Hotline: March 20, 2017

SPOTLIGHT

Channeling Down-Ballot Interest

The DLCC hopes to provide a strategic focus to an array of new groups that want to help the party.

By Kyle Trygstad

With Pres­id­ent Trump hit­ting the cam­paign trail again Monday sport­ing a new low Gal­lup ap­prov­al rat­ing and with a House vote on his health care over­haul ex­pec­ted Thursday, na­tion­al Demo­crats fo­cused on down-bal­lot races are start­ing the pro­cess of har­ness­ing and co­ordin­at­ing the grass­roots en­ergy cre­ated in re­ac­tion to the new ad­min­is­tra­tion.

On Tues­day, the Demo­crat­ic Le­gis­lat­ive Cam­paign Com­mit­tee is con­ven­ing the first of reg­u­lar meet­ings with new pro­gress­ive or­gan­iz­a­tions in­ter­ested in find­ing and re­cruit­ing Demo­crats to run for state le­gis­lat­ive of­fices. Many of these groups also met with the DLCC on Fri­day to get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how each can fit to­geth­er without over­lap­ping ef­forts.

One such group, Run for Something, an­nounced Monday it is ex­pand­ing the scope of its ob­ject­ives, no longer lim­it­ing its 2017 state le­gis­lat­ive can­did­ate re­cruit­ment, ment­or­ing, and dona­tions to just five-to-10 races in Vir­gin­ia.

The DLCC, which kicked off its can­did­ate train­ing in Rich­mond over the week­end, hopes to emerge this Novem­ber hav­ing cut deeply in­to the GOP’s Vir­gin­ia state House ma­jor­ity and with con­trol of the Wash­ing­ton state Sen­ate. From there, a much busier and more crowded 2018 awaits.

Kyle Tryg­stad



Comey Confirms FBI Investigation Into Trump, Russia, and the 2016 Election

Comey made the comments Monday in an appearance before the House Intelligence Committee.

By Karyn Bruggeman

“FBI Dir­ect­or James Comey is set to face prob­ing ques­tions Monday about Rus­sia’s in­volve­ment in the pres­id­en­tial elec­tion at a highly an­ti­cip­ated pub­lic ap­pear­ance be­fore the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee.” (Politico) “Comey con­firmed Monday the FBI is in­vest­ig­at­ing Rus­sia’s med­dling in the pres­id­en­tial elec­tion, in­clud­ing pos­sible links between the Trump cam­paign and Mo­scow. Comey told the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee at a hear­ing that the bur­eau nor­mally does not com­ment on the ex­ist­ence of coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence in­vest­ig­a­tions, but that he was au­thor­ized to do so in this case be­cause of the ex­traordin­ary pub­lic in­terest.” (Politico)

OTH­ER RUS­SIA UP­DATES. Ro­ger Stone “an in­form­al ad­viser to Pres­id­ent Trump, has been asked by the Sen­ate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee to pre­serve any re­cords he may have in con­nec­tion to a broad­er in­quiry in­to Rus­si­an at­tempts to in­ter­fere with United States elec­tions.” (New York Times)

“Ukrain­i­an pro­sec­utors want to ques­tion” Trump’s former Cam­paign Man­ager “Paul Man­a­fort in con­nec­tion with a cor­rup­tion in­vest­ig­a­tion and have made re­peated re­quests for as­sist­ance from US au­thor­it­ies” (CNN)

“A Re­u­ters re­view found that at least 63 in­di­vidu­als with Rus­si­an pass­ports or ad­dresses have bought at least $98.4 mil­lion worth of prop­erty in sev­en Trump-branded lux­ury towers in south­ern Flor­ida.” (Re­u­ters)

The Demo­crat­ic su­per PAC Amer­ic­an Bridge is run­ning new web ads high­light­ing Trump’s ties to Rus­sia. (Politico)

WEEK IN RE­VIEW. Last week, Pres­id­ent Don­ald Trump’s “agenda was sub­sumed by prob­lems of his own mak­ing, his mes­sage un­der­cut by a seem­ingly end­less stream of con­tro­versy he can­not seem to stop him­self from feed­ing. The health care meas­ure ap­pears on track for a House vote this week, and the pres­id­ent, who planned a week­end of re­lax­a­tion at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach, Fla., club, is likely to re­ceive a large meas­ure of the cred­it. But it has also be­come clear that…Trump, an agit­at­or in­cap­able of re­spond­ing pro­por­tion­ately to any slight, ap­pears hell­bent on squan­der­ing his hon­ey­moon.” (New York Times)

Trump’s ap­prov­al rat­ing dropped down to 37% in Gal­lup’s track­ing poll.

STAFF IS­SUES. Trump’s New York City friends and ad­visors are the sub­ject of sus­pi­cion and mis­trust among more con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers in the White House and in D.C. (Wash­ing­ton Post) “See­basti­an Gorka, Pres­id­ent Trump’s top counter-ter­ror­ism ad­viser, is a form­al mem­ber of a Hun­gari­an far-right group that is lis­ted by the U.S. State De­part­ment as hav­ing been ‘un­der the dir­ec­tion of the Nazi Gov­ern­ment of Ger­many’ dur­ing World War II.” (For­ward)

TRAVEL BAN. “The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion filed court pa­pers Fri­day hop­ing to sal­vage its second ver­sion of a travel ban after two judges in sep­ar­ate cases this week found that it prob­ably vi­ol­ated the Con­sti­tu­tion.” (Wash­ing­ton Post) “A fed­er­al judge in Hawaii who is­sued a tem­por­ary re­strain­ing or­der against key parts of…Trump’s re­vised travel ban last week has turned down a Justice De­part­ment re­quest to nar­row the in­junc­tion.” (Politico)

BHAR­ARA WAS PROB­ING PRICE. “Former U.S. At­tor­ney Preet Bhar­ara, who was re­moved from his post by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion last week, was over­see­ing an in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to stock trades made by the pres­id­ent’s health sec­ret­ary, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­i­ar with the of­fice.” (ProP­ub­lica)

TAX RE­TURNS. “Fa­cing a jeer­ing crowd of demon­strat­ors and left-lean­ing voters,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) “said that…Trump should re­lease his tax re­turns.” (Politico)



DEMOCRATS

DNC Adds Progressives to Transition Committee

Cory Booker spoke to Montana Democrats over the weekend.

By Karyn Bruggeman

After push back from pro­gress­ives that the new DNC trans­ition ad­vis­ory com­mit­tee didn’t in­clude enough lib­er­als, “Sanders cam­paign vet­er­an Melissa Byrne, who ran for DNC vice chair,” was asked to join. “And an up­dated press re­lease re­por­ted that Neb­raska Demo­crat­ic Party chair Jane Kleeb, a Sanders sup­port­er and El­lis­on sup­port­er, was ad­ded to the com­mit­tee.” (Wash­ing­ton Post)

2018 PRIMAR­IES. Earli­er this year, Cenk Uy­gur, the host of lefty web series The Young Turks “launched ‘Justice Demo­crats,’ a pro­ject de­signed to re­place ‘cor­por­ate’ in­cum­bents with primary chal­lengers.” (Wash­ing­ton Post)

“Justice Demo­crats’ un­usu­al ap­proach lets any­one nom­in­ate po­ten­tial can­did­ates on­line. They say they’ve re­ceived 8,300 nom­in­a­tions so far and raised $1 mil­lion with vir­tu­ally no mar­ket­ing. And they claim a large group of vo­lun­teers with ex­per­i­ence on cam­paigns who will help co­ordin­ate a cent­ral polit­ic­al in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port their en­tire slate.” (NBC News)

BRAZILE AD­MIS­SION. In an op-ed in TIME about Rus­sia’s hack of the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee, former chair­wo­man Donna Brazile said she did send Hil­lary Clin­ton CNN town hall ques­tions in ad­vance. Brazile wrote: “My job was to make all our Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates look good, and I worked closely with both cam­paigns to make that hap­pen. But send­ing those emails was a mis­take I will forever re­gret.” (TIME)

“Hil­lary Clin­ton said she was ‘ready to come out of the woods’ dur­ing a St. Patrick’s Day speech on Fri­day night in Pennsylvania in front of an over­flow crowd — an in­dic­a­tion that she plans to shed the low pro­file she has kept since the elec­tion.” (New York Times)

2020 WATCH. Sen. Eliza­beth War­ren (D-MA) has been hold­ing more press avail­ab­il­it­ies lately, sig­nal­ing a change of heart after be­ing no­tori­ously press averse. Over the years War­ren’s me­dia avoid­ance has al­lowed her to avoid ques­tions such as who she voted for in the 2016 Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial primary. (Politico)

“Trump said in an in­ter­view Sat­urday night” with Fox News “that he would gladly run against Demo­crat­ic Sen. Eliza­beth War­ren in 2020, call­ing that scen­ario ‘a dream come true.’” (Wash­ing­ton Ex­am­iner)

“Montana Demo­crats brought in” Sen. Cory Book­er (D-NJ), “one of their na­tion­al party’s rising stars to head­line their an­nu­al” fun­drais­ing din­ner this week­end, “but the hun­dreds who gathered Sat­urday wanted to hear more from one of their own: mu­si­cian Rob Quist, who must con­vince fel­low Demo­crats that he can win back the state’s only con­gres­sion­al seat and help na­tion­al Demo­crats push back against the Re­pub­lic­an tide.” (AP)

Book­er’s ap­pear­ance in Montana was a re­mind­er that some of the Demo­crat­ic Party’s cen­ter of grav­ity is in the west these days, with lead­ers in­clud­ing Col­or­ado Gov. John Hick­en­loop­er (D), Montana Gov. Steve Bul­lock (D), Sen. Kamala Har­ris (D-CA), and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) lead­ing ef­forts to op­pose Pres­id­ent Don­ald Trump. (Politico)

PRI­OR­IT­IES USA IN NEW HAMP­SHIRE. Pri­or­it­ies USA “has be­gun a paid di­git­al ad cam­paign fo­cus­ing on key New Hamp­shire Sen­ate sup­port­ers of le­gis­la­tion to sub­stan­tially tight­en the state’s voter ID and re­gis­tra­tion pro­cess.” The su­per PAC “is launch­ing ads on so­cial me­dia sites Twit­ter and Face­book ur­ging voters to tell the Re­pub­lic­an-con­trolled state Le­gis­lature to de­feat Sen­ate Bill 3, which it views as a re­strict­ive ‘voter sup­pres­sion’ bill.” (WMUR-TV)

STATE PARTY LEAD­ER­SHIP. Arkan­sas Demo­crats will elect a new state party chair this week. “The front-run­ners in the race for party chair­man are House Minor­ity Lead­er Mi­chael John Gray, an Au­gusta farm­er, and Den­ise Garner of Fay­etteville, an ex­ec­ut­ive at a non­profit. Each says the fu­ture of the party will rely on em­power­ing a base of county of­fices.” (Arkan­sas Demo­crat-Gaz­ette)

In In­di­ana, “John Zody was re-elec­ted Sat­urday as the In­di­ana Demo­crat­ic Party chair­man, stav­ing off chal­lenges from two oth­er can­did­ates.” (North­w­est In­di­ana Times)

VIR­GIN­IA DEMO­CRATS. “Eric Hold­er, who served as U.S. at­tor­ney gen­er­al un­der Pres­id­ent Barack Obama and who is tak­ing a lead role in a na­tion­al Demo­crat­ic re­dis­trict­ing ef­fort, will head­line the state Demo­crat­ic party’s Jef­fer­son-Jack­son Din­ner in June.” (Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch)



BATTLE FOR THE SENATE

JCN Prepared to Shell Out More Money on SCOTUS

Ayotte said Donnelly, McCaskill, and Heitkamp seem open-minded on Gorsuch.

By Kimberly Railey

In Montana and North Dakota, where Sens. Jon Test­er (D-MT) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) are up for reelec­tion, “more than 99.5 per­cent of all me­dia money spent on the Su­preme Court con­firm­a­tion fight has gone to­ward sup­port­ing” Su­preme Court nom­in­ee Neil Gor­such.

“Car­rie Severino, chief coun­sel of the Ju­di­cial Crisis Net­work, said her group, in­clud­ing ra­dio and di­git­al ad­vert­ising, has already spent $4 mil­lion and in­tends to spend much more if it’s ne­ces­sary.” (Wash­ing­ton Post)

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who is guid­ing Gor­such’s meet­ings on the Hill, said sev­er­al red-state Demo­crats, in­clud­ing Heitkamp, Sen. Joe Don­nelly (D-IN), and Sen. Claire Mc­Caskill (D-MO), “ap­pear ‘open-minded’ in private meet­ings” on Gor­such’s nom­in­a­tion. (Wash­ing­ton Ex­am­iner)



CALIFORNIA

Feinstein on Trump: “I Think He’s Gonna Get Himself Out”

She called Gorsuch an “extremist.”

By Kimberly Railey

“Sen. Di­anne Fein­stein (D) seemed to in­dic­ate Fri­day that she ex­pects Pres­id­ent … Trump may dis­qual­i­fy him­self from of­fice over po­ten­tial con­sti­tu­tion­al breaches and con­flicts of in­terest. Sur­roun­ded by a group of mostly lib­er­al pro­test­ers out­side a Los Angeles fun­draiser, Fein­stein fielded a slew of ques­tions on her feel­ings about what the left has al­leged are Trump’s con­sti­tu­tion­al breaches.”

“How are we go­ing to get him out?” the ques­tion­er asked.

Fein­stein replied, “I think he’s gonna get him­self out.”

On wheth­er Trump has com­mit­ted im­peach­able of­fenses, Fein­stein said, “I can’t an­swer that right now.” (Politico)

GORUSCH FIGHT. Ahead of Su­preme Court nom­in­ee Neil Gor­such’s con­firm­a­tion hear­ings, Fein­stein “is la­beling him an ex­trem­ist on such is­sues as work­er pro­tec­tions and re­pro­duct­ive rights.”

“As a fed­er­al ap­peals court judge, Gor­such ‘has con­sist­ently sided with em­ploy­ers and cor­por­ate in­terests,” Fein­stein said, mark­ing “her first crit­ic­al com­ments on Pres­id­ent Trump’s se­lec­tion.” Fein­stein is the highest-rank­ing Demo­crat on the Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee. (SF Gate)



FLORIDA

Scott Appears With Pence

The event they were at focused on health care.

By Kimberly Railey

Gov. Rick Scott (R), a po­ten­tial chal­lenger to Sen. Bill Nel­son (D), ap­peared Sat­urday with Vice Pres­id­ent Pence at an event with busi­ness own­ers in Jack­son­ville, FL, to dis­cuss health care. (Flor­ida Times-Uni­on)



INDIANA

Donnelly Hosts Town Hall

Banks left the door open to a Donnelly challenge.

By Kimberly Railey

At Sen. Joe Don­nelly’s (D) town hall Sunday, “ref­er­ences to sup­port­ing Medi­care, the Af­ford­able Care Act, Planned Par­ent­hood and pub­lic schools drew en­thu­si­ast­ic ap­plause from the audi­ence; a ques­tion about wheth­er Don­nelly would ‘do your duty and vote for (Su­preme Court Justice nom­in­ee Neil) Gor­such’ promp­ted a flurry of boos.”

“Don­nelly did not com­mit to how he would vote ahead of the [Gor­such] con­firm­a­tion hear­ings that start Monday, not­ing “I want to see what he has to say.” (Muncie Star Press)

GOP SIDE. Fresh­man Rep. Jim Banks (R-03) said he is not think­ing about a bid against Don­nelly but did not rule it out com­pletely. “He says he ex­pects to talk with his fam­ily about 2018 after every­one’s had a few months to ad­just to his com­mute back and forth to Wash­ing­ton.” (WIBC)



MASSACHUSETTS

Warren Hires Former Reid Aide

A sheriff said he would challenge Warren as an independent.

By Kimberly Railey

In “an ef­fort to shore up her 2018 re-elec­tion ef­fort,” Sen. Eliza­beth War­ren (D) “hired Kristen Orth­man, a well-re­spec­ted com­mu­nic­a­tions staffer who pre­vi­ously worked for former Demo­crat­ic Lead­er Harry Re­id (D-NV).” (Politico)

JUMP­ING IN. Sher­iff Joshua Ford (I) an­nounced he will run for War­ren’s seat.

“Up­set by what he calls a cor­rupt two-party sys­tem bought and paid for by cor­por­a­tions, Ford … said he felt he had to step up to make a change be­cause he felt no one else would.”

Ford sup­por­ted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dur­ing the pres­id­en­tial race. (Wicked Loc­al)



MISSOURI

Potential McCaskill Challenger Mum on Health Care Plan

Josh Hawley campaigned against Obamacare.

By Kimberly Railey

“After spend­ing months on the cam­paign trail last year rail­ing against Obama­care,” At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Josh Haw­ley (R), a po­ten­tial chal­lenger to Sen. Claire Mc­Caskill (D), “is stay­ing tight-lipped about his party’s plan to re­place it. … Haw­ley has not re­spon­ded to mul­tiple re­quests for com­ment on the con­tro­ver­sial GOP-backed health care plan that has been pending in Con­gress for more than a week.” (St. Louis Post-Dis­patch)



MONTANA

Tester Holds Town Hall

He said the state’s at-large congressional election shouldn’t be viewed as a bellwether for national Dems.

By Kimberly Railey

“Demo­cracy in the United States is be­ing tested right now, … Sen. Jon Test­er (D) said dur­ing a town hall in Helena Fri­day, as he en­cour­aged con­stitu­ents to con­tact elec­ted of­fi­cials on is­sues of im­port­ance in­clud­ing pub­lic lands, health care and the fed­er­al budget. Test­er took ques­tions for more than an hour at a town hall geared to­ward pub­lic land is­sues but in­clud­ing top­ics from the U.S. Su­preme Court to the up­com­ing spe­cial elec­tion for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat. In what was a ma­jor­ity pro-Test­er crowd, in­clud­ing mul­tiple com­pli­ments and thanks for his in-per­son ap­pear­ance, the civil ten­or of the dis­cus­sion was a far cry from some of the heated GOP town halls held across the coun­try in re­cent weeks.” (Mis­souli­an)

SPE­CIAL ELEC­TION. “Test­er dis­missed the no­tion that” that the Montana at-large spe­cial elec­tion, in which Demo­crats nom­in­ated mu­si­cian Rob Quist (D) “would be a ref­er­en­dum on na­tion­al Demo­crats.” (AP)



NEVADA

Heller Opposes Health Care Bill

Sandoval also doesn’t back the plan.

By Kimberly Railey

Sen. Dean Heller (R) “joined Gov. Bri­an San­dov­al (R) Fri­day in op­pos­i­tion to a Re­pub­lic­an bill that would kill much of former Pres­id­ent Barack Obama’s health care law.”

“I agree with Gov­ernor San­dov­al,” Heller said in a state­ment. “I do not sup­port the House bill in its cur­rent form.”

“Heller’s state­ment came on the heels of San­dov­al’s move, with three oth­er mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­an gov­ernors, to send a let­ter of op­pos­i­tion to con­gres­sion­al lead­ers.” (Las Ve­gas Sun)



NEW JERSEY

Menendez Loses Supreme Court Appeal

The ruling could allow a corruption prosecution to move forward.

By Colin Diersing

“The U.S. Su­preme Court said Monday it will not hear an ap­peal by” Sen. Bob Men­en­dez (D) “po­ten­tially clear­ing the way for his tri­al on bribery and oth­er charges to be­gin in Septem­ber in Ne­wark. … Men­en­dez is ac­cused of re­ceiv­ing nearly $1 mil­lion in bribes, in­clud­ing flights on a private jet, and lodging in Par­is and at a Carib­bean re­sort, and con­tri­bu­tions to polit­ic­al com­mit­tees that boos­ted his re-elec­tion ef­forts in 2012.”



TENNESSEE

Alexander Undecided on Future Plans

But he said he’s taking steps that would be necessary to run again.

By Kimberly Railey

Amid spec­u­la­tion that Sen. Lamar Al­ex­an­der (R) may re­tire in 2020, “Al­ex­an­der in­sisted he has made no de­cision about his polit­ic­al fu­ture.”

“I’m do­ing all of the things a per­son would nor­mally do to be in a po­s­i­tion” to run again, Al­ex­an­der said. “But I have the lux­ury of not hav­ing to think about that every two years.”

Asked about ru­mors that Peyton Man­ning could suc­ceed him, he said, “Every­body likes Peyton Man­ning, in­clud­ing me.” (Nashville Ten­nessean)



TEXAS

Ex-Castro Strategist Likely to Help O’Rourke

Dowd says he’s still weighing an independent bid.

By Kimberly Railey

Chris­ti­an Arch­er, a former strategist for Rep. Joa­quin Castro (D-20), is likely to as­sist with Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-16) po­ten­tial Sen­ate bid.

“I’m truly in­spired by the guy,” Arch­er said. “He is a really cool dude. There is a level of cool­ness to him that’s Kennedy-esque. I know people keep say­ing he looks like Bobby Kennedy. You know what? He’s got this aura around him. It’s neat, be­cause he can talk about any­thing.”

“Arch­er gave early evid­ence of his sup­port for O’Rourke last week, when he set up a meet-and-greet for the con­gress­man at the Pearl with about 75 loc­al power play­ers, in­clud­ing Bex­ar County Judge Nel­son Wolff and former May­or Phil Hard­ber­ger.”

“In 2013, Arch­er and the Castro broth­ers par­ted ways, and, by all ac­counts, Arch­er has had min­im­al con­tact with the Castros since then. Arch­er says he wouldn’t find it awk­ward to be work­ing against Joa­quin Castro in a Sen­ate primary race.”

“If there’s a win­dow for (O’Rourke) to win, and I can be help­ful, I would want to help that guy,” Arch­er said. “He would be worth it.” (San Ant­o­nio Ex­press-News)

A CLOSER LOOK. O’Rourke “has shown a gift for nimble polit­ic­al tim­ing, in­sinu­at­ing him­self in­to the state and na­tion­al con­scious­ness on the spur of the mo­ment, at just the right time and in a way that defined him not as a po­lar­iz­ing par­tis­an, but as the ex­act op­pos­ite.” His re­cent road trip with Rep. Will Hurd (R-23) “al­most in­stantly took on the en­dear­ing qual­ity of a clas­sic buddy movie, al­beit with a lot more con­ver­sa­tions on na­tion­al policy — from opioid ad­dic­tion to the fed­er­al budget freeze — than the genre usu­ally al­lows.”

Former George W. Bush strategist Mat­thew Dowd con­firmed he is still con­sid­er­ing run­ning against Sen. Ted Cruz (R) as an in­de­pend­ent.

Dowd ad­ded, “[I]n my view, if it’s Beto O’Rourke against Cruz, Cruz wins and prob­ably wins by double di­gits. If it’s Joaquín Castro vs. Ted Cruz, it’s ba­sic­ally the same thing, and in­stead of los­ing by 14 points, he might lose by 10 points.”

Texas Demo­crat­ic Party Chair Gil­berto Hino­josa said that even the pos­sib­il­ity of an O’Rourke-Castro con­test does not dis­tress him.”

“Truth­fully, after so many years hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time get­ting strong can­did­ates to run for the U.S. Sen­ate, it’s a great prob­lem to have,” Hino­josa said. (Aus­tin Amer­ic­an-States­man)



UTAH

McMullin May Challenge Hatch, Chaffetz

He said he’s likely, at some point, to run for elected office again.

By Kimberly Railey

Former pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate Evan McMul­lin “says he may mount a 2018 chal­lenge against either” Sen. Or­rin Hatch (R) or Rep. Jason Chaf­fetz (R-03).

McMul­lin: “It is pos­sible that I will chal­lenge Chaf­fetz or Sen­at­or Hatch, but there are a lot of factors that go in­to that de­cision. One of the primary factors is what the people of Utah want.”

McMul­lin ad­ded, “he prob­ably will run for elec­ted of­fice again, but not ne­ces­sar­ily next year.”

“It is likely that I will seek pub­lic of­fice again,” he said. “That might be in 2018 or it might be some­time down the road, per­haps very far down the road.” (The Hill)



WEST VIRGINIA

SLF Digital Ad Hits Manchin

It’s backed by a five-figure buy.

By Kimberly Railey

The Sen­ate Lead­er­ship Fund launched a di­git­al ad Sat­urday tar­get­ing Sen. Joe Manchin (D) for his past sup­port of Hil­lary Clin­ton. The spot, the group’s first of the cycle, will run for nine days, and is backed by a five-fig­ure buy.

The ad splices to­geth­er clips of Manchin speak­ing pos­it­ively about Clin­ton and says, “Don’t be fooled by Joe Manchin.” (re­lease)



WISCONSIN

Tomah VA Whistleblower Wants to Take Out Baldwin

Ryan Honl was a key critic of Feingold in the state’s 2016 Senate race.

By Kimberly Railey

Tomah VA whis­tleblower Ry­an Honl, who in last year’s Sen­ate race sharply cri­ti­cized former Sen. Russ Fein­gold’s (R) over­sight of the cen­ter, “says he’s gun­ning for” Sen. Tammy Bald­win (D) now.

“My un­fin­ished busi­ness is see­ing Tammy Bald­win … head to the private sec­tor like Russ Fein­gold,” Honl said.

“Re­pub­lic­ans have found a uniquely po­tent ally in Honl, who said he’s not yet sure what role he might play in the cam­paign. In 2016 he spoke out in in­ter­views and cut an anti-Fein­gold ad for Free­dom Part­ners Ac­tion Fund, a Koch Broth­ers-fun­ded su­per PAC that helped” Sen. Ron John­son (R) win reelec­tion. (Wis­con­sin State Journ­al)



RACE FOR THE HOUSE

Katko, Fitzpatrick to Vote Against GOP Health Plan

CLF launched a nationwide field effort for 2018.

By Ally Mutnick

Two more mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­ans have aban­doned the Amer­ic­an Health Care Act. Reps. John Katko (R-NY 24) and Bri­an Fitzpatrick (R-PA 08) an­nounced this week­end they couldn’t sup­port the bill when it comes to a vote this week be­cause of the ad­verse ef­fect it would have on their re­spect­ive dis­tricts.

Katko said he doesn’t be­lieve “this pro­pos­al provides an ad­equate mar­ket-based op­tion for in­sur­ance ac­cess, nor does it ad­dress out-of-con­trol costs,” and that it would hurt hos­pit­als throughout his dis­trict. (Syra­cuse Post Stand­ard)

Mean­while, Fitzpatrick said in a Face­book post he wor­ries about the bill’s “im­pact on the single most im­port­ant is­sue plaguing Bucks and Mont­gomery Counties, and the is­sue that I have made my pri­or­ity in Con­gress: opioid ab­use pre­ven­tion, treat­ment and re­cov­ery.” (Al­lentown Morn­ing Call)

“Re­pub­lic­ans on the Ways and Means and on the En­ergy and Com­merce com­mit­tees already have cast votes for the Amer­ica Health Care Act. … Strangely, those who sup­por­ted it don’t seem all that keen about their votes.” Reps. Le­onard Lance (R-NJ 07), Pat Mee­han (R-PA-07) and Peter Roskam (R-IL 06) have all ex­pressed hes­it­a­tion about the bill des­pite send­ing it to the House floor. (Wash­ing­ton Post)

Oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans are still on the fence ahead of the vote, which will likely take place Thursday.

Rep. Car­los Cur­belo (FL-26), “one of the few Flor­ida Re­pub­lic­ans not to com­ment on the Obama­care re­place­ment plan this week, said Fri­day that it raises ‘ser­i­ous con­cerns.’” He said he’s “been work­ing with col­leagues in both cham­bers to strengthen and im­prove this le­gis­la­tion.” (Miami Her­ald)

Rep. Rod Blum (IA-01) also weighed in: “I didn’t have a pre­con­ceived idea if I’m vot­ing yes or no. … I’m keep­ing an open mind about the bill, and we’ll see what it ends up be­ing.” (Wa­ter­loo-Ce­dar Falls Cour­i­er)

Mean­while, Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN 02) wrote an op-ed in the Min­neapol­is Star-Tribune de­fend­ing his com­mit­tee vote to send the AHCA to the House floor.

IN THE FIELD. The Con­gres­sion­al Lead­er­ship Fund launched Fri­day a “na­tion­al field op­er­a­tion that will run in key com­pet­it­ive Re­pub­lic­an and Demo­crat­ic con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts from now un­til 2018. CLF’s field op­er­a­tion will en­com­pass 20 dis­tricts in over a dozen states by the end of the year, and add 10 more dis­tricts by Novem­ber 2018. … The pro­gram will fo­cus on identi­fy­ing and en­ga­ging low propensity Re­pub­lic­an and In­de­pend­ent voters early to build re­la­tion­ships and have on­go­ing, mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions dur­ing a midterm cycle when voter turnout is gen­er­ally low.” (re­lease)

CLI­MATE MAT­TERS. “El­ev­en of the 17 Re­pub­lic­ans who joined” a res­ol­u­tion ur­ging Con­gress to ad­dress cli­mate change “are tar­gets of the Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee next year — and two oth­ers were tar­gets last cycle. Two oth­er Demo­crat­ic tar­gets in 2016 and 2018,” Rep. Lee Zeld­in (NY-01) and Rep. Dar­rell Issa (CA-49), “didn’t sign onto the res­ol­u­tion but are part of the caucus.” (Roll Call)

Mean­while, 18 mem­bers of the Flor­ida del­eg­a­tion, led by Reps. Bri­an Mast (R-FL 18) and Charlie Crist (D-FL 13) sent a bi­par­tis­an let­ter “ur­ging Pres­id­ent Don­ald Trump to ‘join our ef­forts to ex­ped­ite and en­er­gize the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment’s role’ in restor­ing the Ever­glades. (re­lease)



CALIFORNIA 34 (OPEN)

Hernandez Airs Second Spot

David Duke tweeted about Wendy Carrillo’s ad.

By Ally Mutnick

Former Los Angeles City Coun­cil staffer Sara Hernan­dez (D) re­leased her second ad on Fri­day. The 30-second spot casts her as the classroom teach­er who will stand up to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion by fight­ing for uni­ver­sal health care, pub­lic school fund­ing, and stop de­port­a­tions. (re­lease)

TWIT­TER WAR. Dav­id Duke, a former Grand Wiz­ard of the Klu Klux Klan mocked labor act­iv­ist Wendy Car­rillo’s new web ad last week in a tweet, writ­ing “Wendy plays the part of a ‘per­son of col­or’ mas­ter­fully, doesn’t she?” Oth­er Twit­ter users tweeted that he in­spired them to donate to her cam­paign to com­bat ra­cism. (Los Angeles Times)



GEORGIA 06 (OPEN)

Ossoff Gains in New Poll

Gray touts his anti-abortion credentials in a new digital ad.

By Ally Mutnick

A new sur­vey from zpolit­ics and Clout Re­search found former con­gres­sion­al staffer Jon Os­soff (D) lead­ing the field with 41% of the vote, an in­crease from the 32% the same group found sup­port­ing him last month (March 15-16; 625 LVs; +/- 3.8%). Former Geor­gia Sec­ret­ary of State Kar­en Han­del (R) and Johns Creek City Coun­cil­man Bob Gray (R) each took 16%.

GRAY CAM­PAIGN. Gray’s cam­paign re­leased a di­git­al ad where he talks about his views on abor­tion. (re­lease)

The cam­paign also “hired the staffers who quit” the cam­paign of tea party act­iv­ist Amy Kre­mer “en masse after com­plain­ing she couldn’t pay their cam­paign bills, the latest move in an in­creas­ingly bit­ter race.” (At­lanta Journ­al Con­sti­tu­tion)



IOWA 02 (D -- LOEBSACK)

State Rep Considering Loebsack Challenge

He is the son of the state GOP chair.

By Ally Mutnick

State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R), son of state GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann, con­firmed he’s con­sid­er­ing chal­len­ging Rep. Dave Loeb­sack (D) in 2018. “I wouldn’t rule it out, but I’m not ready launch an ex­plor­at­ory com­mit­tee,” he said.

“Among oth­ers con­sidered as po­ten­tial can­did­ates are Jeff Kaufmann,” state Sens. Roby Smith and Mark Lof­gren “and Gov. Terry Bran­stad’s chief of staff Mi­chael Bousselot.” (Quad-City Times)



MONTANA AT-LARGE (OPEN)

Special Election Spending Tops $800K

Gianforte has spent more than $100,000 on air.

By Ally Mutnick

Tech en­tre­pren­eur Greg Gi­an­forte (R) has already spent more than $100,000 on ads. That com­bined with the $700,000 the Con­gres­sion­al Lead­er­ship Fund has dropped to at­tack mu­si­cian Rob Quist (D) means the race has already at­trac­ted more than $800,000 in spend­ing in just two weeks. (AP)

UN­DER FIRE. Gi­an­forte has pledge not to ac­cept PAC money is com­ing in­to ques­tion after he and Sen. Steve Daines (R) are set to “head­line a fun­draiser sched­uled for Thursday in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., for the Montana Re­pub­lic­an Party. The fun­draiser in­vites PACs to the event with a sug­ges­ted ad­mis­sion price of $1,000.”

“On Thursday, the Gi­an­forte cam­paign said it would de­cline money from the state GOP to avoid any ap­pear­ance that PAC money could be funneled in­to the cam­paign through con­tri­bu­tions from Re­pub­lic­an Party com­mit­tees.” (Great Falls Tribune)

FULL SUP­PORT. Sen. Jon Test­er (D) men­tioned Quist at a town hall meet­ing on Fri­day: “This may be just a shock to all of you, but I hap­pen to like Rob Quist a lot. I think he is some­body that is hon­est, that is straight-for­ward and will ab­so­lutely work his tail off to do the right thing for the people of the state of Montana.” (Great Falls Tribune)

GIV­ING BACK. Gi­an­forte’s “fam­ily found­a­tion … is donat­ing $1.1 mil­lion to an af­ford­able hous­ing pro­ject in Billings which will bear the fam­ily’s name.” (AP)



NEBRASKA 02 (R -- BACON)

Bacon Meets With Indivisible Nebraskans

Congressional Leadership Fund is already investing in Bacon’s reelection.

By Colin Diersing

Rep. Don Ba­con (R) “sat down with sev­en mem­bers of In­di­vis­ible Neb­raskans on Sat­urday to dis­cuss health care le­gis­la­tion. The meet­ing came after the group went to his of­fice last week ask­ing for the chance to talk. … The In­di­vis­ible Neb­raskans rep­res­ent­at­ives urged Ba­con to vote against” the Amer­ic­an Health Care Act. “Ba­con called the meet­ing ‘cor­di­al’ and ‘can­did’ and said he will take back to Wash­ing­ton some of the group’s con­cerns, namely on eld­erly pop­u­la­tions de­pend­ent on Medi­caid.” (Omaha World-Her­ald)

OUT­SIDE GROUPS. Con­gres­sion­al Lead­er­ship Fund “is spend­ing $30,000 a month” on di­git­al ads for Ba­con’s reelec­tion. Ba­con dis­covered the ads when he “stole a look at Face­book on his iPhone” while “sit­ting in church.” CLF opened a field of­fice in Omaha last month. The of­fice has a staff of three, which “has re­cruited 50 high-school so­cial-stud­ies stu­dents who spend hours knock­ing on doors and mak­ing phone calls” in or­der to “find people who voted for Mr. Trump but typ­ic­ally skip midterm elec­tions.” A list of 112,000 likely Re­pub­lic­ans “will hear from a CLF vo­lun­teer on the phone or at their door at least once a month this year once a week be­gin­ning next spring and every day as Elec­tion Day 2018 draws near,” CLF said. (Wall Street Journ­al)



NEW HAMPSHIRE 01 (D -- SHEA-PORTER)

Sanborn: “I’m Being Encouraged at a Level I’ve Never Seen”

He recently met with the NRCC.

By Ally Mutnick

“In his first pub­lic com­ments re­gard­ing a pos­sible” bid to chal­lenge Rep. Car­ol Shea-Port­er (D), state Sen. Andy San­born (R) “said ‘I’m be­ing en­cour­aged at a level that I’ve nev­er seen to con­sider step­ping up for a run for the CD-1.’ … But the four-term state sen­at­or quickly ad­ded that ‘right now I’m really fo­cus­ing all my ef­forts on what’s hap­pen­ing in the state Sen­ate.’” (NH1)



NEW YORK 19 (R -- FASO)

Faso’s Health Care Repeal Vote Draws Protesters

More than 60 people gathered outside a district office.

By Colin Diersing

“More than 60 people gathered out­side the of­fices of” Rep. John Faso (R) “on Fri­day af­ter­noon to protest his Thursday vote that helped ad­vance the Re­pub­lic­ans’ plan to re­place the Af­ford­able Care Act. Their protest of the pro­posed re­peal of the ACA, also known as Obama­care, marked the largest ‘Faso Fri­day’ yet or­gan­ized by the grass­roots ad­vocacy group Cit­izen Ac­tion of New York’s Hud­son Val­ley chapter.” (Middletown Times Her­ald-Re­cord)

SAVE THE DATE. Faso will host a tele­vised town hall on April 13. It will be broad­cast live on WM­HT and WSKG in Bing­hamton and on wm­ht.org, nynow.org and WM­HT’s Face­book page. The on­line livestream will fea­ture an ex­tra 15 minutes of Q&A time.” (Al­bany Times-Uni­on)



TEXAS 23 (R -- HURD)

Hurd: Trump Should Apologize to Obama for Wiretapping Claims

Hillary Clinton won his district last year.

By Ally Mutnick

Rep. Will Hurd (R) said in an in­ter­view with ABC News that “he has seen no evid­ence to sup­port Pres­id­ent Trump’s claim of former Pres­id­ent Obama wiretap­ping Trump Tower” and urged the pres­id­ent to apo­lo­gize.

Hurd, a mem­ber of the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee: “To quote my 85-year-old fath­er … ‘It nev­er hurts to say you’re sorry.’ And it’s not just sorry to [Obama] but sorry to the [United King­dom] for the claims — or the in­tim­a­tion — that the U.K. was in­volved in this as well.” (ABC News)

The con­gress­man also went on NPR this week­end to dis­cuss, among oth­er things, his road trip with Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX 16). “Well, I was go­ing through sep­ar­a­tion anxi­ety. And after it was over it was — you know, it was weird not know­ing where he was,” Hurd said de­scrib­ing how he felt after com­plet­ing the trip. (NPR)



TEXAS 32 (R -- SESSIONS)

Sessions Faces Rowdy Town Hall

More than 2,000 people questioned his stance on Obamacare, Trump.

By Ally Mutnick

Rep. Pete Ses­sions (R) “faced a rauc­ous town hall Sat­urday as he sought to de­fend the GOP’s plan to re­peal and re­place Obama­care, among oth­er is­sues that have spawned fierce op­pos­i­tion un­der Pres­id­ent Don­ald Trump. Ad­dress­ing over 2,000 people, Ses­sions was fre­quently drowned out by boos and angry out­bursts from the audi­ence. Many of his an­swers were not en­tirely aud­ible due to the crowd’s re­ac­tion as he began to speak.”

At one point Ses­sions told the crowd: “I know why you’re so frus­trated: You don’t know how to listen.”

“For Ses­sions, there are ad­di­tion­al polit­ic­al con­sid­er­a­tions. … Hil­lary Clin­ton won his dis­trict last year, and Demo­crats are already gear­ing up to try to un­seat him in 2018.” (Texas Tribune)



WISCONSIN

Rural Trump Districts Hit Hardest by GOP Health Plan

Duffy and Kind’s districts will lose the most in tax credits.

By Ally Mutnick

“No con­gres­sion­al dis­trict in Wis­con­sin de­livered a big­ger vic­tory mar­gin for Don­ald Trump last fall (20 points) than the rur­al north­ern one rep­res­en­ted by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI 07). But by one key meas­ure, no dis­trict in Wis­con­sin would lose more health care aid un­der the GOP plan to re­place Obama­care.”

“Wis­con­sin is part of a na­tion­al pat­tern in which the Obama­care en­rollees who ap­pear to be hit the hard­est by the Re­pub­lic­an plan fit the demo­graph­ic and geo­graph­ic pro­file of Trump’s polit­ic­al base. … In the le­gis­la­tion, the biggest losses in tax cred­its in Wis­con­sin would oc­cur in two mostly rur­al con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts, the north­ern seat held by Duffy and the west­ern seat held by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI 03), whose dis­trict also backed Trump. (Mil­wau­kee Journ­al Sen­tinel)



FLORIDA

Former Judge Files to Run as Democrat

Putnam raised six figures so far this month.

By Zach C. Cohen

Former Cir­cuit Judge Henry Dav­is (D) filed to run for gov­ernor last week.

He said in an in­ter­view on Monday he planned to run on a plat­form of help­ing the poor, par­tially by back­ing “uni­ver­sal school vouch­ers.”

Dav­is: “The cur­rent gov­ernor and the state le­gis­lature seem to be fo­cused on everything ex­cept the in­terests of poor people.”

He said he’ll launch a web­site later this week in hopes of build­ing sup­port for his cam­paign.

Dav­is: “I’m not wealthy. I can’t self-fin­ance a cam­paign.” (Hot­line re­port­ing)

“Dav­is is a former ad­min­is­trat­ive judge for the Ju­ven­ile Di­vi­sion of the Fourth Cir­cuit Court in Flor­ida. He was ap­poin­ted … by” former Gov. Law­ton Chiles (D) “in 1992. He did not file for re-elec­tion in 2016 and re­tired at the end of the year.” (Bal­lot­pe­dia)

MONEY TALKS. State Ag­ri­cul­ture Com­mis­sion­er Adam Put­nam’s (R) Flor­ida Grown com­mit­tee “raised more than $300,000 dur­ing the first 10 days of March, ac­cord­ing to the com­mit­tee’s web­site.” (News­4­Jax)

GIL­LUM TALKS. “In his first ap­pear­ance in Tampa since of­fi­cially de­clar­ing his can­did­acy for Gov­ernor, Tal­l­a­hassee May­or An­drew Gil­lum (D) said the Demo­crat­ic Party can win back the Gov­ernor’s Man­sion next year if it con­vinces the voters of Flor­ida that it can make an im­pact in chan­ging their lives for the bet­ter. … [H]e spoke to the pro­gress­ive caucus’ lan­guage by say­ing that the Demo­crats wouldn’t win in 2018 by be­ing ‘Re­pub­lic­an lite.’”

Gil­lum: “When our is­sues on the bal­lot, ab­sent the can­did­ate’s name, people agree with us! They stand with us! So what is the dis­con­nect? … I be­lieve we can win by lean­ing in­to our val­ues and not run­ning away from them.” (Flor­ida Polit­ics)



ILLINOIS

Biss Launches Rauner Challenge

Cheri Bustos spent five figures exploring a statewide bid.

By Zach C. Cohen

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D) on Monday an­nounced he would run for the nom­in­a­tion to chal­lenge Gov. Bruce Rau­ner (R) in 2018, lam­bast­ing “bilion­aires” and “spe­cial in­terests.”

Biss on Face­book: “I’m run­ning for gov­ernor of Illinois be­cause it’s time to start solv­ing prob­lems.” (re­lease)

“Last year, Biss headed a fed­er­al su­per polit­ic­al ac­tion com­mit­tee called Lead­ing Illinois for To­mor­row. It made about $10 mil­lion in in­de­pend­ent ex­pendit­ures, largely for TV ads that sought to link Rau­ner to Trump, who was then the GOP pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee.” (Chica­go Tribune)

AC­COUNT­ING. Rep. Cheri Bus­tos (D-17) re­por­ted last week spend­ing $50,000 from her reelec­tion ac­count on ex­plor­ing a bid for gov­ernor, which she has since aban­doned. (Hot­line re­port­ing)



MINNESOTA

LG Won’t Run to Replace Dayton

Tim Walz is telling DFL he’ll run in 2018.

By Zach C. Cohen

“Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D), one of the state’s highest-rank­ing fe­male elec­ted of­fi­cials and a close ad­viser to Gov. Mark Dayton (D), will not run for gov­ernor in 2018, throw­ing the race wide open for fel­low DFLers. … She said her main reas­ons … were per­son­al. She pledged to be act­ive on the stump for DFLers dur­ing the race and she de­clined to en­dorse a can­did­ate.” (Min­neapol­is Star Tribune)

“A DFL source said” Rep. Tim Walz (D) “is telling people he is run­ning. Ex­pect an an­nounce­ment soon.” (Min­neapol­is Star Tribune)



NEW JERSEY

Piscopo Plans to Run as Independent

Guadagno won the Monmouth GOP line.

By Zach C. Cohen

Comedi­an Joe Pis­copo “has de­cided he will not run for New Jer­sey gov­ernor as a Re­pub­lic­an and in­stead is plan­ning to de­clare he will jump in­to the race … as an in­de­pend­ent can­did­ate. … Pis­copo made his de­cision be­cause he did not be­gin the pro­cess of run­ning early enough to run as a Re­pub­lic­an. … Pis­copo was also un­will­ing to give up host­ing his morn­ing ra­dio show … dur­ing the primary sea­son. … Be­cause the fil­ing dead­line for in­de­pend­ents isn’t un­til June 6, Pis­copo would buy him­self an ex­tra eight weeks on the show.”

“Opin­ions dif­fer among Re­pub­lic­an county chairs as to which ma­jor party can­did­ate he would hurt the most. … At a meet­ing last Decem­ber, Ber­gen County GOP chair­man Paul DiGaetano and long­time Pis­copo friend said he warned him against run­ning out­side the two-party sys­tem,” which would “‘likely cause the Demo­crat to win.’ But oth­er GOP county chairs aren’t so sure about that. Hud­son County Re­pub­lic­an chair­man Jose Arango notes that as a former Demo­crat, Pis­copo would likely over-per­form in areas where Demo­crats tend to do bet­ter, hurt­ing the even­tu­al Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee.” (NJ Ad­vance Me­dia)

“Pis­copo pre­dicted doom for any Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee in the fall con­test.”

Pis­copo: “A Re­pub­lic­an, even if it was me, prob­ably won’t win the elec­tion. … There is no way a Re­pub­lic­an can win in New Jer­sey. I think an in­de­pend­ent has a bet­ter chance to win.’’ (Ber­gen Re­cord)

MON(MOUTH)UMENT­AL. “The Mon­mouth County Re­pub­lic­an Party voted at their con­ven­tion Sat­urday to en­dorse” Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R). “Guadagno, who lives in Mon­mouth Beach and served as Mon­mouth County’s first fe­male sher­iff from 2008-2010, now has the of­fi­cial Re­pub­lic­an Party line or slo­gan in three of the four most Re­pub­lic­an counties in New Jer­sey.” (re­lease)

“The full Bur­l­ing­ton County Re­pub­lic­an Com­mit­tee won’t de­cide which GOP gubernat­ori­al can­did­ate it will award its coveted ‘party line’ bal­lot spot un­til Monday, but As­sembly­man Jack Ci­at­tarelli (R) ap­pears to have the in­side track.” (Bur­l­ing­ton County Times)

UP­DATED TALLY. Former Am­bas­sad­or to Ger­many Phil Murphy (D) “has donated at least $1.15 mil­lion to state and loc­al Demo­crat­ic or­gan­iz­a­tions and can­did­ates since 2001. … More than 40 per­cent of that money — about $466,000 — was shelled out over the past three years.” (NJ Ad­vance Me­dia)

HOW ABOUT (GUAD­AG)NO. The Ne­wark Star-Ledger wrote an ed­it­or­i­al blast­ing Guadagno’s pro­pos­al for an elec­ted at­tor­ney gen­er­al.

The ed­it­or­i­al: “Far from be­com­ing a check on cor­rup­tion, elect­ing At­tor­neys Gen­er­al makes them sub­ject to the same forces that cor­rupt politi­cians. There’s no evid­ence that this de­ters bad be­ha­vi­or. From what we’ve seen, it only fur­ther in­centiv­izes it.” (NJ Ad­vance Me­dia)



OHIO

Renacci Launches Governor Bid

The mayor of Cincinnati is expected to back Nan Whaley.

By Zach C. Cohen

Rep. Jim Ren­acci (R) “entered the 2018 race for gov­ernor Monday and quickly signaled he will brand him­self as an Ohio ver­sion of Don­ald Trump. The Wadsworth Re­pub­lic­an’s new web­site — OhioFirst.com — that mim­ics the ‘Amer­ica First’ pitch Trump made in his suc­cess­ful pres­id­en­tial bid last year.”

“‘Give me a choice between a name and some­body’s who’s got­ten the job done, I’ll take the guy that gets the job done,’ says a man who ap­pears in the Ren­acci cam­paign’s in­tro­duct­ory video, which also fea­tures Ren­acci rid­ing a mo­tor­cycle. The ‘name’ line could ap­ply to three bet­ter-es­tab­lished Re­pub­lic­ans who also are angling to suc­ceed term-lim­ited Gov. John Kasich (R) next year.” (clev­e­land.com)

“A new su­per PAC called Ohio First has formed to sup­port … Ren­acci’s … bid.” (Is­sue One)

ALL (C)IN(CIN­NATI). Dayton May­or Nan Whaley (D) “is ex­pec­ted to an­nounce any day now. … Whaley is likely to have an ally in” Cin­cin­nati May­or John Cran­ley (D). “Cran­ley and Whaley are good friends and polit­ic­al al­lies. People close to Cran­ley tell WVXU that there is no doubt that Cran­ley – who had been men­tioned as a po­ten­tial gubernat­ori­al can­did­ate him­self - will en­dorse her if she runs.” (WVXU)

MARK YOUR CAL­EN­DARS. “In what will be the first of­fi­cial event to fea­ture Ohio Demo­crats’ an­nounced can­did­ates for gov­ernor, the Ohio Demo­crat­ic Party will hold its 2017 Leg­acy Din­ner … on … April 22, at the Ohio Expo Cen­ter in Colum­bus.” (re­lease)



SOUTH CAROLINA

McMaster Standing With Aide Implicated in Corruption Probe

Democrat James Smith consulting with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

By Zach C. Cohen

Gov. Henry Mc­Mas­ter (R) “is stand­ing by his long­time polit­ic­al strategist, Richard Quinn, des­pite the power­ful Re­pub­lic­an con­sult­ant be­ing im­plic­ated in newly re­leased in­dict­ments and fa­cing ques­tions for al­legedly ma­nip­u­lat­ing a state polit­ic­al party elec­tion as part of an on­go­ing State­house cor­rup­tion probe.” (Char­le­ston Post & Cour­i­er)

RING A BEL? State Rep. James Smith (D) “hasn’t com­mit­ted to run­ning for … gov­ernor yet, but he is re­search­ing how a Demo­crat can run and win in the Deep South. … Be­fore he com­mits, Smith says he wants to be sure he sees a path for­ward to vic­tory. To that end, Smith” has “sought ad­vice from” Louisi­ana Gov. John Bel Ed­wards (D) and former Gov. Jim Hodges (D). (Columbia State)



TENNESSEE

Harwell Tells GOP She’ll Run in 2018

Karl Dean retained national Democratic strategists for his run.

By Zach C. Cohen

“Ten­ness­ee Re­pub­lic­an Party chair­wo­man Susan Richard­son Wil­li­ams” said Fri­day that state Speak­er Beth Har­well (R) will run for gov­ernor in 2018.

Wil­li­ams on Face­book: “Just got a call from Speak­er Beth Har­well to let me know she is run­ning for Gov­ernor next year too!”

“Har­well has more than $1 mil­lion in a cam­paign ac­count she can draw on to run for gov­ernor. She has openly stated she’s look­ing at a race, and many ex­pect her to run.” (Chat­tanooga Times Free Press)

ALL-STAR. Former Nashville May­or Karl Dean (D) “has named the top mem­bers of his cam­paign team,” in­clud­ing Court­ney Wheel­er as cam­paign man­ager, Fred Yang as poll­ster, Mark Put­nam for ad­vert­ising, Demo­crat­ic fun­draiser Charles Robert Bone as fin­ance chair­man, and Calv­in An­der­son as cam­paign treas­urer. (Nashville Post)

NEW RE­CRUIT. State Sen. Mark Green (R) “met with Pres­id­ent Don­ald Trump on Wed­nes­day dur­ing his trip to a rally in Nashville where they” agreed to his nom­in­a­tion to be­come sec­ret­ary of the Army. “A source close to Green said that he’s cur­rently filling out in­tens­ive back­ground checks that the White House per­son­nel of­fice and FBI will re­view.” (Politico)

“Though he can­not com­ment dir­ectly on his po­ten­tial cab­in­et nom­in­a­tion, he said he would be humbled to take on the job.” (WATE)



VIRGINIA

Podesta Endorses Perriello

Northam won a northern Virginia straw poll.

By Zach C. Cohen

John Podesta, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s 2016 cam­paign chair, en­dorsed former Rep. Tom Per­ri­ello (D) over Lt. Gov. Ral­ph Northam (D) on Fri­day.

Podesta: Both are strong can­did­ates for Vir­gin­ia gov­ernor, but Per­ri­ello is the bet­ter choice for the party’s fu­ture dur­ing a Trump pres­id­ency.” (Wash­ing­ton Post)

FIRE IN THE BELLY. Northam at a fun­draiser for Rep. Ger­ald Con­nolly (D) gave “fiery re­marks that some­times bordered on shout­ing. … Northam’s new­found ag­gres­sion may be pay­ing early di­vidends. He crushed Per­ri­ello in the event’s straw poll.”

Northam: “As people get to know me a little bit bet­ter, they see I’ve got a lot of fire in my belly and have been in tre­mend­ous fights all my life.” (Wash­ing­ton Post)

CHANGE OF PACE. “With a raven­ous ap­pet­ite for rhet­or­ic­al bom­bast, Stew­art is cam­paign­ing as an un­apo­lo­get­ic dis­ciple of Pres­id­ent Trump, echo­ing the pres­id­ent’s pop­u­list diatribes against the Re­pub­lic­an es­tab­lish­ment, un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants, polit­ic­al cor­rect­ness and the me­dia. Yet in purple Vir­gin­ia, the only South­ern state that Trump lost to … Hil­lary Clin­ton, Stew­art is strug­gling to cap­tiv­ate voters.”

Con­ser­vat­ive ra­dio host John Fre­d­er­icks: “He may own the Trump style, but he doesn’t own the Trump brand. The Trump people don’t like him.”

“Stew­art … has won elec­tion as chair­man four times in cam­paigns fueled by con­tri­bu­tions from de­velopers and oth­er es­tab­lish­ment types. He said that qual­i­fies him as ‘part of the Prince Wil­li­am es­tab­lish­ment but not the Vir­gin­ia es­tab­lish­ment.’”

“At vari­ous points in his polit­ic­al ca­reer in Prince Wil­li­am, Stew­art told re­port­ers he did not want to be known as the ‘im­mig­ra­tion man’ and said he hoped to build ties to Lati­nos and oth­er minor­it­ies. To win in North­ern Vir­gin­ia, Re­pub­lic­ans needed to be in­clus­ive and emu­late his minor­ity out­reach, he said two years ago.” (Wash­ing­ton Post)

GET­TING READY FOR GAM­E­TIME. The DGA gave $10,250 to the state Demo­crat­ic Party on Feb. 23, ac­cord­ing to an FEC re­port filed last week. (Hot­line re­port­ing)



Quote of the Day

" This is one of those circumstances. " FBI Director James Comey, on confirming the existence of an investigation when it’s in the public interest, New York Times, 3/20.



OVERLOOKED

The West Is the Best

More former Su­preme Court justices were born in oth­er coun­tries (six) than in the west­ern re­gion of the United States (five), the Pew Re­search Cen­ter re­ports. If con­firmed, Judge Neil Gor­such, who was born in Col­or­ado, would close the gap.