The events in Charlottesville and President Trump’s defense of the white nationalist confederate statue protesters there are already affecting Virginia’s race for governor. But the fallout will also be felt next year in what are for now the state’s two most competitive federal races.
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine’s only major Republican opponent is Corey Stewart, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors chair whose unsuccessful bid for the GOP governor nomination this year was centered on his insistence that the state’s confederate monuments remain in place.
Trump’s line at his Tuesday press conference at Trump Tower asking whether George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be the next targets after Robert E. Lee was previously uttered in February at a Stewart rally in Charlottesville by the man who organized Saturday’s Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler.
Shak Hill, who like Stewart has been defeated by Ed Gillespie for the Republican nomination for a statewide office, quoted Kessler’s speech from that day (while incorrectly attributing it to Stewart, who has made similar statements) in an op-ed Wednesday for the Daily Caller, which laid the blame for confederate statue removal on “establishment” Republicans and encouraged participation “in the primary process” so “our way of life will prevail.” Hill is challenging Rep. Barbara Comstock in the 10th District GOP primary.
— Kyle Trygstad
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti “will visit New Hampshire on Aug. 28 to help Manchester mayoral candidate Joyce Craig in her challenge to incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas,” a move that’s expected to attract national attention.
“Garcetti has been making stops in states outside of California in recent months. In June, for instance, he traveled to Wisconsin, a key swing state in a national general election, to address that state’s Democratic Party convention.”
Garcetti has been touting issues ostensibly on Trump’s national agenda, like infrastructure. New Hampshire’s state Democratic Party recently said that he “’spearheaded’ Los Angeles County’s Measure M, a $120 billion infrastructure project, funded by a sales tax increase, that was approved last year by more than 70 percent of those voting in a referendum.” (WMUR)
CHICAGO. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel “has rediscovered his national voice,” with the most prominent coverage coming from his “decision to become the first big-city mayor to legally challenge Trump’s immigration policies.
“‘Chicago will not be blackmailed into changing our values, and we are and will remain a welcoming city,’ Emanuel said last week when filing a lawsuit challenging the Justice Department’s threat to cut off federal funds to ‘sanctuary cities.’”
“Washington Democrats are looking to Emanuel — the architect of the 2006 Democratic House takeover — for a different reason: how to defeat Trump. Emanuel recently traveled to Washington and spoke before the Democratic Caucus about how to win back House seats in 2018 and about strategy for dealing with Trump.” (Politico)
DNC MESSAGE TO RNC. Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez sent a letter to Republican National Committee leader Ronna Romney McDaniel Wednesday night saying, “As chairwoman, you bear a responsibility not just to reject hateful ideology generally, but to hold accountable the individuals in your party who have allowed that ideology to flourish. You bear a responsibility to stop Donald Trump.” (USA Today)
NEW YORK. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “sent a letter to acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy on Wednesday requesting the removal of the names of a pair of Confederate generals from streets on Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn.”
Cuomo, whose name is often grouped with other potential 2020 contenders: “Symbols of slavery and racism have no place in New York … Renaming these streets will send a clear message that in New York, we stand against intolerance and racism, whether it be insidious and hidden or obvious and intentional.”
“The street names in question represent Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, both of whom were stationed at the base in the 1840s before becoming central figures in the Confederacy during the Civil War.
“Cuomo’s note follows the Army’s denial of the same request by local community leaders and legislators on August 7 and is in direct response to the violent events that took place at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. (Time Out New York)
WOMEN. “At least five transgender women, all Democrats, have filed to run in Republican-leaning congressional districts—more than doubling the number of trans women who ran last cycle.”
“Various progressive organizations including EMILY’s List, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Victory Fund have been outspoken on trans issues. National groups have not yet thrown their weight behind trans congressional candidates, though many have endorsed Danica Roem, a trans woman challenging a Republican incumbent this year for the Virginia state House.” (National Journal)
“In another sign of deepening divisions within the Republican party, President Trump blasted two sitting GOP senators who have criticized his response to the Charlottesville attack – whose support he needs to get his agenda through Congress.” Along with Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), whose primary challenger got a shout-out from Trump, the president “used Twitter to go after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), saying he “falsely accused him of offering ‘moral equivalency’ between the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacist groups who counter-protested the hate groups.” (USA Today)
Graham responded in a statement: “Mr. President, like most I seek to move our nation, my state, and our party forward - toward the light - not back to the darkness. Your tweet honoring Miss Heyer was very nice and appropriate. Well done. However, because of the manner in which you have handled the Charlottesville tragedy you are now receiving praise from some of the most racist and hate-filled individuals and groups in our country. For the sake of our Nation — as our President — please fix this. History is watching us all.” (release)
Still, “Trump certainly has his defenders within the party, and remains very popular with the Republican base. Many activists were comfortable with his initial casting of blame for violence on ‘many sides,’ and feel strongly that no matter what he says, the media and Democrats won’t give him credit.
‘We are a very inclusive party,’ said Glenn McCall, the South Carolina Republican national committeeman, who is African American. He agreed with Trump’s assessment that both far-right and far-left agitators deserved equal blame.” (McClatchy)
Meanwhile back at the White House, Trump’s strategist Stephen Bannon blasted Democrats instead, saying, “The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist. Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.” (New York Times)
OUTSIDE HELP. America First Action announced on Thursday that Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski “has joined its team as a Senior Advisor and a Spokesman.” The group identifies itself as “the primary super PAC dedicated to electing federal candidates who support the agenda of the Trump-Pence administration.” (release)
POLLS. President Trump’s “job approval rating is at its lowest point since taking office with only 35% of Americans giving him a positive score,” according to a new Marist poll (Aug 8-12; 1009 adults; 3.1%) released on Wednesday. Meanwhile, “55% disapprove of the job he is doing which is his highest negative rating as president.” (release)
“Although still popular among his key constituency, notably, his job performance rating has dropped among strong Republicans from 91% in June to 79% now.”
On Charlottesville, a separate Marist poll (Aug 14-15; 1,125; 2.9%) with NPR/PBS indicates that 52% of respondents don’t believe President Trump’s response was “not strong enough,” compared to 27% who did. (release)
PENCE. Vice President Mike Pence has canceled “a scheduled trip to Richmond, in order to focus on White House strategy in Asia.
“Pence was set to attend a fundraiser in Richmond with Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee for governor, and to keynote an Americans for Prosperity volunteer summit at the Richmond Marriott, where Gillespie also is scheduled to speak.
“Pence is cutting a Latin America trip short in order to attend a Camp David meeting Friday with President Donald Trump that reportedly will focus on strategy in Afghanistan.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
RNC. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel suggested she’s willing to potentially lose votes within her party, saying, “We have no place in our party at all for the KKK, anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry — it has no place in the Republican Party. There is no home here. We don’t want your vote.” (CNN)
NEW HAMPSHIRE. New Hampshire Republican Party headquarters “was vandalized overnight Wednesday-Thursday, with a broken window and the word ‘Nazis’ scribbled in a hand-drawn heart on the rear wall of the Water Street building, a party spokesman said.” (WMUR)
“Nevada and Arizona have emerged anew as a defining battleground for both parties — states that encapsulate the evolving politics of the Southwest and may control the balance of power in the Senate. … In both states, Republican senators who have crossed Mr. Trump now face the wrath of his political base.” Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are facing primary challengers, as well as a potential boost to those challengers from Trump himself.
In the Arizona race, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “has spoken with at least three possible recruits and has indicated to Democrats in Washington and Arizona that he believes” Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ 09), “a centrist lawmaker, would be the strongest candidate, according to multiple Democrats briefed on the conversations. … State Rep. Randy Friese (D), a trauma surgeon, “said he, too, was leaning toward entering the race and would focus heavily on Mr. Flake’s support for the Republican health care bill.” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) “has also been weighing a bid.”
“The West looms just as large for Democrats, holding out a rare chance to pick up seats in the Senate. … Forced to defend 10 Democratic-held Senate seats in states Mr. Trump won, Democrats have settled on Mr. Heller and Mr. Flake as their best opportunities to go on offense, with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas a long-shot third target. … Both Mr. Flake and Mr. Heller ultimately voted for unpopular health care legislation,” something “Democratic-leaning groups have already battered them with about $8 million in advertising on the issue.” Still, “it would take intensive financial investment and political organizing by Democrats to capture new states.” (New York Times)
President Trump voiced support Thursday for former state Sen. Kelli Ward (R), who is challenging Sen. Jeff Flake (R).
Trump: “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!” (Twitter)
TRUMP VISIT. The tweet comes as Trump makes a “new campaign trip to Arizona next week,” which “has state Republicans speculating that he is going to” formally endorse one of Flake’s primary challengers. “Mr. Trump is leaning towards endorsing” state Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R), “state Republican sources told The Washington Times,” though Dewit has not yet declared for the race. (Washington Times) Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) “wrote in a statement Wednesday he was disappointed to learn of Trump’s visit so close to the violent events in Charlottesville. The mayor called on Trump to delay the visit,” a request neither Flake nor Ward has joined. (Arizona Republic)
CVILLE RESPONSE. Flake and Ward have diverged over their response to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA and Trump’s controversial response to it. Flake denounced Trump’s remarks, writing on Twitter, “We can’t accept excuses for white supremacy & acts of domestic terrorism. We must condemn. Period.” Ward, on the other hand, echoed Trump’s suggestion that not just the white supremacists were to blame for the violence at the rally, tweeting, “stop the hate, violence, & rhetoric on both sides.” (Roll Call)
Gov. Rick Scott (R), a likely Senate candidate, accused Sen. Bill Nelson (D) of “political posturing” over the Venezuela boycott, asking reporters to “ask him what he’s done.” (Bay News 9)
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson (D) has opted to seek re-election instead of taking on Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-03) in the Democratic primary. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
PLANNED PARENTHOOD. Rosen went after Sen. Dean Heller (R) for an interview in which he said federal dollars shouldn’t “be used by Planned Parenthood to run ads against their political enemies” and said he would vote to defund the group. Rosen’s campaign put a recording of the interview on YouTube. (release)
State Sen. Tom Campbell (R) announced Wednesday he is challenging Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D). “Campbell was first elected to the state Senate in 2012. A farmer with a bachelor’s degree in economics from North Dakota State University, he is married with two children.” Campbell will likely focus on the tax code and repealing the Affordable Care Act throughout the campaign. (Grand Forks Herald) He announced his candidacy on the “What’s On Your Mind” talk radio show, and added during his interview that he would be “supporting Trump and his agenda.” (Facebook/Facebook)
AD-ITUDE. Campbell is “already out with a campaign ad titled ‘Combine and a Prayer.’” The ad shows Campbell’s family history and then pivots to his support for job growth in the state. (SayAnythingBlog.com)
End Citizens United, a campaign finance reform group, announced its first round of House challenger endorsements, backing 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis’ (D) bid for Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ (R-KS 02) open seat, Air Force veteran Chrissy Houlahan’s (D) run to unseat Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA 06) and ironworker Randy Bryce’s (D) campaign against Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI 01). (release)
“The ideological diversity of those districts is no accident, say the group’s leaders. The endorsements make a broader point that Democratic candidates running in all types of districts should … embrace a platform of reducing the importance of money in politics.” (McClatchy)
TOWN HALLS. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE 02) is hosting his sixth town hall on Saturday Aug. 26. (release)
And Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA 08) “will hold his first, in-person town hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday. … The room’s capacity is limited to 135 people, with 124 seats available.” (Bucks County Courier Times)
TAX REFORM. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL 06) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX 08) “and other members of the panel” pitched tax reform “to the public on Wednesday at an event at former President Ronald Reagan’s ranch in California.”
Roskam: “The focal point is this is about the American dream.” (The Hill)
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) urged President Trump to delay his scheduled campaign rally in the Arizona capital while “our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville.” He also issued a warning shot: “If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide.” (Arizona Republic)
Stanton is reportedly prepping a run for the Phoenix-based House seat that many expect Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) to vacate for a Senate bid. Hillary Clinton won it by 16 points, but it was drawn to be competitive. Republicans have already fielded former Navy chief medical officer Steve Ferrara (R).
Former congressional aide Mateo Morelos Bedolla (D), a new challenger to Rep. Jeff Denham (R), is not yet “old enough to be in Congress” but will “meet the constitutionally required age of 25” just before the November election. Bedolla, who worked in construction before working for Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-09), “formed a campaign committee in May and reported raising $114 in the second quarter of 2017. He joins at least seven other candidates who are hoping to unseat Denham.” (Los Angeles Times)
Denham is on the list of DCCC targets.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) “met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Wednesday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London,” his spokesman confirmed. Conservative journalist Charles Johnson said he “arranged the meeting for Assange because the WikiLeaks chief wants to strike a deal with the U.S. so he can stop living in asylum. … Assange has taken asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy since August 2012 after facing sexual assault charges in Sweden.”
“Rohrabacher put out a statement in which he said Assange ‘emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails.” The three met for three hours and Rohrabacher is the first congressman to have visited the WikiLeaks founder.’ The statement said Rohrabacher “plans to divulge more of what he found directly to President Trump.” (Daily Caller)
DCCC spokesman Drew Godinich: “The fact that Dana Rohrabacher would meet with Assange, let alone work to secure his freedom, begs the question: Who is he really working for? Because it’s not the voters who sent him to Congress.” The DCCC called on Rohrabacher to resign. (Politico)
Democrats are targeting Rohrabacher, who holds a district that Hillary Clinton won. Stem cell biologist Hans Keirstead (D) and businessman Harley Rouda (D) are among his challengers.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) “is expected to make an announcement” by Monday “about his potential change-of-heart” on seeking reelection. State Sens. Andy Kerr (D) and Dominick Moreno (D) and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D) “have all launched campaigns since Perlmutter’s announcement for governor and subsequent decision to drop out of that race,” with former U.S. Ambassador Dan Baer (D) joining them more recently. “Sources familiar with the” CO-07 race “said Perlmutter has met with at least two of the three original candidates since he started reconsidering his candidacy. All three campaigns expect to hear a decision this weekend. … All the Democrats could choose to run against Perlmutter in a primary, though that is highly unlikely.” (KUSA)
Former Circuit Court Judge Mary Barzee Flores’ (D) “strong statements about Nazis, white supremacists,” President Trump, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions “brought in ugly responses Wednesday filled with profanity and wishes that she would die. And that, her campaign is quickly turning into a fundraising pitch.”
“’I showed these vile comments to Mary and this is what she told me: ‘We have a First Amendment. They can say whatever they want about me and I’ll keep saying what I believe. At least they got my name right,’ Flores’ campaign manager Sam Miller wrote in the fundraising letter.”
Flores is “in a crowded” primary field for retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s (R) district, which backed Hillary Clinton by 20 points. Other candidates include state Rep. David Richardson (D), state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) and Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez (D). (Florida Politics)
State Rep. Luke Malek (R) entered the race for Rep. Raul Labrador’s (R) seat this week. An attorney from Coeur d’Alene in north Idaho, he “is serving his third term in the Idaho Legislature. He is vice-chair of the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee and serves on the state’s budget-setting Joint Finance-Appropriation Committee.” He had already filed for the seat with the Federal Election Commission last week.
Malek: “I believe in an Idaho where families can thrive, an Idaho where our children can receive a world-class education and an Idaho where small businesses can grow without being stifled by excessive government regulations.” (Idaho Statesman)
Also in the GOP primary: former state Sen. Russ Fulcher and former Lt. Gov. David Leroy. The seat, which Labrador is leaving to run for governor, leans heavily Republican.
State Rep. Kevin Jones (R) declared his candidacy in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R). “Known as both a fiscal and social conservative, Jones was first elected in 2012 when he unseated the incumbent” former state Rep. Bill Feuerborn (D). “Before entering politics, he served in the Army as a special forces operator. … He is also an ordained minister” and “currently works as a Realtor. If elected, Jones said, he would focus on reining in the national debt, regulatory reform and national security issues.” (Lawrence Journal World)
Jones joins state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald and Basehor City Councilman Vernon Fields in the Republican primary. On the Democratic side, 2014 gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis is running.
“The unpopularity of President Donald Trump outside the Republican Party is helping to turn out Democrats eager to challenge GOP congressional representatives in Michigan and around the country. … In Michigan, at least 14 Democrats have declared their candidacy in seven districts held by Republican congressmen. Others are seriously considering a race or waiting until later to officially jump in.”
Rep. Fred Upton (R-06) has garnered at least five Democratic challengers. “Two Democrats each are running in the districts of Reps. Jack Bergman” (R-01), Mike Bishop R-08), and Dave Trott (R-11). Reps. Tim Walberg (R-07), Justin Amash (R-03), and Bill Huizenga (R-02) “also are facing Democratic challengers.” Still, “political analysts warn that Democratic enthusiasm does not ensure defeat for GOP House members.” (Detroit News)
“A total of 125 Granite State activists, including more than 50 current and former New Hampshire House members, endorsed” state Sen. Andy Sanborn’s (R) “2018 bid” to unseat Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D), including “prominent business owners Gus Fromuth and Harold Turner as well as Augusta Petrone, a well-known activist and donor and the widow of Ambassador Joseph Petrone.” (WMUR)
Sanborn faces former South Hampton police chief Eddie Edwards (R) in the GOP primary.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-27) and Lloyd Doggett (D-35) confirmed they would run for reelection even though their districts might be redrawn. A federal panel struck down both districts on Tuesday, ruling they were illegally racially gerrymandered. However, Texas’s “Republican-controlled state government signaled it would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.”
Farenthold’s statement: “I believe the court errored in its decision and I trust the Supreme Court will get it right. No matter what the Supreme Court decides, I plan to run for re-election.”
“Doggett said Tuesday night that he also planned to run for re-election. He said the court’s decision showed that ‘[w]hat Republicans did was not just wrong, it was unconstitutional.’” (Roll Call)
Farenthold holds a South Texas district that leans Republican. Doggett holds a Central Texas seat that leans Democratic and snakes from Austin to San Antonio.
“Utah County won’t be releasing any additional results in” the GOP “primary until Friday afternoon,” and former state Rep. Chris Herrod (R) “won’t concede” to Provo Mayor John Curtis (R) “until he sees them. … Curtis claimed victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary after the Associated Press called the race.” But Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson said “he was ’a little bit frustrated’ that he was unable to talk the wire service out of declaring a winner until Friday’s tabulation was released” though he “acknowledged that given how the election was trending, the winner might not change.” Thompson said Wednesday “he still had to count 33,602 ballots cast” in the race. (Deseret News)
“According to rough numbers given to UtahPolicy by state election officials … Herrod would have to get more than two-thirds of the remaining votes to be counted in Tuesday’s” primary to beat Curtis — something unlikely to happen. (Utah Policy)
SHOUT OUT. President Trump congratulated Curtis in a tweet.
“Some liberals are hopeful that” Rep. Tom Garrett (R), “a freshman in a lower-tier race next year, now has a tougher re-election on his hands” after he met and took a picture with an organizer of the Charlottesville white nationalist rally. “‘It’s an opportunity to put a race in play that wasn’t last week,’ said Jon Soltz, chairman and co-founder of VoteVets, the Democratic PAC that recruits and supports veterans running for Congress.”
“VoteVets sent out a fundraising email to its supporters on Tuesday about” a Garrett challenger, Marine veteran RD Huffstetler (D), “whom it wasn’t planning to officially endorse until later this summer. Within the first six hours, the group had raised $10,000 from 365 donors. (Contributions were split between the Huffstetler campaign and VoteVets.)” (Roll Call)
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), “a sometimes Trump critic,” criticized the president’s remarks on the violence in Charlottesville, Va. in a “statement that … lacked the indignation and raw emotion expressed by many of his GOP colleagues.”
Baker: “When it comes to denouncing evils like white supremacy and neo-nazism, it is vital public officials speak clearly and forcefully and I am deeply disappointed in the president’s words today. What happened in Charlottesville was an act of terror, perpetrated by white supremacists — something every leader can and should denounce forcefully.’”
“Disappointment” has been a go-to word for the governor, who “has attempted to walk a fine line when responding to various Trump controversies.” (Boston Globe)
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also “criticized … Trump’s comments on the conflict between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., when the president blamed both sides for the violence. ‘I think he made a terrible mistake,’ Hogan told reporters in Annapolis after a Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday. Hogan … has been judicious in his criticism of the Republican president. But in recent months he has publicly disagreed with Trump on occasion.” (Baltimore Sun)
Former state Republican Party Executive Director Alan Philp has formed a super PAC, Colorado Strong, to boost District Attorney George Brauchler (R).
The group “has yet to report any contributions,” which it can raise in unlimited amounts. “Colorado Strong is at least the third such group to enter the 2018 contest.” (Denver Post)
State Sen. Jack Latvala (R) is “promising something almost unprecedented in modern Florida history: He will be a governor focused entirely on the state’s future, not his own. … Conventional wisdom has it that Latvala is too moderate, too much of a compromising dealmaker, to win a primary in today’s GOP. Latvala, however, is anything but conventional.” Latvala criticized the other candidates, arguing that “none of the other Republicans … can point to much tangible accomplishment,” singling out Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-06), state House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) and state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) for different reasons. DeSantis, Latvala said, “just went and voted no on everything”; Putnam, he said, lacked leadership; and Corcoran, he suggested, is not a true conservative.
Latvala also acknowledged his less-than-diplomatic reputation in making these statements.
Latvala: “But here’s the key to that: A lot of times people will say that about me, and they also say, ‘But he’s my a—h—-.’ My constituents have traditionally liked having somebody like me. I’m going to get in people’s faces if I need to. I’ve probably moderated that a little in recent years, but sometimes you need to.” (Tampa Bay Times)
TRUMP EFFECT. “Latvala showed no qualms about” President Trump “when he said Wednesday that Trump voters in Florida may look more favorably upon his candidacy for governor than his opponents. … Trump easily defeated” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) “in the Florida Republican presidential primary more than a year ago.” (SaintPetersBlog)
MINIMUM WAGE. Megadonor John Morgan (D) “soon plans to start collecting signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative raising Florida minimum wage. He plans to ‘spend millions of my own money’ on the effort, but he also intends to pressure every ambitious politician in Florida to help out on the effort.” Morgan, who may enter the race for governor, plans to create a scorecard for Florida politicians and “said he will ask politicians from both parties” for help “but of course expects a much more receptive response from Democrats.” (Tampa Bay Times)
“GOP operative Carl Forti filed the paperwork to create Building Idaho’s Future, Inc.” on Aug. 8.
He “is not revealing which candidate or measure will receive his support in the 2018 election. … The group has not yet had to submit a campaign disclosure report, meaning there is no information that has been made public about the group’s donors or contributions.”
“Forti has served in top positions at, … Karl Rove’s brainchild American Crossroads, … the pro-Mitt Romney Restore Our Future,” and the NRCC. (AP)
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign (R) “released two new television ads highlighting the benefits of Bruce Rauner’s plan to reform Illinois’ education funding system,” it announced Wednesday. “These TV ads will run in markets across the state in conjunction with digital ads and phone calls in support of Governor Rauner’s plan.” (Capitol Fax)
“After months of refusing to even utter President Donald Trump’s name, … Rauner on Wednesday called his fellow Republican out for remarks that ‘damage America,’ saying he ‘vehemently disagrees with the president’s comments about the tragedy in Charlottesville.’” (Chicago Sun-Times)
ROBBIN’ OTHERS OF HER BACKING. Rep. Robin Kelly (D) endorsed state Sen. Daniel Biss (D) on Thursday. Kelly: “Daniel is a fighter for the forgotten and the middle class. He will be a strong, principled voice is Springfield for our values.” (release)
Billionaire J.B. Pritzker (D) “says he intends to provide income-tax return information well before the March primary. ‘I’ll put them out soon.’ … Pritzker, who Forbes lists as having net worth of $3.4 billion, said he didn’t know if he would put out all the schedules with his disclosure.”
“Meanwhile, Springfield Ward 3 Ald. DORIS TURNER, who also chairs the Sangamon County Democratic Party, has personally endorsed Pritzker.” (State Journal-Register)
SLOW BERN. Both Biss and Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar (D) backed Hillary Clinton in 2016, even as they hope to gain the votes of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) supporters. (Capitol Fax)
State House Minority Leader Jim Ward (D) “has named a campaign treasurer [former Kansas Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch], the strongest sign yet he will run for governor. … He said that he will make an announcement on Saturday about his future in Kansas politics.” (Wichita Eagle)
CHARLOTTESVILLE. Lt. Gov Jeff Colyer (R) “drew from personal experience to condemn what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend.” Colyer: “I have seen the evil extremes of racial and ethnic cleansing first hand in Rwanda and other places around the globe. … We must stamp out these harmful ideologies and evil doers before they can take root at home.” (WIBW)
Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), in his first comment on the white supremacist rally: “It goes without saying that white supremacist views and racism are reprehensible. I did not comment on the horrific attack in Charlottesville because I am running for governor of Kansas, not governor of Virginia.” (Wichita Eagle)
State Attorney General Lori Swanson (D) “held a news conference [Wednesday] to sue a company that she says was preying on seniors and veterans. According the facts, the company did seem to be predatory. However, since Swanson has kept a low profile as Attorney General, and with speculation growing that she’ll run for Governor – the lens the media and observers are watching through suggests that there is a playbook being dusted off.
“No one can deny that Swanson is the protégée of fmr. AG and DFL candidate for Governor Mike Hatch. … Swanson who is non-existent in social media, advises news events within a couple hours, and has been traveling the state working on her political skills. Word is she’s getting much more comfortable talking to small groups. …
“If Swanson runs, it will have to be different that Hatch’s various campaigns, however, you can bet that protecting seniors and consumers will be the central message. That would make you wonder, who votes in DFL primaries.?” (Morning Take)
“America Rising Squared (AR2) filed a formal Hatch Act complaint with the Office of Special Counsel today, asking them to investigate possible violations by” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray (D) “as he considers running for governor of Ohio.” (release)
Nike co-founder Phil Knight gave state Rep. Knute Buehler (R) $500,000 this week, “his largest ever to an Oregon campaign.” (Portland Oregonian)
Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) “top aide” Trey Walker “testified Wednesday before a State Grand Jury led by a special prosecutor whose ongoing public corruption probe has ensnared four Republican lawmakers so far.” Walker said “he testified as a witness and was told he is not a target in the probe.” He also “said he was asked nothing about McMaster, who he said has not been asked to testify.” The probe regards whether state Rep. Rick Quinn (R) improperly took action on behalf of companies that had contracts with his firm. (Columbia State)
The state League of Conservation Voters PAC “on Thursday will announce a $1.1 million field effort to boost” Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D). “The PAC said 35 organizers will start right away, a number that will build until the November election.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Northam also released a TV ad that “will air across the commonwealth and focuses on … Northam’s career as a pediatric physician and his plan to ensure that all of Virginia’s children have the chance at a promising future.” (release)
MIKE DROPPED. Vice President Mike Pence “has canceled his weekend events, including a scheduled trip to Richmond,” where he “was set to attend a fundraiser” for former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) “and to keynote an Americans for Prosperity volunteer summit at the Richmond Marriott, where Gillespie also is scheduled to speak.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC endorsed Gillespie on Thursday. (release)
CHARLOTTESVILLE. “Northam … called for relocating [Confederate] statues to museums. … It’s a firmer stance for Northam, who previously treated debates over Confederate memorials as a local issue. … Gillespie urged a nuanced approach to the statues that emphasizes education, not glorification. In an essay on his campaign website, Gillespie said he opposes removing Confederate statues but understands the issue is freighted with emotion.”
“Supporters of Confederate heritage often point to a state statute that says Virginia towns have no authority over war memorials inherited from past generations. But a Danville judge ruled legal protections do not apply to memorials erected before 1998. … Last year, [term-limited Gov. Terry] McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have strengthened protections for Confederate monuments by prohibiting cities and counties from removing war memorials.” (Washington Post)
" But here’s the key to that: A lot of times people will say that about me, and they also say, ‘But he’s my a—h—.’ " FL GOV candidate Jack Latvala (R), on being a jerk, Tampa Bay Times, 8/16.
A lawsuit contesting the results of Georgia’s 6th District over concerns about the state’s election infrastructure integrity has frozen the use of thousands of voting machines, which could complicate November’s municipal elections in Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.