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We’re 6 days from the 2018 midterm elections and 734 days from the 2020 elections.
Democrats are sounding a note of confidence on the likelihood of a House takeover six days out.
House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Pelosi: Georgia primary ‘disgrace’ could preview an election debacle in November MORE, who’s hoping to win back the Speaker’s gavel next year, is already predicting victory for House Democrats on Election Day.
In an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Pelosi was bullish on her party’s prospects of recapturing a majority in the House, suggesting that there is not a doubt in her mind that the chamber will flip.
“Let me say this. Up until today, I would’ve said, ‘If the election were held today, we would win,'” the California Democrat said Tuesday night. “What now I’m saying is, ‘We will win.'”
And according to a CNBC report, Pelosi is privately telling donors and top advisers that she’s hopeful Democrats can flip at least 30 seats–surpassing the 23-seat threshold for the majority.
That’s a bold claim still six days out from the pivotal and unpredictable midterm elections. But a source familiar with Pelosi’s thinking told The Hill’s Melanie Zanona and Mike Lillis that her comment wasn’t made flippantly.
There are a number of reasons why things look brighter for House Democrats.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE‘s falling approval rating, Democrats’ massive fundraising advantage and district polls all show promising signs for the party in a number of competitive seats.
Plus, the last-minute shifting of money illustrates the changing — and enlarging –battlefield. The House Republicans’ campaign arm is now spending to protect the deep-red seat in South Carolina that’ll be vacated by GOP Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordThe Memo: Can the Never Trumpers succeed? Libertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for party Trump becomes presumptive GOP nominee after sweeping primaries MORE. In contrast, Democrats’ top House super PAC has been confident enough to cancel its spending in vulnerable Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockLive coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings Gun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats MORE‘s (R-Va.) seat.
Conservative firebrand Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingGOP lawmakers say Steve King’s loss could help them in November The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden on the cusp of formally grasping the Democratic nomination The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from the protests MORE (R-Iowa) is even facing his toughest reelection race amid a sharp backlash from fellow Republicans for supporting white nationalist politicians.
(Spooky) Senate showdown
Just a few months ago, Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenate confirms Trump’s watchdog for coronavirus funds Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (D-Mont.) saw a clear path to reelection. But now, he’s locked in a battle for survival as he seeks to stave off a challenge from Montana’s Republican state auditor Matt Rosendale, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports from Havre, Mont. Polls have tightened recently and Republicans are feeling energized from the confirmation fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGOP senators urge Trump to back off Murkowski threat Judd Gregg: A government in free fall The 7 most anticipated Supreme Court decisions MORE, putting Tester in an increasingly defensive position. Plus, Trump has made Tester a top target with repeated visits to Big Sky Country. The president is still fuming over Tester’s role as the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in blowing up Ronny Jackson‘s nomination to head the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Meanwhile, Libertarian Rick Breckenridge is all but dropping his bid for Sen. Jon Tester‘s (D) Montana seat. In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Breckenridge announced that he will support Republican candidate Matt Rosendale, acknowledging that he does not have the votes to win, The Hill’s Lisa Hagen reports. The endorsement could give Rosendale a small boost on Election Day; libertarian candidates often siphon off votes from Republicans. But many people have already cast their ballots, leaving it unclear what kind of impact Breckenridge’s decision could have on the race.
Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (D-Ind.) sparred with GOP businessman Mike Braun on Tuesday in the final debate of Indiana’s closely watched Senate race, going toe-to-toe on everything from health care to immigration. Both candidates sought to tie themselves to Trump. Here are five takeaways from the debate from The Hill’s Emily Birnbaum and Jessie Hellman.
Race for the (Haunted) House
Trump‘s surprise revelation this week that he will try to end birthright citizenship for children of non-U.S. citizens is making some Republicans nervous, The Hill’s Melanie Zanona and Juliegrace Brufke report. On one hand, it could give Republicans a boost in deep-red districts where Trump is popular. On the other, it could hurt the party’s prospects in more moderate districts, particularly suburban areas, that are key for the GOP to retain its House majority.
On Wednesday, Trump also bashed Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for rejecting his call to end birthright citizenship, deepening an intraparty feud just days before the midterms, reports The Hill’s Jordan Fabian. “Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won’t support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here’s why Lobbying world MORE should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!” the president tweeted. The tweet also fueled speculation that Trump was laying the groundwork to blame Ryan if the GOP lost the House.
But later Wednesday, Trump said that he wouldn’t blame Ryan if Republicans lost the House. “No, I’m not going to blame anybody,” Trump told reporters before departing for a rally in Florida. The president also defended his own campaigning in the midterms and said he’d helped improve the situation for many Republican candidates. “I’ve campaigned for a lot of candidates that were down a little bit and now they’re up,” he said. Trump also warned voters that if Republicans lose, “you’re all going to lose a lot of money.”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other GOP leaders are facing mounting pressure to speak out and take action against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) for his public support of white nationalist candidates and racially offensive comments. The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday urged GOP leaders to formally censure King and called on Ryan to strip King of his subcommittee chairmanship. The Hill’s Scott Wong and Naomi Jagoda have the story.
Democratic operatives and insiders have fretted for weeks that Democrat Donna Shalala‘s bid to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenTechNet hires Hispanic communications director Bottom line Women are refusing to take the backseat in politics, especially Latinas MORE (R-Fla.) in Florida’s 27th District had failed to gain traction. But the former Health and Human Services secretary is mounting a comeback against Republican and former TV broadcaster Maria Elvira Salazar, who has proven to be a far more formidable challenger than Democrats once anticipated, The Hill’s Max Greenwood reports from Miami.
Democrats are banking on support from young voters to help take back majorities in Congress, The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda reports. A majority of young voters favor a Democratic-controlled Congress over a Republican one and Trump’s approval rating among likely young voters is dwindling at 25 percent, giving Democrats hope that they’ll be able to turn out these voters in November. But whether dissatisfaction with Trump and the current GOP-controlled Congress will actually get young voters to the polls remains to be seen.
Nearly four out of five voters see the 2018 midterm elections as a chance to send a message to Trump, according to a new Harvard/Harris poll. In that survey, 42 percent of likely voters said that they see their vote as an opportunity to voice opposition to the president, while 37 percent said it’s a chance to express support. The poll results reinforce a key theme of 2018: Trump is on voters’ minds.
Fresh polling out of Texas continues to point to a Republican victory. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R) leads Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D) by 10 points, according to a poll conducted by conservative-leaning Dixie Strategies and CBS 11. The survey also found that in the Texas gubernatorial race, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has a comfortable lead over Democratic opponent Lupe Valdez, 59 to 33 percent.
Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police GOP senators dodge on treatment of White House protesters Five things to know about Trump’s legal power under the Insurrection Act MORE (R-Tenn.) holds a 5-point lead over former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) in the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism Trump asserts his power over Republicans Romney is only GOP senator not on new White House coronavirus task force MORE, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll released Tuesday. Blackburn breaks 50 percent in the poll, leading Bredesen 51 to 46 percent, an edge just within the poll’s 5.7-percent margin of error.
Democrats hold a 5-point lead over Republicans on a generic congressional ballot less than a week out. The Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday found 47 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate if the election was held today, compared to 42 percent who would cast a ballot for the GOP candidate. Seven percent are undecided; 2 percent say they won’t vote.
Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceGun debate to shape 2020 races GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Bottom Line MORE (R-N.J.) is trailing his Democratic opponent Tom Malinowski by 3 points in one of New Jersey’s top swing seats this cycle. Malinowski, a human rights activist and former State Department official, leads Lance, 47 to 44 percent among likely voters in a new Monmouth University poll. The Democrat’s lead is within the poll’s 5.2-percent margin of error.
Follow the (mummy)
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised more than $100 million online in the 2018 election cycle. Politico reports that the group’s online fundraising hit the nine-figure mark on Tuesday. Its average donation size was $19, a committee aide told the news site. For context, by this point in 2016, the DCCC had raised $67 million online – its previous record.
Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.), who’s rumored to be weighing a potential 2020 presidential bid, has raised more than $2.3 million this cycle for her leadership PAC, Fearless for the People PAC, The Hill’s Tal Axelrod reports. The massive fundraising haul is likely to boost speculation that Harris is eyeing a White House run. Politicians often use leadership PACs to raise their own profiles ahead of presidential runs, and Harris has already made campaign stops in key presidential primary states, including Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.
314 Action Fund, a group that aims to elect candidates with STEM backgrounds to office, is increasing its TV ad spending on South Carolina’s 1st District to boost ocean engineer Joe Cunningham (D). The group has spent a total of $428,000 on three TV ad buys in addition to a $40,000 digital buy. 314 Action has been steadily investing in the race, which once appeared more of a long-shot in the coastal, Charleston-area district. But now more national groups are paying attention, with the National Republican Congressional Committee making a late ad buy to help Republican Katie Arrington, who defeated Rep. Mark Sanford in the state’s GOP primary.
What we’re watching for
–Oct. 31: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE will be in Bridgeton, Mo. for Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns Amash on eyeing presidential bid: ‘Millions of Americans’ want someone other than Trump, Biden MORE.
–Nov. 1: Biden will be in Fargo, N.D. for Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (D).
–Nov. 2: Former President Obama will campaign for Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams in Atlanta. He’ll also be stumping for Democrat Andrew Gillum, who’s running for Florida governor, in Miami.
Trump rallies (All times in ET):
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–Oct. 31 in Fort Myers, Fla. at 7 p.m.
–Nov. 1 in Columbia, Mo. at 7:30 p.m.
–Nov. 2 in Huntington, W. Va. at 4 p.m.
–Nov. 3 in Pensacola, Fla. at 7:30 p.m.
–Nov. 1: West Virginia Senate debate
–Nov. 4: Georgia gubernatorial debate
Coming to a TV near (boo)
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is out with a new ad spotlighting diversity as a strength in Florida’s nationally watched gubernatorial race. The spot comes as race emerges as an issue in the contest. Gillum would be Florida’s first African-American governor if elected, while his opponent, former Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGOP tentatively decides on Jacksonville for site of convention DeSantis pushing to host Republican National Convention in Florida Florida bars and theaters to reopen starting Friday, DeSantis says MORE (R), has faced a series of race-related controversies throughout the contest.
And in Florida’s Senate race, Republican Gov. Rick Scott is spotlighting his efforts to help Floridians recover from a recent hurricane in a new ad, casting himself as a unifier who will bring civility to Washington. The spot signals an abrupt change of tone for the ad war in Florida. For weeks, Scott and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA, SpaceX and the private-public partnership that caused the flight of the Crew Dragon Lobbying world The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (D-Fla.) have launched a flurry of ads attacking one another.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, the GOP super PAC aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is launching a new ad in Michigan’s 8th District, re-entering the hotly contested race between Rep. Mike Bishop (R) and Democrat Elissa Slotkin after previously withdrawing from the district. The 30-second spot features a gaffe in which Slotkin said that she puts “party before country” and suggests that, if elected, she’ll be a shill for Pelosi.
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While campaigning for Democratic candidates in the early primary state of New Hampshire, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said he’s “leaning strongly” toward running for president in 2020. “I’m the governor of Colorado and I’m gonna run for president,” Hickenlooper said, before quickly adding he hasn’t “made a final decision” and that he’s “leaning strongly” toward it, but said, “if I say I’m absolutely doing it then there are all kinds of legal ramifications.”
What they’re saying
In an op-ed for The Hill, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s ‘wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE argues that “bigotry” will “be on the ballot” when voters head to the polls next week. “Our nation faces a moral crisis, and the best way forward is to elect leaders with the moral fortitude to stand up to hatred, to pass common-sense gun laws that will make our communities safer, and to summon our better angels of unity and inclusion during challenging times,” he writes.