Senate Brief: GOP Candidates Struggle with “Dissonant” Healthcare Messaging

Week of Monday, August 20, 2018.

IN BRIEF: GOP Senate candidates are trying to have it both ways on Obamacare. They’re failing.

Republican candidates running for Senate are campaigning against the Affordable Care Act while promising they’ll protect coverage for pre-existing conditions. In states from Indiana to Montana, GOP Senate candidates are still railing against the Affordable Care Act on the stump, yet consistently swear they’ll protect the law’s most popular provisions.
That’s not how this works. Republicans can talk all they want about how they’ll keep constituents with cancer or diabetes safe from exorbitant healthcare rates — but their continued support for gutting the ACA negates every single talking point.
If a GOP Congress repeals Obamacare, or if the Republican lawsuit against the ACA succeeds, that all but guarantees coverage for pre-existing conditions will be scrapped. GOP Senate candidates are consistently on the record with support for the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. The success of […]

Read more after the jump.

NEW AD: Leah Vukmir Is Deeply Damaged Following “Vicious” Wisconsin Senate Primary

Immediately following the Wisconsin Senate primary elections, American Bridge released a digital ad targeting newly minted Republican Senate nominee Leah Vukmir. The ad asks Wisconsin voters — if Vukmir’s fellow Republicans have so thoroughly denounced her, how can any voter have confidence in her candidacy?

The 30-second ad will play this week on social media in Wisconsin, targeted to Republican midterm voters.

“The primary may be over, but the months-long onslaught of political attacks against LeahVukmir have taken their toll,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman.“Vukmir heads into the general election permanently tarnished by the ‘Never Trump’ and ‘career politician’ labels slapped on her by her opponent. Wisconsin voters watching at home will be forced to ask themselves whether they can really trust a candidate whose own party labeled her a RINO.”

WATCH Vukmir’s Republican opponent tell Wisconsinites exactly why they shouldn’t vote for her for Senate:

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: WI-SEN’s Race to the Bottom Comes to a Close

Week of Monday, August 13, 2018.

IN BRIEF: Wisconsin Republicans’ race to the bottom may come to an end tomorrow, but the victor in tomorrow’s Senate primary won’t escaped unscathed. Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson’s “acrimonious” primary election — increasingly a contest over who loves President Trump the most in a state where he is deeply unpopular — will irreparably damage the winner’s chances as they attempt to pivot to the general election.

Vox writes, “A vicious GOP primary, pitting a former Democrat running as an outsider against the conservative state establishment, isn’t improving [Republican] odds of beating Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.”
In spite of a unity pledge the two candidates signed in January, Kevin Nicholson hasn’t hesitated to air his anti-Vukmir oppo all over Breitbart. Meanwhile, the Nicholson-aligned Club for Growth has poured tens of millions of dollars into […]

Read more after the jump.

Failure of Leadership: Voters Will Hold GOP Senate Candidates Accountable For Backing Family Separations

Kevin Cramer Admits His Stand Will Hurt Him: “I Know It Perhaps Sounds Not Very Compassionate”

While a majority of Americans watched the news of family separations with horror, Republican Senate candidates — scared of antagonizing their pro-Trump base — have spent the week cheerleading for Trump’s indefensible policy.

Candidates have doubled down as Trump has continued lying — alternately blaming their Democratic opponents, liberals, and “laws” for a policy entirely of Trump’s own creation that cruelly separates migrant children from their parents.

“The sight of of children being torn away from their parents is so painful it transcends partisan politics. Republican Senate candidates who have failed to call out this kind of cruelty are going to face furious voters of all parties in November,” said American Bridge spokesperson Joshua Karp.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

Corey Stewart (R-VA): “I think that’s the right policy. Now, the fact is we do have to enforce […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: GOP Gone Wild

Week of Monday, May 21

IN BRIEF: Dysfunction reigns supreme across Republican Senate campaigns. From lackluster performances by party leadership’s hand-picked candidates to infighting still plaguing GOP ranks, the prospect of a strong Senate map isn’t looking so assured for national Republicans.

A week after the Pennsylvania Senate primary, GOP candidate Rep. Lou Barletta’s campaign came under fire – from fellow Republicans –  as “lackadaisical” and “disorganized.”

According to the Washington Examiner, senior Republicans raised red flags about Barletta, even after he won the GOP primary with the last minute addition of a robocall from President Trump.
One Republican strategist said of Barletta: “the sense is, nobody knows what the fuck he’s doing.”

Meanwhile, Nevada’s Dean Heller just can’t seem to do anything right.

Reporting from the Nevada Independent found that in spite of bragging about the bacon he’d bring home to Nevada as chairman of two Senate subcommittees, Heller never convened a single […]

Read more after the jump.

QUICK CLIP: Nicholson & Vukmir Scandals Overshadow Wisconsin GOP Convention

The Republican Party of Wisconsin held their annual convention this weekend, ostensibly to bestow a candidate for U.S. Senate with the party’s endorsement. But what should have been a moment for party unity turned nasty under the shadow of scandals plaguing the two Senate frontrunners.

Milwaukee’s WITI was on the scene as Leah Vukmir won the party’s endorsement with 72% of the vote. But Vukmir’s victory was short lived as the controversy over a campaign release in which she compared U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin to a terrorist persisted. Meanwhile, Kevin Nicholson’s shameful attacks on veterans took the air out of his campaign’s feigned apathy about his convention defeat.

Rather than heading into the remainder of the primary united, Wisconsin Republicans will be increasingly forced to reckon with an uninspiring slate of Senate candidates. U.S. Senator Ron Johnson said it best: “I’m just pointing out the history — where we’ve had a knock-down drag-out primary, […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: Wisconsin Republicans’ Race to the Bottom Reaches New Lows

Week of Monday, May 14

IN BRIEF: What the hell is going on in Wisconsin? Leah Vukmir officially received her party’s endorsement for U.S. Senate this weekend at the Wisconsin Republican Convention, but this primary is far from over — and both candidates are increasingly embroiled in controversies of their own making.

Losing the party’s endorsement must have been the cherry on top of a horrible week for Kevin Nicholson.

It was a landslide: Vukmir took the convention by 72%.
Grassroots Wisconsin Republicans rallied behind Vukmir, while “Nicholson remains powered by millions of dollars in spending from groups and individuals outside Wisconsin.”

Nicholson continues to face backlash on all sides after nearly two weeks of attacks against veterans, during which he’s refused to back down on questioning the “cognitive thought process” of veterans who vote for Democrats.

Here’s a handy highlight reel of Nicholson’s anti-veterans media […]

Read more after the jump.

🚮: Leah Vukmir Stands by News Release Picturing Tammy Baldwin As Member of “Team Terrorists”

“After Kevin Nicholson’s week of attacking veterans, Leah Vukmir apparently decided she needed to step up her game,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “Vukmir’s outrageous release labeling Tammy Baldwin a member of ‘Team Terrorists’ has firmly solidified the Wisconsin Republican Senate primary as a race to the bottom. Both candidates are in a tailspin of their own making, and even Wisconsin’s Republican leaders are taking notice.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Leah Vukmir stands by news release picturing Tammy Baldwin as member of ‘Team Terrorists’
By Bill Glauber | May 10, 2018

“Leah Vukmir isn’t backing down from a news release issued this week by her campaign that labeled Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin as a member of ‘Team Terrorists.’”
“The news release included pictures of Vukmir and CIA nominee Gina Haspel as members of ‘Team America’ while Baldwin was labeled a member of ‘Team Terrorists.’ Baldwin’s photo was paired with an image of Khalid […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: GOP Primary Candidates Are Taking Off The Gloves Ahead of May’s Primaries

Week of Monday, April 30

IN BRIEF:  As the first GOP Senate primaries and conventions approach, Republican candidates are taking off the gloves and irreparably damaging their opponents.

In West Virginia, Republican candidates are tearing each other down, with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey attacking Rep. Evan Jenkins for switching parties, while Jenkins is hammering Morrisey as a New Jersey carpetbagger.

But don’t forget: before this primary, Morrisey, Jenkins, and disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship were thick as thieves, supporting one another’s causes.

In Wisconsin, a debate between Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir “turned caustic” as Vukmir questioned Nicholson’s conservative credentials and demanded an apology from Nicholson for his attacks against her. “We know more about Kevin’s track record as a Democrat than we do about his track record as a Republican,” Vukmir said.

This debate was hosted by American for Prosperity, so was supposed to be a risk-free zone for the candidates: […]

Read more after the jump.

QUICK CLIP: GOP #WISEN Candidates Are “Trading Barbs” As “Hardly Any Voters Know Who They Are”

After a Marquette University poll of Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Senate primary came out yesterday on Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir showing that “more than 80% of voters are unable to provide a favorability rating for either candidate,” the gloves are coming off in this race-to-the bottom.

New audio of Leah Vukmir has emerged, in which she trashes Nicholson — despite signing a “Unity Pledge” earlier in the campaign. Vukmir called Nicholson a “DC candidate” which led Nicholson’s campaign to fight back and call Vukmir a “consummate insider.”

Watch the full clip here.

Read more after the jump.