Republicans got another shot at making the midterms all about ObamaCare with an appeals court decision striking down a major tenet of the law on Tuesday.
While the decision will have no immediate impact on implementation of the law, it does breathe new life into an issue that had largely fallen by the wayside, as the initial flood of bad news about the law during its rollout has stabilized.
Republicans seized on the D.C. appeals court’s decision as evidence, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) saying the healthcare law is "unworkable" and "cannot be fixed."
It had already trickled down into competitive Senate races by the afternoon, with Daniel Keylin, spokesman for North Carolina GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis, declaring that “today’s rulings serve as another reminder to North Carolinians that [Democratic Sen.] Kay Hagan cast the deciding vote for a confusing government-run healthcare law that simply doesn't work.”
But politicizing the court's decision doesn't come without risk: Too much enthusiasm from Republicans about a decision that would effectively raise health care prices for Americans could make the party seem out of touch on a central issue heading into the midterms.
GA-SEN (OPEN): Georgia Republicans will pick their nominee tonight — a relief for GOP strategist who have been anxiously watching Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and businessman David Perdue’s (R) expensive and rough-and-tumble air war.
Polls have shown Kingston with a slight edge, though strategists say they wouldn’t be shocked to see Perdue pull out a win. The victor will face Democrat Michelle Nunn, who’s been stockpiling cash and running a strong race so far, and has led in some recent polling.
Georgia remains a heavy lift for Democrats, but the primary has given Nunn a better shot at competing.
In a closing salvo, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fired back against Perdue for calling the group “pro-amnesty” in attack ads against Kingston. The organization, which has spent $2.5 million on Kingston’s behalf, says he sought their endorsement and is “crying like a little baby” because he didn’t get it.
KS-SEN (ROBERTS): Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) launched a new radio ad hitting his primary challenger, radiologist Milton Wolf on agriculture issues. The ad declares Wolf “doesn’t understand ag issues, and we can’t depend on him to fight for crop insurance. Milton Wolf just doesn't care about rural Kansas.”
TN-SEN (ALEXANDER): Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson (R) endorses Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) in new television and radio ads, in which Thompson touts Alexander’s record balancing the state’s budget as governor and his endorsements from National Right to Life and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Alexander is facing a challenge from state Rep. Joe Carr, who has drawn the support of national conservative groups in recent weeks but is considered a heavy underdog in the race.
MS-SEN (COCHRAN): Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel filed a motion on Friday with the Mississippi Supreme Court asking the Court to hear oral arguments in his campaign’s case to secure access of unredacted poll books from the June 23 GOP primary runoff there. McDaniel still has yet to concede to Cochran, despite his 7,667-vote lead.
KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is hitting Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on job creation in a new ad, as a group backing the senator accuses Grimes of lying in another ad hitting the airwaves Tuesday.
CO-SEN (UDALL): Sen. Mark Udall (D) is essentially tied with GOP challenger Cory Gardner in a new survey from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, which gives Udall 44 percent support to Gardner’s 43 percent support, a slight shift from a May PPP survey that showed Udall up three points. Udall is deep underwater with voters, with 47 percent disapproving of the job he’s doing, while only 36 percent approve.
IA-SEN (OPEN): The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching a half-million dollar ad buy against Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R), the latest sign of the race’s tossup nature. The ad accuses Ernst of being open to Social Security privatization.
A poll for the conservative Human Events by automated pollster Gravis Marketing finds Ernst statistically tied with Rep. Bruce Braley, with a 44 to 43 percent edge.
NC-SEN (HAGAN): Sen. Kay Hagan’s (D-N.C.) campaign is flexing its financial muscle, reserving $4.4 million in fall airtime. She has a big cash edge, with $8.7 million in the bank to North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis’s (R) $1.6 million.
Hagan also leads Tillis by 41 percent to 34 percent in a new poll from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, with the Libertarian candidate pulling 8 percent.
The poll indicates the ongoing legislative session, which has dragged on as Republicans struggle to agree on a budget, may be hurting Tillis. Tillis himself said that the ongoing budget battle may derail teacher pay increases — something Democrats have slammed him for failing to provide in the past.
RNC: The Republican National Committee is launching a campaign to "fire Harry Reid" that attempts to tie Democratic Senate candidates to the Senate majority leader.
The RNC announced Monday it would target 12 states with robocalls and push a social media campaign to brand the Nevada Democrat as the face of Senate inaction.
BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE
GA-1 (OPEN), GA-10 (OPEN), GA-11 (OPEN): GOP voters will pick a trio of new congressmen tonight in heavily Republican seats. Establishment and Tea Party candidates duke it out for the seats of Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and former Libertarian Party presidential candidate and Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) looks to return to Congress and defeat Tea Party candidate and state Sen. Barry Loudermilk (R).
AZ-2 (BARBER): Arizona Democratic Rep. Ron Barber features his wife Nancy in his first ad of his reelection fight, one of the toughest in the nation as he encounters a rematch with Republican Martha McSally. Nancy narrates the spot, telling viewers about their lives together and touting him as an “independent guy.” “Ron’s done what’s right for Southern Arizona, not what’s easy,” Nancy says. “He loves this place, because this is our home.”
RUBIO: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Tuesday said Hillary Clinton is a “20th century candidate” and that “she does not offer an agenda for moving America forward in the 21st century, at least not up till now.” Clinton responded, declaring that “every election is about the future.”
“And certainly anyone who wishes to run for president has to make it clear how the experience that you've had in the past and what you believe and how you have acted on those beliefs will translate into positive results for the American people," she added.
CHRISTIE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) sparked the ire of New York Republicans on Tuesday when he suggested he won’t campaign for New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, facing an uphill battle against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Astorino suggested Christie should step down as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and that Christie was avoiding the race because “he has an issue that we don’t know about with Andrew Cuomo and the Bridgegate scandal.”
WARREN: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) strongly reiterated her comments that she will not run for president despite the urging of some liberal activists. "There is no wiggle room. I am not running for president. No means no," she told the Boston Globe.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Well, I’m sorry to have lost the vampire vote, but am astonished (and amused) that HBO is suggesting that hard-core leftists are blood-sucking fiends.”
—Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on HBO’s True Blood featuring a scene at an imaginary fundraiser for him.