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 […]

Read more after the jump.

WATCH: Pre Debate, American Bridge Reminds Montanans That Rosendale Is Facing Legal Complaints

American Bridge launched a social media video today to remind Montanans tuning into this Saturday’s Senate debate that State Auditor Matt Rosendale is currently facing legal complaints into alleged illegal coordination with the NRA.

The video uses a compilation of news reports to highlight Rosendale’s ongoing legal scandal.

Watch a highlight reel of Rosendale’s legal woes:

Rosendale came under fire earlier this month after audio published by the Daily Beast revealed him bragging about the NRA’s imminent entry into his race. Asked about incoming outside spending on his behalf, Rosendale said “I fully expect the NRA is going to come in…in August sometime…[NRA strategist] Chris Cox told me, he’s like, ‘We’re going to be in this race.’”

About a month later, the NRA did enter the race in Rosendale’s favor. The NRA is a 501(c)(4), or “dark money” group. It is illegal for federal campaigns to coordinate with these groups.

In […]

Read more after the jump.

Rosendale’s Laundry List of Liabilities

Before the Montana Senate debate tonight, we wanted to remind those tuning in that Matt Rosendale enters the final five weeks of his campaign bogged down by a growing list of scandals, gaffes, and general no-goodness.

Here are his top five liabilities:

Rosendale’s phony claims to be a rancher were debunked — then he was caught scrubbing the word “rancher” from his public profiles.
Rosendale admitted to illegally coordinating with an outside group, in potential violation of federal election law — and now he’s facing an FEC complaint.
Rosendale is a real estate developer from Maryland who has advocated for privatizing public lands.
As State Auditor, Rosendale dropped charges and fines against a top campaign donor.
Rosendale has long allied himself with white supremacists and homophobes, including as a moderator of the racist “Tea Party” Facebook group.

BONUS: A new American Ledger report reveals Rosendale […]

Read more after the jump.

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 […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: Republicans On Kavanaugh Assault Allegation: Ignore, Dismiss, Distract

Week of Monday, September 17.

IN BRIEF: A sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is putting Republican Senate candidates in a pickle.

After months of blind support for Kavanaugh’s nomination, GOP candidates will face increased scrutiny on a nominee they thought was airtight. And if their reactions so far are any indication, don’t hold your breath for Republicans to do the honorable thing.

Josh Hawley was dogged by questions from reporters after the first Missouri Senate debate last Friday. Asked about the allegation, Hawley said the Senate should move forward and vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Asked “Do you believe the woman?,” he refused to answer and made a quick exit.
Dean Heller doubled down on his support for Kavanaugh in a local radio interview conducted hours after the allegation was made public, saying “America will be better off” […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: Healthcare Looms Large for GOP Senate Candidates

Week of Monday, September 10.

IN BRIEF: After nearly a decade of thwarted efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are showing no signs of letting up — even as voters say healthcare is top of mind this election cycle. Let’s break it down:

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows strong support for key elements of the Affordable Care Act, specifically the law’s guaranteed protections for pre-existing conditions coverage. A whopping 75% of the public polled say it is “very important” that the ACA’s pre-existing conditions protections remain law.

Meanwhile, 20 Republican state Attorneys General are engaged in a lawsuit against the federal government, the outcome of which could invalidate the ACA, including the protections for pre-existing conditions coverage. State Attorneys General Josh Hawley and Patrick Morrisey are co-counsels on the suit and many other GOP candidates have expressed support for the litigation.

And […]

Read more after the jump.

NEW: While He Thought We Weren’t Looking, Matt Rosendale Scrubbed “Rancher” From His Campaign

 Montana voters know the difference between a rancher and a cow pie

“After years of pretending, even Rosendale himself recognizes he can no longer credibly claim to be a Montana rancher,” said American Bridge spokesperson Amelia Penniman. “We’d have redrafted his Twitter bio a little differently, though — maybe ‘erstwhile State Auditor, Maryland developer, brand-new barn jacket-wearer’?”

Talking Points Memo: Montana GOP Senate Candidate Quietly Scrubs ‘Rancher’ From His Campaign
By Cameron Joseph | September 6, 2018

“Montana’s GOP Senate nominee used to routinely, if inaccurately, brag that he was a ‘rancher.’ But he seems to have backed away from the term in recent months following questions about his experience.”
“Matt Rosendale is the state’s auditor and the Republican nominee challenging Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). In the past months, his campaign has moved slowly and steadily to deemphasize his ranching claims.”
“The most recent, and boldest, example: […]

Read more after the jump.

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 […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: Trump’s Trade War is Damaging Republicans’ Senate Chances

Week of Monday, July 23

IN BRIEF: In battleground states across the country, Trump’s reckless trade war is slamming key midterm voters — and throwing a wrench into Republican Senate candidates’ chances.

In North Dakota, Rep. Kevin Cramer is increasingly choosing his political allies over his thousands of suffering constituents. Trump’s reckless tariffs “threaten the livelihoods of local farmers and the state’s small manufacturing sector.” A 25% price drop in soybeans — North Dakota’s #1 export — has spurred a fully fledged crisis.
In Indiana, Rep. Mike Braun has hewn closely to Trump’s reckless line on trade. But dozens of brutal headlines about the consequences of the trade war won’t go unnoticed as voters look for candidates who will stand up for their interests.
And in Missouri, Attorney General Josh Hawley has  Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: Rick Scott’s Toxic Algae Nightmare

Week of Monday, July 16, 2018

IN BRIEF: Rick Scott’s policies are poisoning Florida’s waterways with toxic algae, forcing businesses to close and families to evacuate — and even stopping one church from performing baptisms

The blue-green algae grows in Central Florida’s Lake Okeechobee because of years of Rick Scott’s negligent environmental policies that put special interest polluters first. The algae releases dangerous, foul-smelling vapors, is dangerous to touch and is toxic to ingest. Commerce along the affected waterways is brought to a standstill.
Rick Scott has a seven-year record of putting special interests ahead of Florida’s environment. He’s kicked the can down the road on toxic algae for seven years, kowtowing to his wealthy financial backers; he’s advocated for drilling off the Florida coast; he’s banned state government from even uttering the words “climate change”; and he’s weakened oversight of polluters.
That’s why Florida newspapers are blaming Rick Scott for the crisis. Sun-Sentinel says Scott is “to […]

Read more after the jump.