Playbook PM: 8 new swing-seat campaigns to know

Playbook PM: 8 new swing-seat campaigns to know

LAUNCH MODE — With the Fourth of July breather come and gone, American politics is swinging back into campaign mode: No fewer than eight challengers are announcing bids for key swing Senate and House seats across the country today.

A number of them are prominent repeat contenders — also known as losers — who fell short in primary or general-election campaigns but are back for more. And several will set up difficult primary contests against high-profile names who have already jumped in.

Nevada: SAM BROWN, a Republican who earned a Purple Heart in Afghanistan, launched his second consecutive Senate campaign — this time with full-throated establishment support from the NRSC, Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie and Paul Steinhauser report. In addition to touting his military record, Brown focuses on attacking Democratic Sen. JACKY ROSEN over the economy, crime and education. The big question is whether Washington Republicans will get their pick for November in a primary that also includes prominent election denier JIM MARCHANT.

Texas: State Sen. ROLAND GUTIERREZ jumped into the Democratic Senate primary to take on GOP Sen. TED CRUZ, teeing up what looks to be a two-way race against Democratic Rep. COLIN ALLRED, The Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reports. As a representative for Uvalde, Gutierrez focuses on guns in his launch video in the wake of the school massacre there. But he also targets Cruz with a populist message of standing up for poor and working people — and, yes, there’s a Cancun mention. Launch video

Michigan: Actor and activist HILL HARPER leapt into the open Senate race, mounting a progressive challenge to Democratic frontrunner Rep. ELISSA SLOTKIN. The “Good Doctor” star and Harvard Law grad tells Time’s Mini Racker that “career politicians” who write him off are overlooking “his decades of activism, authorship, and community investment that would normally be seen as an ideal resume.” Launch video in the form of a message to his son

In the race to replace Slotkin, meanwhile, Democrat CURTIS HERTEL JR. jumped in today. A former state senator and a member of a prominent Michigan political family, Hertel has Slotkin’s backing. The open seat is expected to be very competitive as Republican TOM BARRETT makes another go. More from the AP

Montana: Democrat MONICA TRANEL will try again to beat GOP Rep. RYAN ZINKE, who pulled out a narrow victory in November, ABC Fox Montana’s Noah Corrin and Bradley Warren report. The rancher and former Olympic rower is already talking up abortion rights as a key issue in the race.

Oregon: JAMIE McLEOD-SKINNER, the progressive who lost a Democratic-held seat last year after ousting Rep. KURT SCHRADER in the primary, will try again to take on Republican Rep. LORI CHAVEZ-DeREMER, per KTVZ-TV. Fellow Democratic candidate KEVIN EASTON said he’ll suspend his campaign and support McLeod-Skinner, but she’s got other prominent opposition in the primary.

Wisconsin: Democrat REBECCA COOKE will make another run for the House seat held by GOP Rep. DERRICK VAN ORDEN, a competitive district that could also be affected by a map redraw, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lawrence Andrea reports. At least three other Dems are considering bids, including state Sen. BRAD PFAFF, who beat Cooke in the 2022 primary.

Ohio: Republican attorney ORLANDO SONZA is set today to become the first announced challenger to Democratic Rep. GREG LANDSMAN, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Scott Wartman reports. Landsman flipped the swing seat last year and could be among the most vulnerable House Dems.

HALEY’S HAUL — NIKKI HALEY’s presidential campaign and affiliated political committees collectively raised $7.3 million last quarter, Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser scooped. The campaign had $9.3 million on hand at the end of June, and Stand for America Fund had $17 million. Haley also says she’s cleared the donor threshold for the first debate.

Good Monday afternoon. Thanks for reading Playbook PM. Drop us a line at [email protected] and [email protected].


LET FREEDOM RING OFF — The House Freedom Caucus is something of a ticking time bomb as members simmer over their lack of direction and attention from House GOP leadership. Inside the cohort, “side sessions and private discussions among a small bloc of rebellious lawmakers have become more common and even necessary, some members say, after months of internal disagreements over tactics, policies and allegiances to their party’s leadership have fomented distrust within the group’s ranks,” CNN’s Melanie Zanona and Annie Grayer report in a rollicking read on the caucus’ uncertain future.

Can’t-miss detail: Tensions are running so high that even Rep. JIM JORDAN (R-Ohio), an OG member of the group, isn’t immune. “GOP Rep. BOB GOOD of Virginia, who serves in the Freedom Caucus, has called Jordan a RINO – ‘Republican in Name Only’ – behind his back,” Zanona and Grayer report, though a spokesperson for Good denied the claim.

The state of things: It all amounts to a fractured caucus that is trying to find its footing among a messy majority under Speaker KEVIN McCARTHY. “One conservative lawmaker who has been in meetings with Freedom Caucus members and McCarthy said members of the group tend to all ask for different things, undermining their negotiating hand. … ‘Days are numbered anyway for the group,’ the conservative lawmaker, who is often aligned with the group, told CNN. ‘Because they go in 100 different directions.’”

KNOWING ANNA PAULINA LUNA — “The Influencer Who Came to Congress,” by Time’s Eric Cortellessa: “[E]ven her critics recognize her potential to harness a new generation of crusading right-wing populists. Inside her office last month, wearing a bomber jacket over a white button-down shirt with a black tie, Luna spoke of the liberating power of using alternative media — the instrument through which she can both channel and ignite the base’s grievances — to circumvent the mainstream press. … Now, she’s pushing the limits of the hard-right rebellion already upending power throughout the country.”

BATTLE FOR THE BALLOT — In case you needed a reminder of how far apart the two parties are on voting, we’re set for a clear display in the coming weeks. “The parties will unveil separate and competing proposals that will have little chance of success in a divided government, but are likely to be used to rally supporters ahead of the 2024 elections,” AP’s Stephen Groves and Christina Cassidy write. Republicans’ bill, set to be introduced today, would “tighten voting laws and take a defiant stand against concerns that laws passed in recent years by GOP-controlled state legislatures disadvantage some voters. Meanwhile, Democrats’ version would “set federal voting standards and restore protections under the Voting Rights Act.”


CASH DASH — Sen. SHERROD BROWN (D-Ohio) raised $5 million last quarter and went into July with $8.7 million on hand, The Messenger’s Dan Merica and Matt Holt scooped. That’s a strong haul for one of the Senate’s most endangered incumbents. This race is one of a handful that will likely decide control of the chamber.

— Rosen, another vulnerable Democrat in a swing state, raised $2.7 million last quarter, per The Nevada Independent’s Gabby Birenbaum. She ended the quarter with $7.5 million on hand, which her campaign touted as a state record at this point in a cycle. Birenbaum also notes that these numbers put Rosen closely on par with Sen. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D-Nev.) last cycle.

— “Project Rescue America, a super PAC backing the reelection of GOP Sen. RICK SCOTT of Florida in 2024, announced that it ‘raised almost $1.2 million in its first quarter of operation after forming in April 2023,’” The Dispatch’s David Drucker, Audrey Fahlberg and Thomas Dorsey report. “The super PAC reports more than $1.1 million on hand.”

MUCK READ — “Documents Provide Rare Glimpse Into How Arabella Advisors Exerts Centralized Control Over a Vast Left-Wing Advocacy Network,” by The Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Kerr and Joseph Simonson: “This is hardly the sort of relationship that Arabella and two of its offshoots, New Venture Fund and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, described to the IRS when seeking tax-exempt status.”

2024 WATCH

SUPER-SIZE ME — While many of the 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls focus all of their firepower on the early nominating states, frontrunning DONALD TRUMP and chief rival RON DeSANTIS are widening their gazes to “states like Tennessee and Alabama that will hold elections on so-called Super Tuesday,” AP’s Sara Burnett writes. The Florida governor is set to hit Nashville, Tenn., this weekend, while Trump will headline a GOP event in Alabama in a few weeks.

NOTABLE STANCE — “Mike Pence backs U.S. sending cluster munitions to Ukraine,” by NBC’s Rebecca Shabad

DEBATE SCRAMBLE — As Republican candidates race to gather 40,000 individual donors to meet the qualifying threshold for the first primary debate, VIVEK RAMASWAMY is trying something different: giving supporters 10% of the donations they can convince others to contribute, Natalie Allison reports. In the “Vivek Kitchen Cabinet,” “supporters will undergo a background check before being issued an affiliate link to share to raise money for the candidate.” Ramaswamy calls it a “revolution” in political fundraising.


BANK ON IT — “Fed’s bank cop calls for tougher capital rules, setting up clash with lenders,” by Zachary Warmbrodt: “MICHAEL BARR, the Federal Reserve’s point-person for financial system oversight, laid out a series of recommendations Monday that would require large lenders to raise more capital to navigate economic turbulence.”

RUBBER MEETS THE LITERAL ROAD — The Inflation Reduction Act’s big drive to bolster electric vehicles is running into major questions from the United Auto Workers, setting up a clash between two crucial parts of the Democratic coalition, WaPo’s Jeanne Whalen reports. With major contract negotiations kicking off this week, union leaders have “directed unusual ire at Biden,” particularly over low pay for electric vehicle workers. And a strike could loom as soon as September at some plants if a deal isn’t reached.


FOX IN THE DOGHOUSE — Fox News could be in for another bruising court case centered on claims of defamation, coming just months after the historic settlement with Dominion Voting Systems that thrust some of the companies’ messiest internal issues into the spotlight. RAY EPPS, an Arizona Trump voter who was present on Jan. 6 but never entered the Capitol, has not been charged in the DOJ’s investigation — a fact that TUCKER CARLSON insisted on his show meant he was a covert government agent that helped “stage-manage” the insurrection.

“Now lawyers representing Mr. Epps and his wife are proceeding with plans to sue Fox News for defamation,” NYT’s Jeremy Peters and Alan Feuer write. (Epps and Fox News declined to comment for the article.)

SCAM SEASON — “Right-Wing Websites Connected to Former Trump Lawyer Are Scamming Loyal Followers With Phony Celebrity Pitches,” by ProPublica’s Craig Silverman: “A mysterious network called AdStyle is placing ads with fake endorsements from celebrities like OPRAH WINFREY and ELON MUSK on conservative sites based in the U.S. and abroad.” (The lawyer in question is DAVID WARRINGTON.)


SPOTTED: Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) at a showing of “Insidious: The Red Door” at Regal Gallery Place on Friday night.

OUT AND ABOUT — The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington held the 41st annual RAMMY awards gala at the Convention Center last night to honor the D.C. area’s best restaurants, chefs, and alcohol and service programs. Notable winners: Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: L’Ardente; Chef of the Year: Kevin Tien, Moon Rabbit; New Restaurant of the Year: Causa/Amazonia; Restaurateur of the Year: Rose Previte, No White Plates, Compass Rose, Maydan and Kirby Club. SPOTTED: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. AG Brian Schwalb, D.C. Councilmembers Brooke Pinto, Matt Frumin, Charles Allen, Christina Henderson and Robert White, Eun Yang, Jummy Olabanji, Tommy McFly, Holly Morris, Symone Sanders-Townsend. Pic

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Dan Watson is now assistant secretary for the Office of Public Affairs at DHS. He most recently was managing director at FGS Global and is an Obama Treasury and FEMA alum. Watson replaces Marsha Espinosa.

TRANSITIONS — Caroline Welles is now executive director of The First Ask, an organization focused on recruiting Democratic female first-time candidates. She previously was director of surrogates at the DNC. … Melanie Janin is now chief comms and marketing officer for Conservation International. She previously was an EVP at Weber Shandwick. … Jonathan Jagoda is now senior policy adviser at Alston & Bird. He previously was an SVP at the Federation of American Hospitals. …

… Chase Hardin is now comms director for Patriotic Millionaires. He previously was an associate VP at the Clyde Group. … Zach Farmer is now government relations Washington representative for the American Motorcyclist Association. He previously was director of congressional affairs at the Council for Opportunity in Education.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Sourav Bhowmick, senior adviser and chief of staff for IRA implementation at the Treasury Department, and Neena Malik, a gastroenterologist at Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, recently welcomed daughter Sahana Bhowmick.

Send Playbookers tips to [email protected] or text us at 202-556-3307. Playbook couldn’t happen without our editor Mike DeBonis, deputy editor Zack Stanton and producers Setota Hailemariam and Bethany Irvine.

Source link

Scroll to Top