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AFP Plans $125M in Midterm Spending; Sasse Releases New Ad; Dinsdale Responds to Outside Attacks AFP Plans $125M in Midterm Spending; Sasse Releases New Ad; Dinsdale R...

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AFP Plans $125M in Midterm Spending; Sasse Releases New Ad; Dinsdale Responds to Outside Attacks

Wake-Up Call! is Hotline's daily morning briefing on campaigns and elections. Click here to subscribe.


  • Americans for Prosperity "intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives, according to a memo distributed to major donors. ... The projected budget ... would be unprecedented for a private political group in a midterm, and would likely rival even the spending of the Republican and Democratic parties' congressional campaign arms. ... [A] source familiar with AFP called the figure a 'very conservative estimate. We're on track for more than that.'" (Politico)
  • In NE SEN, Midland University President Ben Sasse (R) launched a new TV ad touting his endorsements from the Nebraska Farm Bureau, former Gov. Kay Orr (R) and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R). (Hotline reporting)
  • Also, in NE SEN, Club for Growth Action released a new TV ad attacking banker Sid Dinsdale (R) as "really liberal" on issues like Obamacare and the debt ceiling. (release) The 60 Plus Association is also out with a TV ad attacking Osborn for saying he would "always vote to raise the debt limit." (release)
  • Dinsdale is responding to the outside group attacks with a TV ad of his own. "Nebraskans are self-reliant people who don't need to be told what to do from special interests," the spot's narrator says. (Roll Call)
  • In AR SEN, Rep. Tom Cotton (R) released a new TV ad featuring his father Len, who Cotton credits for his conservative values. (release)
  • In GA SEN, philanthropist Michelle Nunn (D) raised $840,000 in April. Businessman David Perdue (R) "put another $1 million behind his candidacy," raised another $219,000 in donations and has $467,000 cash on hand. Rep. Paul Broun (R) raised $143,000 in April and has $181,000 cash on hand, while former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) raised $135,000 and has $337,000 cash on hand. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Also in GA SEN, a new super PAC called the Southern Conservatives Fund is airing TV ads in support of Rep. Jack Kingston (R). "Kingston's longtime buddy," 2010 GA GOV candidate/former state Sen. Eric Johnson (R) "is behind the effort." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • In KY SEN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell raised $1.07 million in April and has "more than" $10 million cash on hand. (AP)
  • In LA SEN, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness (R) released a new TV ad in which he wrestles an alligator and says "Louisiana needs a politician who will stand up to the career politicians -- and the alligators." (release) Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) also endorsed Maness on Thursday. (release)
  • In MI SEN, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) "has two new ads slamming" Rep. Gary Peters (D) "for opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and tie him to billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer." (The Hill)
  • In MT SEN, Rep. Steve Daines (R) released his third TV ad in as many days, attacking Sen. John Walsh (D) as "just another big-spending politician." (release)
  • IN NC SEN, Senate Majority PAC (D) released a new TV ad in which the narrator was filmed at state House Speaker Thom Tillis's (R) primary victory party. "Thom Tillis says he's up there for you, but he'll cost North Carolina families big time," the narrator says. (Washington Post)
  • In the OK SEN Special, Oklahomans for a Conservative Future is out with a new TV ad featuring stump speeches from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Palin touting former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R). The group reported a $200,000 ad buy to the FEC on Thursday. (Hotline reporting)
  • In SC SEN, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) released a new TV ad touting his efforts to "secure crucial funding" for the Port of Charleston. (release) Pastor Det Bowers (R) is also out with his first TV ad of the race, saying "Washington politicians lack the courage to do what's right for South Carolina and America." (Columbia State)
  • In CA-25, former state Sen. Tony Strickland (R) released a new TV ad featuring retiring Rep. Buck McKeon (R). (Daily Kos)
  • In PA-13, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY's List are joining forces to attack state Rep. Brendan Boyle (D) as an "anti-choice 'all-star'" in a direct mail campaign through the May 20 primary. (release)
  • In NE GOV, former Vice President Dick Cheney, "citing his deep Nebraska roots, said Thursday he believes" 2006 SEN nominee Pete Ricketts (R) "would be 'a great governor' for his native state." (Lincoln Journal Star)
  • In PA GOV, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) "won't appeal a court decision striking down the state's 2-year-old voter identification law." (Allentown Morning Call)


  • In CT GOV, a new Quinnipiac University poll of RVs, conducted May 1-6, shows Gov. Dan Malloy (D) and 2010 candidate Tom Foley (R) tied at 43%. In an early March poll, Malloy and Foley were tied at 42%. As for his other potential Republican opponents, Malloy leads state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R), 44-40%, and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton (R), 44-39%. Foley leads the GOP primary race with 39%, compared to 9% for Boughton and 8% for McKinney. (release)
  • In LA SEN, a new Southern Media & Opinion Research poll of LVs, conducted April 28-30, shows Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) leading Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) 36-35%, while Maness is at 7% and state Rep. Paul Hollis (R) is at 4%. (release)


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day


• The latest sign Sen. Mary Landrieu is looking like an underdog: the new Southern Media & Opinion Research poll shows her disapproval skyrocketing to 58 percent, and only receiving 20 percent of the state's white vote. She only leads Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) by one point on the all-party ballot, even though he's less-known and splitting support with other Republicans. -- Josh Kraushaar

• Yesterday's House vote to create a committee to investigate the 2012 attack in Benghazi highlights some Democratic pressure points: Of the seven Democrats who voted in favor of creating the committee, six are seeking reelection in swing or conservative districts. In WV-03, Rep. Nick Rahall has played up his willingness to side against the Obama administration, and in AZ-09, freshman Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has "played her cards expertly" by siding with Republicans frequently enough to be seen as a moderate. Benghazi may not end up being an issue that determines votes on Election Day, but it does reveal which lawmakers feel the need to show they can break with the Democratic Party. -- Jack Fitzpatrick

• Challenger Tom Brown (D) has more cash in the bank than Rep. Hank Johnson (D) in the run-up to their GA-04 primary in 11 days, according to the latest FEC reports. The fierce GOP primary in ID-02 between Rep. Mike Simpson (R), attorney Bryan Smith (R), and multiple outside groups will attract most of the attention on May 20, but remember to check in on a potential change in representation in another safe seat, too. -- Scott Bland

• The new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut is another reminder of how turnout problems could weigh on Democrat's chances in 2014. The only age group Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy leads in his deadlocked rematch against 2010 GOP candidate Tom Foley is young voters between the ages of 18 and 29. He trails Foley among all other age groups. Low turnout among this demographic could help tip the race in Foley's favor. -- Karyn Bruggeman



  • "GOP woos Mike Pence for 2016, and Indiana governor says he's 'listening'" (Washington Post)
  • "The White House is carving out a role for" President Obama "in this fall's midterm elections, which he will try to pose as a choice between the parties' economic visions while targeting appeals to African-Americans, young voters and others in his coalition. The driving theory in the White House is that this election, like every one since the 2007 recession, is foremost about the economy. ... Obama already has been drawing contrasts between his economic program and that of Republicans, and he is preparing additional executive actions over the next month relating to infrastructure projects and job training to bolster his argument." (Wall Street Journal)
  • "I part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it." -- 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R), on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" (Mediaite)
  • The RNC "is expected to approve a new penalty Friday that will punish candidates seeking the 2016 GOP presidential nomination if they participate in non-sanctioned primary debates." (CNN)
  • IA SEN candidate/state Sen. Joni Ernst (R), "who has said she often carries a handgun in her purse, has carried a firearm inside the Iowa Capitol building in the past." (Des Moines Register)
  • MD GOV candidate/Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's (D) "campaign insists he's no diva. Bringing his own makeup artist to" a "televised debate was part of his pre-game prep." (Baltimore Sun)
  • "After months of fits and starts," the FEC on Thursday "unanimously ruled that federal political committees may accept a limited amount of Bitcoin to fuel their election efforts." (Center for Public Integrity)
  • "Newark Mayoral Race Seen as Referendum on Booker" (New York Times)
  • "The Colorado Republican Party filed a lawsuit Thursday afternoon to seek court approval for its unprecedented effort to form an independent committee to raise unlimited funds to influence key state political races." (KDVR-TV)
  • Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) "signed into law a bill Thursday that could make Vermont the first state to require genetically modified foods to be labeled -- and the first state to be sued over it." (Burlington Free Press)
  • "Q&A with Mike Johanns: Negative ads in Nebraska GOP Senate primary spark Sid Dinsdale surge" (Washington Examiner)
  • "One of the petition collectors hired by" Rep. John Conyers's (D-MI) "campaign to get" Conyers "on the ballot has a criminal record and is wanted by police. Daniel Pennington, 23, has evaded law enforcement for more than two years with an outstanding warrant for an assault charge in Lansing and failing to complete his probation sentence for felony home invasion in Battle Creek." (Detroit News)
  • "What Timothy Geithner Really Thinks" (New York Times Magazine)
  • Missouri Sens. Claire McCaskill (D) and Roy Blunt (R) "introduced a measure Thursday that would rename Washington's Union Station for" former President Harry Truman. (Washington Post)


How a state legislature defines (and defends) a 'snack'



  • The House returns at 9:30 a.m.
  • Democratic Reps. Nancy PelosiDonna EdwardsRosa DeLauro and Doris Matsui hold a Facebook Q&A session on fair pay. (12:30 p.m.)
  • Obama delivers remarks on energy efficiency at a Mountain View, Calif., Walmart. (12:55 p.m. ET)
  • NBA playoff action: the Wizards host the Pacers in Game 3 of their second-round series. (Verizon Center, 8 p.m.)
  • Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!


  • Rufus Shackleford was Tom Anderson's running mate on the American Party ticket during the 1976 presidential election.
  • The winner is Don Binder. Here's today's Swizzle Challenge: "After his trip to Arkansas on Wednesday, President Obama has now traveled to every state in the country but five since taking office. What are the five states Obama has not visited as president?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"I am going to defend myself if someone attacks me, and I have a right to do that." -- IA-03 candidate/state Sen. Brad Zaun (R), who says he occasionally carries a handgun at the Capitol (Des Moines Register)


"Zaun had to be told by West Des Moines police in 2001 to stay away from a former girlfriend who had accused him of harassing her." (Des Moines Register, 8/19/2010)

Adam Wollner, Editor

CORRECTION: Thursday's Wake-Up Call stated that Rep. Jack Kingston (R) has aired TV ads in the GA SEN race that depict members of Congress as babies, when businessman David Perdue (R) is the candidate who has run those ads.


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