Welcome to your Labor Day Weekend edition of DSCC Friday Takeaways. We hope you rest up before the long sprint to Election Day and to help prepare, here are our 8 Fast Facts for the Next 9 Weeks:
1)REPUBLICANS SPENT TENS OF MILLIONS ON THEIR PRIMARIES & ALL THEY GOT WERE DAMAGED NOMINEES. The GOP primary season was a disaster. A series of recruitment failures spawned crowded fields that forced Republican candidates and GOP outside groups to burn millions across seven states with the most divisive primaries. What do they have to show for it? A class of damaged nominees. Take a look:
AZ: Congresswoman Martha McSally is unrecognizable from the image she crafted running in a moderate district, embracing the president she won’t say if she voted for and caving to political pressure instead of demonstrating independence. Voters won’t trust a congresswoman who“keeps changing” and supports an age tax on older Arizonans’ health care.
IN: Made in China Mike Braun, who served for three years in the State Legislature, is still answering questions about his business and voting record. The AP reported that his personal auto parts company, Promaxx, heavily manufactures products in China and the IndyStar found he pushed legislation to enrich himself. Braun’s also a supporter of the lawsuit against pre-existing conditions coverage.
MT: Maryland Matt Rosendale’s primary win was bought by out-of-state special interests who poured millions into the race and Rosendale proved that he’ll say anything to get elected, including claiming to be a rancher. Guess he’s all hat, no cattle…literally.
WI: Leah Vukmir is solidly in the pocket of ALEC, an organization she chaired and was caught receiving legislative instructions from as a state senator. Vukmir is a rubber stamp on the GOP’s most dangerous policies and just yesterday Vice President Pence confirmed Vukmir would be a deciding vote to gut pre-existing conditions protections if elected.
WV: Not only is he one of 20 Republican Attorneys General who are leading the lawsuit to axe coverage for preexisting conditions, Patrick Morrisey has to answer for the eight years he spent as a pharmaceutical lobbyist amidst West Virginia’s ongoing struggle with the opioid epidemic.
2)THE GOP FIELD IS FLAWED. It doesn’t get much worse than the current class of Republican candidates:
FL: In the first 125 days of his campaign, Self-Serving Scott earned 300 bad news stories about his play-to-play, cronyism and corruption that has put Florida families last and Rick Scott first. Now, he’s left to answer for the toxic algae crisis slamming Florida’s tourism economy, his shady financial account and opposition to expanding Medicaid.
MO: Attorney General Josh Hawley was Mitch McConnell’s “golden” pick for the race but has been an utter disappointment to Republicans with a campaign plagued by gaffes, misleading attacks, and broken promises. He proved that he has no interest in standing up for Missourians when he signed the state onto the GOP lawsuit to axe pre-existing conditions as its Attorney General.
ND: Rep. Kevin Cramer made headlines when he called reactions to the GOP’s destructive trade war in “hysteria,” and told North Dakota farmers who are hard hit by tariffs that they “don’t have a high enough pain threshold.” On top of that, reports show that Cramer has a “history of paying his family” out of his campaign funds.
NV: Spineless Dean Heller continues to make national headlines for enthusiastically flip-flopping on health care issues. He told the Washington Examiner that the failed GOP attempt to strip health care from millions was a “big mistake,” but last year he pledged his support for health care to his constituents then wrote and voted for the bill that would have repealed it.
OH: Congressman Jim Renacci, who is best known for being a registered lobbyist while serving in Congress, made headlines throughout the primary for putting himself above the needs of Ohioans. Renacci was caught using taxpayer dollars on Facebook ads, has questionable ties to former businessman and felon Ben Suarez, and had the worst voting attendance record of anyone in the Ohio congressional delegation.
PA: Congressman Lou Barletta has struggled. From his inability to explain his ties to white supremacists and Holocaust deniers to refusing to comment on the lawsuit to end preexisting conditions protections, it’s no wonder he lost the Pittsburgh media market in his primary and is now running far, far behind Senator Casey
3)DEMOCRATS DOMINATE FUNDRAISING. Democrats shattered fundraising records, fueled by grassroots donors and outpacing their opponents across the country:
The Hill: Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds
CNBC: Democrats take fundraising lead in 9 key Senate battleground states ahead of the midterm elections
Vox: The latest Senate fundraising numbers look good for Democrats
Bloomberg: Trump-State Democrats Outpace GOP in Fundraising for Senate
USA Today: Senate Democrats bank big sums as 2018 midterm elections heat up
Talking Points Memo: Senate Dems Still Crushing Their GOP Rivals In Fundraising
4)GOP CANDIDATES RELYING ON OUTSIDE GROUPS. Republicans are struggling to raise money on their own and relying on outside groups:
Maryland Matt Rosendale is relying heavily on outside groups to pour money into his race. Just this week, “The Koch-backed Americans For Prosperity” launched “a six-figure ad campaign” for positive ads on Rosendale.
After Spineless Dean Heller was called “the most endangered GOP incumbent, the only one running in a state won last cycle by Hillary Clinton” Mitch McConnell’s Super PAC ran to his defense, shelling out “ seven figures to defend him” which included clearing the primary field for him to run unopposed. They re-upped their ad buy for the fall, where they plan “to spend $11.2 million” to help Heller’s image.
Hawley has had his fair share of fundraising and voter enthusiasm issues, but groups like One Nation and Club for Growth are running to his rescue, pouring money into running positive ads to boost Hawley’s profile.
BONUS via Politico: “The Club for Growth, a Washington-based anti-tax group, is drawing up plans for a major TV ad campaign boosting Cruz — the first such intervention by a Republican outside group in this race.”
5)SELF-SERVING SCOTT HAS SPENT $30 MILLION BUT HASN’T MOVED THE NEEDLE. Self-Serving Scott spent $30 million but has failed to move the needle, as polls show a race that remains in the margin and Nelson holding strong. Don’t forget: Scott vastly outspent his opponents in 2010 and 2014 – wave Republican years – but as Politico reminded readers today: he “never received 49 percent or more of the vote.”
6)SINEMA EARNED 82% OF VOTE. MCSALLY EARNED A NEW NICKNAME: “MCSHIFTY.” Kyrsten Sinema earned 82% of the vote and is gaining momentum through the general. Her opponent, Congresswoman Martha McSally, however; struggled from day one. McSally’s campaign was plagued with flip flops that turned off voters and earned her the name “McShifty”, brutal hits in the press, and deep party divisions which forced her to devote critical resources to eke through the primary. See our full take on McSally here.
7)VOTERS’ TOP ISSUE IS A BIG PROBLEM FOR GOP. Republicans spent the last year sabotaging health care. It’s voters’ top issue and a major challenge for Republican Senate candidates:
The Washington Post: Republicans are running the ‘repeal and replace’ scam all over again
Talking Points Memo: Anti-Obamacare Lawsuit Threatens to Drag Down GOP In the Midterm
8)DEMOCRATS “HAVE AN EDGE ON HEALTH CARE.” We said it early and say it often: healthcare is the defining issue of this election. Voters trust Democrats and start the final nine weeks with a big edge on a top priority:
Bottom line: Democrats are well positioned with just over 9 weeks until election day.
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