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Ad spending for the 2018 midterms reaches nearly $3 billion

Nearly $3 billion has been spent on TV and radio advertisements in the 2018 House, Senate and gubernatorial races, essentially doubling the $1.5 billion spent on these midterm contests four years ago, according to ad-spending data from Advertising Analytics.

Of this money over the airwaves, Democratic candidates and groups have spent $1.5 billion (52.3 percent), Republicans have spent $1.3 billion (47.5 percent) and independents have spent $5.8 million (0.2 percent).

The most expensive races in the country are Florida's gubernatorial ($181 million), Florida's Senate ($173 million) and Illinois' gubernatorial ($128 million) contests.

The most expensive market is Orlando/Daytona Beach, Fla. (at $110 million), and the biggest overall advertiser is the Congressional Leadership Fund ($110 million), a GOP Super PAC focused on House races.

Here's a full breakdown of the numbers:

Total ad spending for the midterms (TV, radio): $2.9 billion

Total GOV spending: $991 millionTotal House spending: $956 millionTotal Senate spending: $926.5 million

Total Dem spending: $1.5 billion (52.3%)Total GOP spending: $1.3 billion (47.5%)Total Indie spending: $5.8 million (0.2%)

The Top 10 overall markets

  1. Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne, FL: $110 million
  2. Las Vegas, NV: $103 million
  3. Los Angeles: $101 million
  4. Chicago: $100 million
  5. Tampa/St Pete/Sarasota: $99 million
  6. New York, NY: $96 million
  7. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, FL: $80 million
  8. Phoenix, AZ: $75 million
  9. Detroit, MI: $74 million
  10. Philadelphia, PA: $70 million

The Top 10 outside spenders

  1. Congressional Leadership Fund (R): $110 million
  2. Senate Majority PAC (D): $105 million
  3. DCCC (D): $80.5 million
  4. Senate Leadership Fund (R): $67 million
  5. NRCC (R): $60 million
  6. House Majority PAC (D): $56 million
  7. Majority Forward (D): $52 million
  8. New Republican PAC (R): $30 million
  9. Independence USA (D-Bloomberg): $27 million
  10. One Nation (R): $26.6 million

Top 10 Senate races

  1. FL-SEN: $173 million
  2. MO-SEN: $94 million
  3. IN-SEN: $91 million
  4. NV-SEN: $78 million
  5. AZ-SEN: $74 million
  6. TN-SEN: $63 million
  7. TX-SEN: $50 million
  8. NJ-SEN: $47 million
  9. MT-SEN: $46 million
  10. WV-SEN: $44 million

Top 10 House races

  1. PA-1: $24 million
  2. WA-8: $23 million
  3. CA-48: $21.5 million
  4. MI-8: $21 million
  5. VA-10: $20 million
  6. FL-26: $20 million
  7. CA-25: $19.7 million
  8. TX-7: $19.4 million
  9. CA-10: $19.3 million
  10. CO-6: $18.9 million

Top 9 GOV races

  1. FL-GOV: $181 million
  2. IL-GOV: $128 million
  3. OH-GOV: $63 million
  4. MI-GOV: $58 million
  5. GA-GOV: $48 million
  6. NV-GOV: $44 million
  7. TN-GOV: $41 million
  8. PA-GOV: $28 million
  9. ID-GOV: $6.4 million

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Kentucky Democrats head to vote in contentious gubernatorial primary

WASHINGTON — Kentucky Democrats are heading to the polls Tuesday to crown a victor in a hard-fought gubernatorial primary with serious implications for November.

Public polling pegs Attorney General Andy Beshear the frontrunner over state Auditor Adam Edelen and state Rep. Rocky Adkins for the nomination. But Edelen and his allies have spent furiously in the hopes of defeating Beshear, the son of the state's last Democratic governor. 

Edelen's campaign has spent $2.1 million during the primary, dwarfing Beshear's $1.3 million and Adkins' $900,000, spending data from Advertising Analytics shows. And the pro-Edelen Kentuckians for a Better Future has dropped another $1 million into the race. 

The ad wars have gotten chippy, with Beshear and Edelen at the center of the fight. 

The pro-Edelen Kentuckians for a Better Future has spent more than a half-million dollars on an ad attacking Beshear for donors that supported his attorney general bid, attempting to link him to the opioid epidemic through those donations, and needling Beshear over a former aide's conviction for bribery.

The group also aired a spot that highlighted Beshear's work defending the Boy Scouts from abuse claims, but that was pulled off the air after just two days after Edelen's spokesman told the Lexington Herald-Leader it should be taken down. 

Edelen has amplified some of those attacks in one of his closing argument spots, and focused its resources on a spot where the candidate introduces viewers to his folksy farmer father to contrast his family with Beshear's famous father. 

Beshear's ads have partly tried to look past the primary with attacks on Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's record on health care. But he's taken to the airwaves to push back against the attacks, calling them "shameful and false" and criticizing the negative campaigning

Atkins has largely stayed out of the brawl, particularly on the airwaves, and has leaned on his legislative experience.

Both Beshear and Edelen received big endorsements in the race's final days — the former from the pro-abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America and the latter from The Courier-Journal, one of the state's premiere papers. 

The general election will be one of the most interesting of the 2019 cycle.  

Despite the Republican lean in the state (President Trump won by almost 30 percentage points in 2016), two of the last four governors were Democrats who were reelected to serve a second term. 

Even though he's outperformed polls before, polling shows Bevin is one of the more unpopular governors in America. 

NBC and MSNBC announce 2020 presidential campaign 'embeds'

WASHINGTON—The new class of NBC and MSNBC embeds is here and they're about to crisscross the country to cover one of the largest fields in modern presidential history. 

The 10 embeds will be regular contributors across NBC and MSNBC—they will report on air, write stories and become familiar faces on the MTP Blog as well, providing readers with their observations and insights from the campaign trail. 

Be sure to follow the NBC News 2020 embeds list on Twitter to be sure to never miss an update. 

 

Harris narrowly outspent Trump last week on Facebook

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., narrowly outspent the presidential field in Facebook ads last week, new data from the platform's political ad tracker shows. 

The Californian's campaign spent $94,443 between May 12 and May 18, primarily on ads criticizing the anti-abortion rights legislation being passed in state legislatures around the country, as well as general ads promoting her candidacy and fundraising organization. 

Nipping at her campaign's heels was President Trump's reelection campaign, which spent $94,159 last week. Most of those ads were either a contest to receive a signed "Make America Great Again" hat from Trump or an "official 2019 Trump Executive membership Card."

Former Vice President Joe Biden finished a close third in weekly Facebook spending with $92,555. His ads included donation appeals from his wife, list-building and fundraising efforts aimed at drawing a contrast with Trump and promoting Biden's rally in Philadelphia last Saturday. 

Following those candidates were Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ($84,257 spent last week), New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ($83,055) and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet ($77,536).

Sanders: I’ll fight to ban private charter schools

ASHEVILLE, N.C. —  For-profit charter schools will become a thing of the past, and public funds for the expansion of public charters will be frozen until a national audit is completed, according to  a plan released by Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Friday. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., plans to roll out his complete education plan on Saturday, the 65th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision. On Friday, the campaign revealed a plank: significant reining in of charter schools. 

A campaign release says Sanders will fight to ban for-profit charter schools outright, and support and NAACP plan to place a moratorium on publican funds for charter school expansion until a state-by-state audit can be conducted to determine the impact of charter school growth around the country. 

Progressives have taken aim at charter schools in recent years for what they see as their siphoning off of funding for traditional public schools, and for the relative lack of accountability and oversight some receive. 

“Few charter schools have lived up to their promise," The Sanders campaign release reads.  "Instead, billionaires like DeVos and the Waltons, together with private equity and hedge fund executives, have bankrolled their expansion and poured tens of millions into school board and other local elections with the hope of privatizing public schools. Charter schools are led by unaccountable, private bodies, and their growth has drained funding from the public school system.”

Warren calls for federal laws to protect women's right to choose

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., issued a call Friday for Congress to pass federal laws protecting access for women to reproductive care — including abortions — in the wake of a spate of state laws that ban or restrict the practice.

"Our democracy should not be held hostage by right-wing courts," the Democratic presidential candidate writes in a Medium post, "and women should not have to hope that Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump’s Supreme Court will respect the law."

Warren's plea for Congress to act on the issue comes as several states have placed restrictions on women's reproductive health, severely limited access to abortion. This week in Alabama, Republican governor Kay Ivey signed into law a GOP-passed bill banning abortion and criminalizing providers. Earlier this month, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, also a Republican, made law a bill that outlawed abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which can be as early as six weeks and before many women even know they're pregnant.

The Alabama law is meant to trigger a challenge to the protections of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade opinion — something Warren hopes to render moot with the passage of federal laws codifying the right to choose.

"Federal laws that ensure real access to birth control and abortion care for all women," her post reads. "Federal laws that will stand no matter what the Supreme Court does."

Warren is among the national Democrats advocating for repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits women from receiving abortions from federally funded healthcare programs, like Medicaid and the VA. She also attacked the Trump administration for its rollbacks of Title X funding for family planning and its reinstatement of the gag rule

Buttigieg unveils wide-ranging policy positions

CHICAGO — After months of mounting criticism for lacking policy specifics, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has finally fleshed out his position on 27 different issues with a new issues page on his website, divided among the three major themes of his campaign: democracy, security and freedom.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor is staking out a new position in favor of creating a nationwide gun licensing system, or registry. This puts Buttigieg in line with Cory Booker’s proposal and among the most liberal positions on gun control in the Democratic race. Previously, Buttigieg had been criticized by gun control advocates for being too soft on guns or being wishy-washy.

Buttigieg is also taking a stronger position than before on marijuana reform, saying the U.S. should legalize marijuana. Until now, he had said the U.S. needed to move in that direction, but had not outright said marijuana should be legalized.

But Buttigieg is taking a less-declarative position on reparations for slavery, a potent issue for the progressive base, saying only that he wants to “create a commission to propose reparations policies.”

You can see his full issues page here and here are some brief highlights:

  • College: Middle-income families at public colleges will pay zero tuition.
  • Gender pay gap: Large companies must publicly disclose their pay gap.
  • Federal abortion funding: Repeal the Hyde amendment.
  • LGBT rights: Pass the Equality Act.
  • Minimum wage: Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
  • Voting rights: Introduce automatic voter registration, expand early voting.
  • Climate change: Implement a Green New Deal, commit to the Paris Agreement.
  • D.C. and Puerto Rico: DC’s House member and 2 senators should have voting power. Puerto Rico should have statehood if its people want it, and immediate representation in the Electoral College.
  • Electoral reform: Replace the Electoral College with a national popular vote.
  • Immigration: Comprehensive immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship for “immigrants living, working, paying taxes, and contributing to our American story, including DREAMers.”
  • Court reform: Create a bipartisan reform commission to recommend structural improvements to depoliticize the federal judiciary.

Ryan: I would "most definitely" have a Roe v. Wade litmus test for judges

WASHINGTON—Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, told MTP Daily on Thursday that if elected president, he would only appoint judges who support abortion rights. 

When asked Thursday whether he'd have a litmus test for his judicial nominees centered on their support for upholding the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Ryan replied: "Yeah, I would."

"Most definitely. This is not something to be messed with," he said. 

"At this moment in history, people can try to dance around it--I will have someone who will protect Roe v. Wade, no question about it."

Ryan is not the first candidate to make this pledge—New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made the same promise earlier this month, after a bill was passed in Georgia restricting abortion rights, and other candidates have called for the court to protect Roe v. Wade in light of the new anti-abortion rights laws passed in states like Georgia. 

But Ryan initially joined Congress as a pro-life Democrat, shifting left on the issue over the years.

2020 roundup: de Blasio makes his case

WASHINGTON—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is now running for president, taking aim at President Trump. 

Bestowing on the president a Trumpian nickname of "Con Don," de Blasio told reporters Thursday that his experience makes him best suited to take down the incumbent president even if he's currently at the back of the primary polls. 

 "We need to get more unified. But that’s only going to happen in truth if we confront Donald Trump because he’s been the well-spring of so much of it," he said. 

"it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.  I’ve been in so many elections where the first polls had me way way back. I’ve won ten elections in a row, I haven’t lost an election."

Read more on de Blasio's announcement and read on for more from the trail. 

  • Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced a Defense Department ethics plan that includes: a four-year cooling-off period before certain Department officials could move to "giant contractors;" a similar four-year ban on former generals lobbying the Defense Department; limitations on the stocks that Defense Department employees can hold, and subjecting defense contractors to FOIA. Read more here
  • President Trump's annual financial disclosure shows that the revenue of his Florida Mar-a-Lago property went down while other Trump businesses had mixed results. 
  • Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams spoke to MSNBC on Thursday, reiterating that she's not shutting the door on a potential presidential bid.
Mark Murray

New Steyer ad blasts House Dems over impeachment

Need to Impeach, the Tom Steyer-backed group calling for President Trump’s impeachment, has released a blistering TV ad taking House Democrats to task for not acting on Trump’s alleged wrongdoing while in office.

“Our founding fathers expected YOU — Congress — to hold a lawless president accountable. And you’re doing nothing,” people in the ad say.

“He broke his oath of office. He’s defying you. He’s laughing at you. And he’s getting away with it,” they add.

Need to Impeach says this is a million-dollar buy that will air on national cable and in Iowa and New Hampshire.

 

Vaughn Hillyard

Inslee introduces clean energy jobs plan

WASHINGTON — Washington Governor and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee released the second installment of his Climate Mission plan Thursday, focused on creating millions of clean energy jobs.

Inslee billed the proposal as a boon to workers, estimating it would create 8 million jobs over 10 years. Over that same period of time it would cost the federal government $3 trillion, with a goal of spurring an additional $6 trillion in related investments.

The 38-page plan consists of 28 individual policy proposals, ranging from a new “Rebuild America” program that would recruit workers to make existing buildings more efficient to a “Green Bank” that would invest in clean energy projects and a fivefold increase in funding for new energy technology. The plan also seeks to ensure "good union jobs" and to support communities on the front-lines of damage from climate change.

Inslee spent the day Wednesday touring flood damage in Eastern Iowa, and on Thursday will highlight his plan with an event in Washington, D.C. at a water treatment plant.

Other elements of his "Evergreen Economy" plan include: doubling federal funding for public transit, a clean water program, funding for rural energy, and a mix of grants and tax credits to encourage businesses and individuals to make use of solar power and other renewable energy sources. It includes a plan to guarantee pensions and health care for coal workers and to retrain and hire them to work in new careers or on regional projects like environmental cleanup. 

The plan did not say how it would be paid for. Inslee spokesman Jamal Raad told NBC News there were “lots of ways to generate revenue” but “the real costly route would be inaction.”

Inslee released the first part of his national clean energy plan in early May, outlining a set of benchmarks that would move the U.S. to clean, renewable and zero-emission energy by 2035, end coal-fired power plant operations by 2030, and implement zero-carbon standards for new vehicles and buildings. 

And while Inslee launched his presidential bid with climate change as his signature issue, other candidates in the 2020 race have also taken up the mantle. For example, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke recently proposed a $5 trillion plan to combat climate change.

In the crowded field of Democrats hoping to eventually take on President Donald Trump, Inslee has sought to differentiate himself by being the climate-minded candidate who will prioritize combatting global warming above all else should he be elected president.