Sacramento Bee: “Facing the risk that the party could get shut out of the general election race for one or more competitive Republican-held seats, liberal groups formed to attack Republicans now say they are at least considering spending money to support particular Democratic candidates in the primaries. National Democratic officials say all options are on the table in the lead-up to June — including launching negative attacks on members of their own party, a tactic that stirred controversy in the Texas primary.”
The New Yorker asked California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) about the current state of American politics.
“If, as now seems possible, Democrats dominate the 2018 and 2020 elections, and they end up governing as unilaterally as the Republicans have, Brown fears that ‘a cycle will be created, in which one side pushes as far as it can until it’s thrown out, then the next one does it, and then it will happen again.'”
“He compared it to a car fishtailing.”
Politico: “His approval rating is perpetually underwater, and the pandemonium surrounding his presidency only grows the longer he’s in the job. But Senate Republicans are nevertheless making a counterintuitive, all-in bet that President Trump will save their 51-49 majority — and perhaps even help them pick up a few seats.”
“Even as fears grow within the GOP that Trump will cost Republicans the House, Senate Republicans say the president will play a starring role in the closely contested campaigns that will decide control of the chamber. Trump will be front and center in every state that helped elect the president, according to GOP senators and strategists, making the case that Democrats are hindering his agenda.”
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that 50% of registered voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 40% want a GOP-controlled one.
“That double-digit lead — typically a sign of strong Democratic performance for the upcoming election — is up from the party’s 6-point edge in January’s NBC/WSJ poll, which was 49% to 43%, though the change is within the poll’s margin of error.”
“This is 5-alarm fire. We simply just can’t dismiss the election on Tuesday to local events… It’s about these larger issues of this toxic political environment we find ourselves in.”
— Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), on CNN.
Danny Tarkanian (R) said he will drop his primary challenge to Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) and instead run again for the southern Nevada House seat he sought unsuccessfully in 2016 after eleventh-hour intervention from President Trump to clear Heller’s primary path, Politico reports.
First Read: “We’re used to seeing some pretty eye-popping sums on television advertising, but the spending in the Illinois governors race is really off the charts. Two extremely wealthy candidates— incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic frontrunner and billionaire J.B. Pritzker — have faced tougher-than-expected primary challenges, and they’ve been shoveling cash into ad buys for months ahead of Tuesday’s election day.”
“Pritzker’s campaign alone has spent over $33 million on TV ads, while Rauner has spent more than $16 million. All told, the spending (for a primary!) is over $65 million already. If the two super-wealthy candidates face off for a long general election here, this is set to be the most expensive race in the country — without anyone else even coming close. And our ad gurus say that it’s on track to be the most expensive non-presidential race they’ve ever tracked.”
“Just days after the still too-close-to call special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, it appears that Conor Lamb (D) will seek reelection in state’s new 17th congressional district this fall, setting up a likely match with Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA),” ABC News reports.
“Rick Saccone (R), who competed against Lamb Tuesday night, is gathering petitions to run in the new 14th congressional district in November.”
Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told Roll Call that the Senate needs someone like Mitt Romney to be an “independent voice.”
Said Flake: “We need Mitt Romney in the Senate. We need an independent voice, somebody who will enter the Senate chamber with immediate gravitas and someone who can work across the aisle, and actually, I think, create a whole new power center in the Senate. I think that’s desperately needed.”
First Read: “Not only did Republicans pull back from their tax cut messaging in Pennsylvania — widely seen as a sign that the plan wasn’t resonating politically in the district — but they also aren’t really talking about any other 2018 policymaking before the midterms. It’s not even April, and it doesn’t feel like Republican legislators are ready to stomach much more legislating.”
“Yes, it’s an election year, when it can be notoriously difficult to get new bills passed by risk-averse members. And yes, Republicans have spoken generally about addressing issues like infrastructure and the opioid crisis, but the details of how and when they’ll take up those bills — particularly when they have tricky upcoming confirmation hearings for incoming State and CIA chiefs — are far from obvious.”
“Democratic candidates Lamb and Doug Jones were both successful in running against Washington gridlock, so doesn’t the GOP need to show that they can legislate and make Congress work more this year?”
“We got our ass kicked. It’s what the political prognosticators called a good ol’ fashioned ass-kicking.”
— Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), quoted by CNN., on the Pennsylvania special congressional election.
President Trump broke his silence on the Pennsylvania special election at a private fundraiser, telling a crowd of donors that Conor Lamb (D) had run “a pretty smart race, actually,” according to an audio recording of the remarks obtained by The Atlantic.
Said Trump: “The young man last night that ran, he said, ‘Oh, I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything.’ He ran on that basis. He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, ‘Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me.’”
Chris McDaniel (R) announced that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), instead of pursuing his previously announced Republican primary challenge to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.
“We should be able to elect a box of hammers in this district. If we’re losing here, you can bet there is a Democratic wave coming.”
— Republican strategist Mike Murphy, quoted by the Washington Post, on yesterday’s Pennsylvania special congressional election.