“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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Stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday morning "as disappointing forecasts from industrial bellwethers Caterpillar and 3M piled on to concerns over Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic isolation, Italy’s finances and trade-war fears. All the three major Wall Street indexes were trading below their 200-day moving averages, a key technical indicator of long-term momentum and all 11 major S&P sectors were in the red, continuing what has been a punishing month for U.S. stocks. ...Growth is expected to slow further in the fourth quarter, as the effects of U.S tax cuts fade and the impact of tariffs and rising costs rise."
"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."