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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( Wisconsin is another race that is starting to generate some attention , not seen as a republican pick up but was they won other senate seat in 2016 )

01/05/2018 00:01 EST | Updated 2 hours ago

Wisconsin Is Quietly Becoming The Top Senate Race Of 2018

Sen. Tammy Baldwin is battling more outside spending by conservative groups than all of her Democratic colleagues. Combined.

By Amanda Terkel

Bill Clark/Getty Images

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) has carved out a record as one of the Senate's leading progressives.

Ask a Democrat what Senate races worries them this year, and Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and North Dakota will likely be near the top. All are states that Donald Trump won in 2016, and the Democratic senators seeking re-election in them have staked out moderate paths to appeal to some of their less liberal constituents.

But increasingly, Democrats point to another race as one they’re worried about: Wisconsin. That’s where Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin already has been targeted by an onslaught of outside spending from conservative groups. Party leaders say the odds remain in her favor, but they’re sure not going to take the race for granted.

Conservative groups have so far spent at least $3.1 million against Baldwin, which is more than what all the other Democratic Senate incumbents on the ballot this year have faced combined (under $550,000), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Those figures reflect what these groups have publicly reported to the Federal Election Commission. But the Baldwin campaign has tracked the spending on ads and found there’s even more money flowing into the state that aims to undercut her political fortunes. So-called dark money groups don’t have to necessarily report this spending to the FEC because their efforts don’t specifically call for Baldwin’s defeat.

Nine groups have spent more than $4.7 million on ads that attack Baldwin and/or boost one of the Republicans vying to oppose her, according to her campaign’s tracking (shown in the chart below).

One of the groups, Freedom Partners, said it intends to spend $1.6 million on its TV and digital campaign in Wisconsin (so far, it’s spent more than $600,000, according to Baldwin’s campaign). Solutions for Wisconsin confirmed that it’s spent about $100,000. The other groups either didn’t return a request for comment or declined to confirm how much they’ve spent.

Aside from the outside spending, Democrats have other reasons to closely watch Wisconsin.

First, Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican machine he’s built in the state are formidable, as Democrats have seen from past elections and legislative fights. Baldwin is the last standing Democrat serving statewide in Wisconsin, and the GOP desperately wants to topple her.

Walker is up for re-election in 2018, meaning he’ll help bring out Republican voters to the polls. A slew of Democrats seek their party’s nomination to defeat him, but there’s still no clear frontrunner and no one doubts that Walker is formidable.

“Scott Walker’s got a great operation,” a GOP campaign aide said, predicting that the Senate race will be tight. The governor has “a fully formed, aggressive, well-funded effort already underway in every major voting population center in the state, and the nominee (to oppose Baldwin) will benefit from it.”

GOP Billionaire Backers Jump In Early

Democrats are still stinging from what happened in Wisconsin’s 2016 Senate race. Nearly everyone ― including most Republicans ― expected Democrat Russ Feingold to retake his old seat from incumbent Republican Ron Johnson.

Republicans were so convinced that Johnson would be gone that the National Republican Senate Committee cancelled its plans to spend $800,000 on TV ads in the final weeks before Election Day.

But Johnson beat Feingold by nearly four percentage points, surpassing Trump’s victory margin in the state (which was less than one point).

And a big reason for Johnson’s win, according to Patrick Guarasci, a Democratic political consultant based in Wisconsin, was the outside money that poured in on his behalf. Super PACs dumped millions of dollars into the race to defeat Feingold, known for the signature 2002 law restricting campaign spending that he co-sponsored with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The Wisconsin State Journal called these contributions Johnson’s “secret weapon.”

“The (Republican National Committee), the Republican Senate campaign ― a lot of folks started to decrease their support” for Johnson,” Guarasci said. “But these billionaires got together over the summer in 2016 and dumped millions of dollars into the election. No matter what, they were not going to leave Ron Johnson.”

A big source of the money this year is coming from Dick Uihlein, a billionaire businessman who lives in Illinois but often invests heavily in Wisconsin politics. With his wife, he donated $23 million to Republicans in the 2016 cycle. This cycle, Uihlein has given at least $3.5 million to Solutions for Wisconsin, a super PAC backing Kevin Nicholson, one of the two major Republican Senate candidates. Uihlein also has donated to several other groups helping out Nicholson. Here are a couple of the pro-Nicholson ads:

What’s significant about Uihlein’s support is that a hefty portion of his donations came before Nicholson even officially entered the race as an enticement for him to do so.

“It’s so bizarre,” Guarasci said, adding, “It’s shocking to me that in 2017, more than a year before the election, they were already on television going after Tammy here. So that cannot be discounted, the amount of early money that is being spent to try to define Tammy in these contentious times. That is something that is almost unprecedented, in my view ― and potentially could be the new normal in some of these hot states like Wisconsin.”

Nicholson is an untraditional GOP candidate, to say the least. Sure, he’s a clean-cut veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with degrees from Ivy League universities who expounds on conservative ideas. But he’s also the former president of the national College Democrats who spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. Supporters say he’s a fresh face who came around to the power of conservative ideas, while detractors say he’s an opportunist who can’t be trusted.

In addition to Uihlein, Nicholson has attracted support from the Club for Growth, a group that promotes fiscal conservative policies, and Steve Bannon, the former Trump aide and current Breitbart News executive who loves to back outsiders willing to upend the establishment.

Challenging Nicholson for the Republican nomination is Leah Vukmir, a conservative member of the state Senate who has won endorsements from powerful Wisconsin GOP politicians and praise from talk radio hosts. Vukmir is backed by Wisconsin billionaire Diane Hendricks, who also pledged her support for the state senator before she even entered the race.

Jess Ward, Vukmir’s campaign manager, said that despite the influx of cash backing Nicholson, the candidate with the most money doesn’t always win ― just look at Trump in 2016.

Ward also took a subtle jab at the fact that Uihlein doesn’t live in Wisconsin. “Leah’s focus has been to run a Wisconsin-based campaign,” she said. “Her staff is from Wisconsin, her advisers and consultants understand Wisconsin, and that’s where we’re coming from.”

Nicholson’s campaign did not return a request for comment.

Nicholson and Vukmir already have traded barbs. On Wednesday, Vukmir pressured Nicholson to disavow Bannon following reports on the one-time close Trump ally bad-mouthing the president’s family in a forthcoming book. Nicholson’s campaign responded by saying it was “disappointing” she was attacking a fellow Republican.

GOP campaign aides who spoke with HuffPost said that yes, a bruising fight leading up to the Aug. 14 primary worries them. It’s a drain on resources, and attacks get thrown around that can then be used as ammunition in the general election battle.

But the outside spending helps insulate against the first concern, since donors are allowed to give unlimited amounts of cash to the super PACS targeting Baldwin. And on the second point, Republicans hope that their eventual nominee can emerge from the primary the stronger for having been tested. Party officials also succeeded in getting Nicholson and Vukmir to sign a unity pledge, with each promising to support the primary winner.

The dynamics of the GOP race could change if Eric Hovde, a millionaire hedge fund manager from Madison, decides to jump in. But regardless of what happens among the Republicans, there will be plenty of anti-Baldwin ads running on air.

“It’s no surprise that Tammy Baldwin is the top target of big money special interests who want Washington to keep working for them, not Wisconsin,” said her campaign press secretary, Bill Neidhardt. “Regardless of how much these out-of-state billionaires and right-wing groups pump into Wisconsin, people here know that Tammy Baldwin has been listening to them and not the special interests. The fact is Tammy has reached across party lines to lead ‘Buy American’ reforms to protect the state’s economy, advocate for dairy farmers and our small towns, and lower Wisconsin families’ prescription drug costs.”

Progressive In A Trump State

While Democrats are keeping what happened to Feingold in 2016 in mind, they’re also looking back at what happened in 2012. Specifically, they’re looking at Sen. Sherrod Brown’s successful re-election that year.

The Democrat from Ohio was that cycle’s biggest target of outside spending by conservatives. There are a couple of other similarities: Baldwin’s fight isn’t attracting quite as much attention right now as some other high-profile Senate contests, just as Brown’s wasn’t.

Brown also never abandoned his progressive populist positions, even though he was running in a battleground state. Baldwin, similarly, remains one of the Senate’s most liberal members ― unlike some of her Democratic colleagues in Trump states that tend to tack more to the middle or the right.

The site FiveThirtyEight, which tracks how often members of Congress vote with Trump, found that Baldwin is near the bottom of that metric ― right along with Democratic senators from significantly bluer states such as Massachusetts, New York and California. And that’s part of the reason she’s being battered so early by so much outside spending.

“Tammy is one of the most liberal members of the Senate in a state won barely ― but won ― by Trump,” Charles Franklin, the polling director at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, said. “And Walker is on the ballot for a third term. I think structurally, those were reasons for outside groups in particular to think this would be a tough battle for her.”

But Brown showed that liberals can win in highly competitive states. “The money ... spent (attacking) Sherrod Brown ― that dog didn’t hunt because people knew him,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said.

And Democrats expect that rather than drift to the right, Baldwin will emphasize economic populist issues that appeal to voters regardless of party, in a similar way that Brown did.

Baldwin often talks about manufacturing issues, and Trump has even said he supports her legislation to strengthen federal requirements that American-made products be used in certain construction projects.

Outside money also has come to her aid. The Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic group, has spent $1 million on TV and digital ads. And Majority Forward, America Working Together and Vote Vets partnered to spend $500,000 on TV and radio spots touting her.

Guarasci said that while Baldwin is a progressive champion, he views her as more in the mold of Herb Kohl, the low-key Democratic senator she replaced. Baldwin made history in winning the seat in 2012, becoming the first ― and so far only ― openly gay person elected to the Senate. (Pennsylvania Democrat Harris Wofford came out long after he lost his Senate seat in 1994.)

“Tammy Baldwin believes in getting shit done,” Guarasci said. “She believes that if you call her office, you’re going to get excellent constituent relations. ... She’s not a bomb thrower.”

A number of the ads run against Baldwin have focused on the GOP tax bill. How that will play in the 2018 midterms remains to be seen, but it will no doubt be a major issue: Democrats are going to emphasize the large corporate tax cut it delivered, while Republicans will say the measure’s opponents voted to oppose a middle-class tax cut and preserve a rigged system benefiting special interests.

“When Wisconsin needed relief, Tammy Baldwin raised taxes,” said Freedom Partners spokesman Bill Riggs. “When Washington spent too much, Tammy Baldwin raised taxes.”

Also likely to come up in the race is the scandal at the Veterans Affairs’ medical center in Tomah, Wisconsin. Baldwin has been accused of not acting aggressively enough to address the overprescription of opioids at the facility, where the Center for Investigative Reporting has noted there have been dozens of suspicious deaths.

Baldwin ended up firing an aide and disciplined three others over the controversy and introduced legislation intended to address opiate drug prescriptions at the VA.

“Whether it is her failure to help Wisconsin veterans at the Tomah VA, or her efforts to block tax cuts for Wisconsin middle-class families, Senator Baldwin has proven time and again that she is working for her radical friends in Washington, not for the people of Wisconsin,” NRSC Communications Director Katie Martin said.

And then, of course, there’s Trump and how he will factor into the midterm elections.

He may have eked out a win in Wisconsin in 2016, but Democrats carried it in the previous seven presidential elections. Franklin said he hasn’t polled Trump’s approval rating in the state since June, but it generally falls about where it is nationally ― and nationally, Trump’s approval is down.

“Midterms are historically weak for the president’s party,” Franklin said. “And if the president’s approval is as low as it looks like Trump’s will be, then those are forces working for Democrats, and therefore for Baldwin.”


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minnesota Republicans seek the return of Tim Pawlenty

Anchor Muted Background

By Rebecca Berg, CNN

Updated 6:04 AM ET, Fri January 5, 2018

Story highlights
The Senate seat has emerged as an unexpected pickup opportunity for Republicans
Democrat Tina Smith does not have an outsized profile in the state

(CNN) — As Tim Pawlenty weighs whether to run for Senate in Minnesota, Republicans have been attempting to persuade the former governor to jump into the race -- with outreach by a roster party leaders, donors and Republican activists, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

The Senate seat has emerged as an unexpected pickup opportunity for Republicans in a potentially punishing midterm election year after Sen. Al Franken's abrupt resignation following sexual misconduct allegations.

Franken's replacement, Democrat Tina Smith, previously served as lieutenant governor but does not have an outsized profile in the state.

Pawlenty, meanwhile, was elected governor in 2006 and a candidate in the 2012 Republican presidential primary and in contention to be Mitt Romney's running mate.

Romney, Pawlenty, Bachmann revive 2012 memories with possible Senate runs

Related Article: Romney, Pawlenty, Bachmann revive 2012 memories with possible Senate runs

One vocal advocate for Pawlenty's candidacy has been former Sen. Norm Coleman, who sat down with Pawlenty multiple times before Christmas to pitch him on the race, both in Minnesota and Washington.

"He is certainly, from my perspective, the ideal candidate," Coleman told CNN. "After the Franken embarrassment, he's someone people know and trust."

Pawlenty, through an intermediary, declined to comment.

Recruitment efforts could be complicated by stiff political headwinds facing Republicans in the upcoming election. A CNN poll last month found Democrats with a staggering 18-point advantage over Republicans nationwide in a generic ballot.

"This is a challenging environment, but Tim has never been afraid to face challenges," said Coleman. "Fear is not the deciding factor for him. He's got enough going that he could easily overcome the electoral dynamics, the national trends."

Indeed, Pawlenty managed to narrowly win reelection to the governor's mansion in 2006, an election cycle that pummeled Republicans across the country.

That record, plus his strong name I.D. in Minnesota and deep connections among party donors, have caused Washington Republicans to zero in on Pawlenty as a prize recruit. Some sitting senators, including members of the Republican leadership, have reached out to the former governor in recent weeks to urge him to run, multiple sources said, as have prominent party donors.

The White House also believes Pawlenty is the potential candidate who is best positioned to pick up the seat for Republicans, said one party strategist who works with the administration. Pawlenty remains close with his former presidential campaign manager, Nick Ayers, who is now chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence and an influential voice in the administration on political decisions.

Pawlenty said in a recent interview on CNN's "New Day" that he remains "politically retired" for now. But he had already been weighing a return to politics before Franken stepped down, as a potential candidate in the race for governor. His confidantes acknowledge that Pawlenty has more experience serving in executive roles, including as governor and more recently as CEO of Financial Services Roundtable.

Pawlenty was close to running for Senate once before, in 2002 midterm election cycle -- but then-Vice President Dick Cheney convinced him to exit the race just as Pawlenty was prepared to announce his bid. The last-minute intervention cleared the way for Coleman in the Senate primary, and Pawlenty decided to run for governor instead.

"We were all so much younger then," Coleman said, adding that a Senate seat might not hold the same appeal for Pawlenty today. "There's a call to service, and I believe Tim's open to service. But then the question is, what does he want to do?"

Former Rep. Vin Weber had "a long talk" with Pawlenty prior to Franken's resignation, urging him to run for governor, "and I think he was very interested in that," Weber told CNN. Although Weber would now support Pawlenty for governor or Senate, "they're totally different races" -- with a Senate bid likely presenting greater political challenges for a Republican running in 2018.

"I have no doubt that (Pawlenty) would be more excited about being in public life than about being in private life," Weber said, "but that's not all there is to the decision."

Who else is running?

Other potential candidates have been expressing interest in the Senate contest.

Karin Housley, a Republican state senator, has already announced her intention to jump in the race.

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann, in a recent interview, said she has been urged to run for Senate, but has not reached a decision.

Bachmann, a one-time Tea Party star, might be one of only a few Minnesota Republicans who could hope to match Pawlenty's name recognition in the state. But Republicans believe the former governor could uniquely marshal the resources and broad support needed for a competitive campaign.

Those close to Pawlenty believe he will make a decision soon, in order to begin putting the pieces in place for a campaign.

"The clock is ticking to run a statewide campaign," Coleman said, noting fundraising pressures in particular.

"I've laid out positives of why (Pawlenty) would be the right candidate at the right time," Coleman added. "He'll have to make some choices."


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wisconsin is an interesting race;

Herb Kohl was more centrist on Fiscal Policy and more left of center on social policy, Tammy Baldwin tends to be more Progressive on both issues based on her first term as a Senator. Which is also interesting because its such a stark contrast to Ron Johnson who is the other Senator from Wisconsin.

Baldwin had a ton of money behind her in 2012 and Tommy Thompson while popular when Governor hadn't been Governor in over a decade on election day.

He also spent a ton of money during his Primary, whereas Baldwin largely had more dry powder ready as she basically ran unopposed.

The problem is now she is the incumbent and unseating an incumbent is more challenging than just having won the seat the first time.

The upside for the GOP is the GOP is raising more money than the Democrats and have far less Senate Seats to protect in 2018 than the Democrats.

For Wisconsin to be in play the GOP would need a strong and well funded candidate.
Time will tell.

As for Minnesota;

If Tim Pawlenty runs it becomes a significant challenge for Tina Smith to retain that seat.

It becomes more challenging if there are heavy Primary Challenges to Smith. If Lori Swanson decides to run it will be a more difficult road to securing the nomination.

Coupled with the fact that the DNC has to battle on so many different fronts this Minnesota race likely doesn't get as much funding, interest, or "feet on the street" compared to if it had been held when the term had original slated to end.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:
One of the more amusing things on the media right now is their conviction that the Republicans are going to be thumped as hard as Obama was in his first mid-term.

They might actually believe that.

The problem the Democrats have is they have set expectations to such a high level anything other than taking the Senate and House will be a failure.

By that time you will have spent two years which have been about pushing an agenda that the election of the President is seen by voters as a mistake they made that "needs" to be corrected, if the GOP loses a few House seats and the Senate stays the same the Democrats find themselves in an interesting position two years out from the Presidential election.

In the Senate there are simply not enough Republicans up for re-election in States that are in place for a "thumping".

Alabama does pave the way for them to win the Senate if they can take Arizona and Nevada while retaining the five seats the Democrats control that appear in play.

However from a Senate perspective in an absolute best case it breaks 51 - 49 for the Democrats with Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin being Conservative enough that it potentially still allows you to legislate.

As for the House;
While its early, the Democrats need 25 seats to form the thinnest of majorities.
At present you have around 18 GOP seats that are up which are "To close to call" by at least one of the major pollsters with 3 Democrat Seats . Even if all the GOP TCTC's are lost and all Democrats retained you are still short.

Its certainly not impossible, but you would have to assume the Tax Cuts will not have positive effects and that the Generic Ballot need to grow in the Dems favor.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( marsha Blackburn appears set to win the GOP nomination in the open Tennessee senate race )

Marsha Blackburn up big in Tennessee Senate race: poll

by David M. Drucker | Jan 16, 2018, 2:35 PM

In a poll commissioned by the Club for Growth, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., had a commanding lead among likely Republican primary voters. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn held a commanding lead in the Aug. 2 Republican primary for Senate in Tennessee, according to a new poll commissioned for the Club for Growth.

The conservative advocacy organization has endorsed Blackburn in the open-seat contest to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. The survey suggests that Blackburn is on a glide path for the nomination. She led former Rep. Stephen Fincher 66 percent to 33 percent; the congresswoman even topped Corker, by 38 percentage points, in a hypothetical matchup. Blackburn's favorable rating clocked in at 64 percent.

The poll of likely Republican primary voters, from WPA Intelligence, a Republican firm, was conducted Sunday and Monday. The margin of error was 4.4 points. Blackburn appears to be the consensus candidate in the GOP primary. She is tight with the conservative wing of the party, but also has good relationships with the party's establishment and President Trump.

Democrats are hoping that former Gov. Phil Bredesen can threaten Republicans in the general election. But even in 2006, a Democratic wave year that saw Republicans lose six Senate seats, Corker narrowly won his first term. Tennessee has become more Republican since then, and sided with Trump overwhelmingly in 2016


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Corker and Flake were both unlikely to survive primary challenges, chances are Blackburn would have had the nomination either way.

The fact that Rep. Blackburn has such a commanding lead is positive.

The Democrats appear as though they will run former Governor Phil Bredesen who is largely a fiscal conservative and in some aspect a social conservative which could pose a challenge if he breezes to the nomination and the GOP Primary becomes expensive and damaging.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
Corker and Flake were both unlikely to survive primary challenges, chances are Blackburn would have had the nomination either way.

The fact that Rep. Blackburn has such a commanding lead is positive.

The Democrats appear as though they will run former Governor Phil Bredesen who is largely a fiscal conservative and in some aspect a social conservative which could pose a challenge if he breezes to the nomination and the GOP Primary becomes expensive and damaging.

there hasn't really been any talk about Tennessee becoming competitive for the democrats , they have some support in Memphis and Nashville and hold both house seats but the rest of the state is red , it still seem like a long shot

like Alabama it require a horrible republican candidate combined with a great democrat to flip the seat , I don't think Blackburn is a horrible candidate , in fact she seems to be very popular

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( in more troubling news for republicans , the democrats won an open state senate seat in Wisconsin that had been republican since 2000 , but the republicans appear to have held onto 3 state legislature seats in Iowa , Wisconsin and South Carolina )

Democrats flip state Senate seat in Wisconsin

By David Weigel January 16 at 11:18 PM 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) speaks to reporters in Madison, Wis., on Monday. In a Tuesday election, Republicans in the state lost a legislative seat they had held for years. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

The 2018 election season kicked off Tuesday with an upset in rural Wisconsin, where Democrats flipped a state Senate seat that had been held by Republicans since the start of the century.

With every precinct counted in the race for Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District, Democrat Patty Schachtner was the clear victor over Republican Adam Jarchow, a member of the state Assembly. Schachtner, a medical examiner in St. Croix County, won by 9 points — a massive swing in a district that former senator Sheila Harsdorf, a Republican, won in 2016 with 63.2 percent of the vote.

“A change is coming!!!” wrote Wisconsin Democratic Party chair Martha Laning after Schachtner’s victory became clear Tuesday night.

The result in the 10th, which Harsdorf won in 2000 and held easily for years, gave Wisconsin Democrats their first pickup on Republican turf since 2011. In 2010, the party lost control of the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature; the next year, Democrats rode a brief backlash to Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) and picked up two Senate seats in recall elections.

A Republican-friendly gerrymander wiped out those gains, and in 2014 and 2016, Republicans capitalized on Democrats’ rural fade and Donald Trump’s coattails to grow their majorities.

But last year, after Harsdorf left for a job in Walker’s administration, both parties saw the 10th District as potentially competitive. Americans for Prosperity spent $50,000 to boost Jarchow, while the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and Greater Wisconsin Political Independent Expenditure Fund spent nearly as much on advertisements for Schachtner. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), one of 10 Democrats up for reelection this year in states won by Trump, recorded a get-out-the-vote video for Schachtner.

The Democrat’s upset win was the 34th pickup for the party of the 2018 cycle. Republicans have flipped four seats from blue to red — two in the Republican-trending Deep South, one in New Jersey and one in Massachusetts.

But on average, even in races that went against them, Democrats have improved on their margins from the 2016 rout. In other Tuesday elections, Democrat Dennis Degenhardt won 43 percent of the vote in Wisconsin’s 58th Assembly District; in 2016, Hillary Clinton won just 28 percent of the vote there, and no Democrat contested the seat. In Iowa’s 6th House District, Democrat Rita DeJong won 44 percent of the vote; in 2016, the party’s nominee won just 35 percent. In South Carolina’s 99th House District, Democrat Cindy Boatwright lost with 43 percent of the vote; the party had not run a candidate for the seat in this decade


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Special election: Rick Gundrum wins race for Assembly District 58, replacing the late Bob Gannon

Posted 9:42 pm, January 16, 2018, by AP Wire Service

MADISON — Patty Schachtner defeated Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow for an open state Senate seat Tuesday in an upset victory for struggling Wisconsin Democrats, signaling voter anger toward President Donald Trump that could cost the GOP more legislative seats in the fall elections.

Jarchow tweeted his concession to Schachtner late Tuesday evening, with returns nearly complete across five counties and Schachtner leading by more than 1,600 votes. Schachtner, the St. Croix County medical examiner and a Somerset school board member, had entered the race in northwestern Wisconsin’s traditionally conservative 10th Senate District as the clear underdog.

The district has trended red for years. Republican Sheila Harsdorf held the Senate seat for 16 years before she resigned in November to become Gov. Scott Walker’s agriculture secretary and every county in the district voted for President Trump in 2016. Jarchow is in the middle of his third term representing the area in the Assembly and had built a formidable base.

But Democrats banked that anti-President Trump backlash could even the playing field. Republicans sensed it, too. Conservative groups Americans for Prosperity and the Republican State Leadership Committee both ran ads supporting Jarchow and Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir, who is running for U.S. Senate, traveled to the district to campaign for him.

It wasn’t enough.

Schachtner’s victory doesn’t change the balance of power in the Senate. Republicans will go into the fall campaign season with an 18-14 majority with one vacancy.

But her win is a sign of hope for Democrats, who have been pushed to the brink of irrelevancy after seven years of Republican control of both legislative houses and the governor’s office.

Also Tuesday, Democrat Greta Neubauer of Racine won a special election for an open seat in southeastern Wisconsin’s 66th Assembly District. She replaces Democrat Cory Mason, who is stepping away to serve as mayor of Racine. Neubauer was unopposed.

Republican Rick Gundrum of Slinger defeated Democrat Dennis Degenhardt for an open seat in eastern Wisconsin’s solidly red 58th Assembly District. The seat opened up in October after incumbent Republican Bob Gannon died.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( republicans held a state seat in south Carolina but it was closer than years past and often democrats wouldn't even run candidates in it )

Republican Nancy Mace wins in South Carolina District 99 special election

by ABC News 4|
Tuesday, January 16th 2018

“I really feel like no matter where people live in the district, I can represent them equally,” said Republican Nancy Mace, who focused her campaign on Lowcountry infrastructure and roads.

Now Mace will have to stick to her word as she wins the Lowcountry’s vote for state representative for South Carolina District 99, according to unofficial results.

District 99 covers parts of Goose Creek, Hanahan, Daniel Island, and Mount Pleasant.

Mace beat out Democrat Cindy Boatwright with 56.4% of the votes while her opponent had 43.3% of the Lowcountry’s vote, according to unofficial results.

This was the second time Mace ran for office, but the first for Boatwright.

Mace defeated former Mount Pleasant town councilman Mark Smith in their November runoff, getting 62% of the votes.

Mace released a statement Tuesday night saying, "It's a win for substantive solutions aimed at fixing our most pressing issues infrastructure, the nuclear power plant mess, education and the sustainability and safety of our communities."

Mace was also the first female graduate of The Citadel.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( republicans also held a state seat in Iowa but democrats did much better , running a first time candidate and coming surprisingly close for such a red area )

Republican Jacob Bossman wins special election contest for vacant Iowa House seat

Luke Nozicka, Des Moines RegisterPublished 9:48 p.m. CT Jan. 16, 2018 | Updated 9:59 p.m. CT Jan. 16, 2018

Voters in northwest Iowa have chosen Republican Jacob Bossman to fill a vacant seat in the Iowa House.

In a special election, Bossman, from Sioux City, defeated Democrat Rita DeJong by more than 400 votes in the House District 6 race, the unofficial Tuesday night results showing Bossman with 2,152 votes and DeJong with 1,712.

The heavily Republican district covers part of Sioux City, the cities of Sergeant Bluff, Bronson and Salix, and some rural areas in northern and southern Woodbury County. Republican Jim Carlin vacated the seat when he won a special election to the state Senate last month.

Bossman, a regional director for U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, lost his previous bid for the District 6 post in 2016. This was DeJong's first run for elective office.

The special election was the first test of Iowa's new voter identification laws, in which voters were asked to present a valid form of identification when casting their ballot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( the latest battle appears to be in a Pennsylvania congressional district outside of Pittsburgh , has been held by the republicans but now targeted by the democrats , likely to be a crazy amount of money spent so the winner can be in office for a few months and then face a another election )

Trump wades into PA race seen as test of GOP strength

Canadian Press

Published: 18 hours ago
Updated: 9 hours ago

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. — President Donald Trump waded into a potentially risky race on Thursday, throwing his support behind a Pennsylvania Republican in a contest widely viewed as a test of whether his party can stave off Democratic 2018 gains.

Speaking at a Pittsburgh-area factory, Trump praised state lawmaker Rick Saccone as "a real friend and a spectacular man."

And he told reporters he planned to come back to Pennsylvania — where he won in 2016 — to campaign for Saccone, who is trying to keep a House seat in Republican hands in the first congressional race of the year.

"I'll be back for Rick, and we're going to fill up a stadium and we're going to do something really special for Rick. I look forward to it," Trump said.

The White House had insisted Trump's visit had nothing to do with politics. And indeed, the speech he delivered at H&K Equipment largely stuck to the script, touting the tax cuts he signed into law just before Christmas, and trying to turn the conversation back to his accomplishments after weeks dominated by distractions, including questions about his mental health and comments about immigration that some considered racist.

But hours before he left Washington, Trump made clear the visit had a second purpose.

"We will be going to Pennsylvania today in order to give my total support to RICK SACCONE," Trump tweeted, adding: "We need more Republicans to continue our already successful agenda!"

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly sought to correct the record, insisting in a statement that Trump was going to Pennsylvania to talk about tax cuts, not to campaign.

A campaign event would require that taxpayers be reimbursed for some of Trump's travel expenses. Trump's re-election campaign reimbursed the Treasury $68,000 for political travel last year.

In his remarks, Trump said the tax cuts he'd signed into law were already boosting the economy and helping companies like H&K.

"We are coming back bigger and better and stronger than ever," he said, speaking to workers flanked by construction equipment. "At the centre of America's resurgence are the massive tax cuts that I just signed into law."

"The signs of America's comeback can be seen at companies like this one, which just had its most successful year in its 35-year history," he said.

He also praised companies that have been passing their tax savings onto employers, largely in the form of one-time bonuses.

"Nobody thought that the companies were going to step up and pay all of these great bonuses to people," he said.

Saccone, a 59-year-old state representative, faces Conor Lamb, a 33-year-old lawyer and former Marine, in the March 13 special election to replace Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned last year after acknowledging an extramarital affair.

The election is shaping up as the next test of Democratic enthusiasm and GOP resilience in the Trump era and an early indicator of whether a midterm wave may be coming in November, as Democrats hope. The party that controls the White House traditionally loses seats in Congress in the following midterm election.

While Trump easily won the district in 2016, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has opened offices in the district with paid canvassers. Political groups bankrolled by the billionaire Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs, are also airing television ads on Saccone's behalf.

As for Democrats, spokeswoman Meredith Kelly, at the national party's House campaign headquarters, praised Lamb's "long record of public service to our country." But the party hasn't included the district on its official list of GOP-held targets, which now includes 91 seats. Democrats must capture 24 GOP-held seats to regain a majority in the House.

In 2017, Democrats managed surprisingly competitive races in four special congressional races in heavily Republican districts, but lost all four.

Lamb must "run a perfect campaign," said Mike Mikus, a Democratic campaign strategist who has run congressional races in the Pittsburgh area. "But it can be done," Mikus added.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by about 70,000, a reflection of organized labour's influence. But many of those union households embraced Trump's populist, protectionist message in 2016.

Saccone has framed his candidacy as an extension of the agenda that propelled Trump to office.

"It's only natural to have him come out to see his core constituency and have us celebrate his successes with him," Saccone said.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trump, GOP upbeat about turn in midterm numbers, vow to use Pelosi 'crumbs' comment on stump

Joseph Weber By Joseph Weber | Fox News

Trump: Pelosi's 'crumbs' comment is like Hillary's 'deplorables.'


Congressional Republicans once bracing for the possibility of a Democratic “tsunami” in this year’s elections now appear on the offensive -- bolstered by new polls suggesting Americans like their recent tax cuts and the opportunity to pounce on Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi's remark about the resulting bonuses and paycheck increases amounting to “crumbs.”

“Nancy Pelosi has stayed in the spotlight. Her 'crumbs' comment is something I think we can use pretty effectively,” Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said at this week’s GOP policy retreat at the Greenbrier resort, in West Virginia.

To be sure, Republicans have in recent years made a familiar target of Pelosi, arguing that the Democratic Party, under the liberal California Democrat, has lost touch with working-class Americans.

Stivers made his comments a day after a Monmouth University poll showed that 47 percent of registered voters now favor or would pick a Democratic candidate in this year’s congressional races, compared to 45 percent who would support a Republican. That’s compared to Democrats’ 51-to-36-percentage-point advantage in the school’s so-called generic poll in December.

"The generic congressional ballot is prone to bouncing around for a bit until the campaign really gets underway,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “But Democrats who counted on riding public hostility toward the tax bill to retake the House may have to rethink that strategy."

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacts as she sits with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis - HP1EE1V0A7F0L
The poll also found public support for President Trump and congressional Republicans’ landmark tax plan had increased by 21 percentage points since Monmouth’s December poll.

Stivers said Thursday that Republicans will continue to tout the benefits of their tax plan to Americans -- including three million workers who have already receiving a bonus -- and that it will be part of the their larger 2018 campaign slogan, “The Great American Comeback.”

He also pointed to the president’s improved approval rating and Republicans last year winning six special House elections.

However, Stivers acknowledged that history is not on Republicans’ side, considering the political party that controls the White House has over roughly the past eight decades lost about 26 House seats in midterm elections, as Democrats need to gain 24 to retake control of the lower chamber. (All 435 House seats are up for reelection this year.)

Another concern is that nearly 38 House Republicans have already announced that they will not seek re-election -- including nine committee chairmen.

“It’s not all rainbows and unicorns,” Stivers said about being in Congress, which continues to have low approval ratings.

However, he said the GOP’s 2018 recruited class has been “pretty good.” Stivers also said that the GOP's winning the special Georgia House election last year proves that Republicans, despite pollsters’ predictions, can win in the kind of suburban districts that helped Trump prevail in 2016.

“I think we are going to hold the House, and I think things are going to be OK,” he said.

While the numbers have buoyed Republicans -- including Trump, who in his speech at the retreat alluded to the new polling numbers -- Democrats remain enthusiastic.

"Democratic candidates across the country are out-hustling and out-organizing Republican incumbents, many of whom have not faced a competitive challenge in a very long time and are struggling to find those old campaign muscles,” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Friday, pointing to Republican incumbents trailing their Democratic challengers in fundraising in dozens of House races.

While the Monmouth polls created a huge buzz this week among Republican, particular those in the House, a Morning Consult poll a week earlier had already suggested Democrats’ hopes of retaking the Senate, despite trailing by just a 51-49 member margin, were dimming.

The poll, taken last year from October through December, shows a decline in net approval ratings for nine of the 10 Democratic incumbents running in states Trump won in 2016. Among them is Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, whose net rating fell by roughly 18 percentage points by the end of the year, the most of any of the Democratic incumbents.

There are 34 Senate seats up for reelection, but Democrats are defending incumbents in 26 of them.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with these predictions is that they seem overly dour. Trump may have approval ratings at only 40%, but what are the approvals ratings of his competitors? Congress is way lower, media even lower than that.

I suspect that Trump will be highly involved with holding the House and the Senate, and will be campaigning. If the new jobs keep materializing, he will have enthusiastic support in at least some areas of the country.

Also -- the next legislative package that he is trying to get through Congress is an "infrastructure bill" -- which will be public works aimed at helping black and Hispanic workers. If this goes through, and the benefits are within sight, it will affect the election big time. If it is held up by Democrats, they will be vulnerable to disclosure

If American black people start 'recognizing' Republicans have a better path for them, the Democratic Party will lose a lot of its potency at the polls.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( some polls have been showing much closer generic congress numbers than earlier polls , leading to speculation the mid terms are going to be much closer than first though )

Democrats ought to worry about the midterm elections

Jen KernsOPINION By Jen Kerns | Fox News


The collapse of Democrats’ popularity on the much-ballyhooed generic ballot foreshadows tough midterm elections for them in November.

Until this week, pundits nearly everywhere favored Democrats to win – and for good reason. Historically, midterm election victories have been afforded to the party that does not control the White House. That’s a natural result of the checks and balances established by our Founding Fathers.

Generic ballot polling is generally thought to be the best predictor of the mood of the electorate during a midterm season. Such polls usually ask the question: “If the election were held today, would you vote for a Democrat or Republican for Congress?”

The latest responses are very troubling for Democrats.

New polling shows that Democrats have lost their recent 15-point lead over Republicans, dropping to only a two-point lead for a critical election they had hoped to paint as a referendum on President Trump and writ large, Republicans.

However, historically speaking, the news is more daunting for Democrats. Compared to where they stood in the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats are actually faring worse at this point than they were then.

In the 2014 midterms, Democrats were ahead on the generic ballot by an impressive eight points most of the year. However their lead eventually vanished, and Republicans ultimately trounced them at the ballot box, retook the U.S. Senate and won a big majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

By comparison, Democrats’ current poll numbers also rate worse than their generic ballot ranking in the 2010 midterms.

In the 2010 contest, Democrats were ahead of Republicans by a whopping 12 points heading into the midterm year. However, Republicans pulled ahead slightly in February 2010, only to cede ground to Democrats in the summer months. Ultimately, Republicans ended up winning back control of the House and taking back the gavel from then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Compare the 2010 and 2014 figures to the paltry two-point advantage that Democrats have on Republicans today, and the 2018 midterms become very interesting to watch.

But wait, there’s more bad news for Democrats. The narrow lead they now hold may be overblown due to bias in the polls.

Five Thirty Eight’s Nate Silver explained a couple of years ago that Democrats blew their lead in 2014 even though the generic ballot polling was prejudiced nearly four points in their favor. In fact, Silver found that 2010 midterm generic ballot polling was skewed in favor of Democrats as well, with much the same result (they lost).

So one has to presume that the same polls, run by the same mainstream media outlets, remain skewed, especially considering how badly the polls underestimated support for Donald Trump and missed the mark in 2016.

Therefore, if Democrats are only two points ahead on the generic ballot and if Silver’s assessment of a four-point skew in favor of Democrats is accurate (and it was in 2014), it’s fair to suggest that Republicans are actually up by two points.

Whether the polls prove to be biased or not in November remains to be seen. But Democrats ought to be concerned that their support fell by 13 points in just one month.

The reason for Democrats’ plummeting popularity can be attributed to a few key events during that 30-day period:

First, by passing the American Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Republicans in Congress not only delivered on their promise of tax cuts for the American people, they ignited a wave of bonuses and pay hikes for 3 million American workers thus far (spoiler alert: many more announcements are expected soon.)

Second, Republicans won the government shutdown fight when they quickly coined the term #SchumerShutdown, exposing Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and his fellow Democrats as they attempted to further use DACA “Dreamers” as pawns in an unrelated budget deal.

Third, Republicans no doubt experienced a “Trump bump” after President Trump impressed the nation with a heartfelt State of the Union address. Using a tapestry of personal stories from heroes, victim’s families and survivors, the president did what he does best – he sold American exceptionalism.

Americans watched as President Trump’s poll numbers jumped a stunning 10 points while Democrats sat on their hands.

The rise in popularity for President Trump is undoubtedly a negative development for Democrats in the zero-sum game of politics. As the president’s popularity increases among American voters, Democrats have less to rail against.

With a 17-year high in consumer confidence, 17-year low in unemployment (along with the lowest African-American unemployment rate since measurements began in 1972), a 17-year low in illegal border crossings, the fastest return of manufacturing jobs in 13 years, and so much more, American voters are taking note. Democrats have a tough challenge to find something concrete upon which to critique this president, other than simply his brash style.

While the new generic ballot polling numbers don’t guarantee a Republican win, the factors discussed above do not bode well for Democrats.

When you combine the latest developments with the Democrats’ botched post-2016 autopsy report – through which they revealed they have no message, confusing leadership, and no new ideas – any significant victory for Democrats in the midterms will be a very difficult task.

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2018 - US Midterm Elections

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