In North Carolina and Alaska, Democratic-aligned groups aren’t waiting for GOP primaries to be finished before targeting Republican candidates over the airwaves.
Patriot Majority USA on Wednesday launched a new ad to run statewide in North Carolina, characterizing Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis as “with the special interests, hurting North Carolina families.” Tillis is one of a number of Republicans fighting for the GOP nomination, but he’s the front-runner and clear establishment favorite. With Americans for Prosperity dumping millions into attack ads on Sen. Kay Hagan, Democrats can’t afford to wait until after the primary to try to define her likely opponent.
And in Alaska, a super PAC supporting Democratic Sen. Mark Begich went up with a television ad painting Republican Dan Sullivan as a resident of a “swanky” D.C. suburb who “pocketed a Maryland tax credit for residents living there” while “voting in Alaska, claiming to be one of us.” Put Alaska First PAC has previously been up on the air defending Begich, but this ad buy — just under $50,000 — is the first time they’ve gone after a Republican. Sullivan is engaged in a primary with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2010 nominee Joe Miller. But, like Tillis in North Carolina, Sullivan far outraised his Republican competitors, and he is considered the front-runner. And the vulnerable Begich is under attack from outside groups as well, including a super PAC supporting Sullivan.
Ads like these, launched while primaries are still in progress, can serve another purpose aside from defining their targets ahead of a general election fight: They could potentially work to throw the primary nomination to a weaker general-election candidate altogether.
Democrats have successfully meddled in GOP Senate primaries to this effect in the past. In 2012, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., launched ads targeting each of the three Republicans vying to challenge her campaign identified then — but her campaign had identified Rep. Todd Akin as her weakest potential opponent in the field, and the ad focused actually aimed to boost him. He went on to win the primary, but he was defeated in the general after saying that women could stop themselves from getting pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape.” And in 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went on the attack against GOP primary front-runner Sue Lowden, helping Sharron Angle defeat her.
There are other states beyond North Carolina and Alaska where Democrats could attempt to wreak havoc in crowded GOP primaries. Most notably, in Georgia, Democrats think GOP Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey would be the weakest general-election candidates — so don’t be surprised if a Democratic group maneuvers to try to make one of them the nominee, especially if either advances to a one-on-one runoff.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."