Senate Brief: 1 Week | Closing Arguments

Week of Monday, October 29

IN BRIEF: One week out from Election Day, Republican Senate candidates are en route to fall far short of expectations. Here’s why:

This cycle’s map was supposed to be a Republican juggernaut. After the 2016 election, onlookers predicted a Republican sweep of 10 Senate seats held by Democratic Senators in states that Trump won.
But multiple recruitment failures, a deeply unpopular president, and Republican ineffectiveness have evened the playing field. States once thought to be in play — Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin — are effectively off the map. And even in redder states like Montana and West Virginia, flawed Republican candidates have failed to overtake popular incumbents.
The GOP has failed to find any meaningful message on which to campaign. Democrats have displayed across-the-board message discipline on the cycle’s #1 issue — healthcare — forcing Republicans to play defense on policies […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: 3 Weeks | GOP Recruitment Failures

Week of Monday, October 15.

IN BRIEF: Three weeks out from Election Day, the GOP’s sloppy recruiting is coming back to bite them. A cycle of lukewarm performances in must-win states has proven that even with a favorable Senate map, recruitment matters. 

This morning the Washington Post highlighted candidates in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan who have fallen far short of the party’s expectations. We agree.

But even beyond the states where Dems are running well ahead of their GOP opponents, candidates thought to be rock-solid have betrayed serious weaknesses.
In Missouri, the “GOP golden boy” Josh Hawley got off to a rough start by pissing off local Republicans with his entitlement and laziness. Now, he’s struggling to overcome a baked-in narrative about his burning desire to rid Americans of their health insurance.
In Indiana, “outsider” Mike Braun never really got off the ground. Just last month, Hoosier Republicans were marveling […]

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MEMO: Previewing the #INSEN Debate

Four things to remember as Mike Braun takes the stage for his first general election debate:

Braun supported measures that could strip health insurance from over 2 million Hoosiers with pre-existing conditions. According to Politifact, Braun endorsed three measures that would have jeopardized guaranteed healthcare coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Read more here.
Braun’s company, Meyer Distributing, was the target of dozens of labor abuse complaints. Meyer Distributing was found to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act 26 times between 2008 and 2010 for violations related to unpaid overtime for 25 employees. The Federal Transportation Department cited Meyer Distributing 41 times since 2015 for work time logging violations. Read more here.
Braun has pledged to drain the Swamp, but flies to DC for high-dollar fundraisers and engages in decidedly Swampy behavior. Braun called his two primary opponents the “Swamp brothers,” but in the first weeks of the general election, he […]

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Senate Brief: T-Minus 4 Weeks.

Week of Monday, October 8.

IN BRIEF: 4 weeks out from Election Day, one issue has risen above the rest to define this cycle: healthcare. 

On the campaign trail, Republican Senate candidates are on defense, forced to answer to constituents who are terrified by GOP attempts to gut the Affordable Care Act. 

And they’re not doing a very good job. This week, Mike Braun gets a gold star for healthcare disingenuousness on the campaign trail.

For months, Braun has touted his company’s healthcare plan as a proof point for his commitment to affordable healthcare. Watch him talk it up here and here.
There’s just one problem: Braun’s employees say his healthcare plan was “not real insurance.” Politico reports that former employees of Braun’s company, Meyer Distributing, complained about the “horrendous” benefits that came with a $5,000 individual deductible and a $10,000 family deductible.
Braun has been asking Hoosiers for […]

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Quick Clip: Braun’s Healthcare Bluster Flatlines

Today an explosive report by Politico revealed the company healthcare plan Mike Braun is so proud of was viewed by his employees as “horrendous,” “a joke,” and “not real insurance.”But Braun has been asking Hoosiers to send him to Washington based on the alleged success of his company’s health benefits.

Yes, Braun literally said “Send me to D.C. so I can get ‘em straight and show ‘em how to do it.”

Watch Braun bragging about his healthcare plan here:

But wait, there’s more. Watch Braun talk about how he “took on the healthcare companies” to keep his employees’ costs low here.

No amount of embellishment by Braun can make up for the fact that his employees think very little of the benefits he offers. And now Hoosiers will see straight through Braun’s bragging.

Read the full Politico article here.

Read more after the jump.

Braun Employees: “It Was Not Real Insurance”

“Mike Braun’s own employees are disputing one of his key talking points on health care,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “Hoosiers already knew Braun’s commitment to protecting pre-existing conditions and lowering health care costs was suspect — now they know it’s downright phony. Hoosiers can’t trust Braun to look out for their interests.”

Politico: ‘It was not real insurance’
By Alice Miranda Ollstein | October 5, 2018

“Republican businessman Mike Braun says he wants all Americans to have health insurance just like his own workers — a pillar of his campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana’s exceedingly tight Senate race.”
“But while he may have kept premiums stable for a decade for his roughly 900 workers, deductibles are sky-high — meaning big out-of-pocket costs for anyone who gets sick. Employees of his company, Meyer Distributing, must spend $5,000 a year on health care before their bills are covered, and families pay double […]

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American Bridge Launches Multi-State Digital Ad Campaign Highlighting Republican Senate Candidates’ Complicity in Kevin Cramer’s Sexual Assault Comments

Today American Bridge launched a multi-state digital ad campaign targeting Republican Senate candidates for fundraising with North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer after he called Dr. Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Brett Kavanaugh “absurd” because “it didn’t go anywhere,” and said “even if it’s all true, does it disqualify him?”

The ads target four Republican Senate nominees who are attending a joint fundraiser with Cramer this Friday: Josh Hawley, Mike Braun, Martha McSally, and Patrick Morrisey. Not one of the four has denounced Cramer’s comments.

The ads will play statewide on social media in Missouri, Indiana, Arizona, and West Virginia, targeted to midterm voters.

“Kevin Cramer has made it abundantly clear over the past week that he is incapable of the kind of judgment befitting a U.S. Senator,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman.“And not only have his fellow Republican Senate nominees failed to condemn Cramer’s remarks, they are attending […]

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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 […]

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Virtually Every Republican Senate Candidate Is Lying About Pre-Existing Conditions

“Republican Senate candidates’ pathetic excuses for protecting pre-existing conditions coverage are a master class in political pandering,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “Republicans are hoping voters aren’t paying attention to their long record of deception on this issue. We’re here to make sure every voter between now and Election Day learns just how empty Republican promises are.”

Huffington Post: GOP Senate Candidates Are Scrambling To Rewrite Their Record On Pre-Existing Conditions
By Jonathan Cohn and Kevin Robillard | September 2, 2018

Josh Hawley “says he is all about making sure anybody can get health insurance, regardless of their medical status: ‘We need to cover pre-existing conditions,’ he said earlier this summer.”
But Hawley “is one of the 20 state officials who has signed onto a new lawsuit seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of coverage, which they argue is unconstitutional. Hawley is also […]

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Republicans Try to Have It Both Ways on Healthcare, Fail Miserably

“Republican Senate candidates are failing miserably in their transparent attempts to have it both ways on Obamacare,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “In spite of their persistent pathetic pandering, this year’s crop of GOP Senate candidates is no exception to the decade-long Republican crusade against affordable healthcare. American voters will voice their disdain for such political antics at the polls this November.”

Politico: GOP’s midterm peril: What if they win on killing Obamacare?
By Burgess Everett | August 17, 2018

“Republican candidates are trying to have it both ways on Obamacare.”
“On one hand, Republicans are still campaigning against the law, arguing a strong election result will allow them one more shot at repealing the Affordable Care Act with GOP majorities in both chambers. And many high-profile Senate GOP candidates support a lawsuit that would scuttle Obamacare if successful in the nation’s courts, a case that will be heard by a federal judge in September.”
“Yet at the same […]

Read more after the jump.