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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ON OFFENSE — “Trump super PAC launches $100M blitz,” by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt: “President Donald Trump’s super PAC is drawing up plans to spend $100 million on an all-out push to sell tax reform and elect pro-Trump Republicans in 2018. The group, dubbed America First Action, is expected to host a fundraiser in the coming months that will be attended by Vice President Mike Pence and is in talks with the administration to get Trump to headline an event. It has tapped oil and gas mogul Harold Hamm, a Trump ally whose net worth exceeds $11 billion, to boost its fundraising campaign. And it is recruiting major Republican Party donors across the country. Last week, America First officials met with top Trump advisers at the White House to begin mapping out a multi-million dollar campaign to promote tax reform and discuss how the legislative battle is likely to play out. But the stepped-up activity, which strategists revealed in interviews for the first time, is an abrupt change for the super PAC.” Full story.
— “Bannon-backed Kelli Ward gets Senate endorsement for Arizona seat from Sen. Rand Paul,” by USA Today’s Eliza Collins: “Arizona GOP Senate candidate Kelli Ward got her first Senate endorsement Wednesday from Kentucky’s Rand Paul.” Full story.
ON THE HILL — “Senators to Facebook, Google, Twitter: Wake up to Russian threat,” via POLITICO’s Li Zhou, Nancy Scola and Ashley Gold: “Senators from both parties blasted Facebook, Google and Twitter for failing to grasp the magnitude of Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, but some Republicans sought to blunt Democratic concerns that the meddling helped Donald Trump win the White House.”
— “These Are the Ads Russia Bought on Facebook in 2016,” via The New York Times’s Scott Shane. Full story.
MESSAGE DISCIPLINE — “Pelosi moves to muzzle Trump impeachment talk,” by POLITICO’s Heather Caygle: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered a forced smile recently when asked on MSNBC about a Tom Steyer-sponsored ad calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. ‘That’s a great ad,’ Pelosi said twice, before rushing to plug the Democrats’ ‘Better Deal’ economic agenda as the TV hit wrapped up. Pelosi played it off, but privately she was peeved. She told lawmakers at a Democratic leadership meeting soon after that she had reached out to the Democratic megadonor to tell him that his $10 million ad campaign was a distraction. (A source close to Steyer says he hasn’t spoken with Pelosi since the ad launched.) Pelosi is eager to show her party can govern — in contrast to the chaos surrounding Trump — and believes that a reputation as the ‘No Drama Democrats’ is key to taking back the House in 2018 and whisking her backing into the speaker’s chair.” Full story.
—”Nancy Pelosi Has Trump Right Where She Wants Him,” by POLITICO’s Edward-Isaac Dovere. Full story.
FIRST IN SCORE — WEB WARS — “House Majority PAC digital ads hit Ryan in five districts,” by Campaign Pro’s Elena Schneider: “House Majority PAC, Democrats’ main House outside group, is launching digital ads in five districts that target Republican members for their support for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s agenda. The ads go after Republican incumbents in battleground districts: California Rep. Steve Knight, Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop and Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis. The ads will run on Facebook and other platforms starting today.” Watch the ads here: CA-25, IA-01, ME-02, MI-08 and MN-02. Full story.
Days until the 2017 election: 5.
Days until the 2018 election: 369.
NEW THIS A.M. – Bridge releases audio of Gillespie calling Northern Virginia “enemy territory:” American Bridge, the Democratic opposition research group, released audio of Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie labeling the vote-rich, Democratic-leaning Washington, D.C., suburbs as “enemy territory” during a closed-door GOP fundraiser in September. “Our guy is out there, working the streets. I saw him working the Metro Station just the other day,” Mark Obenshain, the fundraiser’s host, is heard saying in the audio. “I do, a little bit into enemy territory, but working it,” Gillespie responds with a laugh. Listen here.
‘HER OWN TIGHTENING HOUSE RACE’ — “Utah Republican fuels speculation Hatch will retire,” by POLITICO’s Colin Wilhelm: “A Utah Republican added fuel to speculation that Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will retire and former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney may run for the seat. While on their way to the House floor, Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) told another House Republican she expected Hatch, 83, to retire in 2018 at the end of his current term. Love said she would not run for Hatch’s seat. The exchange took place in front of a POLITICO reporter. ‘No, but Hatch isn’t sticking around,’ Love said when asked whether she would run for the Senate if Hatch steps down. ‘We’re trying to get Mitt,’ Love added, referring to Romney. … Hatch spokesperson Matt Whitlock responded to an inquiry about Hatch’s status with a dig at Love, who’s expected to have a competitive reelection race.” Full story.
NEW CANDIDATE ROLLOUTS — “Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine Jumps in 2018 Governor’s Race,” by Sunshine State News’ Allison Nielsen: “Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is hoping to take his mayoral experience all the way to the Florida Capitol, announcing his intentions to run for Florida governor in Miami Wednesday morning. … Levine has outraised his fellow Democrats in spite of jumping into the race much later than his opponents. He’s pumped more than $2.5 million of his own money into a $4.7 million pot for his political committee, All About Florida.” Full story.
— “Former Memphis [Doctor] Rolando Toyos enters race for Corker’s Senate seat,” by Commercial Appeal’s Ryan Poe: “ Dr. Rolando Toyos, founder and CEO of the Toyos Clinic with locations in the Memphis and Nashville metros, will enter the race to succeed Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate. Toyos, who unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for Shelby County Commission in 2010, announced his bid on a new website and in a YouTube video last week.” Full story.
DEEP DIVE — “A Post-Obama Democratic Party in Search of Itself,” by The New York Times Magazine’s Robert Draper: “[T]he Democrats’ path back from the wilderness is not a short one. No president since Ronald Reagan has won the presidency as convincingly, twice over, as Obama did — but those victories papered over an extraordinary decline in his party that became suddenly unignorable on Nov. 9, 2016. The Democratic National Committee today is an understaffed, demoralized bureaucracy. It has raised less than half of what its Republican counterpart has taken in so far this year. (Other party organizations — the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — are faring better.).” Full story.
ANOTHER CANDIDATE — “Ninth Democrat joins race for nomination to challenge Rep. Comstock,” by The Washington Post’s Jenna Portnoy: “A former federal prosecutor has joined the crowded field of Democrats seeking the nomination to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) next year. Paul Pelletier, who spent nearly 27 years with the Justice Department, is the ninth Democrat to join a midterm race that could be among the nation’s most competitive.” Full story.
MORE VIRGINIA NEWS — Gillespie releases new ad linking Northam to sex offenders: “Republican Ed Gillespie’s gubernatorial campaign is out with another ad linking Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s support of rights restoration to a convicted sex offender. The ad puts the focus on the sex offender featured in previous Gillespie ads.” Full story.
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