GOP’S “ALBATROSS” IN CLOSING DAYS OF THE ELECTION: HEALTH CARE. With just 18 days until Election Day, vulnerable Senate Republicans are doubling down on their cycle–long effort to try to cover up their records of voting to attack the popular Affordable Care Act and gut its coverage protections for pre-existing conditions. Desperate Republicans who “spent the past decade trying to eradicate the 2010 law” are now telling voters “don’t worry about the ACA.” But here’s the reality: Senate Republicans are rushing to confirm a Supreme Court nominee hostile to the health care law just in time for oral arguments on their party’s lawsuit, and their efforts to rewrite their toxic records are nothing more than “empty promises” – not a single GOP senator or candidate has articulated a plan that would keep current pre-existing conditions protections intact if this lawsuit succeeds in overturning the ACA. And just last night President Trump said the quiet part out loud at his NBC town hall when he said Republicans “would like to terminate” the health care law that protects people with pre-existing conditions and bragged that “we have a very good chance of doing it.”
WATCH: Trump says “we’d like to terminate” the Affordable Care Act and “we have a very good chance of doing it”
WHOOPS: ERNST FLUBBING DEBATE QUESTION ON SOYBEAN PRICES GOES VIRAL. In the final Iowa U.S. Senate debate last night, Senator Joni Ernst was asked directly whether she knew the break-even price for soybean farmers – right after businesswoman and scrappy farm kid Theresa Greenfield nailed a question about the current price of a bushel of corn. As the debate moderator observed, Senator Ernst “grew up on a farm, you should know this.” However, Ernst did not know — and after clumsily failing to answer the question, she wrongly asserted that Greenfield did not know either. But as the moderator pointed out, Greenfield “actually did” answer the question and get it right. It’s never been more clear that Washington changed Joni Ernst, not the other way around. Watch Ernst fight with the debate moderator because she doesn’t know the price of soybeans:
MEMO: 3 WEEKS UNTIL ELECTION DAY, DEMOCRATS HAVE PUT MORE THAN A DOZEN SENATE SEATS IN PLAY. The DSCC released a new memo this week highlighting how Democrats have forced Republicans to defend more than a dozen GOP-held seats and control of the Senate remains firmly in play as we move into the final three weeks. Here’s the rundown:
Here’s the bottom line: Democrats are in an increasingly strong position to flip the Senate in the final stretch. Read the full memo here.
DEMOCRATS OUTRAISED IN 14 GOP-HELD SEATS. Democratic candidates continued to grow their fundraising considerably in the third quarter of 2020, outraising vulnerable Republicans in 14 GOP-held seats while smashing records — in many cases records previously set by their own campaigns — thanks to unprecedented support from small-dollar grassroots donors. The massive Q3 fundraising hauls are the latest indicator that Democrats are running smart and aggressive campaign operations in battlegrounds across the country with the resources to expand the map, increase our paths to the majority, and ensure the Senate flips in November.
Check out the fundraising highlights here:
GOP GROUPS POUR NEARLY 100% OF SPENDING INTO DEFENSE AS DEMS EXPAND THE SENATE MAP. With just a few weeks left until the election, the NRSC and Mitch McConnell’s super PAC network are pouring millions of dollars into defending GOP-held seats in “once unthinkable states.” Races in traditionally red states have continued to move in Democrats’ favor — with seats that were considered safely Republican like South Carolina, Alaska, and Texas now becoming among the most competitive battlegrounds. In Kansas, Dr. Barbara Bollier’s impressive campaign has put Republicans on defense and the president of Senate Leadership Fund even admitted that “the amount of money that Bollier has raised in comparison to the Marshall campaign is of concern.” Wall Street Journal: Democrats Once Seen as Long Shots Are Now Contenders for Senate
RATINGS CHANGE: FIVE MORE SEATS MOVE IN DEMOCRATS’ DIRECTION. Nonpartisan election analysts at the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections moved another five Senate races in Democrats’ favor this week: Alaska, Colorado, Georgia (Special), Kansas and Texas.
FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS FEC ENFORCEMENT AGAINST ERNST’S DARK MONEY GROUP. A federal judge ordered the Federal Election Commission to take enforcement action on a complaint against a dark money group set up by top political aides to Senator Joni Ernst, which has “worked closely” with Ernst’s campaign – an arrangement that violates federal campaign finance laws. The ruling on a motion filed by the nonpartisan elections watchdog Campaign Legal Center comes after Ernst has refused to address the explosive Associated Press report that exposed her “dark money ties” for the past 10 months while allegations of illegal coordination have dogged her campaign.
GRAHAM IN HOT WATER: BREAKS THE LAW BY FUNDRAISING IN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING AS CAMPAIGN FLAILS. Senator Lindsey Graham, facing “the fight of his career,” is so desperate after being massively outraised by Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison that he broke the law and violated Senate ethics rules when he begged for campaign cash inside a Senate office building this week. It’s just another sign that the increasingly vulnerable incumbent’s desperation is growing: Graham has also been an almost constant fixture on Fox News “begging for money” and Mitch McConnell’s super PAC was recently forced to dumping more than $10 million into South Carolina to prop up Graham’s flailing campaign.
IRS COMPLAINT FILED OVER TUBERVILLE CHARITY ALLEGATIONS. Following a bombshell AP investigation that detailed how Alabama Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville may have lied on his charity’s tax forms, the American Democracy Legal Fund filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service demanding an investigation into the matter. According to tax records, the Tommy Tuberville Foundation “has given only a small portion of its money to charity while spending tens of thousands of dollars to stage annual golf tournaments” and a subsequent review found that “the expenses that the Tommy Tuberville Foundation claimed as being program expenses do not meet what the IRS defines as program expenses.” Evidence suggests that Tuberville may have “knowingly submitted false information about the foundation’s expenses” and potentially “committed perjury.”
GARDNER DEFENDS TRUMP’S MORALITY AND ETHICS. In this week’s final Colorado Senate debate, vulnerable Senator Cory Gardner defended President Trump as “moral and ethical.” Throughout the debate, Gardner refused to hold the president accountable — proving that despite his claims otherwise, he’s just a rubber stamp for Donald Trump’s toxic agenda.
DEM SENATE CANDIDATES CONTINUE TO COLLECT LOCAL ENDORSEMENTS CLOSE TO ELECTION. Once again, a host of local editorial boards endorsed Democratic Senate candidates and incumbents this week, citing their dedication to accessible health care andability to get things done. Read more below:
IN THE STATES
AK – WPSU: Senate Tracker: Alaska’s Race Tightens
AZ – The Daily Beast: McSally Walks Through COVID Loophole to Skirt Robocall Rules
CO – Summit Daily (Opinion): Opinion | John Hickenlooper: Let’s get Washington back on track
IA – Cedar Rapids Gazette: Theresa Greenfield talks health care as she casts her vote
IA – Iowa Starting Line: Ernst Testimonials Feature Not-So-Ordinary Iowans
KS – The Hill: National Republicans will spend to defend Kansas Senate seat
KS – Wichita Eagle: Barbara Bollier: Passing another COVID-19 relief package should be top priority
ME – Maine Public: Union Officials: Susan Collins Ad Falsely Implies She Helped End BIW Strike
MT – Bloomberg: Democrat Bullock Is Competitive in Montana Senate Race
SC – Charleston Post & Courier (Opinion): Further Consideration: For promises kept, look to Jaime Harrison
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