Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* The congressional special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district is a week from tomorrow, and according to a Wall Street Journal tally, Republican-affiliated groups have now “poured about $9.1 million into the Pittsburgh-area race.” That’s an astonishing sum for a red district that Donald Trump won easily in 2016.
* On a related note, the same article added that the president “has rescheduled a political rally to be held near the district just days before the March 13 vote.” If the GOP candidate, Rick Saccone, loses anyway, expect intra-party panic to intensify.
* As for the Republican messaging in the Pennsylvania district, the Washington Post reports that Republicans are starting to downplay the recent GOP package of tax cuts, finding that those ads weren’t resonating in the area.
* In California’s 21st congressional district, Dems have had high hopes – the district is represented by Republican David Valadao, though Hillary Clinton won here easily – but the Democratic candidate in the race, Emilio Huerta, just ended his candidacy. The filing deadline for a new candidate is this week.
* The Dallas Morning News reported over the weekend that early voting among Texas Republicans in this year’s primaries is up 16% compared to a comparable period in 2014. Among Texas Democrats, meanwhile, early voting is up 98%. No, that’s not a typo.
* The latest Mason-Dixon poll in Louisiana found Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) as fairly popular in the state – he has a 55% approval rating – though the Democrat may yet have difficulty winning a second term. Despite his current support, the same poll found Edwards struggling against likely GOP challengers.
* And Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who isn’t seeking re-election this year, said yesterday he believes Trump “will have a challenge from the Republican Party” in 2020. For historical context, it’s worth noting that the only modern incumbent presidents who’ve lost re-election bids – Ford, Carter, and H.W. Bush – are those who faced credible primary challenges.