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DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS: DEMOCRATS “EMBRACE” HEALTH CARE — REPUBLICANS RUN FROM HEALTH CARE RECORDS — BRAUN’S ROUGH WEEK – ANOTHER BIG NELSON ENDORSEMENT

DEMOCRATS “EMBRACE” HEALTH CARE IN SENATE RACES.

RealClear Politics is the latest to cover Democrats’ smart focus on health care “the timing for this strategy couldn’t be better: Numerous national polls show health care topping the economy as the number one issue for voters this election cycle.” Here’s more:

  • “A poll in West Virginia out Monday showed 20 percent of respondents chose health care as their top issue, with the economy coming in second at 14 percent. A North Dakota poll from over the summer had similar findings, with health care falling just two points behind the economy as the most important issue for voters…”
  • “Both are rural states where small-business owners and farmers have suffered under high health care premiums the past few years. But many in these states, particularly West Virginia, which has struggled with a brutal opioid epidemic, fear coverage loss for pre-existing conditions.”
  • “Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin have hit the issue hard on the campaign trail. Manchin’s campaign said health care is the biggest concern they hear from voters, who worry that a pending Obamacare lawsuit could jeopardize their coverage. Manchin’s Republican challenger, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, joined the suit with 19 other states to argue that Obamacare is unconstitutional. The issue was a feature of a Manchin campaign ad last month.”
  • “Health care is also personal for Heitkamp — a breast cancer survivor — which she mentioned over the summer in a campaign ad featuring a constituent with a heart condition. “Like 300,000 North Dakotans, Denise has a pre-existing condition,” said the first-term senator in the video. “That used to mean no health insurance. For me, it’s breast cancer. For Denise, it’s heart disease.” Ads from liberal groups such as Majority Forward and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have also flooded the state, taking aim at Cramer’s record on health care.”

REPUBLICANS RUN FROM HEALTH CARE RECORDS: The Washington Post reported that Republican Senate candidates are paying “the price for attempts to kill Obamacare and its guarantee of coverage for preexisting conditions” and as their health care agenda becomes increasingly unpopular, they are “trying to tailor new responses to voters questioning their intentions.”

HAWLEY’S FAILED COVER-UP. Josh Hawley is trying to cover-up his lawsuit to eliminate pre-existing conditions coverage with ads and op-eds claiming to support those protections. It isn’t working:

  • The St. Louis Dispatch Editorial Board: “Missouri attorney general and Senate candidate Josh Hawley also vows to protect guaranteed coverage, even as he’s joined a multistate lawsuit to end it by finishing off Obamacare. A Hawley commercial presenting him as a champion of the very protection he is working to remove has garnered national media attention for its breathtaking duplicity….If Republicans are serious about protecting coverage of pre-existing conditions as they continue their assault on Obamacare, they need to explain how they will do that. If they cannot — and so far, they can’t — then voters should assume that behind their empty rhetoric are the words they’re not airing: This is between you and the free market. Good luck.”
  • The St. Louis Dispatch questioned how he could support those protections while pushing “a Texas lawsuit that would end the federal Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.”
  • The St Louis American reports that when asked if he “regrets” his decision to push the harmful lawsuit, Hawley “doubled down on his lawsuit to remove health-care protections for nearly 2.5 million Missourians”
  • Vox detailed Hawley’s efforts to detract from his record on health care saying “nothing better illustrates the funhouse-mirror health care politics” than “Hawley’s contortions to support a lawsuit opposing Obamacare (always a safe Republican bet) while still claiming he supports pre-existing conditions (because to say otherwise would be a big political problem — these protections are super popular).”

HEADLINE: MCSALLY LIES ABOUT HER PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS RECORD. Like her fellow Republican Senate candidates, Congresswoman Martha McSally has resorted to lying about her record on pre-existing conditions:

  • Think Progress: McSally “was a staunch supporter of the Trumpcare legislation to repeal Obamacare, literally telling her Republican House colleagues that they needed to get the “fucking thing” done. Now that she is under fire for her vote for the wildly unpopular legislation, she is simply lying to her constituents and pretending that the bill would not have eliminated insurance protections for the more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions.”

HOUSLEY VOWS TO BE A “RUBBER STAMP” FOR HARMFUL GOP POLICIES. Karin Housley pledged to be a “rubber stamp” for Republican’s toxic agenda in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio this week proving that she cannot be trusted to stand up for Minnesotans in the Senate.

BRAUN’S ROUGH WEEK. This week, Mike Braun made headlines for a bad take on the Kavanaugh allegations, getting entangled in another campaign finance scandal, and pushing shoddy insurance to his employees:

  • Politico outlined how “Republican businessman Mike Braun says he wants all Americans to have health insurance just like his own workers…But Braun’s workers pay far more than most people who get their insurance through their jobs. Some former employees described the health benefits offered by their millionaire boss as ‘horrendous’ and ‘a joke.’”
  • CBS reported on how Mike Braun channeled his inner Kevin Cramer by commenting that “felt Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony accusing Kavanaugh of sexual assault 36 years ago, was “sketchier” than Kavanaugh.
  • Braun was also caught in yet another shady campaign finance scandal, this time the Daily Beast discovered that he has been using massive “sweetheart loans and creative accounting” to circumvent campaign finance laws and channel more funds into his campaign.

RENACCI, SUAREZ & THE PHONE RECORDS. The extent of Congressman Jim Renacci’s scandalous connection to convicted felon Ben Suarez continues to come to light:

  • The Columbus Dispatch released a report analyzing “the nearly 50 phone calls between the two indicates that many — including some of the most lengthy — happened at key times in the investigation of suspicious political contributions from Suarez’s employees to Renacci and Josh Mandel, who at the time was the state treasurer and running for the U.S. Senate.”

His problems don’t end there…

  • Cleveland.com highlighted how “to the alarm of Ohio Republicans, when it comes to political advertising, this year’s race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and his GOP challenger, Wadsworth Rep. Jim Renacci, has been a dramatically one-sided affair. It’s led them to question whether Renacci has thrown in the towel, if he’s waiting for national support that hasn’t arrived, or if he’s simply reluctant to part ways with the $4 million of his own money he’s loaned his campaign.”
  • Cleveland.com’s Brent Larkin took Congressman Jim Renacci to task for his “act of utter desperation,” dragging his campaign to new lows.

BREDESEN SHAKES UP #TNSEN RACE: As Phil Bredesen continues to travel to every corner of Tennessee, his impact on voters is making headlines:

  • FiveThirtyEight: “Bredesen, an avowed centrist in the old Southern Democrat tradition, is trying to keep things local and low key — no big-name endorsements, please, unless they’re from Republicans. (Tennessee’s outgoing Republican Sen. Bob Corker all but endorsed Bredesen: “I think he’s got real appeal — I don’t think it, I know it.”) Blackburn, meanwhile, is running a very 2018 game, hoping her fealty to the Trump agenda will earn her votes in a state that the president won with nearly 61 percent of the vote.
  • Washington Post: “GOP strategists have been frustrated that Blackburn has not established a comfortable lead in the race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker…The difficulty for Republicans stems in part from the unique politics of Tennessee, and the fact that Bredesen, who left office in 2011 but has remained a household name, kindles a nostalgia for less-divisive times. He is a pro-business politician more in the mold of Corker, a moderate Republican who has sparred with Trump, than is Blackburn, who is deeply conservative and one of the president’s most loyal backers.”

Meanwhile, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is seeking a promotion to the Senate, but keeps missing votes in the House on issues impacting Tennessee the most.

NELSON EARNS KEY ENDORSEMENTS: Bill Nelson earned glowing endorsements this week for his record of fighting for Floridians. Here’s what they had to say:

  • The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board: “Nelson can be a voice of reason as a Democrat who works with Republicans and avoids making headlines. His record in public office, commitment to centrist values and personal integrity are well established. The nation needs measured, sensible voices in the U.S. Senate to respond with a bipartisan consensus to whatever comes in the uncertain future ahead. It does not need another Trump enabler.”
  • The Miami Herald Editorial Board: Nelson “puts Florida’s interests first” and “Floridians should say No. There is too much at stake for Florida — and the nation — for state voters to give Scott a chance to do damage on a larger scale.”
  • Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló: “I am grateful because, in our toughest time, you stood in the forefront and helped the people of Puerto Rico…a great friend and a great champion of the people of Puerto Rico.”

“QUESTIONS OF CONFLICT MOUNT” OVER SELF-SERVING SCOTT’S FINANCES. Scott’s not-so-blind trust is making headlines again as a new report from the Associated Press shows that “Scott’s investment portfolio has at times included holdings in companies with ties to Florida’s government, including a fund tied to the state’s largest public utility; a credit fund run by the parent company of a high-speed rail line being built in the state; a company that provides drugs to the state’s Medicaid patients and a company that donated land to a new state university.”

ADD IT TO THE LIST. The Associated Press report is one of the more than 540 bad stories he has earned since launching his campaign 180 days ago:

Our take: “Rick Scott used his position as governor to do the one thing he cares about: making himself richer. His corruption and dishonesty have dominated the campaign and shown why Floridians don’t trust him to look out for anyone but himself in the Senate.”

But the blind trust isn’t the only Scott lie earning him bad press this week. See what Florida papers had to say about him:

  • Florida Politics: In trying to distance himself from a multistate lawsuit that could eliminate insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said this week he believes health care should be a “right”…Ensuring access to health care is far different than political theater of proclaiming that health care is a right, said Matt Childers, co-founder of Florida Health Justice Project, a South Florida think tank.”
  • Sun-Sentinel’s Randy Shultz: “His habit of ducking responsibility in business foretold how Scott would behave as governor. He is the most secretive governor in at least half a century. He keeps his schedule private as long as possible. He can do that because he owns the jet on which he travels…The governor built his political career with a fortune based on fraud. Perhaps people are starting to hold him responsible.”
  • The Tampa Bay Times: “The repeated references to Nelson’s state of mind are a flagrant and unseemly attempt to draw attention to the age of a 76-year-old senator who has never been accused of poor mental fitness.”
  • Florida Politics: Scott angered “more than 188,000” retirees who are calling on Scott to “quit suggesting Sen. Bill Nelson‘s age makes him unfit for office.”

GOP ATTACKS FALL FLAT: HERE ARE THE MUST-READ FACT CHECKS OF THE WEEK:

  • FACTCHECK.ORG found that while the GOP claims “pre-existing conditions are safe,” in reality they’re anything but. The lawsuit being pushed by Republican Attorneys General including Patrick Morrisey and Josh Hawley would eliminate protections that prevent “those with pre-existing conditions from being denied a policy or charged higher premiums. 
  • #FLSEN: FOX 47: 349 VOTES FOR HIGHER TAXES? THIS HIT ON BILL NELSON DOESN’T HOLD UP. On Scott’s claim that Nelson voted 349 times for higher taxes: “it’s important to note that not all of those votes counted toward separate tax increases. In short, the 349 number is very misleading. It includes multiple votes for the same bill, and a lot of votes for resolutions that would never actually become law”
  • #MOSEN: ABC 17: TRUTH ALERT: JOSH HAWLEY’S STANCE ON PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. “Hawley apparently is optimistic that Congress can pass a GOP measure to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but without one in place his political ads saying he supports pre-existing protections, while suing to stop the only law the U.S. has to do that, is being mocked and ridiculed by many critics.”
  • #AZSEN: POLITIFACT: IN ARIZONA, MCSALLY FALSELY CLAIMS SINEMA BACKED BILL ENCOURAGING CHILD TRAFFICKING. McSally “said Sinema supported a bill that encourages child trafficking” but “Immigration and human trafficking researchers disagree with McSally’s assessment of the bill.”
  • #NVSEN: POLITIFACT: GOP SUPER PAC AD SKIPS OVER JACKY ROSEN’S YES VOTE ON CRIMINAL IMMIGRANT BILL. Politifact found that while the ad claims Jacky Rosen “voted against stopping criminals from re-entering the United States” it earned a mostly false rating for leaving “out that Rosen voted in favor of another bill that specifically targeted the sort of gang members presented in the ad. The measure gave federal officers wide latitude in defining gang membership and empowered them to detain and remove any person they had reason to believe was involved with a gang.”
  • #WISEN: POLITIFACT: LEAH VUKMIR CITES TAMMY BALDWIN INACTION ON TOMAH VA SCANDAL, BUT LACKS EVIDENCE OF “COVER UP”. Politifact slammed Leah Vukmir with a “Mostly False” rating for her claim that Tammy Baldwin covered up a report on the opioid crisis with veterans at the Tomah VA. Vukmir’s claim “ignores critical facts that would give a different impression…there is no evidence Baldwin took active steps to cover up the matter, and a Senate committee determined that Baldwin had not engaged in a cover-up.”
  • #INSEN: WRTV FACT CHECK: WRTV reports that the NRSC’s ad claiming Joe Donnelly voted for amendments that open U.S. borders is “a list of exaggerations, not a list of facts” and their fact check rated it a 1 on a scale of 0 to 6 where 0 is “completely false.” In fact, they found “no U.S. senators at all who support literal open borders.”

DEM AD WATCH.

ND – Heidi Heitkamp corrects Kevin Cramer’s false attacks on her in her ad, “Arm Wrestling.

TN – In the ad, “You Know Me,” Phil Bredesen points to his record of balancing Tennessee’s budget without raising taxes — a feat even praised by Marsha Blackburn.

MT – Jon Tester fights to protect pre-existing conditions coverage in, “Never Stop Fighting, he slams Matt Rosendale for broken promises to Montanans in “Eagles Crossing,” and in  “Driving,” he details his distaste for out-of-state dark money groups.

NV- Jacky Rosen’s new Spanish language ad, “Lo que pasa en Nevada” highlights how she will be a check and balance against harmful policies impacting Nevada’s Latino community.

ND- North Dakota Democratic-NPL new digital ad “Empty Promises,” hits Kevin Cramer for failing to stand up for North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions.

WV – A West Virginian nurse says Joe Manchin is taking concrete steps to stem the opioid crisis, while Patrick Morrisey has made money through the epidemic, in the ad, “Ronda.”

TX – Beto O’Rourke encourages voters to define themselves by ambition rather than fear in his new live TV ad.

MO – In “Independence,” Claire McCaskill outlines her record of working on bipartisan legislation in the Senate.

AZ – Kyrsten Sinema touts her fight for better access to education in Arizona in her Spanish ad, “La Oportunidad.”

NM – Martin Heinrich’s new ad, “Mark Praught,” highlights his record of fighting for veterans.

IN THE STATES.

FL-Tampa Bay Times: Voting gets underway: Millions of mail ballots will be shipped to Florida voters

FL-Red Green and Blue: Senators Nelson and Rubio host red tide briefing with CCL, Ocean Conservancy

IN-WNDU: Former VP Biden to join Donnelly on campaign trail

IN-WBIW: Donnelly Provisions To Combat Opioid Epidemic Pass Senate As Part Of Bipartisan ‘SUPPORT Act’

MI-Michigan Radio: Stabenow and Kildee introduce bills to help veterans who were exposed to PFAS

MI-Up North Live: Stabenow announces extension of essential air service to northern Michigan airports

MN-PR Newswire: AFGE Endorses Sen. Tina Smith for Senate

MS-Jackson Free Press: John Lewis: Vote for Espy or Risk Being ‘Dragged Into the Past’

MO-Ozarks First: McCaskill Drone Bill Heads to Trumps’ Desk

MO-MIssourinet: McCaskill: Missouri nail company could temporarily close

MT-Char-Koosta News: Senator Jon Tester visits Flathead Reservation

MT-Char-Koosta News: Tester pushing bill to make college more affordable in Indian Country

NV-Nevada Current: Heller misses sex abuse hearing
NV-Nevada Appeal: Masto, Rosen question voting access for tribal members

ND-AM1100 The Flag: Heitkamp Helps Pass Bipartisan Faa Bill To Support Rural Airports And Boost Uas Development In ND

ND-Education Votes: Heidi Heitkamp support for students, public education separates her in US Senate race

OH-WKSU: Sherrod Brown Sees Slipperiness on the Banking Deregulation Slope

PA-ChesCo: Casey, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill Address Unexpected Child, Infant Deaths

PA-Citizens’ Voice: Casey eyes minimum wage, health coverage

TN-WDEF: Senate Candidate Phil Bredesen Hosts Forum in Chattanooga

WV-Fairmont News: Capito, Manchin support renaming NASA IV&V after W.Va. icon Katherine Johnson

WV-WV news: Going with his gut: West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin talks Trump, partisanship and upcoming elections

WI-Urban Milwaukee: Senator Baldwin’s Reforms to Protect Rights of Disabled Airline Passengers Pass Congress

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Lauren Passalacqua

@laurenvpass

Ben Ray

@BenRay

David Bergstein

@DavidABergstein

Jordun Lawrence

@_Jordun

Samantha Paisley

@SamPaisley63

 

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