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 Examiner, senior 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.

Reporting from the Nevada Independent found that in spite of bragging about the bacon he’d bring home to Nevada as chairman of two Senate subcommittees, Heller never convened a single […]

Read more after the jump.

NEW ADS: Bruising Primaries Leave GOP Candidates Irreparably Damaged Ahead of General Election

Braun, Morrisey, and DeWine have been lambasted
for months by their fellow Republicans

Today, immediately following Senate primaries in Indiana and West Virginia, and the gubernatorial primary in Ohio, American Bridge released new digital ads targeting the newly minted Republican candidates. The ads ask Hoosiers, West Virginians, and Ohioans – if their new nominees’ fellow Republicans so thoroughly denounced them, why should any Republican voter have confidence in their candidacies?

The 30-second ads will play this week on social media in Indiana, West Virginia, and Ohio, targeted to Republican voters. Among the damaging attacks on their U.S. Senate and gubernatorial nominees that voters will hear straight from the mouths of their fellow Republicans are: 

“Mike Braun is just willing to say anything to get elected.” – Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
“The problem with Patrick Morrisey is he’s just not being honest.” – Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV)
“That’s what Mike DeWine represents, he is the establishment… he is a career […]

Read more after the jump.

NEW AD: Bruising West Virginia Primary Leaves Morrisey Irreparably Damaged Ahead of General Election

Today, immediately following the West Virginia Senate primary election, American Bridge released a new digital ad targeting newly minted Republican Senate nominee Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The ad asks West Virginians – if Morrisey’s fellow Republicans have so thoroughly denounced him, how can any Republican voter trust him to be their Senator?

The 30-second ad will play this week on social media in West Virginia targeted to Republican voters. Among the damaging attacks West Virginians will hear once again about their U.S. Senate nominee from his fellow Republicans are:

Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV): “The problem with Patrick Morrisey is he’s just not being honest.”
Jenkins: “He has these deep ties to the DC lobby world. 18 years.”
Republican Don Blankenship: “Patrick Morrisey came to West Virginia in 2012 – he’s been here six years.”

American Bridge spokesperson Joshua Karp said, “Morrisey barely squeaked through a bruising Republican primary — and came away with his opponents’ damaging attacks still sticking to […]

Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: The First GOP Senate Primaries Happen Tomorrow. They’ve Been A Disaster For Republicans.

Week of Monday, May 7

IN BRIEF: Start your engines. The first Senate primaries of the year happen tomorrow, and they’ve been a disaster for Republicans. No matter who wins the primaries in West Virginia, Indiana, and Ohio tomorrow night, the winner has absorbed lasting damage that voters won’t forget.

In West Virginia, the contest labeled “America’s wildest Senate primary” hit a fever pitch with the candidates pulling no punches in their desperation to  tear each other down:

“Jenkins and Morrisey spent the final stretch of the race savaging each otherin debates and TV commercials,” a dynamic that has senior Republicans scared, Politico reported.
Meanwhile, in another episode of “Don Blankenship said What?!”: Blankenship’s latest racist ad that prompted headlines like, “The Worst Senate Candidate in America,” and “I’m All for Ragging on Mitch McConnell, But This Is Nuts.
On Sunday, Morrisey  Read more after the jump.

Senate Brief: GOP Primary Candidates Are Taking Off The Gloves Ahead of May’s Primaries

Week of Monday, April 30

IN BRIEF:  As the first GOP Senate primaries and conventions approach, Republican candidates are taking off the gloves and irreparably damaging their opponents.

In West Virginia, Republican candidates are tearing each other down, with Attorney General Patrick Morrisey attacking Rep. Evan Jenkins for switching parties, while Jenkins is hammering Morrisey as a New Jersey carpetbagger.

But don’t forget: before this primary, Morrisey, Jenkins, and disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship were thick as thieves, supporting one another’s causes.

In Wisconsin, a debate between Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir “turned caustic” as Vukmir questioned Nicholson’s conservative credentials and demanded an apology from Nicholson for his attacks against her. “We know more about Kevin’s track record as a Democrat than we do about his track record as a Republican,” Vukmir said.

This debate was hosted by American for Prosperity, so was supposed to be a risk-free zone for the candidates: […]

Read more after the jump.

SENATE BRIEF: Republicans’ Weak Candidates (Yet Again) Underperform – GOP’s Blankenship Problem – Abysmal GOP Fundraising – Rick Scott Under Fire

Week of Monday, April 16

IN BRIEF: Their historically weak field of Senate candidates is costing Republicans cold hard cash — and that’s just the start of their problems. From oppo dumps to missed fundraising expectations to misleading (and often bizarre) rhetoric, Republican candidates across the country are proving that they’re just not ready for the bright spotlight of a U.S. Senate campaign. As fundraising numbers trickle in and primary dates approach, the news from the campaign trail is looking grim for Republicans:

WEST VIRGINIA: Republicans are so terrified convicted criminal Don Blankenship will steal the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, they have launched a secret group to try to stop Blankenship’s candidacy. Count on this group — which is closely tied to the Senate Leadership Fund — to pour millions into West Virginia ahead of the May 8 primary, wasting precious resources.
MONTANA: Two of the leading candidates in the contentious GOP primary,  Read more after the jump.

The Senate GOP is still struggling to recruit candidates. Their problem this time? Money.

“Republicans are struggling to get their top recruits for Senate to actually take the plunge — and no wonder. No politician wants to hitch their political fate to the Senate GOP’s devastating health care bill that is unpopular in every state in the country. They’d rather collect corporate campaign checks and hope things get better. Here’s news for Republican hopefuls: this is just the beginning of the horrible headlines you’ll be running against,” said American Bridge spokesperson Joshua Karp.

Roll Call: Why House Members Aren’t Rushing to Announce for Senate

By Simone Pathe | June 18, 2017

“It’s no secret that a handful of House members are mulling bids for the Senate next year,” but most “are in no rush to officially announce their Senate campaigns.”
“Sixteen months is a long time to face the barrage of attacks that comes with running statewide.”
“And in an uncertain political environment, candidates may […]

Read more after the jump.

GOP Senate Primaries Are Getting Nasty and Crowded

Two stories out this morning expose how weak Republican Senate candidate recruitment efforts are this cycle. Expensive, damaging primaries are starting to look inevitable as top-tier politicians stay on the sidelines and second-string candidates crowd the field.

Roll Call reports that devastating primary fights may be ahead in three must-win states for Senate Republicans as state attorneys general are weighing Senate bids.

In West Virginia, “the sparring is out in the open” with Rep. Evan Jenkins and A.G. Patrick Morrisey attacking each other almost daily.
In Missouri, “Some Republicans in Missouri are pushing Attorney General Josh Hawley to run for Senate” against GOP Rep. Ann Wagner, amid hand-wringing that Wagner’s long career as a D.C. insider may be a serious liability.
And in Indiana, Attorney General Curtis Hill is considering joining the nasty fray between Rep. Todd Rokita and Rep. Luke Messer. Hill, “who’s been peppering his Lincoln Day Dinner speeches with […]

Read more after the jump.

Hypocrisy Alert:  GOP Senate Hopefuls Cared *A Lot* About Classified Information Last Year

Back in 2016 and earlier, ambitious Republican politicians scored political points by feigning outrage over the handling of classified information. Now these Republicans are running for U.S. Senate — or are weighing campaigns — and what action are they taking about Donald Trump’s dangerous recklessness with classified intelligence?

Nothing.

(Or, if you’re Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, worse than nothing: excuses for doing nothing that give Trump a free pass).

Let’s turn back the clock and take a look at what Republican Senate hopefuls said about the mishandling of classified information…

Pennsylvania: Rep. Lou Barletta: “A crime”
Florida: Gov. Rick Scott: Spent $1 million on ads about classified emails
Indiana: Luke Messer: “Dishonesty and poor judgment”
Missouri: Rep. Ann Wagner: “Cannot be trusted
North Dakota: Rep. Kevin Cramer: “Appoint a special prosecutor to formally investigate”
Pennsylvania: […]

Read more after the jump.

Night Of The Living Ted

Just when you thought it was over, Ted Cruz joined his faithful sidekick Glenn Beck to announce that he’s lyin’ in wait for an election night miracle in Nebraska.

As Reince Priebus frantically tries to bring Republicans together behind Trump, “Washington’s most hated man” stubbornly refuses to endorse his party’s presumptive nominee. Ted can’t help but stoke the remaining embers of the GOP’s dumpster fire primary.

Don’t worry Reince, we’ve still got you covered with the Bailey’s.

Read more after the jump.