With Zach Montellaro and Kevin Robillard
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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SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON CAPITOL HILL — “Farenthold won’t seek reelection,” by Campaign Pro’s Elena Schneider: “Rep. Blake Farenthold said Thursday he will not seek reelection after facing mounting allegations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior from former staff members. In a video posted on his Facebook page, the Texas Republican acknowledged that his office ‘accommodated destructive gossip, offhand comments, off-color jokes and behavior, in general, that was less than professional.’ … His comments come after the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into the harassment allegations and as former staff members have begun speaking out about his conduct.” Full story.
AND IN THE STATES — “Woman says Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager,” by the Casper Star-Tribune’s Arno Rosenfeld: “Tatiana Maxwell said she was working as an intern at a Cheyenne law firm in 1982 when a young lawyer at the firm, Ed Murray, wrestled her to the office floor and ejaculated on her stomach. Murray, now Wyoming’s secretary of state, denies the allegations. Murray is considering whether to run for governor and is widely viewed as one of the leading Republican candidates, should he decide to enter the race. Maxwell detailed the alleged assault in a social media post earlier this week and confirmed the events in a Thursday phone interview with the Star-Tribune.” Full story.
ICYMI — “Paul Ryan sees his wild Washington journey coming to an end,” by POLITICO Magazine’s Tim Alberta and Rachael Bade: “Tinkering with the social safety net is a bold undertaking, particularly in an election year. But Ryan has good reason for throwing caution to the wind: His time in Congress is running short. … In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker — fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists — not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.” Full story.
TAX REFORM AT HOME — FIRST IN SCORE — “House Majority PAC hits 5 GOP members on tax bill,” by Schneider: “House Majority PAC released a new round of digital ads on Friday, attacking Republican House members on the GOP tax bill as they head home for the holidays. The ads target five House Republican incumbents: Reps. Mike Coffman (CO-06), Peter Roskam (IL-06), Ryan Costello (PA-06), John Culberson (TX-07) and Will Hurd (TX-23).” Watch the ads here: CO-06; IL-06; PA-06; TX-07 and TX-23. Full story.
— Not One Penny hits Collins, Flake: Not One Penny, a coalition of Democratic groups fighting the GOP’s tax reform plan, is out with what it is calling a last-ditch ad buy aimed at persuading Republicans to vote against their tax bill. The ads, backed by a seven-figure buy, are targeted at Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Reps. Rod Blum of Iowa, Steve Knight of California, Bruce Poliquin of Maine and Peter Roskam of Illinois. The ad targeting Collins notes the bill would trigger cuts to Medicare and mostly benefit the wealthy. Watch the ad here. The ad targeting Flake emphasizes he could be the deciding vote on the legislation, which it says would cause tax hikes on nearly 1 million families in Arizona. Watch the ad here.
— AAN boosts tax bill in 1 million robocalls: American Action Network is launching 1 million robocalls to back the GOP tax bill in 29 Republican-controlled House seats. “The House and Senate just announced historic tax reform legislation that will provide tax relief for millions of Americans,” the recorded call says. “In fact, the average middle-class family will receive a $1,200 tax cut!” Check out the list of targeted seats here.
— DCCC pops polling memo on taxes: The DCCC released a polling memo that found voters trust Democrats to “do a better job on tax reform” than Republicans, 55 percent to 44 percent. Check out the polling memo here.
Days until the 2018 election: 326
POLLING DATA — NEW THIS MORNING — Data on South Carolina governor’s race: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has a 48 percent favorability rating, while another 26 percent disapprove of McMaster’s job performance, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released today. In the GOP primary, McMaster leads with 51 percent, but Catherine Templeton “could be in the early stages of mounting a serious challenge” with 21 percent support, per the polling memo. Check out the polling memo here.
— FIRST IN SCORE — Blackburn campaign memo says they have the edge: Ward Baker, the strategist for Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s run for Senate, is out with a memo outlining his thoughts on two Tennessee polls released Thursday: “In the poll released by Vanderbilt, we have a name ID advantage of over 50 percent against Stephen Fincher. That incredible name recognition gap will cost Fincher millions and millions of dollars to bridge. Also, it is tough to 100 percent confirm this, but in their press release Vanderbilt notes that Fincher has ‘substantial name recognition in the western part of the state.’ Again, this confirms that Fincher has very little name ID in middle Tennessee, in other words, the Nashville media market, which is the largest media market in the state, and will by far be the most expensive media market in 2018. … Despite not having a full picture from these two surveys, they still prove things we already knew to be the case. Marsha is in an incredibly strong position with a real lead in the primary against Fincher. These surveys also show that Marsha is going to have a real race against [Phil] Bredesen.” Read the full memo here.
— “Iowans favor Democrats for Congress in 2018,” via The Des Moines Register: “Forty percent of Iowa Poll respondents say they would vote for a Democrat if congressional elections were held today, compared to 34 percent who say they would back a Republican. The finding is notable because Republicans hold three of Iowa’s four congressional seats, including two seen as among the most competitive in the country in 2018.” Full story.
AFTER ALABAMA — DSCC, DCCC release digital ads: Both the DSCC and DCCC are out with new digital ads attempting to capitalize on the results of Alabama’s Senate race. The DSCC ads, targeting GOP Senate candidates in Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, attack them for “doing nothing” to oppose Moore’s candidacy. “Roy Moore doesn’t think women should run for office,” one sample ad said. “And Dean Heller said nothing.” The DCCC ads are targeting African-American women in 42 battleground House districts, encouraging voter registration.
DEPT. OF BIO VIDEOS — Jay Hulings releases family-orientated video in TX-23: Democrat Jay Hulings, who’s in a four-way primary to challenge GOP Rep. Will Hurd, released a biography video focused on his family’s story. Hulings and his mother talk about his grandfather, who “was buried in your Harvard T-shirt at his request. Didn’t want a suit, he was buried in your Harvard shirt,” Hulings’ mother said. Watch the video here.
— NH-01 candidate Eddie Edwards opens up in video: Republican Eddie Edwards “begins his new campaign web video by talking openly about witnessing as a child his mother being beaten by his father,” WMUR reported. “Those are the early memories that I have as a young person growing up,” Edwards says in the video. “Hearing my mother’s voice in pain, you never forget that. Having the police come to your home — those lights, those sirens — they meant a place of safety for me.” Check out the video here.
FACEBOOK FEED — “Federal regulators approve narrow Facebook ad disclosure,” reports USA Today: “Federal election regulators told a political group Thursday that its Facebook ads must include disclaimers showing who paid for them, wading into the debate on social-media advertising as the government grapples with revelations about Russian use of the platforms in last year’s election. But, on a 4-0 vote, the Federal Election Commission made it clear that its action applied narrowly, and it still planned to work on broader rules governing digital advertising next year.” Read Thursday’s advisory opinion here.
CASH HELP — “Jordan helps Zeldin fundraise after Ryan cancels help,” via POLITICO’s Rachael Bade: “Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan [was expected to] headline a fundraiser for Rep. Lee Zeldin in New York [on Thursday night] — a last-minute, line-up addition that comes after Speaker Paul Ryan backed out of an earlier Zeldin reelection event. Jordan told POLITICO that he was dining with Zeldin on Wednesday evening when his colleague asked for his help. Zeldin, an early Trump supporter, could face a tough reelection — though Cook Political Report currently rates his district as ‘likely Republican.’” Full story.
CAMPAIGN TECH CALL — Progressive tech incubator Higher Ground Labs opens its second round of applications for companies to get funding for new products. The applications will be open through Jan. 15. Eleven startups have already received $1.75M from the group.
STAFFING UP — NDRC adds staff ahead of midterms: “The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, chaired by former Attorney General Eric Holder, announced its senior staff today. Hayley Dierker, who served as the chief of staff to the DCCC, will reprise the role at NDRC. Marina Jenkins, an attorney, will join as the litigation director. John Bisognano, a former Obama White House official, will serve as the director of campaigns and state outreach.” Full story.