(ALMOST) EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG.  A few things that the conventional wisdom “knew” this election cycle:

With 25 days to go, don’t let the hot takes get the best of you.

WHAT THE MIDTERMS ARE ACTUALLY ABOUT (YES, STILL HEALTH CARE).  Poll after poll has shown the same thing: the number one issue for voters is health care.  Still don’t believe us? Look at the parade of Republican Senate candidates insisting they want to protect pre-existing conditions even though they have unanimously backed both lawsuits and legislation to undo this (and other) crucial protections, to say nothing of their support for an age tax or other dangerous plans.

From the Washington Post’s Health 202:

  • With less than a month before the midterm elections, endangered Republican lawmakers are mounting a defense against attacks they’re trying to dismantle a core element of the health-care law they fought to eliminate.
  • Democratic candidates on the campaign trail now regularly accuse Republicans of wanting to take away health-care protections for people with preexisting conditions. They’ve pointed to a lawsuit brought by 20 attorneys general in Republican-led states aiming to overturn the Affordable Care Act as proof the GOP wants to let such protections go down with the health-care law. That’s after Republicans whiffed in their effort to repeal and replace the ACA  last summer.
  • Vulnerable Republican contenders are responding to the slams by airing campaign ads saying they embrace this portion of the ACA…experts question the efficacy of those measures, saying they seem more designed as protection against Democratic attacks than significant policy solutions…

And CNN:

  • Now, in a tacit acknowledgment that health care has become an issue Republican candidates have to address, politicians on the right have begun duplicating the Democratic strategy, hitting the airwaves and campaign trail with their own personal, tear-jerking health care stories that are meant to cut against the attacks on the issue.
  • Polls have shown that the Democratic health care message has resonated with voters and left Republicans on the defensive with an issue that they once dominated.
  • “We weren’t prepared for an issue that was extremely positive for us in 2016 to become an extreme negative,” said one Republican campaign operative.
  • “It’s a place where Republicans have typically struggled,” said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist and CNN contributor. “Republicans tend to be more comfortable talking about budget outlays than demonstrating that they care about people and what they go through.”

NO, IT’S NOT JUST BETO: SENATE DEMS SHOW STRONG QUARTERS.  Senate Democrats are setting records, and no, it’s not just Beto (who, by the way, is raising the vast majority of his money from Texas).  Sherrod Brown has raised $27.1 million cycle-to-date and has $8.2 million on hand.  Jacky Rosen raised $7.1 million in Q3, and has $2.6 million on-hand.  And there’s many more to come in the Senate’s first-ever electronic filing on 10/15.

ROSEN RUNNING HARD AGAINST SENATOR SPINELESS.  The state of the race from the Associated Press:

  • Heller is the only Republican up for re-election this year in a state carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. And though the state is often up for grabs by both parties, the urbanization of the Las Vegas area and the swelling number of Latino and Asian voters are shifting Nevada to the left.
  • Keenly mindful of Heller’s bind, Rosen frequently showcases his conflicting positions. On Kavanaugh, she blasted his support for an FBI investigation while simultaneously pledging to confirm him. On health care, an issue that Democrats think will hold special resonance with voters this year, she slams him for opposing legislation that would have repealed the 2010 health care law only to author a measure a few months later scrapping the overhaul.
  • “He is guilty of one of the biggest broken promises,” Rosen said in an interview.

MCSALLY GOES FOR THE GUTTER.  Congresswoman Martha McSally did such a good job chasing down Joe Arpaio and Kelli Ward’s voters in her primary that she and her allies are now left trying to appeal to moderate Republicans by telling them they’re kool-aid drinkers, mailing them postcards of Phoenix going up in a mushroom cloud, and releasing deceptively edited video, among other Hail Mary passes.

When she’s confronted with that record, however, watch McSally head for the hills in an interview with KTVK.

  • DON’T FORGET: These are the same folks who thought it was appropriate to drop a “Help Me, I’m Poor!” joke on a family that had $13 in their bank account.  They’ve been playing catch-up since day one, and their desperation is becoming more and more glaring.

WHO LEAH VUKMIR WORKS FOR.  Spoiler: it’s not the people of Wisconsin. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

  • In 2011, Vukmir — newly elected to the state Senate — cosponsored a tort reform bill proposed by GOP Gov. Scott Walker that made it harder to win big money damages against companies that operate nursing homes. The GOP-controlled Legislature quickly approved the measure.
  • Among the companies affected by the legislation was ANEW Health Care Services, a Wauwatosa firm that has three nursing homes in Milwaukee and provides other services for the elderly.
  • ANEW is also a firm where Vukmir, a registered nurse, has worked part time for at least a dozen years, training certified nursing assistants. The company is owned by two Vukmir contributors — Gary and Sally Sprenger, who also happens to be Vukmir’s former sister-in-law.
  • The pair has given Vukmir nearly $18,000 since 2004, including the maximum $10,800 for the Brookfield Republican’s current U.S. Senate bid. Vukmir is challenging U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Senate Democrat.

DEA WHISTLEBLOWER SLAMS BLACKBURN. The Johnson City Press interviews former DEA investigator Jim Geldhof :

  • A former U.S. Drug Enforcement investigator said Thursday that U.S. Senate Republican nominee Marsha Blackburn’s congressional office was warned that opioid legislation she supported and was ultimately passed into law would undercut the agency’s efforts to investigate suspicious drug shipments.
  • Geldhof… said the bill effectively made it more difficult for investigators to freeze large shipments of opioids by having to prove “immediate danger” instead of “imminent danger.”
  • “What it did was change one of the words, and the basis for it in the past was you had to show imminent danger to the public health and safety. They changed it to ‘immediate.’ Now that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s huge,” Geldhof said.
  • “Because, if you’re shipping hundreds of thousands of pills to a pharmacy and you’re a drug company, we can pretty well know something bad is going to happen. That’s imminent. I can’t tell you it’s going to happen in the next six hours. That’s immediate.”

MUST READ FACT CHECK.  From Politifact, a look at Mike Braun’s $10,000 deductible:

  • Meyer offers a high-deductible health plan. That means that health care costs are absorbed by the employee until they reach that set limit (of $5,000 or $10,000). Doctor’s office visits, prescriptions and emergency room visits are not covered until then.
  • The individual deductible roughly doubles national averages, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation published on Oct. 3. The 2018 average for individuals was $2,349 and $4,676 for families.
  • Donnelly said, “At (Braun’s) company, the deductible on his health care is $10,000.”
  • The high-deductible health plan Braun offered full-time employees in 2018 had deductibles of $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families.
  • We rate this statement Mostly True.


WV – Joe Manchin talks about protecting health care and Social Security for West Virginians in “Oath.”


FL-POLITICO Pro: Rubio, Nelson working on federal hurricane relief effort
IN-NWI: EDITORIAL: Donnelly knows our Region, is clear choice for U.S. Senate
IN-The Republic: First-day early voting off to heavy start: Volume fourfold from 4 years ago
MI-Crain’s Detroit Business: Stabenow pushes through bill to lift pharmacy gag restrictions
MO-KTTN: Claire McCaskill investigates Department of Agriculture staffing issues
MT-MTPR: Tester To Visit Locked-Out Union Workers In Three Forks
ND-Grand Forks Herald: Senate passes bill aimed at increasing jobs, border security in North Dakota
ND-AM100 The Flag: Heitkamp Announces USDA Rural Development Funding for North Dakota
OH-National Journal: Cleveland Plain Dealer Endorses Brown
TN-Tennessean: Why young people should get behind Phil Bredesen | Opinion
TX-National Journal: Progressive Turnout Project Backs O’Rourke With GOTV Mail Campaign


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