Former Rep. Gabby Giffords’s (D) “political organization is targeting six high-profile members of Congress this fall … in a 2018 midterm strategy that will use high school students to challenge Republican lawmakers it blames for blocking efforts to curb gun violence.” The group “says it plans to spend at least $10 million to influence the November elections.” The targets: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI 01) and Reps. Mike Coffman (R-CO 06), Vern Buchanan (R-FL 16), Pete Sessions (R-TX 32), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA 10). Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly “plan to visit each of the targeted districts in the coming weeks to rally voters against the Republican incumbents, Ambler said. Their group will also fund TV and online advertising, a series of local events and voter registration drives to keep the pressure on.” (AP)
SAVE THE DATE. Former Vice President Joe Biden will headline two DCCC fundraisers, according to invites that just went out to donors. One is set for Thursday night in New York and another is March 21 in Virginia. (Politico)
IN THE MIDDLE. Former Reps. Bob Dold (R-IL 10) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA 08) have “started a new nonprofit that will provide more air cover for centrist Republicans this year.” American Solutions Action Project, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit social welfare organization, “already has digital spots touting the work of two vulnerable GOP women sitting in Clinton districts. A 15-second ad urges viewers to thank” Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA 45) “for being a leader ‘who will protect women from sexual harassment.’ A similar 30-second ad praises” Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA 10) “as a ‘leader who will hold those accountable, no matter which political party they are from.’” The group “is spending about $100,000 combined on the two digital spots.” (Roll Call)
IDEOLOGIC BATTLE. “In dozens of primary races across the country, Democrats are arguing not just over what their party should stand for, but over the related question of whether the new radicalism or the old centrism is better for winning elections. The traditional playbook is to nominate Democrats who can appeal to Republicans and independents, because in Republican-leaning districts, the theory goes, there simply aren’t enough Democrats … to propel a Democrat to victory in a midterm year without any crossover voters. Progressive groups contend the opposite, saying that it’s not a numbers issue but an excitement issue. A candidate running on a Sanders-esque agenda of things like single-payer health care and raising the minimum wage, those groups argue, can win by inspiring the electorate and turning out enough progressive voters to overcome any Republican lean in the district.” (BuzzFeed News)
GUN CONTROL. “As a renewed, nationwide push for gun control faces an uphill battle in Congress, some progressive outside groups are prodding Democrats to make gun restrictions a driving issue in the midterms. There are signs some candidates will take heed, using GOP inaction on guns as one piece of a larger case against the Republican-controlled Congress. … But many other Democrats worry that nationalizing the issue in the midterms would undercut some of their most vulnerable members — or hinder Democrats challenging GOP incumbents — in rural areas from Ohio and Indiana to Montana and California’s Yosemite Valley.” (Politico)
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"Bipartisan congressional leaders in both chambers on Tuesday night unveiled a massive bill aimed at fighting the epidemic of opioid abuse in the United States, capping months of work. ... The 660-page bill" encourages development of alternative pain medications, cracks down on imported opioids, and lifts some caps on Medicaid coverage for drug treatment.
"One of the White House’s most visible staffers has his eye on the exit door. Raj Shah, a deputy press secretary who has stepped behind the podium for numerous daily briefings, has told multiple people he plans to leave the West Wing following the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Shah has been leading the communications efforts in support of the confirmation process since Kavanaugh’s nomination in July."
"House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte told reporters Tuesday evening that he plans to subpoena the Justice Department for memos Andrew McCabe wrote during his tenure as acting FBI director. The memos allegedly chronicle conversations in which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly recording President Donald Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office."