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Senate Republican midterm alarm over 'white hot' Democrat fundraising

Money doesn't equal happiness, at least not for Senate Republicans.

After a dismal fall and winter where many Republican candidates failed to raise as much money as Democrats, the GOP finally found their groove in the first quarter of 2018. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican fundraising behemoth, entered the race against Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., early last week, while Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., posted a $1.1 million dollar haul in only six weeks — both of which give Republicans hope.

But Democrats still hold a massive advantage after incumbents and key candidates continued to pile up their own cash in the first three months of 2018.

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, posted a $6.7 million quarter, while Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, raised $3.9 million and $3.3 million, respectively. The two incumbent Democrats each have over $11 million in the bank, agitating to Republicans.

"We have seen absolutely white-hot fundraising from Democrats up and down the board for over a year," said Josh Holmes, a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "Lots more needs to be done. We're not anywhere near where we need to be."

In addition to Scott's entrance and Cramer, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, raised $3.3 million — less than half of O'Rourke's total, but both reported just north of $8 million in cash on hand.

Other Republicans have remained underwhelming on the fundraising circuit.

Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., posted $1.2 million in the first quarter, an uptick from the paltry $500,000 he raised at the end of last year. However, he has only $1.6 million in the bank compared to $10 million for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.

"We have very robust numbers. If you look at our candidates, they've done very well," said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "A key indicator from my perspective is the amount our candidates are raising online. That's a sign of a lot of grassroots energy and activism."

Two top Republican candidates in key races, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Missouri Attorney Gen. Josh Hawley, both posted underwhelming figures in the eyes of top Republicans in the final months of 2017, raising questions about their campaigns in the process. Neither has released their opening 2018 fundraising numbers ahead of the Monday night reporting deadline.

Republicans are still banking on President Trump's help to boost Senate candidates and their bank accounts.

Thus far, he has only held one fundraiser for any of the GOP candidates slated to be on the ballot in November, Hawley. Vice President Pence has been active on the fundraising circuit, having held an event for Cramer in North Dakota in late March. He was also slated to fundraise for Heller in Las Vegas on Friday, but canceled due to his last minute trip to Peru.

They are viewed as crucial cogs if the GOP is going to raise the needed funds, which remains an open question.

Some top Republicans, however, are encouraged with what they've seen out of the first quarter, which came right after the GOP passed their tax reform package that has seen mixed results politically. One area where the law has helped is by attracting the attention of donors.

"We are [encouraged]. We're getting a lot of interest," said North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, co-chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, pointing to the post-tax reform boost candidates has gotten financially. "We're getting a lot of people that are really receptive. They're responding really well to the tax cuts and tax reform. They're eagerly awaiting a good outcome on the banking reform bill, and it's resonating."

"For us, we're in the retail politics phase of campaigning and the one thing that's absolutely true is the vast majority of people have less money withheld, more money at the end of the pay period, and that's what we're going to pound," said Tillis.

And that's good news for nervous Republicans like Holmes.

"There is no Republican candidate anywhere in the country here you're going to look at their cash on hand and say 'that's enough,'" Holmes said. "That phrase will never come out of any Republican's mouth. It's never enough. It's an extremely difficult cycle that Democrats are raising money hand over fist. It's going to be one of those constant efforts and attempts to try to get everybody engaged in providing the resources necessary to protect the majority."

"Every candidate either becomes a great candidate," Holmes said, adding, "or they're going to lose."

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WASHINGTONEXAMINER.COM

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/congress/republicans-remain-nervous-on-senate-chances-despite-fundraising-uptick

Rep. Massie Explains Why 'Congress Is More Broken Than It’s Ever Been’

America’s massive national debt is the most critical issue confronting the country Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie (R) asserted during an interview with Townhall.

This financial problem also loomed large back when he won his first election—the debt clock he placed in his office that once read $16 trillion now displays $21 trillion and he said there will be another trillion this year. He called it “a crying shame,” noting that Republicans hold the executive branch and both houses of Congress.

Rep. Massie said the government should spend less and explained that to achieve reductions Congress should return “to a regular appropriations process.”

Congress should vote on 12 individual appropriations bills instead of one massive omnibus bill, he explained.

“Congress is more broken than it’s ever been,” Rep. Massie declared.

While Congress should “have a budget” and should “be starting on appropriations bills,” Rep. Massie said Congress will spend the time leading up to the midterm elections “debating, amending and voting on pretend bills. They’ll call them messaging bills, but they’re really pretend bills because they’re going nowhere in the Senate,” he said. “And so that’s what Congress will do.”

But that is not what Rep. Massie wants them to do. “If Congress has one job it’s to allocate the tax dollars responsibly,” he said.

He wants Congress to pass the 12 individual bills, but he predicted that legislators in both parties will vote for a continuing resolution in the fall.

“They’ll take the 1.3 billion and they’ll cut, copy, paste on or about September 30th.” The congressman strongly criticized this prospect: “I think that’s despicable really.”

He previously viewed the Speaker of the House as the problem, but said that he thinks when Paul Ryan received the Speakership “he really tried to go back to regular order. I watched him at least make an effort and I watched my colleagues push back,” Rep. Massie said.

While they “ostensibly” wanted to constrain “their ability to participate in the debate and amendments because it limited the ability of the Democrats to participate in debate and amendments,” Rep. Massie said that in actuality they prefer to cast a just a single vote of great import each year.

“It absolves them of accountability and circumvents transparency,” he explained, noting that voting for legislation crammed into a single bill allows them to tell constituents that although they didn’t like certain aspects of the bill, they ultimately voted for it to prevent a government shutdown.

He stated that “leadership here has evolved to legislating in the rules committee and members here have been conditioned to give their voting cards to the leadership on quote, ‘procedural votes,’ unquote, but it’s those procedural votes that allow the malfeasance to happen on things like the omnibus.”

Rep. Massie said voters should either elect legislators dedicated to actually balancing the budget “or the constituents need to dig one level deeper and start paying attention to these procedural votes,” he said, adding, “and then holding their Congressmen accountable.

On the topic of President Trump, Congressman Massie said that the president’s “instinct” about leaving Syria “was right,” although he believes those around him “convinced him that maybe we should strike Syria.”

On tax reform he said, “I give the president credit for getting that tax bill across the finish line and for paying attention to the details of it.”

TOWNHALL.COM

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/alexnitzberg/2018/04/13/rep-thomas-massie-explains-why-congress-is-more-broken-than-its-ever-been-n2470602

GOP launches aggressive 'Lyin' Comey' website ahead of release of former FBI chief's book

The Republican National Committee launched an aggressive campaign to paint fired FBI Director James Comey as a liar, just days before the airing of his first interview since he was cut loose and shortly before the release next week of his tell-all memoir.

The RNC borrowed a term, coined by then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential primaries for “Lyin’ Ted Cruz,” and pegged it to the embattled former chief of the FBI.

The RNC’s new website is www.LyinComey.com, where the GOP plans to fact check Comey’s book and use “rapid response” to highlight any “misstatements” or “contradictions” in it, according to an RNC official.

“James Comey’s publicity tour is a self-serving attempt to make money and rehabilitate his own image,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “Comey is a liar and a leaker, and his misconduct led both Republicans and Democrats to call for his firing. If Comey wants the spotlight back on him, we’ll make sure the American people understand why he has no one but himself to blame for his complete lack of credibility.”

The official told Fox News that the RNC has prepared a rapid response team to respond to claims made in Comey’s book, compiled a research team to fact check, and created a “war room” to monitor his appearances.

The website, at first glance, highlights in bold “LYIN’ COMEY,” with a cropped image of Comey’s eyes. The homepage features a cycle of quotes from prominent Democrats questioning Comey’s tenure.

“The FBI has no credibility,” the website quotes Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., as saying in January 2017.

“Maybe he’s not in the right job,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is quoted as saying in November 2016.

“…badly overstepped his bounds,” the site quotes Hillary Clinton as saying in September 2017.

“I do not have confidence in [Comey] any longer,” the site quotes Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as saying in November 2016.

The website highlights Comey’s claim, during his testimony on Capitol Hill last year, that he had never leaked to the media, but the GOP gives “the truth,” and states that Comey, instead, “asked a friend of [his] to share the content” of one of his memos from a meeting with President Trump to the New York Times.

That memo shared by Columbia University Law Professor Daniel Richman allegedly was in order to spur the appointment of a special counsel.

Richman told Fox News on Thursday he had no comment on the RNC’s new website.

The website also highlights the claim that Comey was wrongly terminated from his post at the FBI, and gives “the truth” that Democrats “long questioned Comey’s ability to lead the FBI and even called for him to be fired.”

Another section of the site claims that Comey “wants to portray himself as a non-partisan, by-the-book Boy Scout rather than a politically motivated Washington insider.”

The RNC, again, paints “the truth,” noting that “even Democrats and members of the liberal media have slammed Comey  as a partisan, political leaker.”

The site, again, quotes Hillary Clinton, who once reportedly said that Comey “bowed to partisan pressure.”

At the bottom of the homepage, the RNC trumpets “Obstruction?” noting that Comey “may” use his book tour to “push the phony narrative” that Trump obstructed the Russia investigation.

The RNC, again, attempts to correct the record, noting that Comey has “confirmed multiple times under oath that neither President Trump nor his staff asked him to stop the Russia investigation.”

The RNC has also launched two digital video campaign attack ads against Comey—one titled “Comey Not Credible, Just Ask Democrats,” and another “Comey: A ‘Leaker’ and ‘Washington Insider.’”

The Democratic National Committee did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the RNC’s strategy.

Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” which will be officially released on April 17, is expected to share “never-before-told experience from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career.”

A preview of his book on iTunes.com states: “His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.”

Comey is expected to address his firing from the FBI in May 2017, and controversial issues that arose during his tenure as director of the bureau.  

Comey served as FBI director from 2013 to 2017, a former President Barack Obama appointee. He previously served as a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration.

“From prosecuting the Mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration’s policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history,” the book’s description reads.

Comey’s first stop in promoting his book will be on ABC News with George Stephanopoulos. ABC released excerpts of the pre-taped interview, where Comey likens President Trump to a “mob boss.”

An ABC News spokesperson told Fox News in a statement that “the interview will speak for itself—we expect it [to be] revealing, tough and fair.”

The interview airs on ABC News Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. EST.

FOXNEWS.COM

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/04/12/gop-launches-aggressive-lyin-comey-website-ahead-release-former-fbi-chiefs-book.html



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