CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Presidential cycle in full swing

Political junkies would be forgiven for forgetting on Monday afternoon what year it is.

The parties are just four months out from a midterm election season that could see Republicans take back the Senate and likely hold onto their majority in the House. But with a sleepy summertime lull taking hold of most campaigns, most of the action in politics over the past few days has taken place at the presidential level.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the prohibitive front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination if she runs, as expected, is scheduled to appear on “The Daily Show” on Tuesday.

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 Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Monday he’s “seriously considering” a 2016 bid, and that Clinton’s decision will have no bearing on his own.

In the GOP primary fight, potential presidential contenders Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) were trading barbs on foreign policy — and sartorial choices — via dueling op-eds.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) reiterated his plan to “see who steps up” to run for president, and his willingness to run if no one he considers suitable enters the race, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Friday he believes he can beat Clinton if he decides to run.

Eighteen months from now, when the battles begin in earnest, these comments will be gathering dust in an opposition research vault. But for now, they’re a reminder that the perpetual presidential campaign is in full swing.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

AR-SEN (PRYOR): Rep. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) campaign announced Monday he outraised Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) for the fourth fundraising quarter in a row, topping the Democrat’s sum by more than half a million dollars in the second quarter of this year. Cotton brought in $2.28 million in the second quarter compared to Pryor’s $1.5 million.

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): State Rep. Paul Hollis (R) ended his bid for Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D) seat Monday, leaving one fewer conservative alternative to Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in the race. But Cassidy’s main competition for GOP votes, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, still remains in the game.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown debuted an ad Monday hitting Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal and highlighting his own military service in the National Guard. “I’m proud of the men and women I served with, but the Obama-Shaheen economy is not working for them or anyone else,” Brown says in the ad.

Brown also picked up the endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday.

CO-SEN (UDALL): Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) topped $3 million in second-quarter fundraising, ending June with $5.7 million cash on hand. Udall bested his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, by $400,000 and holds a $2.3 million cash on hand advantage over the congressman.

GA-SEN (OPEN): The only debate of the Georgia Senate GOP runoff turned ugly Sunday as Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and businessman David Perdue spent the half-hour event slinging personal attacks at each other. The July 22 runoff is expected to be a close race, and a new poll out Monday from Public Policy Polling shows Kingston with a slight lead over Perdue. Commissioned by Better Georgia, the survey has Kingston leading Perdue by 47 percent to 41 percent, with 12 percent of voters undecided.

SC-SEN (GRAHAM): Reality TV star and former South Carolina state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel has filed signatures to run against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) as an independent candidate. Ravenel, who was forced to leave office after a cocaine bust, topped the 10,000 required signatures by 7,000.

IA-SEN (OPEN): American Crossroads is launching a new ad Tuesday slamming Rep. Bruce Braley (D) as a Washington politician who was “caught putting down Chuck Grassley to an out-of-state crowd” and touting GOP candidate Joni Ernst as the “better choice” for Iowa.

TN-SEN (ALEXANDER): Conservative talk-radio host Laura Ingraham endorsed state Rep. Joe Carr, the primary challenger to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), on her show Monday. “I’m all in for Joe Carr,” Ingraham said. “I think he’s, look, he’s no-nonsense, a citizen legislator he’ll be, and he’ll be someone who will actually listen to the people.”

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): Shaun McCutcheon, a Tea Party activist and the winning plaintiff in a landmark campaign finance case, has filed a complaint with the Mississippi secretary of State calling for an investigation into the GOP primary between Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Chris McDaniel for alleged voter fraud. McCutcheon’s complaint alleges that “thousands of people who apparently voted in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on June 3, 2014, were permitted to vote in the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate on June 24, 2014.”

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

AZ-9 (SINEMA): Republican candidate and former NFL quarterback Andrew Walter will host a fundraising event Friday inviting attendees to pay to shoot various types of guns at a private shooting range, followed by a reception with cocktails and cigars. Walter is running for the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

AZ-2 (BARBER): Rep. Ron Barber’s (D-Ariz) GOP challenger Martha McSally brought in $653,107 in second-quarter fundraising, her best quarter yet and $100,000 more than Barber’s $550,000 second-quarter sum. McSally has outraised Barber for the past four quarters and has raised $1.8 million overall in her rematch against Barber, who narrowly beat her in 2012.

GA-1 (OPEN): Republican candidate Bob Johnson released a new ad Sunday slamming his primary challenger, state Sen. Buddy Carter, for increasing spending and taxes and claiming ObamaCare was “not so bad.” The spot’s narrator touts Johnson as a “real conservative” and assails Carter, saying, “Sorry, Buddy. We have enough liberals in Washington.”

CO-6 (COFFMAN): Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Colo.) Democratic challenger, Andrew Romanoff, raised $842,509 for the second quarter and ended June with more than $2.67 million in the bank.

IL-12 (ENYART): Illinois state Rep. Mike Bost (R) raised more than $278,000 in the second quarter of the year in his challenge to Rep. William Enyart (D-Ill.), ending June with $347,000 cash on hand.

2016 WATCH

O’MALLEY: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) told The Los Angeles Times on Monday that he is “seriously considering” a presidential bid in 2016, claiming that the country could do “better” and that he might be able to help. The governor said that his decision is not dependent on whether Hillary Clinton runs “at this point.”

PORTMAN: Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) predicted Monday on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom” that the Republican Party will be able to win a “bare majority” in the Senate this fall. Portman, who floated the idea of running for president last week, repeated his intention to focus on his Senate reelection that year, unless there is no acceptable candidate. “And so, you know, I’ll see who steps up,” he said. “I think the Republican Party needs someone who is going to take that broader approach and ensure that people understand that our policies for economic growth, for getting America back on track, affect every family in America.”

CLINTON: Hillary Clinton will join Jon Stewart on Tuesday for her third appearance on “The Daily Show” and her first appearance on the show since her 2008 presidential campaign. The last time Clinton appeared on the show was the night before the 2008 Texas primary. 

PERRY, PAUL: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) slammed Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) Monday for “fictionalizing” Paul’s foreign policy views in a Washington Post op-ed Friday, in which Perry accused Paul of suggesting the U.S. “should ignore what’s happening in Iraq.” Paul hit back in a Monday op-ed, declaring “If the governor continues to insist that these proposals mean I’m somehow ‘ignoring ISIS,’ I’ll make it my personal policy to ignore Rick Perry’s opinions.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I’m gonna dance with him all night and make him fall in love with me.”

Teenage girl in reference to Rep. Michael Grimm’s (R-N.Y.) visit to a constituent’s Sweet 16 birthday party last weekend 

This post was updated at 7:05 p.m.