With 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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SPECIAL ELECTION — “Alabama earthquake: Democrat Jones wins,” by Campaign Pro’s Daniel Strauss: “Democrat Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in a special election earthquake Tuesday, flipping an Alabama Senate seat to Democrats for the first time in a quarter-century and delivering a blow to President Donald Trump. … Jones’ win — after Moore was accused of sexual assault and other misconduct by multiple women in November — will shrink Republicans’ already tenuous Senate majority to 51-49, just as the party approaches final consideration of its sweeping tax bill and prepares for the 2018 midterm elections in a difficult political environment. Moore’s loss relieves Senate Republicans from one burden: Considering whether they would expel him from the chamber if he won. But the Republican defeat was a major setback for Trump, who gave Moore a full-throated endorsement in the final days of the race, in a state he won with over 60 percent of the vote in 2016.”
— “… As Moore’s campaign fought scandal, Jones became cause of national Democrats eager to defeat the Republican. Online donors flooded his campaign with money as Jones criss-crossed Alabama focusing on what he called ‘kitchen table issues’ (and rarely mentioning his party). His TV ads blanketed the airwaves, hammering Moore as a sexual predator while also introducing Jones as a Second Amendment-supporting federal prosecutor who had convicted Ku Klux Klansmen involved in the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church during the civil rights era. Jones rode a surge of energy among black voters and got a key bump from white-collar suburbanites who often vote Republican but turned away from the controversial Moore. … Moore still won college-educated white voters 57 percent to 41 percent, according to the National Election Pool exit poll — but the group shifted hard in Democrats’ direction compared to past Alabama elections.” Full story.
— See the results here, and be sure to scroll down to see the county-by-county swing using the 2016 presidential results as a baseline. Many of the biggest county swings to Jones came in Alabama’s most-educated counties, reflecting some of the same movement we’ve seen among college-educated white voters around the country — though for reasons unique to this race.
— “Exit polls: How Doug Jones pulled off his stunning win,” by POLITICO’s Steven Shepard: “Doug Jones needed a surge of black voter turnout and a wide gender gap to pull off his stunning victory over embattled Republican Roy Moore in Tuesday’s special Senate election. … Jones also made some inroads among white voters — particularly women and those with college degrees. While Moore still won white voters by a more-than-2-to-1 margin, 68 percent to 30 percent, that is closer than other recent elections in which Republicans won nearly 4 out of 5 white voters. … Despite Alabama’s Republican orientation, Trump’s support was not a silver bullet [for Moore]. A combination of Trump’s eroded position nationally and Democratic enthusiasm at the ballot box led to this remarkable stat: The percentage of voters on Tuesday who disapproved of the job Trump is doing as president (48 percent) was equal to the percentage who approve of Trump (48 percent).” Full story.
— “Trump suffers ‘big black eye’ in Alabama,” by POLITICO’s Eliana Johnson: “Doug Jones didn’t just defeat Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race on Tuesday night — he administered the most crushing and embarrassing political blow of President Donald Trump’s young presidency. Jones’ win meant that Trump, who had endorsed Luther Strange in the Republican primary before backing Moore in the general election, threw his weight behind the losing candidate not once, but twice, in the Alabama race. … Jones’ win, said one senior administration official, ‘is a big black eye for the president.’ For the president, who ignored the advice of both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his own political team at the White House to stay out of the race, it was a self-inflicted wound. … [Trump] tracked the race closely, asking to see poll numbers from his advisers. On Tuesday he followed news coverage that played on mute during his daily meetings. His former chief-strategist Steve Bannon, now the chairman of Breitbart News, was alone among the members of the Trump inner circle pushing him to back Moore. The two spoke Tuesday morning, and Bannon offered Trump assurances that Moore would prevail.” Full story.
— “5 takeaways from Alabama’s startling special election,” by POLITICO’s Gabriel Debenedetti and Alex Isenstadt: “Moore’s loss deals a serious blow to the anti-establishment campaign Bannon had been planning for next year’s midterms, one that was predicated on defeating incumbents and other mainstream Republicans that are being propped up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. … [One] primary reason for Jones’ win was strong antipathy toward Moore among white, suburban, college-educated conservatives. Many of them chose to sit out the election or follow the lead of Sen. Richard Shelby and write in an option other than Moore. That follows the pattern of Republican under-performance in the suburbs during earlier races in 2017, and it creates a clear opportunity for Democrats in 2018 — especially given their enormous turnouts.” Full story.
ON TAP THIS MORNING — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to announce Franken replacement: Dayton has a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Central (11 Eastern) Wednesday morning where he will announce his pick to replace resigning Sen. Al Franken in the Senate. Dayton had settled early on Lt. Gov. Tina Smith as his pick for the position, POLITICO reported last week, and MPR reported Tuesday night that Smith told a person who spoke to her that she will run in a 2018 special election to complete Franken’s term, which lasts until 2020.
FROM THE HILL — “Quick transition to tax reform could mean surprises for taxpayers,” by POLITICO’s Brian Faler: “Republicans plan to implement their tax overhaul at the same speed they pushed it through Congress, with most provisions slated to begin taking effect Jan. 1, just days after they hope to have it signed into law. They want their mix of business and individual tax cuts up and running as quickly as possible to juice the economy in time for next year’s elections. But the quick start date is fueling complaints that lawmakers are leaving the public little time to adjust to the new plan, including a slew of tax increases that would come online alongside the tax cuts. Many of the provisions have been barely debated, and people may be surprised by sudden changes in policy.” Full story.
Days until the 2018 election: 328.
Upcoming election dates: Arizona 8th District special primary: Feb. 27. Texas primaries: March 6. Pennsylvania 18th District special election: March 13. Illinois primaries: March 20.
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SPECIAL ELECTION SEASON — Poll data out of AZ-08 primary: ABC15 Arizona and OH Predictive Insights conducted an IVR poll that found that former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump leads the potential nine-way primary field, followed by state Sen. Debbie Lesko and Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman. Stump also leads on name ID and favorability. But 37 percent of the 400 likely Republican voters surveyed said they were still undecided. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 points.
CUOMO’S FIRST GOP CHALLENGER — “Kolb is the GOP’s first declared gubernatorial candidate,” by POLITICO New York’s Jimmy Vielkind: “Republicans have their first formally declared gubernatorial candidate: Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb. The longtime legislator from the tony Finger Lakes city of Canandaigua has spent the last several months touring the state and said he’s ‘jumping off the cliff’ because most people he’s met don’t think the state government is working for them. ‘We need a new face that will listen to us. I do that,’ Kolb told POLITICO.” Full story.
ALL DONE — “After 9-point loss in Va., Gillespie says he would not encourage others to run for office because of ‘poisonous atmosphere’,” by The Washington Post’s Fenit Nirappil: “Gillespie said running for governor this year was much more challenging than when he challenged U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) in 2014 — and nearly won. ‘It’s a much more poisonous atmosphere. I don’t know if there’s causality or correlation, I leave that for others to determine,’ Gillespie said. ‘But I could not honestly say to someone that I like and think is a halfway decent human being, ‘Yeah, you ought to run for office’.’” Full story.
2020 WATCH — “Half of voters say sexual misconduct accusations against Trump are credible,” by POLITICO’s Steven Shepard: “Half of voters find sexual misconduct accusations against President Donald Trump to be credible, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted against the backdrop of a national discussion on sexual harassment. Fifty percent of registered voters think the allegations against Trump are credible, more than the 29 percent who think they are not credible. The remaining 21 percent of voters don’t know if the allegations are credible.” Full story.
— “Trump’s tweet creates a political opening for Gillibrand,” by POLITICO’s Annie Karni: “Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s phone buzzed Tuesday morning while she sat in the Hart Senate Office Building, participating in her bipartisan Bible study group. She ignored it. But when a member of her senior staff rang her again, and then again, the junior senator from New York finally stepped out into the hallway, bracing herself for a potential crisis. …The confrontation with Trump elevated a fight against sexual harassment that Gillibrand has been waging for years — and distinguished her from the pack of potential 2020 challengers all vying to play the role of Trump slayer.” Full story.
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD — “The problem with Millennial donors in the online giving era,” by Pacific Campaign House’s Cheryl Hori in Campaigns and Elections: “We are in the middle of a small-dollar donor crisis. Right now, campaigns are seeing more online donations than ever before. The money is great, but here’s the problem: The vast majority of online donors are over the age of 60. As a result, it’s safe to say the donor population is finite and aging. Enter the millennials, a generation even larger than the Baby Boomers. When it comes to purchasing power, millennials have been touted as one of the most powerful demographics. And yet, they’re strikingly absent when it comes to donating to campaigns. Why?” Full story.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s a tough tightrope to walk, and it may not be walkable, to be honest with you.” — Republican Ed Gillespie on running with Trump in the White House, The Hill reported.
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