“The race to lead the” DCCC “next cycle could come down to two members of the Washington state delegation. Reps. Denny Heck (WA-10) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) have expressed interest to colleagues and party leadership about running, which, depending on the party's midterm showing, could entail protecting the majority and its swath of moderate freshmen in red-leaning districts. ... Several other members floated as potential candidates are seeking chairmanships or spots on influential committees.”
Heck's "pitch to current and prospective members will be that after six years at the committee, he needs little on-the-job training, begins with in-depth knowledge of the district dynamics, and has relationships with DCCC staff and vulnerable members in their first terms." Meanwhile, "DelBene has proven fundraising prowess. She brought in $3.3 million this cycle for the DCCC as the committee’s finance cochair and has also contributed $100,000 to Red-to-Blue candidates. A former Microsoft executive, she is personally wealthy and gave herself $2.8 million in her successful 2012 bid." (Hotline reporting)
AIR WARS. Large fundraising hauls from House Democratic candidates are providing a clear advantage in the final month of TV advertising. Investor Josh Harder (D) raised $3.5 million in Q3 for his CA-10 bid and "is now poised to have a large advantage in the closing weeks. His campaign reserved $4.1 million in advertising in the final months of the season, almost double the $2.1 million reserved by” Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-CA 10) “campaign, according to” media data. “The same dynamic is taking place outside Chicago, where” Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL 06) “is in the fight of his life against” clean-energy entrepreneur Sean Casten (D).” He “has reserved $4.6 million worth of ads, well ahead of Roskam’s $2 million in ads.” (Washington Post)
MONEY MOVES. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy “has transferred $5.71 million to the NRCC and state party committees over the last two weeks, in addition to moving $1.51 million to members. McCarthy has raised $60 million this cycle. He's transferred $18.3 million to the NRCC and state party committees and $5.77 million to members.” (Politico) And Minority Whip Steve Scalise "announced Thursday that he raised more than $4.8 million in the third quarter, almost doubling his total from the previous three-month period." He sent $1.2 million of his haul to the NRCC. (The Hill)
The National Democratic Training Committee, a group that provides online and in-person campaign training for federal and local candidates, raised $1.4 million in the third quarter from 126,000 donations. Notable alumni of the program: registered nurse Lauren Underwood in IL-14 and attorney Cort VanOstran (D) in MO-02. (release)
BY THE NUMBERS. Democrats led by 10 points, 48-38 percent, with 14 percent undecided on an online Politico/Morning Consult generic ballot (Oct. 7; 2,189 RVs; +/- 2%). “Last week, Democrats’ lead was slightly smaller, 43 percent to 36 percent. ... While Republicans have cited an increase in excitement among their voters during the Kavanaugh fight ... both the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll and a CNN/SSRS survey conducted over the past weekend and released Tuesday show Democrats more animated than Republicans.” (Politico)
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The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has "released a memorandum Wednesday defending the legality of President Trump appointing Matthew G. Whitaker as acting attorney general — rejecting criticism from some lawyers that the move violates the Constitution. The 20-page states that "past practice, court rulings, and legal analysis show that the Whitaker appointment is legal. In particular, it says the scenario is expressly authorized by the 1998 Vacancies Reform Act. ...The legal opinion also concludes that even if Trump had fired Sessions, he could have replaced him with a non-Senate confirmed government employee for a period of up to seven months."
A new organization of prominent conservative lawyers, called Checks and Balances, is warning that President Trump has undermined the rule of law, and "are urging their fellow conservatives to speak up." The group was organized by George T. Conway III, a "conservative lawyer and the husband of President Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway." It also includes "Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and secretary of homeland security in the Bush administration; Peter D. Keisler, a former acting attorney general in the Bush administration ... and Lori S. Meyer, a lawyer who is married to Eugene B. Meyer, the president of the Federalist Society."
The White House announced Tuesday night that retired Gen. John Abizaid, the longest-serving commander of Central Command, has been nominated as the next ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Abizaid currently serves as the first Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Previously, he held the Distinguished Chair of the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point.