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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Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting. In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg."
"In the months after Donald Trump rode to victory while calling for mass deportations, Russian operatives bought dozens of Facebook ads targeted at the Hispanic community seeking to further inflame tensions already roiled by the campaign's racially charged rhetoric, according to USA TODAY analysis. Thousands of ads released by House Democrats this month showed Russian operatives focused on race during the presidential election in what experts say was a clear effort to amplify existing divisions."