Castro twins’ political ambitions collide

With Kevin Robillard, Zach Montellaro and Daniel Strauss

The following newsletter is an abridged version of Campaign Pro’s Morning Score. For an earlier morning read on exponentially more races — and for a more comprehensive aggregation of the day’s most important campaign news — sign up for Campaign Pro today. (http://ift.tt/1rYrnXl)

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DOUBLE TROUBLE — “Castro twins’ political ambitions collide,” by POLITICO’s Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Texas Democrats desperately want Rep. Joaquín Castro to run for governor next year — and they’re frustrated by what they see as his twin brother’s presidential ambitions getting in the way. The congressman’s decision whether to run against Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is caught up in the Castro brothers’ unique mix of their deep personal connection and parallel political ambitions. Castro is being hounded by Democrats to get in but is torn, according to people who’ve spoken with him, over whether to take on a popular incumbent with $40 million in the bank. That’s where his identical twin brother, Julián Castro, comes in. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary and 2012 Democratic convention speaker recently launched a PAC and is spending the fall writing an autobiographical, campaign-style book, and has made his interest in 2020 clear.” Full story.

‘THE FLAKE’ — “Trump stokes primary challenge against Flake,” by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt in Phoenix: “President Donald Trump continues to amp up the pressure on Sen. Jeff Flake, savaging the Arizona Republican on Twitter and holding a private meeting with several of his prospective primary opponents. Before taking the stage in Phoenix on Tuesday evening for a campaign-style rally, the president huddled backstage with state Treasurer Jeff DeWit and former state GOP Chairman Robert Graham. Both are considering running against Flake, an outspoken critic of the president who recently published an anti-Trump book, ‘Conscience of a Conservative.’ Trump ripped the Arizona senator during the brief meeting, calling him ‘the flake,’ according to three people who provided an account of the discussion. Trump also discussed the potential for a primary challenge to Flake and told DeWit and Graham, both of whom have aligned themselves with the president, to get back to him about their interest in running.” Full story.

HISTORY 101 — “Where Donald Trump learned his tough love for history,” by POLITICO Magazine’s Michael Kruse: “Donald Trump has developed a sudden, surprising reverence for the past. ‘Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,’ he wrote on Twitter last week. These tributes to the Confederacy ‘will be greatly missed,’ he added. While this opinion meshed, perhaps, with his checkered record on race, his defense of aged statuary seemed to clash with Trump’s long-standing indifference to all things historical. Trump, according to those who know him best, is not a man given to backward looks — ’the most present human being I ever met,’ in the words of an intimate. Traditionally, Trump has seen the past as something to be either razed or twisted for expedience. He once ordered the destruction of a pair of unique friezes to make way for Trump Tower after he reportedly had pledged to donate them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Over the years, he has not so much read history as raided it, cherry-picking discredited scraps to wield as rhetorical cudgels.” Full story.

Days until the 2017 election: 75.

Days until the 2018 election: 439.

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Morning Score will not publish from Aug. 28-Sept. 4. Our next Morning Score newsletter will publish on Sept. 5.

NEW THIS MORNING — Jared Golden enters ME-02 race: Jared Golden, a state legislative leader and a Marine veteran, is launching his bid against GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin. A two-minute bio video introduces Golden’s military past, and criticizes Poliquin for his health care vote to “charge us more for less care” and for trade deals “that cost us jobs.” The district backed President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but supported Trump in 2016. Watch the video here.

PRIMARY PROBLEMS — Bartos attacks Casey, Barletta in first TV spot: Jeff Bartos, a self-funding businessman running for Senate in Pennsylvania, is up with his first TV ad. “Career politicians make big promises but fail to deliver,” a male announcer says over images of both Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and potential GOP primary rival Lou Barletta. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the ad is set to run on Fox News. Watch it here.

— Bartos’ ad means there is now television spending in five different GOP primaries for Senate, more than a year away from November 2018: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama, North Dakota and Nevada. And there are digital ads running in Arizona.

DAILY WAR EAGLE — Jody Hice endorses Moore for Senate: “Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia is endorsing former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in Alabama’s special Senate election. ‘I’m proud to support Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate,’ Hice said in a statement released by Moore’s campaign Wednesday. ‘My fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus and I need allies in the Senate. … The endorsement is notable given that Moore and Strange competed against Rep. Mo Brooks, another House Freedom Caucus member, in the Republican primary. Brooks ultimately did not make the runoff, and it’s unclear if he’ll endorse either Strange or Moore.” Full story.

— MORE ALABAMA — “DDHQ / Opinion Savvy Poll of #ALSen Runoff: Moore 50.3% Strange 32.2%” by Brandon Finnigan: Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore is enjoying an 18 point lead over incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, 50.3% to 32.2%. … Moore wins everyone else. He dominates every other age bracket, leads Strange among evangelicals by almost 30 points (57.5% to 27.9%) and leads among very conservative voters by a similar margin (61.6% to 29.2%). Regionally, he is the solid favorite in Huntsville (54.2% to 29.3%), Montgomery (57.4% to 21.7%), and leads in Strange’s home metro region of Birmingham by double digits (46.3% to 35%). Among likely Republican voters, President Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at 83.4%, with just 14% disapproving. The president endorsed the senator just before the first primary round, but Strange only leads among voters who disapprove. Moore beats Strange by 25 points (56.4% to 31.3%) among the voters who strongly approve, and almost 11 points (49.2% to 38.4%) among the voters who somewhat approve.” Full story.

ANYONE? ANYONE? — “So far, only one Democrat is openly eyeing this statewide race,” by The Boston Globe’s Jim O’Sullivan: “Massachusetts Democrats have been notably underwhelmed by the field jockeying to challenge Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, and so far the 2018 race has drawn little attention. Even further below the radar is the contest for who might join the eventual Democratic nominee on the ticket. Democratic activists, strategists, and officials say there is an unusual paucity of candidates for the No. 2 spot of lieutenant governor. Historically, that job has drawn multiple candidates from lower offices, who are seeking to raise their profiles and, if all goes well, secure one of the state’s six constitutional offices. This time, party insiders say, there’s just one so far.” Full story.

VIDEO DU JOUR — NRSC trolls Donnelly with Mariachi band: The National Republican Senatorial Committee decided to send a mariachi band to one of Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly’s campaign kickoff events to remind voters of his investment in a family company with a factory in Mexico. Watch it here.

STAFFING UP — Sophie Friedman has joined former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s campaign for governor as communications director. She previously did advance work for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and before that worked for Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “And then the last thing is — memo to the White House! — be civil.” — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on “The Daily Show” last night.

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