2018 Campaign

Arizona Senate Race Still a ‘Toss Up’

With Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announcing he will not run for re-election, the Cook Political Report keeps the Arizona Senate race as a “toss up.”

“Right now, there are more questions than answers. The most important is whether an open seat will attract a first-tier candidate who is acceptable to both establishment and Trump Republicans. Other candidates will undoubtedly get into the race now, but Republicans need one who brings some gravitas and fundraising ability to the contest. Today, the identity of that candidate (or candidates) is not obvious.”

Flake Will Not Run for Re-Election

“Condemning the nastiness of Republican politics in the era of President Trump, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Tuesday announced he will serve out the remainder of his term but will not seek re-election in 2018,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“The bombshell… will further roil Republican hopes of keeping the party’s 52-seat Senate majority in the midterm elections of Trump’s first term, when the president’s party historically loses seats in Congress.”

GOP Believes House Majority Rides on Tax Reform

Playbook: “Republicans in the House are increasingly bullish that they’ll pass their tax reform bill before the Thanksgiving recess. If everything goes right, it’s possible that can happen. They have 15 legislative days before Thanksgiving.”

“Republicans also says they believe that if they get tax reform through soon, they could stop a number of lawmakers from retiring out of frustration that Congress can’t get anything done. If a bunch of House Republicans head for the exits, it will make it that much harder for the GOP to keep control of the chamber.”

“Republican operatives and top GOP officials increasingly believe the 2018 midterm elections boils down to one simple data point: if the party does not deliver on a large-scale tax cut before the election, they will lose their House majority.”

Sanders Will Run for Re-Election as an Independent

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “has confirmed that he will run for re-election in the Senate as an independent in 2018, despite recent pressure from some Democrats to join the party,” The Hill reports.

Said Sanders: “I am an independent and I have always run in Vermont as an independent, while I caucus with the Democrats in the United States Senate. That’s what I’ve been doing for a long time and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

Democrats’ Early Money Haul Stuns Republicans

“Democratic candidates are reporting historic early fundraising totals, alarming GOP strategists and raising the prospect that 2018 could feature the most expansive House battlefield in years,” Politico reports.

“Animated by opposition to President Trump and the Republican congressional majorities, at least 162 Democratic candidates in 82 GOP-held districts have raised over $100,000 so far this year… That’s about four times as many candidates as House Democrats had at this point before the 2016 or 2014 elections, and it’s more than twice as many as Republicans had running at this point eight years ago, on the eve of capturing the House in the 2010 wave election.”

House GOP Fears Wave as Money Woes Grow

Josh Kraushaar: “House Republicans are growing increasingly alarmed that some of their most vulnerable members aren’t doing the necessary legwork to protect themselves from an emerging Democratic tidal wave. In some of the biggest media markets, where blockbuster fundraising is a prerequisite for political survival—most notably in New York City, Los Angeles, and Houston—Republican lawmakers aren’t raising enough money to run aggressive campaigns against up-and-coming Democrats.”

“Of the 53 House Republicans facing competitive races, according to Cook Political Report ratings, a whopping 21 have been outraised by at least one Democratic opponent in the just-completed fundraising quarter. That’s a stunningly high number this early in the cycle, one that illustrates just how favorable the political environment is for House Democrats.”

Governor’s Races Have Become Contests for the Rich

The Economist: “More and more very wealthy men are running for and winning office as state governors. Tennessee’s Bill Haslam, West Virginia’s Jim Justice, Florida’s Rick Scott, Kentucky’s Matt Bevin, Minnesota’s Mark Dayton, Nebraska’s Peter Ricketts, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, North Dakota’s Doug Burgum and Arizona’s Doug Ducey all have a net worth measured in the tens, and in some cases hundreds, of millions. The richest is Mr Haslam, a multibillionaire whose father founded Pilot Flying J, a chain of petrol stations and convenience stores. Mr Justice, a coal billionaire, is the richest man in the state he governs.”

“America has had wealthy governors before—think of Nelson Rockefeller and Franklin Roosevelt, both of whom governed New York. But their proliferation is new.”

Trump Offers Support for Targeted GOP Senators

President Trump “called three Republican senators this week and expressed support for their 2018 re-election bids, aligning with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the senator’s intra-party feud with Steve Bannon,” Politico reports.

“Trump dialed GOP Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Roger Wicker of Mississippi … He promised to help the three senators against any insurgent challengers … and said he hoped they would be reelected. The calls are expected to eventually be followed by formal endorsements.”

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.”