Senate Brief: The First GOP Senate Primaries Happen Tomorrow. They’ve Been A Disaster For Republicans.

Week of Monday, May 7

IN BRIEF: Start your engines. The first Senate primaries of the year happen tomorrow, and they’ve been a disaster for Republicans. No matter who wins the primaries in West Virginia, Indiana, and Ohio tomorrow night, the winner has absorbed lasting damage that voters won’t forget.

  • In West Virginia, the contest labeled “America’s wildest Senate primary” hit a fever pitch with the candidates pulling no punches in their desperation to  tear each other down:
  • In Indiana, the most expensive primary in the nation comes to a close, with Congressmen Luke Messer and Todd Rokita desperate to stay afloat while former State Rep. Mike Braun spends millions to overcome news stories of his unethical business practices.
    • Both Reps. Messer and Rokita did their darndest to overcome their anti-Trump past: Rokita authored a Congressional resolution to end the Mueller probe, and Messer formally nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, you read that right.
    • Former State Rep. Braun wants Hoosiers to believe he’s a Trump-style outsider businessman –but Braun’s deep conflicts of interest and unethical business practices, mistreating employees and taking advantage of outsourcing,  came under fire last week.
  • And in Ohio, Mike Gibbons threw a last-minute Hail Mary — in the form a $1 million defamation suit against Congressman Jim Renacci for “repeatedly advertised lies and falsehoods about Gibbons.” In the unusually apt words of the Renacci campaign, it’s “a predictably sad and desperate end” to Gibbons’ shot at the U.S. Senate nomination.

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Kevin Nicholson: With the Wisconsin GOP convention fast approaching and under fire from his primary opponent for his record of political opportunism, Nicholson is lashing out at anyone — even attacking fellow veterans for being Democrats.
  • Dean Heller: Nevada’s laziest politician brags about protecting Nevadans from nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain, but his close political ally and gym buddy Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has scheduled a vote for Thursday to “allow the Department of Energy to resume its license application process to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.”
  • Jim Renacci: Career politician Jim Renacci just can’t hide his record of fighting against Ohio workers. As the New York Times reported this weekend, “Asked about trade, Mr. Renacci struggled. He suggested that Mr. Brown was focused on protecting steelworkers at the expense of other industries, like farming and manufacturing — precisely the criticism leveled at Mr. Trump.”

THREE NUMBERS:

  • 4: Millions of Americans who lost health insurance in the last two years due to the Trump Administration’s sabotage, according to the Commonwealth Fund.
  • 56: Percent the uninsured rate rose among Republicans adults, rising from 7.9 percent in 2016 to 13.9 percent in early 2018, due to Trump Administration sabotage, in the same study.
  • 18: Percent by which people trust Democrats over Republicans on handling health care, according to an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll last month.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: GOP Senate candidates apparently asking themselves…you gotta be “Nice For What”?

AND HAPPY MONDAY from American Bridge. Follow us at @JoshuaKarp @AmeliaPenniman@EmmaBeckerman1