RECRUITMENT FAILURES & CONTENTIOUS PRIMARIES. The major trends we observed last year – Republican recruitment failures and the resulting contentious primaries – have continued in the on-year and were on full display this week. Take a look:

RECRUITING SETBACK” AS CRAMER OPTS OUT OF #NDSEN. From the Washington Post: “The Republican effort to enlist formidable candidates for the ­Senate suffered another setback Thursday” when Cramer announced that he wouldn’t run for Senate, in a year when “attracting top candidates in key Senate races has been an ongoing struggle for a party facing strong political head winds.” The trend is clear: Republicans are experiencing recruitment failures across the country because they don’t want to run on their record of increasing health care costs and taxes, and putting the interests of the wealthy over middle class Americans.

IT GETS WORSE: CRAMER WON’T ENDORSE CAMPBELL. Following his announcement that he wouldn’t run for Senate, Cramer refused to endorse Tom Campbell – the GOP’s only candidate in the North Dakota race – saying he hopes other Republicans will jump in.

AS MCSALLY ENTERS BITTER PRIMARY, “HER AMBITION HAD ALL THE SECRECY OF A NEON SIGN.” Months after telling her Washington, D.C. colleagues, Congresswoman McSally finally announced to Arizonans her intention to run for U.S. Senate, ending “the year’s worst-kept political secret.” From an absolutely brutal write up in The Arizona Republic:

“McSally’s big announcement should end three months of public speculation about her interest in running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake. But if the rollout of a Senate campaign has been slow, her interest in it goes back until at least the summer.

Since January, McSally has become Arizona’s most reliable vote in the House for the Trump agenda. Most notably, she supported the GOP’s unpopular health-care plan that passed the House but failed in the Senate thanks, in part, to McCain’s dramatic thumb’s down.

Flake’s surprise retirement announcement, in which he cited Trump’s sway over GOP voters, underscored that Republicans could no longer deny Trump’s dominance of party politics. McSally’s pivot appeared to be the right political move for the moment.”

IT’LL ONLY GET WORSE FOR MCSALLY… AND MCCONNELL. Rumors are circulating that a self-funding candidate may run, while Joe Arpaio dominates the race and drives everyone to the right. Want proof? McSally was asked at her launch event to respond to the President’s shithole comments. She defended him.

MCCONNEL #OHSEN RECRUIT MAY NOT LIVE IN OHIO. McConnell is so desperate for any candidate in Ohio that he’s actively recruiting someone who doesn’t even live in-state.

A reminder to candidates McConnell goes “all in” for: Senate Leadership Fund memo: McConnell is Toxic with Voters.

New York Times: Republicans’ ‘Tough Cycle’ Now Spreads to Senate.
Associated Press: GOP struggles to woo candidates in states where Trump won.
Washington Post: GOP, Trump suffer recruiting setback as N.D. Rep. Kevin Cramer will not run for Senate.
Roll Call: Senate Match-Ups Yet to Take Shape Ahead of 2018 Primaries.
TPM: Fears Of A Democratic Midterm Wave Are Already Costing GOP In Key Races.


Tammy Baldwin raised $2.8 million and has $7 million cash on hand.
Sherrod Brown raised $2.6 million and has $9.8 million cash on hand, double the amount the campaign had at this time in 2012.
Bob Casey raised $2.6 million and has $8.6 million cash on hand.
Tim Kaine raised $1.5 million and has $9.2 million cash on hand.
Claire McCaskill raised $2.94 million and has $9 million cash on hand. The average donation was $64 and she received support from over 107,000 donors.
Kyrsten Sinema raised $1.6 million and has $5.1 million cash on hand.
Debbie Stabenow raised $1.9 million and has $8 million cash on hand.

REMEMBER BANNON? HIS ENDORSED CANDIDATES CERTAINLY DO. He may have fallen out of favor with Trump and national Republicans, but Bannon is still a factor in GOP primaries. As Yahoo News points out, “all of the declared candidates that Bannon considered part of his ‘coalition’ were already running before he endorsed them — and all of them will continue campaigning without him.”

MISSOURI – Kansas City Star: Trump-Bannon split spells political trouble for Missouri Senate hopeful Hawley.
MONTANA – Montana Public Radio: Rosendale “keeps quiet about Bannon endorsement”.
WISCONSIN – Washington Examiner: Leah Vukmir summons the ghost of Steve Bannon to Wisconsin.

POLITIFACT GIVES SCOTT A “FULL FLOP” ON OIL DRILLING. Governor Rick Scott has been panned for his self-serving publicity stunt in securing Florida’s exemption from the Trump administration’s oil drilling proposal. Scott has always been for oil drilling, except when it’s politically convenient not to be. As Politico Florida noted: the announcement “was always in the works” to “allow Scott to claim victory in a likely bid later this year for Senate.” That’s why PolitiFact Florida gave him a “full flop” on the issue.

“During his first campaign for governor in 2010, Scott called for drilling offshore. After the Deepwater Horizon explosion, he added language to his campaign website to state that he wanted drilling done in an ‘environmentally sound way and adhering to the strictest of safety standards.’

During his first term, Scott took no meaningful steps to expand drilling.

But when Trump’s administration proposed an expansion of offshore drilling Jan. 4, Scott said he opposed the idea and sought a meeting with Zinke. That rejection sounds different from his stance when he first ran for governor in 2010 and he was open to drilling.

We give Scott a Full Flop.”

Something from Politico Florida Playbook for Scott to consider:


“As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, Gov. Rick Scott gave out his cellphone number during a conference call with administrators of the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities. He told them to contact him if they ran into problems, and he would try to get help. So they did, 120 times according to phone records released this week. Nearly all the calls went directly to voice mail before being returned.”

Read more.

SCOTT’S HYPOCRITICAL STATE OF THE STATE. If you listened to Florida Governor Scott’s State of the State on Tuesday, you’d think he was the greatest jobs creator in the world. But the facts tell a different story:Half of Florida’s counties have lost jobs;

Jobs in Florida cities have the lowest pay in the nation;
Florida’s per-pupil education funding is below the national average; and
Florida cut its mental health and addiction services by over $11 million.
As the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board wrote, “Scott is like so many others in Tallahassee: focused on higher office and aligning his words and proposals to a potential campaign, not the state’s immediate needs.”

** Be sure to read Bloomberg/BNA on why Senators Manchin and Heitkamp “have an edge” in their reelections. **

GOP TAX SCAM: GREAT NEWS FOR BILLIONAIRE CORPORATIONS, BAD NEWS FOR AMERICAN WORKERS. Three examples from this week highlight just how bad the Republican tax scam is for middle class Americans. The New York Times reports that the bill “make[s] it more attractive for companies to put more assembly lines on foreign soil,” and Reuters reports that “multinational corporations… [could] avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes on profits stashed overseas” through a loophole. And yesterday, Walmart, AT&T, and Comcast quietly laid off thousands of workers across the country.

PAY-TO-PLAY IN INDIANA? This Associated Press headline says it all: Casino interests gave to Indiana’s Rokita as he pushed bill.

  • [Congressman Rokita] who has made repeated calls to “drain the swamp” in Washington collected more than $160,000 in campaign contributions from gambling interest groups that stand to benefit from legislation he is sponsoring, an Associated Press review found.
  • Republican Rep. Todd Rokita’s collection of such contributions has surged since 2015, when he first sponsored legislation that would end employee protections for tribal casino workers under the National Labor Relations Act. While not illegal, Rokita’s acceptance of the donations gives the appearance of the pay-to-play Washington politics that he has frequently inveighed against during his Indiana GOP Senate primary campaign.

And that’s not all for the “GOP’s nastiest primary.” Congressman Messer is facing accusations from his opponents of “rigging” a straw poll by busing in and paying college students to attend the vote. We’re currently taking bets on whether this latest accusation will mysteriously appear on Messer’s Wikipedia page soon.

IN – WBIW: President Trump Signs Donnelly, Young Bill To Improve Mental Health Services For Law Enforcement
MN – WDIO: Senator Tina Smith Meets With Retirees About Pension Problem
MO – Newsy: McCaskill Paves The Way For A Vote To Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules
(MORE) MO – AP: McCaskill Bill Addresses Northern Missouri Mailing Quirk
NV – Reno Gazette Journal: NARAL backs Rosen over Heller in Senate race: Mello Roberson
(MORE) NV – Las Vegas Review-Journal: House bill would streamline veteran healthcare in Nevada
OH – WOIO: Senators Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman seeking solution to fix Ohio’s crumbling infrastructure
(MORE) OH – The News-Messenger: Brown seeks $30 billion for Ohio bridges


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