With Zach Montellaro 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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PAINT IT RED — “GOP eyes Obama-Trump districts despite national headwinds,” by Campaign Pro’s Elena Schneider: “When Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright woke up on Nov. 8, 2016, he represented a safe blue Pennsylvania district. But by the time he went to sleep that night, Donald Trump had painted Cartwright’s turf red beneath his feet.
Cartwright still won a third term, but Republicans hope to follow up on Trump’s top-of-the-ticket success by targeting Cartwright and 11 other House Democrats in Trump districts in 2018. A well-funded Republican jumped in to oppose Cartwright for the first time, while Rep. Cheri Bustos — the only Midwesterner in House Democratic leadership — has also drawn a stronger challenger than last year. Other Trump-district Democrats in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin are also top Republican targets, as are open seats in the Las Vegas suburbs and southern New Hampshire.” Full story here.
DRUMROLL, PLEASE — New disclosure from pro-Jones super PAC reveals… almost nothing: Highway 31, the mysterious new pro-Doug Jones super PAC that has recently spent close to $2 million in Alabama filed its first disclosure documents with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday. But the report, which spans Nov. 6-22, doesn’t list any contributions from donors or organizations funding the PAC. Instead, Highway 31 disclosed spending itself into $1.1 million in debt — all of it to high-profile political firms for ad production and placement — and raising no money at all. The next disclosure won’t happen until after the election, so voters in Alabama won’t know who has been funding the ads when they go to vote.
Washington Democrats say they aren’t the source of the funds for Highway 31. But it is worth noting that several firms with histories of doing high-profile work for national Democrats are working for the super PAC. Among them is Waterfront Strategies, a media buyer that has done work for House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC in the past. See the filing here.
BARTON IS DONE — “Barton to retire after nude selfie fallout,” by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney: “Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) announced Thursday that he won’t run for reelection in 2018, following a string of stories about him sending lewd texts and nude photos and videos to women. Barton, the ninth-most senior member of the House, told the Dallas Morning news in an interview, ‘There are enough people who lost faith in me that it’s time to step aside.’ Local GOP leaders had begun calling for Barton to step down in recent days.” Full story.
Days until the 2018 election: 339
RUNNING BUDDIES — “Jon Husted will be Mike DeWine’s running mate,” Cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer reports: “Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted will end his gubernatorial campaign to become primary rival and Attorney General Mike DeWine’s running mate, according to reliable sources tied to the candidates. The decision looks to be a game-changer in the race for Ohio governor in 2018, creating a Republican team with political and financial clout and turning one of DeWine’s major challengers into an ally.” Full story here.
NEW ENTRY — Dallas County sheriff will resign to run for governor, via WFAA: “Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez will resign her office so she can challenge Greg Abbott in 2018, according to Dallas County Democratic Chairwoman Carol Donovan. … Donovan told WFAA that Valdez will resign effective next Friday, Dec. 8. The deadline to file to be a candidate is Dec. 11.” Full story here.
RATINGS ALERT — “House 2018: Less Than a Year Out, Race for Control Is a Coin Flip,” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik: “We’re a little bit past the halfway point between the last national election, in 2016, and the next national election, in 2018. In that time, the Democrats’ chances of winning the House have only seemed to rise, based on a number of indicators. … Put it all together, and the battle for control of the House looks something like a coin flip, with Democrats having a very real chance to net the 24 seats they need to win a majority. In fact, the big-picture indicators might suggest the Democrats should be favored to win the House. But we’re not willing to go that far, at least at the moment.” Full story.
AIR WAR — NARAL hits Democrat Lipinski for opposing gay marriage: NARAL Pro-Choice America is out with a TV ad that attacks Illinois Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski for “opposing same-sex marriage” and “extended background checks to all gun sales.” NARAL, along with several other progressive groups, has endorsed Lipinski’s primary opponent, Marie Newman. Watch the ad here.
CANDIDATE PUSHBACK — McCready pens indictment of both parties: Democrat Dan McCready, who’s vying to challenge North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger, wrote an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer slamming both parties for their handling of sexual harassment cases. McCready directly went after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for using “moves from the Bill Clinton-era playbook, initially defending [Rep. John] Conyers instead of condemning sexual assault.” Read the op-ed here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I think it’s time for both of them to go,” New York Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said of Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers on Thursday. Crowley is the highest-ranking Democrat to say both lawmakers should resign.