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DSCC QUICK TAKES: GOP TAX BILL BUST — REPUBLICANS: #WVSEN “HAS SLIPPED” — BARLETTA “DECLINES TO COMMENT”

GOP TAX BILL BUST. The tax bill isn’t just a bust for the middle class: turns out the GOP lawmakers who hoped run on the legislation that gives huge tax breaks to wealthy donors, big insurance and pharmaceutical companies is not the election year winner they thought it’d be. From the Associated Press:

  • “We wish it got the pitch forks out and it doesn’t,” GOP ad maker Will Ritter said of the Republican tax cuts.”
  • While Republicans are reluctant to engage on tax cuts, it’s a fight Democrats — and their voters — want.
  • “The tax cuts were for the top … income earners,” said George Stringer, a 58-year-old Democrat who lives in Detroit. “The rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer.”
  • Republicans are also reluctant to embrace their tax cuts because the benefits don’t change the household budget for many Americans

GOP ADMITS #WVSEN “HAS SLIPPED.” Republican Senate candidates across the board are struggling to keep up with their Democratic opponents – and that’s the story in West Virginia where Politico reports Patrick Morrisey “has failed to close the gap since he emerged from a nasty primary in May.” More:

  • Republicans are worried that Manchin’s opponent, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, has failed to close the gap since he emerged from a nasty primary in May.
  • One GOP operative involved in Senate races said Morrisey emerged from the May 8 primary “worn down and broke.”
  • “Between the primary and today, there’s no question that race has slipped for Republicans,” said one GOP strategist involved in Senate races, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
  • Morrisey has been blistered by ads from Democrats but has yet to hit the airwaves himself during the general election… He has faced constant attacks on TV, with most ads focused on his past work as a lobbyist, including for pharmaceutical companies, which opponents tie to the state’s opioid crisis. Democrats are also hitting Morrisey over a previous run for office in his native New Jersey.
  • Republicans have dropped significant money onto the airwaves to turn the tide…But none of the ads has countered Democratic messaging on Morrisey or worked to improve his own image in the state.

BARLETTA ”DECLINES TO COMMENT” BUT HIS VOTES SAY IT ALL. Congressman Lou Barletta’s struggling bus tour continues to crawl across Pennsylvania and he’s struggling to answer basic questions on issues impacting Pennsylvania families. In an interview with WTAE, Barletta refused to condemn the destructive Republican-led lawsuit to make protections for pre-existing conditions coverage unconstitutional only saying he “would not comment on the court fight.”

But Barletta’s already on the record on this issue: last year he voted for the toxic GOP health care bill that would slash coverage for pre-existing conditions.

He then dismissed questions about the ongoing investigation into sexual abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania saying “It’s not a federal issue, so my opinion doesn’t really matter very much.” Watch the clip here.

BRAUN CHANNELS MOURDOCK. Rep. Mike Braun told the Indianapolis Star that he supports forcing survivors of rape and incest to carry their attacker’s child, and would force women to continue life-threatening pregnancies against their will. His beliefs echo those of Richard Mourdock, “the Republican Donnelly defeated in 2012 in part because of the abortion issue, also said he would not oppose an abortion needed to save the life of a woman.”

OHIO DEMS HIGHLIGHT REP. RENACCI’S SELF-SERVING RECORD. The Ohio Democratic Party launched their new website.RenacciForHimself.com to highlight the congressman’s long record of choosing self-serving policies at the expense of Ohioans. View the website here.

INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING.That’s how an Arizona Republican strategist described the necessary pivot the GOP nominee will need to make after the late August primary that’s pushed the three candidates further out-of-line with general election voters. While Kyrsten Sinema continues to tout her focus on getting things done for Arizonans, Congresswoman McSally and Kelli Ward are fighting over a campaign ad.

MCSALLY WOULD NOT SAY WHAT SHE BELIEVES.” Congresswoman McSally “would not say what she believes” when asked if she agreed with the president’s statements that the press are the “enemy of the American People.” Her shady self-serving political strategy of refusing to answer tough questions and trying to scrub her record are why voters of all stripes don’t trust her.

EDITORIAL: SMITH “STANDS OUT–QUIETLY.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune offered a glowing endorsement of Senator Tina Smith touting her “facility for dealing with complex issues, deep knowledge about the levers of government and a no-nonsense attitude about working with all sides to ensure progress.” Senator Smith’s long record of public service in Minnesota and reputation as a “behind the scenes” force, earned her the endorsement of the state’s largest newspaper. Read it here.

EDITORIAL: WHO’S THE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE REFORMER IN THE SENATE RACE? TAMMY BALDWIN. The Cap Timeshighlighted Senator Baldwin’s record as a “fiscally responsible reformer” and said the “joke is on” her “dismal Republican challengers” for supporting GOP measures that would sabotage health care and drive up costs for millions of Americans. Read it here.

IN THE STATES

PA – WESA: Casey Touts Support For Protecting Pennsylvanians With Pre-Existing Health Conditions

MN – KDAL: Smith Announces Drug Cost Control Bill

MT-Belgrade News: Tester pushes for revisions to protect livestock sellers

OH – The Courier: Senator Brown hears views on worker shortage, addiction battle

TN – Tennessean: Jason Isbell, Ben Folds to headline Phil Bredesen fundraiser

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