Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) acknowledged yesterday that control of the Senate is “absolutely” in play this year. The GOP leader also listed the Senate races he considered competitive, but he didn’t mention contests in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – where there are Democratic incumbents in states Donald Trump won in 2016.
* In Florida’s Senate campaign, Gov. Rick Scott (R) launched a new Spanish-language TV ad this week, and according to the Tampa Bay Times, that brings his total amount of campaign spending to “more than $8 million in just over a month, an astounding figure.” Incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) has so far spent nothing, though he has roughly $10 million in the bank.
* In his latest fundraising appeal to supporters, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) brags about Trump calling him a “Great American Hero.” In the same letter, the far-right congressman claims he “exposed the scandal” of surveillance of Carter Page.
* Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R), the right-wing congresswoman whose Senate campaign is off to a difficult start in Tennessee, may soon benefit from some presidential attention: Trump will head to the Volunteer State to help Blackburn on May 29.
* Ahead of a possible 2020 presidential bid, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has so far backed 21 candidates this election cycle, 11 of whom have lost. Our Revolution, a group that grew out of Sanders’ unsuccessful 2016 campaign, has backed 111 candidates, 65 of whom have lost.
* While much of the Republican establishment is rallying behind Rep. Martha McSally (R) in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has apparently thrown his support behind her more radical primary rival, former state Sen. Kelli Ward (R).
* In former Rep. John Conyers Jr’s (D) district in Michigan, the race to replace him may not be a family affair: in response to a challenge from state Sen. Ian Conyers (D), local election officials found that John Conyers III failed to submit the proper number of signatures to appear on the ballot.
* And asked this week about the Trump administration, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), his party’s U.S. Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, said, “What the hell is there not to like?”