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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When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) “is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and … the Justice Department” for potentially improper contributions to his 2013 campaign, including while he was a Clinton Global Initiative board member. ... Among the McAuliffe donations that drew the interest of the investigators was $120,000 from” former Chinese legislator Wang Wenliang. “U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals from donating to … elections. … But Wang holds U.S. permanent resident status.”