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 Examinersenior 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.
  • And in West Virginia, a certain notorious ex-con is back to wreak more havoc in the GOP.
    • Don Blankenship announced this morning that he was planning to mount a third-party Senate bid after losing the May 8th primary.
    • From Politico: “Since the primary, the Republican Party has moved to prevent Blankenship from waging a drawn-out battle that could damage Morrisey’s prospects…Senior Republicans had long argued that a Blankenship primary win would essentially destroy their prospects of unseating Manchin.”

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Getting compared to Joe McCarthy is probably a sign that it’s time to tone down the rhetoric, but Wisconsin’s Leah Vukmir is doing no such thing.
  • In a state ravaged by the opioid epidemic, Governor Rick Scott took thousands of dollars from drug makers, owned nearly $300,000 in Johnson & Johnson stock, and awarded millions of dollars in incentives to pharmaceutical companies for doing business in Florida.
  • Martha McSally’s election year back and forth on immigration is catching up to her. Last week, her about-face on DACA was front and center in the Arizona Senate primary. With the House locked in an immigration stalemate, will McSally stand by her “painfully obvious shift” on immigration?

THREE NUMBERS:

  • 19.6%: the projected increase of healthcare premiums for Hoosiers in 2019.
  • 19.8%: the projected increase of healthcare premiums for Montanans in 2019.
  • 20.8%: the projected increase of healthcare premiums for North Dakotans in 2019.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: We’re still shamelessly basking in the glow of the Royal Wedding. Congrats, Harry and Meghan.

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