Good morning folks,
Political nerds had an interesting weekend after former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer stunned Democrats by announcing that he would not run for Senate in the Treasure State. In fact, just a few days ago, Guy Cecil – the Executive Director of the DSCC – was on record in Politico promising Brian Schweitzer tremendous resources to get in the race.
Their spin aside, the truth is that Democrats were stunned – caught completely off-guard by the extensive research that we conducted in Montana. The importance of this news and this moment should not be sold short. As Chairman Moran wrote in a memo to friends of the NRSC this morning, “This news marks a sea-change moment in our effort to earn back the Senate Majority.”
We are in a strong position not only to win in Montana, but national pundits are now beginning to recognize something that we’ve been saying since February: Republicans are positioned to win the Senate majority in 2014.
- This morning, Real Clear Politics analyst Sean Trende explains: “Had Schweitzer decided to run, the seat would probably lean toward a Democratic hold, and the GOP would have only an outside chance at taking back the upper chamber. But Schweitzer’s surprise announcement that he will not run changes that calculus substantially… … For the first time this cycle, we can discuss a GOP takeover of the upper chamber in more than hypothetical terms.”
- The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “Nationally, Montana becomes the third problematic open seat for the party. In West Virginia, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is a clear favorite, as Democrats have yet to persuade a serious candidate to run. In South Dakota, the two leading potential Democratic candidates took a pass while popular former governor Mike Rounds dodged a serious Republican primary challenge. If you give Republicans those three open seats — they are favored at the moment, but the election remains 16 months away — they then need three more for the majority… …Make no mistake: Schweitzer’s decision not to run gives Senate Republicans more flexibility to get to 51 seats in November 2014.”
- In Politico, Manu Raju agreed: “Already, Republicans are favored to win two seats left vacant by Democratic retirements — in West Virginia and South Dakota — and the Schweitzer move will make it much easier for the GOP to win in Montana. That means the battle for the majority will likely be fought in a handful of red states with Democratic incumbents, including North Carolina, Arkansas and Alaska.”
We’ve said from the start that our mission is to win the majority. While we can all agree 2014 is a long way off and there is much that can and will happen, there is no disputing that amongst the political chattering class, a GOP majority is viewed as more likely today than it was just a few days ago.
Seize the day,
2014 BATTLEGROUND SONAR
(2014) Democrats’ Chances Of Keeping Senate Control Just Took A Brutal Hit
Popular Democratic former Gov. Brian Schweitzer told the Associated Press that he will not run for Montana’s open Senate seat — something that serves as a major blow for Democratic hopes of keeping control of the body in 2014. Montana’s seat is now a little more wide open in the race to replace Sen. Max Baucus, who announced earlier this year that he would retire. Polls showed that Schweitzer, who was still popular in the red state, was the only hypothetical Democratic candidate who led potential Republican candidates. Republicans need to flip six Senate seats in 2014 to gain back control of the body. Now three red states with retiring Democratic senators — Montana, West Virginia, and South Dakota — look like promising potential flips for Republicans, who reacted to the news with glee.
(2014) Reid: ‘Obamacare Has Been Wonderful for America’
Harry Reid said this morning that “Obamacare has been wonderful for America.” Watch video “Obamacare has been wonderful for America,” said Reid on NBC. “Six million seniors get wellness checks now, 3.1 million young people now have insurance that insurers can’t rip off people anymore. That’s why people got millions of dollars of refunds last year. If you have a pre-existing disability, you’re covered. They should just get real and understand this is a law that’s important. and they need to work with us to improve it.”
(MONTANA) Brian Schweitzer move aids GOP in battle for Senate
Former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s surprise announcement Saturday that he won’t run for Senate in Montana imperils Democrats’ chances of holding the seat and could further narrow an ever-shrinking 2014 Senate map. Already, Republicans are favored to win two seats left vacant by Democratic retirements — in West Virginia and South Dakota — and the Schweitzer move will make it much easier for the GOP to win in Montana. That means the battle for the majority will likely be fought in a handful of red states with Democratic incumbents, including North Carolina, Arkansas and Alaska.
- Schweitzer Deals Senate Dems A Blow
- Make no mistake: Schweitzer’s decision not to run gives Senate Republicans more flexibility to get to 51 seats in November 2014.
(KENTUCKY) Searching for Alison Lundergan Grimes
The election is more than a year away, but Senator Mitch McConnell is already running hard against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state and his likely opponent in the general election. He raised more than $2 million in the second quarter, and has nearly $10 million on hand.
- After Nearly Two Weeks of Radio Silence Grimes Found: In Massachusetts with Harry Reid
- Grimes’ U.S. Senate campaign is making little noise
(ILLINOIS) Durbin gets a Republican challenger in Doug Truax
Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin has a challenger for his 2014 re-election campaign. Republican Doug Truax, a West Point graduate who now runs a strategic risk consulting firm, will officially announce his candidacy on Monday. “At West Point, one of the first things they taught us is that you change battlefield strategies if they continually fail,” Truax said in a statement. “Business owners and families also know this but amazingly, in Illinois and Washington, career politicians like Dick Durbin continue to make the same tax-and-spend policy decisions without regard to results.” Durbin, the majority whip of the Senate, is well positioned for re-election, with $3.2 million in his campaign account, according to FEC filings in March. But the Truax campaign says it will try to woo a large coalition to help position him to win, focusing particularly on younger voters and not writing anyone off, no matter their party affiliation. “I look forward to bringing a new energy and ultimately a new direction for the people of Illinois,” Truax said in a statement.
(WYOMING) Enzi: Dismantle Obamacare
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) on Saturday pressed for the dismantling of President Obama’s healthcare law, as Republicans rev up their battle against the measure. Enzi’s message, in the GOP weekly address, comes more than a week after the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate, a key plank in the law that forces certain businesses – under the threat of penalty – to provide insurance coverage for employees. Republicans have since latched on to that decision to seek more longstanding delays for both the employer mandate and other central parts of the law.
(SOUTH DAKOTA) Weiland: Hypocrite of the Month Winner
U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland and his wife Stacy loaned Weiland’s campaign $100,000 to help it get started, the campaign said Thursday evening. Earlier in the day, Weiland held an announcement in which he said he raised $105,000 and had around $100,000 cash on hand. He didn’t mention the loan at the time, but the campaign emailed reporters about it in the evening. An aide said Weiland forgot about the loan when the subject came up from reporter questions.
- NOTE: Last month, Democrat Rick Weiland “gallantly” called for a cap on donations for the U.S. Senate race, declaring that candidates running for Senate in South Dakota should not accept donations over $100. Less than month later Weiland is already going back on his word and breaking his own rules by pocketing thousands of checks for more than $100 (including, apparently, one worth $100,000 from himself). Weiland broke his own rule own rule 1000x over. Weiland isn’t willing to stand by his own principles, beliefs, and promises, how can anything he says be trusted?
(ALASKA) Campaign-style tactics used in Obamacare implementation fight
The first test vote on the delay took place Thursday at the Senate Appropriations Committee markup of the Health and Human Services spending bill for Fiscal Year 2014. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., proposed amendments to stop enforcement of both the insurance mandate on businesses and the requirement that individuals buy insurance. Both measures were rejected on party line votes. The National Republican Senatorial Committee criticized Sen. Mark Begich, D- Alaska, who is up for re-election next year, for voting against the Moran amendment to block the individual mandate.
ON THE TWITTERS
(WALL STREET JOURNAL) Why the President’s ObamaCare Maneuver May Backfire
By postponing the employer mandate, Obama has given millions of Americans the legal standing to sue.
President Obama’s announcement on July 2 that he is suspending the Affordable Care Act’s employer health-insurance mandate may well have exposed his actions to judicial review—even though that is clearly what he sought to avoid. The health-care reform law’s employer mandate requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide a congressionally prescribed set of health-insurance benefits or pay a penalty calculated at about $2,000 per employee. The law was to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, but Mr. Obama has “postponed” its application until 2015. His aim, the administration said, was to give employers more time to comply with the new rules. But it was also seen as a way to avoid paying at least part of ObamaCare’s mounting political price in the 2014 congressional elections.
- Mandate delay a ‘full time’ headache for employers
- Obamacare Delay Puts Democrats Back Into Defense Mode
(INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY) ObamaCare Mandate Delay: Employers Keep Job Cuts
For many workers, the one-year delay in ObamaCare’s employer mandate was too little, too late. The delay doesn’t offer sufficient reason for CY Farms in upstate New York to reconsider its decision to cut 25 workers from its payroll, managing partner Craig Yunker told IBD. Those workers were let go when the farm decided that the additional costs of complying with ObamaCare made it hard to justify planting a labor-intensive cabbage crop this year.
- Fraud fear raised in California’s health exchange
- St. Pete College, HCC cut adjuncts’ hours over health care
(REUTERS) Analysis: Obamacare struggles to meet make-or-break deadline
With time running out, U.S. officials are struggling to cope with the task of launching the new online health insurance exchanges at the heart of President Barack Obama’s signature health reforms by an October 1 deadline. The White House, and federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), must ensure that working marketplaces open for enrollment in all 50 states in less than 80 days, and are responding to mounting pressure by concentrating on three essential areas that will determine whether the most critical phase of Obamacare succeeds or fails.
(POLITIX) A Democratic War on Women?
Republicans are turning the table in the “war on women” theme, suggesting it’s actually being perpetrated by badly-behaving Democratic officeholders. A blistering Republican National Committee news release ties San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who this week implicitly admitted sexually harassing city employees, with former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and ex-New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who both resigned over sex-related indiscretions.
(THE HILL) House Republicans ready attack on Obama’s ‘social cost of carbon’
A House hearing next Thursday will provide a platform for GOP criticism of the White House decision to increase the estimated damages from carbon emissions that agencies use in crafting regulations. A subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is delving into the higher “social cost of carbon” estimate. The upward revision surfaced in a recent Energy Department rule on microwave oven efficiency, which increased the estimated benefits of the regulation.
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