Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* In Virginia’s gubernatorial race, Republican Ed Gillespie has hired Jack Morgan, Donald Trump’s former Southwest Virginia field director, to help with his campaign in its home stretch. Morgan is perhaps best known for arguing that communists are behind the effort to take down Confederate statues.
* In New Jersey, Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D) corruption trial begins next month, and depending on the outcome, it’s at least possible Gov. Chris Christie (R) would appoint a replacement senator until a special election is held. Would the governor appoint himself? “I don’t see that happening,” Christie said yesterday.
* TPM had an interesting report yesterday on the flood of Democratic congressional candidates causing an unexpected problem: in “nearly every top-targeted race across the country, Democrats face competitive primaries that could complicate their party’s chances of winning the majority.” The Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman said, “I haven’t seen this much enthusiasm to run this early in a cycle. It’s a good problem to have.”
* In 2012, after Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were excluded from the presidential debates, they filed a lawsuit challenging the debate commission’s policies. A lower court threw out their case, and yesterday, an appeals court reached the same conclusion.
* The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is so supportive of tax reform, the business lobby is prepared to punish lawmakers who stand in the initiative’s way. Asked over the weekend whether the Chamber is prepared to support primary challengers to Republicans who oppose the eventual legislation, Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s chief policy officer, said “all options are on the table.”
* On a related note, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who’s maintained a busy travel schedule in recent months, recently told MNSBC, “I think we need to simplify the tax code. I think we need to lower the corporate tax rate. We can’t just be the party of redistribution of wealth.” A far-right group, the American Action Network, is now using this quote in its advertising to promote the GOP’s tax-reform efforts.
* And in Utah, Rep. Rob Bishop (R), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, announced the other day that he’ll run for re-election next year, but it’ll be his last race. Bishop’s office said the decision was driven in part by term limits imposed on House GOP committee chairs.