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DAILY ROLL TIDE — “How to beat Roy Moore, according to the guy who nearly did,” by Campaign Pro’s Daniel Strauss: “Democrats haven’t won a statewide election in Alabama in almost a decade. But in 2012, one Democrat almost pulled it off: Bob Vance, a mild-mannered circuit court judge from Birmingham who came within 4 points of beating none other than Roy Moore. Now Democrats are looking back at that state Supreme Court contest for clues on how their Senate nominee, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, might improve slightly upon Vance’s performance and stage a special election upset in a state long seen as out of reach to the party. … ‘He’s very divisive even within the Republican Party,’ Vance said of Moore. ‘That’s why I agreed to run against him.’ He added: ‘I knew there were a lot of establishment Republicans who couldn’t stomach Roy Moore.'” Full story.
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— “Alabama secretary of state gets pro-Jones digital ad pulled,” by Strauss: “An ad produced by the pro-Doug Jones super PAC Highway 31 has been removed from YouTube after Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s office decided the spot included ‘incorrect or inaccurate information intent on confusing voters.’ … In a statement, the secretary of state’s office said: ‘Reports from several sources indicate a targeted effort to misinform and confuse voters regarding whether an individual’s voting record would be available to the public. No individual voting record is made available to anyone at anytime, including the voter who cast the ballot.'” The ad can be viewed here. Full story.
On Thursday afternoon, Highway 31 Executive Director Adam Muhlendorf released a statement: “We are in contact with Google to ensure the ad runs through Election Day. The fact of the matter remains that John Merrill is inferring an intent that is simply not true.”
— A new ad from Jones’ campaign pushes back on attacks from Moore’s campaign that the former U.S. attorney is against “strong borders and a secure military.” The new 30-second ad also says Moore is lying about Jones’ position on abortion.
RETIREMENT WATCH — “Rep. Trent Franks to resign after discussing surrogacy with female staffers,” by POLITICO’s Rachael Bade, Kyle Cheney, and Elena Schneider: “Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday that he would resign from office as of Jan. 31, 2018, after discussing surrogacy issues with female staffers. ‘I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable,’ he said in a statement. ‘I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.’ … Franks is the third lawmaker to announce plans to resign this week as the furor over sexual misconduct and harassment sweeps Capitol Hill. He will be the first Republican to vacate his post amid the growing scandal.” Full story.
— IN MINNESOTA — “Franken resigns,” by POLITICO’s Elana Schor and Seung Min Kim: “Sen. Al Franken said on Thursday that he would resign after seven women came forward in recent weeks and said he groped or tried to forcibly kiss them, capping a stunning fall from grace for one of the Democratic Party’s most popular and high-profile politicians. … ‘I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,’ Franken said.” Full story.
— “Sen. Al Franken to leave U.S. Senate, says he can no longer be effective,” by The Minnesota Star Tribune’s Jennifer Brooks and Maya Rao: Gov. Mark Dayton “is expected to appoint a replacement soon. A Democratic source told the Star Tribune that Dayton is likely to appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, and that she is not expected to run in the special election. But other ambitious [members of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party] are likely to be interested or at least be considered. In a statement issued after Franken’s speech, Dayton said, ‘I expect to make and announce my decision in the next couple days.'” Full story.
— IN NEVADA — “Democrat Kihuen hanging on despite harassment claim,” by POLITICO’s Heather Caygle: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi won’t call for a primary challenger to take on Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen, despite saying the freshman Democrat should resign due to sexual harassment allegations. ‘This is not about politics. That’s the last thing this is about,’ Pelosi said Thursday in response to questions about Kihuen, who has refused demands from party leaders to step down. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not respond to requests for comment on whether it would fund a primary challenger against Kihuen. The campaign arm has, however, removed Kihuen from its ‘Frontline’ program, which prioritizes funding for vulnerable members.” Full story.
— Former Rep. Cresent Hardy reconsidering another run for NV-04, by the Nevada Independent’s Luz Gray: Hardy, a Republican, “says he’s considering running for the Nevada congressional seat he lost last year to embattled Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who’s facing an allegation of sexual harassment and calls to resign. Hardy told The Nevada Independent on Wednesday that people are continuing to ‘push me very hard to reconsider’ his decision, announced in July, that he wouldn’t run in the 2018 election cycle.” Full story.
Days until the 2018 election: 333
IT’S OFFICIAL — “Bredesen makes Senate bid official,” by Campaign Pro’s Kevin Robillard: “Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen is running for U.S. Senate, he announced [Thursday]. Bredesen’s entrance into the race makes Tennessee a potential top-tier Senate contest in 2018. He’ll face Army veteran James Mackler for the Democratic nomination. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former Rep. Stephen Fincher are competing for the GOP nomination.” Full story.
— Following Bredesen’s decision to jump into the Democratic primary, the opposition research group American Bridge is starting to aggressively focus on the state. The group is planning to put a tracker on Blackburn and already has almost 100 hours of footage and over 1,600 pages of research on her, per Bridge spokesman Josh Karp.
DEMS ON FRANKEN — “Why Democrats had to dump Franken,” by POLITICO’s Edward-Isaac Dovere: “A year into Donald Trump’s presidency, many voters still don’t know what Democrats stand for — so at the very least, party leaders reluctantly decided, they better take a stand against sexual harassment. Especially when they’re going to need a huge turnout among women to do what now still seems like a reach, but six months ago seemed impossible: flip the House and maybe even the Senate, and rally in races for governor and state legislature across the country next year. … Beyond the White House’s dismissal of the women who’d gone public with accusations against Trump, Democratic leaders know that within a week, they’re likely to have a Senate without Franken but including Roy Moore, despite allegations of preying on children and being banned from a mall over his alleged pursuit of teenage girls.” Full story.
COWBOY STATE DEMOCRAT — Businessman Gary Trauner, a Democrat, is running for Senate in Wyoming. In his announcement video Trauner stresses the importance of “getting big money out of politics.” Watch the video here. Trauner is hoping to beat Sen. John Barrasso.
REMEMBER GILMORE? — “Anybody but Corey Stewart? Virginia GOP looks for others to run against Sen. Kaine,” by The Washington Post’s Jenna Portnoy and Laura Vozzella: “As Virginia Republicans gather Friday for their annual retreat, party leaders are alarmed at the possibility of fielding Corey Stewart as next year’s U.S. Senate nominee, and with help from the national GOP, they are maneuvering to recruit someone else to be the face of the party. … Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently summoned former Gov. James S. Gilmore III to Washington to ask him to run, while Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) met with Del. Nick Freitas (Culpeper) to advise him on a likely campaign.” Full story.
RSLC MEMO — A new memo from the Republican State Leadership Committee pushes back on the argument that Democrats have the wind at their backs in state-level elections: “Lost in the Democrat catharsis of Nov. 7 statewide wins in New Jersey and Virginia and its aftermath have been several notable Republican state-level wins. … Just this week, Republican Sen.-Elect Dean Tran, flipped a seat in Massachusetts that had been Democrat-held since 1974. In fact, Democrats’ narrowest margin of victory during that time was 18 percent. Both President [Barack] Obama and Hillary Clinton carried the district in recent presidential elections. Tran will become the only Vietnamese-American in the Massachusetts Legislature and marks the 11th newly elected Republican state legislator this year identified through either the RSLC’s Future Majority Project, which supports candidates from diverse communities like Tran, or our Right Women, Right Now initiative that supports new female Republican candidates for office.” Full memo here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The establishment that’s supporting Pritzker wants us to not worry about Pritzker’s electability” in a general election. — Illinois state Sen. Daniel Biss on Democratic gubernatorial rival J.B. Pritzker