2018 Campaign

Bharara May Run as an Independent

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is “weighing a run for the suddenly vacant spot of New York attorney general — possibly doing so as an independent, free of ties to Democrats and Republicans,” Bloomberg reports.

“Bharara’s name was floated as possible attorney general almost instantly after Eric Schneiderman quit as New York state’s top cop on May 7, following allegations of abuse by four women. Bharara, 49, served almost eight years as U.S. attorney in New York, where he spearheaded an historic crackdown on insider trading and targeted corruption in state government, before he was summarily fired by President Trump on March 11, 2017.”

A Glimmer of Hope for Republicans?

Charlie Cook: “Over the past 90 days, the president’s approval ratings have ticked up to the low-to-mid 40s—still extremely low for elected incumbent presidents in their second year in office, but certainly better from where they had been… In the generic-ballot test, the GOP is now typically behind by mid-to-high single digits. As with Trump’s approval rating, Republicans are still in an alarming position on that front, but better than they were.”

“One thing to remember about midterm elections is that roughly a third fewer people vote in them than in presidential elections. The people who disproportionately participate in midterms are people who, as my mother used to say, “have their noses out of joint”—in this case angry, fearful, or merely unhappy. Republicans should be quite sure that those who dislike or disapprove of Trump will turn out in big numbers.”

Can Democrats Keep Up In Florida’s Senate Race?

First Read: “Across the 2018 Senate landscape, the vulnerable red-state Senate Democrats are either outspending their GOP challengers over the TV and radio airwaves, or they’re keeping the disparity as close as possible. (That’s where it helps to be an incumbent, right?)”

“But there’s one huge exception — Florida, where Republican Rick Scott and the GOP are outspending Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and the Democrats by nearly a 50-to-1 margin, $8.8 million to $185,000, according to ad-spending data from Advertising Analytics.”

“Scott’s personal wealth was always going to be a wild card for Republicans to play in this rough political environment for the GOP. It forces Democrats and Dem outside groups to spend heavily to keep Nelson competitive — it costs at least $2 million to $3 million PER WEEK to advertise statewide in Florida — which comes at the expense of other Democratic campaigns. That’s a significant advantage for Republicans, especially when so many Democrats (incumbents or challengers) are outraising Republicans in hard dollars.”

Infamous Pennsylvania Republicans Feud Before Primary

“A disgraced former congressman and a Republican candidate despised by party leaders have been fighting a weekslong, behind-the-scenes battle ahead of Tuesday’s primary for an open House seat in western Pennsylvania,” Politico reports.

“Former Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned last October amid allegations that he asked his mistress to get an abortion, has been working quietly to sink Rick Saccone’s bid for Congress. Saccone, who became a national Republican scapegoat after losing to Democrat Conor Lamb in the March special election to replace Murphy, is now running for the GOP nomination in a newly drawn, heavily Republican district that includes much of Murphy’s old turf.”

“The fight has gotten personal: Murphy has directed hundreds of thousands of dollars from his old campaign account to an outside group supporting Saccone’s GOP primary opponent, state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler. Murphy also sent around a cropped video clip of Saccone that he believed would damage him.”

McSally Veers Right on Immigration

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) “has dropped her support for immigration-reform legislation that offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented dreamers in favor of a less generous alternative that also would sharply reduce legal immigration,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“McSally, now a U.S. Senate candidate, instead is backing a bill that calls for allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply for ‘contingent non-immigrant status,’ rather than giving them a shot at becoming legal permanent residents and eventually full U.S. citizens.”

“The move comes as McSally is facing two rival conservatives seeking this year’s Republican nomination for the state’s open Senate seat and as she has taken a harder line on border security and other issues in advance of a combative Republican primary.”

Graham Floats Bipartisan Ticket for Florida Governor

Gwen Graham (D) said she would consider David Jolly (R) as a Florida gubernatorial running mate, “a move that opens her to criticism from a progressive rival, and that contradicts her own campaign and supporters who had said a bipartisan ticket isn’t legal in the state,” Politico reports.

“An anti-Trump Republican who had served in the House with Graham in 2015 and 2016, Jolly was first mentioned as a possible running mate for yet another former Democratic member of Congress from Florida, 2016 Senate candidate Patrick Murphy, whose allies want him to run for governor this year. Graham said she might pick Murphy as well.”

Democrats Embrace Moderates for Key Races

New York Times: “In a string of important races across the country, national Democrats have been embracing recruits near the political center, hoping they will give the party the chance to compete in states like Utah and Kansas where a liberal Democrat might stand little chance of winning. About a dozen crucial House races this fall are likely to feature Democratic nominees who are positioned markedly closer to the middle than the national party’s activist base — more than enough to determine control of the House.”

Senate Candidates Agree to Poll with Loser Dropping Out

“Two candidates for the GOP nomination for Missouri’s U.S. Senate race agreed in writing that one would drop out of the race after a joint poll determined which of the two had the better chance to defeat state Attorney General Josh Hawley in the Aug. 7 primary,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

“One of the candidates, Austin Petersen, said that the other, Tony Monetti, has withdrawn from the agreement. But Monetti told the Post-Dispatch hours later that he still wants to go ahead with it.”

Trump Wants the Midterms to Be All About Him

Washington Post: “The rally provided a snapshot look at the role that the president hopes to play in the midterm elections this fall. He has cast this election as a referendum on his presidency and stressed that a vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for Trump.”

“At rallies, he can directly connect with his strongest supporters and urge them to vote for Republicans. His presidency, he says, is under attack, and no Democrat — even a moderate one — can be trusted. On stage, Trump rarely wastes time detailing the biographies or stances of the candidates he’s promoting. Instead, he talks about his own accomplishments and the ways that Democrats have blocked him from doing more.”

For members: Making the Election About Trump Energizes Republicans