CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Early fireworks in Arkansas

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) set off some early Fourth of July fireworks on Wednesday with a back-and-forth over Pryor’s faith.

Cotton accused Pryor of believing "faith is something that only happens at 11 o'clock on Sunday mornings” and Pryor cried foul, accusing Cotton of a “deeply personal” attack on his religious views. Cotton responded by saying he respects Pryor’s faith but doubled down on criticizing Pryor’s views.

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The spat could hurt Cotton in the critical Senate campaign.

One of the reasons Pryor has been able to stay in the race is his overt appeal to religious voters in the heavily religious state, and Cotton’s comments raise questions about whether he’s being disciplined enough on the stump. Cotton’s own campaign criticized a similar attack from a National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman earlier this year as “bizarre and offensive,” a sign he went off-script in the moment.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): Mississippi keeps getting weirder. A conference call for reporters arranged by Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) campaign to respond to vote-buying allegations was hijacked Wednesday by apparent supporters of his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), who accused Cochran’s campaign of “harvesting black votes” like “black people harvested cotton.”

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) stumped with former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in New Hampshire, helping his old ally and attacking Shaheen as a “Simon says senator” at a crowded campaign rally.

GA-SEN (OPEN):  Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn released five years of federal tax returns this week in response to a request from The Associated Press for access to the last 10 years of returns from the major candidates in the Georgia Senate race. Republican candidate David Perdue released 10 years of returns prior to the May 20 primary, and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) released 5 years of returns last month. Unlike Perdue and Kingston, who released their full reports, Nunn only gave access to the first two pages and did not provide more detailed information. 

HI-SEN (SCHATZ): Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) faced off in their first debate of the primary election Tuesday evening, disagreeing more on leadership styles and philosophies than policy issues. The pair will face four other joint appearances, with the next debate scheduled for Wednesday evening, ahead of the August primary.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): Crossroads GPS hit Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) with a new ad Wednesday, slamming Hagan for voting for ObamaCare despite the impacts the law is having on small North Carolina businesses. The ad, which is part of the group’s $3.5 million buy announced in May, will run statewide for a week.

TN-SEN (ALEXANDER): Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released a new ad Wednesday featuring C-SPAN footage of the senator arguing with President Obama in a bipartisan meeting about healthcare in 2010. In the clip, Alexander argues that healthcare premiums would rise and Obama refutes the point. The ad, which will run statewide starting July 6, closes with the simple statement from the narrator, “Lamar was proven right.”

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE 

IL-10 (SCHNEIDER): A new poll shows former Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) leading Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) by 42 to 39 percent in the tough rematch for the 10th District seat. Schneider’s campaign criticized the survey conducted by GOP polling firm Harper Polling for Republican outside group American Action Network as “designed to boost Dold.”

NJ-5 (GARRETT): A poll out by the Garin Hart Yang Research Group suggests that Democratic candidate Roy Cho could have an outside chance to upset Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) to win the 5th District seat. The poll found Garrett leading Cho by 47 to 34 percent, with 19 percent of voters undecided. But the research group found when voters read a statement informing them of the background of both candidates, Cho, who currently has little name recognition in the district, gains 8 percentage points in support while Garrett loses 1 percent. This shift in support places the two candidates in a competitive race with Garrett holding 46 percent of the vote and Cho holding 42 percent.

NY-19 (GIBSON): Democratic candidate Sean Eldridge has fired his campaign manager, Michael Reid. Eldridge’s campaign declined to name who the new campaign manager will be. 

 

2016 WATCH

CLINTON: Bill and Hillary Clinton have raised between $2 billion and $3 billion in the two decades they have been at the center of national attention, tallying speaking fees, fundraising for their foundation, funds raised for both Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns and Hillary Clinton’s Senate and presidential campaigns, and money raised for the Democratic National Committee while Bill Clinton was in office. Were Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, The Wall Stree Journal speculates that some of their big industry donors could return to the Democratic Party, a concern for Republican fundraisers. 

One of these big-time Clinton donors has been Rupert Murdoch. The Journal reported that Murdoch’s 21st Century/Fox News Corps has given more than $3 million to the Clintons over the past two decades. In an interview with Politico in April, Murdoch said that he “could live with Hillary as president.” 

Clinton is finding support in Michigan as well, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey. The poll finds Clinton leading all of her potential GOP challengers by double digits among the state’s voters, including data for matchups with Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz. 

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Ray probably ran the worst campaign we’ve ever seen in Virginia … I really think Ray cost Eric that election.” — Virginia Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins on Cantor campaign manager Ray Allen

Campaign overnight will resume publication on Monday, July 7. Have a happy and safe July 4th weekend!