SENATE REPUBLICANS SILENT AS MCCONNELL STALLS ON PANDEMIC RELIEF, SAYS WOULD “DISRUPT” HIS PLAN TO RAM THROUGH SCOTUS NOMINEE. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the quiet part out loud when he told his caucus “that he has warned the White House not to make a big stimulus deal before the election” for fear it would “disrupt the Senate’s plans to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week.” Despite the fact that coronavirus cases and jobless claims are rising, and vulnerable Senate Republicans were “beginning to fret” about facing constituents in the final weeks of the election after failing to deliver much-needed relief, not a single Republican is demanding McConnell act. Instead, they’ve decided to focus on rushing through their Supreme Court nominee who is hostile to the Affordable Care Act in time to seat her on the court before oral arguments in the GOP lawsuit to strike down the entire ACA a week after Election Day.
POLL: VOTERS WANT SENATE TO PRIORITIZE PANDEMIC RELIEF OVER SCOTUS. A new CNBC/Change Research poll found that “a clear majority of voters want the Senate to focus on approving coronavirus relief rather than filling the Supreme Court vacancy.” And while 7 in 10 voters “believe the economy is struggling and the country needs more financial relief,” Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are blocking adequate aid and stalling on a bipartisan stimulus deal. It’s no wonder that hardworking Americans’ ‘anger’ is directed at Senate Republicans for failing to address this crisis. CNBC: Voters want Senate to prioritize coronavirus relief over Supreme Court, new poll finds
GOP MEGA-DONORS POUR MONEY INTO REPUBLICAN SUPER PACS. GOP mega-donors, spurred by Republicans’ “financial freak-out” over Democratic candidates record-shattering Q3 hauls, are writing multi-million dollar checks to help keep Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader. Mitch McConnell’s super PAC announced a $92 million haul for the month of September “collected mostly from checks of donors who gave more than $1 million.” The huge sum has “helped Senate Republicans gain a financial edge in several key races.” And now, going into the final weeks of the election, “Republicans are set to outspend Democrats on TV” in key Senate races. While historic Democratic fundraising has forced Republicans to play defense across an expanded map, “massive GOP spending could blunt those gains or deny [Democrats] the majority entirely.” With vulnerable Republicans falling behind their Democratic challengers, it’s no surprise the corporate interests and billionaires who have profited from these Republican incumbents running the Senate are now trying to rescue their losing campaigns. HuffPost: GOP Super PAC Fundraising Alarms Senate Democrats
AD ANALYSIS: REPUBLICANS DROP CORONAVIRUS AND PLAY DEFENSE ON HEALTH CARE. A CNN analysis of campaign ads from Republican and Democratic Senate candidates found that “Senate Republicans have largely dropped mentioning coronavirus in TV ads during the final weeks of the election, while Senate Democrats have continued to emphasize the pandemic and health care throughout their campaigns.” And when Republicans discuss health care, they are “frequently playing defense.” Despite their newfound efforts to distance themselves from their disastrous coronavirus response and paper over their toxic health care records, the reality is these vulnerable Republican incumbents have full ownership over the failing pandemic response and have voted repeatedly to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. CNN: Republican senators drop coronavirus ad messaging in final weeks
NICE TRY: REPUBLICANS MAKE LAST-MINUTE ATTEMPT TO DISTANCE FROM TRUMP. With less than two weeks until Election Day, Republican senators who have spent the last four years “shrugg[ing] off President Donald Trump’s constant string of controversies and scandals,” “avoid[ing] confronting him,” and “voting mostly in lockstep for his agenda” are now attempting to distance themselves from Trump. Vulnerable Republican incumbents “had hoped to ride the President’s coattails to victory,” but facing dismal polls for themselves and the president, they’re attempting to rewrite four years of history in the final few weeks before Election Day. CNN: Fearing a loss, GOP senators keep distance from Trump and begin to ponder party’s future
DEMOCRATS SURGE IN BOTH #GASEN RACES. A new New York Times/Siena College poll of both Georgia Senate races found that Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock have surged ahead of the Republican incumbents. Jon Ossoff and Senator David Perdue are locked in a dead heat and Perdue’s favorability ratings have “declined significantly since the last Times/Siena poll in September.” In the special election, Warnock has surged and “opened a comfortable 32-23 percent lead over the Republican Kelly Loeffler.” Warnock was also “the most popular candidate tested in the poll” and is “poised to emerge from the November election with a lead heading into the January runoff” and leads both Loeffler and Congressman Doug Collins in head to head match-ups. It’s never been more clear that strong Democratic candidates have put the state of Georgia firmly in play. New York Times: Democrats Gain in Georgia Senate Races as Presidential Race Remains Tied
HARRISON HAS PUT SOUTH CAROLINA IN PLAY FOR DEMOCRATS. An NBC News deep dive into the South Carolina Senate race declares that “Jaime Harrison has put S.C. back in play for Democrats.” Interviews with South Carolinians demonstrate the hope Harrison has brought to the state––one barber “said there’s been a noticeable shift in tone in recent weeks. It’s something he’s never seen before — an excitement to vote.” And South Carolinians have soured on the vulnerable incumbent Senator Lindsey Graham, saying “it seems like Lindsey Graham is up and down and supports whatever’s convenient” and “‘Lindsey Graham changed.’” In short: “the momentum appears to be with Harrison” as we head into the final weeks of the election. NBC News: Lindsey Graham’s challenger, Jaime Harrison, has put S.C. back in play for Democrats
PRESIDENT OBAMA ENDORSES MIKE ESPY IN #MSSEN. President Barack Obama endorsed Mike Espy for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, stating, “Mike Espy has a great chance to win this election and keep Mississippi moving forward.” President Obama’s endorsement is just the latest sign of momentum for the former Congressman. Recent polling shows a close race between Espy and incumbent Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mississippi Republicans are even warning “people need to be nervous” about the race.
WATCH: MJ HEGAR DISCUSSES HER GROWING MOMENTUM IN #TXSEN. MJ Hegar joined MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss the growing momentum for her campaign in Texas and why Texans feel like Republicans are failing their state. WATCH:
DEM AD WATCH
AL – In a new ad, Alabama Republicans share why they are splitting their ticket to vote for Senator Doug Jones, who has passed bipartisan legislation to help working families across the state. Watch.
CO – John Hickenlooper’s latest ad features a Coloradan farmer who touts John’s work fighting for farmers and ranchers and developing the first statewide water plan. Watch.
MT – Governor Steve Bullock released a new ad calling out Senator Steve Daines’ disastrous record of voting to gut protections for Montanans with pre-existing conditions. Watch.
IN THE STATES
AK – Anchorage Press (Opinion): Year after year, Dan Sullivan bows to Trump and grins
NH – New Hampshire Public Radio: In Shaheen, N.H. Democrats Have Their Leader, And A Blueprint For Campaigning
SC – Post & Courier: Obama tapes new ad for Harrison while Haley, Scott tout Graham in SC Senate race