GOP’S COLORADO DISASTER GETS WORSE. In case you thought it couldn’t get worse for Republicans in Colorado – it did. Aftermonths of drama and infighting within the state Republican Party and four of the GOP’s top-choice candidates quickly passing on the race, focus shifted to second-tier candidates. This week, District Attorney George Brauchler became the latest Colorado Republican to pass on challenging Michael Bennet in 2016.
National Journal: Top Republican Senate Candidate Says No To 2016 Run in Colorado
WHY IT MATTERS: The GOP is facing a bleak map for 2016 and with their top choices in Florida, Nevada, Indiana and Colorado passing on their respective races, the chances Republicans maintain their fragile majority grow increasingly slimmer.
ROB PORTMAN DECIDES WHICH WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE SERVICES ARE “LEGITIMATE.” Rob Portman’s extreme positions on women’s health care are no secret – he’s voted multiple times to defund Planned Parenthood and limit access to basic health care services for millions of women across the country. This week, however, Portman took things even further in an interview on Fox Business, when he suggested that he should decide which parts of women’s health care are “legitimate” and “needed.” As an aside, did Portman learn nothing from Todd Akin? MEMO TO GOP SENATE CANDIDATES: YOU DON’T USE THE WORD “LEGITIMATE” WHEN TALKING ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE.
Talking Points Memo: GOP Sen.: Fund Clinics With ‘Legitimate’ Care, Not Planned Parenthood
ROYAL RUMBLE TIME: FLORIDA GOP PRIMARY GETS NASTY. The crowded, messy GOP primary in Florida is heating up with more than five months to go until voters choose their nominee. This week, Jeff Atwater announced that he is reconsidering a Senate bid that he ruled out six months ago – a move that would bring the GOP’s candidate tally in the Florida primary up to five. The drama doesn’t end there, though. Almost immediately after Atwater announced he was reconsidering a bid, the gloves came off and David Jolly publicly questioned whether Atwater can be trusted. Jolly pledged to stay in the race even if Atwater chooses to run, ensuring a messy, nasty primary that promises to divide the GOP establishment.
PAT TOOMEY CHEERLEADS A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN. Since officially launching his reelection bid a few weeks ago, Pat Toomey has been desperately trying to moderate his image and run from his extreme record. This week, the vulnerable GOP senator didn’t do himself any favors when he voted against a bill aimed at preventing a government shutdown. When asked about the shameful vote, Toomey admitted that he plans to leave responsible governing to others while he continues playing politics with women’s health.
FEINGOLD’S STRONG FUNDRAISING, LEAD IN POLLS MEAN TROUBLE FOR JOHNSON. This week, a new Marquette University Law poll showed Feingold leading Johnson by a whopping 14 points, with Johnson’s approval ratings underwater. Feingold also reported another incredibly strong fundraising quarter – raising $2.4 million in the third quarter.
PERFECT STORM BREWING FOR MCCAIN IN ARIZONA. With the threat of a tea party primary from the right and a strong challenge from Democrats, it’s clear John McCain is in an election cycle like nothing he’s ever seen before as a Senator. McCain showed just how worried he is about a primary fight this week when he stood shoulder to shoulder with Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis and said she was right to “exercise the dictates of her conscience” and deny marriage licenses to same sex couples. McCain’s lurch to the extreme right might have been a reaction to fellow Republican Rep. David Schweikert publicly expressing his doubts about McCain’s electoral chances, saying “If he makes it through the primary, Ms. Kirkpatrick will be our senator.”
As McCain starts to struggle with his 2016 tightrope walk, analysts are already doubting his electoral strength. Yesterday, Sabato’s Crystal Ball moved the race towards Democrats.
IN THE STATES:
CONNECTICUT – NRSC CANDIDATE CHEERS ON SHUTDOWN. Potential GOP Senate candidate Larry Kudlow penned an op-ed for CNBC this week cheering on a government shutdown.
WISCONSIN – YET ANOTHER GOP AD RATED “FALSE.” Factcheck.org rated a Club for Growth ad against Russ Feingold in Wisconsin false.
ILLINOIS – DUCKWORTH EARNS LABOR SUPPORT. The Chicago Tribune reports that Tammy Duckworth picked up a major endorsement from the AFL-CIO this week.
**NOTE FROM JUSTIN: This will be my last Takeaways, as my last day at the DSCC is this coming Wednesday. You’re all in good hands with Sadie Weiner. Maeve & Lara write the whole thing anyway. Enjoy the weekend!