2017 Campaign

Top Republicans Run Away from Roy Moore

“Senate Republicans moved swiftly to distance themselves from their party’s nominee for Senate in Alabama on Thursday after multiple women accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct when they were minors—including one who said he molested her at the age of 14 years,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Within hours of a Washington Post story reporting the allegations against Roy Moore, a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, the Senate’s top GOP lawmakers called on Moore to withdraw from the race, albeit with a caveat.”

Weekly Standard: “The allegations spell potential disaster for Republicans in Alabama, as it is likely too late to field another candidate even if Moore were to step aside immediately.”

Axios has a running tally of statements from Republican lawmakers condemning Moore.

Murkowski Raises Possibility of Write-In Challenger

When asked about allegations that Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore initiated sexual relations with a 14-year old girl, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said, “I’m horrified and if this is true he needs to step down immediately.”

According to Axios, Murkowski also said she had spoken to Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) about becoming a write-in challenger in the Dec. 12 election.

Murkowski won her re-election in 2010 with a write-in campaign after she was defeated in the GOP primary.

Alabama Governor Declines to Endorse Moore

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) declined to officially endorse Roy Moore (R) in a special U.S. Senate election next month, according to the Alabama Political Reporter.

“Ivey’s refusal to endorse Moore caused a bit of a rift within the state’s Republican Party, which lobbied Ivey aggressively for an endorsement. With her popularity, particularly among the more moderate Republicans in the state, the ALGOP believed Ivey’s public backing could go a long way towards pushing hesitant voters to the polls.”

Woman Says Roy Moore Initiated Sex When She Was 14

“Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore,” the Washington Post reports.

“It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.”

“Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.”

Axios quotes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “If these allegations are true, he must step aside.”

Republicans Have a Big Problem in the Suburbs

Politico: “Data points out of Virginia confirm Republicans’ fears that bubbled under the surface all year, which special election victories in safely red seats ‘glazed over,’ said a senior GOP aide. But ‘now there’s electoral evidence that there’s reason to really worry.’”

“Swing voters in suburban counties outside Washington and Richmond soured on Republicans up and down the Virginia ballot, an ominous sign for dozens of suburban Republicans in Congress, while the progressive base poured out to vote in high numbers. College-educated voters backed Democratic Gov.-elect Ralph Northam with 60 percent of their votes, according to exit polls.”

Team Trump Deflects Blame After Election Losses

“The White House was in damage control mode on Wednesday as it sought to deflect blame for Tuesday night’s sweeping electoral losses and reassure Republicans who fear President Trump’s unpopularity will cost them at the polls in 2018,” The Hill reports.

“A person familiar with the president’s political operation dismissed the notion that an anti-Trump wave is building, arguing that Democrats had merely held on in states they were expected to win. New Jersey is a deep blue state and Virginia has gone for the Democrat in the last three presidential elections.”

A Suburban Uprising

New York Times: “The American suburbs appear to be in revolt against President Trump after a muscular coalition of college-educated voters and racial and ethnic minorities on Tuesday dealt the Republican Party a thumping rejection and propelled a diverse class of Democrats into office.”

“From the tax-obsessed suburbs of New York City to high-tech neighborhoods outside Seattle to the sprawling, polyglot developments of Fairfax and Prince William County, Va., voters shunned Republicans up and down the ballot in off-year elections. Leaders in both parties said the elections amounted to an earsplitting alarm bell for Republicans ahead of the 2018 elections, when the party’s grip on the House of Representatives may hinge on the socially moderate, multiethnic communities surrounding major cities.”

The Overrated Steve Bannon

Matt Lewis: “The moral of the story for Republicans is that Trumpism is toxic in diverse areas full of educated suburbanites. As these regions continue to grow (and as the areas where Trump performs well continue to shrink), Republicans will face the demographic crisis we’ve been warning about for years.”

“This was always going to be a challenge for Republicans, but Trump and Bannon have exacerbated the problem. Roy Moore can win in deep-red Alabama; he can’t win in purple Virginia.”

How This Year’s Elections May Change Next Year’s

Nate Silver: “While Tuesday’s results may not change the reality of the 2018 outlook all that much, it could change perceptions about it, and that could have some knock-on effects. (Politicians are often like Morning Joe panelists in how they think about elections.) Republicans’ retirement issues may get even worse; Democrats’ recruiting may get even better. Republicans might think twice about how they’re proceeding on tax reform — especially given that their current plans could have negative effects on just the sorts of wealthy coastal suburbs where Republicans performed poorly on Tuesday.”

“And there will be lots of recriminations about the race that Ed Gillespie ran in Virginia, which could change Republicans’ thinking on how they should relate to Trump. Some of this is going to be silly: Gillespie did no worse (and no better) than you’d expect given Trump’s approval rating and Virginia’s blue lean. But if those politicians think Tuesday was a huge game-changing deal, they may begin to act like it and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Politician Who Joked About Women’s March Defeated

“A New Jersey politician who shared a meme on Facebook during January’s Women’s March in Washington asking whether the protest would be ‘over in time for them to cook dinner’ is eating his words,” the AP reports.

“A woman who was angered by Republican John Carman’s remarks on Tuesday defeated his bid for a second term as an Atlantic County freeholder.”

Fox News Went 100 Minutes Without Discussing GOP Loss

Slate: “The biggest political story of the hour is that Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie went down big in Virginia after running a Trump-esque campaign fixated on inflammatory culture-war issues, losing to Democrat Ralph Northam by what looks like it will end up as a nine-point margin. It’s the biggest story of the hour, that is, unless you’re watching Fox News: As observed by political writer Chris Hooks, Donald Trump’s favorite network spent more than 90 minutes in prime time on Tuesday—Election Night!—between discussions of election results.”

‘A Stinging Repudiation of Trump’

James Hohamnn: “Tuesday was the best day for Democrats politically since Barack Obama won reelection in 2012. Remember, conservatives scored significant victories in the November 2014, 2015 and 2016 elections. Democrats desperately needed some wins after they went all-in on a House special election in Georgia this spring and lost. Last night, they got them.”

“Voters came out in droves. They braved the rain and the cold to send a message to President Trump. The results across the country represent nothing less than a stinging repudiation of Trump on the first anniversary of his election.”

Voters Send a Message to Trump

Politico: “This one was for Donald Trump. Exit polls revealed an unmistakable anti-Trump backlash Tuesday, as Democrats won resounding victories in governors races in Virginia and New Jersey. Majorities of voters in both states disapproved of the job Trump is doing as president, with significant numbers of voters in each state saying Trump was a reason for their vote. And far more of those voters said they made their choice to oppose Trump than to support him.”

“What is unusual about Tuesday night is the extent to which the two races were about Trump. And the stark results cast fresh doubt on the health of Republican majorities in the House and Senate, in addition to gubernatorial races in next year’s midterm elections.”

Mike Allen: “Top Republicans were stunned by the severity of the shellacking, and worry that it will endanger both tax reform and the House majority.”