2018 Campaign

Senior Republican Plans to Quit Early

New York Times: “In a sign of mounting frustration among Republicans in Washington, Representative Pat Tiberi of Ohio, a senior lawmaker with close ties to his party’s leaders, is expected to resign and take up an executive post with a business group in his home state.”

“Mr. Tiberi, 54, could announce his plan to leave Congress as soon as this week, Republican officials said, though it is unclear when he intends to vacate his seat. Two Republicans who were briefed on Mr. Tiberi’s decision said he had indicated that he plans to join the Ohio Business Roundtable.”

Playbook: “It would be stunning — and quite the statement — if he leaves before tax reform is done.”

Bannon’s Motley Crew of Challengers

Wall Street Journal: “Steve Bannon, the failed presidential adviser and alt-right sympathizer, has declared war on incumbent Republicans, particularly Sen. Mitch McConnell. From his perch at Breitbart, Mr. Bannon is vowing to defeat officeholders who back Mr. McConnell as majority leader or who won’t sign onto Mr. Bannon’s populist agenda. So what kind of challengers is Mr. Bannon marshaling for the midterms?”

“One is fresh out of prison. Another held a town hall to discuss ‘chemtrail’ theories… In open seats or races with Democratic incumbents, Mr. Bannon is backing consensus mainstream candidates.”

Salt Lake Mayor Challenges Mia Love

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) announced he is running for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, teeing up a 2018 challenge against two-term Rep. Mia Love (R-UT), the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Said McAdams: “We sat down with our kids and we told them that we expect that this will be ugly. There will be a lot of negativity. And that does give me pause. Ultimately, the moment that good people are bullied out of running for office because of fear of the negativity, then Washington really is lost.”

Pence’s Brother Plans Run for Congress

“Greg Pence, one of Mike Pence’s older brothers, has filed a tax document indicating he will seek the eastern Indiana congressional seat that the vice president and former governor represented for 12 years,” CBS News reports.

“As the vice president’s brother, he is likely the hands-down favorite to win in the overwhelmingly Republican district. He has a famous name, owns an antique business in the area and even bears a striking resemblance to his brother, with a close-cropped head of white hair.”

Walker Confirms He’ll Run for Third Term

In a new campaign video, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) “touts his record and makes clear he wants to run for a third term in 2018,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

Said Walker: “At the end of each day, after all of the miles and conversations, I can’t wait for the alarm to ring to see what opportunities tomorrow will bring. Are you with me?”

Bannon Hits Up Mega-Donors Frustrated with McConnell

Politico: “Over the last several weeks, Bannon has crisscrossed the country meeting with dozens of the party’s biggest contributors — all in the hopes of capitalizing on their anger at McConnell. The populist bomb-thrower wants donors to bankroll primary challenges against Republican incumbents, or short of that, to close their wallets to McConnell-aligned causes.”

Georgia Candidate Holds ‘Bump Stock’ Giveaway

State Sen. Michael Williams (R), a candidate for governor in Georgia, is giving away a “bump stock,” the rapid-fire gun modification linked to the Las Vegas shooting, in a campaign contest to highlight his opposition to new regulation on the devices, NBC News reports.

“Williams, who is positioning himself as the most pro-Donald Trump candidate in a crowded GOP field to succeed term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal (R), said the contest is a celebration of the Second Amendment.”

Said Williams: “The tragedy in Las Vegas broke my heart, but any talk of banning or regulating bump stocks is merely cheap political lip service from career politicians. Georgia’s gun owners deserve a governor who will stand with them when liberals and Hollywood elites attack our fundamental rights.”

Democrats Hold Wide Lead In Generic Ballot

A new CNN poll finds Democrats holding a sizable lead in the generic congressional ballot, 51% to 37%, driven by a unified base of Democrats.

Key finding: 98% of self-identified Democrats say they prefer the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, compared to 88% of Republicans who prefer the GOP candidate in their district.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s approval rate remains underwater at 37% to 57%.

McDaniel Mulls Challenging Wicker

Playbook: “Chris McDaniel (R), the GOP state senator who challenged Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in 2014, told us that he has had several conversations with Steve Bannon about his political future over the last month, including meetings at Breitbart’s headquarters on Capitol Hill… McDaniel has been toying with primarying Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).”

McDaniel said Bannon told him he would “love to see me enter the U.S. Senate race, and that he’ll support me in whatever race I would run.”

McConnell Warns Trump About Bannon Threat

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told President Trump that Steve Bannon’s midterm insurgency was detrimental to tax reform and other key elements of the administration’s agenda, the Washington Examiner reports.

“McConnell emphasized that Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, was undermining the president’s agenda with plans to recruit and finance primary challenges against Republicans who are some of his most reliable supporters in the Senate.”

Trump Says He’ll Talk to Bannon

President Trump said that he would try to talk his former top strategist, Steve Bannon, out of backing primary challenges against at least some incumbent Republican senators, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Trump: “Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing. Some of the people that he may be looking at, I’m gonna see if we can talk him out of that.”

Congressional Candidate Says She Was Abducted by Aliens

“Florida has a U.S. senator who once flew aboard the Space Shuttle,” McClatchy reports.

“A congressional candidate from Miami can go one better: Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera (R) says she’s been aboard a spaceship too. But this one was crewed by aliens. As in extraterrestrials.”

“Three blond, big-bodied beings — two females, one male — visited her when she was 7 years old and have communicated telepathically with her several times in her life, she says.”

The Perils of Crossing Trump

New York Times: “Mr. Flake is perhaps the most endangered Senate Republican, with an approval rating in one recent poll of just 18 percent among Arizonans. Mr. Trump has savaged Mr. Flake as ‘toxic’ and a ‘flake,’ and has encouraged a primary challenge against him that has left the senator squeezed not only from the left but also the right. His fate is an object lesson for other Republicans who might consider voicing dire thoughts about the president’s fitness: Cross Mr. Trump, and your political career could well be over.”

Florida Senate Race Shaping Up as Epic Battle

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) went to Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) this summer with an urgent plea, Politico reports.

“Florida’s Democratic Party was in disarray after the 2016 presidential debacle, the senator said, and he needed help from D.C. to prepare for a likely challenge next year by GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who’s spent at least $86 million of his own fortune on his two gubernatorial campaigns.”

“Nelson told the group that Democrats desperately needed to catch up on field staff in Florida, especially in the wake of the presidential and Senate race results last year that saw Republican-leaning voters flood the polls and took even plugged-in Democrats by surprise.”