Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* The latest Washington Post-Schar School poll found Democratic voters are quite a bit more enthusiastic about this year’s midterms than Republican voters, though the Dems’ advantage “is smaller in battleground congressional districts.”
* An interesting analysis from USA Today: “Secret donors financed more than four out of every 10 television ads that outside groups broadcast this year to influence November’s high-stakes congressional elections…. Leading the way: organizations affiliated with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, whose conservative donor network plows hundreds of millions of dollars into politics and policy debates each election cycle.”
* Demand Justice, a progressive group opposed to Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is launching television ads targeting North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, and Indiana’s Joe Donnelly – three red-state Democrats up for re-election this year – urging them to vote against confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
* Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) launched a new campaign ad this week in which he brags to voters, “When President Trump tried to take away important environmental protections for the Boundary Waters, I said, ‘No way.’” Keep an eye on other vulnerable Republicans distancing themselves from their party’s president between now and Election Day.
* The Houston Chronicle ran a rather embarrassing report on Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) re-election campaign: “Federal campaign regulators have three times in the last year sent notices to the Cruz campaign – more than any Senator running for re-election this year – for taking tens of thousands of dollars more than legally allowed from dozens of donors. And in another case, a Cruz donor had to file a Federal Election Commission complaint to get the campaign to stop automatically deducting monthly donations from her bank account.”
* Trump took time out of his foreign trip to formally endorse one of his most sycophantic congressional allies, freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). The Florida Republican is running in an overwhelmingly “red” district, so his re-election is all but assured.
* And in Brussels yesterday, asked about Brexit, Trump offered a meandering answer in which he eventually said, “Wisconsin – I didn’t even realize this until fairly recently – that was the one state Ronald Reagan didn’t win when he ran the board his second time. He didn’t win Wisconsin, and we won Wisconsin.” I’ve lost count of how many times Trump has said this in recent weeks, but it’s still completely wrong: Reagan won Wisconsin twice. I have no idea why Trump believes otherwise or why he keeps repeating this bogus claim.