“More than two-dozen House Republicans have been outraised by a Democrat for two quarters in a row, and for eight of them it was their third time. … With Democrats having already picked up a Republican-leaning seat in a special election this year, some top House Republicans said members need to get with the program and start preparing for the worst.”
“‘Numbers like that are disappointing. There’s no excuse for an incumbent being outraised by most challengers,’ said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 2008 cycle and served as its executive director in 1992. ‘If you’re serious about coming back, if you’re serious about staying in the majority, you need to go raise the money. It’s just that simple.’”
“One major source of concern: some vulnerable members have seen their cash-on-hand advantage evaporate. Some 15 Republicans had less in the bank than one or more opponent by the end of March, including some in top battlegrounds such as Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of California and John Faso of New York. In another six districts, a top challenger’s war chest was within $140,000 of the incumbent’s, including Reps. Mia Love of Utah, Leonard Lance of New Jersey, and Jason Lewis of Minnesota.”
“’We’re so much better than what we’re performing right now,’ said Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, another former NRCC chairman.” (Hotline reporting)
CASH RACE. The DCCC raised $14.3 million in March, bringing its cycle-to-date total to $140 million. It raised $34.2 million overall in the first quarter. (release) “The NRCC raised $10.5 million last month, according to a party committee aide. But the DCCC topped its Republican counterpart in March, bringing in $3.8 million more than the NRCC last month. The NRCC continues to lead in cash on hand with $58.8 million to the DCCC’s $57 million.” (Politico)
House Speaker Paul Ryan “headlined three fundraisers for Republican congressional candidates in Washington Wednesday, a demonstration of strength a week after his surprise retirement announcement set off concerns about whether the speaker could continue his pace as the House GOP’s top fundraiser. Ryan headlined an event for” former state Sen. Debbie Lesko (R) “running in an Arizona special election next week, that was expected to bring in around $70,000 for her campaign, according to sources familiar with the event. … Ryan also headlined fundraisers for” Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH 01) and French Hill (R-AR 02), “two incumbents being targeted by Democrats this fall. The events were expected to bring in around $80,000 combined, according to a source familiar with the planning who requested anonymity to discuss private events. Chabot and Hill were each outraised by a Democratic opponent in the first three months of 2018 and are likely to face competitive re-elections. … The events Wednesday were intended to show the Wisconsin Republican remains an asset to the GOP majority.” (Real Clear Politics)
COUNTRY FORWARD. “A centrist coalition called Country Forward that supports middle-of-the-road candidates in both parties helped” Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL 03) “fend off a progressive primary challenge this week. The group had help from political technology firm Applecart, which helped” Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA 18) “in his Pennsylvania victory over Republican Rick Saccone. These groups’ involvement adds to the tension in the Democratic party this year between centrist members of Congress and progressive challengers. … Country Forward is a super PAC that helps moderate Republicans and Democrats facing far-left or far-right challengers and says it has raised close to $50 million to intervene in 2018 House races.” (Axios)
WARNING SIGN. “The surge of enthusiasm among Democrats that’s produced a record number of candidates for Congress this year has come at a cost: spread out donations and campaign accounts drained by expensive primary fights. Even as Democratic donors lavish money on the party’s U.S. House candidates in the first midterm election of Donald Trump’s presidency, an analysis of this week’s Federal Election Commission filings shows Republican candidates have more money in the bank in 17 of 23 districts rated as toss-ups in November by the non-partisan Cook Political Report. … Plenty of time remains for fundraising before the November election. But the current imbalance suggests a potential advantage for Republicans who may have more resources in the early phase of the general election campaign to define their Democratic opponents in unflattering ways.” (Bloomberg)
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California Rep. Pete Aguilar has announced that he plans to run for Democratic Caucus vice chair. "Aguilar, whip for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is probably best known for his efforts to find a legislative solution for so-called Dreamers," and will face "Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark, who announced her plans to run for the position in July. The vice chair role will be open next year because its current occupant, California Rep. Linda Sánchez is running for caucus chair against yet another California Democrat, Rep. Barbara Lee."
Rod Rosenstein had a draft of his resignation letter sent to the White House on Monday, but did not resign his post. In the letter, Rosenstein states he is confident that Solicitor General Noel Francisco will lead the special counsel investigation "with a commitment to justice," and that his Chief of Staff Matt Whitaker will "instill confidence and uphold the integrity" of the Department of Justice as acting Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein is scheduled to meet with President Trump on Thursday morning.
"The Justice Department has issued an indictment of former non-profit head Kevin Oksuz for his role in a plot to hide the fact that a 2013 congressional delegation trip to Azerbaijan was funded by that country’s government. According to the indictment, which was unsealed Monday, Kevin, also known as Kemal, Oksuz allegedly lied on disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics prior to, and following, a privately sponsored congressional trip to Azerbaijan. Oksuz ran a Houston based nonprofit that he is accused of using to funnel money to fund the congressional trip from an oil company controlled by the Azerbaijan government."
"Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has verbally resigned to Chief of Staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by President Trump, according to a source with direct knowledge. Per a source close to Rosenstein: 'He’s expecting to be fired,' so plans to step down."