Sylvia Mathews Burwell sailed through Senate confirmation to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services on Thursday — but all three of the Republican senators eyeing a White House bid voted against her.

Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNoisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Democrats hold fading odds of winning Senate this November Donald Trump Jr. emerges as GOP fundraising force MORE (Texas), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNoisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks Five things to watch for in deteriorating US-Saudi relations MORE (Ky.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenators pledge action on Saudi journalist’s disappearance Senators concerned as Trump official disputes UN climate change warning Rubio: Response to death of Saudi journalist 'can't be symbolic' MORE (Fla.) were three of just 17 senators to vote against confirming Burwell, while more than 20 other Republicans backed her. This is the latest time they’ve joined the right flank of the Senate to buck bipartisan legislation or confirmations.

ADVERTISEMENT

The trio have long been keeping an eye on one another, making sure they don’t give anyone a chance to hit them from the right in a GOP primary (with Rubio’s immigration push being the glaring exception). And while Burwell’s nomination is unlikely to become a major campaign issue two years from now, it’s the latest sign they may struggle to move back to the center should any of them win the GOP nomination.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): State Sen. Chris McDaniel got off to a rocky start in the runoff contest with Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranThe Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam GOP Senate candidate to African Americans: Stop begging for 'government scraps' Trump endorses Hyde-Smith in Mississippi Senate race MORE (R-Miss.), struggling to explain why a staffer and two supporters his campaign sent to a county courthouse long after ballot counting was over Tuesday night ended up locked in the courthouse for more than an hour. The Hinds County Sheriff’s Office investigated the matter and found that none of the individuals had engaged in any criminal activity, but it gave Cochran’s team fodder for attacks, with spokesman Jordan Russell declaring the McDaniel campaign “full of criminals.”

Meanwhile, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenate Republicans demand Google hand over memo advising it to hide data vulnerability Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen Senators demand answers on Trump administration backing of Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (Kan.) said Thursday it's a "much clearer race" for Republicans if Cochran wins, but that the committee would ultimately back McDaniel if he wins.

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): In his first ad of the Louisiana Senate race, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) addresses the camera wearing his doctor’s coat while holding a copy of the Affordable Care Act, decrying lawmakers who supported it without reading it and touting his opposition to the law.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (R) fires back at Sen. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichRepublicans see silver linings in deep-blue states Election Countdown: Trump plans ambitious travel schedule for midterms | Republicans blast strategy for keeping House | Poll shows Menendez race tightening | Cook Report shifts Duncan Hunter's seat after indictment The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s legal jeopardy mounts after Manafort, Cohen felony counts MORE (D-Alaska) in a new ad, responding to Begich making fun of him for filming an ad on a building that Begich helped secure funding to build.

“It must be election time. Mark Begich is pretending to ride snow machines, and taking credit for other people’s work,” he says in the spot. “Now, he’s even giving me advice on political ads! I’m not a career politician like Mark, but I thought I’d return the favor. Mark, in your next ad, tell us why you vote with Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDonald Trump Jr. emerges as GOP fundraising force Trump shows peace through strength works after Obama Wake up, Kanye West MORE 97 percent of the time.”

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes drew ridicule from Republicans for using a stock photo of a European male model posing as a coal miner in a campaign ad hitting President Obama for his energy policies. Her campaign said the version of the ad circulated to reporters last week was not the final version, and that they swapped out the European model for a photo shot by an American photographer.

VA-SEN (WARNER): Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie (R) outlined his economic plan in a conference call just days before he’s expected to win the nomination at the GOP’s state convention on Saturday, hitting Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel Hillicon Valley: Facebook reveals 30 million users affected by hack | Grassley presses Google to explain data practices | Senators warn Canada against using Chinese telecom firm | FCC responds to net neutrality lawsuits Senators urge Canada against using Huawei in 5G development due to national security concerns MORE (D-Va.) on energy production and ObamaCare. Gillespie dodged when asked whether he believes that global warming is being caused by human activity. 

OK-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will appear at a campaign event with Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) this weekend, but a Lankford staffer said the appearance doesn’t amount to an endorsement. Lankford is battling former Oklahoma Speaker T.W. Shannon for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnLive coverage: Donnelly, Braun clash in Indiana debate The Hill's Morning Report — How will the Kavanaugh saga impact the midterms? Congress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard MORE (R-Okla.).

MI-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is out with a Web video parodying Seinfeld to say Terri Lynn Land (R)’s campaign is about “nothing.”

IA-SEN (OPEN): Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst’s (R) campaign is crying “fowl,” claiming Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE’s (D-Iowa) new ad portraying her as a baby bird is "degrading women by comparing Joni Ernst to a 'chick' in his latest campaign ad" in a complaint echoed by some national GOP strategists. The ad never uses the word chick.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

WV-03 (RAHALL): A new poll conducted by a Democratic pollster for House Majority PAC, which is backing Rep. Nick RahallNick Joe RahallWe shouldn't allow politics to impede disaster relief Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs Clinton mulls role in 2018 midterms MORE (D), shows him leading his Republican challenger Evan Jenkins, 52-39 — about the same as an April poll from the same group.

MI-3 (AMASH): Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) are headlining a fundraiser for Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashWatchdog files Hatch Act complaint against Sanders for picture with Kanye in MAGA hat Cook Political Report shifts 7 more races towards Dems Rand Paul ramps up his alliance with Trump MORE’s (R-Mich.) primary opponent, businessman Brian Ellis (R). Both have long been harshly critical of the libertarian-leaning Amash on foreign policy.

CA-33 (OPEN): Retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) endorsed California state Sen. Ted Lieu (D) for his seat, the day after Lieu and a long-shot Republican advanced in the primary.

MN-8 (NOLAN): Republican Stewart Mills rolled out his first ad, a spot saying he learned at his family hunting camp that you shouldn’t complain about things, you should fix them, and that he wants to go “fix” Washington.

 

2016 WATCH

CLINTON: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton on if Bill should’ve resigned over Lewinsky scandal: ‘Absolutely not’ Electoral battle for Hispanics intensifies in Florida Trump adds campaign stops for Senate candidates in Montana, Arizona, Nevada MORE, asked about her vote for the Iraq War, said “I still got it wrong. Plain and simple." The vote continues to dog her with some liberals.

She also said she continues to take blood thinners after doctors found a blood clot between her brain and skull in 2012. But she told People magazine she has no lingering effects from a concussion that she suffered shortly before the clot was discovered.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I haven’t received any response from people here because, as you know, no one knows who the hell I am.” — Thomas Carey, the third Republican candidate for Senate in Mississippi who drew 2 percent support in the primary Tuesday night, pushing the race to a runoff