“House Democrats say they have built the largest offensive battlefield in at least a decade—and the numbers back up the claim. Some 180 Democratic House candidates in nearly 100 Republican-held districts entered 2018 with $100,000 or more in the bank, according to a National Journal analysis of Federal Election Commission data. By comparison, when Democrats last claimed the majority in 2006, only about 40 of their candidates in 38 GOP-held districts reached that mark by the start of the election year.
“You have Democrats who are willing to put their money where their mouth is, and they’re coming after us,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, who chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee. “These numbers should wake everybody up, even the guys in R+7 districts.”
Fundraising has been impressive even in red seats on the periphery of the map, nudging members who haven’t faced a serious challenge in several years into potentially difficult races. A massive battlefield has been a central component of the” DCCC’s comeback strategy” because it could exhaust Republicans “as they work to prop up incumbents.” DCCC Executive Director Dan Sena: “It doesn’t allow their dark money to be able to taint as many races.” (Hotline reporting)
LEADERSHIP QUESTIONS. “Democratic optimism could also be a poisoned chalice for” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; “if congressional Democrats fall short of expectations for a second election cycle in a row, there will be a real movement to clean house, several members and aides said. In other words, Pelosi appears to have her heart set on going out on top, but if she fails to win back the House this year, it may mark an unceremonious end to her career.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ 03): “If we take over the House, I think that a lot of that need for new leadership to take us in another direction is going to be somewhat muted. But should Democrats fail to win back the gavel, he added, “then the race for the top positions become competitive.” (National Journal)
“Assuming Pelosi either leaves on her own or is pressured to step down, her exit would trigger a messy battle between the party’s old guard, led by” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, “and the party’s younger members, represented by” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley. “It’s a generational showdown that’s been put off for years, but one that Democrats might not be able to be avoid much longer.” (Politico)
MONEY MATTERS. “Vice President Mike Pence’s leadership PAC, Great America Committee, has cut its second round of checks to GOP candidates as Pence gears up for a busy 2018 campaign schedule, a White House official said. … Among the more endangered members receiving Pence’s financial aid are” Reps. Rod Blum (R-IA 01), Peter Roskam (R-IL 06), Jason Lewis (R-MN 02), Don Bacon (R-NE 02), John Culberson (R-TX 07), Will Hurd (R-TX 23), Jeff Denhan (R-CA 10), Claudia Tenney (R-NY 22), and John Faso (R-NY 22). “The group gave $5,400 to each congressional candidate, the official said.” State Sen. Dino Rossi (R), who is running in the open WA-08 seat, also got a donation from the PAC. (Politico)
ON THE WEB. American Action Network released a new digital ad, touting the GOP’s tax overhaul. “The ad features apparent middle-class Americans holding signs showcasing the different benefits they are receiving from the new tax bill.” (Washington Examiner)
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"Special counsel Robert Mueller's interest in Jared Kushner has expanded beyond his contacts with Russia and now includes his efforts to secure financing for his company from foreign investors during the presidential transition, according to people familiar with the inquiry. This is the first indication that Mueller is exploring Kushner's discussions with potential non-Russian foreign investors, including in China." At issue specifically is his quest for financing help on the beleaguered 666 Fifth Avenue building.
The indictment, filed in the District of Columbia, alleges that the interference began "in or around 2014," when the defendants began tracking and studying U.S. social media sites. They "created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts" and "purchased computer servers located inside the United States" to mask their identities, some of which were stolen. The interference was coordinated by election interference "specialists," and focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and other divisive issues. "By early to mid-2016" the groups began supporting the campaign of "then-candidate Donald Trump," including by communicating with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign..."