On Monday, indicted Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27) surprised local GOP officials by reversing course and ending his efforts to be removed from the general election ballot, creating yet another unwanted situation for House Republicans in an otherwise safe Republican seat. His race against Democratic Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray moves from Likely Republican to the Lean Republican column.
Thanks to August primaries in a handful of key races, all the pieces of this year’s gubernatorial puzzle are finally in place, and Republicans’ exposure to losses in November has increased.
Republicans were already battling the trends that batter the party in power in midterm elections, and now the GOP is must deal with President Trump’s flagging popularity in the Midwest, one of the party’s electoral strongholds.
Midterm elections are a referendum on the sitting president. But, what happens when you have a former president getting in on the election action too? Last week we got our first glimpse of the split-screen midterm. On Friday and Saturday, President Obama was in downstate Illinois and southern California attacking the current Administration as "not normal" and "dangerous," and imploring Democrats to put away their cynicism and "ironic detachment" and pick up a clipboard to volunteer and organize voters.
On Wednesday, a Richmond circuit judge kicked Independent candidate Shaun Brown off the congressional ballot, dealing a setback to Virginia Beach GOP Rep. Scott Taylor. Taylor's campaign had ham-handedly collected signatures to boost Brown, an African-American who was the Democratic nominee against Taylor in 2016, to split his opposition. But the judge ruled that the petitions contained numerous forgeries and involved "out and out fraud."
The most critical phase of the battle for the House isn't October; it's right now. Republicans' only hope of defying a "Blue Wave" and saving their 23-seat House majority is to personally disqualify Democratic nominees on a race-by-race basis with quality opposition research. But there's a narrow window of time to do so before the airwaves get clogged, and Republicans will need to be selective.
This week we learned that Donald Trump’s campaign chairman is going to jail, and his one-time attorney and ‘fixer’ admitted that the president directed him to pay hush money to two mistresses in a scheme that violates campaign law. You’d think that Democrats would be spiking the football. Or, gloating at the very least.
On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50) and his wife Margaret on charges of wire fraud, falsifying records and misusing $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses including an Italian vacation, dental work and flying a pet rabbit to accompany the family. Hunter's race moves from Solid Republican to the Lean Republican column, with the potential to move further.
I realize this makes me sound dorkier than I already am, but here it goes: I like watching campaign ads. Not for their artistic flair or that dulcet tones of that voice-over guy. I like them because they tell us how candidates and campaigns see the political environment and how they plan to navigate it.
Thanks to the work of the diligent Cook Political Report summer interns, Jacob Link and Torie Bolger, and data from CMAG Kantar Media, we have mapped out the messages the candidates and campaigns have been delivering to voters between January and July of this year.
The biggest surprise of the August 14 primary was former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s defeat in the Republican nominating contest, which he lost to Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, 53 percent to 44 percent. While the primary season has produced plenty of examples that President Trump and his followers have taken over the Republican Party, none has been quite as poignant as Pawlenty’s loss given that he has won his share of GOP primaries and was elected Governor twice.
For Republicans, the 2018 House playing field is a lot like a game of Whack-a-Mole: everywhere they turn, new problems keep popping up in surprising places. In January, we rated 20 GOP-held seats as Toss Ups or worse, including three leaning towards Democrats. With today's changes, we now rate 37 GOP-held seats as Toss Ups or worse, including ten leaning towards Democrats.