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YOUR DAILY ROLL TIDE — “Breitbart bangs the drum in Alabama Senate showdown,” By POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt: “Conservatives led by Breitbart News are waging an all-out campaign” to stop Luther Strange from winning the Alabama special election, Isenstadt reports, and they’re hoping to persuade Trump to not campaign on Strange’s behalf. “While Trump has endorsed Strange, the president has been conspicuously silent since the senator finished second to [Judge Roy Moore] in the first round of balloting on Aug. 15.”
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“The pro-Moore effort will intensify this week, when the candidate arrives in Washington to hold a procession of meetings with influential conservatives that he hopes will culminate in endorsements. Among those Moore is slated to huddle with: members of the House Freedom Caucus and former diplomat and presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who is hosting a Wednesday evening fundraising reception. Attendees are being asked to give up to $2,700, according to an invitation.
Steve Bannon is helping to orchestrate the push. The former White House chief strategist has broken with Trump and endorsed the insurgent-minded Moore. Bannon, who returned to Breitbart last month after leaving the White House, has dispatched one of his favorite writers, Matt Boyle, to Alabama. Breitbart has published a number of unflattering stories recently about Strange, seemingly designed to isolate Strange from the president.” Full story here.
— Doug Jones is staying out of Dems’ spotlight: POLITICO’s Gabriel Debenedetti and Daniel Strauss broke down why Democrats aren’t racing to get behind Doug Jones during last week’s Morning Score holiday: While (failed) Georgia congressional candidate Jon Ossoff chose to make himself the face of the Democratic resistance, “Jones has declined to make his opposition to Donald Trump the centerpiece of his campaign.
It’s proved to be a consequential decision in a party where antipathy toward the president is an animating force. While Jones would seem to be a perfect candidate for the post-Charlottesville moment — he’s a 63-year-old former U.S. attorney who prosecuted the pair behind the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham — national Democrats have largely ignored him. And grassroots donors have given him the cold shoulder, leaving Jones with less than $100,000 in cash on hand by the end of July, according to federal filings.” Full story here.
— Brooks could play kingmaker: Strauss reports that “If Mo Brooks can’t be a senator, he can at least try to be a kingmaker. In the GOP primary runoff for Alabama’s Senate seat, the conservative congressman is being courted aggressively by the campaign of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore’s team thinks Brooks’ backing would give a significant boost in his fight against Sen. Luther Strange, a belief shared by many Alabama Republicans — if not Strange partisans. ‘No decision made,’ Brooks said in a text message to POLITICO, without elaborating on his thinking.” Full story here.
— More Ala. headlines that ran during last week’s Morning Score hiatus: “Alabama activist registers pro-Moore super PAC,” by Maggie Severns (story here) … “Strange campaign memo to donors pushes back on ‘fake polls’,” by Strauss (story here) … “Strange campaign adds top GOP operative to senior staff,” by Strauss (story here).
BIG WEEKEND NEWS — “Trump has decided to end DACA, with 6-month delay,” by POLITICO’s Eliana Johnson: “President Donald Trump has decided to end the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, according to two sources familiar with his thinking. Senior White House aides huddled Sunday afternoon to discuss the rollout of a decision likely to ignite a political firestorm — and fulfill one of the president’s core campaign promises. The administration’s deliberations on the issue have been fluid and fast moving, and the president has faced strong warnings from members of his own party not to scrap the program.” A formal announcement on the decision is expected today. Full story here.
— Meanwhile on the campaign trail: Andy Thorburn, who is challenging GOP Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) has already released a digital ad that reacts to the DACA decision by focusing on the idea of an “inclusive society.” Watch here.
Days until the 2017 election: 63.
Days until the 2018 election: 427.
THE CENTER CUT — Third Way cautions Dems to avoid populism, by Debenedetti: “Center-left think tank Third Way is urging the Democratic Party to rebrand itself as ‘the jobs party’ in a report Tuesday that warns of the risks adopting the policies and rhetoric of the far left. Landing as the left wing of the party claims ascendancy, the report wades into some of the philosophical disagreements now dividing a Democratic Party that is further from power than it has been in decades. Based on extensive, three-day online focus groups with battleground state voters, the publication aims to diagnose Democrats’ current problem. But it also knocks the kind of economic populism often pushed by prominent figures like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
The study, conducted by polling firm Global Strategy Group, involved interviews with persuadable voters who backed Barack Obama and then Donald Trump, as well as with persuadable African American, Latino and millennial voters. Third Way’s resulting document warns that key voters believe Democrats prioritize poor citizens, and some rich ones — but not the middle class. It says voters intuitively see the Democratic party as standing against business, and it urges party leaders to put less emphasis on social issues and “recognize that voters want to see a rebalancing of the Party’s priorities.” Full story here.
UH OH — “Cash-strapped states brace for Russian hacking fight,” by POLITICO’s intrepid cybersecurity team: “A nation still squabbling over the role Russian cyberattacks played in the 2016 presidential campaign is fractured about how to pay for the steps needed to prevent repeats in 2018 and 2020, according to interviews with dozens of state election officials, federal lawmakers, current and former Department of Homeland Security staffers and leading election security experts.
“These people agree that digital meddlers threaten the public’s confidence in America’s democratic process. And nearly everyone believes that the danger calls for collective action — from replacing the voting equipment at tens of thousands of polling places to strengthening state voter databases, training election workers and systematically conducting post-election audits.
“But those steps would require major spending, and only a handful of states’ legislatures are boosting their election security budgets, according to a POLITICO survey of state election agencies. And leaders in Congress are showing no eagerness to help them out. ‘States ought to get their own money up,’ said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who chairs the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, which oversees federal elections. ‘We’re borrowing money. We got a big debt limit coming up.’” Full story here.
WHAT ABOUT BOB — Barletta will challenge Casey, POLITICO’s Kevin Robillard reports: “Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Lou Barletta is officially launching a bid to challenge two-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey. … Trump has publicly encouraged Barletta, a former mayor who is serving his fifth term in the House, to challenge Casey, an anti-abortion Democrat and son of a popular former governor who has been outspoken in his opposition to the president. The president narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016.
“Barletta will face a primary before potentially challenging Casey: Businessman Jeff Bartos has already launched television ads attacking both Barletta and Casey as career politicians. Some Republicans have questioned whether Barletta can raise the necessary money to take on Casey.” Full story here.
MORE NEW CHALLENGERS (AND POTENTIAL CHALLENGERS) OF NOTE — Hanabusa will run for Hawaii gov seat: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa said on Friday she plans to challenge Hawaii Gov. David Ige in 2018. Full story via KITV.
— Another GOP Senate candidate in Ohio: Republican businesswoman Melissa Ackison plans to run for the Ohio Senate seat, Cleveland.com reports.
— Jerry Springer weighing an Ohio governor run: Yes, that Jerry Springer. The Ohio Democrat told Cleveland.com he’s seriously considering a bid for governor but doesn’t have a timeline on when he’ll announce his decision.
— Garcetti leaves all doors open: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti won’t rule out the possibility of a 2020 run for governor or senator in California, POLITICO’s Edward-Isaac Dovere reports.
ADMINISTRATION SPEED READ — “Spicer lands post-White House gig,” by POLITICO’s Annie Karni: “President Donald Trump’s first press secretary — who ceded his high-profile post to Sarah Huckabee Sanders in July but celebrated his official last day in the West Wing on Aug. 31 — has signed with Worldwide Speakers Group, the company confirmed to POLITICO. … His first paid speaking gig will be in New York City on Sept. 11, at the annual conference of the investment bank Rodman & Renshaw, according to two people familiar with his schedule.” Full story here.
REVOLVING DOOR — RNC chief of staff resigns, by Isenstadt: “Sara Armstrong, the top staffer at the Republican National Committee, is departing, according to three people familiar with the move — the latest in a string of exits from the committee. Armstrong, the RNC’s chief of staff, is exiting to take a senior-level job at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She had been serving in the chief of staff role since early this year after helping to oversee President Donald Trump’s inauguration planning. Richard Walters, the RNC finance director, will serve as interim chief of staff while the committee seeks a permanent replacement.” Full story here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Why don’t you tell me what it is, Dale, and quit beating around.” — Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore, asking a radio host to explain what DREAMers are during a radio interview.