GOP CAN’T SHAKE THEIR PRIMARY PROBLEMS. Reports from the AP and McClatchy detail the “trouble” Republicans find themselves in as “acute tensions with a president many lawmakers distrust only exacerbate the already deep divisions that have plagued the party for years. Now, the disunity is playing out in concrete ways through the GOP primaries.” That dynamic played out in states across the country this week:
IN – POLITICO: The GOP’s Nastiest Primary.
MO – Springfield News-Leader: Cast as ‘establishment’ pick, Josh Hawley still faces competition for GOP Senate nomination.
WI – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Leah Vukmir, Kevin Nicholson land key endorsements in GOP contest for U.S. Senate.
AL – Washington Examiner: Donald Trump’s clout on the line in Alabama runoff.
#NVSEN & #AZSEN ARE “2018 SENATE BATTLEGROUND.” Read this New York Times report on the dynamics fueling the bitter GOP Senate primaries in both Nevada and Arizona and what it means for Democrats.
LATEST FROM CBO: REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE SABOTAGE COSTS AMERICANS $$$. The latest CBO report finds the Republican-led sabotage will drive up premiums by 20 percent. Our take: Voters know the GOP is responsible for making their health care more expensive and jeopardizing their care — and in 2018 they will hold every Republican Senate candidate accountable.
DRIVING DIVA ROKITA. Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to read about the 8-page memo outlining, in great detail, the requirements for chauffeuring Congressman Todd Rokita. Local news quickly followed up on the Politico scoop:
INDYSTAR: Rokita’s drivers must have toothbrush, coffee, nerve, Politico reports.
WTHR: REPORT: Rokita has 8-page manual on how to chauffeur him while in Indiana.
Two Key Points:
(1) Reminder from the Indy Star: Rokita “is running for the Senate with the campaign slogan “Defeat the Elite.”
(2) According to Politico: Rokita’s team blamed his “nemesis” Luke Messer for the Politico scoop. [See “Nastiest GOP Primary” Above]
MANDEL IN THE “MORAL LOW GROUND.” Few inspire editorial board writers and cartoonists like Josh Mandel – take a look at the past few weeks:
Akron Beacon Journal: Ever Mandelian, or public character on a slippery slope.
“Unfortunately, Mandel can’t seem to help himself.
“Recall the publicly funded television ad touting investment accounts for the disabled. The nearly $2 million spot worked as a political feat for Mandel, lawmakers then erecting a barrier to such maneuvers. Even when he tries to do something public-minded, say, saving taxpayer dollars on travel as treasurer, it winds up as self-serving. His travel record is rich in detail about his ever running for office with far less about the public work he conducted.
“All of it says much about Josh Mandel and his priority: Whatever it takes to win, no matter standing with those who hate and divide.”
Cleveland.com: For Josh Mandel, no gutter is too deep, no shot too cheap.
“Ohio politics has never seen a bottom feeder quite like Josh Mandel. For the two-term state treasurer, no gutter is too deep, no shot too cheap.
“Voters should know this: Mandel may be the most singularly unfit contender for high office from Ohio during the lifetime of anyone reading this column.”
Cleveland.com: Josh Mandel’s political opportunism is showing again.
“Ohioans did not elect state Treasurer Josh Mandel to run seemingly 24-7-365 for another office.
That Mandel’s political ambitions know no bounds is evidenced by his willingness to push the limits of decency and propriety.
Josh Mandel needs to get his priorities straight: He is the Ohio treasurer, not the state’s campaigner-in-chief.”
MISSOURI’S JOSH HAWLEY CLIMBING LADDERS, “RAISING QUESTIONS.” From residency issues, to skirting campaign finance laws, to the dark money financing his soon-to-be campaign, Hawley faces a long list of questions from voters. Take a look:
AP: Hawley’s vote in Boone County raises questions on residency.
“Questions are being raised again about whether Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is violating state law by living in rural Boone County rather than in Jefferson City.
The issue, which first arose after Hawley took office in January, resurfaced after The Jefferson City News-Tribune reported that Hawley, a Republican in his first term, voted last week in a special election in Boone County. Jefferson City is in Cole County.
Missouri law says “The attorney general shall reside at the seat of government and keep his office in the supreme court building.” The Missouri Constitution defines the seat of government as Jefferson City.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hawley says he isn’t focused on possible Senate run; his campaign spending hints otherwise.
“Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley hasn’t said whether he’ll seek a U.S. Senate seat next year, but he’s spending money like a candidate — shelling out almost $170,000 in campaign funds for media production, direct mail and other promotional services in the past few months, even though he isn’t formally running for anything.
None of the campaign-funded material specifically mentions the Senate, but it promotes Hawley. If that’s meant to lay groundwork for a 2018 Senate run, it could raise questions about whether it skirts federal campaign rules, since the money wasn’t raised under federal fundraising limits.
Such spending is routine for candidates running for office, but unusual for newly seated officeholders who don’t face re-election for almost four years.”
Politico: Sources: Club for Growth raises $10M for Hawley.
“The Club for Growth has raised $10 million to support a Senate run by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, two Republicans with knowledge of the group’s fundraising said.
One major donor pledged to match millions of dollars in donations earmarked for Hawley, and the Club has been collecting donations against that pledge, the two Republican sources said.”
St. Joseph News-Press: Hawley would have to “overcome” ladder-climbing career politician attacks in Senate run.
“Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who has held public office since Jan. 9, became one name mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for the Senate race.
In seeking the Senate seat, Hawley would have to overcome a TV ad for the attorney general race called ‘Ladders,’ whose script began, ‘Jefferson City is full of career politicians, just climbing the ladder, using one office to get another.’”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Questions raised about where new Missouri attorney general is living.
“In one of his first acts as Missouri’s new attorney general, Republican Josh Hawley decided he doesn’t have to live in the capital city.
That decision comes despite a law that says the state’s top legal officer “shall reside at the seat of government and keep his office in the Supreme Court building.” The state’s constitution designates Jefferson City as the seat of government.
As attorney general, Hawley is required to defend the state constitution and ensure state laws are followed.”
BREAKING – CNN: PEDIATRICIANS SAY FLORIDA HURT SICK KIDS TO HELP BIG GOP DONORS. A new report has found that the Florida Department of Health worked to kick thousands of children off the Children’s Medical Services program – a specialized, public health insurance program for chronically sick children –and transfer them to private insurance plans. Experts have “question[ed] whether it was to financially reward insurance companies that had donated millions of dollars to the Republican Party of Florida.”
CAN BARLETTA “RAISE THE MONEY TO TAKE ON” SEN CASEY? The Philadelphia Inquirer delved into the GOP primary in Pennsylvania, noting that Barletta, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon, “has never had to run in a race as expensive or expansive as the one he is likely to enter.” With only $513,000 raised, Barletta will need to prove that “he can come up with the multiple millions of dollars to give him a chance to compete” against his GOP rivals who have twice as much money on hand and Senator Casey who has $5.6 million.
IN THE STATES.
MI – WWMT: Stabenow announces new legislation to crack down on prescription drug prices
MN – WCCO: Klobuchar, Truckers Teaming Up To Stop Human Trafficking
MT – Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Tester talks technology with local business leaders
ND – Williston Herald: Heitkamp hears about drought woes during listening session in North Dakota
OH – USA Today: Sherrod Brown on NAFTA talks: This time workers must be at the table
(MORE) OH – Fox45: Senator Brown fighting to keep jobs at Wright-Patt
PA – The Citizen’s Voice: Sen. Casey advocates for seniors during Wilkes-Barre stop