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Tags: Matt Bevin

A Good Night for McConnell, a Disappointing One for the Clinton Family



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From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

How About [YAWN] Those Thrilling [YAWN] Primary Night Results?

It would be easy to say something snarky or derisive about Matt Bevin, jumping into a primary challenge against Mitch McConnell and largely failing to get any traction, winning only 35 percent to McConnell’s 60 percent. Yes, he made a bunch of missteps along the way. Yes, he was an imperfect-at-best messenger for an anti-TARP message. But he got in the arena, made his case, stood up for what he believed in, and took his lumps. That’s what America’s system of free elections is all about, and the country — and the conservative movement — will need more people willing to do that in the years to come. And as much as Tuesday night’s results must have disappointed Bevin and his supporters, it’s worth remembering that the McConnell campaign treated him like a serious threat — because he had the potential to be a serious threat.

The boss . . . doesn’t quite agree:

To no one’s surprise, Mitch McConnell won handily tonight, a testament to his sure-footedness in Kentucky politics and to the folly of the groups that invested so much in defeating him. Those groups ran a weak candidate with probably only a long-shot chance to win at best and ended up, in effect, making a large in-kind contribution to the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign — largely because they were bent on pursuing a vendetta with deep roots in the Senate cloakroom, consequences be damned. I’m glad that, as Pat notes, the groups are now endorsing McConnell, but this was a primary challenge that started out dumb and ended up dumber.

Note that last night Grimes got . . . 76 percent up against a trio of no-names in the Democratic primary? Hmm. Nearly 100,000 Kentucky Democrats voted for one of the other guys.

In Georgia’s GOP Senate primary, David Purdue and Jack Kingston advanced to the runoff, as expected.

In Pennsylvania . . . maybe the Clinton endorsement isn’t so golden after all:

State Rep. Brendan Boyle won the Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Allyson Schwartz in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District Tuesday and is overwhelmingly favored to take over the Democratic-leaning district, after besting Clinton in-law and former Rep. Marjorie Margolies in the primary.

Quick point on Oregon, where we can expect the rest of the campaign to revolve around this:

An employee of the Democratic Party of Oregon was the first person to request the April 2013 police report of timber baron Andrew Miller accusing Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby of “stalking” him after a break-up.

For Republicans, there’s some delicious satisfaction of accurately accusing Democrats of snooping around in a woman’s personal life, and accusing them of a war on women.

But are those of us who don’t know Monica Wehby sure the voters shouldn’t think about this accusation? Maybe not enough to disqualify herself from the U.S. Senate, the august institution that includes Al Franken and used to include Ted Kennedy, Robert “Sheets” Byrd, Ben “Cornhusker Kickback” Nelson, Bob Torricelli . . . 

This is from her victory speech last night:

When I was going through the process of deciding to get into this race it was my son who first said, “Mom, why would you leave a job that you love, that you trained until you were 35 years old to do, where everybody loves you, to take a job where people say all kinds of mean things about you on the internet.”

And I told him about a brain-tumor patient of mine who had made a full recovery and came back to my office to give me a card that I treasure to this day. The card read, “If we’re not here to make life better for one another, then what’s the point?” Over the last several days, in the face of vicious, ugly, and hurtful attacks, I’ve thought a lot about both my son’s question and my patient’s words of wisdom. And now more than ever I take those words to heart. I am running for Senate because I want to help make life a little better for each other.

Look, Lord knows I’m not perfect. I am like countless other Oregonians. I’m a working mom who balances a career that I love with children that I adore and would do anything to protect. I try my best, but in my life I’ve made some mistakes. And when I do, I’m no different than any of you in that when I’ve fallen short, I have gotten up and tried to do better. I promise that as your Senator, I will do the same.

My message to the Democrats who are willing to shred my family for their own political gain is that people are tired of your dirty tricks. The best way to defeat a bully is to stand up to them, and that is exactly what we are going to do. Tonight, we are sending a message that this Senate race will not be decided by the ugly kind of politics that people in Oregon and across the country are sick of. That time is over.

I’m exactly the person capable of changing things. You see I’m not a career politician, but I am a doctor, a mom, and someone very familiar with my opponent’s playbook. As President of the Oregon Medical Association, I ran our state’s TORT reform campaign — that was my first experience with hate mail. In 2009 I put my professional reputation on the line by appearing in television ads that ran nationwide warning people about the dangers of Obamacare — that was when I had to change my home phone number. In 2011 I ran and was elected to the board of trustees at the American Medical Association as a conservative change agent, to try and move that organization in a more balanced direction.

I say this not just to give you a bit of my biography, but to let you know that I have a long history of standing up for what I believe in.

Game on, Oregon.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Matt Bevin , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Monica Wehby

Looking Ahead to Tuesday’s Not-So-Thrilling Primary Battles



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From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Looking Ahead to Tuesday’s Not-So-Thrilling Primary Battles

Boy, hype it much, USA Today?

Perhaps they don’t mean this coming Tuesday.

As a campaign correspondent, I’m arguing against interest by telling you that Tuesday’s primaries probably aren’t going to be that surprising or earth-shattering, but . . . come on. I can’t lie to you.

USA Today writes, “Senate contests in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky are critical to determining who will control the Senate next year.” Okay, sure. But Tuesday’s primaries aren’t what make them critical.

In Kentucky, here’s the last Bluegrass poll before the primary:

The poll found that 55 percent of likely GOP voters support McConnell, while 35 percent favor Bevin. Three other Republican candidates split 5 percent of the vote, with the remaining 5 percent undecided.

But the poll found that McConnell is in a statistical dead heat with a November showdown looming, with 43 percent favoring her and 42 percent backing McConnell, a five-term incumbent. McConnell would do slightly better in a head-to-head match-up with Grimes than Bevin would.

Cheer up, Bevin fans — that 20-percentage-point ;margin for McConnell is his smallest lead yet! But, er . . . it’s pretty tough to make up that much ground in the final days.

As for the general election, that one-point lead for Grimes is the first she’s enjoyed since February, and only the second poll showing her ahead since . . . December 2012. McConnell’s no slam-dunk, but his sharp-elbowed, well-funded campaign went to work making sure Matt Bevin never amounted to a serious primary threat, and it appears to be on the verge of success. Let’s just see what happens when all of that advertising, organizing and volunteer firepower gets concentrated on his Democratic opponent.

Moving farther south, USA Today notes, “In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton will clinch their respective nominations in a state considered one of the GOP’s best chances for a pickup because of the conservative lean of the state.” So again, there’s nothing dramatic or meaningful about Tuesday’s primary.

That race currently features a weird split in the polls. Three of the last six polls say incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor is doing fine — up 10 or 11 points. But the other three point to a close race — Pryor by 1, Cotton by 3, Pryor by 3. Undoubtedly, Cotton’s going to need to kick it up a notch in his television advertising — and most of his ads have been pretty darn good!

Finally,

In Georgia, a crowded seven-way Senate primary will be whittled to two for a July 22 runoff as no candidate is likely to earn the 50% necessary to clinch the nomination. The eventual winner will face Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn, who Democrats have touted as their best 2014 recruit.

The runoff will probably go to David Purdue (former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General) and Representative Jack Kingston. (Karen Handel has a shot to make the runoff, but not a great one.) Purdue polled well against Nunn until very recently. This is Georgia, where Democrats last won a statewide race in 1998. Democrats are getting their hopes up about Nunn’s ability to run on her father’s reputation, but notice this little wrinkle:

Under Georgia law, any race in which no candidate clears 50 percent on Nov. 4 heads to a runoff between the top two candidates. And thanks to a court ruling delaying any federal runoffs so that overseas voters have sufficient time to cast their ballots, there will actually be two separate runoffs, if needed: one on Dec. 2, for the governor’s race, and another on Jan. 6, for the Senate contest. . . . 

The 2008 elections offer a relevant illustration. Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss was just barely forced into a runoff after receiving 49.8 percent of the vote in November, while Democrat Jim Martin narrowly trailed with 46.8 percent. But in December, just a month later, turnout dropped by a hefty 43 percent, from 3.7 million to 2.1 million, and Chambliss triumphed by a wide margin, 57 to 43.

Could a Democrat beat a Republican head-to-head in a runoff election in Georgia? Sure, it’s possible. Just very, very, very difficult.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Matt Bevin , Tom Cotton , Mark Pryor , Georgia

FreedomWorks PAC Pledges Support to Bevin Over McConnell



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In other Kentucky Senate-race news, FreedomWorks PAC endorsed Matt Bevin, GOP challenger to Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.

“Now more than ever, we need strong fiscal conservatives who will fight to cut spending on the front lines, not the sidelines. Matt Bevin is a great upgrade for Kentuckians who are serious about transparency, fiscal responsibility and accountability in government,” said FreedomWorks PAC president Matt Kibbe.

“FreedomWorks is an incredible grassroots organization with tens of thousands of Kentucky members. I am humbled and honored to receive their support. Voters here are seeing and feeling first hand the damage that Mitch McConnell’s 30 years of big government polices have had on our great Commonwealth. As a result, they are flocking to join forces with our campaign. This is a big endorsement and will accelerate our growing grassroots momentum. I am truly grateful for this vote of confidence,” said Matt Bevin.

There have been some cycles where FreedomWorks PAC has been very active, and spent a lot . . . 

The steep drop-off from the 2010 to 2012 cycle reflects in part the fact that FreedomWorks started supporting candidates through a new SuperPAC, FreedomWorks for America, formed in July 2011.

Looking back on that 2010 cycle, FreedomWorks PAC helped support some of the biggest conservative wins of the cycle, including Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul of Kentucky. But the PAC’s support wasn’t always a guarantee of victory in November. Their top four races, in terms of amount of money spent, were in West Virginia for John Raese’s Senate bid, in California for Carly Fiorina’s Senate bid, in Utah for Morgan Philpot’s House bid, and in Arizona for Ruth McClung’s House bid. None of those candidates won in November.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Matt Bevin

Get Ready for a Rough-and-Tumble GOP Primary in Kentucky



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Moments before Lousiville businesman Matt Bevin announced he was running for Senate in Kentucky, challenging incumbent Mitch McConnell, McConnell’s press team spotlights a Louisville Tea Party board member resigning from his post in a show of support for McConnell: “Scott Reed was a founding board member of the Louisville Tea Party in 2008 yet resigned from his post as Vice-President to run for state representative in 2012.  Reed said he resigned from his current board post about one month ago when Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand decided to back Bevin’s Republican Primary campaign and become Bevin’s spokeswoman.”

Katrina Trinko previewed the Bevin-McConnell fight; expect McConnell to go after Bevin’s business record and contend he took a bailout from the state of Connecticut; Bevin will argue McConnell has forgotten his conservative roots and become the face of Republican compromise in Washington.

 

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Matt Bevin , Kentucky

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