REPUBLICANS STRUGGLE IN FINAL WEEKS. With just over a month left until the general election, Republicans’ early failures to capitalize on a favorable map, recruiting lackluster candidates, and an unpopular agenda are coming back to bite them. From Politico:

  • “The GOP had expected to finish off more red-state Democratic senators like Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri by this point, while Democratic candidates seeking to flip Arizona and Tennessee have proved more resilient than expected in public and private polling.”
  • “Big-spending Republican Gov. Rick Scott took control of the race upon his April campaign launch, and he and allies have spent over $33 million on the airwaves” but have still failed to move the needle in their direction.”
  • “And candidates the GOP expected to do well, aren’t performing up to par: “Patrick Morrisey has struggled to gain ground in West Virginia, dragged down by millions of dollars in ads attacking him for his past as a lobbyist.”
  • “In Montana ‘Tester has also maintained consistent leads in public polling of his race, to the point that his campaign against Republican Matt Rosendale had started to drift out of the conversation of main battlegrounds.’”

Our take: “We have a very tough political map, but momentum continues to move our way,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in an interview. “There is a credible path to a Democratic majority. It is a narrow path, but getting wider by the day.”

Cook Political Report Senior Editor Jennifer Duffy joined MSNBC’s Meet The Press Daily to discuss Republicans’ Senate recruitment failures. Watch:

GOP CANDIDATES “PAY THE PRICE” FOR HEALTH CARE SABOTAGE. The Washington Post reports that Republican Senate candidates are paying “the price for attempts to kill Obamacare and its guarantee of coverage for preexisting conditions” and it is playing out across the map:

  • “Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley joined a Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act, and with it protections for Americans suffering from preexisting medical conditions that previously could be excluded from insurance coverage.”
  • “Hawley is one of many Republicans in key races scrambling to square their opposition to the health care overhaul with voters’ strong support for one of its most popular provisions.”
  • “The suit argues that the law — which expanded health insurance to millions of low-income Americans but also included a controversial mandate that nearly everyone purchase insurance — is no longer constitutional because Congress last year repealed a tax penalty for those forgoing insurance. Hawley said Monday he does not regret joining the lawsuit and says pre-existing conditions can be protected in ways apart from the health care law.”
  • “Democrats have launched a barrage of ads attacking Republicans on the issue, a reflection of the strong voter sentiment in favor of preexisting condition coverage and the issue’s rise in importance this election year.”
  • “Dean Heller in Nevada… introduced a bill to require insurers to continue selling plans to people with preexisting conditions should Republicans prevail in the lawsuit. But health policy analysts have said the legislation does not prevent insurers from excluding specific health conditions from coverage.”

HAWLEY STILL WANTS TO ELIMINATE PROTECTIONS FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS COVERAGE. As Josh Hawley continues to mislead voters by claiming he supports protections for pre-existing conditions coverage, the St. Louis Dispatch questioned how he could support those protections while pushing “a Texas lawsuit that would end the federal Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.”

WI SEN. JON ERPENBACH OP-ED: ON HEALTH CARE, LEAH VUKMIR HAS CONSISTENTLY SIDED WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES. In an Op-Ed for the Cap Times, Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach took Leah Vukmir to task for selling out Wisconsinites to please special interests:

  • If Vukmir is elected to the U.S. Senate, she would be the deciding vote to pass a Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut its protections for Wisconsinites who have pre-existing conditions. Vice President Mike Pence confirmed as much himself last month during a visit to Wisconsin.
  • That means health care is on the ballot this November, and that Wisconsinites have a clear choice in the U.S. Senate race.
  • I know Leah Vukmir. She has fought hard in our state Legislature. The problem is that Vukmir has always fought to let powerful insurance companies write their own rules and deny insurance coverage to Wisconsinites in need.

HEITKAMP STUNS IN Q3 FUNDRAISING. Heidi Heitkamp released stunning Q3 fundraising results with Politico reporting that she raised “more than $3.8 million during the third quarter this year, doubling her fundraising from the previous three months and breaking the record for the highest ever single-quarter haul for a North Dakota Senate candidate.”

SMITH ED BOARD ENDORSEMENT. Tina Smith earned an endorsement from the Post Review which cited “Smith’s depth of knowledge of the issues and her breadth of experience in government, business, healthcare and advocacy that places her above her opponent” and dinged Karin Housley for being “vague” and offering “few details in addressing future deficits in Social Security and Medicare as well as foreign policy issues.”

HEADLINE: RENACCI CALLS WITH SUAREZ CAME AT KEY POINTS IN CRIMINAL CASE. Congressman Jim Renacci’s entangled history with convicted felon Ben Suarez has made headlines again as a new report from the Columbus Dispatch outlines how “an analysis of the nearly 50 phone calls between the two indicates that many — including some of the most lengthy — happened at key times in the investigation of suspicious political contributions from Suarez’s employees to Renacci and Josh Mandel, who at the time was the state treasurer and running for the U.S. Senate.”

Don’t miss this episode of Good Luck America featuring the #OHSen race and detailing how Renacci wants to eliminate Medicaid expansion.

SCOTT’S AGEIST SMEARS OFFEND SENIOR FLORIDIANS. Florida Politics reports that Self-Serving Rick Scott’s ageist attacks on Bill Nelson have angered “more than 188,000” retirees who are calling on Scott to “quit suggesting Sen. Bill Nelson‘s age makes him unfit for office.”

HuffPost highlighted how Scott’s wealth may not be enough to buy him a Senate seat. Despite having “an enormous financial advantage,” Scott has been bogged down by his terrible record as governor and “three Florida-specific issues that appear to be hurting” him:

  • Eight years ago, Scott made opposing Obama’s Affordable Care Act a centerpiece of his campaign and then, as governor, refused to take part in the law’s Medicaid expansion in Florida. In a debate with Nelson Tuesday, Scott reflected the position of many Republicans around the nation who are now shifting positions on the law. “We have got to make sure we take care of people with pre-existing conditions,” he said, even though Florida is among the states suing to have the ACA’s pre-existing condition protection struck down.
  • As governor, Scott also signed every pro-gun rights bill that came to his desk from the National Rifle Association-friendly state legislature, including one to punish doctors who asked patients about their access to guns. That pattern shifted only this year after 14 students and three staff were gunned down by a former student with an assault-style rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida. Scott, already running for the Senate, pushed for and signed legislation that includes some modest limits on gun owners.
  • Scott’s most troublesome issue could be the twin environmental disasters of red tide and blue-green algae, which continue to torment residents and visitors in – ironically – some of the most heavily Republican counties in the state.
  • Scott’s problem is that he slashed budgets and positions at the Department of Environmental Protection and the state’s water management districts while dramatically reducing the emphasis on enforcement of pollution standards. As a result, nutrient levels that had started to decrease under the two previous Republican governors began increasing again under Scott’s watch.

Politifact detailed how many of Scott’s claims during the Tuesday #FLSen debate were untrue:

  • Scott said Nelson “voted for “open borders” but Nelson has not said he’s for open borders.
  • Scott repeated a debunked attack that Nelson voted for higher taxes over 300 times. That’s False.
  • Scott distorted a vote by saying Bill Nelson voted against legislation to “help our state use the national background check.”
  • Scott claimed, “We have the most number of early voting days now in the history of the state” despite having the same number of days as indicated in earlier law.


MT – Jon Tester’s new ad “Eagles Crossing” slams Matt Rosendale for broken promises to Montanans.

NV- Jacky Rosen’s new Spanish language ad, “Lo que pasa en Nevada” highlights how she will be a check and balance against harmful policies impacting Nevada’s Latino community.

ND- North Dakota Democratic-NPL new digital ad “Empty Promises,” hits Kevin Cramer for failing to stand up for North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions.

WV – A West Virginian nurse says Joe Manchin is taking concrete steps to stem the opioid crisis, while Patrick Morrisey has made money through the epidemic, in the ad, “Opiate Crisis.”


IN-WBIW: Donnelly Provisions To Combat Opioid Epidemic Pass Senate As Part Of Bipartisan ‘SUPPORT Act’
MI-Up North Live: Stabenow announces extension of essential air service to northern Michigan airports
MI-MLive: Why Debbie Stabenow has staying power with Michigan farmers
OH-Crawford Source: Crawford Co. resident shares experience at Sen. Brown’s annual Women’s Leadership Summit
WI-Urban Milwaukee: Senator Baldwin’s Reforms to Protect Rights of Disabled Airline Passengers Pass Congress
FL-Red Green and Blue: Senators Nelson and Rubio host red tide briefing with CCL, Ocean Conservancy
MO-Ozarks First: McCaskill Drone Bill Heads to Trumps’ Desk
ND-AM1100 The Flag: Heitkamp Helps Pass Bipartisan Faa Bill To Support Rural Airports And Boost Uas Development In ND
WV-Fairmont News: Capito, Manchin support renaming NASA IV&V after W.Va. icon Katherine Johnson


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QUICK CLIP: Duffy On Senate GOP Recruitment Failures

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