Republicans might want to look to "The Wire" for a lesson on primary challenges: Come at the king, you best not miss.
That’s at least the lesson a spitting-mad Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) had for his "disgusting" rivals after Tuesday night’s primary win.
Amash wasn’t ready to let bygones be bygones after his primary opponent accused him of being “Al Qaeda’s best friend” and of supporting gender-selection abortion TV ads, calling out establishment-leaning businessman Brian Ellis (R) and his allies for a dirty campaign and making it clear the primary had just emboldened him to double down on his views.
Republican outside groups from both the Tea Party and business wings of the party have played hard in primaries big and small this year, spending more than $135 million combined on the ongoing GOP civil war and targeting a number of incumbents as well as open seats.
But most of those incumbents survived. And members from libertarian Amash and establishment-leaning Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) who won by comfortable margins may be even less amenable to compromise with the other side of the party heading forward, deepening internal party tensions.
KY-SEN (McCONNELL): Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can almost taste becoming Senate majority leader, but first he has to make sure he isn’t the Republican who costs the GOP its shot at chamber control. His strengths and weaknesses were on full display in his battle against Alison Lundergan Grimes this weekend, underscoring just how tough his race is against the Democrat.
The 35-year-old turned in a lively Fancy Farm performance, highlighting the GOP leader’s 30-year tenure and calling the event his “retirement party.”
AR-SEN (PRYOR): Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) declined to say whether President Obama should be impeached if Obama takes new executive actions giving legal status to workers living in the U.S. illegally.
When asked by host Neil Cavuto whether Republicans would consider impeaching Obama if the president took such a step, Cotton said, "Neil, I don't want to engage in speculation about hypothetical actions the president may or may not take.”
AR-SEN (PRYOR)/IA-SEN (OPEN): The Republican-affiliated Crossroads GPS is launching new ads in Iowa and Arkansas, attacking Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) on the Veterans Affairs Department scandal and hitting Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) on Medicare and Social Security.
The Crossroads ad criticizes Braley for missing committee meetings overseeing the VA, an issue that has nagged his campaign, while the Arkansas spot goes after Pryor on Medicare, ObamaCare and Social Security, seemingly looking to muddy the issue after recent Democratic attacks on Rep. Tom Cotton's (R-Ark.) Medicare views.
MI-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has a narrow 45 percent to 44 percent lead over former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) in a new automated survey from GOP firm Harper Polling. Peters has had a slightly larger lead in most other recent public polling of the race.
BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE
VA-10 (OPEN): Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock’s (R) deep Washington ties have helped fuel her congressional campaign so far. But her lobbying career might cause her some headaches in the general election.
Comstock, a longtime GOP power player in both Washington, D.C., and Virginia, lobbied for Koch Industries on crime and environmental issues in 2004, according to lobbyist disclosure forms, and was registered as a lobbyist for Carnival Cruise Lines in 2005 and 2006, when the company won contracts to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina that later drew bipartisan criticism.
MI-3 (AMASH): Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) wasn't ready to let bygones be bygones after winning his primary Tuesday night, blasting his opponent for running what he called a "disgusting, despicable smear campaign."
"You owe my family and this community an apology for your disgusting, despicable smear campaign," Amash said during his victory speech after refusing to take Ellis's concession call. "You had the audacity to try and call me today after running a campaign that was called the nastiest in the country. I ran for office to stop people like you."
CA-52 (PETERS): Rep. Scott Peters's (D-Calif.) campaign is making hay out of a speech his GOP opponent, Carl DeMaio, gave to a Tea Party group in which he seemingly embraced the movement.
DeMaio, then running for mayor, called the Tea Party "the conscience of the accountable-government movement" in the speech and seemed to disparage bipartisan compromise, slamming his mayoral opponents for seeking to bargain on city employee pensions rather than just push through cuts with a ballot initiative.
CA-17 (HONDA): A former GOP congressman is trying to secure funds for the Tea Party Express to send mailers on behalf of Democrat (and former Obama administration official) Ro Khanna (D) in his general election battle against Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.).
NY-24 (MAFFEI): Rep. Dan Maffei’s (D-N.Y.) first campaign ad says he knows there’s “no time for gridlock” and touts his push support of the “No Budget No Pay Act.”
NH-2 (KUSTER): New Hampshire state Rep. Marilinda Garcia’s (R) campaign is touting an internal poll that has her up 23 points in her GOP primary against establishment favorite and New Hampshire state Sen. Gary Lambert (R).
CLINTON: Hillary Clinton has leased new office space in New York City, but spokesman Nick Merrill said on MSNBC late Tuesday it was merely her personal office and that the space is not for a potential 2016 campaign, as first reported by entertainment website HollywoodLife.com on Tuesday.
PAUL: In a possible preview of a presidential campaign plan of attack, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that Hillary Clinton’s book tour has shown "how disconnected she is from the middle class."
Paul told Fox News on Tuesday that he left a table at a recent event in Iowa after two illegal immigrants approached Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to confront him over his stance on immigration reform not because Paul wanted to avoid the immigration debate but because he had a previously scheduled interview. A video posted online Monday that went viral showed Paul leaving the table.
He also faced criticism from Democrats on Wednesday who called him a hypocrite after he reportedly told an Iowa audience that "almost nobody in here wants to ban birth control,” as quoted by a Des Moines Register columnist in a tweet. The Democratic National Committee pounced on the comment to note that Paul has sought to give legal rights to fertilized human eggs, a move that would likely ban certain forms of contraception.
Paul also said he didn’t support a federal amendment to ban gay marriage, though he said he was “in favor of traditional marriage, and I think that’s been the foundation for civilization for thousands of years.”
HUCKABEE: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said that there’s “no doubt” President Obama “has done plenty of things worthy of impeachment,” breaking with party leaders and raising the specter of impeaching the president in an interview on a conservative Iowa radio show.
CHRISTIE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) trails Hillary Clinton 50 percent to 42 percent in a hypothetical New Jersey match-up, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday. The survey finds that 55 percent of voters in the state think that Christie would not be a good president; 39 percent think he would be. While 60 percent of voters backed Christie’s November reelection, 46 percent want to see him run for president; 49 percent say they wouldn’t.
WARREN: The founder of the new super-PAC Ready for Warren, which hopes to draft the Massachusetts senator into a White House bid, will be at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday with other pro-Warren volunteers.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Giving millions of dollars to the Senate Conservatives Fund is like handing a loaded gun to a person with mental retardation. Let's call it.” — Republican strategist, former National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman and frequent Tea Party critic Brian Walsh, attacking conservative outside groups for spending only against Republicans