Fmr. Rep. Tim Murphy gave parting gift of $100K to NRCC

Former Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., who resigned last year amid allegations that he had urged a mistress to have an abortion, transferred $100,000 from his campaign to the National Republican Congressional Committee — the campaign arm of the House GOP — in February, according to a report he filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission. 

But the Pennsylvania Senate Republican Campaign Committee appears to have turned down a $15,000 donation from Murphy in December, as the report notes his check was “not cashed.” 

Party committees often accept large contributions from former lawmakers with money left in the bank — Murphy still has about $1.1 million in his war chest — but scandal can be a deterrent. 

A spokesman for the NRCC declined NBC’s request for comment on the contribution, and Tracy Kolich Hall, executive director of the state GOP Senate committee, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. 

Murphy also reported giving money to several candidates: $2,000 to Marty Nothstein, who is running for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 7th District; $5,000 to Tim O’Neal, who is running in a special election for a state House seat; and $2,000 to Rennick Remley, who lost a city council race in Pittsburgh.

latest posts from The Rundown

Andrew Rafferty

Jeff Flake 2020?

Jeff Flake 2020?

He’s not ruling it out.

The outspoken Trump critic said on “Meet the Press” Sunday that he could be open to a presidential run. Here’s the full quote to NBC’s Chuck Todd:

It’s not in my plans but I have not ruled anything out. I do hope somebody runs on the Republican side other than the president, if nothing else simply to remind Republicans what conservatism is and what Republicans have traditionally stood for.




GOP candidates weigh in on NFL rule

The day after the NFL issued controversial new guidelines about players and personnel standing for the National Anthem or risking fines, two red-state GOP Senate candidates have come out in support of the new rules. 

Indiana Republican Mike Braun, who is challenging Democrat Joe Donnelly, said in a statement that "The NFL did the right thing by requiring their players to stand for the national anthem. The anthem honors our veterans and those who fought for our freedoms, and is not an appropriate time for civil disobedience."

Braun also called for Donnelly to take a stance on the issue. 

And Republican Josh Hawley, who is running against Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, told a radio interviewer that the change is "long overdue."

"Look, if players don’t want to stand for our flag and show some basic respect, then those fines ought to go to help disabled veterans who have given their all in service and defense of our country,” he added. 

Carrie Dann

Another House Dem candidate says she won't back Pelosi

Another Democratic congressional candidate says that she won't back Nancy Pelosi for House leadership if elected. 

Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy pilot and federal prosecutor now running in New Jersey's 11st district, said that the Democratic Party needs to move on to new leaders, according to the New Jersey Globe. 

"I’m glad to see that Paul Ryan decided not to run for reelection, but in the Democratic party, we have to look at ourselves as well,” Sherrill said. “So, I won’t be supporting Nancy Pelosi for leadership either, because we know that the next 50 years aren’t going to look like the last 50 years, and we need a new generation of leaders who are going to bring forward fresh ideas as to how we move this country forward.”

The comments were confirmed to NBC News by Sherrill's campaign manager. 

Sherrill is considered a top Democratic prospect to flip a formerly GOP-held seat. Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen announced early this year that he would not seat reelection. 

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Koch group attacks Republicans for government spending

The latest target of Koch-backed organization are lawmakers, including Republicans, who backed the government spending bill. 

The group, Americans for Prosperity, is launching a "significant" six-figure voter persuasion campaign attacking ten Republicans and seven Democrats for backing the government spending bill that added $400 billion in government spending over two years. 

“It’s time to take a hard look at what lawmakers say, and what they actually do when it comes to reining in overspending," AFP spokesman Bill Riggs said in a statement. "The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress in March showed a complete disregard for fiscal responsibility. Both parties are responsible for putting the country on an unsustainable fiscal path." 

The two-year spending agreement by Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate was reached after months of negotiations that included a three-day government shutdown. The agreement, which increased domestic and military spending was supported by 145 Republicans and 111 Democrats. President Donald Trump, who was disengaged from the process until after it passed both bodies of Congress, said he'd never sign such a massive spending increase into law again. 

The campaign, which includes direct mail, print ads, digital ads and radio ads, is the first phase in a months-long effort to pressure lawmakers to rein in government spending. Of the ten House Republicans it targets, only one, Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., has a challenging re-election, according to Cook Political race analysis. Another target, Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., is running for the Senate against Democratic incumbent Bob Casey, but Barletta has not yet proven to be a threatening challenger. 

The ads will run in the lawmakers Congressional districts beginning Memorial Day Weekend and through the week while members are home for the week-long recess. 

The Koch organization, has had a successful week on Capitol Hill. Multiple pieces of legislation they've championed are heading to the president's desk for signature, including Right to Try bill that allows terminal patients to use pre-FDA approved pharmaceuticals, a roll back of Dodd-Frank banking regulations and a bill that allows veterans to use community health centers. 

Image: Americans for Prosperity's new anti-spending campaign direct mail
Americans for Prosperity's new anti-spending campaign direct mail. Americans for Prospeirty
Carrie Dann

Women make up more than 40% of House Democratic nominees so far. That's a big deal.

Calling 2018 a “Year of the Woman” has become so obvious that it’s almost cliché at this point, but another huge primary night for Democratic women last night makes it worth revisiting again.

With wins for female House candidates in Kentucky (Amy McGrath in KY-6), Texas (Lizzie Fletcher in TX-7 and Gina Ortiz Jones in TX-23) and also in Georgia, the total number of female House nominees is already up to 72 — with 62 of those being on the Democratic side.

To put that in context, as recently as 1990, 69 women overall represented a major party in the general election when all the primary contests were said and done.

At 72 nominees so far, we’re past that number already after primaries in only about a dozen states, with the lion’s share left to come in June and August.

Boston College political scientist David Hopkins noticed just how remarkable this percentage is compared to previous election years, writing that "we are witnessing a dramatic and historic change in the gender distribution among Democratic congressional nominees, caused by a rise in the supply of, and demand for, female candidates within the party in the wake of Trump's election (and Hillary Clinton's defeat). It's equally clear that this development is not occurring in parallel on the Republican side."

We dug into data from the Center for American Women and Politics and our own NBC News counts to replicate his work, and we also found a huge jump in the percentage of Democratic women who have been nominated so far compared to the total number of women representing their party in general elections going back to 1970.

As of last night’s primaries, more than 40 percent of Democratic nominees so far are women, compared to less than 10 percent for Republicans.

(Keep in mind that this is an estimate based on the total number of potential House nominees each election year, not accounting for races where one party may not have fielded a candidate at all.)

Here’s what we found:


Five things we learned from Tuesday's contests

Tuesday turned out to be another notable evening in the primary packed month of May, with contests in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas. It was another good night for Democratic females, but, unlike last week’s primaries, wasn’t a stellar showing for progressives. 

First Read lays out the five major takeaways from last night:

1. It was another big night for Democratic female candidates

Stacey Abrams easily won the “battle of the Staceys,” defeating Stacey Evans in the Georgia Democratic gubernatorial primary. But she wasn’t the only Democratic woman to emerge victorious Tuesday. Female House candidates beat their male opponents in Kentucky, Texas and Georgia. Lupe Valdez won the gubernatorial nomination in Texas. Just two female Democrats lost notable races to men, both in Texas.  

2. Democrats look stronger in Georgia than they did in 2014. But will that be strong enough for the fall?

Approximately 50,000 more Republicans participated in last night’s GOP gubernatorial primary than in the Democratic primary (608,000 to 553,000). By comparison, nearly 300,000 more Republicans voted in the competitive 2014 Senate primaries (605,000 to 329,000).

3. Houston-area Democrats picked the establishment choice over the progressive

The DCCC’s preferred candidate, Lizzie Fletcher easily beat insurgent Laura Moser, 67 percent to 33 percent, suggesting that last week’s progressive upset in Nebraska was the exception rather than the rule.

4. The pro-Bernie Sanders group Our Revolution continues to lose more races

Two of Our Revolution’s picks in Texas ultimately fell short. The group did back Abrams in GA, but so did almost every other national Democratic group.

5. Democrats are running candidates with fascinating biographies

A number of Dems are making firsts. Abrams will have the chance to be the first black woman governor in the U.S. Valdez is the first Latina and the first openly gay person nominated for Texas governor by a major party. Democrats have also chosen a retired female a fighter pilot in Kentucky and intelligence officer in Texas.


Carrie Dann

A look at TV ad spending in GA-GOV

With today’s Georgia gubernatorial primaries getting lots of attention, here’s the major TV and radio ad spending for each side to date (via Advertising Analytics.)


  • Evans for GA Governor: $1.5m
  • BlackPAC (pro-Abrams): $842k
  • PowerPAC Georgia (pro-Abrams): $839k
  • Women Vote! (pro-Abrams): $575k
  • Abrams for GA Governor: 475k

And here's the most *aired* ads on the Democratic side, by candidate:

Pro-Evans — her hit on Abrams “cutting a deal with Republicans” on Hope scholarship changes

Pro-Abrams —  BlackPAC positive bio piece about Abrams/education policy



  • Cagle for GA Governor: $4.4m
  • Kemp for GA Governor: $1.6m
  • Citizens for Georgia’s Future (pro-Cagle): $1.2m
  • Hill for GA Governor: $1.2m
  • Tippins for GA Governor: $859k

And here's the most *aired* ads on the Republican side, by candidate:

Pro-Cagle: Cagle ad on illegal immigration invoking MS-13.

Pro-Kemp: Kemp’s controversial ad showing him aiming a shotgun at "a young man interested in one of my daughters."

Pro-Hill: Hill ad featuring the candidate (a former Army ranger) completing an obstacle course against “career politicians” 

Carrie Dann

CA-GOV: Newsom hits fellow Dem John Chiang in new TV ad

Gavin Newsom, the frontrunner in next month's California primary race, is up with a new ad targeting one of his fellow Democrats — John Chiang. 

The ad claims that Chiang, who previously served as state treasurer and state controller, "lost track of $31 billion" during his stint as controller. 

Recent polling has shown the race for second place in flux over the past weeks, with Republicans John Cox and Travis Allen in the mix along with other Democrats jockeying for position. 

Chiang has spent about $1.7 million on California airwaves — behind Newsom's $6.1 million and nearly $12 million spent by a super PAC backing Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa. 

In a release, Chiang's campaign called the attack "false and erroneous" and said that the latest volley from Newsom is evidence that Chiang is gaining public support. 

“Gavin Newsom’s desperate attempt to attack John's record is evidence that John is gaining momentum, and that Gavin is scared to confront his biggest one-on-one threat this November,” said Fabien Levy, Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director for John Chiang’s campaign. “These dirty attacks show Gavin lacks the integrity to be governor and can't be trusted to tell the truth."

Newsom has suggested that he would prefer to face a Republican in the general election after the state's top-two nonpartisan primary in June. 

You can view the ad here. According to ad trackers at Advertising Analytics, it began airing Monday in major California markets. 

Mark Murray

Dem Super PAC tries to help Nelson in Florida

Last week, First Read noted how Republican Rick Scott and allies are outspending Sen. Bill Nelson and the Democrats over TV and radio airwaves by nearly a 50-to-1 margin in ads.

And since we published that, the margin has increased to 66 to 1, $12.3 million to $185,000.

Well, Senate Majority PAC, the Dems’ main Senate Super PAC, is now advertising on Nelson’s behalf with a new TV ad. Senate Majority PAC tells NBC News that the buy is $2.2 million.

“Bill Nelson has delivered for Florida,” the narrator says in the ad. “When some tried to privatize Social Security and Medicare for millions of Floridians, he stopped them. Stopped insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions too. We need a senator who serves all of us. Who puts Florida first. That’s Bill Nelson.”

Rick Scott's campaign responded in a statement, saying that "it's ironic that a liberal SuperPAC is going out of its way to claim that Bill Nelson is independent." 

"Nelson's voting record is anything but moderate and nothing can hide his own record of voting in lockstep with his party bosses in D.C. Not surprisingly, the ad focuses on things Nelson has opposed, but not a single thing he has accomplished," said Scott spokesman Ryan Patmintra.

Those PACs that funded anti-Blankenship ads? We now know who funded them.

With West Virginia's Don Blankenship back in the news — we also got some answers over the weekend when it comes to campaign finance in the primary that Blankenship lost earlier this month. 

Anti-Blankenship super PAC Mountain Families — which had long been linked to pro-Mitch McConnell allies — officially filed paperwork with the FEC on Sunday showing that it was exclusively financed by a $1.4 million contribution from Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-controlled group. 

Because of the intricacies of campaign finance law, Mountain Families PAC was able to avoid officially disclosing its donors until after the primary election. 

Another outside group that intervened in the GOP primary, Duty and Country, disclosed Sunday that it benefitted from hefty donations from wealthy donors in New York, Chicago and the Boston area. That group ran ads attacking Blankenship's GOP rivals — Patrick Morrisey (who won) and Evan Jenkins — in the effort to boost the former inmate's campaign.