With Zach Montellaro, Kevin Robillard and Elena Schneider
The following newsletter is an abridged version of Campaign Pro’s Morning Score. For an earlier morning read on exponentially more races — and for a more comprehensive aggregation of the day’s most important campaign news — sign up for Campaign Pro today. (http://www.politicopro.com/proinfo)
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TRUMP BUMP — “McSally embraces Trump ahead of Arizona Senate run,” by POLITICO’s Kevin Robillard: “Rep. Martha McSally wants to make one thing clear before she launches an Arizona Senate campaign: She’s a big fan of President Donald Trump. Over the past month, McSally has sent out photos of herself with the president and with first daughter Ivanka Trump. She’s tweeted about Trump four separate times, doubling her all-time mentions of the president — and one of those tweets condemned Trump after he was shown bragging about committing sexual assault in the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape. And McSally has appeared on Fox News to sing the president’s praises.”
— But, but, but: “In the past, McSally has been critical of Trump — though far less so than retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, whose broadsides against Trump’s policies and behavior torpedoed his standing with the GOP base and forced his exit from the race. McSally never endorsed Trump in 2016, and she called his comments about sexual assault ‘disgusting’ and ‘unacceptable.’ McSally was also caught on tape this summer telling donors that Trump’s behavior and Twitter habit made her life more difficult.” Full story here.
FALLOUT — “Black Caucus members press Conyers to resign,” by POLITICO’S John Bresnahan, Louis Nelson and Heather Caygle: “A group of Democrats including members of the Congressional Black Caucus is privately urging Rep. John Conyers to resign after a third former staffer went public with allegations of sexual harassment against the longtime Michigan Democrat, according to congressional sources. Members of the CBC are pressing Conyers to step down after 53 years in office, telling him that fellow Democrats are expected to come out and publicly demand he resign. … Conyers was meeting with CBC members late Tuesday afternoon to discuss his future, according to lawmakers who attended. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) confirmed the gathering but would not comment on the discussions. … Former aides to Conyers have also gotten involved in the efforts to persuade their former boss to leave Congress, said Democratic insiders.” Full story here.
AIR WAR — Pro-Jones super PAC airs new anti-Moore ad: Highway 31, a super PAC that has recently spent more than $1 million supporting Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama, criticizes Republican Roy Moore for his handling of the sexual misconduct allegations made against him in a new ad according to a copy obtained by Advertising Analytics. In the ad, footage of a mall at Christmas plays on the screen while a narrator talks about Moore’s alleged advances on teenage girls, one of whom worked as “Santa’s helper” at a local mall. “These stories have gone around this town for 30 years. These women are being skewered for the truth,” a narrator says in the ad.
FIRST IN SCORE — NRSC launches digital ads targeting red-state Democrats: The NRSC is launching six-second digital bumper ads on Facebook and YouTube targeting all 10 red-state Democrats facing reelection in 2018, plus Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen and Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. “Tax cuts equal more money in your pocket, not Washington’s,” the ads say. “Tell Senator McCaskill hands off your paycheck.” The ads direct viewers to a petition. Watch the ads here.
FIRST IN SCORE — EMILY’s List backs Elissa Slotkin in MI-08: EMILY’s List will announce on Wednesday that it’s endorsing Democrat Elissa Slotkin, who’s challenging GOP Rep. Mike Bishop. Slotkin, a former Defense Department official, isn’t facing a contested primary. “Elissa is taking on Congressman Mike Bishop, who has repeatedly shown that he is more concerned with supporting Donald Trump and Paul Ryan than doing what’s best for his district,” said Stephanie Schriock, EMILY’s List president, in a statement.
Days until the 2018 election: 342
TAX CUT AIR WAR — 45Committee, Not One Penny, Alliance for Retired Americans out with new spots: The outside group air war over the GOP’s tax cut plan continues. 45Committee released a spot praising Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for saying he would back the plan. Watch it here. Not One Penny released an ad attacking New York GOP Rep. John Katko for backing the plan in the House. “He stood with wealthy donors instead of Central New York,” the ad’s narrator says. Watch it here. Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund is up with 60-second radio ads both in Arizona, targeting Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, and in Tennessee, targeting retiring Sen. Bob Corker. Listen to the ads here and here. And the Alliance for Retired Americans is launching digital ads in Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Oklahoma and Tennessee calling the plan “an attack on older Americans’ health care.” Watch the ad here.
CANDIDATE LAUNCH IN MICHIGAN — “Lt. Gov. Brian Calley joins Republican race for governor in 2018 as sniping begins,” by The Detroit Free News’ Kathleen Gray and Paul Egan: “In a long-expected development, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced Tuesday he wants to be governor of Michigan. … Within minutes of Calley making the news official, after hinting at the announcement for months, Stu Sandler, a Republican consultant who is running a political action committee that’s supporting [Republican Attorney General Bill] Schuette, started a website that took Calley to task for not supporting Donald Trump in the months leading up to last year’s election. Schuette has gotten the endorsement of both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.” Full story.
MONEY RACE — “Democratic candidates raked in online money in October,” by POLITICO’s Scott Bland: “Eleven Democratic Senate campaigns raised over a quarter-million dollars online in October alone, according to a new campaign finance filing that shows the party continues to raise large sums of money online in the year before the 2018 elections. Alabama Senate candidate Doug Jones led the pack with nearly $2.9 million raised via ActBlue, the Democratic digital fundraising platform. ActBlue’s latest FEC report also shows nearly $717,000 in earmarked online contributions to New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; $481,000 to Sen. Claire McCaskill ahead of a tough reelection campaign in Missouri; $348,000 to Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas; and $328,000 to Sen. Bob Casey, who is running for reelection in Pennsylvania two years after President Donald Trump carried the state.” Full story here.
TO THE LEFT — “Five progressive groups back Newman vs. Lipinski in IL-03,” by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider: “Democrat Marie Newman picked up endorsements from five progressive groups today, as she challenges Blue Dog Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski in the IL-03 primary. NARAL Pro-Choice America, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Campaign Change Committee and the Human Rights Campaign all jointly backed Newman. A joint memo said that Lipinski, who’s easily won reelection since 2004, has ‘consistently voted to pass anti-choice, anti-LGBT, and anti-immigrant policies.’” Full story here.
SHAKEUP — “Nicholson shuffles campaign team; hires Axiom, WPA,” by Robillard: “Wisconsin Republican Kevin Nicholson is shuffling his Senate campaign team, hiring a new general consultant, and bringing on pollsters and media consultants. Nicholson, who had been working with strategist Chip Englander, has hired Axiom Strategies as his general consultant. Axiom founder Jeff Roe and strategist Brandon Moody will take the lead on his campaign. After a legally mandated cooling off period, Englander will move over to work for Solutions for Wisconsin, a super PAC backing Nicholson.” Full story here.
HE’S BACK — “Lamont testing the waters for governor,” by The Greenwich Time’s Neil Vigdor: “The wealthy Greenwich cable entrepreneur, who was upset by Malloy in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, confirmed his interest in the race in an interview Tuesday with Hearst Connecticut Media. ‘I’m thinking about it,’ Lamont said. ‘I’ve got a lot vested in this state for a long time. It’s a great state and we just don’t have a great government.’ The Democratic insurgent, who toppled Joe Lieberman in a Senate primary more than a decade ago but was ultimately thwarted by the incumbent in the general election, is expected to hire a pollster to determine his gubernatorial prospects, Hearst has learned.” Full story.
CHANGE OF TUNE — “Democrat Kyrsten Sinema says Trump is ‘not a thing’ in race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake,” by USA Today’s Eliza Collins: “U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema hopes to be the first Arizona Democrat to win a high-profile statewide race in more than a decade. But unlike many of her Democratic colleagues on the ballot in 2018, Sinema doesn’t plan to use President Donald Trump’s controversial tenure to help her win. … Trump is ‘not a thing,’ Sinema said when USA TODAY asked about her pitch to voters.” Full story.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He changes clothes in his office. Most of us have walked in on him changing his clothes … and have seen him in his underwear. Big deal!” Bob Weiner, a former spokesperson for Conyers, told reporters on Monday per NBC News’ Kasie Hunt.