The DCCC rolled out over $43 million in fall TV reservations today, setting the table for this year’s general election. Here’s what we saw inside the list:
— First things first: This round of reservations breaks down almost evenly between Republican- and Democratic-held districts. The reservations are for markets with 20 Dem seats and 19 GOP ones, a split that highlights how difficult the path toward a Democratic House majority is — but also the race-by-race nature of this year’s House. The political environment favors the GOP, but not to such an overwhelming degree that local campaign characteristics are outweighed.
— Also, these reservations aren’t a perfect barometer for the landscape’s competitiveness. Rep. Chris Gibson‘s (R) NY-19 is missing, for example, though both parties think it’s a competitive district. A TV buy could come later, or Dems may make the calculation that self-funding Sean Eldridge (D) is capable of taking care of himself. But if other touted potential Democratic targets, like Rep. Joe Heck (NV-03), stay off the list of reservations in the future, that’s a bad sign for their prospects. Several districts that seem on their faces like bigger Dem reaches than suburban Vegas made today’s list, including ones in Arkansas and Michigan.
— Lastly, early reservations allow TV buyers to secure low rates before advertising floods in and prices go up in the fall. But that doesn’t mean anything is guaranteed. Another way to save is to trim buys in expensive markets and try to get more for the money in multiple, less expensive districts. Last cycle, for example, the DCCC’s late money-moving stripped expensive Philadelphia out of its spending plan and added places like Palm Springs, where Raul Ruiz (D-CA) ended up winning. As races clarify in the fall, how much of committee’s $2.8 million in DC for VA-10 and $2.5 million in Philly for three PA and NJ districts will stay online?
See the full breakdown of DCCC TV reservations below. It’s not final, but it’s a new, detailed data set on what we can expect to happen in the fall.
— Scott Bland
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
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