Hotline: May 11, 2016


Parsing Tuesday’s Primary Results

By Kyle Trygstad

There were a few con­sequen­tial primar­ies Tues­day: They en­sured the Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion fight will go on for an in­def­in­ite amount of time, set up the most com­pet­it­ive gubernat­ori­al race in the coun­try, and gave Re­pub­lic­ans a fight­ing chance in what is per­haps the party’s best House pickup op­por­tun­ity.

— In the only Demo­crat­ic primary of the night, Bernie Sanders won West Vir­gin­ia by 15 points. But thanks to the party’s pro­por­tion­al al­loc­a­tion, the Ver­mont sen­at­or will net just 5 del­eg­ates out of the 29 up for grabs. That’s the same del­eg­ate mar­gin he emerged with from his 4-point win in In­di­ana last week. Sanders is still with­in 300 del­eg­ates and has pledged to push for­ward to the fi­nal day of primar­ies. “We are in this cam­paign to win the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion and we’re go­ing to stay in the race un­til the last vote is cast,” Sanders said in a Tues­day night state­ment. He told a crowd Monday in Sac­ra­mento that “the polit­ic­al es­tab­lish­ment is get­ting nervous.” That’s not en­tirely ac­cur­ate, as Hil­lary Clin­ton’s lead is ef­fect­ively in­sur­mount­able—es­pe­cially with su­per­deleg­ates—but Sanders is hold­ing the former sec­ret­ary of state back from de­vot­ing the en­tire at­ten­tion of her cam­paign to the gen­er­al elec­tion.

— Down-bal­lot in West Vir­gin­ia, coal mag­nate and Green­bri­er re­sort own­er Jim Justice pre­vailed in the Demo­crat­ic gubernat­ori­al primary, tak­ing 51 per­cent to 25 per­cent for former U.S. At­tor­ney Booth Good­win and 24 per­cent for Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Jeff Kessler. The ex­pec­ted win means the the next gov­ernor will be either a par­tially self-fund­ing Demo­crat­ic busi­ness­man or state Sen­ate Pres­id­ent Bill Cole, an auto deal­er and re­l­at­ively re­cent entrant to polit­ics who ran un­op­posed for the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion. “I’m not a politi­cian,” Justice told sup­port­ers Tues­day, sound­ing a little like the GOP’s pre­sumptive pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee. “I’m a busi­ness guy that loves our state and loves you. Do you want a politi­cian or do you want someone who can really make it hap­pen?”

— Across the Plains in Neb­raska, na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­ans got their pre­ferred nom­in­ee to take on fresh­man Demo­crat­ic Rep. Brad Ash­ford in one of two dis­tricts the GOP lost in 2014. Re­tired Air Force Brig. Gen­er­al Don Ba­con de­feated former state Sen. Chip Max­well, 66 per­cent to 34 per­cent. Na­tion­al Demo­crats spent more than $400,000 on a dog-whistle TV ad de­signed to prop up the un­der­fun­ded Max­well, but Ba­con eas­ily won and now gives the GOP—with its his­tor­ic ma­jor­ity—a re­l­at­ively rare op­por­tun­ity this cycle to pick up a seat.

The next con­gres­sion­al primar­ies to watch are right around the corner: May 17 in Ken­tucky, May 24 in Geor­gia, and June 7 in Cali­for­nia and Iowa.

Kyle Tryg­stad


Sanders, Trump Win in West Virginia

Trump also carried the Nebraska GOP primary.

By karyn-bruggeman

“White House dreams fad­ing,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “ad­ded an­oth­er state to his tally against” former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) “with a win in West Vir­gin­ia on Tues­day - a vic­tory that will do little to slow the former sec­ret­ary of state’s steady march to­ward the Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion. Mean­while,” real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R) “also won there and in Neb­raska, a week after he cleared the field of his re­main­ing rivals.” (AP)

Sanders won West Vir­gin­ia 51 to 36% over Clin­ton. Trump car­ried 61% of the vote in the Neb­raska GOP primary, and won West Vir­gin­ia with 77%. (AP)

Sanders car­ried every county in West Vir­gin­ia, a feat Clin­ton pulled off eight years ago dur­ing the 2008 pres­id­en­tial primary.

WILD, WEIRD WEST VIR­GIN­IA: “West Vir­gin­ia, like oth­er South­ern and Ap­palachi­an states, is at the tail end of a long trans­ition away from Demo­crat­ic Party, which once ruled the South, to the GOP, the nat­ur­al ideo­lo­gic­al home of its con­ser­vat­ive voters.” Many con­ser­vat­ive Demo­crats re­main in the state, and their num­bers made for odd res­ults on Tues­day. “A third of those who voted in West Vir­gin­ia’s Demo­crat­ic primary say they plan to back Trump in Novem­ber, ac­cord­ing to NBC News exit polls. Sanders won those voters by a wide mar­gin.”

“Either way, Sanders’ co­ali­tion in West Vir­gin­ia doesn’t fit with many of the pat­terns we’ve come to ex­pect of Sanders voters after more than 40 primar­ies and caucuses. For in­stance, Sanders, the Ver­mont Demo­crat­ic So­cial­ist, won self-de­scribed con­ser­vat­ive voters. He also won 62 per­cent of voters who said they want less lib­er­al policies than Obama’s.” (MS­N­BC)

On why Sanders won such a con­ser­vat­ive state: “The bot­tom line is most people are not vot­ing for Bernie be­cause he is lib­er­al. They are vot­ing for him be­cause they per­ceive his prom­ised ‘polit­ic­al re­volu­tion’ as a chal­lenge to the sys­tem that has failed them.” (Wash­ing­ton Post)

Review Finds Use of Unclassified Email Systems Pervasive

A focus group showed swing voters might not buy arguments that Trump’s policies benefit the rich.

By karyn-bruggeman

“A re­view of the 30,322 emails from” former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton’s (D) “private serv­er that the State De­part­ment has made pub­lic un­der the Free­dom of In­form­a­tion Act provides an ex­tens­ive re­cord of how such sens­it­ive in­form­a­tion of­ten looped throughout Pres­id­ent Obama’s for­eign policy ap­par­at­us on un­clas­si­fied sys­tems, from em­bassies to the United Na­tions to the White House. The senders in­cluded Denis R. Mc­Donough, cur­rently the White House chief of staff and pre­vi­ously the deputy na­tion­al se­cur­ity ad­viser, and Susan E. Rice, the former Amer­ic­an rep­res­ent­at­ive at the United Na­tions who is now Mr. Obama’s na­tion­al se­cur­ity ad­viser. Many of the emails were sent over the State De­part­ment’s un­clas­si­fied sys­tem,, which is con­sidered se­cure but not at the level of the State De­part­ment’s sys­tem for email­ing clas­si­fied in­form­a­tion.” (New York Times)

FO­CUS GROUP FEED­BACK: “Fo­cus groups of swing voters have picked up some warn­ing signs for Demo­crats about” real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump’s (R) “gen­er­al elec­tion can­did­acy: While those swing voters are will­ing to see Trump as a risky, di­vis­ive fig­ure, they are not yet pre­pared to be­lieve the Dem ar­gu­ment that Trump’s policy pro­pos­als would be­ne­fit the rich, a seni­or Demo­crat­ic strategist who has been dir­ectly in­volved in ex­tens­ive fo­cus groups tells me. … The find­ings in these fo­cus groups present Demo­crats with both chal­lenges and op­por­tun­it­ies as they pre­pare for a very harsh gen­er­al elec­tion cam­paign against Trump.” (Wash­ing­ton Post)

GO­ING THERE: Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden (D) on Tues­day said, “I feel con­fid­ent that Hil­lary will be the nom­in­ee, and I feel con­fid­ent she’ll be the next pres­id­ent.” (ABC News)

POLICY SHOP: “Clin­ton has res­isted calls from” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “to back a single-pay­er health sys­tem, ar­guing that the fight for gov­ern­ment-run health care was a wrench­ing le­gis­lat­ive battle that had already been lost. But as she tries to clinch the nom­in­a­tion…Clin­ton is mov­ing to the left on health care and this week took a sig­ni­fic­ant step in her op­pon­ent’s dir­ec­tion, sug­gest­ing she would like to give people the op­tion to buy in­to Medi­care.” (New York Times)

CON­FER­ENCE CALL: Sen. Bar­bara Mikul­ski (D-MD) will be on a con­fer­ence call today with the Clin­ton cam­paign to talk about Trump’s eco­nom­ic policies. (re­lease)

TRAVEL TRACK­ER: Clin­ton is hold­ing a cam­paign event in Cam­den, New Jer­sey today. The state votes on June 7. (re­lease)

Cruz Returns to Washington

He asked Kansas not to release his delegates.

By Ally Mutnick

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) re­turned to the Sen­ate on Tues­day. “The ques­tion now is which” of his “roles will take pre­ced­en­ce—wheth­er Cruz will fo­cus on build­ing up for an­oth­er White House run, or in­stead push to make a big­ger im­pact in the cham­ber where so many of his col­leagues dis­like him.”

“In re­sponse to ques­tions about wheth­er he would con­sider a third-party run, or would con­sider com­ing back in­to this race, Cruz ruled out the former and teased the me­dia with the lat­ter.” Cruz said: “I ap­pre­ci­ate the eager­ness and ex­cite­ment of all the folks in the me­dia to see me back in the ring, but you may have to wait a little bit longer.” (Na­tion­al Journ­al)

HANGING ON. Cruz will not re­lease the del­eg­ates he won in the Kan­sas caucuses, he an­nounced in a let­ter to the state’s Re­pub­lic­an party chair­man. He en­cour­aged his del­eg­ates “to act­ively par­ti­cip­ate in shap­ing the Party plat­form and rules in a man­ner that will en­sure our cause is ad­vanced.” (Na­tion­al Re­view)

Sanders Rallies California Ahead of June Primary

He visited Stockton on Tuesday.

By Ally Mutnick

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) held a rally in Stock­ton, Cali­for­nia, a city that was ex­cep­tion­ally re­cept­ive to his mes­sage on in­come equal­ity be­cause it’s been “rav­aged by the home-fore­clos­ure crisis and bank­ruptcy,” and “the un­em­ploy­ment rate re­mains near 9 per­cent.” 

But not Sanders trails former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) in Cali­for­nia and “his de­fi­cit in the Cent­ral Val­ley and Si­erra re­gions of the state is even more acute. Far from Cali­for­nia’s more lib­er­al, densely pop­u­lated coast, Cali­for­nia’s in­land Demo­crats can tra­di­tion­ally be coun­ted on to ex­press their party’s more con­ser­vat­ive strains.” (Sac­ra­mento Bee)

ON THE TRAIL. Sanders ral­lied out­side of his cam­paign of­fice in Oak­land on Tues­day af­ter­noon. “Secret Ser­vice and po­lice shut down the 5600 block of Col­lege Av­en­ue when Sanders’ car drove up.” 

Sanders: “We have an up­hill battle to fight, but you know what? We’ve been in up­hill battles all our lives.” (San Jose Mer­cury News)

Trump Narrows Down List of Vice Presidential Contenders

He’s beefing up campaign analytics by partnering with the RNC.

By Ally Mutnick

Real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R) “says he’s nar­rowed his list of po­ten­tial run­ning mates to ‘five or six’ people and is lean­ing against ac­cept­ing pub­lic money to fin­ance a fall cam­paign against” former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (R).

“But in a break from re­cent ma­jor party nom­in­ees, Trump does not plan to in­vest heav­ily in a data-driv­en ef­fort to tar­get voters in the fall cam­paign. Des­pite pres­sure, the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man also does not ex­pect to re­lease his tax re­turns be­fore the Novem­ber elec­tion.” (AP)

But, the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee is work­ing with Trump aides “to craft voter mod­els in key gen­er­al elec­tion states, sig­nal­ing a new at­ten­tion to cam­paign ana­lyt­ics from” Trump. (CNN)

THE MAV­ER­ICK. After his suc­cess in the primar­ies, Trump holds an “un­usu­al con­vic­tion: He said he had a ‘man­date’ from his sup­port­ers to run as a fiery pop­u­list out­sider and to rely on his rauc­ous ral­lies to build sup­port through ‘word of mouth,’ rather than to em­brace a tra­di­tion­al, mel­low­er and more in­clus­ive ap­proach.” (New York Times)

However, after days of pub­lic squab­bling, “Trump said he would ‘love’ for” House Speak­er Paul Ry­an (R-WI) “to re­main as chair­man of the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion this sum­mer in Clev­e­land.” (Politico)  

Ry­an “said he hoped meet­ings this week with … Trump would help the GOP reach au­then­t­ic unity, rather than have to ‘fake’ it.” (Wall Street Journ­al)

ON THE AIR. Trump re­leased a short so­cial me­dia ad on Tues­day, slam­ming Clin­ton for his for­eign policy judg­ment and the at­tacks in Benghazi in 2012. The “clip takes aim at con­fu­sion over what caused the at­tacks on a dip­lo­mat­ic com­pound that was ini­tially linked by Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials to rage over an anti-Muslim video re­leased on­line.” Trump pos­ted it on In­s­tagram and Twit­ter. (Wash­ing­ton Post)

DEL­EG­ATE SHUFFLE. “Trump has picked up en­dorse­ments from more than 20 un­bound del­eg­ates since he be­came the pre­sumptive nom­in­ee last week … The real es­tate mogul gained sup­port from un­bound del­eg­ates in North Dakota, Louisi­ana, Pennsylvania and Amer­ic­an Sam­oa. Trump cur­rently has 1,080 total del­eg­ates and is on track to clinch the nom­in­a­tion after the last round of primar­ies June 7.” (CNN)

TAX TIME. “Trump’s cam­paign has en­lis­ted in­flu­en­tial con­ser­vat­ive eco­nom­ists to re­vise his tax pack­age and make it more polit­ic­ally pal­at­able by slash­ing the $10 tril­lion stick­er price. Their main tar­gets: Lift­ing the top tax rate from Trump’s ori­gin­al plan and ex­pand­ing the num­ber of people who would have to pay taxes un­der it.” (Politico)

MUST BE THE MONEY. “Top donors to Cruz’s cam­paign have not yet pub­licly de­clared wheth­er they will sup­port Trump, though Re­pub­lic­an poll­ster Kel­ly­anne Con­way, who ran a net­work of pro-Cruz su­per PACs, met with the Mer­cer fam­ily, which largely fun­ded those PACs, on Tues­day.” (BuzzFeed)

Mean­while, Re­pub­lic­an mega donor Paul Sing­er slammed Trump at a din­ner in New York City, say­ing “con­ser­vat­ives must ‘stand up for what we be­lieve, which is not em­bod­ied by either choice on the menu in Novem­ber.’” (Na­tion­al Re­view)

MIS­COM­MU­NIC­A­TION. Team Trump briefly ap­proved the head of a white na­tion­al­ist polit­ic­al party to serve as a del­eg­ate for the con­ven­tion this sum­mer be­cause of what the cam­paign de­scribed as a “data­base er­ror.” The del­eg­ate in ques­tion was Wil­li­am John­son “the head of the Amer­ic­an Free­dom Party who fun­ded pro-Trump rob­ocalls that talked of the white race ‘dy­ing out in Amer­ica.’”

John­son agreed to step down, say­ing “we live in a so­ci­ety today where white people don’t like white people who like white people. And so, I don’t want to do any­thing that would jeop­ard­ize Mr. Trump’s chances. So it’s best that I resign.” (CNN)

ON BOARD? Sen. Marco Ru­bio (R-FL) wouldn’t say Trump’s name dur­ing an in­ter­view on CNN, but he prom­ised to up­hold the pledge he signed to sup­port the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee. “But when … pressed … wheth­er he’d ac­tu­ally vote for Trump, Ru­bio didn’t an­swer ex­pli­citly.” (USA TODAY)

Cruz re­fused to en­dorse Trump while speak­ing to re­port­ers dur­ing his re­turn to the Sen­ate on Tues­day. (NBC News)


Clinton’s Trump Message Differs From Down-Ballot Democrats

Clinton is framing Trump as an outlier. Other Democrats are painting all Republicans as one and the same.

By karyn-bruggeman

Former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) “and down-tick­et Demo­crats are do­ing everything they can to cap­it­al­ize off Trump’s di­vis­ive­ness, but tak­ing di­ver­gent and po­ten­tially con­tra­dict­ory paths to get there. Clin­ton is play­ing up the grow­ing GOP split in or­der to woo mod­er­ates turned off by Trump, while the two ma­jor com­mit­tees-the Demo­crat­ic Sen­at­ori­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee and the Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee-are lump­ing every­one in the GOP to­geth­er in or­der to more eas­ily tie down-tick­et Re­pub­lic­ans to Trump.” (Na­tion­al Journ­al)


Trump Toxicity for Downticket Republicans Hard to Avoid

Trump staffers will go to Cleveland this week to start planning for July.

By karyn-bruggeman

“For mem­bers of Con­gress on the bal­lot in 2016, the most con­se­quen­tial ques­tion of this year’s pres­id­en­tial cam­paign is one groun­ded in polit­ic­al sci­en­ce. Will voters dis­tin­guish between” celebrity busi­ness­man Don­ald Trump (R) “and his Re­pub­lic­an tick­et-mates when they cast their bal­lots in Novem­ber? Or will they con­tin­ue a dec­ade-long trend of party-line vot­ing, paint­ing every­one in the Re­pub­lic­an Party with the same broad brush? The an­swer to this aca­dem­ic ques­tion will de­term­ine wheth­er Trump could cost Re­pub­lic­ans com­plete con­trol of Con­gress if he loses badly to” former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D). “If re­cent his­tory is any in­dic­a­tion, it will be very chal­len­ging for Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates to dis­tance them­selves from their new party lead­er.” (Na­tion­al Journ­al)

In a Morn­ing Con­sult poll, “[f]our in 10 voters said they were ‘much less likely’ to sup­port a can­did­ate if they sup­por­ted Trump – news that could make Re­pub­lic­ans run­ning in tough Sen­ate or House races even more wary.” (Morn­ing Con­sult)

CLEV­E­LAND BOUND: “Trump will send some of the top mem­bers of his cam­paign staff to Clev­e­land this week to go over plan­ning for the up­com­ing Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion. Dave O’Neil, a con­ven­tion spokes­man, con­firmed the meet­ing with the Trump cam­paign, but didn’t know ad­di­tion­al de­tails, oth­er than Trump him­self is not ex­pec­ted to be here for the meet­ing, which is planned for Thursday or Fri­day.” (Clev­e­land Plain-Deal­er)


Clinton Leads Sanders in Oregon Poll

She’s also on track to beat Trump in the state.

By Ally Mutnick

A new poll by Ore­gon Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing/KPTV shows former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) lead­ing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Ore­gon primary. 

Clin­ton beats Sanders 48-33% ahead of the May 17 primary (May 6-9; 901 LVs, +/- 5.6%). Sanders has vis­ited the state four times, but Clin­ton has yet to ap­pear in Ore­gon dur­ing her cam­paign. 

In a gen­er­al elec­tion match up, Clin­ton bests real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R) 43-32% (May 6-9; 901 LVs, +/- 3.3%). (The Ore­go­ni­an)


Harris Attacked in Second Debate

Sanchez “appeared flustered” when asked about a 2005 gun vote.

By Andrea Drusch

In second Sen­ate de­bate, Cali­for­nia At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Kamala Har­ris (D) found her­self un­der at­tack. “She was ac­cused of put­ting her polit­ic­al am­bi­tions ahead of serving Cali­for­ni­ans as state At­tor­ney Gen­er­al and pressed about why she hasn’t in­vest­ig­ated po­lice shoot­ings. … Rep. Lor­etta Sanc­hez (D), whose grasp on the second spot ap­pears tenu­ous, at times ap­peared flustered dur­ing the de­bate. When asked about her 2005 vote in fa­vor of le­gis­la­tion that shiel­ded the gun in­dustry from li­ab­il­ity for the crim­in­al or neg­li­gent acts of gun own­ers, she gave a wind­ing an­swer that ended with her say­ing her “F” rat­ing from the Na­tion­al Rifle Assn. was proof of a strong re­cord on gun con­trol.” (Los Angeles Times)


Local Station Alleges Forged Signatures

Denver7 says it has confirmed 10 voters that say they didn’t sign Keyser’s petition.

By Andrea Drusch

“Den­ver7 has now con­firmed with 10 voters that they did not write their names, ad­dresses and sig­na­tures that ap­pear on [former state Rep. Jon] Key­ser’s (R) pe­ti­tion. … Key­ser qual­i­fied for the June 28 primary bal­lot by col­lect­ing sig­na­tures and pe­ti­tion­ing his way onto the bal­lot.”

“The 10 sig­na­tures that voters told Den­ver7 were forged were col­lec­ted in Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict One, where Key­ser was cred­ited with 1,520 val­id sig­na­tures. If he had turned in few­er than 1,500, he would not have qual­i­fied for the primary bal­lot.”

Den­ver7’s in­vest­ig­a­tion began after a lib­er­al group, “Pro­gress­Now Col­or­ado dis­covered a du­plic­ate sig­na­ture on the pe­ti­tions for [former CSU ath­let­ics dir­ect­or Jack] Gra­ham (R) and Key­ser.”

“The Sec­ret­ary of State’s Of­fice only veri­fies that the name and ad­dress on a pe­ti­tion are the same as what they have on re­cord for that voter. There is no sig­na­ture veri­fic­a­tion for the pe­ti­tion pro­cess.” (KMGH)


Quinnipiac: Murphy in Tight Race With GOP Field

Grayson’s office named a new communications staff.

By Andrea Drusch

A Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity poll found Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-18) per­form­ing ahead of Rep. Alan Grayson (D-09) in match-ups with five Re­pub­lic­an con­tenders: Manatee de­veloper Car­los Beruff (R), Lt. Gov. Car­los Lopez-Cantera (R), busi­ness­man Todd Wil­cox (R), Rep. Ron De­S­antis (R-06), and Rep. Dav­id Jolly (R-13) (April 27-May 8, 1,051 RVs, +/-3%). (re­lease)

Murphy vs. Beruff: 38-32%,
Murphy vs. Lopez-Cantera: 38-34%
Murphy vs. De­S­antis: 36-35%
Murphy vs. Jolly: 37-34%
Murphy vs. Wil­cox: 38-33%

Grayson vs. Beruff: 36-35%,
Grayson vs. Lopez-Cantera: 37-37%,
Grayson vs. De­S­antis: 36-38%,
Grayson vs. Jolly: 35-37%
Grayson vs. Wil­cox: 35-37%

Peter A. Brown, as­sist­ant dir­ect­or of the Quin­nipi­ac Poll, noted that while Beruff began the race as a com­plete un­known, he has “re­portedly has in­ves­ted $1 mil­lion in tele­vi­sion ads in­tro­du­cing him­self to voters and at this stage is polling roughly as well as the oth­er four GOP can­did­ates.”

STAFF. Grayson named a new com­mu­nic­a­tions team for his of­fi­cial of­fice: Tina Dupuy is the new com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or. She was “pre­vi­ously an in­vest­ig­at­ive journ­al­ist and syn­dic­ated colum­nist.” Chris­toph­er Evan­son is the new press sec­ret­ary. He “is a U.S. Coast Guard vet­er­an where he served as an on-the-re­cord spokes­per­son and me­dia re­la­tions ad­visor.” (Politico)

ON THE TRAIL. “Lopez-Cantera tried to win over a crowd of 450 Re­pub­lic­ans by telling them about his time as Miami-Dade County’s prop­erty ap­praiser when he stood up to a labor uni­on and ended up sus­pend­ing dozens in 2013” for not vot­ing.

“Lopez-Cantera said he was saddled with a labor con­tract that forced him to al­low em­ploy­ees paid time off to go vote.” Lopez-Cantera said the al­low­ance “didn’t make sense for em­ploy­ees who could vote early at County Hall. … Ul­ti­mately, 79 took the time off. … After Elec­tion Day, Lopez-Cantera took the step — un­pre­ced­en­ted, as far as any­one could tell — of re­quest­ing elec­tions re­cords to show which work­ers cast bal­lots.” He sus­pen­ded the 41 em­ploy­ees who did not vote. (Bradenton Her­ald)


Barksdale Goes on TV

The Democrat says he’s an “investment manager,” not a politician.

By Andrea Drusch

Busi­ness­man Jim Barks­dale (D), who faces two little-known Demo­crat­ic com­pet­it­ors in his May 24 primary, launched his first TV ad. “The At­lanta in­vest­ment man­ager” has pumped more than $1 mil­lion in­to his cam­paign, and pur­chased air time on “every sig­ni­fic­ant Geor­gia mar­ket.”  

Barks­dale speaks to the cam­era in the ad say­ing that he’s not a politi­cian, but an “in­vest­ment man­ager” who “stood against the Wall Street crowd to pro­tect my cli­ents’ re­tire­ment.”

Barks­dale: “Now I’m run­ning for the Sen­ate to stand against the Wash­ing­ton crowd and their bad trade deals, waste­ful spend­ing and mass in­car­cer­a­tion.” (At­lanta Journ­al Con­sti­tu­tion)


Kirk Launches Oppo Site on Duckworth

His campaign is highlighting her upcoming legal hearing.

By Andrea Drusch

“Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R) cam­paign launched a new web­site Tues­day about … Rep. Tammy Duck­worth’s (D-08) up­com­ing hear­ing re­gard­ing a law­suit against her that al­leges work­place re­tali­ation. The web­site, en­titled ‘Tammy’s Troubles,’ will provide up­dates about the leg­al mat­ter and in­cludes a timeline of events as well as the web ad re­leased on Monday by Kirk’s cam­paign that pre­views the Thursday hear­ing.”

Kirk’s “cam­paign also knocked the con­gress­wo­man for plan­ning to at­tend a fun­draiser with Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id (D-NV) in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Thursday morn­ing.” (The Hill)


LePage Talks King Challenge at Town Hall

The governor confirmed interest in a 2018 Senate bid.

By Andrea Drusch

Asked a ques­tion about run­ning for the Sen­ate against Sen. An­gus King in 2018, Gov. Paul LePage (R) replied at a town hall: “Yes I am.”

LePage “has hin­ted that he could run against [King] in 2018 be­fore, but he’s al­ways ad­ded that he’d need his wife’s per­mis­sion. He’s also ex­pressed in­terest in a po­s­i­tion in a po­ten­tial Don­ald Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.”  (WC­SH)


Blunt to Meet With Trump Thursday

His spokesman says he’ll emphasize the “common goal” of defeating Clinton.

By Andrea Drusch

Sen. Roy Blunt (R) will be meet­ing with Don­ald Trump Thursday. He “ap­pears to be part of a group of Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors meet­ing with Trump, in­clud­ing Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell (R-KY).”

Blunt spokes­man Bri­an Hart said in a state­ment: “The sen­at­or will use the op­por­tun­ity to re­mind (Trump) that what we say and how we say it mat­ter in mak­ing it clear that our com­mon goal is de­feat­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton and guid­ing Amer­ica in a new dir­ec­tion.” (Kan­sas City Star)


Burr: Congress Shouldn’t Take Up Bathroom Fight

He said his state’s GOP governor was “off base” in suggesting the dispute should go to Congress.

By Andrea Drusch

“Sen. Richard Burr (R) said Gov. Pat Mc­Crory (R) is ‘off base’ in call­ing for con­gres­sion­al in­ter­ven­tion to re­solve a state dis­pute over re­stroom ac­cess for trans­gender people.” The sen­at­or “said he would rather see the is­sue re­main in the courts.”

“The North Car­o­lina law, House Bill 2, for­bids trans­gender in­di­vidu­als from en­ter­ing a bath­room that does not cor­res­pond to their gender iden­tity at birth. … After the Justice De­part­ment no­ti­fied North Car­o­lina last week that its new state stat­ute could vi­ol­ate the fed­er­al Civil Rights Act, Mc­Crory filed a law­suit Monday, ask­ing the fed­er­al courts to in­ter­vene. … Mc­Crory also sug­ges­ted that Con­gress should re­vis­it fed­er­al anti-dis­crim­in­a­tion pro­vi­sions, ar­guing that trans­gender people are not af­forded such pro­tec­tions.”

 Burr: “I’ve nev­er seen Con­gress get in­volved in ju­di­cial mat­ters and this is turned over to the court sys­tem now. … So, I think the gov­ernor’s off base.” (Roll Call)


GOP Poll: Ayotte 47%, Hassan 43%

A Senate Leadership Fund-commissioned survey showed a close race.

By Andrea Drusch

A new poll con­duc­ted by GS Strategy Group (R) for the pro-GOP su­per PAC Sen­ate Lead­er­ship Fund found Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) in a dead heat with Gov. Mag­gie Has­san (D), 47-43% (April 25-28, 600 LVs, +/-4%).

GSSG is “an Idaho-based Re­pub­lic­an firm co-headed by Brooks Kochvar, who was Ayotte’s cam­paign man­ager dur­ing her suc­cess­ful 2010 run.”  (WMUR)


Senate Majority PAC Reserves $6.7M

The Democratic group is gearing up to help Cortez Masto in the fall.

By Andrea Drusch

The Demo­crat­ic Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity PAC re­served $6.7 mil­lion worth of fall air­time to help former Nevada At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Cath­er­ine Cortez Masto (D). (Politico)

FACT CHECK. The Las Ve­gas Re­view Journ­al panned a Free­dom Part­ners ad al­leging Cortez Masto “hired a well-con­nec­ted Wash­ing­ton, D.C., law firm to sue Bank of Amer­ica dur­ing the fore­clos­ure crisis,” that “earned mil­lions in fees” and “later gave Cortez Masto cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions.” 

The pa­per wrote: “While it’s true Cortez Masto re­com­men­ded the hir­ing of a law firm that earned money rep­res­ent­ing the state and whose part­ners later con­trib­uted to her cam­paign, it’s also true the firm suc­cess­fully forced one of the largest banks in the coun­try to pay the state mil­lions to com­pensate for al­leged wrong­do­ing. That sounds much more like Cortez Masto do­ing her job than cozy­ing up to a Wash­ing­ton spe­cial in­terest for per­son­al profit. In fact, you’d have to very care­fully ar­range the facts to lead people to that con­clu­sion.” (Law Ve­gas Re­view Journ­al)


Trump Heightens Challenge in GOP Pickups

His unpopularity with Hispanic voters is likely to hurt his party nominees in Colorado and Nevada.

By Andrea Drusch

Don­ald Trump “hasn’t scuttled the GOP’s planned of­fens­ives in Nevada and Col­or­ado — but the pre­sumptive GOP pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee has made two dif­fi­cult cam­paigns even harder. … each state’s Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee will need to court Latino voters while run­ning along­side a can­did­ate who, ac­cord­ing to polls, is deeply un­pop­u­lar with His­pan­ic voters. And some of the party’s deft­est strategists ac­know­ledge that that com­plic­a­tion might be close to im­possible to over­come.”

Whit Ayres, a Re­pub­lic­an poll­ster who worked for Sen. Marco Ru­bio’s (R) pres­id­en­tial cam­paign: “You don’t need to win the His­pan­ic vote in those states, but you need to be com­pet­it­ive … You can’t be for throw­ing 11 mil­lion His­pan­ics out of the coun­try and hope to get any share of the His­pan­ic vote.”  (Roll Call)


Pro-Portman PAC Launches Second Ad

A Quinnipiac poll shows the race in a dead heat: Strickland 43%, Portman 42%.

By Andrea Drusch

The pro-Sen. Rob Port­man (R) su­per PAC Fight­ing for Ohio Fund re­leased a second TV ad, claim­ing former Gov. Ted Strick­land (D) has been “selling out Ohio work­ers” while earn­ing “big bucks.”  
A nar­rat­or says in the ad: “As gov­ernor, Strick­land lost 350,00 jobs, got fired, then fled to Wash­ing­ton to cash in, join­ing a lib­er­al spe­cial in­terest group that lob­bied for Obama’s war on Ohio coal.” The ad goes on to show a pic­ture of Strick­land smil­ing next to Pres­id­ent Obama.  (re­lease)

NUM­BERS. A Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity poll found Strick­land at 43%, and Port­man at 42%. Strick­land’s fa­vor­ab­il­ity was 37-31%, and Port­man’s was 35-22%. Port­man’s job ap­prov­al was 44-29%.

By a 56-38% mar­gin, re­spond­ents said the Sen­ate should con­sider the nom­in­a­tion of Mer­rick Gar­land to the Su­preme Court, versus wait­ing for the next pres­id­ent (April 27-May 8, 1,042 RVs, +/-3%). (re­lease)


Quinnipiac: Toomey 45%, McGinty 44%

The poll showed a majority of Pennsylvanians think the Senate should consider Merrick Garland.

By Andrea Drusch

Quin­nipi­ac: Sen. Pat Toomey (R) 45%, former gubernat­ori­al can­did­ate Katie Mc­Ginty (D) 44%. Toomey’s fa­vor­ab­il­ity was 42-27%, Mc­Ginty’s was 30-16%. Toomey’s job ap­prov­al was 49-34%.

By a 58-37% mar­gin, re­spond­ents said the Sen­ate should con­sider the nom­in­a­tion of Mer­rick Gar­land to the Su­preme Court, versus wait­ing for the next pres­id­ent (April 27-May 8, 1,077 RVs, +/-3%). (re­lease)


Cruz Says He’ll Run for Reelection

Speculation about another presidential bid had called his Senate plans into question.

By Andrea Drusch

Asked if he would seek reelec­tion in 2018, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) told CNN: “Yes.” (CNN)


Carbajal Launches Fifth TV Ad

Fareed didn’t commit to backing Trump, while Achadjian did.

By Kimberly Railey

Santa Bar­bara County Su­per­visor Sa­lud Car­ba­jal (D) re­leased his fifth TV ad, high­light­ing his de­cision to give up part of his salary when county em­ploy­ees were fur­loughed dur­ing a loc­al budget crisis. (re­lease)

The top-two primary for his race will take place June 7.

TRUMP TALK. As­sembly­man Katcho Achadji­an (R) com­mit­ted to back­ing real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R), while former UCLA foot­ball play­er Justin Fareed (R) did not. (Santa Bar­bara In­de­pend­ent)


Bera’s Dad Pleads Guilty to Illegal Donations

The scandal could be a drag on his reelection.

By Kimberly Railey

The fath­er of Rep. Ami Be­ra (D) “ad­mit­ted Tues­day that he il­leg­ally ar­ranged for nearly $270,000 in cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions to his son’s 2010 and 2012 cam­paigns. … Be­ra … is not charged and denied know­ing of his fath­er’s activ­it­ies. … Bab­u­lal Be­ra, 83, of La Palma, pleaded guilty to mak­ing ex­cess­ive cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions and mak­ing con­tri­bu­tions in someone else’s name. Pro­sec­utors are agree­ing to seek no more than 2 ½ years in pris­on, though each charge car­ries a max­im­um pen­alty of five years in pris­on when he is sen­tenced Aug. 4. … Be­ra’s cam­paign said he has sent the full amount to the U.S. Treas­ury as re­quired by law.”

His op­pon­ent in the fall, Sac­ra­mento County Sher­iff Scott Jones (R), said, “We need to al­low the in­vest­ig­a­tion and the justice sys­tem to dis­cov­er all the facts and reach their con­clu­sions.”(AP)

The NR­CC called on Be­ra on Tues­day to re­turn the “dirty cam­paign cash.” (re­lease) 

Mean­while, the scan­dal court hurt his reelec­tion pro­spects as he pre­pares for a com­pet­it­ive race against Jones. “[C]am­paign ex­perts said it will be ex­ceed­ingly dif­fi­cult for him to sep­ar­ate him­self from his fath­er’s two felony counts of elec­tion fraud.”

“This type of thing is a huge hit for any can­did­ate,” said Dan Schnur, dir­ect­or of the Jesse M. Un­ruh In­sti­tute of Polit­ics at USC. “It’s dam­aging enough when the money comes from a sup­port­er, but when it’s the can­did­ate’s own fath­er, it’s that much worse.” (Sac­ra­mento Bee)


Curbelo Now Part of Climate Change Caucus

He’s one of the most vulnerable House Republicans.

By Kimberly Railey

Rep. Car­los Cur­belo (R) “joined the newly formed bi­par­tis­an Cli­mate Solu­tions Caucus.” 

Cur­belo: “I’ve been a res­id­ent of South Flor­ida my en­tire life and have per­son­ally seen the neg­at­ive ef­fects of cli­mate change, like rising sea levels and flooded streets. It was im­port­ant for us to cre­ate this bi­par­tis­an caucus to work to­wards solu­tions to ad­dress this le­git­im­ate threat.” (Fox News Latino)


Dold Internal Poll Shows Him Beating Schneider

The same survey shows Clinton with a big lead over Trump in the district.

By Kimberly Railey

Rep. Bob Dold (R) leads former Rep. Brad Schneider (D) “48 per­cent to 41 per­cent in a new in­tern­al poll.” At the same time, the sur­vey found former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) best­ing real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump 52 per­cent to 36 per­cent. (Politico)


Mills Goes Up With First TV Spot

Nolan will advocate for a campaign finance proposal with Jolly.

By Kimberly Railey

2014 chal­lenger Stew­art Mills (R) re­leased his first TV ad Wed­nes­day, “high­light­ing D.C.’s fail­ures and Mills’ own work ex­per­i­ence. The 60 second ad will run in the Twin City and Du­luth me­dia mar­kets.” (re­lease)

SPEAK­ING OUT. At the Na­tion­al Press Club on Monday, Rep. Rick No­lan (D) will ap­pear with Rep. Dav­id Jolly (R) to tout Jolly’s STOP Act, which would “ban fed­er­ally elec­ted of­fi­cials from ask­ing for cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions.” (Saint­Peters­B­log)


NE-02’s Ashford to Face Bacon in November

In WV-02, Mark Hunt won the Democratic primary.

By Kimberly Railey

In NE-02, re­tired Air Force Brig. Gen. Don Ba­con (R) won the GOP primary in the race for Rep. Brad Ash­ford’s (D) seat. (AP)

The dis­trict is a top tar­get for Re­pub­lic­ans this fall. Demo­crats had hoped their chal­lenger would be 2014 can­did­ate Chip Max­well, whom the DCCC tried to boost in an ad blitz ahead of the race.

In WV-02, state Del. Mark Hunt (D) won the Demo­crat­ic primary, de­feat­ing the DCCC’s pre­ferred pick Cory Simpson (D), and will face Rep. Alex Mooney (R) in the fall. Mooney eas­ily beat back a primary chal­lenge from busi­ness­man Marc Savitt (R). (AP


Sandoval Endorses Roberson

Roberson is running in the open Heck seat.

By Kimberly Railey

Nevada Gov. Bri­an San­dov­al (R) said he is back­ing state Sen. Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mi­chael Rober­son’s (R) bid. (Nevada Ap­peal)


Kihuen Airs First TV Spot

A Lee internal poll shows her narrowly trailing Flores.

By Kimberly Railey

State Sen. Ruben Ki­huen (D) is go­ing on the air Wed­nes­day with his first TV ad of the cycle. The 30-second spot fea­tures Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id (D-NV) and touts his sup­port from the state’s ma­jor labor or­gan­iz­a­tions, in­clud­ing the Culin­ary Work­ers Uni­on. (re­lease)

“The ini­tial ad buy is $66,000 for the second half of the week and will air on both broad­cast and cable tele­vi­sion, ac­cord­ing to his cam­paign.” (Las Ve­gas Sun)

BY THE NUM­BERS. As­semb­ly­wo­man Lucy Flores (D) nar­rowly leads phil­an­throp­ist Susie Lee (D) 26% to 23% in the Demo­crat­ic primary, ac­cord­ing to a poll that Lee’s cam­paign re­leased (April 25-27; 407 LPVs; +/- 4.85%). State Sen. Ruben Ki­huen (D) draws 11%. (Hot­line re­port­ing)


Zeldin Emerges as Vocal Trump Backer

In the New York presidential primary, Trump won 73 percent of the vote in his district.

By Kimberly Railey

As real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R) “faces an icy re­cep­tion on Cap­it­ol Hill, one of the most vul­ner­able House Re­pub­lic­ans,” Rep. Lee Zeld­in (R), “is lend­ing him un­usu­ally can­did sup­port. In the past week, … Zeld­in … has openly shared his ties to the po­lar­iz­ing busi­ness­man, point­ing out oc­ca­sions when they have in­ter­ac­ted and Trump’s back­ing of Zeld­in’s 2014 cam­paign. In an in­ter­view Monday, Zeld­in, who is a top Demo­crat­ic tar­get, said he would ap­pear at a Trump cam­paign event in his dis­trict if it fo­cused on a ‘pos­it­ive mes­sage.’”

“It is an ap­proach that stands in stark con­trast to many oth­er en­dangered Re­pub­lic­ans, who are re­act­ing far more cau­tiously to the pre­sumptive GOP nom­in­ee. As Zeld­in pre­pares for a tough reelec­tion, he con­fid­ently pre­dicts Trump will not be a li­ab­il­ity, even as he re­cog­nizes the cir­cum­stances are dif­fer­ent for every law­maker.” 

“I un­der­stand the de­cision-mak­ing pro­cess for those col­leagues if Don­ald Trump was get­ting 27 per­cent in their dis­tricts in­stead of 73 per­cent,” he said of Trump’s take in the 1st Dis­trict in last month’s Re­pub­lic­an primary. “It might be tough­er for them. But for me, I made a com­mit­ment to sup­port our party’s nom­in­ee re­gard­less.” (Hot­line re­port­ing)


Bishop Drops Out, Endorses Faso

Heaney is also running in the GOP primary.

By Kimberly Railey

Hay ex­ec­ut­ive Bob Bish­op (R) ended his cam­paign for re­tir­ing Rep. Chris Gib­son’s (R) seat and en­dorsed former as­sembly­man John Faso (R). (NY State of Polit­ics)


Anti-Tenney Super PAC Begins Spending

On the Dem side, Gordon thinks he’ll get back on the ballot.

By Kimberly Railey

A su­per PAC op­pos­ing As­semb­ly­wo­man Claudia Ten­ney (R) and “primar­ily … fun­ded by the Oneida In­di­an Na­tion … spent al­most $50,000 on me­dia — $30,000 for a tele­vi­sion ad and $18,187.95 for dir­ect mail — earli­er this month, ac­cord­ing to a re­port of in­de­pend­ent ex­pendit­ures filed with the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.” The group is called Grow the Eco­nomy PAC. (Utica Ob­serv­er-Dis­patch)

BAL­LOT IS­SUE. Former Oneida County Le­gis­lat­or Dav­id Gor­don (D) said the state Board of Elec­tions made a mis­take when it said he did not have enough sig­na­tures to qual­i­fy for the bal­lot.

Gor­don: “We have found many dis­crep­an­cies where the BOE has stated that sign­er is in­eligible to do so either not en­rolled or not re­gistered and we proved without a shad­ow of a doubt that they were. And we proved that and I am con­fid­ent we will get back on the line.”

“The ap­peal will be heard Monday.” (WK­TV)


Kaplan Invokes Trump in New TV Ad

It’s her first of the cycle.

By Kimberly Railey

North Hemp­stead Coun­cil­wo­man Anna Ka­plan (D) “is launch­ing her first TV ad Wed­nes­day, say­ing her im­mig­rant back­ground makes her the best can­did­ate to take on” real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump’s (R) ‘“hate­ful’ stand on im­mig­ra­tion.”

Re­gin­ald John­son, Ka­plan’s spokes­man “called the ad buy ‘very ag­gress­ive,’ but de­clined to de­tail how large it is, how long it will air or the num­ber of sta­tions that will run it.” (News­day)


Wasserman Schultz’s Challenger to Reveal $1 Million Haul

He drew $300,000 in April.

By Kimberly Railey

FL-05: “A fed­er­al judge on Tues­day delayed sen­ten­cing on a fraud charge un­til Decem­ber for the head of an or­gan­iz­a­tion tied to … Rep. Cor­rine Brown (D). Carla Wiley, pres­id­ent of Lees­burg, Va.-based One Door for Edu­ca­tion, pleaded guilty in March to mis­us­ing much of the $800,000 the or­gan­iz­a­tion col­lec­ted since 2012 for oth­er things than the schol­ar­ship fund and char­it­ies that donors were told their money would sup­port. Wiley was sched­uled to be sen­tenced in June for con­spir­acy to com­mit wire fraud, but pro­sec­utors this week asked to delay that in­def­in­itely.” (Flor­ida Times-Uni­on)

FL-23: Law pro­fess­or Tim Can­ova (D) “said that, by the week­end, he’ll be on pace to have raised $1 mil­lion since he of­fi­cially entered the race Jan. 7” to chal­lenge Rep. Debbie Wasser­man Schultz (D). “Can­ova’s cam­paign on Fri­day said via email that he re­ceived … $300,000 in April alone.” (Politico)

WI-01: “As House Speak­er Paul Ry­an (R) walks a fine line on” real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R), some voters back home in his con­gres­sion­al dis­trict ap­plaud his ef­fort for the great­er good of the GOP. … In Janes­ville, Wis­con­sin, Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats alike mostly found no fault with Ry­an’s stun­ning com­ments last week that he’s ‘just not ready’ to back Trump.” (AP)


Quinnipiac: Scott’s Approval in the Negatives

He’s term limited out of running for reelection.

By Zach C. Cohen

Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) ap­prov­al rat­ing sits at a neg­at­ive 40-49%, ac­cord­ing to Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity’s latest poll. (April 27-May 8; 1,051 RVs; +/-3”%) (re­lease)


Baker’s 2014 Supporters Backed Trump

Baker has said he won’t vote for Trump in November.

By Zach C. Cohen

Gov. Charlie Baker (R) “has made it clear he isn’t go­ing to vote for [pre­sumptive Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee] Don­ald Trump. But lots of his staunchest sup­port­ers already have. With sur­pris­ingly few ex­cep­tions, the cit­ies and towns that boos­ted Trump in the Mas­sachu­setts Re­pub­lic­an primary earli­er this year are the very same ones that pro­pelled Baker in 2014 — and that sup­por­ted Mitt Rom­ney in his 2012 pres­id­en­tial bid.”

“[D]es­pite Baker’s mod­er­ate bona fides, he didn’t ride to of­fice on the votes of cent­rists. He en­joyed over­whelm­ing sup­port from the polit­ic­al right and squeaked to vic­tory by adding just enough in­de­pend­ents and dis­af­fected Demo­crats to carry the day.” (Bo­ston Globe)


GOP Candidates Tussle Over Religious Freedom in TV Debate

Kinder backed North Carolina’s governor lawsuit over HB2.

By Zach C. Cohen

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R), former state House Speak­er Cath­er­ine Hanaway (R), former Navy SEAL Eric Greit­ens (R), and former Sen­ate can­did­ate John Brun­ner (R) par­ti­cip­ated in a live TV de­bate last night.

“[T]he con­tro­ver­sial SJR39 re­li­gious free­dom bill … was a hot top­ic in Tues­day night’s de­bate.”

Hanaway: “It takes cour­age to stand up for the people’s right to vote on re­li­gious liber­ties. I’m proud to do it and I wish Eric Greit­ens would do the same.”

Greit­ens: “It’s clear people of faith are un­der at­tack. And we need a gov­ernor who’s go­ing to stand up for re­li­gious liberty, and I ap­plaud the in­ten­tions which I share of the pro­ponents of SJR39 to pro­tect re­li­gious liberty, but that bill, while well in­ten­tioned, would have un­in­ten­tion­al con­sequences of threat­en­ing our eco­nomy and killing jobs.”

“But there was one thing all GOP gubernat­ori­al can­did­ates agreed on— that there should not be Medi­caid ex­pan­sion in the state of Mis­souri.” (KOLR-TV)

Kinder, Hanaway, and Brun­ner also par­ti­cip­ated in a sep­ar­ate for­um. (Bran­son Tri-Lakes News)

I’M WITH HIM. Kinder said he stood be­hind North Car­o­lina Gov. Pat Mc­Crory’s (R) law­suit against the Justice De­part­ment over en­force­ment of anti-dis­crim­in­a­tion pro­tec­tion le­gis­la­tion known as House Bill 2 or the “bath­room law.”

Kinder: “The DOJ told Fer­guson of­fi­cials they could either ac­cept an agree­ment the city couldn’t af­ford, or fight a law­suit they couldn’t af­ford. Now, At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Lor­etta Lynch and her DOJ co­horts are threat­en­ing ac­tion against North Car­o­lina for the ‘crime’ of want­ing to des­ig­nate bath­rooms in gov­ern­ment build­ings for men and wo­men only.” (re­lease)


Gianforte in 2009 Sued to Eliminate Public Access on His Land

The RGA released another ad attacking Bullock’s use of a state plane.

By Zach C. Cohen

A Lib­er­al Montana blog re­ports that an LLC be­long­ing to tech mogul Greg Gi­an­forte (R) in 2009 “sued the Montana de­part­ment of Fish, Wild­life and Parks, seek­ing to get rid of a fish­ing ac­cess point that res­id­ents of Boze­man had used for al­most 40 years to go fish­ing on the East Gal­lat­in River.” (Montana Cow­girl Blog)

“Gi­an­forte Cam­paign Spokes­man Aaron Flint re­futed the char­ac­ter­iz­a­tion of Gi­an­forte as anti-ac­cess and ac­cused op­pon­ents of se­lect­ively shar­ing the facts to man­u­fac­ture a dis­trac­tion from oth­er re­cent news crit­ic­al of Bul­lock.” Flint: “Greg and Susan [Gi­an­forte] have al­ways wel­comed anglers on their prop­erty and gen­er­ally have three to five cars every­day in the sum­mer ac­cess­ing the river on their prop­erty just north of Boze­man.”

“The in­cid­ent provided fod­der for Demo­crats who sought to ex­tend their nar­rat­ive that Gi­an­forte is a wealthy trans­plant who won’t look out for the av­er­age Montanan.”

Gov. Steve Bul­lock (D): “I think this law­suit sticks a thumb in the eye of all Montanans.” (The Mis­souli­an)

FLY BY. The RGA Right Dir­ec­tion PAC re­leased second TV ad that fo­cuses on Bul­lock’s use of a state plane to fly to cam­paign events. It also slammed him for rais­ing money for the DGA to air an anti-Gi­an­forte ad.

The ad’s nar­rat­or: “Lib­er­al politi­cian Steve Bul­lock. Says one thing, does an­oth­er.” (re­lease)

The spot is backed by a “six-fig­ure buy” on broad­cast and cable in Mis­soula, Billings, and Butte me­dia mar­kets. 

The RGA re­leased a sim­il­ar ad in late April that was also backed by six fig­ures. (Hot­line re­port­ing)


McCrory: HRC Behind National HB2 Outrage

He said comparisons between HB2 and Jim Crow are “offensive.”

By Zach C. Cohen

Gov. Pat Mc­Crory (R) blamed lib­er­al groups for the na­tion­al out­rage over anti-dis­crim­in­a­tion pro­tec­tion le­gis­la­tion known as House Bill 2. 

Mc­Crory: “This is ac­tu­ally com­ing from a group called the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign. … The head of it ac­tu­ally came to the gov­ernor’s of­fice about five weeks ago and he told me ex­actly what he was go­ing to do. He said ‘I’m go­ing to make North Car­o­lina the epi­cen­ter of trans­gender rights, and once I deal with North Car­o­lina I’ll move to the rest of the na­tion.’”

“To be polit­ic­ally cor­rect now, and to sat­is­fy big broth­er, I think you’re go­ing to start see­ing multi-use bath­rooms con­sol­id­ated. I think it’s go­ing to be the new thing wheth­er we want to or not. And frankly, you know, when I talk to wo­men and my­self I don’t want to share a stall with someone next to me, I have no de­sire to do that, a per­son of the op­pos­ite gender. We’re talk­ing about something that’s so private, and so per­son­al, I’m em­bar­rassed to have to talk about this is­sue.”

He also said At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Lor­etta Lynch’s com­par­is­on of HB2 to Jim Crow laws was “of­fens­ive. My chief of staff, his fath­er hap­pens to be a civil rights pi­on­eer in North Car­o­lina, and when my chief of staff saw her say this, he went ‘don’t go there, don’t go there.’ … And for her to pull that card out means her leg­al out is pretty weak. But it’s of­fens­ive to my state and it’s of­fens­ive to me.” (Mark Lev­in Show)

HRC spokes­man Jay Brown con­firmed the March 31 meet­ing between Mc­Crory and HRC’s pres­id­ent, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or, and trans­gender ad­voc­ate took place, but did not con­firm that it tran­spired as Mc­Crory de­scribed it. 

Brown: “Dur­ing the meet­ing, Gov­ernor Mc­Crory heard firsthand the harm that he and the state le­gis­lature are in­flict­ing on LGBT North Car­olini­ans, and par­tic­u­larly trans­gender North Car­olini­ans — through the en­act­ment of this law. … The three ad­voc­ates urged Gov­ernor Mc­Crory to con­vene a broad­er meet­ing with ad­di­tion­al mem­bers of the LGBT com­munity — and spe­cific­ally trans­gender North Car­olini­ans and their fam­il­ies. … HRC con­tin­ues to cam­paign for the full re­peal of HB2.” (Hot­line re­port­ing)


RGA Chairwoman Martinez to Attend RNC

She has not said if she’ll vote for Trump.

By Zach C. Cohen

New Mex­ico Gov. Susana Mar­tinez (R) will at­tend the Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion in Clev­e­land in Ju­ly, cit­ing her role as chair of the RGA. “Mar­tinez’s an­nounce­ment comes as oth­er high-pro­file Re­pub­lic­ans say they are con­sid­er­ing skip­ping the con­ven­tion.” (AP)

The DGA has con­sist­ently called out Mar­tinez for not an­noun­cing her de­cision on back­ing pre­sumptive pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee Don­ald Trump (R). 


Poll: Herbert Swamps Johnson 72-19 Among GOP

Their primary is June 28.

By Zach C. Cohen

Gov. Gary Her­bert (R) leads Over­ chair­man Jonath­an John­son (R) 74-19% among Re­pub­lic­an voters, ac­cord­ing to a new poll (May 2-10; +/-4.04%) by Dan Jones & As­so­ci­ates (R) (mixed meth­ods). (Utah Policy)


Justice Prevails in Democratic Primary

He and Cole immediately went on the offensive.

By Zach C. Cohen

Coal mag­nate Jim Justice (D) won the Demo­crat­ic primary and will face state Sen­ate Pres­id­ent Bill Cole (R) in Novem­ber. Justice pulled in 51%, out­pa­cing former U.S. At­tor­ney Booth Good­win’s (D) 25% and state Sen­ate Minor­ity Lead­er Jeff Kessler’s (D) 24%. (AP)

Cole chal­lenged Justice to “sev­en de­bates around the state fo­cus­ing on ma­jor is­sues fa­cing West Vir­gin­ia for con­sid­er­a­tion.”(re­lease)

“Justice spent $2.1 mil­lion be­fore the primary and had at least a sev­en-fold money ad­vant­age, with about $2 mil­lion of his own money and $683,700 in dona­tions. A theme of his ad­vert­ising has been re­viv­ing the Green­bri­er re­sort, which he bought out of bank­ruptcy in 2009 in south­ern West Vir­gin­ia. … Dur­ing the cam­paign, Mr. Justice cri­ti­cized high­er taxes and big budget cuts, say­ing he be­lieved more jobs will help troubled state cof­fers. He’s the most op­tim­ist­ic can­did­ate about coal boun­cing back, des­pite con­trary eco­nom­ic fore­casts. He wants West Vir­gin­ia power plants to use more of the state’s coal. … Justice was the only Demo­crat in the field to cast doubt on man­kind’s con­tri­bu­tion to glob­al warm­ing.”

“Justice im­me­di­ately went on the of­fens­ive, … not­ing that the Le­gis­lature still hasn’t passed a budget for next fisc­al year.” (Wall Street Journ­al)

Justice, at his vic­tory speech: “I’m not a politi­cian, I’m a busi­ness guy. … If you elect an­oth­er politi­cian to the head of the line, to the biggest of­fice in our state, this is go­ing to be ter­ribly blunt, but mark it down — you and I will die 50th.” (Char­le­ston Gaz­ette-Mail)

Justice said if he’s elec­ted, he’ll re­ject a gubernat­ori­al salary and will only “take $1.” (WV­Met­roNews

Cole, who was un­op­posed in the primary: “The choice of four more years of the same failed policies that have put West Vir­gini­ans last. … Or it’s a choice about of­fer­ing a new vis­ion and dir­ec­tion for our state, one where we can con­trol our des­tiny and our fu­ture.”

State GOP Chair­man Con­rad Lu­cas: “Don­ald Trump and Bill Cole have hit a chord with voters who are tired of Obama and Wash­ing­ton and all those on the Demo­crat side like [Sen.] Joe Manchin who have schemed to ru­in our en­ergy eco­nomy and scare jobs and people out of our state.” (WSAZ-TV)

COM­MIT­TEES COM­MIT­TED. DGA spokes­man Jared Leo­pold: “This Novem­ber, voters will have a clear choice between busi­ness­man Jim Justice and self-serving politi­cian Bill Cole. As Sen­ate Pres­id­ent, Bill Cole fast-tracked spe­cial deals to line the pock­ets of used car deal­ers like him­self, while cut­ting wages for West Vir­gin­ia con­struc­tion work­ers.” (re­lease)

RGA spokes­man Jon Thompson: “From his blatant tax de­lin­quen­cies and fines, to a seizure war­rant for fail­ure to pay, to in­ad­equately pro­tect­ing his em­ploy­ees, to verbally as­sault­ing a po­lice of­ficer, West Vir­gin­ia Demo­crats have gone all-in for Jim Justice, who be­lieves he is above the law and only looks out for him­self.” (re­lease)

Quote of the Day

" I’m not air­ing cam­paign com­mer­cials say­ing, ‘Vote for me, I had a phone con­ver­sa­tion with Don­ald Trump.’ That’s just not my style. " Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), downplaying how vocal he is about his support for the presumptive GOP nominee, National Journal, 5/10.


Mountain State Swinging

Ac­cord­ing to Dave Wasser­man of the Cook Polit­ic­al Re­port, Hil­lary Clin­ton saw her largest county vote swing so far this year Tues­day in West Vir­gin­ia. In 2008, Clin­ton took 88% of the Demo­crat­ic primary vote in Mingo County, versus just 21% Tues­day.