate what Americans already know: Republicans are taking purposeful actions to sabotage the health care system and make care more expensive. New estimates from the Urban Institute and Center for American Progress found that premiums across the country will increase by an average of 10 percent due to their efforts – and the nonpartisan CBO found that 5 million more Americans will lose their insurance thanks to GOP sabotage.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Every Republican Senate candidate is going to be held responsible for taking money out of the pockets of middle class families to give millions more to Wall Street, insurance companies, and other big money bad actors.

HELLER’S FAMILY DISCOUNT VIOLATES FEC RULES. Last week we learned that Heller paid his son’s company at least $52,500 in campaign funds over the last two years, despite the business having no other employees nor being listed as a paid vendor for any other campaign, which good-government watchdogs say “raise[s] eyebrows.” Heller, in trying to explain the situation, made an unforced error by accidentally admitting to accepting illegal corporate contributions. The Nevada Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the FEC.

HELLER “CONCERNED MORE ABOUT HIS POLITICAL FUTURE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.” That’s what KLAS political analyst Steve Sebelius had to say after Senator Heller reportedly heaped praise on Trump during a closed-door meeting, rather than advocate for issues that matter to Nevadans.

BRAUN’S COMPANY UNDER SCRUTINY. Former state Rep. Mike Braun won the primary by touting his business experience, but that may come back to haunt him. Politifact has a look at business practices – from overworking and underpaying his employees, to importing goods from Mexico and China while promising to save Americans jobs, to using his position in the state legislature to enrich himself. We’re betting Hoosiers won’t like what they see.

GOP INFIGHTING UPDATE.

MT – HEADLINE: GOP SENATE PRIMARY HEATS UP IN MONTANA. The Hill reports that this previously under-the-radar primary is “heating up… [and the] dynamic has shifted in the final weeks now that three of the four candidates — Rosendale, retired District Court Judge Russ Fagg and businessman Troy Downing — have started buying ad space and launching attacks on one another.”

WI – HEADLINE: REPUBLICAN PARTY IS AWASH IN UGLINESS AND INDECENCY. A local columnist laments at the “ugliness and indecency” into which the Wisconsin Republican primary has devolved.

BARLETTA IN “TROUBLE,” “FACING SKEPTICS.” It’s only getting worse for Congressman Barletta after his “weaker than expected” performance in last week’s Pennsylvania primary where he lost the Pittsburgh, Erie, and Johnstown media markets, despite outspending his opponent and getting last-minute help from the president. The Associated Pressreports that Republicans are “quietly skeptical of Barletta’s chances” and PennLive described the “high-level shade” he received from fellow Republicans, saying “sometimes, even when you win, you lose.”

HEADLINE: GOV. SCOTT’S CRONYISM SHOWS LACK OF CONSERVATIVE VALUES. Here’s the latest from the Pensacola News Journal editorial board:

“Such shameless promotion practices might be common place in communist regimes, but it shouldn’t be happening at the state of Florida or from self-professed “conservatives” in the Republican Party.

Talk about a swamp that needs to be drained. It’s disgusting. And it’s especially hypocritical coming from a governor who proclaims the virtues of conservative principles and the value of running government like a private sector business. Any private business that operated on cronyism like this would be broke and busted in no time.”

THERE’S MORE: NEW REPORTS SHOW “FLORIDA WOES FOR NOT EXPANDING MEDICAID,” POLITICO SAYS “SCOTT ON DEFENSE.” New reports detail how the decision to not expand Medicaid in Florida “left the state with more women at risk for mental health problems and significantly increased the number of uninsured overall across the state.” It’s the latest example of Self-Serving Scott putting himself and his political interests above Floridians. See more at SelfServingScott.com.

CRAMER’S FARM BILL FAILURE. Once again, Congressman Kevin Cramer is claiming to help North Dakotans when he’s doing anything but. Cramer is a dues-paying member of the Republican Study Committee, which has repeatedly pushed policies that would hurt North Dakota and its agriculture industry. Unfortunately, North Dakotans have come to expect this of Cramer: he’ll always put his political interests ahead of helping his constituents.

“FEELINGS STILL RAW IN OHIO.” Despite the primary ending more than two weeks ago, Ohio Republicans still have reason to fret over party unity. According to Politico, Mike Gibbons “is harboring lingering frustration over… Renacci’s primary tactics… and is not yet prepared to endorse” him.

HAWLEY HITS DC FUNDRAISING… WHILE FUNDRAISING IN DC. In a moment of complete hypocrisy, Josh Hawley – who was in DC to hobnob and fundraise with the special interests bankrolling his campaign – went on Fox News to explain the importance of raising money from Missourians. Seems like something a man who went to an Ivy League school, but bashes those schools would do.

DEM AD WATCH.

MT – Senator Tester’s relentless push to make sure veterans get access to the best care possible is showcased in his latest TV ad.
PA – Senator Casey’s first TV ad of the cycle highlights his work to secure health care for retired miners.
TN – As Governor, Phil Bredesen has a proven record of creating jobs – and he’ll bring that know-how to the Senate.
WI – Senator Baldwin’s latest TV ad details her efforts to address the opioid crisis and highlights how personal this crisis is for her.

SINEMA LEGISLATION TO PROTECT ARIZONANS FROM FINANCIAL FRAUD SET TO BECOME LAW. Example No. 1,001 of how Representative Kyrsten Sinema is delivering for Arizonans. Her legislation to help fight financial fraud – such as a family from Peoria, AZ whose daughter faced a stolen identity and red tape – passed the House this week and is headed to President Trump’s desk.

IN THE STATES.
FL – Florida Politics: Bill Nelson blasts government of Florida for not expanding Medicaid
(MORE) FL – Tampa Bay Times: Bill Nelson on the trail: Pull-ups and standing against oil drilling, warning about Medicare
IN – Indy Star: Trump to sign “big legislation” that Donnelly helped craft, including Right to Try bill
(MORE) IN – WBIW: Donnelly Urges President Trump to Take Steps to Lower Gas Prices, Allow Year Round Sale of Fuels with Higher Amounts of Biofuel
(EVEN MORE) IN – WLFI: DONNELLY VOWS TO PROTECT HOOSIER WORKERS PENSIONS
MN – National Journal: Steelworkers Union Endorses Smith
MT – MTN News: Tester: Bill to boost veterans’ care passes key Senate committee
NE – Lincoln Journal Star: Raybould says she would be an independent senator
NV – KOH: Jacky Rosen Gets a Yucca Mountain Amendment in Defense Bill
ND – KVRR: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp Endorsed by ND AFL-CIO
OH – WOSU: Sherrod Brown Pushes Pension Solution, As Crisis Looms Over Senate Race
WI – Wisconsin State Farmer: Baldwin introduces organic import legislation

TWEET OF THE WEEK.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Lauren Passalacqua
@laurenvpass

Ben Ray
@BenRay

David Bergstein
@DavidABergstein

Courtney Rice
@Court_Rice

Justin Lavoie
@je_lavoie 

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