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DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS: DEMS WELL POSITIONED TO WIN MAJORITY – DSCC LAUNCHES GOP SHUTDOWN WATCH – JOE HECK’S SOCIAL SECURITY PRIVATIZATION SCHEME RUINS HIS WEEK – JOHNSON STUMBLES (AGAIN) – PORTMAN ON DEFENSE OVER TRADE – RAND PAUL CAMPAIGN HURTING HIS

NATIONAL JOURNAL SENATE RANKINGS SHOW DEMS WELL POSITIONED TO WIN MAJORITY. National Journal released their latest ranking of the Senate seats most likely to flip parties in 2016 – with eight out of the top ten seats currently held by Republicans:

ILLINOIS“Kirk needs to run close to a perfect race to win reelection in deep-blue Illinois. So far, he’s doing anything but. The first-term Republican has suffered a seemingly uninterrupted series of gaffes this year, causing even close allies to (temporarily) wonder if he should abandon his campaign.”

WISCONSIN Feingold is “undoubtedly a favorite to retake his old seat.”

PENNSYLVANIA“In a state that leans left during presidential elections and a time when few senators outrun their presidential nominees by much, that should worry Republicans.”

OHIO Republicans have started to worry that the first-term senator’s dedication to his National Republican Senatorial Committee duties last cycle cost him back home. Quinnipiac surveys have found him trailing former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who remains well-known even as about a third of voters said they didn’t know enough about Portman to form opinions about him.”

COLORADO “To put it bluntly, this summer has been disaster for the Colorado GOP—and it’s left the party wondering if it can pull together a serious challenge against Bennet.”

DSCC LAUNCHES GOP SHUTDOWN WATCH: VULNERABLE GOP SENATORS ATTACK WOMEN’S HEALTH, CHEER ON SHUTDOWN. This week, the DSCC launched the “GOP Shutdown Watch” campaign to hold vulnerable GOP senators accountable who are attacking women’s health and cheerleading a government shutdown over funding for Planned Parenthood. A new poll this week showed that a majority of voters in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Ohio would be less likely to support Republicans if the government were shut down – putting Kelly Ayotte, Pat Toomey and Rob Portman on defense over their decision to attack women’s health.

Both Rand Paul & John McCain are already willing to shut down the government to attack women’s health, and at least two of the GOP’s most vulnerable senators seem ready to join them. When asked about supporting a shutdown, Rob Portman said “We’ll see,” while Ron Johnson refused to say he would oppose.

CONGRESSMAN HECK’S JOB TOUR DISASTER. Congressman Joe Heck launched a Nevada jobs tour this week, but his plans were quickly sidetracked by questions over his previous comments calling Social Security a “pyramid scheme.” Coverage of Congressman Heck’s comments on Social Security led evening newscasts – even drawing audible groans from news anchors.

Reno Gazette Journal: Heck Pivots To Social Security On ‘Joe Knows Jobs’ Tour

KOLO 8 News: Congressman Heck’s “Jobs Tour” Sidetracked By Social Security Privatization Proposal

KTVN: Joe Heck Campaigns In Reno

RON JOHNSON CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE. In what seems to be a reoccurring theme in Friday Takeaways, Ron Johnson’s dim reelection prospects darkened further this week:

  • It’s now been two full months since Russ Feingold proposed the “Badger Pledge” to keep outside money out of the Wisconsin Senate race, but Ron Johnson has refused to accept while already benefitting from more than half a million dollars in outside cash and facing an FEC complaint over his shady 2010 corporate funding scheme.
  • Johnson is also facing a Senate Ethics complaint over his use of taxpayer-funded resources to boost his campaign. But when asked about the complaint Johnson shrugged it off, saying “I don’t think it’s a big deal at all.”
  • For months, Johnson has been dodging responsibility and avoiding all accountability for the role he and his office played in letting Tomah whistleblower complaints die in “the equivalent of a congressional black hole.”

As Johnson avoids those pesky questions about ethics violations and campaign finance, the one thing he does seem to want to talk about ishow similar he is to Donald Trump. Great strategery.

PORTMAN ON DEFENSE OVER TRADE, JOBS TOUR RUINED. Congressman Heck isn’t the only Republican who had a jobs tour meltdown this week – Rob Portman also faced questions about his horrible record on jobs as Democrats in Ohio simultaneously launched the “No-Jobs-Rob Farewell Tour.” Portman’s bad week didn’t end there, though. He’s also on defense over his claim last week that he would not read the TPP agreement, despite the fact that he had no problem taking over $100,000 from corporate backers of the deal.

PAUL’S CAMPAIGN(S) STRUGGLE AS HOME STATE DOUBTS EMERGE. As Rand Paul’s presidential campaign continues to flounder, he faces challenges at home in Kentucky – including whether he can mount a successful Senate campaign in 2016 despite making it clear to Kentucky voters he views being their Senator as a consolation prize.

Politico: Paul Faces Emerging Doubts At Home

Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign limped into August under the weight of poor fundraising and sapped staff morale.

Then the indictments last week of two longtime Paul advisers sent shockwaves through the Kentucky Republican’s orbit.

 

Now the bad news: Paul’s woeful month could get even worse.

 

[…]

Without the money, another executive committee member said, Paul’s plan should be “DOA.” Yet another worried that Paul’s efforts to salvage a long-shot presidential bid could cost Republicans a must-win Senate seat.

“I do not want to lose a Senate seat,” the committee member said. “I am concerned that he promised that if he realized he wasn’t going to win [the presidential nomination], he’d get out. But when is that going to be?”

Wall Street Journal: Amid Flagging Campaign, Home State Pressure Mounts On Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul, whose presidential campaign has been buffeted by fundraising disappointments and flagging poll numbers, isfacing new challenges in his home state of Kentucky.

The home state pressure is mounting at a time when the Paul camp has been beset by problems on a variety of fronts.

His fundraising has fallen far short of other candidates in the field. As of the end of June, Mr. Paul’s presidential campaign had $4.2 million in cash on hand; his Senate campaign has $1.5 million, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Two longtime aides and associates of the Paul family last week were indicted on charges related to past campaign work for Mr. Paul’s father, 2012 presidential candidate Ron Paul.

IN THE STATES:

MISSOURI –DISMAL APPROVAL NUMBERS MEAN BIG TROUBLE FOR BLUNT. A new poll this week from PPP showed Roy Blunt with only 30% of voters approving of the job he’s done to a whopping 47% disapproving, making Blunt one of the least popular Senators in the country. The same poll showed Jason Kander closing in on Blunt and trailing by just five points.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – NEW AD SLAMS AYOTTE FOR FAVORING SPECIAL INTERESTS. A new ad began airing in New Hampshire this week slamming Kelly Ayotte for putting the Koch Brothers ahead of New Hampshire families.

ILLINOIS – KIRK FACES QUESTIONS ABOUT CAMPAIGN PAYROLL. A Chicago Tribune report this week spurred questions about Mark Kirk’s caregiver receiving a campaign salary.  Are Republicans dropping oppo on their own Senator?

TWEET OF THE WEEK: This week’s tweet goes to PPP as they point out that Blunt’s dismal approval numbers leave him one of the most vulnerable senators heading in to the 2016 elections: @ppppolls: “Blunt is actually much more unpopular than Portman, Toomey, Ayotte who are all accepted to be vulnerable”

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