REPUBLICANS HAVE A DONALD TRUMP PROBLEM. With Donald Trump leading the polls and vulnerable GOP Senators praising Trump and his candidacy, Republicans are growing increasingly nervous that Trump will hurt the GOP’s already slim chances of maintaining their fragile majority.
Republicans are increasingly worried that Donald Trump’s candidacy will hurt the party’s quest to maintain the Senate majority in 2016….The real estate mogul’s controversial comments on immigration could cause a trickle-down effect and haunt Republican Senate candidates, party strategists say.
“I think it’s pretty clear that some of [Trump’s] more dramatic proposals on immigration will certainly affect races like the Nevada senate race in particular,” said one Nevada GOP strategist.
Indeed, GOP Senate candidates—including Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), John McCain (Ariz.) and Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.), as well as Rep. Joe Heck (Nev.) —have all been asked about Trump’s stances on the trail.
Democrats have already capitalized on Trump’s presence in the race…They slammed Burr on his comments in a release to reporters, asking if Burr found three controversial Trump statements “delightful.”
GOP, OUTSIDE GROUPS SPEND BIG TO PROP UP VULNERABLE INCUMBENTS. In an attempt to keep their fragile majority from slipping away, GOP outside groups are already spending unprecedented amounts on TV more than a year out from the election. Politico reported this week that Republican groups have already spent a whopping $12 million as they stare down a terrible 2016 map, and Huffington Post reports that the amount spent already this year “significantly exceeds that spent at this point in the 2014 election cycle.”
On paper, Democrats are in prime position to make Mitch McConnell a one-term majority leader. Republicans are on defense across the map, with 24 incumbents trying to keep their seats versus just 10 for Democrats. Only two Democratic-held seats, Sen. Michael Bennet’s in Colorado and retiring Minority Leader Harry Reid’s in Nevada, are seen as winnable for Republicans. At least seven GOP-controlled seats are at risk of flipping.
Across the country, Republican groups have already dropped more than $12 million — compared with just $2.5 million from Democrats, according to media tracking sources. It’s far more cash than at a similar point in the 2012 cycle, when groups from both sides had spent about $2 million each.
Huffington Post: Corporate, Koch Money Dominates Early 2016 Senate Race Spending
The amount spent this year significantly exceeds that spent at this point in the 2014 election cycle. The total spent by outside groups continues a trend that has set in since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision unleashed a rising tide of outside spending in elections.
Leading the way in 2016 Senate battleground spending are a small number of groups aligned with the Republican Party. Americans for Prosperity and Concerned Veterans for America, both affiliated with the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, combined to spend at least $4.3 million. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest corporate lobby, has spent $2.3 million to boost Republican candidates. One Nation, a nonprofit recently taken over by the strategists running the Crossroads groups founded in 2010 by Karl Rove, has spent $1.9 million.
RON JOHNSON ON MINIMUM WAGE: “SHOULDN’T BE ONE.” Ron Johnson has a terrible record on the minimum wage – he’s consistently opposed increases and has even called proposals to raise the federal minimum wage “disturbing,” but this week PolitiFactconfirmed that Johnson has taken things one step further. Johnson doesn’t just oppose raising the federal minimum wage – he doesn’t even think there should be a federal minimum wage. As Johnson stares down a tough re-election fight in 2016, he’ll have a tough time explaining his outrageous, out-of-touch positions on the minimum wage to hardworking Wisconsin families.
Capital Times: Ron Johnson Thinks There Should Be No Federal Minimum Wage
POLLING ROUNDUP: STRICKLAND LEADS PORTMAN, AYOTTE VULNERABLE. New polls out this week show the most vulnerable Republican Senators already struggling as they stare down brutal re-election battles in crucial battleground states.
In New Hampshire, PPP released a poll this week showing Kelly Ayotte with underwater approvals with just 38% approving of the job she’s done.
In Ohio, Quinnipiac released a poll with Ted Strickland leading Rob Portman.
With numbers like these, it’s no wonder GOP-aligned outside groups are spending unprecedented amounts to prop up these unpopular Senators.
IN THE STATES:
INDIANA – PASS THE POPCORN! GOP PRIMARY GETS MESSIER. ABC 6 reported this week that state Sen. Mike Delph is still considering entering the crowded GOP primary in Indiana. As the field grows larger, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports that Senator Dan Coats is considering getting involved.
WISCONSIN – FEINGOLD WRAPS UP 72-COUNTY TOUR. The Appleton Post Crescent reported that Russ Feingold rallied Democrats in Fox Valley at the tail end of his 72-county statewide tour.
TWEET OF THE WEEK: This week’s tweet goes to Paul Blumenthal, who highlighted the unprecedented early GOP spending: @PaulBlu: Outside spending on 2016 Senate races already outpacing 2014. Led by Chamber of Commerce & Koch groupshttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/senate-races_55d77eb4e4b08cd3359c20fd?5razto6r …