Wednesday’s Campaign Round-Up, 4.19.17

Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.

* In a surprise move, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has decided not to seek re-election next year, and he won’t run for any other office in 2018. It’s the first big retirement announcement of this Congress.

* As Rachel noted on the show last night, Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election will be held this year, instead of next year as originally scheduled. That’s not good news for  Sen. Luther Strange (R), whose ties to former Gov. Robert Bentley (R), who appointed Strange to the post, are likely to be a problem.

* On a related note, AL.com reported last night, “Rep. Ed Henry, the lawmaker who launched the move to impeach former Gov. Robert Bentley last year, announced today he will run for the U.S. Senate.” It’s a safe bet Henry won’t be the last Republican to enter the primary.

* The Virginia Republican Party has scheduled a big fundraiser for next month, which wouldn’t ordinarily be especially notable except in this case, (a) the featured speaker is White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer; and (b) the event will be held at a Trump-owned property.

* The latest national poll from the Pew Research Center shows Trump with a 39% approval rating, which appears to be taking a toll on support for Republicans overall.

* The far-right 45Committee, financed in large part by Sheldon Adelson and the wealthy Ricketts family, is apparently starting a feud with the far-right Club for Growth, using Georgia’s congressional special election as a proxy fight.

* In Missouri, where Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is likely to be a key Republican target, Majority Forward, the non-profit tied to the Democratic Senate leadership’s Senate Majority PAC, is investing $500,000 in new radio ads in support of the incumbent senator.

* Reversing course on what he told Democratic primary voters during his presidential campaign, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes last night that he doesn’t consider himself a Democrat.

* And in North Dakota, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) is likely to be one of the year’s top Republican targets, but she’ll apparently first have to face a Democratic primary rival. Dustin Peyer, a firefighter, is taking on Heitkamp, telling a local radio station he doesn’t want the primary season to be “really boring.”

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 4.19.17