Republicans again face defections on a top priority. This time, tax cuts.


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Republicans are once again struggling to get the votes they need to pass one of their own top priorities—in this case, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The House needs to pass the Senate’s budget resolution to allow Senate Republicans to use reconciliation to pass the tax cuts with 51 rather than 60 votes. But there’s a sticking point in the House: Republicans from higher-taxed states are worried about the elimination of a provision that currently allows people to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes.

“I need to know what the endgame is going to look like if I’m going to vote on it,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., a leader of the bloc of concerned Republicans. MacArthur attended a White House meeting on the issue Tuesday where he said he “didn’t make the progress I had hoped for.” […]

Three

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Republican congressman preemptively cancels April town hall event to avoid constituents


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“You can’t complain if you’re not willing to fight for change.” — Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY-01)

Those are the words of Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin in his featured campaign ad of the 2016 election season. But, it appears Rep. Zeldin feels differently now that he finds himself under scrutiny from angry constituents who’ve been trying to meet with him. In fact, he’s so unwilling to meet with the people of his district who are “fighting for change” that he has preemptively cancelled a constituent town hall event in April! 

From the “I shit you not” files:

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin, who was reelected to represent the 1st Congressional District in November, has canceled an upcoming event for constituents at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton Village following reports that local organizations planned to hold a protest rally at the event. 

According to Mr. Zeldin’s communications director, Jennifer DiSiena, the April

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Morning Digest: These six New York congressional districts swung from Obama to Trump


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Pres-by-CD: Start spreading the news: We have New York! Yes, our project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for all 435 congressional districts nationwide has arrived in the Empire State. You can find our complete data set here, which we’re updating continuously as the precinct-level election returns we need for our calculations become available. You can also click here to learn more about why this data is so difficult to come by.

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Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump 59-37 in the two candidates’ mutual home state, a drop from Barack Obama’s 63-35 win over Mitt Romney in 2012. Clinton carried 18 of the state’s 27 congressional districts, losing six seats that Obama won four years earlier. Rep. Sean Maloney is the only Democrat who holds a Trump seat, while Rep. John Katko is the only Republican with a Clinton constituency, so we’ll start with

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Morning Digest: The only poll that matters is today


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Election Night: The big night is almost here! There’s a lot to watch downballot, with the battle for the Senate taking center stage. We also have several competitive gubernatorial races, as well as plenty of fiercely contested House contests. To help follow along, Jeff Singer gives us an hour-by-hour guide for what to watch tonight. The fireworks start at 6 PM ET, when polls close in most of Indiana, where Democrats are trying to flip a Senate seat, the governor’s mansion, and two House seats.

We’ll be liveblogging all the downballot action starting at 6 PM ET at Daily Kos Elections. We’ll also be livetweeting the proceedings. There will be a separate liveblog thread on the Daily Kos front page focused on the presidential race. We hope to see you here tonight for what will be a historic evening!

P.S. There’s still time to

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Morning Digest: Big-money advertisers in House races get in their last licks before Tuesday


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Ad Reservations: The final edition of our House ad reservations tracker is live. (We’re not crying, you’re crying.) In it, we follow TV and radio bookings made by the four largest outside groups that spend on House races: the DCCC and House Majority PAC for Democrats, and the NRCC and Congressional Leadership Fund for Republicans. Here are the highlights and lowlights:

AZ-01: If Republican Paul Babeu was hoping that GOP outside groups would come to his aid in the final days of the race, he’s going to be disappointed. The NRCC did a small $52,000 joint buy with Babeu weeks ago, but never returned to the airwaves, and the Congressional Leadership Fund never got involved here either. While Romney won this seat 50-48, Babeu has an awful past, and it seems that D.C. Republicans just decided he wasn’t going to defeat

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Morning Digest: Joe Arpaio could lose his election and his freedom


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Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff: It’s hard to believe, but Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s decades-long reign of terror might finally come to an end next month. According to a new poll from the Behavior Research Center, conducted on behalf of several local Arizona media outlets, Arpaio trails his Democratic challenger, former Phoenix police sergeant Paul Penzone, by an astounding 15-point margin, 46-31.

And it’s not just this one poll. A week ago, a survey from a Republican pollster found Penzone beating Arpaio 51-41, while several prior polls have also had Penzone ahead. Only an old Arpaio internal from back in August took the opposite view, and Republicans haven’t coughed up any new polling since then.

What’s more, not only could Arpaio lose re-election, he might also soon lose his freedom: On Monday, federal prosecutors charged Arpaio with criminal contempt of court for violating an agreement

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Morning Digest: In new round of ads, DCCC savages Republicans for failing to disavow Trump


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MN-03, NV-04, TX-23: A recent poll from Global Strategy Group for the DCCC argued that, regardless of whether Republican House candidates recently unendorsed Donald Trump or if they continue to stand by him, they were in real danger of losing critical votes. The DCCC is now up with ads in three House contests arguing that the Republican incumbents supported Trump for months when they should have denounced him long ago. Their ads are running against Erik Paulsen in Minnesota’s 3rd District, Cresent Hardy in Nevada’s 4th, and Will Hurd in Texas’ 23rd.

Paulsen, who represents an affluent seat in the Twin Cities suburbs, has been a particularly frustrating target for Team Blue. While Barack Obama carried the district just 50-49 in 2012, a recent independent poll from SurveyUSA showed Hillary Clinton dominating 48-35 there. However, the same poll gave Paulsen a huge 49-38 lead over

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Morning Digest: Remember ‘I’m not a witch’? Pat Toomey does—a little too fondly


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PA-Sen: With Donald Trump far behind in Pennsylvania (the Daily Kos Elections polling average gives Hillary Clinton a 48-41 lead), both Senate candidates recognize that he can wreck Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s re-election chances. Toomey is out with a commercial that features him half-heartedly distancing himself from The Donald, but the whole production is just odd.

For some reason, Toomey’s spot is staged pretty much the exact same way that Christine O’Donnell’s infamous 2010 “I‘m Not a Witch” ad was. Toomey, who is wearing a dark suit and standing in front of a black backdrop, tells the camera that “I have a lot of disagreements with Donald Trump. I’ve been very clear about that.” Toomey continues by arguing that “what’s important for Pennsylvanians is having a senator who will stand up to any president’s bad ideas.” A

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Morning Digest: Two Democrats show how to make Republicans pay a price for supporting Trump


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NH-Sen, TX-23: After the Washington Post released the instantly infamous hot mic tape of Donald Trump on Friday, waves of vulnerable Republicans decided that the time was right to unendorse Trump’s presidential campaign and fend for themselves. But unless Reince Priebus has a DeLorean in the RNC’s garage, those legions of Republican candidates can’t turn back time and take back their past declarations of support for The Donald.

And while Republican politicians can pretend that they didn’t know what kind of person Trump really was until they heard him brag about sexually assaulting women, Democrats don’t need to sit around and let them get away with it. Now two Democrats in competitive races, New Hampshire Senate candidate Maggie Hassan and Texas U.S. House candidate Pete Gallego, are out with ads velcroing their opponents back to Trump.

Last week, Hassan pounced after a debate where

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Morning Digest: Maggie Hassan wants to make Kelly Ayotte pay for calling Trump a role model for kids


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NH-Sen: Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is locked in a tough re-election fight, but she’s largely been able to put some much-needed distance between her and Donald Trump. While the Daily Kos Elections polling average gives Ayotte just a 46-45 lead over Democrat Maggie Hassan, Hillary Clinton has a 46-40 edge in New Hampshire. But Ayotte complicated things at a debate Monday when, after she was asked whether she would cite Trump as a role model for children, she replied, “I think that certainly there are many role models that we have. I believe he can serve as president, so absolutely, I would do that.” Hassan is now out with a commercial that aims to make Ayotte eat her words.

Like Clinton, Hassan understands that there’s no one better equipped to make the case against Donald Trump than Donald Trump. Hassan’s spot starts with that

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Morning Digest: Déjà vu? Prostitution story threatens to trip up Lousiana Republican


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LA-Sen: This is an actual statement from state Treasurer John Kennedy on Rep. Charles Boustany, a fellow Republican and one of Kennedy’s rivals in the November jungle primary for Louisiana’s open Senate seat:

I want to be very clear that my campaign played absolutely no role in creating this story alleging Congressman Boustany’s sexual relationships with prostitutes that were later murdered, his staff’s alleged involvement in running the bar and hotel where this illicit behavior took place, or publishing the book.

Um … wow.

The story that Kennedy is referring to, and also helping spread, of course—Kennedy slapped this very statement up on his Facebook page—can be found in a just-released book by investigative journalist Ethan Brown. Brown, who is best-known for his previous volume about a grisly murder-suicide that took place in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, has now written about the murders

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Morning Digest: Democrats cancel $12 million in Ohio and Colorado. Where will that money head next?


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OH-Sen: The Democratic exodus from Ohio continues. Last week, when both the DSCC and the Senate Majority PAC cancelled upwards of $2 million in fall TV ad reservations in the Buckeye State, we noted that they still had many millions left. Now they have fewer still. On Friday afternoon, the Washington Post reported that the DSCC was cancelling an additional $1.5 million booked on Democrat Ted Strickland’s behalf, over and above the $500,000 it had dropped a week earlier.

Then on Tuesday, the Senate Majority PAC followed suit, confirming that it had cancelled $3 million worth of September ads; last week, the group withdrew $1.7 million from the race. SMP said that it still has time reserved from Oct. 11 through Election Day, but that could of course change.

Back in the spring, the DSCC and SMP announced a combined $19.5

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Morning Digest: New Hampshire Dem hoping to reinstate Dartmouth frat that branded pledges’ buttocks


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NH-Gov: This is creepy. Former state securities regulator Mark Connolly, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, sent a fundraising email to his fraternity brothers at Dartmouth College calling for the reinstatement of their frat, Alpha Delta, which was kicked off campus just last year. Believe it or not, Alpha Delta was the inspiration for the movie Animal House, and it got the boot for good reason. In a hazing ritual in April 2015, members “branded pledges on their buttocks”; two years earlier, the frat had been placed under suspension after a student was arrested for “urinating on a woman from a second-floor balcony at the Alpha Delta house.”

Making matters more troubling, the governor of New Hampshire is an ex officio member of the college’s board, so if Connolly were to win, he’d have direct influence on this issue. In his

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Morning Digest: Out of nowhere, Evan Bayh parachutes into the Indiana Senate race


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IN-Sen: Just before the filing deadline in 2010, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh shockingly declared he’d retire, turning a seat that Democrats were favored to hold into one that the GOP was easily able to pick up. Now, just as unexpectedly, Bayh will reportedly announce that he’s going to wage a comeback for the very seat he abandoned six years ago. We have lots to discuss.

First, the mechanics. Team Blue had been fielding ex-Rep. Baron Hill, but he’d waged a desultory campaign and raised less than $1 million as of mid-April, a pitiful sum for a statewide race. Hill dropped out Monday morning, clearing the way for Democrats to replace his name on the ballot with Bayh’s. (It’s almost a mirror-image of what went down in 2010, when Bayh dropped out too late for anyone else to get enough signatures to make the

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Morning Digest: Florida Republicans are just mild about Marco


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FL-Sen: Even though PPP had just conducted a Florida poll less than two weeks earlier, the firm went back into the field in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting to determine how gun issues might affect the race. Unusually for a public poll, PPP asked an informed ballot question after telling respondents that GOP Sen. Marco Rubio has opposed background checks for gun buyers and also opposed barring people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns (both of which are very popular with voters). On the initial ballot test, Rep. Patrick Murphy, Rubio’s most likely Democratic opponent, has a 42-41 edge, indistinguishable from his 43-42 lead in PPP’s prior survey. But after the gun questions, Murphy’s lead balloons to 47-32.

Of course, informed ballot tests like this represent an idealized view of the world, where you get your message out flawlessly to, in

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Morning Digest: New poll shows that if Rubio seeks re-election, he could definitely lose


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FL-Sen: When Republican efforts to pressure Marco Rubio into running for a second term began to heat up about a week ago, we cataloged all the reasons why he might (or ought to) be deaf to those entreaties. But the biggest of all is that despite all the people whispering in Rubio’s ear that he’s the strongest candidate the GOP has to offer, he could still very well lose—and shatter any presidential ambitions he may yet harbor.

And now we have some new evidence that backs up this notion, in the form of a poll from Public Policy Polling that finds Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy edging out Rubio by a 44-43 margin. The last time PPP tested this matchup came back in September, when Rubio led 46-40. But since then, Rubio’s approval rating has collapsed, sinking from an already mediocre 41-44 to an abysmal 32-54,

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Trump demands Republican surrogates call other people racist: Surrogates obey


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Trump’s openly racist attacks against the federal judge hearing the case against his alleged “University” continue to demonstrate just how debased the rest of the Republican Party has become. On Monday we learned that Donald Trump held a conference call with his surrogates in which he demanded those surrogates attack questioners of his racist remarks, telling them that the people questioning him “are the racists. I would go at ’em.”

And so today we are treated to the sight of his Republican supporters washing up on our television screens like so many dead crabs.

“Speaker Ryan is wrong and Speaker Ryan has apparently switched positions and is supporting identity politics, which is racist,” Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord, a member of the Reagan administration, said on CNN Tuesday when asked about Ryan’s concerns.

That’s right! Paul Ryan is the real racist here, for not agreeing that United States District Court Judge

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Morning Digest: Kentucky Republican embraces Trump and launches the most offensive TV ad of the year


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KY-01: Uh, wow. Republican Mike Pape just laid claim to the most offensive campaign ad of 2016, and it’s not even close. You’re really just going to have to watch it:

The ad features three “Mexican” men, complete with bogus mustaches and accents, cutting their way through a fence marked “U.S. Border Do Not Cross” in the middle of the night. They then reveal their dastardly plan (in English, of course):

Man #1: Once through, we’ll stop Donald Trump!
Man #2: Si! And Ted Cruz, too!

Man #3: And Señor Mike Pape!

Man #1: Who?

Man #3: Mike Pape!

Man #2: [holding out roll of duct tape] Tape?

Man #3: Pape! Mike Pape! The conservative running for Congress who will help Trump build the wall!

Man #2: Will this Mike Pape help Ted Cruz repeal Obamacare?

Man #3: Si!

Man

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Morning Digest: Mark Kirk’s refusal to pick sides on Scalia seat might just be a genius move


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SCOTUS: Every single vulnerable Republican senator has weighed in on whether Barack Obama should be permitted to name a replacement for Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, and they’re speaking with one voice to say, “No way in hell.” All except one, that is: Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who’s refused to offer anything substantive on the matter whatsoever. As a result, Kirk’s already getting hammered from both the left and the right.

His likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, wants to know if Kirk “supports the Constitution” or if instead he’ll be a “rubber stamp for Mitch McConnell’s obstructionist and unconstitutional gambit.” Meanwhile, his Some Dude primary challenger, businessman James Marter, wants Kirk to stand with the rest of the GOP. Marter’s raised bupkes and the primary is just a month away, but this issue lights such an extraordinary fire in conservative hearts

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Morning Digest: What’s going to happen in the Louisiana governor’s race? ¯(ツ)/¯


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LA-Gov: Two new polls of Louisiana’s bizarre gubernatorial runoff popped up on Thursday finding Democrat John Bel Edwards with a substantial lead on Republican David Vitter, while one survey (for the conservative blog The Hayride) showed Edwards with the smallest edge he’s had since the primary. What exactly is going on here? First, to the Pollmobile!

Florida-based pollster Market Research Insight has Edwards ahead 52-38, similar to his 54-38 margin two weeks ago. Not to be outdone, the University of New Orleans, in its first-ever survey of the race, shows Edwards with a Popeye-sized 56-34 advantage. But The Hayride’s numbers, from Republican pollster MarblePort Research, put Edwards on top by just a 48-42 spread. For what it’s worth, MRI was the only outfit that realized Vitter would only narrowly make it into the second round; MarblePort had him winning a spot handily.

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