CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Establishmenting a lead in North Carolina

With less than a week to go until Election Day, it appears the GOP establishment has helped North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) pull away from his primary rivals.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) became the latest big-name Republican to back Tillis against his primary rivals this week. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Karl Rove and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) have all lent a hand with fundraising at different points, and Rove’s American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have been spending heavily on his behalf, with more than $2 million combined in TV ads. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is also set to endorse him, according to the National Review.

ADVERTISEMENT
That’s helped vault Tillis to a big lead over his most significant primary rivals, Baptist minister Mark Harris (R) and Tea Party candidate Greg Brannon (R). A number of recent polls have found Tillis closing in on 40 percent, the number he needs next Tuesday to avoid a runoff and allow him to conserve resources for the fall battle with Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.).

Brannon and Harris have failed to catch fire despite some big-name endorsements of their own: Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are backing Brannon and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is backing Harris, though Brannon could get a boost out of a rally with Paul next Monday.

The race is the first major test of establishment Republicans’ pushback against the Tea Party — and if Tillis can win the primary outright, it’ll be a big win.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

AR-SEN (PRYOR): Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) leads Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) by 43 percent to 42 percent in a new automated poll from the liberal Public Policy Polling, the latest survey to find Pryor ahead by a narrow margin. 

GA-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Jack Kingston’s (R-Ga.) latest ad features his kids calling him “cheap.”

IA-SEN (OPEN): Businessman Mark Jacobs (R) is out with an ad featuring his kids telling him to tout himself as “a businessman, a problem solver.” The self-funding candidate is in a crowded primary and seems to be battling for first place against Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R). Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker (R), who’s also running, released his first ad, touting his time on the University of Iowa football team and his work in office.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) received nearly $10,000 over the past 13 years from Cintas Corporation Chairman Richard Farmer, whose company is facing a lawsuit alleging it engaged in gender discrimination in its hiring practices, according to Business Insider. The report is sure to provide fodder for Democrats as they make a play for female voters in the race. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes launched a new Web ad hitting McConnell over comments he made last week concerning job creation. But Republicans were on the attack on Wednesday as well, targeting her for a planned fundraiser with Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, whom they characterized as anti-coal.

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): The Club for Growth is hitting Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for refusing to accept invitations to debate with his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. The group, which is backing McDaniel, launched a radio and television ad charging that “after five decades in Washington, Cochran won’t even come home to defend his record.”

OK-SEN (OPEN): In his new ad in the Oklahoma Senate GOP primary, Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) sits around a table with supporters and chats about the reasons he opposes ObamaCare. “We’re losing our freedom, and we’re losing it quickly because of this administration,” he says in the ad.

OR-SEN (MERKLEY): A super-PAC launched by Republican strategist Alex Castellanos launched ads in the Oregon Senate Republican primary boosting Monica Wehby’s profile. The Oregonian went up Tuesday with a piece outlining controversy over the pediatric neurosurgeon’s surgery practices.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

ID-2 (SIMPSON): Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) is up with a new ad touting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R) endorsement. Meanwhile, the Madison Project is out with an ad slamming Simpson as a "Nancy Pelosi Republican" in support of Tea Party candidate Bryan Smith (R).

NY-1 (BISHOP): State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R), vying with attorney George Demos for the chance to challenge Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), attacks Demos for taking campaign contributions from donors “with deep ties to Nancy Pelosi” in a new radio ad.

WV-3 (RAHALL): The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hit West Virginia state Sen. Evan Jenkins, the Republican challenging Rep. Nick Rahall (D), for receiving the maximum contribution from David Koch, one of the billionaire brothers that have been pouring millions into attacks on vulnerable Democrats, including Rahall. The donation came after Rahall launched an ad targeting attacks from “out-of-state billionaires from New York City.”

 

2016 WATCH

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by 53 percent to 41 percent in a new national poll from The Washington Post and ABC News.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is heading to Iowa to fundraise for Gov. Terry Branstad (R).

The pro-Hillary Clinton group Correct the Record touted the former secretary of State’s efforts to raise the minimum wage throughout her career in a new research document, which came as the Senate considered — and ultimately defeated — a White House proposal to raise the rate to $10.10 per hour.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Our dad is Jack Kingston. He really is cheap.” — Betsy Kingston on her dad in his latest Senate ad