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DSCC QUICK TAKES: GOP STRATEGIST: “THE SENATE IS LEANING TOWARDS DEMS”—REPUBLICANS POUR MONEY INTO #KSSEN & PLAN $21 MILLION DEFENSIVE BLITZ

GOP STRATEGIST: “THE SENATE IS LEANING TOWARDS DEMOCRATS.” Republican strategists told NPR that “Senate is leaning towards Democrats,” in a lengthy piece that detailed how GOP incumbents are most “likely to lose in Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina,” are concerned about other battlegrounds including Georgia Iowa, Montana, and will need to spend in Kansas [more on that later]. Bottom line: there are 89 days left and Republicans are sounding less and less confident in their incumbents and candidates. NPR: Senate Republicans Face Uphill Fight To Hold Majority

REPUBLICANS MAKE DEFENSIVE INVESTMENTS IN RACES THEY PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT WERE SAFE. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Super PAC announced an “earlier-than-expected” $21 million August ad blitz –– the catch? It’s entirely defensive. Republicans have been forced to pour money into five GOP-held seats that are trending toward Democrats. And 80% of their latest investment is in Iowa, Montana, and Georgia -– three states that Republicans didn’t anticipate being competitive at the beginning of the cycle. It’s just the latest piece of evidence that Republicans have been forced to rescue their incumbents as strong Democratic candidates have expanded the map and added paths to the majority.   

MCCONNELL DARK MONEY GROUP POURS $4.2 MILLION INTO #KSSEN. Speaking of pouring money into states that Republicans once took for granted, new reporting reveals that the McConnell-aligned dark money group, One Nation, is placing a $4.2 million ad buy in Kansas. Despite Republicans’ early gloating, it appears that “the GOP trainwreck in Kansas” didn’t end and now Washington Republicans are forced to bail out an underwhelming candidate in Washington politician Roger Marshall after “his image took a beating” during the messy and expensive GOP primary. This latest buy confirms Republicans’ fears of Marshall going up against Democrat Dr. Barbara Bollier — widely regarded as a “strong candidate” who has built a broad coalition of support and has the resources to continue building a juggernaut campaign. 

EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF LAPSES AS HIRING “SLOWED DRAMATICALLY” BUT REPUBLICANS SAY DELAY IN CORONAVIRUS RELIEF “WAS TIMED RIGHT.” A new report out this week revealed that “U.S. hiring slowed dramatically in July” as coronavirus cases surged. The new numbers mark “a sharp falloff” and suggest that “almost no sector of the U.S. economy has been untouched.” Despite the alarming report, Senate Republicans are saying their indefensible delay in passing additional coronavirus relief was “was timed right.” Senate Republicans are actively fighting to cut the emergency unemployment relief even as experts largely agree that “getting rid of extended jobless benefits would come with a big economic hit.”

MCSALLY SIGNALS “SHE’S IN A HEAP OF TROUBLE.” Unelected Senator Martha McSally just sent out her loudest cry for help yet, signaling “what everyone already knows: she’s in a heap of trouble.” The vulnerable incumbent’s desperate debate stunt yesterday was immediately called out by local columnists as a sign that “she’s in for a rough ride.” Arizona’s primary election on Tuesday had two red flags for McSally: “Democrats were on track to shatter their own turnout record” in the primary — and nearly a quarter of GOP voters cast their ballots for McSally’s primary challenger, which even Republican strategists had admitted “should send red flags flapping for McSally.” Arizona Republic (Laurie Roberts): Sen. Martha McSally wants 7 debates? Oh yeah, she’s worried

DSCC AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF GEORGIA FILE LAWSUIT CHALLENGING LACK OF POLLING PLACES & ELECTION RESOURCES. The DSCC, the Democratic Party of Georgia and local voters filed a lawsuit today against the Georgia Secretary of State and county governments that administer elections to address the long lines that have plagued elections – including the June 9th primary that was called a “complete meltdown” – and threatened to disenfranchise voters in November. Read more about the lawsuit here. AJC: Georgia sued over long voting lines

JOHN JAMES DOWNPLAYS TIES TO DEVOS, BUT RECEIVES $1 MILLION DARK MONEY CASH INFUSION FROM FAMILY AND HIRED HER NIECE. A new report reveals that despite failed politician John James’ attempts to downplay his ties to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, campaign finance disclosures show that the DeVos family is one of his biggest financial backers, and even spent $1 million through a dark money group to support him. His campaign even hired her niece as his assistant communications director, despite an apparent lack of relevant experience. This latest discovery is unsurprising from the candidate who has consistently been hypocritically saying one thing and doing another on just about everything this cycle. Salon: Michigan GOP candidate who downplayed ties to DeVos hires her niece after getting $1M cash infusion

REPORT: FORMER AIDE LOBBIED SUSAN COLLINS TO ENSURE MASSIVE HOTEL CHAINS GOT A SLICE OF GOVERNMENT AID INTENDED FOR SMALL BIZ. A new ProPublica report reveals that vulnerable incumbent Senator Susan Collins was lobbied by a former longtime aide to create an exception in the Paycheck Protection Program that would ensure that large corporate hotel chains could be eligible for the government aid that was intended for small businesses. As a result “up to $1 billion in small business relief dollars went to hotel chains with more than 500 employees.” Collins proudly took credit for the exemption that effectively meant that the Paycheck Protection Program “ended up favoring well-connected businesses over mom-and-pop concerns with scarce access to other resources.” ProPublica: How Hotel Chains Got a Slice of Government Aid for Small Businesses

DEM AD WATCH

NH – Senator Jeanne Shaheen highlights her successful work on PFAS and her commitment to protecting Granite Staters’ access to safe, clean drinking water. Watch.

IN THE STATES

AZ – PolitiFact: “McSally’s statement…ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.”

GA – Washington Post: A WNBA owner dismissed player protests. Now they’re campaigning for her Senate opponent.

GA – CNN: John Lewis’ legacy at work as WNBA team protests a co-owner and US senator

ME –  Maine Beacon: Collins’ misguided attack on Gideon’s husband is straight out of the 1950s

NC – Spectrum News: Cal Cunningham on U.S. Senate Race

SC – WACH: Harrison: “I think Lindsey Graham is scared”

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