SLUGFEST! The week began with Mitch McConnell trying to enlist the White House to temper the GOP’s intraparty feud, got worse as Bannon doubled-down on his ‘season of war,’ and ended with McConnell’s allies “declar[ing] open warfare on Bannon.” Meanwhile, Republican primaries across the country have grown more divisive and the gulf within the GOP has continued to widen.
PENNSYLVANIA – Jeff Bartos, who “has close ties to the GOP elite,” took up Bannon’s pledge to not promise to support McConnell as Majority Leader and has called on the leading GOP primary candidate, Congressman Lou Barletta, to do the same.
TENNESSEE – Candidates are “fighting for the outside lane,” despite having deep ties to the establishment, turning this Senate primary into a “proxy war” between McConnell and Bannon.
NORTH DAKOTA – The Dickinson Press reports that declared candidate state senator Tom Campbell and his allies are “unhappy” that Republicans in the state are “continuing their efforts to recruit more candidates” in the race, and are openly talking of replacing the party chair in retaliation.
WEST VIRGINIA – Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Congressman Evan Jenkins are engaged in what’s been described as one of the nastiest primaries of the cycle. That trend continued this week, with both teams accusing the other of supporting abortion rights. Meanwhile, Breitbart has openly gone after Jenkins, accusing him of being backed by the establishment.
FLAKE OUT, BUT “VICIOUS” PRIMARY REMAINS. Senator Flake’s sudden retirement is the latest proof point of the widening rift within the GOP and, while he may have opted out of a primary, one is all but certain to unfold. In a sign of what’s to come, a McConnell-backed group has vowed that far-right conservative candidate Kelli Ward will not be the nominee, while Bannon allies are already dismissing Martha McSally – take a look:
U.S. News: Razing Arizona: McSally Eyeing GOP Senate Battle.
Morning Consult: With Flake Leaving, Republicans Hope to Ward Off Bannon’s Insurgent.
SENATE DEMS OUTRAISE GOP IN Q3. The Hill and Talking Points Memo took a closer look at Q3 reports and concluded “it’s clear whose side has the energy.”
DSCC OUTRAISES NRSC… AGAIN. As first reported in Politico Morning Score, the DSCC outraised the NRSC for the 6th month in a row. The DSCC raised $4.4 million and has $15.7 million cash-on-hand.
IS MANDEL “LYING, HIDING, OR JUST PLAIN RECKLESS?” That’s what the Columbus Dispatch is asking after Mandel’s long list of offenses keeps growing, from siding with dangerous conspiracy theorists to misusing taxpayer funds for self-promotion: “it’s getting painful to watch a candidate for next year’s U.S. Senate race sink to such depths.”
SCOTT “CAUGHT UP IN A CONTROVERSY” OVER NURSING HOME SCANDAL. “Calls for action [continue to] grow” this week as the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans called for an investigation into Governor Scott’s handling of the nursing home scandal that left 14 seniors dead after Hurricane Irma and his decision to delete voicemails he received asking for help.
FEC LOOKING INTO “IMPROPER” CAMPAIGNING BY FAGG. The FEC is looking into a complaint filed by the American Democracy Legal Fund that alleges Russell Fagg’s exploratory committee was “improper” by operating like a campaign months before Fagg officially declared his candidacy.
GOP STILL SABOTAGING YOUR HEALTH CARE. Your weekly reminder that congressional Republicans and the Trump administration are actively sabotaging the country’s health insurance markets. Every Republican should support the bipartisan Alexander-Murray bill, which the CBO found would reduce the deficit by nearly $4 billion. If they don’t, it’s simply another demonstration that they’re looking out for their own political interests at the expense of hardworking Americans.
GOLDEN BOY JOSH HAWLEY’S FIRST PRESSER FLOPS: “THE FACTS SAY HE’S WRONG.” Attorney General Josh Hawley might be in need of some extra media training from the McConnell Industrial Complex. In his first media availability since launching his campaign two weeks ago, Hawley misled reporters about Senator McCaskill’s position on tax reform and, when he was called out, he seemed “flummoxed.”
Springfield News-Leader: Josh Hawley says Claire McCaskill is opposing Trump on tax reform. The facts say he’s wrong.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hawley alleges McCaskill has ruled out tax reform. The record says otherwise.
IN THE STATES.
FL – Tampa Bay Times: Bill Nelson lays into FEMA for slow hurricane response
MT – Flathead Free Beacon: Tester Blasts Plan to Increase Glacier Park Entrance Fee
(MORE) MT – Great Falls Tribune: Montana senator blasts USDA for ditching meatpacker ‘fair practice’ rules
ND – The Fence Post: Heitkamp, Ernst introduce bill to fix farm safety net
NM – KRWG FM/TV: Ahead Of President’s Speech, Heinrich Introduces Legislation To Invest $45B To Address Opioid Crisis
OH – Circleville Herald: Brown calls for passage of bill to keep Fentanyl out of Ohio
WI – Cap Times: Editorial: Tammy Baldwin and Bernie Sanders fight economic inequality and fiscal irresponsibility
TWEET OF THE WEEK.
👀About that intraparty feud…