2018 Campaign

Midterm Math Looks Similar to 2006

Amy Walter: “In fact, when you look more closely at the kinds of districts Republicans are defending in 2018, they don’t look much different from those they had to defend in 2006. For example, there are about as many competitive GOP-held seats in play today in districts with a slight GOP lean (PVI of R+1 to R+5) (23) as there were right before the election in 2006 (22). And, while it’s true that there are few “low hanging fruit” type of districts for Democrats to pick-off (just 23 districts held by Republicans voted for Hillary Clinton), there weren’t many easy lay-ups in 2006, either. Back in 2006, Republicans held just 18 seats won by Democrat John Kerry in the previous presidential election. By the election of 2006, just 15 GOP-held seats (or 27 percent of the total number of GOP-held competitive districts), were in districts that had a slight Democratic lean (a PVI of Even to D+8). Today, of the 40 most competitive seats held by Republicans, 10 (or 25 percent), have a slight Democratic lean (Even to D+5).”

“The 2018 map is not easy for Democrats, but it’s not any more challenging than the one Democrats faced in 2006. Midterm elections are a referendum on the party in power, not the party out of power. However, the dislike for the Democratic party among GOP partisans is more intense today than it has ever been. The question is whether that antipathy to Democrats will be enough to match the anger and opposition to Trump among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters.”

First They Marched, Now They’re Running

Time: “At least 79 women are exploring runs for governor in 2018, potentially doubling a record for female candidates set in 1994…. The number of Democratic women likely challenging incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives is up nearly 350% from 41 women in 2016. Roughly 900 women contacted Emily’s List, which recruits and trains pro-choice Democratic women, about running for office from 2015 to 2016; since President Trump’s election, more than 26,000 women have reached out about launching a campaign.”

“It’s not just candidates. Experienced female political operatives are striking out on their own, creating new organizations independent from the party apparatus to raise money, marshal volunteers and assist candidates with everything from fundraising to figuring out how to balance child care with campaigns.”

Obama Plans to Be Very Active In the Midterms

Politico: “Since leaving office, Barack Obama has struggled with how to do what no previous president has: take on his successor. Over the past year, he’s appeared at rallies, done a robocall, made a few endorsements. His office in Washington’s West End neighborhood, about a mile from the White House, has become a destination for Democrats looking to tap the former president for advice.”

“But with the midterms approaching, people close to him say he’ll shift into higher gear: campaigning, focusing his endorsements on down ballot candidates, and headlining fundraisers. He’ll activate his 15,000-member campaign alumni association for causes and candidates he supports — including the 40 who are running for office themselves.”

Republicans Dispatch Trump to Save a House Seat

“Republicans are scrambling to save a heavily conservative House seat in western Pennsylvania, dispatching President Trump to the district on Thursday while preparing a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to stave off another embarrassing special election defeat in a district that was gerrymandered to stay Republican,” the New York Times reports.

“Holding just a 24-seat majority, with retirements of veteran lawmakers piling up, House Republicans can scarcely allow Democrats to snatch a seat they have not even competed for in recent elections.”

“And Mr. Trump is loath to suffer another electoral humiliation, particularly in a district that he carried by 19 percentage points in 2016.”

Is Trump Counting on a Terrorist Attack?

Washington Post: “In private conversations, Trump has told advisers that he doesn’t think the 2018 election has to be as bad as others are predicting. He has referenced the 2002 midterms, when George W. Bush and Republicans fared better after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, these people said.”

Matthew Yglesias: “I’m pretty skeptical that the political dynamics of September 2001 would be replicated today. But regardless, this is a frightening line of thought for an incumbent president and his team to be entertaining.”

Pawlenty Passes on Senate Run In Minnesota

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) told Fox Business that he will not run for the Senate this year in Minnesota.

Said Pawlenty: “I am very interested in public service and service for the common good, there are a lot of different ways to do that, but I’ll tell you today that running for the United States Senate in 2018 won’t be part of those plans.”

Politico: “Republican leaders have failed to secure their top-choice candidate in eight of the 10 Senate races in states that Trump won in 2016.”

GOP Fears Mueller Probe Dragging Through Midterms

“Robert Mueller’s Russia probe isn’t ending any time soon, and that’s bad news for President Trump and congressional Republicans already bracing for a possible 2018 Democratic midterm wave,” Politico reports.

“In an ominous development for Republicans, a federal judge overseeing the upcoming trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates rejected Mueller’s request to begin in May and instead outlined a scheduled start as soon as September or October — peak election season.”

Democrats Pick Up Wisconsin Seat In Big Swing

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Democrats snagged a GOP-leaning state Senate seat in western Wisconsin on Tuesday, buoying progressive hopes that they could ride a wave of victory this fall. Patty Schachtner, the chief medical examiner for St. Croix County, will take the seat that had been held for 17 years by former Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls). Harsdorf stepped down in November to take a job as GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s agriculture secretary.”

Donald Trump won the district 55% to 38% in 2016.

House GOP Set Fundraising Record in 2017

“House Republicans set a new fundraising record in 2017, raising an eye-popping $85 million to ease what is expected to be a difficult 2018 midterm election,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“Credit goes to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has been on a non-stop campaign to raise money and pitch the House GOP agenda, NRCC Chairman Rep. Steve Stivers, who has energized the outfit’s fundraising operation, and even President Trump who headlined the group’s major 2017 fundraising dinner and who has pledged more help this year.”