The Senate Leadership Fund, a Super PAC run by political allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have made an initial TV advertising reservation for the fall worth $25 million, according to the Washington Examiner.
The ads will run in Missouri ($10.5 million), Nevada ($11.2 million) and North Dakota ($2.3 million). Missouri and North Dakota represent pickup opportunities for Senate Republicans to add to their slim 51-49 majority. Republicans are playing defense in Nevada, where incumbent Dean Heller is seen as one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans. The organization is holding off on buying more advertising time until later to keep its strategy for November under wraps.
In contrast, the organization’s Democratic counterpart Senate Majority PAC has announced a “first wave” of buys worth $80 million targeting Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. With the exceptions of Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee, Senate Democrats are playing defense in the other states.
The report also notes, “The Republican super PAC is already active in West Virginia and Indiana, where Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is in trouble against Republican businessman and former state legislator Mike Braun. The Democratic super PAC has been spending on advertising in Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott is challenging Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson; in Montana, where state Auditor Matt Rosendale is challenging Democratic Sen. Jon Tester; and in Indiana and North Dakota.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed four down ballot candidates running for Secretary of State in key states for the midterm and presidential election cycles. He made the announcement in an email sent out to supporters of American Possibilities, his political action committee. He cited protection of voting rights as his reason for the endorsements, writing that one of the best ways to accomplish this goal was “by electing strong Secretaries of State, the folks responsible for overseeing elections, all across the country.”
Biden has maintained his public profile by endorsing several state and congressional candidates across the country in the past several months, fueling speculation about whether he is considering another White House run. Biden told the Washington Post that he did not know what he was going to do.
The four candidates to receive Biden’s endorsement were attorney Jena Griswold in Colorado, former Wayne State University Law School dean Jocelyn Benson in Michigan, Assemblyman Nelson Araujo in Nevada, and State Rep. Kathleen Clyde in Ohio. All four states have open races for governor because of term-limited incumbents. Only Colorado does not have a Senate race in the current cycle. All four are competitive swing states in presidential elections.
The significance of the secretaries of state who are elected in this cycle is that they will become the top elections officials in their respective states for the 2020 presidential cycle, which will make them responsible for managing primaries, protecting the integrity of the election systems and process, and certifying the results.
Griswold won her party’s nomination in the Colorado primary this evening.
There were primaries for state and federal races across the country earlier this week. Here are some of the highlights:
- This will be the first election using the new ranked-choice voting system, which was approved by state voters in 2016. How this system works is explained here by the New York Times. Voters across the state opted to retain this system 54-46.
- Businessman Shawn Moody won the Republican nomination to succeed term-limited incumbent governor Paul LePage. He will run against the likely Democratic nominee, state attorney general Janet Mills. Votes from the Democratic primary are still being counted because of the ranked-choice system.
- State representative Jared Golden is holding a lead for his party’s nomination to compete against incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the state’s second congressional district. However, conservationist and businessman Lucas St. Clair has yet to concede the race because he is waiting for the final results to come in through the ranked-choice voting system.
- Clark County Commission chairman Steve Sisolak will face off against Attorney General Adam Laxalt in the governor’s race. Sisolak had backing from the Harry Reid machine, which remains a formidable force in state Democratic politics.
- Democrat Jacky Rosen (who represents Nevada’s third congressional district) will square off against incumbent Republican Senator Dean Heller. Heller is considered one of the most endangered Republican incumbents in an electoral map that is heavily favored for the Senate GOP this year.
- Democratic state Senator Aaron Ford will run against Republican former state assembly member and assistant attorney general Wes Duncan in the race for state attorney general to succeed Adam Laxalt.
- Democratic philanthropist and education advocate Susie Lee will run against perennial Republican candidate Danny Tarkanian for the congressional seat being vacated by Jacky Rosen. Tarkanian had originally planned to mount a primary challenge against Dean Heller but was convinced to sit out the race and run for this seat instead.
- Former Trump Virginia campaign chairman Corey Stewart won the Republican nomination for the Senate race this fall. Stewart narrowly lost the Republican nomination for governor in 2017. He will square off against incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine, who ran for his party’s nomination unopposed.
- Incumbent Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock defeated a primary challenger 60-39. Democratic state senator Jennifer Wexton emerged from a field of six candidates to win her party’s nomination to take on Comstock, who is considered one of the most endangered Republican House incumbents this cycle. She represents a district in a state that has been trending Democratic during local, state, federal and presidential elections over the course of the last fifteen years.
Outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid didn’t hold anything back in this interview with Nevada Public Radio:
Caller Jack wanted to know about the Democratic Party’s chances in 2018:
I believe one of the failures of Democratic Party has been the Democratic National Committee, the DNC, has been worthless. They do nothing to help state parties. That should be the main goal they have. I developed everything in Nevada on my own. Their help was relatively meaningless.
So, I would hope that they would choose a chair of the Democratic Party who is a full-time person. Not someone like we had with that congresswoman from Florida, who was a full-time congresswoman and a part time chair of the DNC.
We need a full time DNC chair and what they should do – they can take my model if they want – it’s not rocket science. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to figure out what needs to be done. They should take a few states every election cycle, maybe three maybe four, and help them develop the infrastructure for good state party organization.
Nevada was one of the few bright spots for Democrats on Election Day. State Democrats ran the table and won the presidential race, the Senate race, two House of Representatives races, and retook control of both chambers in the state legislature, which they had lost in 2014.