At the Races: Things Might Be Getting Mo Strange in Alabama

The campaign of Alabama Sen. Luther Strange criticized one of his primary opponents, Rep. Mo Brooks, as hypocritical. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
The campaign of Alabama Sen. Luther Strange criticized one of his primary opponents, Rep. Mo Brooks, as hypocritical. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted July 21, 2017 at 5:04am

Do voters care about floor procedure? Two candidates in a crowded special Senate primary are spending time feuding over the filibuster, so they might find out next month when they, and several others, face off for the GOP nod. 

Strange Response to Mo Ad

When Rep. Mo Brooks released the first ad of his Alabama Senate campaign, he made a splash by threatening to filibuster — by reading from the King James Bible — any spending bill that doesn’t fund President Donald Trump’s border wall.

On Wednesday, he took to the House floor to blast the Senate’s legislative filibuster, calling it a “murder weapon” that’s “killing” Trump’s agenda. That’s not a new position for Brooks.

But the campaign of one of Brooks’ opponents, appointed Sen. Luther Strange, seized on his comments, splicing together the congressman’s ad featuring his threat to use the filibuster with audio of a conversation he had with Sean Hannity about wanting to do away with the procedure.

Brooks, Strange and seven other Republicans are running in the special election GOP primary for the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now the U.S. attorney general. The primary election is Aug. 15, with a run-off scheduled for Sept. 26 if no candidate clears 50 percent of the vote. The general election will follow in December. 

Story: Filibuster Fight Makes Its Way Into Alabama Senate Race

Simone Pathé

Round 2 in Michigan’s 7th

Democrat Gretchen Driskell wants a second round with Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan’s 7th District after losing to him last fall by 15 points.

With her announcement Wednesday to run again in 2018, Driskell, a former mayor of Saline and two-term member of the Michigan House of Representatives, is the first Democrat to enter the race.

President Donald Trump carried the district over Democrat Hillary Clinton by 17 points in November, per calculations by Daily Kos Elections. This, only four years after Republican Mitt Romney won it by just 4 points over President Barack Obama.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Republican.

Walberg first won his seat in 2006, under different district lines, defeating Democrat Sharon Renier by 4 points in a hotly contested race. He lost it in 2008 to Democrat Mark Schauer and reclaimed it two years later. The district was made more Republican under a new map adopted during redistricting after the 2010 census.

His share of the vote has climbed each cycle since then, from 50 percent in 2010 to 55 percent last year.

Story: Democrat Wants Another Crack at Walberg in Michigan

Griffin Connolly

Post-Trump Bump for Politics?

Americans are paying more attention to politics and women are more likely to be tuning in, according to a recent survey.

The Pew Research Center found that nearly six in 10 women say they are paying more attention to political developments since President Donald Trump was elected. That’s compared to to 46 percent of men who said they are more attentive. More Democrats than Republicans surveyed also said they are paying more attention, the survey found.

EMILY’s List, which supports female candidates who support abortion rights, has heard from scores of women interested in running. A spokesperson told Roll Call in early June that the group had heard from 14,000 women interested in running for office from local to federal levels — more than 15 times the total number of interested candidates who contacted the group in the entire 2016 campaign cycle.

Pew surveyed 2,505 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia by telephone between June 27 and July 9. One in four were interviewed on a landline phone, while the rest were interviewed via cell phone.

Story: Survey: More Women Are Paying Attention to Politics Post-Trump— Bridget Bowman

Marital Separation — From Campaign

Idaho Rep. Raúl R. Labrador took his wife off his campaign payroll this year for the first time since taking office in 2011, a review of the congressman’s FEC reports shows.

The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review confirmed that Rebecca Johnson Labrador, who has kept the books for her husband since his first term in 2011, has not been paid this year by Labrador’s House campaign fund or the GOP lawmaker’s campaign for governor, which he launched and filed with the FEC in May.

Labrador’s decision is seen as a pre-emptive strike against his opponents’ targeted messaging against him in the race to succeed term-limited Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. Labrador is competing for the Republican nomination with two others, including Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little.

It is not illegal for lawmakers and candidates to pay family members with campaign funds, though the practice can get dicey in the court of public opinion.

Story: Labrador Takes Wife Off Campaign Payroll

— Griffin Connolly

No Hard Feelings?

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who once joked that fellow California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was on the Kremlin’s payroll, will headline a fundraiser for the embattled congressman this weekend.

An invitation reviewed by McClatchy showed the $2,700 per person event will take place on Sunday.

A recording of discussions between House Republican leaders last year released in May revealed McCarthy saying, “There’s two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” McCarthy later said he was joking.

Rohrabacher, who represents California’s 48th District, has gained the epithet “Putin’s favorite congressman” because of his speaking approvingly of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Rohrabacher’s district is a top target for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It was one of 23 that voted for a Republican representative but were carried by Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Leans Republican.

Story: Report: McCarthy to Fundraise for Rohrabacher

Eric Garcia