Vulnerable Republicans planning to vote “no” on the tax reform plan Thursday include: Reps. Darrell Issa (CA-49), Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Elise Stefanik (R-21), John Faso (R-NY 19), Dan Donovan (NY-11), Lee Zeldin (NY-01) and Pete King (NY-02). But “Democrats aren’t about to give these members a free pass.The DCCC has signaled it will attack all Republicans for the tax vote, regardless of how they voted, just as it did after the House GOP’s health care vote earlier this year.” (Roll Call)
CALIFORNIA. “Eight of the state’s Republicans plan to vote for the bill, including Reps. Mimi Walters (R-45), Jeff Denham (R-10) and David Valadao (R-21) “and one is leaning toward voting yes. Four others are undecided,” including Reps. Ed Royce (R-39), Steve Knight (R-25), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-48), “and only” Issa “has said he will oppose the bill.” (Los Angeles Times)
NEW YORK. Faso said he plans to vote “no” on the bill. Meanwhile Reps. John Katko (R-24), Tom Reed (R-23) and Chris Collins (R-27) will vote for it. (Syracuse Post-Standard) Faso, Donovan, King and Zeldin held a press conference in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss their opposition. (release)
PENNSYLVANIA. Reps. Ryan Costello (R-06) and Pat Meehan (R-07) “sound like they both plan to back the Republican tax reform when it comes to a floor vote.” (Delco Daily Times)
FEELING GOOD. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05) told a group of reporters Thursday he was increasingly confident Democrats could take back the House, placing the odds at 60 percent. He’s hitting the campaign trail this weekend to stump for 2016 NV-04 candidate Susie Lee (D) in the open NV-03 seat and 2014 gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis (D) in the open KS-02 seat.
Hoyer also explained his donation and support to candidates in crowded primaries: “You need to have people win the primaries who can win the generals. There’s that sense that we want to try to get the strongest general-election candidate. That is not necessarily always the strongest primary candidate.
“We make a judgment. Is there a predominantly strong candidate in the race that we think can win the general and have the best shot at winning the general. Then we think it’s a responsibility as far as to try to step in and make sure that candidate wins.” (Hotline reporting)
MORE ENDORSEMENTS. Gabby Giffords’s gun-violence prevention group endorsed four more House challengers: Lee, former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ 01), 2016 nominee Angie Craig (D), and El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D) in the open TX-16 seat. (Refinery 29)
ON BOARD. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ BOLD Pac endorsed five new candidates: lottery winner Gil Cisneros (D) in CA-39; Mike Levin (D) in CA-49; former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings (D) in TX-23; ironworker Randy Bryce (D) in WI-01; and state Rep. Juana Matias (D) in the open MA-03. (release)
Meanwhile, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund endorsed nine openly LGBTQ Democrats, including four challengers in competitive seats: former Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones in TX-23, state Rep. David Richardson in the open FL-27 seat, former State Department adviser Lauren Baer in FL-18, and 2016 nominee Angie Craig in MN-02. (release)
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In an interview with Rolling Stone, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro indicated he's close to announcing a presidential bid. “I’m likely to do it,” he said. “I’ll make a final decision after November, but I’m inclined to do it.”
“I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as" Mohammed Bin Salman is in charge, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News today. “I’ve been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate. This guy is a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused. The MBS figure is to me toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage.” Graham added that he intends to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”
"Saudi Arabia has given Turkey permission to search its Istanbul consulate Monday afternoon, a Turkish diplomatic source told CNN. Saudi officials first granted permission for the consulate to be searched last week, but later asked for a delay and no search has yet taken place. Turkish officials also want to search the nearby consul general's residence, and have repeatedly accused the Saudis of failing to cooperate with their investigation."