“GOP INSURRECTION” FORTHCOMING. The results of the Alabama Republican run-off on Tuesday poured gasoline over already raging primaries, with insurgent GOP candidates planning insurrections in Senate primaries across the country to take on incumbents they view as not sufficiently loyal to Trump. As the New York Times correctly notes, “if nothing else, divisive intraparty battles could cost party donors tens of millions of dollars and weaken Republicans’ position.” How bad can it get? Senator Corker dropped out just a week after his own primary challenger emerged and hours before Moore cruised to victory. Reminder: Republicans now own Roy Moore and can expect to face uncomfortable questions about his views in races across the country.

We’ve already seen this divisive primary dynamic play out in Alabama, and be on the lookout for it in Nevada, Arizona, and Mississippi.

From Chairman Van Hollen: “The Republican runoff has already cast a long shadow on GOP Senate prospects across the map – compelling one incumbent to retire rather than face a primary battle like the one that unfolded in Alabama. The divisions witnessed in the last few weeks will continue to play out in primaries throughout the midterms.”  

BANNON “CHARTS PATH” IN MIDTERMS. Speaking of divisions… Riding high off of his run-off victory in Alabama, Steve Bannon and Breitbart have begun meeting with primary candidates running for Senate, including Danny Tarkanian (NV), Kelli Ward (AZ), Patrick Morrisey (WV), Matt Rosendale (MT), and Leah Vukmir (WI). Look for these candidates to make life more difficult for Republicans as they attempt to coalesce around one primary candidate.

DSCC ENDORSES KYRSTEN SINEMA FOR #AZSEN. Last night, Representative Kyrsten Sinema officially announced her campaign to take on one of the most vulnerable Senators of 2018, Jeff Flake. At every turn, Sinema has put Arizona first: fighting to improve the VA and standing up for veterans and military families, protecting seniors and working to make college more affordable – all by crossing the aisle to get results. Sinema has been touted as a “first-tier” candidate and a general election poll, taken before she officially announced, had Sinema beating Flake by 8 points

Cook Political Report: Sinema’s Candidacy Puts #AZsen as “TOSS UP”

GRAHAM-CASSIDY-HELLER MAY BE DEAD, BUT GOP IS STILL SABOTAGING THE MARKETS. While their latest attempt to pass a bill that would spike costs and strip coverage for millions of Americans may have failed, Republicans’ actions have already sabotaged the current health care market. And they’re not giving up on this politically-motivated fight either. Rather than working with Democrats on a bipartisan solution, Politico and Axios report that Republicans are looking for new ways to pass their disastrous legislation with as few as 50 votes, including tying health care to tax reform – and BuzzFeed has learned that HHS is pulling out of key health care enrollment events across the country. Insurers have consistently warned that all of this uncertainty could drive premium increases of 20% or more next year, and it looks like the “damage is already done.” Polling has shown that voters know who is to blame for these increases, and will hold Republicans accountable in 2018.

NBC: Obamacare Repeal Failed, but the Damage Is Already Done.

  • “Graham-Cassidy is officially over for now after Senate leaders announced they would not bring it up for a vote. But the damage to the health insurance market from the lengthy repeal debate is done — with higher premiums and fewer choices already baked into Obamacare’s 2018 exchanges.”
  • Why insurers are spooked: Any conversation needs to reckon with the current state of Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges, which are still struggling to attract insurers even as their profits improved last year. While no counties are slated to go without coverage in 2018, almost half will have just one option next year. The problem has a lot to do with the last eight months of repeal efforts.”
  • For months, insurers warned that the ongoing turmoil in Congress and threats from the White House to undermine Obamacare would force them to charge customers more — or not offer plans at all — in 2018… In a report this month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated this confusion would be responsible for a 15 percent increase in premiums next year.”
  • Premium hikes on the horizon: Already, state insurance regulators are approving big rate increases based on the assumption that Trump will discontinue CSR payments and Congress will not appropriate them…. It’s not just the CSR’s raising rates. Industry analysts say companies are also pricing in doubts about whether the White House will enforce the Obamacare individual mandate, which requires people to maintain coverage.”

BuzzFeed: The Trump Administration Is Pulling Out Of Obamacare Enrollment Events.

  • All ten “regional representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services will not be participating in open enrollment events in the states as they have in years past, according to an administration source.”
  • “In a notice informing participants they would be canceling the events, Mitchell [the executive director of Mississippi Health Advocacy Program] said HHS’s ‘destructive actions will ultimately reduce enrollment, increase costs and drive up the uninsured rate in Mississippi.’ I didn’t call it sabotage,’ Mitchell told BuzzFeed News. ‘But that’s what it is.’

DSCC LAUNCHES “JIMMY KIMMEL TEST” FACEBOOK ADS. The DSCC expanded its initial digital campaign against potential and announced Republican Senate candidates highlighting how the GOP’s health care agenda fails “The Jimmy Kimmel Test” with new Facebook ads. The ads will run in addition to the previously announced Google search ads and reach targeted voters in the same 12 states as part of the of the DSCC’s ongoing six-figure digital buy. An example of the ad is below. 

HELLER IS BIGGEST LOSER IN HEALTH CARE FIGHT. Between being “dogged by his summer of reversals on health care,” to the governor of his own state slamming his bill, no one “has had a wilder ride in the GOP’s futile effort to repeal Obamacare than the most vulnerable Republican senator.” And now Nevadans are beginning to understand why Heller lent his name to a bill that would cost Nevada $2.7 billion in federal funding and cause 243,000 Nevadans to lose their health insurance: to appease his donors. The New York Times reports that “the backlash from big donors as well as the grass roots panicked Senate Republicans and was part of the motivation behind the sudden zeal to take one last crack at repealing the health care law before the end of the month.”

FACT-CHECKING FLAKE ON PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. The Senator took to the floor this week to claim that he wanted to “make sure that those with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable care.” The problem? Flake has supported every iteration of the Republican health care agenda that would gut coverage for pre-existing conditions. TPM has a handy timeline of “how Republicans broke their promise on preexisting conditions,” including Senator Flake.

HAWLEY “UNDER FIRE,” CAUGHT LYING ABOUT CAMPAIGN. Hawley’s campaign has come “under fire” for misleading Missourians about the nature of his campaign for Senate. While promoting himself through the Attorney General’s office and claiming that he was only exploring a Senate run, Hawley had already filed paperwork for a regular campaign account – raising questions about why he was deceiving Missourians while making closed-door promises to his millionaire donors and special interests.

FACING “BACKLASH” OVER NURSING HOME SCANDAL, SCOTT NAMED “LOSER OF THE WEEK.” After being named “loser of the week” by the Tampa Bay Times, Scott’s week has only gotten worse as he faces continued backlash over the tragic deaths of 11 seniors at a nursing home facility following Hurricane Irma. In addition to accusations that he broke the law by deleting the nursing home’s voicemails, he’s received criticism for his lack of transparency in the matter. Making matters worse, Scott abruptly replaced the head of the state’s Department of Emergency Management with a political crony who has just a year of emergency operations experience. What Floridians are reading: 

Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: Scott’s appointments, secrecy undercut his Irma performance.
Tampa Bay Times: Ruth: Why were nursing home’s voicemails to governor deleted?
Newsweek: Florida Governor Rick Scott May Have Broken The Law By Deleting Pleas For Help From Nursing Home Where 11 Died.
CBS Miami: Gov. Scott Doesn’t Answer Why Nursing Home Voicemails Were Deleted.
Tampa Bay Times: Gov. Scott replaces head of emergency operations with political operative.
Tampa Bay Times: Rick Scott Is Loser Of The Week, “Scott’s Hurricane Leadership Under Scrutiny.”
The Hill: Florida Governor Faces Backlash Over Nursing Home Voicemails Left During Hurricane.
New York Times: At Florida Nursing Home, Many Calls for Help, but None That Made a Difference.

BONUS OHIO CLICK-THROUGH: It’s been 134 days since the Ohio press corps last heard from Josh Mandel, but he certainly hasn’t been hiding from his out-of-state campaign financiers. Click here to find out what has happened since Mandel last made himself available to the constituents he’s supposed to represent.

AL – Huffington Post: Man Who Put KKK Behind Bars Will Now Try To Stop Roy Moore From Reaching Senate
(MORE) AL – Son of a steelworker, Doug Jones works to connect with Alabama voters
AZ – Arizona Republic: Rep. Kyrsten Sinema enters Senate race, hoping to unseat Jeff Flake
MI – WLUC: Senators Stabenow, Peters introduce Small Business Access to Capital Act
MT – Great Falls Tribune: Tester wants action plan to prevent veteran suicides
OH – WOSU: Sen. Sherrod Brown Proposes $100 Billion For Improving School Buildings
WV – Metro News: Manchin pushes plan to increase internet access


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