MUST READ: GOP “HEADACHES KEEP MOUNTING.” A fresh look from the New York Times on how “Republican leaders in Congress are under attack from all sides of their own party, battered by voters from the right and left, spurned by frustrated donors and even threatened by the Trump White House for ineffective leadership and insufficient loyalty.” Some highlights:
INTRAPARTY BRAWLS “ROIL” GOP. Intraparty brawls in Republican Senate primaries have continued to grow since Roy Moore’s insurgent victory in Alabama last week which “roiled” the GOP. Between establishment versus anti-establishment fights across the map and dueling donors, this week has seen races across the country turn more divisive.
WV – McClatchy: Top Trump donors jump into next nasty GOP primary fight.
WI – Associated Press: Divided Wisconsin Republicans picking sides in Senate race.
SIREN – “ESTABLISHMENT” CANDIDATE JOSH HAWLEY “COURTS” BANNON IN #MOSEN. The Kansas City Star reports that Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley “is courting” Bannon in the wake of reports that the former Trump advisor would not support the establishment’s pick. Hawley’s got good reason to fear Bannon:
The “courting” is a sign that Hawley is worried about his base and a larger signal that traditional Republicans doubt the strength of McConnell and the millions of dollars he promises in the face of Bannon’s growing strength in the party. The question is: will Bannon risk his kingmaker status to back a candidate so entrenched in the establishment?
GOP FACES FURIOUS DONORS AS INSURGENCY CONTINUES. The fury from the Republican insurgency is nearly matched by the anger of their donors. From Politico: “Republicans are confronting a growing revolt from their top donors, who are cutting off the party in protest over its inability to get anything done.” Making matters worse, insurgent candidates have become “emboldened” to challenge Republican establishment candidates. These dynamics will continue to haunt them heading into the midterms.
FLAKE “NOT STARTING FROM POSITION OF STRENGTH.” That’s what Nathan Gonzales had to say about Flake’s campaign. His “reelection outlook has continued to darken” after “first-tier Democratic candidate” Representative Kyrsten Sinema launched her campaign for the U.S. Senate, causing Cook Political Report and Inside Elections to move the race in Democrats’ favor to a “Toss Up” seat.
NEW REPORTS DETAIL GOP SABOTAGE OF HEALTH CARE. Three new reports detail how Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration are purposefully sabotaging America’s health insurance system by sowing chaos and confusion as part of a “broad campaign… to undermine the 2010 health care law.” From the reports:
New York Times: “Health insurers are aggressively increasing prices next year for individual policies sold under the federal health care law, with some raising premiums by more than 50 percent…After the latest Senate effort to repeal the health law collapsed, insurers still have no commitment about whether the government will continue to allocate millions of dollars in critical financing. The changing circumstances and inaction by Congress have forced insurers to raise rates and experiment with different plans for those who are not eligible for federal assistance.”
Protect Our Care: “Blame for the increase was squarely placed on the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress injecting uncertainty into the marketplace by threatening to default on cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments that help lower out-of-pocket costs in some way, shape or form.”
Washington Post: “Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to changes sought by conservative states as part of a broader campaign by his administration to undermine the 2010 health-care law. In addition to trying to cut funding for the ACA, the Trump administration also is hampering state efforts to control premiums. In the case of Iowa, that involved a highly unusual intervention by the president himself… Advocates say the Health and Human Services Department has done more to suppress the number of people signing up than to boost it.”
GOP SENATE CANDIDATES VOTE FOR TOXIC BUDGET PLAN. A slew of Senate candidates voted for a budget that would spike health care costs, slash coverage, and end Medicare as we know it. At every turn, these politicians have pushed reckless and harmful policies for the sake of their own self-serving political agenda, while hardworking Americans pay the price. Here’s the list: Congressmen Messer and Rokita of Indiana, Barletta of Pennsylvania, Jenkins of West Virginia, and Congresswoman Blackburn of Tennessee. Two other potential primary challengers – Congressmen Upton of Michigan and Cramer of North Dakota – also voted for the fringe budget.
ICYMI: VP BIDEN CAMPAIGNS WITH #ALSEN CANDIDATE DOUG JONES.
WHITE SUPREMACISTS LAUNCH SUPER PAC FOR MANDEL. Another reminder that “for Josh Mandel, no gutter is too deep”: after standing with the white supremacist conspiracy theorists who do not believe in rape, Mandel now stands to benefit from them. A new super PAC will financially back Mandel’s Senate ambitions. It’s classic Mandel – he went out of his way to defend dangerous conspiracy theorists and now they’re ready to pour millions into his race.
IT’S MANDEL, SO OF COURSE IT GETS WORSE. Mandel has refused to answer a single question about the support he’ll receive from this hateful group and, when asked about this week, his staffer struck back – literally.
Cleveland.com: Josh Mandel aide accused of shoving video camera to stop a Democrat from filming the candidate
Roll Call: Mandel Staffer Accused of Getting Physical With Tracker
NOT THE HEADLINE YOU WANT #MTSEN. A judge who claims to be “exploring” a run for Senate – while raising money, talking about issues, and building support – got some well-deserved scrutiny from the largest paper in the state: We should be asking the judge… Bottom line: “Be a judge or be a senatorial candidate. But I am not sure you can be both, your honor.”
IN THE STATES.
AL – AL.com: Joe Biden highlights Doug Jones’ ‘character’ during Birmingham campaign stop
FL – Florida Politics: Bill Nelson sponsors bill to ban bump stocks for assault weapons
MA – HuffPost: Elizabeth Warren Scorches Former Equifax CEO For Profiting From Data Breaches
MI – Holland Sentinel: Stabenow, Peters introduce small business legislation
MO – Bloomberg: McCaskill Blasts Trump for Saying Tax Plan Won’t Benefit Him
ND – KVRR: Sen. Heitkamp Introduces “Savanna’s Act” for Protection of Native American Women
PA – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Sen. Casey pushes for ban on ‘bump stock’ firearms attachments
WI – National Journal: In a Shifting State, Baldwin Stays Left
TWEET OF THE WEEK.
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