Democratic super PACs begin $10M-plus digital campaign to flip the House

Priorities USA and House Majority PAC are rolling out an eight-figure digital ad program in more than 40 House districts in a major online push to flip the chamber in the midterms.

The $10 million-plus effort from the Democratic super PACs revolves around health care, taxes and money in politics. The ads hammer Republican incumbents and candidates for supporting repeal of the Affordable Care Act and passage of the GOP tax plan, while accusing them of passing rising health care costs on to voters and taking special interest money.

“Rep. Poliquin took campaign contributions from the insurance industry and voted for a health care bill that would cause massive premium increases,” says one ad criticizing Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine). “While donors would get richer, you’d pay more.”

“Rep. Young took donations from the ultra-rich, and voted to give them massive tax cuts,” said another ad hitting Rep. David Young Continue reading “Democratic super PACs begin $10M-plus digital campaign to flip the House”

McCain family ‘disappointed’ with GOP attack ads using his words

Rick Davis, a family friend and former top adviser to the late Sen. John McCain, said McCain’s family was disappointed that his past comments are being "weaponized" in a new flight of battleground political ads airing just weeks after his death.

The National Republican Congressional Committee released two TV ads on Wednesday that feature clips of McCain criticizing Democratic candidates in the past. In Michigan, the NRCC’s ad showed McCain criticizing Elissa Slotkin, a former Obama administration official, while she was testifying before a Senate committee in 2014. In Arizona, the GOP ad featured a clip of McCain speaking direct to the camera to attack Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, the former congresswoman who ran against the senator in 2016 and is running for a House seat this year.

"The family is disappointed that John’s image is being weaponized this election cycle so soon after his passing, and they had hoped there Continue reading “McCain family ‘disappointed’ with GOP attack ads using his words”

Kansas governor concedes defeat to Trump-backed Kobach

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded defeat to Trump-backed Secretary of State Kris Kobach in their Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday, after a week of vote-counting in the close race.

“This election is probably the closest in America,” Colyer said in brief remarks Tuesday evening. “But the numbers are just not there, unless we were to go to extraordinary measures. But Kansas is too important.”

Kobach stretched his narrow primary lead to 345 votes as late ballots were tallied for a week after the August 7 primary.

Colyer pledged to not challenge the results in court or ask for a recount. He endorsed Kobach during his remarks.

“I just had a conversation with the secretary of state, and I congratulated him on his success,” Colyer said. “And I repeated my determination to keep this seat in Republican hands.”

Kobach will face Democrat Laura Kelly in November.

President Donald Trump had Continue reading “Kansas governor concedes defeat to Trump-backed Kobach”

Power Briefing: All eyes on Trump-Kim meeting

THE SCHEDULE FOR THE BIG DAY … PRESIDENT TRUMP will leave his hotel at 8 a.m. Singapore time for the Capella, where he’ll meet with Kim Jong Un. He will arrive at 8:20 a.m., and at 9 a.m. he will participate “in a greeting” with Kim. From 9:15 until 10 a.m., he will have a one-on-one meeting with Kim, followed by an expanded session until 11:30 a.m. He will lunch with Kim at 11:30 a.m., and then has a media availability at 4 p.m.

TRUMP is flying back through Guam and Hawaii, and will arrive in D.C. on Wednesday morning. THE WHITE HOUSE announced he will depart at 8 p.m. Singapore time, meaning the talks between the two leaders are unlikely to be extended to a second day.

WAPO’S PHIL RUCKER (@PhilipRucker): “Fascinating night in Singapore. Kim Jong Continue reading “Power Briefing: All eyes on Trump-Kim meeting”

Power Briefing: What’s next for House Republicans on immigration

TRUMP ON GETTING READY FOR NORTH KOREA — AP’S ZEKE MILLER (@zekejmiller): “Trump on Kim summit: ‘I think I’m very well prepared. I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about attitude. It’s about willingness to get things done. But I think I’ve been prepared for this summit for a long time’”

NO SHOCK, but the House Republican immigration meeting wrapped, and it was mostly a conversation, not a deal-cutting session. Talks will continue, aides say (yawn, they probably won’t, because most of these differences are intractable). The discharge petition is at 215, and could reach 218 pretty soon.

— IF THE DISCHARGE PETITION reaches 218, the bill has to be on the calendar for seven legislative days before getting a vote. The vote can only occur on the second or fourth Monday of every month. So the discharge petition needs to reach 218 by June 12 or Continue reading “Power Briefing: What’s next for House Republicans on immigration”

Feinstein to face De Leon in California Senate race

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein will face a fellow Democrat, Kevin de Leon, in the California Senate election this fall.

Feinstein had 44 percent of the all-party primary vote to De Leon’s 11 percent when the Associated Press called the primary on Wednesday with 97 percent of precincts reporting. Republican James Bradley was in third place with 9 percent.

De Leon, the former president of the state Senate, has challenged Feinstein from the left on issues including health care and civil liberties. This is the second consecutive California Senate race without a Republican general election candidate. In 2016, now-Sen. Kamala Harris faced fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez in the November election.

See results here.

Power Briefing: Ryan tilts away from Trump

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN on whether the president has the power to pardon himself: “I don’t know the technical answer to that question but I think obviously the answer is, he shouldn’t because no one is above the law.”

— KYLE CHENEY: “Speaker Paul Ryan dealt another blow to President Donald Trump’s ‘Spygate’ theory Wednesday, saying he’s seen ‘no evidence’ to support claims that the FBI spied on Trump’s 2016 campaign for political purposes.

“Ryan, speaking to reporters at the Capitol, endorsed what he called an ‘initial assessment’ by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who said last week that the FBI acted appropriately when it deployed an informant to make contact with Trump campaign associates. Ryan was one of four Republicans, including Gowdy, briefed last month by the Justice Department on the informant.

“‘I think Chairman Gowdy’s initial assessment is accurate,’ said Ryan, who was one of a handful Continue reading “Power Briefing: Ryan tilts away from Trump”

Ryan offers brushback to his critics

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP in the Oval Office with South Korean President MOON JAE-IN on the scheduled June 12 meeting with North Korean dictator KIM JONG UN, per pooler Anita Kumar of McClatchy: “If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later. … You never know about deals. … I’ve made a lot of deals. You never really know. … It may not work out for June 12.”

Good Tuesday afternoon. LET US BE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR … It doesn’t much matter who is having what conversations about an early vote for speaker of the House. As of right now, Paul Ryan is the only guy who could get 218 votes. That’ll have to change at some point, because Ryan is leaving at the end of the year. But that’s the reality right now.

— RYAN’S BRUSHBACK TO WHETHER HE’S LOSING HIS JUICE … “The members drafted me into this job Continue reading “Ryan offers brushback to his critics”

Power Briefing: Ryan wants immigration deal to win over ‘vast majority’ of Republicans and some Dems

KUSHNER INC. — “Kushners Near Deal With Qatar-Linked Company for Troubled Tower,” by NYT’s Charles Bagli: “The company controlled by the family of the White House adviser Jared Kushner is close to receiving a bailout of its financially troubled flagship building by a company with ties to the government of Qatar, according to executives briefed on the deal.

“Charles Kushner, head of the Kushner Companies, is in advanced talks with Brookfield Properties over a partnership to take control of the 41-story aluminum-clad tower 666 Fifth Avenue in Midtown, according to two real estate executives who have been briefed on the pending deal but are not authorized to discuss it. Brookfield is a publicly traded company, headquartered in Canada, one of whose major investors is the Qatar Investment Authority.”

AN ALL-HOUSE ELECTION SECURITY BRIEFING for tonight with the FBI director, Homeland Security secretary and DNI has been postponed Continue reading “Power Briefing: Ryan wants immigration deal to win over ‘vast majority’ of Republicans and some Dems”

Power Briefing: Inside McCarthy’s first House super PAC fundraiser

BEHIND THE SCENES …. HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CALIF.) headlined his first CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND event this morning at Fiola, the Italian restaurant in Penn Quarter. CLF, as many of you know, is the main House GOP super PAC. WAYS AND MEANS CHAIRMAN KEVIN BRADY (R-TEXAS) also attended the event.

A SOURCE PASSED ALONG THE DETAILS in a presentation by Corry Bliss, who runs CLF and the American Action Network, almost all of which have not been revealed before:

— CLF has raised $71.4 MILLION, compared to $2 million this time last cycle. THE AMERICAN ACTION NETWORK has raised $117.8 MILLION, compared to $16.7 million this time last cycle. This fundraising haul represents an unimaginable warchest for the super PAC.

— INTERNAL CLF POLLING: CLF polled 23 Republican-held districts Hillary Clinton won, and the 25 Republican-held districts she lost but received at least 44% of Continue reading “Power Briefing: Inside McCarthy’s first House super PAC fundraiser”

Power Briefing: Giuliani: ‘I could be a commercial for Palm Beach’

TRUMP’S NOT HIS ONLY CLIENT … SPOTTED: RUDY GIULIANI was seen Friday morning in circuit court in Broward County, Florida. Pic

DARREN SAMUELSOHN caught up with Giuliani on phone as he was driving around, having just stopped by one of his Palm Beach Condos to pick up some things. Giuliani declined to name the client but said it was ‘some old business’ he had to deal with before he left Greenberg Traurig. He said she was a young woman – a personal friend – who didn’t need to be dragged into the press. ‘I’d prefer if they didn’t get a lot of attention.’ He confirmed it was an insurance-related case. Giuliani said: “It’s all been settled … It had nothing to do with the president.” He added: “This one is over.” Steve Rossi was his co-counsel who had him admitted to the bar for that Continue reading “Power Briefing: Giuliani: ‘I could be a commercial for Palm Beach’”

Power Briefing: NRCC cuts nationwide ad on Pelosi saying she’ll run for speaker

BREAKING — “Pence to announce new Venezuela sanctions in speech on Monday: aide,” by Reuters’ Roberta Rampton

NEW …. NRCC CUTS NATIONWIDE DIGITAL AD ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF A PELOSI SPEAKERSHIP … Last week, Nancy Pelosi told the Boston Globe that she thought Democrats would win the House, and she said she would run for speaker. The NRCC told us then they were going to cut an ad … and here it is:

— “ALL AT STAKE”: Script: “She’s at it again. [FOX TV CLIP]: ‘Nancy Pelosi is already looking beyond this year’s midterm election to taking back the speaker’s gavel.’ ‘I will run for speaker, I feel confident about it.’ [NARRATOR]: With Pelosi as speaker, everything we’ve fought for will come undone. [PELOSI on MTP]: ‘I wanted a … I’d love a single payer.’ [TV read]: ‘Democrats will raise your taxes if they take Continue reading “Power Briefing: NRCC cuts nationwide ad on Pelosi saying she’ll run for speaker”

Power Briefing: McCarthy sends a message to Schumer at Milken

HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY SPEAKS AT MILKEN … McCarthy spoke with Frank Luntz at a morning session at Milken Global in Los Angeles, opening with remarks about how Washington needs to find a way to compromise again and said the minority should not shut down the process.

— MESSAGE TO SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (who was sitting down on stage after him): “I don’t think we can expect the American public to tell us we have to change… We can sit right here and have different philosophical opinions and not personalize it against each other. …

“The time you start taking it personally, the time you stop accepting the outcomes of elections, the times you drag elections out further, that is wrong.”

SCHUMER ON THE MIDTERMS, who was just taking the stage with Richard Sandler as we filed this edition: “I never saw such energy on the Continue reading “Power Briefing: McCarthy sends a message to Schumer at Milken”

Power Briefing: Trump watched ‘bits and pieces’ of Comey’s ABC interview

BREAKING AT THE BOSTON MARATHON — “Desiree Linden, Yuki Kawauchi capture Boston Marathon victories,” by The Boston Globe’s Matt Pepin and Rachel Bowers: “For the first time in 33 years, an American woman has claimed victory at the Boston Marathon. Desiree Linden took the lead around the 35-kilometer mark and did not look back, capturing her first major marathon win by a wide margin as she crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 54 seconds. …

“Meanwhile, Yuki Kawauchi of Japan completed a wild come-from-behind win, overtaking defending champion Geoffrey Kirui and his 1-minute-31-second lead at the 25.2-mile mark. Kawauchi’s unofficial time is 2:15:54.”

Good Monday afternoon. BREAKING IN NEW YORK: “Cohen Names Trump and GOP Donor as Clients Ahead of Hearing,” by Bloomberg’s Bob Van Voris and David Voreacos: “Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he gave legal advice to three clients Continue reading “Power Briefing: Trump watched ‘bits and pieces’ of Comey’s ABC interview”

Power Briefing: About the new guy who might get in the speaker’s race

PLAYBOOK SCOOP … REP. PATRICK MCHENRY, the North Carolinian who is the Republican chief deputy whip, raised $2.6 MILLION in the first quarter of the year. He raised $1.176 for the NRCC, $615,160 for members, his PAC gave $143,000 and Team McHenry raised $686,756.

— MCHENRY is the No. 4 House Republican, and in a shakeup during a Republican majority — either this Congress or next Congress, if they keep the House — he could be the GOP whip.

WAPO’s MIKE DEBONIS SCOOP — “Rep. Jim Jordan, Freedom Caucus co-founder, is exploring run for House speaker”: “Two Republican lawmakers said they had spoken with Jordan (R-Ohio) since Ryan announced his retirement Wednesday, and both said that they got the impression that Jordan would enter the race to lead the House GOP.”

— R. BADE had the first interview with JORDAN: “Look, there is no speaker Continue reading “Power Briefing: About the new guy who might get in the speaker’s race”

Power Briefing: Paul Ryan’s retirement rocks Washington

RYAN RETIRING — JAKE, RACHAEL BADE and KYLE CHENEY: “Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he will not seek another term in Congress, ending what will be a three-year run as the Republican leader and creating a power vacuum in the GOP ranks heading into a difficult midterm election.

“The Wisconsin Republican — who was drafted into the position in 2015 after conservatives ran John Boehner (R-Ohio) out of office — said he intended to serve out his term as speaker but wanted more time with his family.

“‘You all know that I did not seek this job. I took it reluctantly,’ he told reporters in a press conference. ‘But I have given it all that I have and have no regrets having accepted this responsibility. This has been one of the two greatest honors of my life.’ …

“Ryan called GOP leaders personally on Wednesday morning to tell Continue reading “Power Briefing: Paul Ryan’s retirement rocks Washington”

Trump on a potential trade war with China: ‘When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN, you can’t lose!’

KEVIN MCCARTHY is in town for a super PAC dinner with PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, via Alex Isenstadt: “America First Action is raising funds with an eye toward spending $100 million ahead of the 2018 midterms. The super PAC has enlisted energy company executive Harold Hamm, a Trump ally, to help fill its coffers.

“Organizers said today’s dinner was not a fundraiser but rather an opportunity for the president to meet with the group’s supporters. A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.”

HANDICAPPING THE MIDTERMS — “McConnell on midterm elections: ‘The wind is going to be in our face’,” by Kentucky Today’s Roger Alford: “[Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell said he’s hopeful Republicans can hold a majority in the Senate and continue appointing conservative judges throughout the entirety of Trump’s tenure. ‘This is going to be a challenging election year,’ McConnell said. ‘We Continue reading “Trump on a potential trade war with China: ‘When you’re already $500 Billion DOWN, you can’t lose!’”

Playbook Power Briefing: Inside the Democratic primary in a solidly Republican Kentucky district

BREAKING — ALEX VAN DER ZWAAN sentenced in MUELLER PROBE … Josh Gerstein: “Special counsel Robert Mueller obtained the first sentence in his high-profile investigation Tuesday, as a Dutch attorney who admitted to lying to investigators was sent to prison for 30 days. … [U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman] Jackson also gave van der Zwaan a $20,000 fine and two months of probation, but she said he could leave the country as soon as his 30-day sentence is completed.”

THE PRESIDENT’s press conference with Baltic State leaders begins at 1:35 p.m., the White House says. Here’s what you might’ve missed this A.M. …

A ‘BROWNIE, YOU’RE DOING A HECKUVA JOB’ MOMENT? … CBS’ JACQUELINE ALEMANY (@JaxAlemany): “NEW: President Trump called Administrator Pruitt last night and said ‘Keep your head up, keep fighting. We have your back,’ per administration official. COS Kelly called Continue reading “Playbook Power Briefing: Inside the Democratic primary in a solidly Republican Kentucky district”

Power Briefing: Trump invites Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe to visit U.S.

TRUMP TO PUTIN: LET’S SET UP A MEETING … WaPo’s Anton Troianovski: “The [Kremlin] aide, Yury Ushakov, said no preparations for such a meeting have taken place since the March 20 phone call, according to Russian news agencies.

“‘[I]f everything will be all right, I hope that the Americans will not back away from their own proposal to discuss the possibility of holding a summit,’ Ushakov said, according to state news agency RIA Novosti. ‘When our presidents spoke on the phone, it was Trump who proposed holding the first meeting in Washington in the White House.’”

— SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, via pooler Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade: “As the [p]resident himself confirmed on March 20, hours after his last call with President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House. We have Continue reading “Power Briefing: Trump invites Vladimir Putin and Shinzo Abe to visit U.S.”

Power Briefing: Gov. Roy Cooper pitches North Carolina to Amazon

NYT’S RICHARD PEREZ PENA in LONDONRussia Will Expel 150 Diplomats, as Tensions With West Reach Fever Pitch”: “Intensifying Russia’s clash with Europe and the United States, the Kremlin on Thursday announced that it would expel 150 Western diplomats and close the United States Consulate in St. Petersburg.”

Good Thursday afternoon. We sat down with NORTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC GOV. ROY COOPER at Duke today to talk about the technology industry, rebuilding the Democratic party in his state and more:

— His pitch to Amazon to put their HQ2 in Raleigh: “What I tell them is that the number one advantage that we have is talent, workforce, innovation, entrepreneurship, the great universities and you combine that with quality of life … [and] on top of that, the lower cost of living. We’ve got it all, and I think we’re very much in the running not only for Continue reading “Power Briefing: Gov. Roy Cooper pitches North Carolina to Amazon”