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Happy Wednesday morning. There are 13 days until Election Day.
News: The Congressional Leadership Fund, the Kevin McCarthy-linked super PAC, is dumping another $11 million into House races in a bid to expand the map with less than two weeks to go.
CLF will put more resources into seven districts that President Joe Biden won by double digits. Here are the races its targeting:
The GOP super PAC will spend another $1.9 million in Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-Calif.) district. Porter is facing a stiff challenge from Republican Scott Baugh in the Los Angeles area. The LA media market is very expensive so this seems like a huge number, but it’s the cost of doing business there. Biden won this seat by 11 points.
CLF is making its first foray into Oregon’s 6th District, a new seat that the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter is calling a “toss up.” Republican Mike Erickson is facing Democrat Andrea Salinas in a district former President Donald Trump lost by 13 points. CLF is putting $800,000 into this race.
CLF is putting $1.8 million in Arizona, which could be used to bolster Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) in the 1st District or to help Eli Crane against Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) in the lean Republican 2nd District seat.
They are putting $235,000 more into Rep. Mike Garcia’s (R-Calif.) district to help him fend off a challenge from Democrat Christy Smith. Biden carried the 27th District by 13 points.
Republican Brian Maryott, a San Juan Capistrano, Calif., council member, will be the beneficiary of $320,000 in his toss-up race against Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.). Biden romped in the 49th District by 11 points in 2020.
CLF continues to pour money into Connecticut’s 5th District, where Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) is in a dead heat against Republican George Logan. CLF is dropping $320,000 here. Biden won the 5th District by 11 points. We’ll note Republicans haven’t won a federal race in the Nutmeg State since 2006.
Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) will face $280,000 more in GOP spending as CLF continues to boost GOP challenger Zach Nunn in the “lean Republican” 3rd District seat.
CLF is putting $270,000 more into Minnesota’s 2nd District, where Republican Tyler Kistner is in a tough race against Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.).
A big spend in Ohio’s 13th District, where Republicans are trying to win the seat being vacated by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is running for the Senate. CLF is dropping $800,000 to boost Republican Madison Gesiotto Gilbert over Democratic state Rep. Emilia Sykes.
CLF is putting $500,000 each into two Pennsylvania districts – the 7th and the 8th. In the 7th, Republican Lisa Scheller is trying to knock off Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.). In the 8th, Republican Jim Bognet wants to oust Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright. Both seats are considered toss ups.
Another big expenditure in Pennsylvania’s 17th, where CLF is spending $750,000 to boost Republican Jeremy Shaffer against Democrat Chris Deluzio. This is the seat Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) is vacating.
GOP leadership favorite Allan Fung will get $450,000 worth of back up in his Rhode Island 2nd District race against Democrat Seth Magaziner. Biden won here by 14 points.
Rep. Mayra Flores’ (R-Texas) toss-up race against Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) is also getting more CLF attention. CLF is putting $350,000 in there. Biden won the 34th District by 15 in 2020.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who saw her race move to toss up on Tuesday, will be the target of $820,000 in fresh CLF funds. Spanberger is running against Republican Yesli Vega in Virginia’s 7th District.
Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.), whose race has long been a toss up, is getting $820,000 dropped on her in this 8th District contest against Republican Matt Larkin. Larkin served as a White House speechwriter in the George W. Bush administration.
CLF has lots of money so these moves aren’t terribly surprising, but the spread of the cash is noteworthy. Many of these races – the Pennsylvania seats, Spanberger, Axne, Schrier, Craig and Ryan’s seat – are at the core of Republicans’ efforts to win a sizable majority.
Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter now says Republicans have a larger advantage in the battle for House than they did previously:
With today’s changes, we rate 211 races as at least “leaning” to Republicans, 191 races as at least “leaning” to Democrats and 33 races as Toss Ups. We’re changing our House outlook from a GOP gain of 10-20 seats to a GOP gain of 12-25 seats.
News: Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball is going even further in predicting a GOP takeover of the House. He says Republicans are already favored in enough races to win a majority on Nov. 8. Here’s Kondik’s take, which we have for you exclusively:
“We now rate 218 House seats – the magic number for winning a majority — as at least Leans Republican in our House ratings.
“A large number of races remain close and competitive. The danger for Democrats is that these races end up breaking disproportionately to the Republicans.
“4 Toss-ups move to Leans Republican this week. After these changes, 218 seats at least Lean Republican, while 195 at least Lean Democratic, and there are 22 Toss-ups. Splitting the Toss-ups evenly, 11-11, would give Republicans 229 seats, or a net gain of 16.”
Kondik added that a split in those “22 Toss-ups” races likely won’t end up even, so he predicts “a GOP gain in the high teens or low 20s.”
You can read Kondik’s full analysis here.
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
Tomorrow: Join us online for our virtual one-on-one conversation with Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) at 9 a.m. ET! We’ll be talking to him about issues facing American workers and the impact on financial security. RSVP here.
PRESENTED BY META
Future surgeons will get hands-on practice in the metaverse.
Surgeons will engage in countless hours of additional low-risk practice in the metaverse.
The impact: patients undergoing complex care will know their doctors are as prepared as possible.
The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real.
THE KEYSTONE STATE
Oz, Fetterman face off in only debate of the cycle
Republican Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman faced off in the only debate of the Pennsylvania Senate race Tuesday night, just two weeks before the tight election in the Keystone State.
Fetterman, still recovering from a stroke, was shaky – at best. His answers were often halting or disjointed. The closed-captioning system used by Fetterman, which Republicans made a fuss about before the debate, didn’t really distract from the events. Fetterman, however, ducked questions about whether he should provide more information on his health status.
There were a few solid moments for the lieutenant governor, but overall, his performance was predictably rocky. This isn’t a surprise given the severity of his stroke. Fetterman’s campaign attempted to lower expectations prior to the debate. It’s miraculous in some way that Fetterman could even do this event. Yet it may have been better for Fetterman – a gifted retail pol prior to his health problems – to skip the debate.
Oz was smooth, as you’d expect from a TV personality. Yet he also relied heavily on talking points. He sometimes rushed to get it all in during the fast-moving format.
A few takeaways:
Oz wouldn’t support a national 15-week abortion ban, asserting it should be up individual states to decide.
But the Fetterman campaign jumped all over Oz’s full answer to this question. They’re already putting an ad together to highlight it:
“I want women, doctors, local political leaders, letting the democracy that’s always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves.”
The “local political leaders” is what Fetterman’s camp has seized upon. They’re using it to tie Oz to Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. As a state senator, Mastriano has offered a “fetal heartbeat” bill that would ban abortions without exception from as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Mastriano also suggested women who violate the ban should be charged with murder.
Presented with evidence that he once supported a ban on fracking, Fetterman said he’s now in favor of fracking. Fetterman couldn’t explain the dissonance between the two statements.
“I do support fracking. And I don’t, I don’t — I support fracking and I stand, and I do support fracking,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman’s best moment: Oz continuously tried to tie Fetterman to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Fetterman responded with this:
“He keeps talking about Bernie Sanders. Three years ago, [Sanders] was on his show and he hugged him and he said, ‘I love this guy.’ Why don’t you pretend you live in Vermont instead of Pennsylvania and run against Bernie Sanders?”
David Axelrod, the political adviser, said this:
Philadelphia Inquirer: “John Fetterman’s performance was center stage in lone Pa. Senate debate against Mehmet Oz,” by Jonathan Tamari and Julia Terruso
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Mehmet Oz, John Fetterman debate in confrontation heavier on attacks than substantive policy,” by Mike Wereschagin
Patriot-News: “Fetterman struggles in rapid-fire debate format as he and Oz trade well-worn barbs,” by J.D. Prose
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
THE MONEY GAME
Inside Jim Banks’ super PAC
We told you we were going to keep a close eye on the American Leadership PAC, a super PAC linked to Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.). Banks is running for GOP whip if Republicans take the House as expected on Election Day. Under federal law, Banks must keep an arms length from this entity because it raises money in unlimited sums.
But we wanted to take stock of how the PAC, run by Trump-World hand Andy Surabian, is spending its money.
FEC records show that the super PAC has spent roughly $327,000 on text messages and direct mail on behalf of Banks’ Indiana colleagues, five of whom are in safe GOP districts. Beneficiaries of the super PAC’s largesse include the candidacies of Indiana Reps. Larry Bucshon, Victoria Spartz, Jim Baird and Greg Pence as well as GOP candidate Rudy Yakym. Yakym is running for the safe GOP seat left open by the tragic death of the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.).
American Leadership PAC has spent $190,518 in other districts labeled “lean Republican” by the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter. The three Republicans that have benefited include Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) and candidates Nick LaLota of New York and Eli Crane of Arizona.
The PAC has spent $411,657 in tossup districts. It’s trying to boost Brandon Williams in New York, Madison Gesiotti Gilbert in Ohio, Bo Hines in North Carolina, Jennifer-Ruth Green in Indiana, Barbara Kirkmeyer in Colorado, Jim Bognet in Pennsylvania and Reps. Mike Garcia (Calif.) and Yvette Herrell (N.M.).
The super PAC will layer in roughly $1 million more in digital ads in the toss up and lean Republican districts in the coming days.
Let’s be real here: This super PAC was created to show that Banks can generate real money and benefit fellow Republicans. Fundraising has never been Banks’ strong suit and this is an effort to beat back on the narrative that he doesn’t help his colleagues. Many of these races are multi-million dollar efforts, so October spending on text messages and direct mail won’t have a huge impact.
The PAC will spend more money – no doubt about that. But this is all part of Banks’ leadership race.
– Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY META
VoteVets has reported a $1.15 million ad buy on behalf of DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney. SPM is not a veteran, but he has a very tough race against Republican Michael Lawler in New York.
Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $2 million to Women Vote!, an Emily’s List organization, on Oct. 7, according to a recently released FEC report.
Mehmet Oz, the Pennsylvania Senate GOP candidate, gave his campaign account another $1 million Oct. 24, according to a campaign finance report released Tuesday. Oz has spent more than $20 million of his own money on the race.
New: In the final weeks of the competitive Wisconsin Senate race, Democrat Mandela Barnes is leaning into a populist economic message. The Barnes campaign is airing a spot bemoaning that workers “continue to be left behind” in the modern economy.
“I’m running for Senate to put more money in your pocket,” Barnes says in the ad. “Ron Johnson’s had 12 years to make things better. But costs are still rising and all he’s managed to do is write a tax cut for himself.”
Barnes is trailing Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) by 2.6 points, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling average of the race.
New: Agenda PAC, the Democratic group launched by Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, is launching a six-figure digital ad buy to motivate young voters to turn out for Senate candidate John Fetterman and gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro.
The ad implores Pennsylvanians to vote Democratic to “fight fascism and preserve our hard-fought liberties.” The spot will play on digital platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.
— Max Cohen and Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY META
9 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing.
10:30 a.m.: Biden will speak about “new actions to provide families with more breathing room.”
12:45 p.m.: Biden will meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer invited Herzog to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress this year.
2 p.m.: Karine Jean-Pierre will brief reporters.
3 p.m.: Biden will meet with Defense Department leaders.
7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.: Biden will participate in virtual receptions for Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and members of the Nevada delegation.
Vice President Kamala Harris is in Seattle. At 1:20 p.m., she will speak at Lumen Field about the administration’s investment in clean school buses with EPA Administrator Michael Regan. She’ll also speak at a fundraiser for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) before leaving for D.C.
First Lady Jill Biden will speak at fundraisers for Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee, the Rhode Island Democratic Party and House candidate Seth Magaziner.
“Cortez Masto, the Senate’s Most At-Risk Democrat, Fights to Hang On in Nevada,” by Catie Edmondson in Enterprise, Nev.
“Justice Dept. Seeks to Force Trump White House Lawyers to Testify in Jan. 6 Inquiry,” by By Alan Feuer and Luke Broadwater
“U.S. Officials Had a Secret Oil Deal With the Saudis. Or So They Thought,” by Mark Mazzetti, Edward Wong and Adam Entous
“European allies worry U.S. could dial back support for Ukraine,” by Liz Sly in London
PRESENTED BY META
Students will be able to explore outer space in the metaverse.
With the metaverse, students in a classroom will be able to travel to the depths of our galaxy, helping them get up close to the planets and gain a deeper understanding of how our solar system works.
The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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