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GOP Senators Forced to Defend Toxic Records Back Home Throughout Summer Recess

Vulnerable Republican incumbents likely relieved to be returning to Washington after spending August recess dealing with eroding support in their states and mounting frustration from constituents

As the Senate returns, vulnerable Republican senators are likely relieved to be far from home, where they’ve spent the last five weeks hiding from reportersfundraising alongside notorious anti-choice donors or facing scrutiny from voters over their out-of-touch voting records and spineless behavior – making it clear why “Republicans face a tough map as they work to maintain their Senate majority next year.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Senators are returning to Washington after a productive month of showing up for their constituents and talking about the issues that matter most to their states. Doug Jones held town halls around Alabama focused on topics like health care and education and kicked off his re-election campaign yesterday in Birmingham. Gary Peters completed his fourth annual statewide motorcycle tour across Michigan talking about issues like expanding apprenticeships and supporting veterans, and Jeanne Shaheen spent time hearing directly from New Hampshire constituents on key challenges like the opioid crisis and small business concerns.

Here’s a review of why so many Senate Republicans are ready for recess to be over:

Cory Gardner (Colorado)

  • Denver Post Editorial: Now we know Gardner failed to protect Colorado from cuts in addition to failing the U.S. Constitution
  • Greeley Tribune Editorial: “Gardner has been largely absent during the past five years when it comes to being available for his constituents, to whom he needs to be accountable… If he continues to remain unaccountable to Colorado voters, we think there’s a good chance those voters might cut Cory out altogether in 2020.”
  • Aspen Times Editorial: “It’s all about party politics for Gardner, who re-affirmed his loyalty to Donald Trump by dodging an audience member’s question about why he would not stand up to the president’s enabling of racism and bigotry in today’s America.”
  • Denver Post: Constituents confront Cory Gardner on guns and immigration 
  • 9News: We caught up with Sen. Cory Gardner after ignored interview requests
  • CBS4: Protest Outside Sen. Cory Gardner’s Office Focuses On Gun Violence
  • Colorado Public Radio: Activists Trail Sen. Cory Gardner As He Brings His Walking Tour To Arvada
  • Fort Collins Coloradoan: Cory Gardner critics again press for town hall with ‘Cardboard Cory’ tour
  • Colorado Times Recorder: Gardner Still Lacks Plan to Cover People with Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Westword: How Not-So-Cardboard Cory Gardner Fared in A Confrontation With Constituents

Susan Collins (Maine)

  • Bloomberg: Susan Collins Faces Bipartisan Anger in Trump-Era Re-Election Bid
  • The Hill: Cook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to ‘toss up’
  • Portland Press Herald Editorial: “Predictions that cutting taxes on corporations, wealthy families and individuals would spur enough economic growth to increase tax collections – an argument made by Maine Sen. Susan Collins and others – turned out to be wrong. The economy grew, but tax revenues did not.”
  • Maine Beacon: Sen. Collins a no-show at Portland town hall
  • Maine Public Radio: Collins Greeted By Protesters Outside Fundraiser Hosted By Trump’s ‘Judge Whisperer’
  • Bangor Daily News: Susan Collins’ opponents are hitting her on the GOP tax plan. Here’s what it did.
  • Bangor Daily News: Unions that have backed Susan Collins are undecided for 2020. Brett Kavanaugh is one reason.

Thom Tillis (North Carolina)

  • Charlotte Observer Editorial: Thom Tillis’ terrible, no good and totally predictable bad day
  • Fayetteville Observer Editorial: “Politicians, especially in Washington, have done little of substance on gun violence in a generation, and that needs to change… Where are North Carolina’s two senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis on these [gun safety] bills?”
  • MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “Thom Tillis… he just stole $80 million from your state! How weak are you?”
  • Washington Post: Trump’s transparent and petty pre-hurricane politicking
  • Washington Post: Trump said he granted a disaster declaration at the request of North Carolina’s Republican senator. It came from the state’s Democratic governor.
  • Southern Pines Pilot: Protest Brings Shootings to Forefront During Fundraiser For Thom Tillis
  • Public Policy Polling: “We did a new poll on the North Carolina GOP Senate primary this week and Thom Tillis leads Garland Tucker just 38-31. Tillis has an under water favorability even with GOP primary voters at 34/38.”

Joni Ernst (Iowa)

  • Washington Post: Sen. Ernst says lawmakers should discuss fixing Social Security ‘behind closed doors’
  • New York Magazine: Iowa Republican Senator Wants to Gut Social Security ‘Behind Closed Doors’
  • Iowa Starting Line: Joni Ernst-backed tax cuts benefited the rich, Iowans protest
  • Iowa Starting Line: Ernst promised to make DC ‘squeal’; vote hikes deficit by $1.7T
  • Iowa Starting Line: “The ACA saved my life.” Ernst called out on health care votes
  • Quad-City Times Editorial: “The House, which is controlled by Democrats, passed a background check bill earlier this year but it has languished in the Republican-controlled Senate. The bipartisan legislation… failed to clear the Senate in both 2013 and 2015. (Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, have voted to oppose the legislation.) We would hope the experiences of the last few years would change their minds. We are not confident, though.”
  • Des Moines Register Letter: Thanks to Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa farmers take another hit

David Perdue (Georgia)

  • CNN’s New Day: Republican hypocrisy on soaring deficit
  • WMAZ: Perdue on whether humans are contributing to climate change: “Nobody really knows that”

John Cornyn (Texas)

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Must-Read Denver Post Editorial: “Gardner Failed to Protect Colorado from Cuts in Addition to Failing the U.S. Constitution”

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