2018 Campaign

Primaries Are Chance for Parties to Define Themselves

Washington Post: “Long before voters decide in November who will control the House, the Senate and 36 governor’s seats across the country, the most wide-open primary season in decades will plunge the nation’s two major political parties into historic battles over who they are.”

“Races that Democrats once left uncontested are now brimming with candidates. Races in which Republicans had hoped to clear the field have grown crowded. And the power of national parties on both sides to moderate the conflicts remains low, as populist passions roil both the liberal and conservative grass roots.”

Van Hollen Sees Even GOP-Held Seats ‘In Play’

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the chairman of the DSCC, “has downplayed the party’s chances of picking up GOP-held seats in the 2018 elections outside of Nevada and Arizona — until now,” Politico reports.

“He previously always emphasized that the party’s priority was protecting its incumbents, 10 of whom are running for reelection in states President Trump won. But in an interview Thursday… Van Hollen sounded more optimistic about encroaching on GOP territory.”

Van Hollen said all eight GOP-held seats “will be in play. We have candidates in every one of those eight states, with the exception of Mississippi, where we are talking to some very strong candidates.”

Trump Creates Big Problem for Vulnerable Republicans

James Hohmann: “With the proposed expansion of offshore drilling and a crackdown on marijuana, the Trump administration created huge political headaches Thursday for scores of Republicans who were already facing a tough environment in 2018.”

“Both moves are unpopular with voters, especially key people in places that are likely to determine whether the GOP holds the House. In practice, these two stories probably pose bigger challenges for the president’s party in the midterms than any book about White House dysfunction.”

Republicans Plan Aggressive Ground Game In PA-18

“Republicans are launching an aggressive ground game in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District more than three months before voters head to the polls for the special election,” WPXI reports.

“This is a race to replace Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), who resigned after revelations that he asked his mistress to have an abortion during a pregnancy scare.”

“Republicans, though publicly supporting state Rep. Rick Saccone, have fears  about their candidate’s chances against Democratic nominee Conor Lamb. A Republican campaign strategist described the race as a ‘D-candidate’ versus an ‘A-candidate,’ indicating he did not see the Republican as the strongest candidate in the race.”

Trump Talks to Romney About Senate Bid

“President Trump spoke by phone with Mitt Romney on Thursday evening, a conversation that comes amid mounting speculation that Romney — a fierce Trump critic — is preparing to run for Senate in Utah,” Politico reports.

“The brief call, which was described by two sources who were briefed on it, lasted less than 10 minutes… The two men also spoke about 83-year-old Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who announced his retirement earlier this week, opening the seat for Romney to run. Trump had aggressively pressured Hatch to run for reelection in an effort to block Romney from taking the seat.”

GOP Leaders Will Brief Trump on Midterm Outlook

“Congressional leaders are slated to brief President Trump on the perilous midterm landscape on Friday afternoon at Camp David,” Politico reports.

“Amid rising concern that Republicans could lose their majorities in November, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will lead separate presentations on 2018.”

“The briefing will be part of a broader slate of meetings between the president and Republican congressional leadership to take place at Camp David through the weekend, when they are scheduled to discuss the legislative agenda for this year. Also attending will be House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).”

GOP Strategist Says Midterm Blowout Will Doom Trump

Republican strategist Rick Tyler told MSNBC that Republican will turn on President Trump and impeach him should they lose heavily in the 2018 midterms.

Said Tyler: “When does the Republican Party turn? When they get wiped out. That’s what happens. If they get wiped out in 2018, the Republicans will absolutely turn on Donald Trump.”

He added: “And I think to the point where they will impeach him and they will get 67 percent of the vote in the Senate to impeach him, to do that. But it will require a wipe out.”

Hatch Says He’ll Back Romney for Senate

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told a Utah radio station that he would support Mitt Romney if he decides to enter the race to replace him when he retires at the end of his term.

Said Hatch: “I didn’t call him before I made this announcement, but I did call him a while back and explored with him what he had on his mind, and I won’t discuss what we discussed. But there’s no question that he loves Utah and wants to support Utah anyway he can. And I’m hopeful he’ll run, because he would be just fine. And he would certainly be somebody who I think could succeed me into the job.”

He added: “If Mitt decides to run, he knows he’ll have my support.”

Stay Engaged to Survive Trump In 2018

John Cassidy: “This is yet another argument for engaging in the political process in 2018. But staying engaged isn’t the same thing as being permanently addled, obsessing over every offensive Trump tweet, or lumping everyone who voted for him in with alt-right activists and neo-Nazis.”

“It means exercising patience, ignoring some of his verbal provocations (many of which are attempts at distraction), pointing out that his policies are hurting the very people he is claiming to represent, and, above all, committing to beating him and his allies politically. As the recent elections in Alabama and Virginia demonstrated, Trump and the Republicans can be defeated at the ballot box. Surely, the best way to survive the second year of the Trump era is to work calmly and deliberately toward that objective.”

Will Bannon Try to Bump Romney?

Callum Borchers: “The race to succeed Hatch in Utah could represent an irresistible challenge for Bannon, especially if Mitt Romney runs. As I have noted before, Romney and Breitbart News were very friendly in 2012, when the former Massachusetts governor was the GOP presidential nominee. But since Romney lost to Barack Obama — an event that roughly coincided with Bannon assuming control of Breitbart — Romney has become a symbol of the political establishment Breitbart reviles.”

Axios: Romney changes Twitter location to Utah.