PRIMARY ROUNDUP | TX-16 | SC-4 | NY-11 | IN-4 | IL-3

SBA List Campaigns for Lipinski, Newman Picks Up Endorsements

State records show Rokita fired ex-Pence aide Morales in 2009 for “incomplete work.”

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Drew Gerber
March 16, 2018, 11:39 a.m.

IL-03: “The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List is making a major, last-minute push to help” Rep. Dan Lipinski (D) “in his hotly contested Illinois primary, a race that has drawn national attention as the last remaining ‘pro-life’ Democrat fights for his political survival. SBA List has dispatched 70 canvassers to the Illinois 3rd Congressional District and made a ‘six-figure investment’ in digital ads and a mail campaign ahead of the Tuesday primary, according to an official with the group. Lipinski faces a fierce challenge from” marketing consultant Marie Newman (D) “who has made the incumbent’s opposition to abortion rights central to her campaign. But to anti-abortion activists, Lipinski is a champion—and one of the few Democrats left they consider an ally. It’s why they’re making a big push to help him now, hopeful they can stave off a defeat they would consider harmful to their movement.

“SBA List plans to target 17,000 pro-life Democratic households in the district, with canvassers planning to visit each house twice. The group has also helped the incumbent Democrat raise $40,000 this cycle, an SBA List official said, and $80,000 since 2012. In one of the group’s digital ads, it says Newman ‘supports painful late-term abortions of healthy babies—paid for by taxpayers!’”

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser: “They are draining the party dry of any pro-life sentiment. There’s no tolerance for even pro-choice candidates who think late-term abortion is a bridge too far. No toleration for pro-choicers who think being pro-choice is consistent with being against late-term abortion.” (McClatchy)

Newman has picked up more congressional endorsements in last few days from Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI 02), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ 03), and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA 07). (Roll Call)

IN-04: “State records show” former Mike Pence adviser Diego Morales (R) “was fired in 2009 by former Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who is giving up his reliably Republican House seat to run for Senate. The disciplinary actions against Morales are part of a resume that also includes embellishments, a spotty work history and murky business dealings. His campaign didn’t respond to several questions from the AP but did insist Morales served as a ‘senior advisor’ to Pence when he was Indiana’s governor. Some of Pence’s aides have defended Morales’ use of the title and endorsed his candidacy. However, the campaign acknowledges his work — including such tasks as event planning and venue preparation — didn’t rise to the level of many others who worked under the eventual vice president. Morales often touts his role on Pence’s staff as he campaigns” against former Workforce Development Department Head Steve Braun (R) and state Rep. Jim Baird (R).

“Rokita’s office formally disciplined Morales after eight months due to ‘incomplete’ work, ‘inefficient execution’ and a ‘lack of focus,’ according to records obtained under Indiana’s public records act. He refused to agree to a work improvement plan and had filed notice that he intended to quit when he was fired, according to a termination letter. Two years later, Morales left a different state job after refusing to sign on to a work improvement plan under former Secretary of State Charlie White, who was himself removed from office in 2012 following a voter fraud conviction. Morales worked just over a month in White’s office when he was disciplined for ‘poor execution,’ failing to complete his work and leaving the office to attend a ‘personal function,’ records show.” (AP)

Former Workforce Development Department Head Steve Braun (R) is out with a new ad highlighting his business credentials. In the video, Braun positions himself as a strong supporter of the president, saying “Hoosiers are ready for America First” — which he describes as “building the wall,” and “finally enforcing our immigration laws.”

NY-11: Set designer Omar Vaid (D) is out with a wide-ranging 2-minute video called “Symbols Matter,” which highlights his union background and his belief that politicians are more focused on “their own self-interest” than on the issues of Americans.

SC-04: “Two more candidates say they will join the increasingly crowded race … to succeed outgoing” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R). Army veteran Barry Bell (R) will compete against Spartanburg County GOP Chairman Josh Kimbrell (R), televangelist pastor Mark Burns (R), businessman Jordan Brown (R), and state Rep. Dan Hamilton (R). Former deputy political director for Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign Brandon Brown (D) is seeking his party’s nomination.

Bell says, if elected, “he would work to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he would oppose all tax increases, fight for a balanced budget, ask for a audit of the Federal Reserve, protect the life of the unborn, protect the country’s borders and support immigration reform. … Some of Brown’s top issues are creating new jobs across the district, working to improve the lives of local veterans and increasing research and funding in the medical, cybersecurity and infrastructure fields.” (Columbia The State)

Former state Sen. Lee Bright (R) and attorney Eric Graben (D) also said Thursday that they are running for Gowdy’s seat. “Their announcements came one day before the two week candidate-filing period opens. A total of 11 Republicans and six Democrats now have indicated that intend to run for” the district.

Bright: “South Carolina voters are sick and tired of radical Leftists and establishment Republicans constantly eroding our rights. In the last presidential election, voters sent a clear message that they want to drain the swamp, but too many in Congress are standing in the way of this mandate. It is no longer good enough to simply have a Republican majority. We need a majority of true conservatives in Congress to support President Trump’s agenda.” On Thursday, Graben said he is running “to promote common sense, good will and rational policy for the people of South Carolina and the United States.”

New Ocean Health Solutions Founder Shannon Pierce (R) “also filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission indicating that she will run for Gowdy’s seat.” (Greenville News)

TX-16: Former El Paso state Rep. Norma Chavez (D) “and two other candidates who lost their primary elections for U.S. Congress by a landslide have filed a lawsuit in El Paso County alleging voter fraud.” NPR-affiliate Director of Development John Carrillo (D) and immigration attorney Enrique Garcia (D) are also plaintiffs. “The lawsuit alleges that fraud and other mischief was the reason” former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar (D) “bested her opponents by such a wide margin. Escobar received 61.4 percent of the vote on March 6; Chavez and Garcia received 6.7 and 5.3 percent, respectively, while Carrillo earned 1.5 percent.” Former El Paso Independent School Board District member Dori Fenenbock (D), “who was considered Escobar’s closest competitor, is not listed as a party to the lawsuit. In the lawsuit … Carrillo, Chavez and Garcia contend that ‘an election officer or other persons officially involved in the administration of the election, including [county elections administrator] Lisa Wise, engaged in fraud or illegal conduct.’ … they allege that Wise and others tampered with ‘initial programming of some of the [voting machines’] hard drives before the election began and distributing those hard drives to high-producing voting locations to extract votes from petitioners for the benefit of Veronica Escobar.’”

Escobar: Voter fraud concerns “are serious and should be examined,” but that “it is concerning that there are accusations being made in a lawsuit without any shred of evidence.” (Houston Public Media)

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