2018 Campaign

Female Candidate Accused of Harassment Drops Bid

Andrea Ramsey (D) will drop out of her congressional race after the Kansas City Star asked her “about accusations in a 2005 lawsuit that she sexually harassed and retaliated against a male subordinate who said he had rejected her advances.”

“Multiple sources with knowledge of the case told The Star that the man reached a settlement with LabOne, the company where Ramsey was executive vice president of human resources.”

Race for Senate Control Now a Toss Up

Nate Cohn: “At this time last year, the Democratic path to Senate control seemed impossible: Hold all of the Democratic seats, flip Arizona and Nevada, then hope for a miracle.”

“The Democrats got the political version of a miracle on Tuesday. Doug Jones’s victory in Alabama means Democrats have accomplished the most difficult item on their checklist in pursuit of the Senate. A Democratic path is now obvious, and the race for control is basically a tossup, perhaps with a Republican advantage.”

“It is hard to overstate how surprising this would have seemed a year ago.”

Trump Told Ryan Not to Retire After Midterm Elections

President Trump told House Speaker Paul Ryan he would be “very unhappy” if the Wisconsin Republican retires after the 2018 elections, Politico reports.

“Ryan has told his closest confidants that his current term as House speaker will be his last…. In three dozen interviews with lawmakers, aides, conservative intellectuals and lobbyists, not one believed Ryan would stay in Congress past 2018.”

The GOP Nightmare Is Just Beginning

McKay Coppins: “Roy Moore’s stunning defeat Tuesday night was met with quiet sighs of relief throughout the GOP establishment, where the culture-warring ex-judge and accused child abuser was widely regarded as radioactive. Yet even as Moore’s political obituaries were being written, party strategists were bracing for the army of Moore-like insurgents they expect to flood next year’s Republican primaries.”

“Indeed, Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon has already pledged to field challengers for every incumbent Republican senator up for reelection next year (with the exception of Ted Cruz). And even if Bannon fails to deliver on his threat, many in the GOP worry that experienced, fully-vetted candidates are going to struggle to beat back a wave of rough-edged Trump imitators who lean into the white identity politics that the president ran on in 2016.”

Rick Scott Still Not Sold on Senate Bid

New York Times: “And if other potential Republican Senate recruits are daunted by the forbidding political environment, it could hamper their ability to win some of the Democratic-controlled seats they have been eyeing for months. In Florida, for example, advisers to Gov. Rick Scott (R) said he was mindful of the midterm climate and was not yet sold on challenging Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).”

A Troubling Number for Iowa Republicans

One more number to highlight in the new Des Moines Register poll: Iowans favor electing Democrats to Congress over Republicans by 40% to 34%.

“The finding is notable because Republicans hold three of Iowa’s four congressional seats, including two seen as among the most competitive in the country in 2018. The results are starkest in Iowa’s 1st congressional district, which encompasses 20 northeast Iowa counties and is currently held by two-term Republican U.S. Rep. Rod Blum. Despite the GOP incumbent, 47% of poll respondents in the district say they would vote for a Democrat, while just 29% say they’ll vote Republican.”

A 2018 Wave Is Building

First Read: “If you thought Moore’s flaws — and the allegations against him — were the only reason why Republicans lost in Alabama, you haven’t been paying attention to 2017. The seven major races this year have underscored that Democratic voters are fired up, that Republican ones aren’t and that Trump is unpopular, even in red states.”

“This is how a wave happens, and the wave heading in 2018 got bigger and bigger during every contest this year — first in Georgia (which Democrats still lost), then in Virginia last month and then Alabama last night.”

Nate Silver: “Not every race is going to go as badly for Republicans as this Alabama Senate election — but if enough go half as badly, or even a third as badly, they’re still in for a rough time next year.”

Democrats Suddenly Have a Shot at Senate Control

National Journal: “The practical implication of Jones’s stunner is that Democrats now have a plausible, if challenging, path to a Senate majority — a possibility that seemed impossible even in the most favorable circumstances several months ago. It would require Democrats to defend a roster of vulnerable red-state seats while ousting Dean Heller in swing-state Nevada and picking up an open seat in GOP-leaning Arizona.”

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Democrats now have miraculously added a Senate seat that, truth be told, they have no business having, and it’s one they do not have to defend next year.”

Weekly Standard: “Jones’ win in Alabama changes this calculus. Democrats no longer have to look to Tennessee or Texas (both of which are very red) for their 51st vote in the Senate. They simply need to defend all of their seats while winning Nevada (a purple state) and Arizona (a state that should be in reach for them if Trump’s approval rating stays where it is today). This transforms Tennessee and Texas from states that Democrats must win to get the majority to optional gains that could either pad their majority or make up for potential incumbent losses.”

Dayton Will Appoint Smith to Replace Franken

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) will appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to replace Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) as Minnesota’s next U.S. senator until a special election is held next year, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Minnesota Public Radio says Smith will run in the special election for the seat in November.

The special election is expected to draw contenders on both sides. Even with Smith’s selection, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is mulling the race. Former GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is being wooed by Republicans.

Jones’s Win Scrambles GOP Congressional Agenda

“Doug Jones’s odds-defying victory in Alabama — handing Democrats a vanishingly rare Senate win in the Deep South — scrambles President Trump’s legislative agenda for the coming year, threatens to heighten Republican infighting and sounds an alarm for the GOP’s prospects in November’s midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.

“Any dent in the two-seat advantage Republicans hold in the Senate would carry major governing consequences, but the loss of what had been considered one of the party’s safest seats carries a special sting for the GOP.”

“One consequence is Democrats’ much more plausible path to the Senate majority next year. The 2018 map was widely seen to favor Republicans, with 10 Democrats seeking reelection in states President Trump won last year and only two Republican seats clearly at risk.”

A Blue Wave of Challengers

Vox notes that as of October 31, 2017 there are now 391 Democrats and 31 Republicans who have raised more than $5,000 in their bids.

“It’s still too early to tell if a Democratic wave will sweep the House of Representatives in 2018. But the sheer number of Democratic challengers entering House races shows the makings of a wave.”

GOP Worried About Special Election In Pennsylvania

Playbook: “Republicans are growing increasingly worried about the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district. Former Republican Rep. Tim Murphy resigned after it became public that he suggested his mistress have an abortion. D.C. Republicans nominated Rick Saccone — a state lawmaker — to run, and Democrats have tapped Conor Lamb — a 34-year-old former federal prosecutor who was in the Marines.”

“The district is solidly Republican, but Republicans watching the race take shape are worried they’ll have to spend money to boost Saccone. The election is in March, and it will certainly be seen as a harbinger for the midterms.”