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HOW REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT LOST BY WINNING – DC REPUBLICANS ARE EMBRACING TEA PARTY CANDIDATES & POLICIES TO DEAL WITH PRIMARIES: A RECIPE FOR DEFEAT IN NOVEMBER.The new Republican motto is “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Washington Republican couldn’t beat the Tea Party, so they decided to join them. As NRSC chief put it, “Outside of N.C., this race was defined as an 'us' vs. 'them' matchup. What we learned from polling and this win ... is that Thom Tillis represents both the 'us' and the 'them.'”  We absolutely agree. Thom Tillis’ policies and rhetoric are indistinguishable from Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock. Not only does Tillis want states to be able to ban birth control and eliminate a federal minimum wage, he carries severe ethical baggage that will hurt him in the general.


Mandatory viewing on Thom Tillis: Watch.


The Wall Street Journal reports the Tea Party is “showing its power by shaping the 2014 campaign agenda and pushing Republicans to the right. Many GOP incumbents and candidates backed by party leaders have embraced tea-party priorities.”


AND DAN BALZ SAYS… “The establishment has adapted to the new world by embracing tea party ideas and sometimes the movement’s confrontational posture. Slate’s David Weigel noted this in a piece about North Carolina recently. He observed that the establishment candidate in the GOP primary, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, has one of the most conservative legislative records in the country.”


Read the DSCC’s memo on the Tea Party’s takeover of the Washington GOP establishment here.


WHILE REPUBLICANS EMBRACE THE TEA PARTY LIKE NEVER BEFORE, POLL SHOWS TEA PARTY UNPOPULARITY SKY HIGH. A new Gallup poll shows just 22% of Americans support the Tea Party, down 10% from November 2010.


More On Thom Tillis:


THOM TILLIS MEETS THE PRESS… AND IT’S A TRAIN WRECK. The News & Observer reports that Thom Tillis’ first interviews as the GOP Senate candidate in North Carolina “didn’t go entirely smoothly” and some of his answers “raised eyebrows.” The Washington Post adds that Tillis’ fumbles raise “questions anew whether he is the sterling candidate Republicans anticipated.


TILLIS REFUSES TO APOLOGIZE FOR “DIVIDE AND CONQUER” REMARKS. Tillis has refused to apologize for his “bond-villainesque” “divide and conquer” remarks that drew widespread criticism this week nationally and in North Carolina, telling the Triangle Business Journal, ‘’I used the wrong word."


TILLIS OPPOSED INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE IN 2010. Via The Hill, “State House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) wouldn't say whether or not he supports raising North Carolina's minimum wage in a Wednesday interview, but in 2010 he said he opposed it. The newly-minted GOP Senate nominee, responding to a North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation candidate questionnaire four years ago, circled ‘disagree’ when asked on the survey if he thought North Carolina's General Assembly should raise the minimum wage. Unlike other questions on the survey, he didn't write in any caveats or explanations.”


HAGAN HITS TILLIS ON REJECTING HEALTH CARE FOR 500,000 NORTH CAROLINIANS.  Kay Hagan “came out strongly” yesterday “in favor of the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA, saying it would provide health coverage for 500,000 people in the state who need it.  The News & Observer reports, “The state’s General Assembly, with Tillis in the leadership, turned away Medicaid expansion for 500,000 people in the state that would have been paid for by federal funds. ‘That’s just one example of Thom Tillis not understanding North Carolina and not understanding North Carolina values,’ Hagan said.”


Don’t buy the hype: MONICA WEHBY IS A HORRIBLE CANDIDATE. “[T]he Acela Corridor crowd has largely ignored the bizarre stories coming out of Oregon this week about Mitt Romney-endorsed Senate candidate Dr. Monica Wehby,” reports Matt Lewis in The Week. Over the past several weeks, Wehby has had a barrage of terrible local press in Oregon, proving how she’s not ready for prime time and not right for Oregon.


-          Wehby faces an FEC complaint for coordinating with her “lover” to run super PAC ads against her primary opponent.


-          Another major Wehby backer was unmasked as bizarre “sex hypnotherapist” Loren Parks. Portland likes weird, but not this weird.


-          The Oregonian reported that a medical child abuse case involving Dr. Wehby is set to begin the day before the Oregon Republican primary.  In the case, a woman is being accused of "harming her children with unnecessary medical procedures, several of which were performed by pediatric neurosurgeon and U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby." 


-          Noting that Democrats in Oregon have not lost a statewide election in 12 years, the Oregonian reported that Monica Wehby has been “particularly” “light on specifics” during her campaign.


-          Wehby embarrassed herself by “awkwardly” “fumbl[ing]” her way through an editorial board interview with Willamette Week.


-          After the embarrassing ed board episode, Wehby made it clear her strategy would be to hide from voters by avoiding debates. The Oregonian reports that “Wehby has turned down what would have been the only live televised debate of the primary race.”  KGW Executive News Director Rick Jacobs said, “It's been a long time since we've been turned down by a major-race candidate. I can't remember the last time it's happened.”


-          The conservative editorial board at the Oregonian hammered Wehby for “wimping out” on the debate calling it, “nonsense.”


-          As she faces a competitive primary, Wehby raised under $600,000 in the first quarter, half of Jeff Merkley’s haul.


PERSONHOOD PLAYING BIG IN KEY SENATE RACES. Last month, the Washington Post reported, ““[Y]ou can bet that some of the most hard fought Senate races this fall will feature big fights over ‘Personhood’ measures, which have declared that full human rights begin at the moment of fertilization. A number of GOP Senate candidates are on record supporting Personhood in some form.”


NEW AD HITS LAND FOR WANTING TO TAKE MICHIGAN WOMEN “BACKWARDS. Michigan women can’t trust Terri Lynn Land: she support Personhood, opposes equal pay protections, and backs a plan that would take us back to a time when women would pay more for critical preventative care like mammograms. Watch the Majority PAC spot here.


RECENT POLLS SHOW JONI ERNST STRUGGLING WITH WOMEN. Via the Iowa Republican, “recent polls suggest that Ernst actually struggles with female voters…Where Ernst’s reverse gender gap really shows up is in the head-to-head matchup with Braley.  Braley leads Ernst with women voters 45 percent to 36 percent in a general election match up.” It’s easy to see why Iowa women aren’t lining up behind Joni Ernst-- she “supported a ‘Personhood’ amendment to the state constitution.”




BRUCE BRALEY LAUNCHES NEW AD HIGHLIGHTING MOM’S INFLUENCE ON HIS LIFE. Just in time for Mother’s Day, the Des Moines Register reports that Bruce Braley is launching a new ad highlighting his mom’s impact on his life. Watch the spot here.  


EVEN MITT ROMNEY SUPPORTS RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE—AS GOP SENATE CANDIDATES CONTINUE TO TOE THE KOCH LINE. A majority of Americans agree that raising the minimum wage is an “absolute priority,” because it would benefit nearly 28 million American workers across all ages and races and today even Mitt Romney said he supports an increase in the minimum wage. But Republican Senate candidate continue to toe the Koch line: opposing an increase in the minimum wage, refusing to reveal their position, and in some cases actually advocating for abolishing the federal minimum wage altogether.


MICHELLE NUNN RAISES $840K IN APRIL. The AJC reports Michelle Nunn raised $840,000 in April, “slightly ahead” of her $2.4 million pace from the first quarter. “In all, she has raised $6.6 million since entering the race in August.”


GREAT NEW ADS FROM DEMOCRATS THIS WEEK. Don’t miss great new ads out this week from Alison Lundergan GrimesJohn WalshAl FrankenMichelle NunnBruce Braley, and Jeanne Shaheen.


DEMOCRATS STRONG IN THE SOUTH. It’s a “bright forecast” for Democrats running for Senate in the South, reports Bloomberg’s Al Hunt.




#MISEN: PETERS UP FIVE OVER LAND. A poll from Hickman Analytics shows Gary Peters leading Terri Lynn Land 42-37.


#NHSEN: SHAHEEN LEADS BROWN, BROWN FAVORABILITY UNDERWATER. A poll from Hickman Analytics shows Jeanne Shaheen leading Scott Brown 49-43 with 42% viewing Brown unfavorably compared to 39% favorably.


#KYSEN: ANOTHER POLL SHOWS GRIMES TIED WITH MCCONNELL, 48% OF KENTUCKIANS VIEW MCCONNELL UNFAVORABLY. A new poll from Hickman Analytics marks the fifteenth straight poll that shows Alison Lundergan Grimes tied or leading Mitch McConnell with McConnell’s favorability numbers abysmally low with 48% of Kentuckians viewing him unfavorably.


TWEET OF THE WEEK. This week’s award goes to National Journal’s Ron Fournier for his analysis on the North Carolina Republican primary/state of the GOP, “+1 @ThePlumLineGS: Nope. Thom Tillis is not a moderate, if we are going to go by that thing known as his "record":,” adding, “Tea Party has won. So-called GOP Established dragged so far to right that this gent is now a relative ‘moderate.’”


Enjoy the weekend.


Matt Canter

@mattcanter |


Justin Barasky

@JustinBarasky |


Regan Page

@regan_page |