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DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS – GOP “FACE UNCERTAIN ELECTORAL FUTURE IN 2018” – DOES HELLER “WANT TO REMAIN A SENATOR”? – MANDEL “STANDS WITH” ALT RIGHT – SPOTLIGHT ON NASTY GOP PRIMARIES – DSCC RAISES $5M IN JUNE

GOP “FACE UNCERTAIN ELECTORAL FUTURE IN 2018.” Every iteration of the GOP’s health care bill would result in the same bad deal: spiked costs and stripped coverage for hardworking Americans, while the wealthy benefit. Senators Heller and Flake are already on-the-record voting over 20 times for legislation that would force Americans to pay more for less care. Meanwhile, polling shows that “voters are ready to blame Republicans for the rate hikes” and will hold them accountable for damaging America’s health care system in 2018. 

DOES HELLER “WANT TO REMAIN A SENATOR”? Sometimes a picture says it all. From yesterday’s front page of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

 

The coverage hasn’t been too kind to Heller, but he has no one to blame but himself for his “no-win situation.”

Heller’s had quite a week, with President Trump not-so-subtly threatening his re-election chances if he didn’t vote for the Republican health care bill. Still, Heller is refusing to say which way he’ll vote, “keeping his options open” when it comes to the legislation. Take two minutes to read this dumpster fire of an interview with Axios in which Heller openly admits he changes his position based on what he thinks his constituents want to hear!

QUICK CLIP: Nevada guru Jon Ralston calls Heller’s situation “embarrassing,” noting that he’s put himself in a box when it comes to health care.

“FLAKE’S DILEMMA – SAVE HIS POLITICAL LIFE OR REAL LIVES?” It’s no secret that Trump and his White House are recruiting primary challengers for Flake’s Arizona Senate seat. With health care topping the national agenda, Flake finds himself in a “dilemma: save his political life or real lives?” He’s already come out in support of the Cruz Amendment, which “just about everyone calls… a disaster” and he’s on-the-record endorsing cuts to Medicaid. Just like Heller, he’s caught in a health care vise.

SHOT – Flake: It isn’t worth being the “go-along-to-get-along guy” with Trump to boost his re-election chances.
CHASER – Flake has a 95 percent voting record with Trump. 

SPOTLIGHT ON NASTY GOP PRIMARIES: IN, WV, MI EDITION.

INDIANA: Congressmen Rokita and Messer spent the week sending dueling emails to their supporters accusing the other of planting damaging news stories and calling each other names. The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel noted that Rokita and Messer are “too busy beating each other up” and called for “a lively… campaign over substantive issues and values… not personalities and personal issues.” They didn’t heed the News-Sentinel’s call. Today they were at it again over internal polling and what attacks would work with GOP primary voters. Once again, instead of talking about the issues Hoosiers care about, these two undeclared House members are engaged in a public and embarrassing brawl over their political futures.

WEST VIRGINIA: In the latest segment of “Appalachia infighting,” Attorney General Patrick Morrisey accused Congressman Jenkins of running a “desperate and very negative campaign” and is staking his claim as the true conservative in the race.

MICHIGAN: The GOP’s second- and third-tier candidates are trying to out-Trump themselves with candidate Lena Epstein challenging new candidate John James to declare his position on sanctuary cities.

Meanwhile, Democrats have “‘some very strong candidates’ who are ‘tailor made’ for the states they’re running in, even as the map proves daunting. ‘And, they’ve got a hell of a tailwind, given the environment.’”

MANDEL “STANDS WITH” ALT RIGHT. Here’s the lede from the Columbus Dispatch: “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel took to Twitter on Thursday to ‘stand with’ a man who has claimed that date rape doesn’t exist and that ‘diversity is a code for white genocide.’” The desperate defense of the alt-right conspiracy theorists was so unbelievable, some wondered if he had been hacked:

Nope – this is how low Mandel is willing to sink, embroiling himself in yet another self-imposed scandal when he should have been working on behalf of Ohioans.

MANDEL “RAISES HALF OF WHAT” BROWN RAISED IN Q2. Given the above, it’s no surprise that Mandel raised half of what Senator Brown did in Q2. This is despite Mandel raising funds from three different campaign committees, which the Toledo Blade calls “an unusual arrangement.” Brown’s strong fundraising (he raised more in Q2 than he ever has during an off-election-year) is one of the reasons why U.S. News & World Report gives him “the early edge” in the 2018 race. 

ICYMI: SCOTT IS A SELF-SERVING POLITICIAN. Governor Scott’s penchant for acting out of self-interest just reached a new low. Politico reports that Scott’s “political team has been playing a direct role in the operation of his official taxpayer-funded office,” which experts say “is having a palpable impact on state government.” No wonder Florida has fallen to the bottom of the nation in wages and income. And, just this week, Scott appointed his “go-to guy” and long-time crony to head his slush fund – despite the appointee having “no prior experience at recruiting businesses.” Scott has proven, once again, that he’s a typical Tallahassee politician who puts his own interests (and those of his cronies) ahead of hardworking Floridians. 

WATCH: Senator Baldwin visit a family in Wisconsin to highlight the real consequences of the GOP’s toxic health care bill.

 

WISCONSIN’S NICHOLSON “TOOK FEW VISIBLE ACTIONS ON VETERANS HOME CONCERNS.” An investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that potential Wisconsin Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson “didn’t directly respond to safety concerns that critics raised to him about Wisconsin’s largest veterans home.”

DSCC RAISES $5M IN JUNE. The DSCC raised $5 million in June and ended the month with $17.2 million cash-on-hand. This comes at the end of another “strong fundraising” quarter for Senate Democrats who have “some serious cash to defend their seats next year.”

IN THE STATES.
FL – Florida Politics: In Senate floor speech, Bill Nelson takes aim at Rick Scott and GOP’s ‘war on science’
MORE FL – Tampa Bay Times: Bill Nelson: time to work on bipartisan fixes to Obamacare
IN – Indianapolis Business Journal: Donnelly leads in fundraising as Senate race heats up
MO – STL. News: Following Complaints in Missouri, McCaskill Continues Effort to Improve Postal Service
OH – Columns Dispatch: Editorial: Portman, Brown could make history
WV – Daily Beast: Manchin Attempting to Form Bipartisan Group on Health Care
WI – Herald Times Reporter: Tammy Baldwin among Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation 

TWEET OF THE WEEK. We’re keeping Senator McCain and his family in our thoughts and wish him a quick recovery.  

 Lauren Passalacqua
@laurenvpass

Ben Ray
@BenRay

David Bergstein
@DavidABergstein

Courtney Rice
@Court_Rice

Justin Lavoie
@je_lavoie

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