The clock is ticking on groups like the Madison Project, Senate Conservatives Fund and — to a lesser extent — the Club for Growth. Today’s National Journal magazine cover story tracks the GOP establishment striking back in this year’s primaries; the flip side of that story is the relative ineffectiveness of their rebellious conservative counterparts.
— It’s why the primary in Nebraska looms as a major moment in the 2014 campaign. There, after FreedomWorks’ unusual shift, conservative groups are aligned in unison behind Midland University president Ben Sasse against the more establishment-friendly former state treasurer, Shane Osborn. Sasse looks like the favorite right now, although it’s been a competitive race thus far. And if Sasse wins, groups like SCF can likely count on a fundraising victory lap that will spill over into other Senate primaries.
— Other opportunities have petered out. SCF went all in on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s challenger Matt Bevin (R) in a Kentucky race that’s closing with a whimper instead of a bang. (The same goes for Milton Wolf‘s (R) primary in Kansas against Sen. Pat Roberts.) Establishment candidates are on the march in North Carolina and Georgia. Even a candidate like onetime super lobbyist Ed Gillespie (R) in Virginia would seem primed for a challenge from the right; instead, he’s waltzing to the GOP nomination.
— Conservative groups have also lined up behind state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) in Mississippi, but his campaign has been dogged by revelations of a litany of offensive remarks he made as a talk show radio host. If he defeats Sen. Thad Cochran (R), the story might be less about conservative triumph than conservative outside groups giving Democrats, backing former Blue Dog Rep. Travis Childers (D), an outside chance at winning the state.
CFG still has a number of House primaries where they can claim primary victories. But in the Senate landscape, it’s Nebraska or bust.
— Alex Roarty
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"The Senate approved the Republican-proposed budget Thursday night, a major step forward for the GOP effort to enact tax cuts. The budget, which now moves to the House, is projected to expand the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Its passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators."
"President Donald Trump overrode his own advisers when he promised to deliver an emergency declaration next week to combat the nation’s worsening opioid crisis ... Blindsided officials are now scrambling to develop such a plan, but it is unclear when it will be announced, how or if it will be done, and whether the administration has the permanent leadership to execute it, said two administration officials. 'They are not ready for this,' a public health advocate said of an emergency declaration after talking to Health and Human Services officials enlisted in the effort."
"The number of U.S. adults without health insurance is up nearly 3.5 million this year, as rising premiums and political turmoil over 'Obamacare' undermine coverage gains that drove the nation’s uninsured rate to a historic low. That finding is based on the latest installment of a major survey, released Friday. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index asks a random sample of 500 people each day whether they have health insurance."
The initial data Twitter gave to the Senate's Russia Probe was "a batch of tweets that the Kremlin’s English-language news network paid the company to promote, The Daily Beast has learned. That’s just a sliver of what investigators believe to be Russia’s propaganda campaign on the social network—which helps explain the dissatisfaction that followed those first disclosures."
"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."