With Daniel Strauss and Bianca Padró Ocasio
The following newsletter is an abridged version of Campaign Pro’s Morning Score. For an earlier morning read on exponentially more races — and for a more comprehensive aggregation of the day’s most important campaign news — sign up for Campaign Pro today. (http://www.politicopro.com/proinfo)
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KEY BLOC — “Northam, Perriello battle for black vote in Virginia,” by Campaign Pro’s Kevin Robillard: “Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former Rep. Tom Perriello’s battle to be the Democratic nominee for Virginia governor may come down to African-American voters. And the race for their support looks a lot like the broader primary contest. Northam has earned support from both of Virginia’s black congressmen and every black member of the state legislature over the course of extensive travels throughout the state in the last eight years. The lieutenant governor also has a big edge with the significant black population in his home base of Hampton Roads. Perriello, meanwhile, is relying on a coalition of wonky activists and clergy — and a non-stop dose of television ads featuring former President Barack Obama’s effusive but seven-year-old praise — to cut into this key slice of the electorate. Both campaigns are increasingly focused on the black vote.” Full story.
POLL POSITION — Latest WSB-TV poll still shows a nailbiter in Georgia’s special election: Democrat Jon Ossoff takes 49 percent in the survey to 48 percent for Republican Karen Handel, well within the 4.4 percentage point margin of error. Landmark Communications conducted the poll of 500 likely voters with live calls and online contacts. See more here.
— “Pro-Trump outside group launches ad campaign in Georgia congressional race,” by the Washington Examiner’s David Drucker: America First Policies, “[t]he political nonprofit aligned with President Trump, is set to become politically active for the first time with a $1.6 million television buy in the Georgia special election.” The group “has reserved air time in Atlanta through Election Day (June 20) beginning Tuesday, the day of the first debate between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel. Brian O. Walsh, president of America First, said the group’s mission is to strengthen Trump’s hand in Congress and preserve his political standing nationally. Keeping Georgia’s suburban Atlanta Sixth Congressional District in GOP hands does both.” Full story.
2018 WATCH — Nonprofit laying groundwork for potential Stabenow challenger: The National Security and Opportunity Fund, a Republican 501(c)(4) nonprofit group, is laying the groundwork for a potential run for Senate by John E. James, president of James Group International, a parent company for logistics and supply management companies based out of Detroit. The nonprofit has set up a website and is running digital advertisements describing criteria for its desired candidate in the Republican primary for Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s seat. The advertisements are set to run across Mackinac Island during the 2017 Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference. James, a West Point graduate, flew Apache helicopters as a Ranger-qualified pilot before 2012 when he joined James Group International. The ads come just a few weeks after Lena Epstein, a former Trump campaign co-chair in Michigan, announced her campaign for Senate in the state, which Trump carried narrowly in 2016.
Days until the 2017 election: 158.
Days until the 2018 election: 522.
OFF MESSAGE PODCAST BONUS EPISODE: Wyclef Jean’s advice for celebrities who want to get political: don’t be like Kathy Griffin. Read up, said the musician of Fugees fame, and one-time aspiring celebrity-turned-president himself. In this bonus episode of Off Message, the politically active actor and musician lends his advice to other celebrities on how to effectively resist. Listen and subscribe: iTunes | Panoply | Stitcher
NERDCAST PODCAST: President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise by pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. But in how it happened, there are hints about who has the upper hand in the West Wing right now and how that could impact future policy fights. POLITICO’s Scott Bland, Charlie Mahtesian, Nancy Cook and Ken Vogel discuss that, Jared Kushner’s role in the Russia investigation, and why the August congressional recess is looming on some calendars in the latest episode of POLITICO’s Nerdcast. Listen and subscribe: iTunes | Panoply | Stitcher
HOME FRONT — “Lawmakers cutting back town halls this month,” by POLITICO’s Elana Schor: “After two straight recesses with high-profile harangues from voters, fewer members of Congress are holding town halls recently — and it’s not just Republicans who are cutting their time in the spotlight back home. Thirty-six House Republicans scheduled public meetings during the current weeklong recess and one earlier in May, according to a POLITICO analysis of data maintained by the independent website Legistorm. That’s less than half the 74 House Republicans who held town halls during a two-week break in April, and only a handful more than the 31 who booked such public or televised events during February’s one-week pause in legislating. The drop in town halls as protests continue this year over repealing Obamacare and other aspects of President Donald Trump’s agenda is even sharper among Senate Republicans.” Full story.
THE RESISTANCE — “Democratic AGs pledge to fight GOP counterparts in 2018,” by Campaign Pro’s Daniel Strauss: “A group of Democratic attorneys general said Thursday that they will continue fighting the Trump administration — and are looking to take the fight against their GOP counterparts in 2018. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro referred to a March Reuters report that Republican attorneys general voted to end a longstanding tradition that the party’s AG campaign committee would not target Democratic incumbents. Shapiro said he and his colleagues still collaborate with attorneys general from the other party, but they will still look to return the favor and target GOP incumbents themselves next year.” Full story.
SPECIAL ELECTION SEASON — “D.C., Sacramento and Beverly Hills: Here’s where the big money in L.A.’s congressional election came from,” by LA Times’ Christina Mai-Duc, Maloy Moore and Ryan Menezes: “In the race to become Los Angeles’ next congressman, two Democrats are furiously raising money from very different corners. State Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez and attorney Robert Lee Ahn will face each other in Tuesday’s runoff for the 34th Congressional District. A look at the latest fundraising figures reveals where they’re drawing support from and the advantages each has going into election day: … Between April 1 and May 17, [Robert Lee] Ahn reported raising about $350,100 from donors. During the same period, [Jimmy] Gomez took in about $326,690. Overall, Ahn has raised roughly $874,000 since entering the race in mid-January, not including money he’s given himself, while Gomez has received about $961,000.” Full story.
FROM THE COURTROOM — “O’Keefe facing $1 million lawsuit over video sting against Democrats,” by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein and Kenneth P. Vogel: “Conservative provocateur James O’Keefe is facing a $1 million federal lawsuit over his group’s undercover video sting against Democratic organizations and activists in the weeks before last year’s presidential election. O’Keefe and his organization posted some of the videos online last October, purporting to show efforts by Democrats to provoke violence at President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies and events. The recordings led two Democratic operatives, Robert Creamer and Scott Foval, to leave their posts even as they decried O’Keefe’s tactics.” Full story.
— “Oklahoma City Mayor Announces GOP Bid for Governor in 2018,” by The Associated Press: “Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett is the latest candidate to announce plans to seek the Republican nomination for Oklahoma governor in 2018. The 58-year-old, four-term mayor of the state’s largest city announced late Wednesday on Twitter and Facebook that he will formally file his candidacy papers next week. Cornett joins a crowded GOP field that includes State Auditor Gary Jones, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson. Gov. Mary Fallin is term-limited and can’t run again.” Full story.
WEB WAR — GOP web ad uses Kathy Griffin in GA-06: “The Congressional Leadership Fund is attacking Democrat Jon Ossoff in a new web ad using the controversial images of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a fake severed head of President Donald Trump.” Watch the ad here. Full story.
— Ossoff response from communications director Sacha Haworth: “Jon Ossoff believes what Kathy Griffin did was despicable and for Karen Handel’s superPAC to say otherwise is a disgrace. Karen Handel should immediately demand this ad be pulled before any more children have to see these disturbing images on TV.”
ADMINISTRATION SPEED READ — “Trump’s nationalism wins out again,” by POLITICO’s Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Distraught Democrats, resistant Republicans and just about everyone else still not ready to accept Donald Trump as their president have tried to pacify themselves with two thoughts — that he isn’t capable of making any real impact, and that the moderates in the White House will sway him. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is the latest, and biggest, smack of reality: they are wrong. It’s not Republican. It’s not conservative. It’s not right-wing. But it is consistent — again diving deep into the nationalism that he campaigned on last year and has been driving for the last 133 days.” Full story.
CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “With this designation, we’re giving cheese the recognition it deserves.” — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, upon announcing cheese as the state’s official dairy product.