Thirteen House Republicans bucked their party on the tax reform vote on Thursday: Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), Darrell Issa (CA-49), Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), Peter King (NY-02), Dan Donovan (NY-11), John Faso (NY-19), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Tom McClintock (CA-04), and Walter Jones (NC-03). (GovTrack) Most hail from California, New Jersey and New York, the states that benefit most from the SALT deduction scrapped in the new plan.
CLF Executive Director Corry Bliss “said in an interview that Republicans who vote against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Thursday should not assume they would have the group’s support going into a grueling midterm election year. ‘CLF will never spend a dollar attacking a Republican,’” Bliss said. “’But CLF is going to raise and spend $100 million to protect the Republican majority. CLF, like any organization, will allocate resources to friends and family first.’” (Washington Post)
RATINGS CHANGE. The Cook Political Report changed ratings in seven House districts on Friday. From House editor Dave Wasserman: “If it wasn’t already clear, last Tuesday’s election results confirmed a political atmosphere that would seriously endanger the House GOP’s majority in 2018. In Virginia, turnout was up 20 percent over 2013 in localities won by Hillary Clinton, compared to 13 percent in localities carried by President Trump.”
FL-26 moved from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”
IL-06 moved from “Lean Republican to “Toss Up”
MN-08 moved from “Lean Democratic” to “Toss Up”
NJ-11 moved from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”
TX-07 moved from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”
UT-04 moved from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican”
WI-06 moved from “Solid Republican” to “Likely Republican”
And Wasserman reports that ahead of Sunday’s PA-18 special nomination conventions that party insiders said “top contenders include former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb, a 33-year old Marine veteran whose uncle is Pittsburgh’s city controller, and Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cerilli, a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat who was Miss Pennsylvania in 2010. Either profile could potentially give Democrats a favorable contrast against Saccone, who is 59.” (Cook Political Report)
FRANKEN. The NRCC “has called on eight Democrats running for House seats around the country to return campaign donations that they received from Sen. Al Franken” (D-MN) after Franken was accused of sexual harassment. The candidates, to whom Franken has given $1,500 each, include state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D), running in NY-22; ironworker Randy Bryce (D) in WI-01; state Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D) in IA-01; Air Force veteran Chrissy Houlahan (D) in PA-06; Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV 04); former Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill (D), NJ-11; former Defense Department official Elissa Slotkin (D) in MI-08; and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN 04), to whom Franken gave $5,000. (Axios)Bryce has already announced he will give Franken’s donation to him to local Wisconsin charities, and Finkenauer is also not keeping her donation, but did not indicate what she would do with it. (AP/Des Moines Register) Meanwhile, 2016 nominee Angie Craig (D), running in Minnesota’s 2nd District, has announced that she will “donate $15,000 in campaign contributions from Franken to a charitable organization.” (AP)
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President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen was paid at least $400,000 to arrange a meeting between Victor Poroshenko and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev. Shortly after the meeting, which was held at the White House was last June, the Ukrainian "anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort." Poroshenko was reportedly desperate to meet with Trump, after documents leaked under his watch revealed that President Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort had failed to disclose his connections with the Ukrainian presidential elections, in violation of U.S. election law.
Ohio Democratic voters have filed suit against Ohio Governor John Kasich and other Republican state officials over alleged partisan gerrymandering in Ohio's electoral map. Despite capturing between 51 and 59 percent of the statewide vote in the past three elections, Republicans hold three-quarters of state congressional seats. "The U.S. Supreme Court is due by the end of June to issue major rulings in two partisan gerrymandering cases from Wisconsin and Maryland that could affect the Ohio suit."
An Iranian missile scientist, killed in a strike in 2011 along with his research center, oversaw the development of a secret, second facility in the remote Iranian desert that ... is operating to this day," according to a team of California weapons experts. "For weeks, the researchers picked through satellite photos of the facility. They found, they say, that work on the site now appears to focus on advanced rocket engines and rocket fuel, and is often conducted under cover of night."