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
“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)
“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, state.gov, 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
“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)
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)
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)
“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)
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)
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)
“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)
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)
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)
“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)
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)
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)
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)
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: 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)
Asked if he would seek reelection in 2018, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) told CNN: “Yes.” (CNN)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said he is backing state Sen. Majority Leader Michael Roberson’s (R) bid. (Nevada Appeal)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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).
Gov. Gary Herbert (R) leads Overstock.com 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)
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)
" 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.
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.