With Bianca Padró Ocasio and Scott Bland
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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HEALTH CARE FALLOUT COULD LEAD TO RESISTANCE RECESS — “Activist left goes all out to save Obamacare,” by POLITICO’s Elana Schor: “Anti-Trump activists had cheered when they helped blunt House Republicans’ initial effort to pass a bill. Now opposition groups face an exhausting juggling act, keeping their members engaged during a long and uncertain health care push in the Senate while also not losing sight of the vulnerable House Republicans who voted to shred Obamacare. … The liberal fundraising website ActBlue helped affiliates raise more than $2 million in less than a day, cash that will be stored for the eventual challenger to more than 24 House Republicans who supported the American Health Care Act. The progressive group CREDO Action said its members made more than 10,000 phone calls to the Hill on Thursday alone.” Full story.
— WHERE THE RECESS ACTION IS: Here’s a list of town halls from The Town Hall Project and Heritage Action. Some to watch: Iowa Rep. Rod Blum on Monday, Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett on Tuesday, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Don Bacon next Saturday. The biggest draw? New Jersey GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur, fresh from crafting an amendment key to the AHCA’s passage, will hold a town hall on Wednesday in NJ-03.
— “Left launching ad blitz against Republicans who backed Obamacare repeal,” by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney: “Save My Care, a coalition of pro-Obamacare advocacy groups, is launching a $500,000-plus TV ad campaign in five congressional districts held by Republicans who backed the GOP plan, the American Health Care Act. The ads target Reps. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), Don Young (R-Alaska), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.). The ad doesn’t mention Obamacare, but it accuses lawmakers of repealing “health care” and supporting a ‘disastrous’ bill opposed by the American Medical Association, AARP and the American Cancer Society. … A digital version of the ads will target an additional 19 Republican lawmakers.” Full story.
— “Obamacare repeal vote upends 2018 House landscape,” by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt and Gabriel Debenedetti: “More than a dozen senior Republican strategists, lawmakers, and potential candidates expressed varying degrees of concern over the political implications of the health care push. Some predicted that House members would face a fierce backlash from voters, while others said the party had erred badly in rushing through a bill that lacked broad public support. … At a closed-door meeting Tuesday of top party operatives organized by the AFL-CIO, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director Dan Sena said he had already spoken with 300 potential candidates in 75 districts, according to several people familiar with the presentation. Democrats put just 45 GOP districts in play in 2016, Sena said. In 2018, he said, the party wants to contest three times as many.”
— COUNTER TAKE: “Curt Anderson, a longtime Republican strategist, argued that worries about an election-year blowback over the health care vote are overblown. The 2010 law has never been broadly popular, he said, and is especially despised among Republicans. ‘Those who think Republicans will be defeated in November of 2018 because of this vote to repeal and replace Obamacare in May of 2017 are either in a parallel universe, or have been asleep for the past seven years,’ Anderson said. ‘The notion that Obamacare is suddenly popular and will be missed is a mirage that seems real during the fog of war, but will disappear as you get closer to it.’” Full story.
— Candidate watch, via the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns: “’The energy in the district is much, much different,’ said Mayor Stephanie Miner of Syracuse, who has been approached by state and national Democratic officials about challenging Representative John Katko [in NY-24]. … ‘I woke up this morning, literally after yesterday’s vote, and knew that it’s decision time,’ [MN-03 Democratic businessman Dean] Phillips said on Friday. ‘My heart and my head are leaning in the same direction.’ … [New York Lt. Gov. Kathy] Hochul, a former member of Congress, has been approached by supporters about challenging [NY-27 Rep. Chris] Collins, a prominent Trump ally from the Buffalo area, according to Democrats in the state and in Washington. Full story.
Days until the 2017 election: 183.
Days until the 2018 election: 547.
GEORGIA ON MY MIND — Another tight runoff poll shows Handel 49, Ossoff 47: The independent survey from Landmark Communications and WSB-TV shows a margin of error race, just like two Democratic internals released last week. The poll of 611 likely voters (margin of error plus or minus 4 percentage points) shows Handel leading 80-16 among self-described Republicans (just over half the sample) and Ossoff ahead 90-6 among Democrats. (The remaineder is split into “independents” and “others,” with Ossoff ahead.) Full story.
— “Georgia special election smashes all-time spending record,” by Campaign Pro’s Elena Schneider: “Candidates and outside groups have aired or reserved more than $29.7 million worth of TV ads in the race to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Congress, which will break a five-year-old record for House spending — highlighting the outsize importance a sliver of the Atlanta suburbs has taken on in national politics. It is plainly more money than one House race out of 435 needs. Cash is flowing in at such saturation levels that Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign had the money for everything from Korean radio ads to free Lyft rides for voters on primary day. The Atlanta NBC station has even bumped reruns of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ from their regular slot in order to extend its local newscasts and make more room for political ads.” Full story.
AND MONTANA TOO — “Pence to campaign for Gianforte in Montana,” by the Associated Press’ Ken Thomas: “The vice president’s office says Friday that Pence is expected to campaign for Greg Gianforte during the weekend of May 13. Details on the trip have not yet been finalized.” Full story.
— “G.O.P. House Candidate in Montana Is Caught on Tape Praising Health Bill,” by the New York Times’ Jonathan Martin: “When Greg Gianforte … was asked on Thursday whether he would have supported the bill repealing the Affordable Care Act that passed the House that day, he declined to answer. … But on the same day, during a private conference call with Republican-leaning lobbyists in Washington, Mr. Gianforte offered a more supportive view of the health bill. … Asked to reconcile Mr. Gianforte’s public and private statements, his campaign manager said the candidate was only ‘thankful’ the process of repealing the law was underway. ‘He would not have voted for the bill because he didn’t know what was in it,’ said Brock Lowrance, the aide, noting that the Congressional Budget Office has not yet offered a fiscal analysis of the measure.” Full story.
FIRST IN SCORE — Clyburn endorses Parnell in South Carolina: Rep. James Clyburn, the number three Democrat in House leadership, is endorsing Democrat Archie Parnell to replace OMB Director Mick Mulvaney in South Carolina’s 5th District. “Archie Parnell will bring the South Carolina values of hard work, civility and respect to Congress,” Clyburn said in a statement. “House Republicans are focused on taking away people’s healthcare and unfairly raising taxes on senior citizens. Archie will use his business and tax expertise to actually make people’s lives better by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, cutting taxes for working people, and stopping American corporations from stashing trillions in profits overseas to avoid paying taxes.”
— “GOP ex-colleagues sharpen attacks in 5th District runoff,” by The State’s Bristow Marchant: “Pope says he has the more substantive record as a legislator – evidence he has the skills to get things done in Washington. ‘I’ve worked to accomplish things, and Ralph has worked to build his record to run for office,’ said Pope, a member of the GOP’s House leadership who worked to pass the state’s first update to laws governing the behavior of public officials in a quarter century. … But Norman says Pope isn’t conservative enough to represent Republican voters looking to safeguard taxpayer money and roll back government, not create more of it. ‘He had a good career as a prosecutor, but he does not have a conservative voting record,’ Norman said.” Full story.
DEMOCRATIC REBUILD WATCH — “Dem operatives unveil new progressive tech incubator,” by POLITICO’s Gabriel Debenedetti: “Fearing a tech deficit, a trio of leading Democratic operatives is set to unveil a new organization Monday which will push their party to focus on building political technology that’s not just centered on presidential campaigns. The initiative, named Higher Ground Labs, intends to provide fellowships for up-and-coming progressive political tech entrepreneurs and to invest in young projects that can help benefit down-ballot Democratic candidates as well as presidential ones. The group will be led by former President Barack Obama’s 2012 online organizing director Betsy Hoover, private equity executive and former Obama White House special assistant Shomik Dutta, and Obama White House deputy chief technology officer Andrew McLaughlin — a former top official at tech companies such as Google and Tumblr. Higher Ground Labs says it’s already brought in its first $1 million in commitments.” Full story.
— “Democrats tackle the ‘big rebuild,’” by POLITICO’s Gabriel Debenedetti: “The Democratic National Committee headquarters remains mostly empty, devoid of almost any senior staff. It has a new chairman, Tom Perez, but there’s still no executive director. There’s a completely new organizational chart, but the gutted political, finance and tech offices remain in search of new leaders.” Full story.
ON THE AIRWAVES — New Majority Forward ad praises McCaskill action on heroin epidemic: A new radio ad from Majority Forward, a Democratic nonprofit controlled by allies of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, praises Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill for her action on the heroin epidemic. The ad is part of a six-figure statewide buy. “She’s fighting back for our families,” says Joe Brennan, who nearly lost his daughter to a heroin overdose. “She’s working with law enforcement to crack down on the drug dealers trafficking heroin. I know Claire McCaskill worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass the Addiction and Recovery Act to help people get treatment.” Listen to the ad here.
2018 WATCH — “Jon Husted becomes latest Republican to enter Ohio governor’s race,” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Andrew Tobias: “Husted, who has made his plans to run for governor clear in recent months, will make his candidacy official Sunday in a message to supporters. He plans to launch his campaign with a statewide tour this week, including a stop in Cleveland on Tuesday. In an introductory campaign video, filmed in his Williams County hometown of Montpelier, Husted highlights his record as a former Ohio House Speaker and Secretary of State, and offers a preview of some of his campaign’s likely major themes — fiscal conservatism, opposition to abortion and support for the 2nd Amendment.” Full story.
CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Luv this. Thx U Senator Elizabeth Warren (and hubby Bruce) for watching our @BallersHBO. Like you, we ball hard.” — The Rock, in a tweet about an article about Warren’s love of “Ballers.”