DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS: Dems Enter GOTV Weekend with Momentum

Senate Democrats shifted a historically challenging map, defined the issues and have the enthusiasm. Each day this week, Quick Takes will focus on the major trends that have shaped the election. Today’s look: Democrats head into GOTV weekend with momentum

A LOOK AT TRENDS FROM THE CYCLE. Democrats expanded our pickup opportunities, while Republicans experienced a series of setbacks (at their own hand as well as ours) that cut their targets in half and damaged their midterm messaging:

HOW GOP RECRUITMENT FAILURES CUT THEIR TARGETS IN HALF: “Republican recruitment failures — and strong Democratic incumbents — have cut the GOP’s targets in half, shrinking and shifting a historically challenging Senate map.”

HOW PRIMARIES DAMAGED REPUBLICAN NOMINEES: “Primaries filled with intra-party fighting in key states left GOP nominees’ resources depleted and their campaigns weaker heading into the general while Democrats had the advantage of stockpiling funds and getting our message on the air unimpeded.”

HOW THE GOP LOST HEALTH CARE IN THE OFF-YEAR: “We’ll quote Washington Post’s Dave Weigel writing in The Trailer: ‘One of the themes of this newsletter has been that stability is itself a strategy. Democrats, by focusing relentlessly on health care over the daily White House story, have put themselves in a stronger position than Republicans, who seem to be flailing from issue to issue.’”           

THE GOP TALKING POINT BUSTS: As Republicans have meandered from repeal and replace to their tax scam to openly lying about their policies with a generation’s worth of weirdness in between (remember calls for President Trump to get the Nobel Peace Prize for giving North Korea everything it wanted?), Democrats have remained laser-focused on the issue voters care most about.”

WHILE WE’RE HERE… One more note about GOP talking point busts. Here’s the head of Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund in June: “My own prediction is that, come mid-September, national Democrats are going to hand Bill Nelson a canteen and a pistol and leave him for dead,”

We’re not naming names, but those who bought this ridiculous spin should read what Sean Sullivan reported yesterday: “The Senate Leadership Fund also is sending more than $2 million to a super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), the strategist said. Scott is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in an expensive contest where Republican optimism has faded in the past few weeks.”

VOTER ENTHUSIASM. Across the map, voters are fired up for this election and sending early vote totals through the roof:

Washington Post: Early vote totals in at least 17 states already surpass 2014 turnout at this point:
FL-Tampa Bay Times: One week out, voter turnout tops 3 million in Florida
IN-WTHR: Early voting in Marion County is 1.5x the 2016 presidential election
NV-CBS 8: Early voting numbers continue to impress; Nevada could see record turnout
OH-The Vindicator: Democrats in Ohio going into Tuesday’s election with fervor
TN-Tennessean: Early voting surpasses 1 million in Tennessee as turnout remains at historic level
WI-Journal Sentinel: Early voting hits midterm record in Wisconsin

INSIDE ELECTIONS MOVES KEY RACES. As Democrats continue barnstorming Arizona, Florida, and Nevada and their message resonates with voters, Inside Elections moves those races from ‘Toss-up’ to ‘Tilt-D.’

MORE DEM ENDORSEMENTS. Senate Democratic candidates continued to receive endorsements this week citing their records of standing up for their states and delivering results:

  • MO: KANSAS CITY STAR. “McCaskill has earned another term — and The Star’s endorsement. Hawley has proved to be a disappointment in ways that are that go beyond even the “politics as usual” he used to rail against.”
  • MT: MISSOULIAN: “Tester is the kind of senator who has shown, repeatedly, that he puts Montana first, and that he represents all Montanans, not just Democrats and not just campaign supporters. His loyalty to this state comes before any particular politician or political party.”
  • ND: HIGH PLAINS READER: “Heitkamp stands firm for health care for all people. Cramer has voted so many times to repeal the Affordable Care Act you can hardly count them. North Dakota has tens of thousands of people at risk of losing health insurance if the ACA is repealed instead of improved.”
  • OH: CANTON REPOSITORY: “Brown fights for Ohioans. There is no question his heart remains fully in the fight. We endorse Sherrod Brown for a third term to U.S. Senate.”
  • PA: BUCKS COUNTY COURIER TIMES: “Casey is a moderate Democrat and part of the No Labels caucus. Barletta is a doctrinaire conservative Republican and not part of the No Labels caucus.”
  • PA: YORK DAILY RECORD: “In these highly polarized times, with so much inflammatory rhetoric flung about, that’s not such a bad thing. We need some thoughtful, sober leaders at the table – some adult supervision as a counterbalance to President Trump.”
  • PA: TRIBUNE DEMOCRAT: “Ultimately, we believe Casey’s seniority in Washington and his experience working with the people of the Johnstown region make him the better candidate.”
  • PA: THE SCRANTON TIMES TRIBUNE: “Amid the maelstrom of polarized politics and volatile discourse that has come to characterize the Congress, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. has managed to maintain a focus on the core issues that matter most to most Pennsylvanians.”
  • PA: THE INTELLIGENCER: “Casey, as a relative moderate, has been a good advocate for Pennsylvania and is the best choice in this race.”
  • PA: THE PHILLY INQUIRER: “In his time in the Senate, he has taken on causes…such as allowing states to offer people with disabilities tax-exempt savings accounts, investing in repairs of bridges off the federal highway system, and requiring transparency and accountability in the investigation of sexual assault cases on campuses.”
  • WI: THE BADGER HERALD: “This board believes we can depend on that from Baldwin because her record in office and on the campaign trail has shown her to embody those values. Vukmir, to her credit, has been honest on one thing, and one thing only — she’s just not that kind of politician.”
  • WI: THE CAP TIMES: “Baldwin is a principled progressive who proudly holds the seat once occupied by Sens. Robert M. La Follette and Bill Proxmire — Wisconsinites who put their values ahead of party labels. That distinguished them from the petty partisans of the eras in which they served. And Baldwin serves in that tradition.”
  • WI: SHEPHERD EXPRESS: “Baldwin is willing to listen to anyone and to work across the aisle when it helps Wisconsinites, and she’ll always side with Wisconsin, even if it means taking on some of the most powerful special interests.”

4 DAYS OUT, HEALTH CARE STILL IN THE HEADLINES: All cycle we’ve said that health care is the defining issue of this cycle and it is still playing out as Republicans scramble:

New York Times: Republicans Say They Will Protect Pre-existing Conditions. Their Records Say Something Else.

The Hill: Democrats close campaign by hammering GOP on health care

MSNBC: Republican Senate Candidates Lie About Health Care Records
HuffPost: Believe Republicans When They Say They’re Coming After Your Health Care

Wall Street Journal: Health Care Politics Hounds Some GOP Candidates

NBC News: As Republicans run on pre-existing conditions, Dems say they’re running from their record

AZ-KNAU: Sinema Emphasizes Healthcare During Flagstaff Campaign Stop

AZ-Arizona Republic: Rep. Martha McSally: ‘I’m getting my ass kicked’ on vote to repeal ‘Obamacare’

AZ-Cronkite News: U.S. Senate race: Health Care is Top Issue for Sinema

FL-Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: Meaningless Republican rhetoric around pre-existing conditions
FL- The Gainesville Sun: Editorial: Don’t buy lies about health care
FL-Orlando Sentinel: Rick Scott, other Republicans take heat for late embrace of pre-existing condition protections

IN-HuffPost: Man Says Republican Senate Candidate Literally Took His Health Care Away

IN-Journal Gazette: Health care top issue for state voters

MO-St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial: No, Republicans are not the party of pre-existing condition protection. Never have been.

MT-NBC Montana: Tester talks health care with Cecile Richards at MSU
ND-National Journal: Heitkamp, Cramer Talk Health Care in Final Debate

ND-WDAY: “Health Care Proved to be The Hot Topic of The Night”

TX-Texas Observer: We Support Pre-Existing Condition Protections, Say Republicans Who’ve Repeatedly Tried to Eliminate Them
WI-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Leah Vukmir-linked group issued report in 2011 disparaging Obamacare’s pre-existing condition protections


AZ-Arizona Republic: As Senate race draws to a close, Kyrsten Sinema hosts get-out-the-vote event in Phoenix

IN-Indy Star: Joe Donnelly and New Jersey’s Cory Booker visit Indianapolis phone bank volunteers

MI-Click on Detroit: Joe Biden rallies for Democrats in Lansing

MN-DL Online: Tina Smith talks drug prices, healthcare, broadband

MO-Columbia Daily Tribune: Veterans speak in support of McCaskill

MO-St. Louis American: Nasheed stumps with McCaskill in North St. Louis

NV-National Journal: Kimmel, Flowers to Stump for Rosen, Sisolak

NV-Nevada Independent: Campaigning for Rosen, Sen. Kamala Harris said the country is at ‘an inflection moment’

ND-Bismarck Tribune: Biden stumps for Heitkamp in Fargo as Senate race enters homestretch

WI -WSAU News: Baldwin campaigns in Marshfield, addresses trade issues


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