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.
  • 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 blitz.
  • Meanwhile, “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.’”
    • Conservative outlet Right Wisconsin “harshly criticized the image, calling the attack ‘an irresponsible campaign blunder.’”
  • Adding insult to injury, Republican Senator Ron Johnson said“Is there a history of us winning after a knock-down drag-out primary? Probably not.”
    • Not exactly a vote of confidence for Wisconsin Republicans’ chances.

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Dean Heller: Nevada’s laziest politician is “far from a heavyweight” in the Senate, according to a devastating assessment in National Journal. A vote last week on storing nuclear waste at Yucca — a crucial concern for Nevadans — “is something of a slap in the face for the Nevadan. And the declarations of support from Republican colleagues add insult to injury.”
  • Mike Braun: The impact of Indiana’s brutal primary is still weighing down GOP nominee Rep. Mike Braun’s campaign. He’s being slammed in the press for mistreating his workers and pushing legislation benefiting his businesses as a state lawmaker — all while the opponent he defeated, Congressman Luke Messer, is failing to show up at Braun’s unity events.
  • Kevin Cramer: Will Kevin Cramer backtrack on his gaffe last week that the deciding factor in his run for U.S. Senate was the urging of a billionaire campaign donor.  We can’t put it better than North Dakota conservative radio host Rob Port“This is not a good look for Cramer….now we know that it was a billionaire oil man who changed Cramer’s mind? Not concern over the future of our state? Or concern about the future of the country?”

THREE NUMBERS:

  • 19: Number of Republican members of the House who have signed a discharge petition to force a vote on solutions to the Republicans’ self-inflicted immigration crisis. The magic number is 25. Who’s missing? Arizona’s Martha McSally.
  • 50: Number of Senators who have signed a discharge petition to force a vote on net neutrality rules that would protect consumers. You’ll never guess who’s missing from this list: Nevada’s oh-so-brave Dean Heller.
  • 15: Percent of Americans who approve of Congress, according to the Real Clear Politics average.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: This is America.

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