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DSCC FRIDAY TAKEAWAYS: HICK, MCGRATH WIN—GARDNER STUMBLES ON DAY 1 OF GENERAL—COLLINS “UNDER FIRE” AGAIN OVER KAVANAUGH—BIG FUNDRAISING IN ME, GA, TX

HICKENLOOPER “EASILY” ADVANCES TO FACE GARDNER. Popular former governor John Hickenlooper “easily” advanced to the general election in Colorado this week with a strong primary victory as Democrats drove record primary turnout, far outpacing Republicans. Overcoming millions in outside spending, Hickenlooper’s decisive win underscored why “Republicans did not want this outcome.” John’s support from voters was fueled by his impressive record of accomplishments: As Governor, Hickenlooper helped take Colorado from 40th in job creation to one of the top economies in the country, led the state’s successful Medicaid expansion, and enacted major gun safety measures and environmental protections.

Hickenlooper is facing vulnerable incumbent Senator Cory Gardner, who he’s been consistently outraising and leading in the polls.

MEANWHILE: GARDNER STUMBLES ON DAY ONE OF THE GENERAL ELECTION. Gardner started Day 1 of the general election with an epic disaster of an interview on Colorado Public Radio, where he:

The day didn’t get any better for Gardner when a new poll found him still losing to Hickenlooper by double digits in a general election match-up. And ICYMI: Gardner will be sharing the Republican ticket with QAnon conspiracy theorist and CO-3 Republican nominee Lauren Boebert, who is expected to “give Gardner one more headache” in his uphill re-election campaign.

MCGRATH WINS IN KENTUCKY. Amy McGrath also advanced to the general election in Kentucky this week. Since Amy entered the race last year, Kentucky has emerged as another major defensive liability for Washington Republicans. In the Senate, she’ll be a champion for Kentuckians, taking on the special interests and working across party lines to deliver affordable health care and lower prescription drug costs, better schools, and an economic recovery that puts hardworking families first. Amy flew 89 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan over her 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and her campaign is focused on service and putting all Kentuckians first.

BIG FUNDRAISING HAULS FOR DEMS IN MAINE, GEORGIA, TEXAS. Democratic Senate challengers in Maine, Georgia, and Texas are once again reporting impressive and eye-popping fundraising totals for Q2. Here’s what you need to know:

  • In Texas, decorated combat veteran MJ Hegar raised over $1.7 million — her strongest quarter to date and the latest sign of her increasing momentum as she gears up to challenge Senator John Cornyn.
  • In Georgia’s special election, Reverend Raphael Warnock raised nearly $3 million, almost doubling his impressive Q1 haul.
  • In the other Georgia Senate race, Jon Ossoff reported raising more than $3.4 million, including more than $2.3 million since the June 9 primary, confirming Senator David Perdue’s fears that “the state of Georgia is in play.”
  • In Maine, Sara Gideon announced a record-shattering haul of over $9 million, with 95% of donations under $200 — a clear display of her broad grassroots support.

Read more about these impressive fundraising hauls:

GOP STALLS ON RX DRUG COSTS, KEEPS THREATENING HEALTH CARE. The New York Times reports that the GOP-controlled Senate “remains stalled” on lowering prescription drug prices, as “Senate Republicans have shied away from acting” because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “appears to be in no mood to tackle the issue.” A new analysis this week showed the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped pharmaceutical companies from hiking prices for *245 different drugs* this year.

A new MarketWatch report revealed that the dangerous Republican lawsuit to repeal the entire health care law, enabled by every single GOP senator, would also threaten nursing homes, making them “collateral damage” by unraveling oversight and resident protections, stripping many long-term care workers of health coverage, and undermining efforts to expand care options for seniors. Despite these alarming reports, Trump is plowing forward with his agenda to “terminate” the health care law and making a legal argument for overturning the Affordable Care Act that is a “nightmare for Senate Republicans” across the board.

REPUBLICANS REFUSE TO EXTEND EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF. As the U.S. leads the world in the number of reported coronavirus cases and deaths and the surging pandemic halts the country’s economic recovery, new reports this week detailed the grim financial reality that many Americans are facing. The Washington Post spotlighted how “millions of American workers are suffering from economic whiplash” as they are laid off for the second time, while a POLITICO report bluntly exposed the grim reality of the job market and how “the already struggling U.S. economy has begun to show signs of another shock.” Despite these reports, Senate Republicans are pledging to oppose extending the enhanced unemployment relief that passed Congress with bipartisan support earlier this year and have repeatedly “dismissed calls for immediate additional legislation.”

SUSAN COLLINS “UNDER FIRE” (AGAIN) FOR KAVANAUGH VOTE. Senator Susan Collins’ excuses for supporting Justice Brett Kavanaugh continue to age poorly, drawing intense scrutiny from Mainers for her vote to confirm him after he sided with a minority on the Supreme Court to uphold a rigid anti-choice state law this week. Meanwhile, a new report shows how Collins’ campaign coffers were flooded with checks from Kavanaugh supporters after she cast her crucial vote — many of whom had never donated to Collins before or significantly ramped up their giving.

AMID PANDEMIC, SENATE REPUBLICANS COMPLAIN THEY “CAN’T CATCH A BREAK.” In the middle of a global pandemic, vulnerable Repulbican senators are focused on their own political careers and whining about how they “can’t catch a break” after a “run of bad luck” as they realize they could lose the majority come November. But let’s be clear: this is a crisis of their own making. Time and time again, these Republicans have shown themselves to be out of touch with their constituents, too weak to stand up for what’s right, and incapable of being independent voices for their states. They have looked the other way instead of holding the president accountable and enabled the administration’s failed response to the coronavirus outbreak at every turn. Senate Republicans created this mess, and they own it.

NEW POLL FINDS CORNYN A “NONENTITY” IN TEXAS AS HE COMES UNDER FIRE. A new poll from Public Policy Polling showed that vulnerable incumbent Senator John Conryn is in trouble in Texas, where his job approval and favorability are underwater and a plurality of nearly 40% of voters don’t have any opinion about him. 

This news came after the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board slammed Cornyn for his “disturbing” response to the Trump administration’s “unconscionable” inaction when presented with reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops. The Editorial Board eviscerated Cornyn, writing that he should stop “providing excuses” and that “we need leaders who take [the safety of our troops] seriously.”

IN THE STATES

AL — AL.com: ‘We do this for each other’: Doug Jones puts on COVID-19 mask in latest campaign ad

AZ — Arizona Republic (Opinion): EJ Montini: Is there a bounty on Sen. Martha McSally’s backbone?

CO — Colorado Sun: Cory Gardner starts the U.S. Senate contest in negative territory. And the reason why is simple.

IA — Cedar Rapids Gazette: Greenfield: Andrew Wheeler is harming Iowa farmers

ME — Bangor Daily News: Editorial: Sara Gideon is the strongest choice in Democratic US Senate primary

MI — WDIV: Sen. Gary Peters hosts online forum on racial justice

MS — The Root: Mike Espy: With the Confederate Emblem Gone, I Look Forward to Seeing a New Flag Fly Over Mississippi

MT — Newsweek: Democrat Steve Bullock Holds Lead in Key Montana Senate Race: Poll

NC — Raleigh News & Observer: In race vs. Tillis, Democrat Cunningham makes pitch for Medicaid expansion

SC — Salon: As COVID deaths mounted, Lindsey Graham kept moving the goalposts for Trump

TX — Dallas Morning News: Senate hopeful MJ Hegar banking on suburban women to carry her to victory against Royce West, John Cornyn

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Lauren Passalacqua
@laurenvpass

Stewart Boss
@stew_boss

Helen Kalla
@helen_kalla

Shea Necheles
@sheanecheles

Regina Anderson
@reginasopinion

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