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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BRAND PROBLEMS — “Democratic brand still suffering despite GOP woes,” by Campaign Pro’s Elena Schneider: “Democrats, fuming with anger at President Donald Trump and the GOP, boil down the current political fight as one of good versus bad. There’s just one problem: Many voters see it as bad versus worse. Approval of the Republican Party is at historic lows, with 62 percent of Americans expressing a negative opinion of the GOP in a September CNN poll. But voters’ views of the Democratic Party are not rising as Republicans sink, and in some polling, the Democrats have continued to slip, threatening their opportunity to make big gains in the next election. An October poll from Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, a progressive nonprofit, showed opinions about the Democratic brand falling by double digits over several months among a handful of key groups, including Hispanics (from 47 percent positive and 34 percent negative to 39 percent positive and 40 percent negative), unmarried women (52-30 to 44-37) and white millennials (34-46 to 29-51). … Democratic strategists say the party’s poor standing with voters is a source of concern heading into a 2018 election that otherwise looks like it is setting up nicely for the party.” Full story.
DEPARTURE LOUNGE — “Lamar Smith won’t seek reelection to House,” by POLITICO’s Darius Dixon: “Rep. Lamar Smith, the controversial chairman of the House Science Committee, announced Thursday that he will leave Congress when his term ends in 2018. The 16-term Texas Republican is one of the longest-serving members of the state’s congressional delegation, and has often tussled with academics, scientific organizations and government regulators since become Science chairman in 2013. In a letter to constituents, Smith said there were several reasons he is choosing not to seek reelection next year, including that he will complete his term as chairman of the House Science Committee.” Full story.
— Potential replacements for TX-05, TX-21: GOP operatives named former Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne as a potential candidate to replace Hensarling, and state Sen. Donna Campbell as a potential candidate to replace Smith.
ON THE AIR — NEW THIS MORNING — Freedom Partners backs Laxalt in Nevada with $1 million buy: The Koch Bros.-backed super PAC Freedom Partners Action Fund is up with a $1 million ad buy boosting GOP Attorney General Adam Laxalt in the Nevada governor’s race. “There is someone different working for us every day. An Iraq war veteran,” the narrator says in the ad. “He’s protecting seniors against fraud. Fighting for a good education for every child. And standing up against higher taxes. He’s Adam Laxalt.” Watch the ad here.
— North Dakota GOP attacks Heitkamp with softball ad: During the World Series, the North Dakota GOP aired a softball-themed ad attacking Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for supporting Obamacare and siding with Planned Parenthood. The ad is a parody of a famous Heitkamp spot from her 2012 election, featuring her in a batting cage. Watch the ad here.
FIRST IN SCORE — ADLF prepares FEC complaint against America First Action: The liberal-leaning group American Democracy Legal Fund is preparing to file an FEC complaint against the Trump-backing super PAC America First Action because the group reportedly met with Trump advisers at the White House to brief them, even though Trump is already an official candidate for president in 2020. “Federal campaign law exists to prevent candidates, like Donald Trump, from abusing the power of their office by offering favors to wealthy donors in exchange for millions of dollars to supportive super-PACs,” said ADLF President Brad Woodhouse. “But this is the Trump Administration, and Donald Trump hasn’t found a law on the books intended to prevent him from selling out the American people that he hasn’t tried to bend, twist and straight up break for his own gain.”
FIRST IN SCORE — NRCC to target Democrats on CHIP vote: The NRCC will go after Democratic incumbents if they vote against the CHIP program today, a vote that’s expected to fall along partisan lines due to gridlock over how to pay for the legislation. The digital ads will say that incumbents “voted to kill the Children’s Health Insurance Program.” The ad continues: “Washington politicians first voted to jack up our premiums, now they’re protecting subsidies for the 1 percent at our kid’s expense.”
CIVIL WAR WATCH — DFA pulls support for Northam: The progressive group Democracy for America said it was pulling “direct aid” from Northam after he said yesterday he would sign legislation barring sanctuary cities. “We refuse to be silent any longer and even remotely complicit in the disastrous, racist, and voter-turnout-depressing campaign Ralph Northam appears intent on running,” DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain said.
Days until the 2017 election: 4.
Days until the 2018 election: 368.
TROUBLE AT HOME — “DNC fires its top fundraiser,” by POLITICO’s Gabriel Debenedetti: “The DNC dismissed its top fundraiser today after just five months on the job, two Democrats familiar with the move told POLITICO. Emily Mellencamp Smith, the party’s finance director, was let go in a shakeup of the party’s senior leadership designed to energize the party’s fundraising.
— One reaction: “I’ve seen a lot of bosses scapegoat staff to cover their own failures but Tom Pérez takes the cake for this one. Really really despicable.” Paul Tencher, chief-of-staff to Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, tweeted.
ICYMI — “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC,” by Donna Brazile. Full story.
OPPO FILES — “Report links Chrissy Houlahan’s former company to Chinese ‘sweatshops,’” by City and State PA’s Ryan Briggs: “A 13-year-old report linking US corporations to sweatshop-like conditions in Chinese shoe factories has come back to haunt Democratic Congressional candidate Chrissy Houlahan, who is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello in Pennsylvania’s 6th District. Houlahan had worked for years as an executive at AND1, an athletic apparel company, serving as chief operating officer until the company’s sale in 2005. Findings from a 2004 report by the pro-union Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights outlined financial ties between the sneaker company and factories owned by the Taiwan-based Pou Chen Group that allegedly engaged in ‘abusive working conditions.’” Full story.
LAST CALL FOR VIRGINIA POLLS — A new Suffolk University poll has Democrat Ralph Northam leading Republican Ed Gillespie 47 percent to 43 percent, with Libertarian Clifford Hyra picking up 2 percent. The live caller poll surveyed 500 likely voters between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 and has a margin or error of 4.4 percentage points.
FINAL ADS — Northam links Gillespie to Trump in new ad: Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is out with a new ad in the Virginia governor’s race linking Republican Ed Gillespie to President Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in the state. The ad suggests Gillespie supports Trump on education, environmental and health care issues. Full story.
— Gillespie campaign airs ad on backlash to LVF spot: “Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie is up with a new, 30-second television ad focused on the backlash to a Latino Victory Fund spot that aired earlier this week.” Full story.
— “After an intentionally slow start, Murphy far outspending Guadagno on TV ads,” by POLITICO’s New Jersey Katherine Landergan: “Democratic New Jersey gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy is far outspending Republican Kim Guadagno in advertising dollars during the final weeks of the campaign, after allowing her to dominate the airwaves earlier in the race. Murphy’s campaign spent less than $40,000 on advertising in September, when the general election campaign began in earnest, according to Advertising Analytics, a group that tracks ad buys. Guadagno’s team spent $856,709 — more than 20 times that amount. Then things changed dramatically in October. Though Guadagno, the state’s lieutenant governor, accelerated her spending to $1.5 million, Murphy spent more than 2 1/2 times that, or about $3.85 million.” Full story.
ON THE WEB — “Democratic PAC Priorities USA budgeting $50 million for digital ads in 2018,” by The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe: “A Democratic super PAC is planning to spend at least $50 million over the next year on digital advertising to elect Democrats across the country in what is believed to be the largest sum ever set aside for such outreach on the political left.” Full story.
INTERESTING EXPERIMENT — “Fox News is trying to reinvent the exit poll. The survey strategy involves people who don’t vote,” by the Post’s Callum Borchers: “[Arnon Mishkin, who heads the Fox News decision desk] said he and a team of seven others have developed a new projection system that includes doing something counterintuitive. ‘We’re going to be talking to people who tell us they’re not going to vote,’ Mishkin said. ‘We’re going to say, ‘Well, okay, why aren’t you voting? And if you were going to vote, who would you have voted for?’’ Here’s the logic: ‘If you think about American politics since 2004, election results are less about who convinced whom and more about who motivated their base better. Who got their people to the polls?’” Full story.
ABOUT THAT MOORE FUNDRAISER — A day after Sen. Roger Wicker attended a fundraiser for former Alabama Supreme Court Judge Roy Moore (also attended by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, among others) the Mississippi senator released a statement explaining his attendance: “I attended a fundraiser in Washington, DC, for Judge Roy Moore. He is our Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, and I’m glad to support him, contribute to his campaign, and help to see that he is elected. I did the same countless times last cycle as NRSC Chairman. I’ve worked too hard to preserve our Republican majority in the Senate to let Democrats try to divide and defeat us. Republicans have better candidates, better policy ideas, and a better vision for our country’s future. If we’re united we’ll win this race, and both Alabama and the country will be better off for it.”
AWK — Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity lists dead member: A Morning Score reader flagged to us that the White House’s election integrity commission, tasked with studying voter fraud, lists former Arkansas state Rep. David Dunn as a commission member. Only problem? Dunn, 52, died last month.
OUTSIDE HELP — Top GOP strategists form super PAC backing Schuette in Michigan: “A group of top Republican strategists has formed a new super PAC to support Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s gubernatorial bid. Phil Cox, a former executive director of the Republican Governors Association, will chair the super PAC, which is called Better Jobs Stronger Families. Stu Sandler, a former general consultant for the Michigan Republican Party, will be executive director. Veteran Republican lawyer Charlie Spies will serve as legal counsel, and political strategist Russ Schriefer, who served as a top adviser to Mitt Romney in 2012, will be media consultant.” Full story.
STAFFING UP — Senate Majority PAC rolls out senior staff: Senate Majority PAC announced its senior staff for 2018, according to a statement from the group. Diana Astiz, who served as Katie McGinty’s research director in 2016, will reprise the roll for the group. Angelique Cannon Harris, who served as the deputy national finance director for the mid-Atlantic region for Hillary Clinton, will be Senate Majority PAC’s national finance director. Alexandra Shapiro will be the deputy national finance director. Chris Hayden will be the communications director. Alex Katz, who worked on Chuck Schumer’s Senate staff, will be a senior adviser. Pamela Stamoulis will be the group’s first digital director.
CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I absolutely will use this media circus to sell/promote whatever I damn well please.” — Kid Rock told Buzzfeed in a statement that he “won’t say how much money he made from the ‘Kid Rock For Senate’ stunt or where it went.”
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