Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Slammed with an ugly sexual-harassment controversy, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R) has decided not to run for re-election in his Pennsylvania district. His district, which includes Philadelphia suburbs, is one of the nation’s most competitive, and his retirement creates an important Democratic pick-up opportunity.
* The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Donald Trump with a 36% approval rating. The same poll found that roughly two-thirds of Americans believe the president does not provide the United States with moral leadership and is not a good role model for children.
* With the congressional special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district looking surprisingly competitive, the DCCC has reportedly agreed to make an investment in the race.
* Speaking of the Keystone State, CNN reports that Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican Senate hopeful in Pennsylvania, “came in contact over the years with fringe organizations and individuals with views far outside the mainstream of American politics.” That includes an interview Barletta did, before he got to Congress, “with a fringe publication that promotes Holocaust denial.”
* In Kansas this week, Greg Orman launched an independent gubernatorial campaign. The news all but guarantees a Democrat won’t be elected – the center-left will likely be divided – despite Sam Brownback’s (R) jaw-dropping failures in recent years.
* The more Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) publicly criticizes Trump, the more the Republicans running to succeed Kasich steer clear of his endorsement. That includes his own lieutenant governor.
* Courtland Sykes, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, appears to have said some rather alarming things about feminism, arguing among other things that feminists made up a “crazed definition of modern womanhood … to suit their own nasty, snake-filled heads.”
* And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), running for re-election in Vermont this year, is also reportedly meeting with his top advisers tomorrow to discuss the possibility of a 2020 presidential campaign. It’s worth noting for context that on Election Day 2020, the independent senator will be 79 years old, which may prove to be a hindrance.