Senate Brief: Kavanaugh Is Already Hurting Republican Candidates

Week of Monday, September 24, 2018

IN BRIEF: Kevin Cramer is under fire for suggesting an alleged rape attempt by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was “absurd” because it “never went anywhere,” and the parties involved were “drunk” “teenagers.”

  • This isn’t your average Cramer gaffe. While most Republican Senate candidates are staying safely in the “she should testify” lane, Cramer is professing disbelief. What’s more, his suggestion that the allegation shouldn’t be taken seriously because it “never went anywhere” is being compared to Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments.
  • This will be a liability for Republicans. Cramer has moved the ball down the court by being the first Senate candidate to flat-out deny the allegations. He’s also crossed a line in the midst of a national conversation about assault and consent. And his fellow Republican office-seekers will have to answer for that.
  • Republicans have lost a major talking point. As Kavanaugh’s nomination becomes more poisonous, Republican Senate candidates who have hammered their opponents for months on the Supreme Court nominee will have to find a new talking point. With healthcare and tax cuts off the table, that doesn’t leave them many options.

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Rick Scott’s bus tour was a total bust. Last week he cancelled multiple events after protesters dogged him for the algae blooms plaguing Florida. It’s no wonder constituents are wondering why Scott is so determinedly avoiding them at the height of an environmental crisis.
  • Mike Braun is running as a made-in-America businessman. But even after he came under fire for profiting off of goods made abroad at his company, Meyer Distributing, Braun has continued to peddle foreign-made goods at the home store his owns with his wife.
  • Matt Rosendale is just your average millionaire real estate developer. So it follows that he’s long been committed to privatizing federal lands for use by developers or energy companies. And while Rosendale has tried to backtrack this stance, Montanans are holding him accountable.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: “Family Business,” by Kanye West (2004)

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