A member of the Trump family is weighing in on the West Virginia Senate GOP primary, urging voters not to pick former coal executive and ex-felon Don Blankenship in next week's contest.
"No more fumbles like Alabama," Donald Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter, a reference to the defeat of Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who had faced charges of sexual misconduct with minors. "We need to win in November."
Washington Republicans were alarmed enough about Blankenship's standing in the polls against two more mainstream candidates that they ran ads in the state to discredit Blankenship, who spent a year in federal prison for safety violations in a mining disaster that led 29 dead.
Republicans hope their eventual nominee can defeat vulnerable Democrat Joe Manchin in November.
The primary is May 8.
I hate to lose. So I'm gonna go out on a limb here and ask the people of West Virginia to make a wise decision and reject Blankenship!
No more fumbles like Alabama. We need to win in November. #wv#wvpol
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday said establishment Democrats “don’t generate excitement” while touting the success of progressive candidates in the 2018 midterms.
“We all want to win. The question is what constitutes electability,” Sanders said on "Meet The Press."
Progressive candidates had an impressive showing last Tuesday in state's like Pennsylvania and Nebraska. Some members of the party, however, worry nominating more liberal candidates could hurt Democrats' chances in the general election.
"Establishment Democrats don’t generate excitement," the progressive icon said. "And I think when you have progressive candidates...We have seen voter turnout go up because the people in their communities know that it’s time to stand up and fight."
The recent departures of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and David Shulkin as head of veterans affairs have given these vulnerable Democrats two choices: 1) oppose Trump’s replacement and risk being portrayed as obstructionists or 2) approve the pick and potentially lose support from their liberal backers.
Five Democrats in the group voted to approve Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month. But perhaps none of the 10 took a more direct hit than Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who was directly targeted by Trump for his objections to Ronny Jackson’s nomination to head the VA. Earlier this month Tester released an ad touting his work to support veterans after taking heat from the president.
A new poll from Vanderbilt University shows that former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen is more popular among independent voters than GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn: 69 percent of independents say they support Bredesen compared to 44% for Blackburn.
It’s not just independents who view Bredesen favorably. According to the poll, Bredesen has a 52 percent favorability score among Republican voters while Blackburn hovers at 23 percent favorability among Democratic voters.
The November election is months out and partisanship could ultimately bring voters back to their home base by the time voting booths open. But the Vanderbilt poll helps explain why Blackburn is finding herself in a tougher race than anticipated in a state as red as Tennessee.
The poll also suggests that Bredesen’s strategy of running as a moderate and distancing himself from the national party could be paying off.
Bredesen was quick to capitalize on the poll findings Thursday morning, tweeting out the results and adding “it’s like I've said from the beginning— my campaign is open to anyone who’s tired of the hyper-partisan squabbling in Washington and is ready to get things done for Tennessee.”
The Vanderbilt poll was conducted April 26- May 8, and the margin of error is +/- 3.6 percent.
On Tuesday, we wrote that Rick Scott and his allies are currently besting Bill Nelson on the Florida Senate airwaves by a ratio of almost 50-1.
So what's his pitch?
According to Advertising Analytics LLC, Scott's campaign itself has placed nearly $7 million in ads on the air already. That includes relatively small airings (so far) of Spanish-language commercials, mostly in South Florida.
But the most spending — already $1.2 million for a total of more than 2,700 spots aired to date — has been Scott's pitch for term limits.
"In Washington, they say term limits can't be done. That's nonsense. We don't work for them, they work for us," he says in the straight-to-camera ad.
Term limits are also mentioned in his second-most aired spot, in which he compares Washington to a failed business.
Last night’s round of primaries may not have been the most high-profile contests of the year, but they still gave us some important storylines to watch going forward, First Read notes.
Primary battles in Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania showcased the strength of Democratic women and progressives, while also proving that having “Congress” attached to a candidate’s name is a major hurdle.
Here are some of our top takeaways:
It was a good night for Democratic women, especially in Pennsylvania. The Keystone State currently does not have any female members in its congressional delegation. Now four women have a shot to head to Washington. And in one of the night's biggest surprises, former Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford fell to progressive Kara Eastman in Nebraska.
Being a member of Congress is NOT an asset. Rep. Raul Labrador lost his GOP primary bid for governor of Idaho, GOP Rep. Lou Barletta delivered an underwhelming victory in Pennsylvania's Senate primary, and Ashford lost to Eastman.
Progressives had a good night. Along with Eastman, two members of Pittsburgh's chapter of Democratic Socialists of America defeated incumbent state representatives. National Republicans said the results showcase that Democrats have a primary problem. “Kara Eastman makes socialist Bernie Sanders look moderate by comparison," the National Republican Congressional Committee said in a statement.
Check here for more analysis of last night's results.
But what is the most expensive race of 2018 so far? Try the gubernatorial contest in Illinois between wealthy Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and wealthy Democratic opponent J.B. Pritzker, where a whopping $66 million has already been spent on TV and radio ads, per Advertising Analytics.
Here are the most expensive contests of 2018 in terms of ad spending through May 13:
Four states will be holding primaries Tuesday — Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania. But unlike last week, these races won’t garner that much national attention.
Still, there are three primaries with implications for the control of Congress — as well as another two with interesting storylines — that we’ll be watching. Here are the five races:
RACES WE’LL BE WATCHING IN NOVEMBER
PA-1: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., is the vulnerable incumbent here in Pennsylvania’s revised congressional map, and the Democratic race to take him on in this Philly-area district features frontrunner Scott Wallace (his grandfather was FDR Vice President Henry Wallace) and Navy vet Rachel Reddick (who’s backed by EMILY’s List).
The Wallace-vs.-Reddick primary has been negative over the airwaves, with Reddick attacking Wallace for previously being registered to vote in Maryland and for owning a home in South Africa. Meanwhile, Wallace – who has more money to spend in Philadelphia’s expensive media market — has fired back at Reddick, criticizing her for moving back to the district from DC and for being a past registered Republican.
PA-7: Talk about ideological diversity in the Democratic primary for the open competitive seat vacated by Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa. On the right of the Dem spectrum is Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli — the frontrunner due to his name ID — who hasdeleted past tweets praising Trump and criticizing progressives. In the middle is former Allentown city solicitor Susan Wild (who’s backed by EMILY’s List). And on the left is pastor Greg Edwards (who’s supported by Bernie Sanders).
Huffington Post says this primary has become "a microcosm of the factional battles that have consumed the Democratic Party since the 2016 presidential primary. Lehigh Valley Democrats will get the chance to choose from a cautious Clintonian, a Sanders-style populist and a conservative Democrat hailing from the margins of the contemporary party."
NE-2: In a true Democratic establishment-vs.-progressive battle, former Democratic Congressman Brad Ashford has a primary race against liberal Kara Eastman. Per the Omaha World-Herald, Ashford wants to build upon the Affordable Care Act, while Eastman wants “Medicare For All”; Ashford supported TPP, while Eastman opposed it; and Ashford has campaigned on compromise, while Eastman says the district needs a fighter.
The winner will take on incumbent Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., who narrowly beat Ashford in 2016, 49 percent to 48 percent.
RACES WITH INTERESTING STORYLINES
PA-6: Democrat Chrissy Houlahan — an Air Force veteran and one of Democrats’ favorite recruits nationwide — is unopposed in this district, which after redistricting looks like a "Likely D" seat. Assuming she wins in November, Pennsylvania would no longer be the largest state without a woman in its congressional delegation.
PA-14: Remember Rick Saccone, who lost to Democrat Conor Lamb in the PA-18 race? Well, he’s running for Congress again, in the revised 14th district. And Republican primary challenger Guy Reschenthaler is airing this TV ad against him: “Saccone already lost a safe Republican seat. Even President Trump called Saccone ‘weak.’”
President Donald Trump will head to Nashville, Tennessee on May 29th to headline a fundraiser for Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign.
According to the invitation, ticket prices start at $2,700 for the general reception and go as high as $44,300 for a private roundtable with President Trump.
The fundraiser announcement comes just a few weeks after Trump endorsed Blackburn on Twitter, exclaiming that “She has my full endorsement and I will be there to campaign with her!”.
Trump won Tennessee by 26 points in 2016 and his popularity in the state has remained at 50 percent since his election, roughly 10 points higher than the national average.
Despite the President's popularity in Tennessee, recent polling shows former Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who won every county in the state in his 2006 re-election, leading Blackburn in the general election.
Trump’s stop in Tennessee six months out from the November election is a sign of just how competitive this race is expected to be. And he is not the first big name to make an appearance in the state. In April, Joe Biden hosted a fundraiser for Bredesen.
With the general election now set in West Virginia’s Senate race, Senate Majority PAC — the Democratic Senate super PAC — is airing a statewide TV ad touting Sen. Joe Manchin’s, D-W.V., work to combat opioids.
Manchin faces state AG Patrick Morrisey in November.