HELLER & FLAKE VOTE “YES.” Senators Heller and Flake began the week with a record of voting 20 and 21 times, respectively, to dismantle health care. They managed to make it worse, caving to pressure to support the Motion to Proceed and “skinny repeal” – and for Heller, breaking a promise made at a showy (but meaningless) press conference last month. These votes will prove a grave political miscalculation and, as we said last night, the soon-to-be-former Senators should take our advice and update their resumes.
WHAT JACKY SAID. Jacky Rosen, who entered the race in the midst of the health care debate shortly after Senator Heller admitted he supports ending Medicaid expansion, had this to say about Heller’s vote: “Last month, Senator Heller promised that he could not vote for legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans. Last night, he voted to do just that. No politician from our state has ever been more dishonest about their intentions, more misleading about their position or more disingenuous to their constituents. This was the biggest broken political promise in modern Nevada history.” READ her full statement here and WATCH the video of her message to Nevadans.
TODAY’S ARIZONA REPUBLIC: MCCAIN KICKS BUTT – NOT A WORD WASTED ON FLAKE. EJ Montini, who described Jeff Flake as a “politician willing to trade sick people for votes,” celebrated Senator McCain’s opposition to an “ugly destructive bill.” Not a word was wasted on the state’s junior Senator who voted for every version of the Republican’s toxic health care agenda that would have doubled premiums and stripped coverage for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans.
ICYMI: DSCC LAUNCHES PANDORA RADIO ADS TARGETING HELLER, FLAKE ON HEALTH CARE. The ads highlight Heller and Flake’s votes to dismantle health care and target key elements of the midterm electorate. Read about the ad campaign here.
GOP PRIMARIES TAKE OFF, GET NASTIER. The Washington Post observed earlier this month that Republican recruitment struggles would lead to “expensive (and, in some cases, divisive) primaries in some key states.” That forecast is proving accurate – take a look:
#INSEN. One day after his Wikipedia feud with Congressman Rokita made front page news, Congressman Messer flopped into the Senate primary with an announcement on Twitter made from Washington, DC. The rudderless rollout was soon consumed with infighting as the two House members continued to trade attacks against one other – which became the focus of every single story:
AP: Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announces 2018 Senate bid.
“Already the GOP primary is shaping up to be a brutal affair that could lead to months of Republicans fighting each other more than the incumbent Donnelly. Messer and fellow GOP Rep. Todd Rokita — who is also preparing a bid — for weeks have traded insults and accusations, with both suggesting that the other is ‘unhinged.’
Indiana Public Media: Indiana Rep. Luke Messer Announces 2018 U.S. Senate Bid.
“The run-up to Messer’s announcement has been marked by rancor between the federal lawmakers: Messer accused Rokita of lying about his family, saying he lacks integrity. Rokita’s camp fired back, calling Messer ‘unhinged’ and a ‘ticking time-bomb.’”
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Messer announces Senate bid.
“Messer had been publicly mulling an announcement for months. He formed a statewide campaign finance committee and has been engaged in a bitter back-and-forth with his probable rival in next May’s GOP primary election, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita.”
P.S. Read our primer on Congressman Messer and the Indiana Republican Senate primary here.
#MOSEN. On the heels of a report that Congresswoman Wagner – after passing on her own Senate bid – is recruiting against national Republicans’ flavor of the month Attorney General Hawley, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch detailed Hawley’s unusual campaign spending, noting that he may be “skirt[ing] federal campaign rules.” Questions about Hawley’s spending grew the next day, when he was caught in DC meeting with an anti-abortion leader who tweeted about the meeting and then deleted it.
#WVSEN. Headline: A Republican Showdown in West Virginia.
#WISEN. After a series of recruitment failures in which Wisconsin Republicans’ first choice candidate refused to run, worries of a “nasty” primary are well-founded: moments after a former Democrat, who has already misled voters about his party ties announced his run, he was attacked by a fellow potential candidate and the conservative press:
Mark Belling, Conservative Milwaukee Radio Host:
“You not only were a liberal when you were younger, you were very ambitious and successful in moving up the ranks, the Democratic party. You were a member of the Democratic National Committee. You spoke at the Democratic National Convention, spoke in fact, on the issue of making sure that we keep abortion legal. That wasn’t that long ago.”
Jerry Bader, Conservative Green Bay Radio Host:
“Earlier this month, Jason Stein at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, potential U.S. Senate candidate took few visible on veteran homes concerns. State veterans board member and potential, now announced, U.S. Senate candidate did not directly respond to safety concerns that critics raised to him about Wisconsin’s largest veterans home at King over the past four years. A Journal Sentinel review of his email show the first documented action on King home taken by former Marine Kevin Nicholson is a request he made in March for a report on the state home in Waupaca county which followed months of critical news stories about it.”
Dan O’Donnell, Conservative Milwaukee Radio Host:
“In the primary, you are very likely going to take on State Senator Leah Vukmir, who has a very long track record of Conservative votes. Whereas you fully admit that you were`a Democrat there are some questions about your time in 2008, and you don’t have a proven track record, at least on paper, for voting for the same Conservative causes. I mean Vukmir was standing with Governor Walker through the Act 10 battle. She’s been a reliable Conservative vote…”
Need a primer on Kevin Nicholson? We’ve got you covered.
GOP FRUSTRATIONS WITH MANDEL. A week after Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel decided to stand with an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist who believes date rape is fake, the National Journal reported “Republican strategists were privately stunned.” The GOP hasn’t been very excited about Mandel and he gives them plenty of reasons why. Before defending the Alt-right in a tweet, Mandel used taxpayer money to finance self-promotional TV ads, triggering the Republican-controlled state legislature to pass a law preventing similar behavior in the future.
SPARE US THE SCOTT PHOTO OP. A lobbyist interviewed by Politico observed recently, “anyone with political savvy watching the governor’s public events will see that it is basically a Rick Scott for Senate event. All that is missing is the banner.” This week’s ceremonial bill signing on the opioid crisis was no different. Scott may say he’s doing everything he can to combat the crisis, but his support for the Republican health care bill, which would worsen the opioid epidemic, says otherwise.
MT INSURANCE COMMISSIONER “MISUNDERSTANDS” HOW HEALTH INSURANCE WORKS. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana met with Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale to discuss premium increases for next year, explaining that the uncertainty caused by Republicans in DC would cause a greater rate hike than leaving the Affordable Care Act in place. But Rosendale – who may throw his hat into the Republican primary – didn’t seem to understand.
IN THE STATES.
FL – Legal Scoops: Florida Senator Bill Nelson Proposes 4% Student Loan Rate Cap, Refinance Options
OH – WFMJ: Sen. Brown in Trumbull County promoting buy American
MORE OH – Sandusky Register: Brown calls for bipartisan action on health care
PA – Lebanon Daily News: Casey working to combat criminals scamming senior citizens
WV – Charleston Gazette Mail: Joe Manchin announces Senate re-election bid
WI – Cap Times: Editorial: Tammy Baldwin is fighting for rural Wisconsin
TWEET OF THE WEEK.
It’s *actually* Friday,