Scott Walker charges opponent with plagiarizing schools budget plan

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker accused Democratic challenger Tony Evers on Friday of plagiarizing parts of an education budget plan that Evers submitted as state schools chief, just hours before Walker and Evers clash in their first debate in the hotly contested race.

Four passages in the budget document released last month by Evers — and shared with POLITICO by the Walker campaign — were taken from other sources without any attribution, the Department of Public Instruction acknowledged in a statement. Evers told POLITICO that the lack of citations for the material shouldn’t distract from his “proactive, positive vision” for Wisconsin students, and agency procedures will be changed to prevent a recurrence.

A spokesman for Evers’ agency, Thomas McCarthy, said the lack of attribution was the result of “an oversight by staff when drafting the paper.”

The four pieces of text lifted from other sources cover summer learning loss, workforce Continue reading “Scott Walker charges opponent with plagiarizing schools budget plan”

Dem operative arrested after alleged altercation with Laxalt campaign manager

A Democratic activist employed by American Bridge, the party’s outside-group research arm, was arrested and charged with battery in Las Vegas on Tuesday night after an alleged altercation with the manager of Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s gubernatorial campaign.

Kristin Davison, Laxalt’s campaign manager, told police that Mike Stark, the activist, hurt her as he tried to question Laxalt at an event at the East Las Vegas Community Center. In a statement to police that was provided to POLITICO by Laxalt’s campaign, Davison said Stark "physically pushed his body on me multiple times. I asked him to stop and to back away and he did not."

Laxalt and his staff then retreated to a conference room, Davison said in the report, at which point Stark "pushed the door wide open, trapping myself and staff in the doorway."

"At that point he continued to yell and hold a camera Continue reading “Dem operative arrested after alleged altercation with Laxalt campaign manager”

Sen. Perdue appears to snatch phone away from student attempting to ask question

Sen. David Perdue appeared to snatch a phone away from a college student attempting Saturday to ask the senator a question about alleged voter suppression .

In the video, posted to the Young Democratic Socialists of America’s Twitter feed, Perdue is asked by a student at Georgia Tech about an Associated Press report which said that over 53,000 voter applications were on hold in Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office. An analysis conducted by the Associated Press found that a majority of those applications in limbo were African American.

Kemp is the Republican nominee for governor. He is running against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Polling shows the race is tight.

In the video, the unidentified student approaches Perdue at Georgia Tech to ask him about the report. Perdue was at the school’s campus campaigning for Kemp. The YDSA said the student was a member of the organization.

The student then tries Continue reading “Sen. Perdue appears to snatch phone away from student attempting to ask question”

Sen. Perdue appears to snatch phone away from student attempting to ask question

Sen. David Perdue appeared to snatch a phone away from a college student attempting Saturday to ask the senator a question about alleged voter suppression .

In the video, posted to the Young Democratic Socialists of America’s Twitter feed, Perdue is asked by a student at Georgia Tech about an Associated Press report which said that over 53,000 voter applications were on hold in Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office. An analysis conducted by the Associated Press found that a majority of those applications in limbo were African American.

Kemp is the Republican nominee for governor. He is running against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Polling shows the race is tight.

In the video, the unidentified student approaches Perdue at Georgia Tech to ask him about the report. Perdue was at the school’s campus campaigning for Kemp. The YDSA said the student was a member of the organization.

The student then tries Continue reading “Sen. Perdue appears to snatch phone away from student attempting to ask question”

Maine Dems fear focus on Collins distracts from big 2018 races

Maine Democrats are already getting ready to take on GOP Sen. Susan Collins in 2020. But party leaders are also concerned that the wave of activism around Collins’ vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is eclipsing must-win races in the coming midterm elections.

Democrats have been waiting eight years to succeed controversial Republican Gov. Paul LePage, but Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills is still locked in a tight race with Republican Shawn Moody to be the next governor. A key battleground House race is playing out in the northern half of the state. And Democrats are also just one seat away from flipping Maine’s state Senate and potentially gaining full control over state government in 2019.

The state campaigns in Maine have some of the clearest policy consequences in the country: LePage has defied a popular vote calling for expanding Medicaid eligibility in Maine to an additional 70,000 Continue reading “Maine Dems fear focus on Collins distracts from big 2018 races”

Georgia NAACP readies lawsuit against Kemp over voter registration

The Georgia NAACP is preparing to sue Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, in response to a report that Kemp’s office has put on hold tens of thousands of voter registration applications, most of them from African-Americans, ahead of the election.

The injunction would seek to reopen voter registration in Georgia to ensure that 53,000 registrants on hold in Kemp’s office — and possibly others affected by an outage of the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the state’s voter registration website — would be allowed to register for the upcoming election.

The move was confirmed by to two people with knowledge of the NAACP of Georgia’s plans. The last day to register to vote was Tuesday.

The strict policies enforced by Kemp’s office for voter registration and verification have been under scrutiny in his campaign against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, who once ran a Continue reading “Georgia NAACP readies lawsuit against Kemp over voter registration”

Michigan progressive El-Sayed launches PAC after governor run

Abdul El-Sayed, the progressive physician who was the runner-up in Michigan Democrats’ primary for governor last month, is launching a new political action committee to harness the energy from his upstart campaign.

El-Sayed’s new group, SouthPaw MI PAC, aims to bolster liberal down-ballot candidates in Michigan and to weigh in on ballot initiatives. The PAC’s emphasis will be on grassroots organizing.

El-Sayed had never run for office before his campaign for governor, and he lost the primary to former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, 52 percent to 30 percent. But El-Sayed’s campaign, which eschewed corporate PAC money, garnered passionate support from Michigan liberals and endorsements from national figures including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as groups like Democracy for America.

The former Detroit Health Department executive director, who said he plans to run for office again someday, is hoping SouthPaw Continue reading “Michigan progressive El-Sayed launches PAC after governor run”

Dems break open GOP hold on Midwest governorships

Democrats are surging back in the Midwestern states where President Donald Trump cut deepest into their old coalition in 2016, led by a class of candidates for governor that have Republicans on their heels.

The Republican Governors Association cut the size of its ad buys in Minnesota and then in Michigan, according to Advertising Analytics data reviewed by POLITICO. That’s given Democrats increasing confidence that Gretchen Whitmer, their nominee in a state Hillary Clinton lost in stunning fashion, will capture the governor’s mansion. In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has not led a public survey in three months, and the most recent gold-standard poll from Marquette University showed him trailing Democrat Tony Evers by 5 points. And in Ohio, Democrat Richard Cordray has overcome early complaints about his campaign to pull even with Republican Mike DeWine in one of the most competitive races in the country.

It’s a sharp turnaround Continue reading “Dems break open GOP hold on Midwest governorships”

Stacey Abrams’ Identity Politics

Stacey Abrams’ journey into the unknown began in the passenger seat of a Chevy Tahoe bound for the south Georgia. It’s a part of the state full of peanut and feed corn farms, and voting blocs that over the past two decades have been more favorable to Republican candidates. By the time she had reached her first stop of the day, a diner in the tiny town of Fitzgerald nearly 200 miles from Atlanta, it had been nearly two hours since she saw the last yard sign with her name on it.

Abrams is polling in a virtual tie with Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, but strategists on both sides say if she is going to make history as the first black female governor in the nation, she first has to make inroads in the rural parts of the state that tends to be whiter Continue reading “Stacey Abrams’ Identity Politics”

Obama to Ohio: Cordray as governor is ‘the kind of leadership we need’

CLEVELAND — Former President Barack Obama used a stump speech on Thursday night to boost Ohio’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Richard Cordray, and more of the party’s candidates in the state, while at the same time bashing Republicans who control Congress and the White House.

Obama urged supporters here to not only back Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in his administration, but to also rally voters to back the nominee regardless of party.

“Rich is someone who has always been committed to solving problems,” Obama said, adding that Cordray “represents the kind of leadership we need.”

In making that argument, Obama took thinly veiled shots at President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, saying they’re taking too much credit for the country’s low unemployment rate.

Again and again in front of an audience of 3,000 at the former East High School in Cleveland, the former president and Continue reading “Obama to Ohio: Cordray as governor is ‘the kind of leadership we need’”

Obama jumps into Dem fight to reclaim Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Barack Obama is diving into Democrats’ campaign to retake the Midwest on Thursday, headlining an Ohio rally for former top appointee Richard Cordray in a bid to rebuild the stricken state Democratic Party.

Cordray, the former attorney general of Ohio appointed by Obama to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is locked in a dead-heat race with Republican state Attorney General Mike DeWine — a sign of Democrats’ resurgence since President Donald Trump swept Ohio and neighboring states on his way to victory in 2016.

The campaign has become a focus for national Democrats intent on rebuilding their party: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a Cordray mentor, has stumped for him, as has Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another potential 2020 presidential candidate. Former Vice President Joe Biden will also return to Ohio to boost Cordray soon, though the specifics of his next visit have not yet Continue reading “Obama jumps into Dem fight to reclaim Ohio”

Trump flips the script on Washington scandal response

President Donald Trump is sticking with his ambitious midterm campaign schedule amid a cascade of scandal — a break from the typical pattern of politicians dropping out of sight in politically damaging moments.

The president will visit Ohio on Friday to speak at the state Republican Party dinner. He also is booked to do more than a half-dozen rallies and 16 fundraisers in as many as 15 states over the next six weeks, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Trump’s refusal to hide reflects his unshakeable confidence that he’s the only one who can get them to turn out in November, allies say — and the reality that his base won’t abandon him, no matter what. He infamously boasted as a candidate in early 2016 that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” — and since then has Continue reading “Trump flips the script on Washington scandal response”

DNC reveals thwarted attempt to hack its voter data

The Democratic National Committee was the target of a new hacking attempt, this time aimed at its massive voter database.

The unknown attackers set up a fake version of a login page made to look like it belonged to the Democratic data firm NGP VAN. It was intended to trick people with access to the committee’s voter file into handing over their passwords, according to the DNC and the security firm Lookout.

“This attempt is further proof that there are constant threats as we head into midterm elections and we must remain vigilant in order to prevent future attacks,” DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord said in a statement. “While it’s clear that the actors were going after the party’s most sensitive information — the voter file — the DNC was able to prevent a hack by working with the cyber ecosystem to identify it and take steps to stop Continue reading “DNC reveals thwarted attempt to hack its voter data”

‘We’ll see whether you can really buy a governor’s race’

Millionaire megadonor Foster Friess has spent more money, racked up more national endorsements and blanketed the airwaves more aggressively than any other Republican in Tuesday’s Wyoming governor’s primary.

It might not be enough to win.

Friess may be a household name in conservative fundraising circles, but he started his surprise bid for governor largely unknown in Wyoming compared to the other leading candidates: state Treasurer Mark Gordon and businessman Sam Galeotos. Friess’ carpet-bomb ad campaign has helped, with the latest polling showing Friess deadlocked with Gordon and Galeotos lurking just behind. But Galeotos has crowded the “outsider” lane in the primary, and Friess’ start-from-scratch career in state politics, after focusing on national issues as a donor, may be too big an obstacle to overcome.

“He’s got plenty of jack and he’s using every cent of it. Every cent of it,” said former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, who is supporting Gordon. Continue reading “‘We’ll see whether you can really buy a governor’s race’”

Wisconsin Dems jump at chance to finally beat Walker

Wisconsin Democrats on Tuesday will choose from a field that once swelled to over a dozen candidates — an array of businessmen, state legislators, the mayor of Wisconsin’s most liberal city and the chief of the state firefighters union — to realize their long-elusive goal of defeating Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

But the clear frontrunner is state education superintendent Tony Evers, a 66-year-old white man who stands out in a year when Democrats have put forward high numbers of women, young people and first-time candidates for office. What Evers lacks in sizzle, Democrats are hoping he compensates for with a record of clashes with Walker over education that could energize his party and deny the Republican governor a third term.

After years of doing battle with unions and pushing conservative legislation, Walker may be the one Republican who gets Wisconsin Democrats as agitated as President Donald Trump does. And that, Continue reading “Wisconsin Dems jump at chance to finally beat Walker”

Kobach recuses self from Kansas vote count amid criticism

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said he would recuse himself from the continuing vote count in his too-close-to-call Republican gubernatorial primary against Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Colyer’s campaign sent Kobach’s campaign a letter, arguing that he needed to step away from advising local officials involved in counting the ballots in the gubernatorial primary.

"It has come to my attention that your office is giving advice to county election officials — as recently as a conference call yesterday — and you are making public statements on national television which are inconsistent with Kansas law and may serve to suppress the vote in the ongoing Kansas primary election process," Colyer wrote in the letter. "Accordingly, I hereby request that you recuse yourself from rendering further advice in these matters and that you designated the Attorney General of Kansas to provide this function.”

Earlier on Thursday Kobach’s lead over Colyer in the Continue reading “Kobach recuses self from Kansas vote count amid criticism”

Dems launch lieutenant governors group to compete with GOP

Democratic lieutenant governors are forming a campaign group to rival the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association, the latest bid by Democrats to catch up to Republicans in down-ballot fundraising.

The Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association, announced Tuesday, will raise money for lieutenant governor candidates ahead of the November election, though the group said it does not have a benchmark for how much it might raise and spend.

Democrats are badly outnumbered by Republican governors and lieutenant governors, and the Republican Governors Association routinely out-raises its Democratic counterpart.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association’s first chairman, told POLITICO that the 2016 election created a “great sense of urgency” among Democrats to ratchet up their campaign operations in the states.

The creation of the DLGA is the latest effort by Democrats to level the playing field with Republicans in down ticket races that often serve as a farm system for Continue reading “Dems launch lieutenant governors group to compete with GOP”

Trump endorses Kobach for Kansas governor

President Donald Trump leaped into another competitive Republican governor’s race on Monday, endorsing Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach over incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer a day before the state’s primaries.

"Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine, is running for Governor of the Great State of Kansas," Trump tweeted. "He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country – he will be a GREAT Governor and has my full & total Endorsement! Strong on Crime, Border & Military. VOTE TUESDAY!"

Colyer, the former lieutenant governor, assumed the governorship earlier this year after then-Gov. Sam Brownback took a job in the Trump administration as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Both Colyer and Kobach have been working to convince Kansas Republicans of their closeness with Trump ahead of Tuesday’s primaries. But Kobach, an immigration hardliner, has forged closer ties with the Trump administration, serving as vice Continue reading “Trump endorses Kobach for Kansas governor”

Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders work to elect first Muslim governor

Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are joining forces to elect an underdog but potentially history-making candidate on the ballot in Michigan next week: Abdul El-Sayed, a 33-year-old physician who would be the nation’s first Muslim governor.

Sanders is spending the final weekend of the race in the state, and Ocasio-Cortez was there last week to campaign with El-Sayed ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary. He also has a constellation of hard-left groups in his corner, including MoveOn.org, Justice Democrats and Our Revolution, the offshoot of Sanders’ failed presidential campaign.

After a July lull in primary season, the race in Michigan represents the first opportunity for insurgent liberals to shove Democrats leftward since Ocasio-Cortez’s upset victory over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) six weeks ago. Tuesday is also the first real test of the burgeoning alliance between Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, who have also campaigned for two congressional candidates on the Continue reading “Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders work to elect first Muslim governor”

Scott Walker broke the unions. Now he says he’s the ‘education governor’

Republican Gov. Scott Walker became a conservative icon by breaking the teachers union in Wisconsin. Seven years later, he’s facing the political fight of his life against the state schools superintendent, and trying to reinvent himself.

His likely Democratic opponent is the head of the Wisconsin school system, Tony Evers, meaning the election likely will be won or lost on how moderate voters view Walker’s turnaround on education.

Rather than run from the controversy that nearly shut down Wisconsin state government in 2011, Walker is embracing it. He insists that battling the teachers unions, giving school districts more control over their staff and balancing the state budget have made schools better.

"I am proud to be the pro-education governor because our reforms are working," Walker said in a statement to POLITICO.

It’s a highly risky strategy. The crackdown on teachers made Walker a national hero among Republicans who have long Continue reading “Scott Walker broke the unions. Now he says he’s the ‘education governor’”