President George W. Bush will headline “a Sept. 19 fundraiser in Fort Worth for” Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND). Bush next month will also host fundraisers Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and former Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun (R). (Politico)
SCHEDULING NOTE. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "is planning to keep the chamber in session for a significant portion of October if not four entire weeks, costing Democrats" as well as Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) "key campaign trail days and allowing the Senate to continue its work into the fall." (Politico)
WHERE THINGS STAND. “McConnell … said Tuesday that … Senate races were ‘dead-even’ in Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and Florida.”
McConnell: “We know this is going to be a very challenging election. … All of them too close to call and every one of them is like a knife fight in an alley. … It's just a brawl in every one of those places."
“McConnell also acknowledged Tuesday that the Texas Senate race … has been tightening in recent polls.”
McConnell: “I think Ted's got a competitive race, by all indications. We certainly expect to win in Texas, but I think he does have a competitive race.” (NBC)
McConnell “says the ‘wind’s going to be in our face, we don’t know if it’s going to be Category 3, 4 or 5.’” (AP)
“Republicans have made progress in several key states (North Dakota, Missouri, Arizona) even as they’ve suffered setbacks in others (West Virginia, Indiana, Montana). All told, it’s looking most likely that the Senate will remain closely divided, with Republicans holding their narrow advantage past 2018. Republicans will blow a historic chance at picking up many seats, given the uniquely favorable Senate map, while Democrats are still struggling to ensure that all their vulnerable red-state senators return to Congress despite a favorable national environment.
“Here’s the Senate math: If Republicans can defeat two of the six vulnerable Democratic senators up for reelection, they’ve locked down their majority for another cycle. Strategists from both parties agree that Republicans have pulled ahead in North Dakota. … Public polls show Missouri's and Florida’s contests as pure toss-ups, while Indiana remains highly competitive. Democrats have the momentum in West Virginia and Montana, but the conservative nature of those electorates give Republicans an outside chance.” (National Journal)
Stu Rothenberg: "[D]uring wave elections, tight Senate contests often all fall in the same partisan direction — and if Tennessee, Florida and Missouri do just that, there is a certainly a path for Democrats. It’s just a very narrow and rocky one." (Roll Call)
“Republicans have grown increasingly worried about losing control of the Senate, as President Trump’s approval rating tumbles and Democrats gain steam in key battleground races. … ‘Shipwreck’ was how one leading strategist described the situation.”
“The tough realities of Texas have prompted an unexpected alliance between Cruz and the Republicans he spent years waging a vendetta against as a senator and as a candidate for president — including Trump and McConnell. The sudden cooperation underscores how much the GOP fears losing Texas. The shock waves are being felt well beyond the state, as its several expensive media markets could force the party to spend money there that it will have to subtract from GOP hopefuls in other battlegrounds.” (Washington Post)
“Texas has even more media markets than Florida (20 vs. 10), so it’s an expensive and complex place to run a statewide campaign. Republicans are being reminded of that as the surprisingly competitive U.S. Senate race there threatens to draw resources away from other battleground states.” (Bloomberg)
“Top Republicans are lowering expectations in West Virginia.” (Washington Examiner)
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"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."
"The commercial battle between the United States and China heated up Monday as the economic powerhouses slapped each other with the largest rounds of tariffs yet, unleashing punitive duties now on roughly half of their traded goods. President Trump imposed fresh levies on $200 billion in Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to respond with tariffs on $60 billion in American goods, approaching the point of running out of U.S. products to target."
"The Trump administration is planning to launch a major, 'administration-wide,' broadside against China ... in the next few weeks." The brainchild of the National Security apparatus, the effort will include "the White House (led by senior officials on the National Security Council), Treasury, Commerce and Defense."