With Kevin Robillard and Elena Schneider
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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TRUMP’S MIDTERM WARNING — “Republicans warn Trump of 2018 bloodbath,” by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt: “A few weeks before Alabama’s special Senate election, President Donald Trump’s handpicked Republican National Committee leader, Ronna Romney McDaniel, delivered a two-page memo to White House chief of staff John Kelly outlining the party’s collapse with female voters. … In recent weeks, some of the president’s advisers have taken it upon themselves to warn him directly about the fast-deteriorating political environment. White House officials have convened to discuss ways to improve his standing with suburban voters. And on Wednesday, the president met with Kelly, political director Bill Stepien, communications director Hope Hicks, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital director in the 2016 campaign, to discuss the political landscape.” Full story.
TAX PLAN — “Republicans plan mega marketing push to sell unpopular tax plan,” by POLITICO’s Nancy Cook, Kevin Robillard and Cristiano Lima: “Conservative groups are planning a multimillion-dollar effort to sell the GOP’s tax cut law, hoping the American electorate can learn to love the party’s signature — but massively unpopular — legislative achievement. ‘We have a public that distrusts anything coming out of Washington, especially anything from the majority party,’ said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, the grass-roots organizing arm of the powerful Koch Brothers network of conservative groups. ‘We have a job that’s not that hard. We have to make sure people understand the benefits they’re going to receive from this legislation.’ … [Corry Bliss, who heads two groups with ties to House Republican leadership, the American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund,] and other Republicans also said GOP campaign coffers could see a surge after the party delivered a major win for donors. ‘Our donors care more about legislative accomplishments than winning elections,’ he said. ‘This will be a real shot in the arm.’” Full story.
GOP TAX BET — “Tax cuts buoy Republicans, but they’re swimming against an undertow,” by The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin: “The sweeping tax overhaul approved by Congress this week hands Republicans a long-sought achievement they believe will bolster their defenses in next year’s midterm campaign, but party officials concede the measure can only mitigate their losses in what is shaping up to be a punishing election year. … Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said in an interview that Senate Republicans next year would batter the many Democrats who are on the ballot in states won by Mr. Trump, such places as North Dakota, West Virginia and Indiana, for opposing the bill. Yet with voters indicating by wide margins they prefer Democrats to control Congress and bestowing Mr. Trump with historically low approval ratings, the tax plan is hardly a panacea for Republican lawmakers on the ballot in 2018. At best, it is the political equivalent of tacking up plywood against exterior windows to lessen the inevitable damage of an impending storm.” Full story.
MONEY CHASE — FIRST IN SCORE — DSCC raises $4.1M, NRSC banks $2.1M: The DSCC raised $4.1 million in November and spent roughly the same amount, including a $2 million loan payment. The committee has $17.5 million on hand, and has just under $6 million in debt, including its mortgage. The NRSC, for the fifth month in a row, spent more than it raised. It banked just $2.1 million and spent just over that amount. The NRSC has $14.2 million on hand and $10 million in debt, including a $250,000 debt payment.
NEW WICKER AD — Sen. Roger Wicker released the first TV ad of his reelection campaign on Thursday. The ad features Wicker with his wife in front of their Christmas tree. “It’s been quite a year in Washington. We’ve delivered pro-growth tax cuts, confirmed conservative judges — the most in history — and slashed billions in job-killing regulations,” Wicker says in the 30-second ad. Wicker’s campaign has reserved $50,000 on the spot, according to his campaign. The ad is set to air in “Memphis, Jackson, Hattiesburg/Laurel” as well as for “targeted statewide satellite subscribers” according to the campaign. Watch the spot here.
SERIES OF TUBES — “Why net neutrality will be a campaign issue in 2018,” by Wired’s Klint Finley: “If you’re sick of hearing about net neutrality, we’ve got bad news: The issue’s only going to get bigger. … Democrats and advocacy groups are already using internet-policy decisions as political weapons against Republicans. After Congress voted in March, along party lines, to overturn Obama-era internet privacy laws, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ran Google search ads criticizing Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) over the vote, according to POLITICO. Fight for the Future ran billboard ads in the home states of several Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the privacy rules. … In August, the group ran similar billboards in several states targeting Republicans who opposed the FCC’s net neutrality rules. The targets included Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is now running for Senate. This week Blackburn said she will introduce a bill that would ban internet service providers from blocking or throttling content but also bar states from passing their own net neutrality laws and limit the FCC’s authority to make future rules.” Full story.
Days until the 2018 election: 319
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.
VIRGINIA DELEGATES DAY — “Virginia officials will randomly pick winner of tied House of Delegates race on Dec. 27,” by The Virginian-Pilot’s Jordan Pascale: “Politicos, mark your calendars for Wednesday, Dec. 27. That’s the day the Virginia Board of Elections will randomly pick the winner of the tied 94th House District race. After a recount and a court battle over one irregular, uncounted ballot, Del. David Yancey (R-Newport News) and Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds each have 11,608 votes. … The winner of the race is significant because it will determine the political control of the House of Delegates. If Yancey wins, Republicans maintain a 51-49 majority. If Simonds wins, it ushers in a new era of politics where both parties will share power. Republicans have held a majority in the House for nearly 20 years.” Full story.
CLINTON IN 2018 — “Clinton mulls role in 2018 midterms,” by The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Mike Lillis: “Hillary Clinton has all but avoided appearing at campaign events since her stunning 2016 loss, but some Democrats believe she would be a welcome voice in the 2018 midterms. Despite polling that shows Clinton with low favorability ratings, they say the former secretary of State could help Democratic candidates in congressional districts she won last year. “For me, it’s a no-brainer,” former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman during the 2012 and 2014 election cycles, said in an interview. … While many lawmakers said Clinton could be a valuable asset in certain individual districts next year, there also seems to be a growing sentiment that, on the national level, she could be a detriment — both for carrying the baggage of past controversy and representing a bygone era from which the party wants to transcend. If she plays a role in 2018, these voices said, it should be limited. “Clinton can be helpful, but not a force. I mean, we’ve got to redefine ourselves and do our own work,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).” Full story.
GETTING THE NOD — EMILY’s List endorses two House challengers: EMILY’s List is wading into two Democratic primaries by endorsing Sol Flores in Illinois’ 4th District and Sara Jacobs in California’s 49th District. Flores, a nonprofit executive, is running against five other Democrats jockeying to replace retiring Rep. Luis Gutiérrez in his blue-leaning seat. Jacobs, a former State Department official, is up against three other well-funded Democrats.
STAFFING UP — Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt has joined Missouri Rising as chairman. Per a release from the group: “Today, Missouri Rising Action announced that Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt has joined the pro-Josh Hawley Super PAC as honorary chairman, and Missouri’s longtime former Republican National Committeeman Lance Beshore has joined the group’s board of directors. ‘After nearly a dozen years in Washington, D.C., Claire McCaskill has grown out of touch with Missouri and her partisan liberal votes have made life tougher for the hardworking people of our state,’ said Schmitt. ‘With Missouri Rising Action, I look forward to helping lead the effort to replace McCaskill with the bold, fresh leadership of my friend Josh Hawley.’”
— Katie Porter, Democratic candidate in California’s 45th Congressional District, has hired Erica Kwiatkowski as campaign manager. Kwiatkowski previously served as VP at SCN Strategies.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Well, we obviously were unable to completely repeal and replace with a 52-48 Senate. We’ll have to take a look at what that looks like with a 51-49 Senate [once Alabama Democratic Sen.-elect Doug Jones is seated]. But I think we’ll probably move on to other issues.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the likelihood that Republicans would move on from trying to repeal Obamacare in 2018.
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