Moore dodges the press – POLITICO

With Zach Montellaro, Elena Schneider and Kevin Robillard

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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LESS IS … — “Moore dodges the press as harassment scandal spirals” by Campaign Pro’s Daniel Strauss: “Roy Moore and his Democratic opponent are hunkering down in the final three weeks of Alabama’s blockbuster Senate campaign, eschewing big public events as they try to manage an election that has exploded beyond their control. … ‘The story’s kind of taken a life of its own. People are examining it from all sides and perspectives, regardless of what the campaigns are having to say about it from either side,’ said Bradley Davidson, a former executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party. … The Democrat is spending about 14 times more on TV advertising than Moore, according to Advertising Analytics.” Full story.

The Democrat Running Against Roy Moore Is Barely Getting Any Attention And He’s Really OK With That” by Buzzfeed’s Alexis Levinson: “In the circus previously known as the Alabama Senate race, Doug Jones has been relegated to a sideshow. A victory by the Democrat, who entered the Alabama Senate race as a longshot, would be monumental: a coup for Democrats that would have major ramifications for the balance of power in the Senate, the state of Alabama, and the Republican Party’s ongoing identity crisis. But Jones is not the story in Alabama. And he seems to like it that way. … Jones appears content with running a campaign that is unremarkable in its normalcy. He has been willing to answer reporters’ questions about Moore, but has largely avoided the allegations when given the choice.” Full story.

A new 30-second campaign ad by the Jones campaign notes he was confirmed for U.S. attorney “by a Republican Senate including Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions” and says that that the Alabama Senate candidate has a history of “rising above the politics to defend the Constitution, work across party lines, and get things done.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Bluegrass Committee PAC sent $5,000 on Oct. 5 to one campaign: Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate, according to an FEC filing. But the donation’s description now reads, “Refund Requested.” (h/t: Gabriel Debenedetti).

MEANWHILE IN UTAH — “Opening for Romney Senate bid gets wider” by Politico’s Alex Isenstadt: “Utah Republican Boyd Matheson is forgoing a 2018 Senate campaign, a decision that further opens the door for Mitt Romney to run. Matheson, a former chief of staff to Utah Sen. Mike Lee and the president of the conservative Sutherland Institute think tank, announced on Monday that he would not run for the seat currently held by longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is 83 and deciding whether to seek another term. … Romney appears increasingly likely to launch a campaign if Hatch calls it quits. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee, who is currently residing in Utah, has been increasing his political activity in the state. Romney recently attended a Sutherland Institute gala and has been in touch with a number of key Republican players in the state, including Lee, the state’s junior senator.” Full story.

FIRST IN SCORE — EMILY’s List backs Gina Ortiz Jones in TX-23: EMILY’s List is weighing in on a contested Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Will Hurd by endorsing Gina Ortiz Jones, a veteran and a former Air Force intelligence officer. Ortiz Jones is running against fellow Democrat Jay Hulings, who received a donation from Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. Last quarter, Hulings raised more money than Ortiz Jones, but EMILY’s List will give her a national network of donors to tap into.

NEW THIS MORNING — AAN launches 1 million robocalls on tax reform: American Action Network is rolling out 1 million robocalls in 29 House districts over Thanksgiving weekend, “aimed to build momentum for the recently passed bill while families are home,” per a memo from the group. The robocalls target a range of districts, including traditional battleground and leadership seats. Check out the full list here.

Days until the 2018 election: 350.

Thanks for joining us! You can email tips to the Campaign Pro team at sbland@politico.com, eschneider@politico.com, krobillard@politico.com, dstrauss@politico.com and mseverns@politico.com.

You can also follow us on Twitter: @politicoscott, @ec_schneider, @politicokevin, @danielstrauss4 and @maggieseverns.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Morning Score will not publish from Nov. 23-Nov. 26. Our next Morning Score newsletter will publish on Nov. 27.

POLITICAL CHEMISTRY — “American Chemistry Council ads back Heller, Stabenow” by Campaign Pro’s Kevin Robillard: “The American Chemistry Council is out with television ads praising two vulnerable senators facing reelection in 2018: Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow and Nevada Republican Dean Heller. The ad backing Heller appears aimed at shoring up the Nevadan’s support with Republican base voters. Heller, the only Senate Republican facing reelection in a state Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2018, has faced criticism from Republicans for coming out against a version of Obamacare repeal. Danny Tarkanian, a businessman and frequent GOP candidate, is challenging him in the Republican primary.” Full story.

NOW THERE ARE FOUR — “Pensler joins U.S. Senate race to take on Stabenow” by The Detroit News’ Jonathan Oosting and Melissa Nann Burke: “Grosse Pointe businessman Sandy Pensler said he is prepared to spend millions of his own dollars as he seeks the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2018. Pensler, 61, is formally launching his campaign Monday after spending more than two months traveling the state and putting his business affairs in order so he can devote more time and energy to the run. … Pensler joins a GOP primary race that includes former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young and John James, a businessman and military veteran from Farmington Hills. James had $216,200 in the bank to Young’s $102,000, while Stabenow had a nearly $7 million campaign war chest at the end of September. But Pensler said he is willing to spend millions on the race. ‘I don’t think we can effectively get our message out without that kind of commitment,’ he said.” Full story.

PRIMARY WATCH — Hoyer’s PAC weighs in on NY-11 primary: Hoyer’s PAC gave $5,000 to Max Rose, who’s running against several Democrats to take on GOP Rep. Dan Donovan. Rose, a health care executive and a veteran, outraised all of the candidates last quarter, including Donovan.

WEB WARS — DCCC targets California Republicans in digital ads: The DCCC is rolling out digital ads against 10 GOP members, which “feature local stories that expose California House Republicans for pushing huge tax cuts for the rich and big corporations paid for by tax increases on middle-class families,” per a memo from the committee. The ads will run on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, along with a promoted Google search that sends voters to a microsite. The full list of incumbents include: Reps. Tom McClintock (CA-04), Jeff Denham (CA-10), David Valadao (CA-21), Devin Nunes (CA-22), Steve Knight (CA-25), Ed Royce (CA-39), Mimi Walters (CA-45), Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), Darrell Issa (CA-49) and Duncan Hunter (CA-50).

ON HACKING — A bipartisan Harvard University project gives cybersecurity recommendations: A Harvard University project announced recommendations for how campaigns can defend against hacking, along with publishing a guideline for best practices, called the “Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook.” The guide “aims to help campaign officials at all levels better meet a growing array of cyber threats,” per a statement from the group.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “UGH! We have all kinds of planes, trains and automobiles manifests to now scramble with.” — Interior Department Director of Scheduling and Advance Russell Roddy reacting to news that Lola Zinke would be joining Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on an official trip to Norway, Greenland and Alaska.

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