2018 Campaign

Why Handel’s Win Isn’t a Disaster for Democrats

David Wasserman: “Although it’s true Democrats have agonizingly yet to capture a red district, they have outperformed their ‘generic’ share of the vote significantly in every contest. Measured against the Cook Political Report‘s Partisan Voter Index (PVI), Democrats have outperformed the partisan lean of their districts by an average of eight points in the past five elections.”

“If Democrats were to outperform their ‘generic’ share by eight points across the board in November 2018, they would pick up 80 seats. Of course, that won’t happen because Republican incumbents will be tougher to dislodge than special election nominees. But these results fit a pattern that should still worry GOP incumbents everywhere, regardless of Trump’s national approval rating and the outcome of the healthcare debate in Congress.”

Nate Cohn: “If Democrats keep running ahead of expectations across those plausibly competitive Republican-held seats, many seats will ultimately fall their way. But they will certainly lose more than they win. The question is whether they win enough, and no special election offers the answer to that.”

How Democrats Can Win Back the House

Bruce Reed and Rahm Emanuel: “The stakes are too high to rely entirely on one side’s enthusiasm or the other side’s disenchantment. If their overriding objective in 2018 is to save the country, not realign the Democratic Party, Democrats need to look back to the last time they won back the House in 2006. We helped coordinate that effort, and the lessons we learned then still apply today. Waves don’t happen on their own: Democrats need a strategy, an argument, and a plan for what they’ll do if they win.”

“In the last 60 years, control of the U.S. House of Representatives has changed hands just three times, always in midterm elections, with control shifting away from the president’s party. The 1994 and 2010 campaigns were dominated by attacks against the incumbent president and his party over health care; 2006 became a referendum over the ruling party’s incompetence and corruption. In percentage terms, the worst midterm defeat in the past century came in 1974, when a nation weary of obstruction of justice sent a quarter of the House Republican caucus packing. Some presidents are unfortunate enough to face one of these circumstances; with the midterms still more than a year away, Donald Trump already seems to have all those bases covered.”

Heller Gets a Challenger

Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) plans to run against Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) for his Senate seat in Nevada, Politico reports.

“Heller is widely considered the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election in 2018 and is the only GOP senator this cycle who represents a state won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. A Public Policy Polling survey released Monday had Heller receiving just 39% of the vote if the match-up were held today against a generic Democrat, who earned 46% of support among Nevada voters.”

Feinstein Looks Like She’s Running Again

“The nation’s oldest U.S. senator looks like she’s sticking around. California’s Dianne Feinstein turns 84 on Thursday and is displaying signs that she’s headed for a re-election campaign, not a retirement party,” the Sacramento Bee reports.

“While the Democrat has been coy when asked about seeking a fifth full term next year, her political committee, unambiguously titled Feinstein for Senate 2018, raised more than $650,000 in the first three months of this year in a cue she is looking ahead.”

Republicans Make a Risky Bet for 2018

Ron Brownstein: “Scandals have typically operated as a cloud over a president’s agenda. But the Russia-related legal challenges swirling around President Trump are functioning more like a cloak for his joint agenda with congressional Republicans. That difference captures the GOP’s decision to govern in a manner aimed almost entirely at stoking their hard-core base—a critical calculation that could determine their fate in the 2018 election, and possibly the 2020 contest, as well.”

“As Trump’s presidency careens through increasingly turbulent waters, congressional Republicans are lashing themselves ever more tightly to its mast.”

Republicans See House at Risk In 2018

Playbook: “Republicans are growing increasingly worried that they will lose the House of Representatives. The pervasive pessimism comes as there continues to be a dearth of legislative victories, and a toxic political environment that appears to be worsening. Of course, the midterm elections are nearly a year and a half away. But more than a dozen Republicans we’ve spoken to in the last few weeks say the prospect for political and legislative wins big and small is dimming. And as much as President Donald Trump has worked to woo over fellow Republicans with dinners at the White House and regular meetings with GOP leadership, it hasn’t had much of an impact on the overall state of play.”

“What does all this mean? Republicans will be less willing to take risks as they shift into political survival mode.”

Romney Stokes Speculation He’ll Run Again

“Mitt Romney is once again testing his political power — critiquing President Donald Trump, raising money and campaigning for fellow Republicans, and not ruling out another run for office for himself,” Politico reports.

“Romney’s return comes as senior Republicans express profound unease with the direction of Trump’s presidency and worry it will cost them dearly in the 2018 midterms. With Trump’s approval ratings at historic lows and his agenda in tatters, GOP leaders are in desperate search of big-name surrogates able to motivate increasingly despondent Republican voters — a profile that Romney, a mainstream figure who articulates the party’s traditional views, just may fit.”

Ossoff Opens Up 7-Point Lead In Georgia

A new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll in Georgia’s 6th congressional district shows Jon Ossoff (D) holds a 7-point edge over Karen Handel (R) in the nationally-watched special election race, 51% to 44%.

Key findings: “Ossoff has an enormous lead over Handel among women, leading 60% to 34%. The Republican is beating Ossoff among male voters by a 52% to 41% margin. He has a solid advantage over Handel among younger voters, while she has a slim majority of voters who are over 65.”

GOP Lawmaker Says Trump Is Hurting Republicans

A secret recording shows Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) has some concerns about reelection, the Tuscon Weekly reports.

“Team McSally has been poo-pooing recent polls showing that more than half of the voters in her district disapprove of her job performance, while her approval has fallen down to the mid-30s, percentage-wise, and that she was losing to a generic Democrat by 7 percentage points. But last week, in a private talk to the Arizona Bankers Association, McSally conceded that in the current political environment, she has some real challenges in next year’s election.”

McSally complained that President Trump and his tweets were creating troubling distractions: “It’s basically being taken out on me. Any Republican member of Congress, you are going down with the ship. And we’re going to hand the gavel to Pelosi in 2018, they only need 28 seats and the path to that gavel being handed over is through my seat. And right now, it doesn’t matter that it’s me, it doesn’t matter what I’ve done. I have an ‘R’ next to my name and right now, this environment would have me not prevail.”

Kobach Will Run for Kansas Governor

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who has championed some of the strictest voting laws in the nation, announced a campaign for governor, the Kansas City Star reports.

“Kobach, the architect of controversial election and immigration laws, advised President Donald Trump on immigration policy throughout the 2016 campaign and was appointed to serve as vice chairman of a new federal commission that will investigate the prevalence of voter fraud.”

Democrat Quits Race Over Death Threats

Kim Weaver (D) announced she is dropping out of the race to challenge Rep. Steve King (R-IA) due to threats against her, WHO-TV reports.

Said Weaver on Facebook: “I have received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats. While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.

GOP Strategists Embrace Anti-Media Strategy for 2018

McClatchy: “A party that traditionally has had a fraught relationship with the media has become outright hostile, led by a president who picks more fights with journalists than any GOP leader since Richard Nixon.”

“But interviews with Republican strategists and party leaders across the country reveal that what started as genuine anger at allegedly unfair coverage — or an effort to deflect criticism — is now an integral part of next year’s congressional campaigns.”

“The hope, say these officials, is to convince Trump die-hards that these mid-term races are as much a referendum on the media as they are on President Trump. That means embracing conflict with local and national journalists, taking them on to show Republicans voters that they, just like the president, are battling a biased press corps out to destroy them.”