NYT: GOP SENATE IN “DISARRAY.” This week, the New York Times highlighted the Republican Senate’s dysfunction and failure to handle critical issues like national security. As the Times put it, “as senators raced for the airport on Saturday after a six-week session that ended in disarray, they left behind a wreck of promises made by Mr. McConnell on how a renewed Senate would operate.”
It’s probably not a coincidence McConnell admitted this week that the chances of growing the GOP’s fragile majority are “pretty slim” in 2016.
RON JOHNSON: EVERYTHING ISN’T AWESOME. In this edition of “Bizarre Things Ron Johnson Did This Week,” the vulnerable Republican Senator took aim at The Lego Movie. Huffington Post reports that Johnson called the movie “insidious” and “propaganda.” While media outlets picked up the story, Johnson showed Wisconsin voters that their tax dollars were hard at work as he immediately retaliated with a rant on his Senate blog, defending the statement and attacking the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grimm. Because nothing says “I’m focused on my home state” more than a lengthy defense of your opposition to the Lego Movie.
JOHN MCCAIN’S “PERFECT STORM” – DEMOCRATS PUT ARIZONA ON THE MAP, TEA PARTY FAVORITE MULLS RUN. It’s been a rough week for John McCain – as the rumors of a primary challenge from Tea Party favorite Matt Salmon grow, a Democratic challenger also entered the race this week. Rothenberg & Gonzales immediately changed the rating of the race, and as Gonzales noted, the Arizona Senate race now “looks more competitive.”
National Journal highlights that a race “against both his toughest Democratic opponent and primary challenger yet, at the same time” could mean the perfect storm for John McCain. With polling reporting low favorability among Republicans, McCain is in for a tough fight.
ARIZONA NEWSPAPER CALLS CHALLENGE “GOOD NEWS.” A Democratic challenger for McCain was hailed by the Arizona Republic editorial board, calling the entrance of a credible Democratic challenger “good news” for Arizonans.
AYOTTE UNDER FIRE FOR MISLEADING BIRTH CONTROL BILL. Kelly Ayotte is catching heat in New Hampshire this week for her misleading over-the-counter birth control proposal. Ayotte claims her plan would increase access to contraceptives, but in reality, the proposal would increase out-of-pocket costs for women. As 2016 nears, Ayotte will have a hard time defending her record of voting to defund Planned Parenthood and supporting a measure that allows employers to deny women coverage of birth control. As an op-ed in the Concord Monitor put it, “Ayotte’s bill is an insult to New Hampshire women and women across the country.”
AYOTTE PREPARES TO GO UP ON TV. With such wildly out-of-step positions, it’s no wonder that Kelly Ayotte is panicked about her reelection campaign. WMUR reports that Ayotte is reportedly preparing her first campaign ad, joining Mark Kirk as the latest vulnerable incumbent going up early with TV ads.
IN THE STATES:
FLORIDA – GROUNDSWELL OF SUPPORT FOR MURPHY. The Sun Sentinel reports that Patrick Murphy received endorsements from eight of Broward’s top elected Democrats this week, the latest in a groundswell of support for Murphy’s Senate campaign.
MORE FLORIDA – GOP TERRIFIED OF RUNNING AGAINST MURPHY, FEAR “CLOWN SHOW.” With growing support for Murphy in Florida, right-wing groups have already aired ads attacking his strong record. The GOP is staring down a messy primary in the state, and it’s clear they don’t want to be up against Patrick Murphy. A poll of Florida Insiders left one GOP strategist lamenting the fact that their primary “is becoming a clown show.”
NEVADA – DEMS RALLY AROUND CORTEZ MASTO. As Republicans stare down a messy and damaging primary in Nevada, The Hill reports that Democrats are rallying around Catherine Cortez Masto’s bid to succeed Harry Reid.
WISCONSIN – NRSC PANTS ALREADY IN FLAMES. Hardly a week after drawing a challenge from Russ Feingold, Republicans are so panicked they are already swinging wildly and racking up the Pants on Fire ratings.
COLORADO – BENNET FIGHTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. Fox 21 reports that Senator Michael Bennet visited Colorado Springs this week to visit with small business owners and discuss his proposal to cut taxes and help small businesses get ahead.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: This week’s tweet goes to Josh Barro, who wrote “@jbarro: Bad news for Republicans: Dick Morris says they will hold the Senate.”