Let’s, for a moment, look past tonight’s Nebraska Senate primary. Regardless of whether anti-establishment favorite Ben Sasse (R) wins or loses, the conservative groups at his side (Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth, among others) have an important month ahead of them. And by the looks of things, things aren’t poised to break in their favor.
— The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Club had pulled out of its fight against Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID 02), whose primary against attorney Bryan Smith (R) occurs next week. The Idaho race was arguably the main House showdown within the Republican Party this year, and the incumbent looks poised to win a T.K.O. before anyone starts counting ballots.
— Things look worse for conservative challengers in Kentucky, where a Matt Bevin (R) victory over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) would, at this point, register as one of the biggest political shockers in years. Remember when Bevin was the raison d’etre of some conservative activists and the Senate Conservatives Fund? (Notably, the Club never endorsed him.)
— That leaves conservatives rallying around state Senator Chris McDaniel (R) in Mississippi, in his matchup against Sen. Thad Cochran (R). Expect an almost fervent amount of attention on that race between now and the June 3 primary ““ the operatives plotting against the incumbent know he might be the only chance they have left to knock off a current officeholder. Cochran is still viewed as the favorite and is up in the polls, but conservatives consider it still very winnable.
Regardless of tonight’s results or the outcome of the Mississippi contest, expect some soul-searching among the leaders of the “conservative establishment” after this month’s slate of races. There’s a growing recognition that 2014 is going to be a lot different than the tea party-infused years of 2010 and 2012.
— Alex Roarty
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Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.