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DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS – MORE GOP “RECRUITMENT TROUBLES” & “FUNDRAISING STRUGGLES” – “INCONVENIENT FACTS” ABOUT GOP’S TAX SCAM – ARIZONANS “MCSKEPTICAL” ON MCSALLY – NO TOP-TIER GOP CANDIDATES IN #NDSEN

RECRUITMENT TROUBLES” & “FUNDRAISING STRUGGLES” PLAGUE GOP’S 2018. Republicans just can’t shake the stories about their bottom-of-the-barrel candidates and lackluster fundraising.

NPR: GOP Recruitment Troubles Could Affect Senate Races.

  • “There’s no doubt that Republicans have had trouble recruiting Senate candidates,” argued Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. “They’re facing a lot of headwinds in this election. One, we’ve got really strong incumbents who are problem solvers and are known in their states as people who are focused on getting things done.”
  • There at least a half-dozen states where Republicans failed to get a top-tier recruit so far or woo their first pick into the contest.
  • In North Dakota, Rep. Kevin Cramer flirted with a bid and was even wooed by the White House, but eventually decided to remain in his safe House seat. There’s a primary now to face Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, and no clear front-runner has emerged.
  • The same thing happened in nearby Montana. Attorney General Tim Fox seemed primed to run but ultimately decided against it. Then-Rep. Ryan Zinke was also considered a top challenger until Trump plucked him to run the Interior Department, though he’s had a controversial tenure there. State Auditor Matt Rosendale has jumped in, but he leads a muddled, crowded GOP field.
  • Top challengers haven’t emerged yet in crowded primary fields in Wisconsin and Michigan either.
  • Many Republicans have privately grumbled about GOP Rep. Lou Barletta’s challenge to Sen. Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, too, worrying that his lackluster campaign could cost them another golden opportunity in a state Trump carried.
  • Even in Missouri, after Rep. Ann Wagner initially passed, it seemed like the GOP had still landed a strong recruit in Attorney General Josh Hawley. But multiple reports surfaced this week that some Republicans were reaching back out to Wagner amid concerns about Hawley’s fundraising and recent controversial comments.

Listen to the full report here.

Politico: Republicans concerned over Senate fundraising struggles.

  • The fundraising news is grim across the 2018 Senate map […and] the numbers are stark: No Republican running for a Democratic-held seat raised more than $1 million from contributors in the fourth quarter of last year, but two Democrats running for seats held by Republicans did.
  • Democratic senators in states Trump won are amassing large war chests. Claire McCaskill has $9.1 million on hand as she prepares to run for reelection in Missouri. Her likely GOP challenger, the much-hyped state Attorney General Josh Hawley, has just $1.2 million on hand. Indiana’s Joe Donnelly has $5.3 million in the bank, while all three of his challengers have just around $2.4 million each — and are likely to spend much of it bashing each other ahead of a May primary. In Pennsylvania, a state where Trump broke through last cycle, Bob Casey has $8.6 million in the bank. His highest-profile challenger, Rep. Lou Barletta, raised just $500,000 and has around $1 million on hand.
  • Dean Heller (R-Nev.), the only Republican seeking reelection in a state Hillary Clinton won, raised only $821,000 —an amount that was nearly doubled by his likely Democratic challenger.
  • Despite being out of the majority, the DSCC raised $54 million in 2017, to the NRSC’s $41.5 million, with the latter group going five months in a row spending more than they raised.

Read more: Bloomberg: Senate Democrats in Trump States Raise More Than GOP Challengers; Talking Points Memo: Senate Democrats Dominate Their GOP Counterparts In Campaign Fundraising; National Journal: Senate Dems in Strong Financial Shape; U.S. News & World Report: The Republican Fundraising Funk; The Hill: GOP Senate candidate fundraising lags behind Dems in key races; USA Today: Early numbers show Senate Democrats raising big sums for midterm battles; National Journal: The GOP’s Deep Fundraising Funk.

ICYMI: GOP PLANS FOR LIFETIME MEDICAID CAPS. McClatchy reported earlier this week that Republicans plan to implement a lifetime cap on the Medicaid coverage individuals can receive. Here’s our take:

“Here’s what every Republican Senate candidate will have to answer for: higher premiums, an age tax on seniors, cutting coverage for pre-existing conditions – and now trying to cap the coverage an individual can receive in their lifetime. The GOP has found a way to make their expensive, harmful, and unpopular agenda even worse.”

“INCONVENIENT FACTS” ABOUT THE GOP’S TAX SCAM. As the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin points out, “if you wanted to make certain the middle and working classes got the lion’s share of the tax cuts, you wouldn’t have devised [the tax bill] the way the Republicans did.” We couldn’t agree more. More from Rubin’s article:

If nearly $100 billion go for stock buybacks and $2.5 billion go for bonuses, then workers are not — as the White House has repeatedly claimed — going to get the majority of the money flowing from the corporate tax cut. Not even close. The corporate tax cuts, at least so far, have overwhelmingly rewarded shareholders (including senior executives who own stock).

In short, the administration’s obsession with temporary bonuses is a political tactic that tells us little about the effectiveness of the tax cuts. For now, the vast percentage of the corporate tax cuts are flowing to shareholders.

MONTINI: ARIZONANS “MCSKEPTICAL” ON MCSALLY. McSally is struggling to navigate her nasty and potentially expensive primary against former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward, and is continuing to earn brutal press coverage in the process. The Arizona Republic’s EJ Montini is labeling her “McSilent,” “McSkittish,” a “political changeling,” and asking “so, who is McSally, really?”

🚨 #NVSEN TOPS CNN’S MOST LIKELY TO FLIP LIST. 🚨The reasons for Senator Heller’s almost permanent place at the top of most likely to flip lists?

  1. His anemic fundraising. As CNN notes, the $820,000 he raised in the fourth quarter is “bad — particularly for an incumbent,” especially considering Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen outraised him nearly 2-to-1.
  2. His primary challenge from Danny Tarkanian.
  3. His “gymnastics on health care.”

SEARCH FOR STRONG GOP CANDIDATE IN #NDSEN HAS “FOUNDERED.” Despite Gary Emineth’s entrance in the North Dakota Senate primary, which was met with “resignation,” Republicans are still lukewarm about both he and state senator Tom Campbell, with one political observer describing them as “milquetoast lightweights” who are incapable of taking on Senator Heitkamp. Another in-state reporter didn’t mince words on how he views the current Republican field:

This has got to be depressing for North Dakota Republicans. They came into this election cycle thinking they had a very real chance to send Heitkamp into retirement. Now they’re just 65 days away from their state convention in Grand Forks and they have just two challengers for Heitkamp.

One, Emineth, had admittedly only been in the race a short time but so far hasn’t exactly impressed with his campaign skills.

The other, Tom Campbell, has all the charisma of a damp rag.

* Want to know more about the latest primary in which Republicans failed to land a top-tier recruit? Read our primer here. *

ACTION IS LACKING” FROM SCOTT ON OPIOID EPIDEMIC. Governor Scott has hindered Florida’s ability to effectively deal with the opioid crisis with “no dedicated agency to lead and coordinate” the fight and pledging, what Attorney General Bondi called, “nothing” in terms of the state’s overall budget. Making matter worse, the Tampa Bay Times reports that the chances of resurrecting Florida’s Office of Drug Control – which Scott killed in 2011 and that the state’s panel on opioids listed as its top recommendation – “appear slim.”

Meanwhile, Senator Nelson has been at work securing $6 billion in the federal government’s budget to help combat the opioid crisis. This funding couldn’t come at a more urgent time: in Florida, 14 people die from drug overdoses every day.

NICHOLSON’S CLIENTS CONSIST MOSTLY OF FINANCIAL FIRMS. Kevin Nicholson raised the possibility of conflict of interest problems when he refused to release his consulting clients list. Now that he’s finally released the list, we know why he was keeping it under wraps. As the Wisconsin State Journal notes, half of the companies he consulted for were financial firms. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, many of these firms “could potentially stand to benefit by having someone like Nicholson — whom they’ve had a working business relationship with — in a position of power.”

MORE REASON FOR GOP TO PANIC IN #PASEN. After Pennsylvania Republicans “vent[ed] frustration” that Congressman Barletta’s “anemic fundraising and strategic misfires [were] jeopardizing” Republicans across the state, PennLive zeroes in on another aspect that might doom Barletta’s campaign: his “ultra-hardline” stance on immigration.

IN THE STATES.
IN – WBIW: Donnelly, Bipartisan Group Of Senators Continue Push For Community Health Centers Funding
FL – Bay News 9: Rubio, Nelson support disaster aid provision in budget
(MORE) FL – Villages News: U.S. Sen. Nelson calls for funding to save Florida citrus industry
MI – UP Matters: Stabenow Leads Effort to Provide Relief for Michigan Dairy Farmers
MN – KEYC: Sen. Tina Smith Forms Ag Advisory Group
MT – Great Falls Tribune: Tester hopeful budget will cure Montana health center funding woes
(MORE) MT – Citizen Tribune: Guest View: Tester has stood with Montana’s women and children
ND – Inforum: Heitkamp introduces bill to require two-person freight train crews to improve rail safety
OH – The Hill: Brown leads creation of pension-crisis committee
(MORE) OH – Columbus Dispatch: Senate deal includes panel to tackle pension problems of 60,000 Ohioans
(EVEN MORE) OH – WTOL: Senator Brown announces new funding for opioids, health centers in budget deal
PA – Times Leader: Casey leads legislation to invest $45B to address opioid crisis
WI – WQOW: Sen. Baldwin helps secure major investment for Wisconsin dairy farmers
WV – WVNSTV: Manchin Signs Bipartisan Letter Urging Community Health Centers Funding

TWEET OF THE WEEK.

Enjoy the weekend – and the Olympics!

Lauren Passalacqua
@laurenvpass

Ben Ray
@BenRay

David Bergstein
@DavidABergstein

Courtney Rice
@Court_Rice

Justin Lavoie
@je_lavoie

 

 

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