CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: More money, more SCOTUS

Republicans took a victory lap Wednesday after the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision — and for good reason.

The GOP is likely to be the biggest winner from the high court’s decision to strike down aggregate campaign donation limits.

The top wealthy donors to outside groups tend to skew conservative, and now those treasured contributors can give more freely in this midterm election year to both party committees and candidates. 

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It’s likely to pad GOP bank accounts and increase the influence of wealthy donors in the party, and could also help committees regain a foothold against a dizzying number of super-PACs in both primaries and general elections.

Super-PACs have also sprung up to attack the Republican establishment and take down GOP incumbents in primaries. Party leaders blame the groups in part for the GOP’s failure to win the Senate in 2010 and 2012, but Wednesday’s decision should give the parties more power.

They’ll be able to direct funds more toward their chosen candidates, and will have “more tools to control members scared of, or beholden to, super PACs,” University of California-Irvine Professor Richard L. Hasen wrote earlier this year in The Washington Post.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

DEMS, REPUBLICANS IN STATISTICAL TIE: A new Quinnipiac University poll showed 40 percent of people saying they’d vote for a Democrat for Congress, while 38 percent said they would vote for a Republican. That’s good news for Democrats, who have been down in the polls lately. But the poll also indicated ObamaCare could be an issue for the party, as 40 percent of respondents said they’re less likely to back a candidate who supports the law.

RNC CHAIRMAN TOUTS SCOTUS DECISION: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus lauded Wednesday's Supreme Court decision striking aggregate limits on campaign contributions as a “very big victory for the RNC.”

GA-SEN (OPEN): Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn is making her first ad buys of the campaign, days after the first ads attacking her went live. According to a Republican tracking the buys, the ads will air on broadcast and cable and the buy is in the low six figures.

Republican Senate candidate David Perdue knocked former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel’s education background — or lack thereof — in comments that could be used by opponents to paint him as an elitist.

“I mean, there’s a high school graduate in this race, OK? I’m sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex,” he said. "There’s only one candidate in this race that’s ever lived outside the United States. How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free enterprise system and how — what it takes to compete in the global economy?”

NC-SEN (HAGAN): Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) trails most of her GOP opponents by narrow margins in a new poll from SurveyUSA. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) sits at 23 percent in the poll’s primary results, far below the 40 percent he needs to avoid a runoff in May.

MI-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) hung out with President Obama on Wednesday, flying on Air Force One to his home state, having lunch with Obama and attending his minimum wage rally. Peters isn’t running from Obama, unlike some other Democrats in competitive Senate races.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is holding his first fundraiser on Monday at a popular Capitol Hill pub, and plans to officially announce his bid for Senate in New Hampshire sometime within the next two weeks, according to a source close to Brown.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

DEMOCRATS SEE SILVER LINING IN RYAN BUDGET: House Democratic leaders bashing Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) latest budget bill have at least one good thing to say about the sweeping plan: it could help them at the polls in November. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) announced Wednesday the launch of a new campaign focusing on the Ryan budget called "Battleground Middle Class,” which will include robocalls in 76 districts, online advertisements and field effort investments.

TOP DEM SAYS TOO SOON TO TELL IF O-CARE’S A WIN: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said on Wednesday that, despite the better-than-expected enrollment figures for ObamaCare, “it’s too early to say whether the tide has turned” on the law.

CA-7 (BERA): Former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) is up with his first ad, calling himself a “conservative” who will repeal ObamaCare. Ose is facing a right-wing challenge in the race and the ad shows the centrist-leaning former member is more worried about up his conservative bona fides than positioning himself for the general election. 

CA-17 (HONDA): Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) has upped his fundraising game, bringing in $650,000 in the last three months for his battle against fellow Democrat Ro Khanna. 

FL-2 (SOUTHERLAND): Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-backed Republican group, is again going up with an ad thanking Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) for his work opposing ObamaCare, another indication of just how tough his reelection fight will be.

MI-8 (OPEN): Former Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R) announced a bid for retiring Rep. Mike Rogers’s (R-Mich.) seat, giving Republicans a solid candidate in the potentially competitive district. Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett (R) is also in the race. 

NY-1 (BISHOP): New York state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R), locked in a competitive GOP primary with attorney George Demos for the chance to take on Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), released his first television ad of the campaign on Wednesday. The ad showcases his military and legislative career, and features shots of him playing with his two young daughters.


TX-27 (FARENTHOLD): Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) says Bill Maher targeting him is only helping his campaign. 

 

2016 WATCH

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) got a big advance on his book deal: a cool $1.5 million.

While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) taken a victory lap in recent days after an internal review cleared him of any responsibility for the George Washington Bridge lane closures, a new poll shows the report hasn’t convinced most New Jerseyans of his innocence.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) wants the Republican Party to talk more about healthcare, not less, heading into the 2014 elections.

"I think there are too many Republicans in this town thinking that we can just run against ObamaCare; we shouldn't say anything else more specific until November because that's a winning strategy," the potential White House candidate said at a breakfast unveiling his healthcare reform proposals. “I think that's wrong. If we want to earn the right to be in the majority, we have to offer specific ideas."

He also put out an op-ed outlining his proposals. 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he'd make a decision on a presidential bid "around this time next year." 

Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix have been dropped as contenders for the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention. Las Vegas, Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver and Kansas City, Mo., are still contenders.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Gary is a cheap date." — President Obama, on Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.)

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