Editor’s Note: This edition of Morning Score is published weekdays at 10 a.m. POLITICO Pro Campaign subscribers hold exclusive early access to the newsletter each morning at 6 a.m. To learn more about POLITICO Pro’s comprehensive policy intelligence coverage, policy tools and services, click here.
— North Carolina state Sen. Dan Bishop won the Republican nomination in NC-09 and immediately launched a TV ad attacking Democrat Dan McCready, whom he will meet in the Sept. 10 do-over election.
Story Continued Below
— Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said the FBI confirmed that Russian hackers had successfully accessed voter registration files in two Florida counties.
— New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, announced he was running for reelection, disappointing Republicans who hoped he’d challenge Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Good Wednesday morning. The “a lot of people” campaign committee legacy goes back even further than what I said on Tuesday, to Tom Daschle in the 1970s! Email me at email@example.com or DM me at @ZachMontellaro.
Email the Campaign Pro team at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Follow them on Twitter: @POLITICO_Steve, @DanielStrauss4, @JamesArkin and @lbarronlopez.
Days until the Kentucky gubernatorial primary and PA-12 special election: 6
Days until the Louisiana gubernatorial primary election: 150
Days until the Kentucky and Mississippi general elections: 174
Days until the 2020 election: 538
NC-09 FOREVER — Bishop won the GOP primary in NC-09 Tuesday night, easily avoiding a runoff many Republicans feared would give McCready a prohibitive head start. Stony Rushing, whom Republican Mark Harris endorsed after he opted not to run again after his original apparent narrow victory in 2018 was tossed out, finished in a distant second place.
The pair will face off for the redo general election on Sept. 10, along with Green Party candidate Allen Smith and Libertarian Jeff Scott.
Bishop immediately tied McCready to national Democrats, Campaign Pro’s Laura Barrón-López reported. Bishop is launching a new TV ad today, in which he argues that McCready’s “friends” are “socialists” and “radicals” like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Sen. Bernie Sanders. A Bishop strategist told Laura the newly minted GOP nominee plans to be more aggressive in attacking McCready.
More from Laura: “But Democrats consider Bishop a weak candidate and plan to use his long history in state politics against him, focusing primarily on his health care record instead of his role in writing the bathroom bill, which was widely considered discriminatory against transgender people prior to its partial repeal in 2017.” The district voted for President Donald Trump by more than 11 points in 2016. But in 2018, Harris’ apparent victory was only 905 votes (and don’t forget about the alleged election fraud).
HACK ATTACK — DeSantis told reporters that Russian hackers had “successfully tapped into the voting registration files of two Florida counties in 2016,” but he declined to name the counties, POLITICO’s Gary Fineout reported. “The hacking did not affect any vote tallying and DeSantis on Monday said there is no evidence of ‘manipulation’ of voter information, much of which is public information anyway. … The FBI will hold classified briefings with members of the Florida congressional delegation this week about the Russian hacking. Sen. Rick Scott is scheduled to be briefed on Wednesday.”
In 2018, then-Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, made a similar claim on the trail (which he did not clarify or substantiate), and he was pummeled for it by Scott, then the state’s governor. POLITICO’s Marc Caputo tweeted a thread on this timeline that’s worth reading.
PRESIDENTIAL BIG BOARD — Pete Buttigieg is grappling with how to win over black voters. “As the mayor of South Bend, Ind., devotes more effort to campaigning for black votes in the South and elsewhere, he will have to break down some resistance over his sexual orientation, particularly among older voters, according to interviews with more than a dozen African American activists, political strategists and clergy, as well as a review of public polling,” POLITICO’s Daniel Strauss and Elena Schneider reported. “Buttigieg and his campaign are well aware of the issue. As he skips from sold-out fundraisers to overflowing rallies around the country, Buttigieg set aside time last week for a smaller gathering of black LGBTQ faith leaders and activists in Houston.”
— Former Vice President Joe Biden likes to remind crowds of his time serving as VP. “Campaigning in New Hampshire, the former vice president invoked former President Barack Obama repeatedly,” The Wall Street Journal’s Ken Thomas reported. “But the primary will serve as a test of whether Mr. Biden’s direct association with the 44th president will insulate him from critics in the party who view the former vice president’s policies as too incremental and him as too willing to work with Republicans.”
— Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she turned down an offer to appear on a Fox News Channel town hall, per POLITICO’s Alex Thompson. She called the network a “hate-for-profit machine,” but said their reporters are still allowed to attend her events.
— A wide swath of groups, including Common Cause, Daily Kos, Greenpeace and the NAACP, sent a letter to every presidential candidate encouraging them to push a “democracy reform agenda,” which includes embracing the For the People Act.
NOT ME — Sununu opted against a Senate run and will instead seek reelection. “Republicans viewed Sununu as a strong potential candidate given his experience winning statewide elections, and he had flirted with the possibility before ultimately passing,” Campaign Pro’s James Arkin reported. “The decision is a blow for Senate Republicans, who are eager to turn New Hampshire into a battleground race next year.”
CHANGE OF HEART — Democrats are still hoping Montana Gov. Steve Bullock drops his presidential bid and runs for the Senate. “Party leaders have settled on a strategy: Let Bullock pursue the presidency, try not to antagonize him and wait until he realizes there’s little room for him to run in such a crowded field,” POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and James reported. “I hope that it turns out the Senate is an opportunity that he can consider at some point. But he wants to try for the big prize. This is a world of ambition that we’re in, so you can’t be critical of that,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told them.
— Bullock published 14 years of tax returns on his first day as a candidate.
THE HOUSE MAP — Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones, who narrowly lost to GOP Rep. Will Hurd in TX-23, officially announced she’s running again. “Last year I came up a little bit short in my run for Congress,” she said in her announcement video. “But I’ve never been one to back down, because the promise of our country is worth fighting for.”
— Rita Hart, a Democrat and former Iowa state senator, is running for the open seat in IA-02, per the Quad-City Times’ Bill Lukitsch.
THE GOVERNATORS — Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, will run for governor in 2020 after current Gov. Gary Herbert opted to not run again. “It’s no secret that we have some problems in our country right now, we’re more divided than we’ve ever been at any time since the Civil War,” he said in his launch video. “As we talk about solutions, it really is about all of us.”
— Democrat Adam Edelen is getting more cash in his campaign coffers in the days leading up to the Kentucky gubernatorial primary. His running mate, Gill Holland, loaned the campaign $1 million dollars on April 26, bringing his total loaned to nearly $2.5 million, per the Louisville Courier Journal’s Tom Loftus.
THE HOUSE MAJORITY — How will the freshmen Democrats from swing districts try to distinguish themselves as they face their first reelection fights? “Those members — many of them women — are eager to create an impression among constituents that they are essentially customer service representatives for the government, often distancing themselves from their party’s most liberal impulses to maintain their hold on the suburban voters who were greatly responsible for their victories,” The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer reported. In other words: “I am not doing this to be the Democrat from the Third District of Kansas … I am doing this to be the representative of the Third District,” Rep. Sharice Davids told Steinhauer.
THE ENFORCERS — The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia declined a petition for rehearing a case filed by CREW, stymimg attempts to challenge FEC decisions in court. The original decision (which the court declined to rehear) “is making it impossible to challenge the way the Federal Election Commission enforces campaign laws,” Bloomberg Government’s Kenneth Doyle wrote in April. “When the FEC deadlocks along party lines, that’s now the end of the line — no court can second-guess letting an accused wrongdoer off the hook.”
Now, if the FEC “deadlocks (typically along party lines) on an enforcement matter and those blocking enforcement claim ‘prosecutorial discretion,’ there can be no meaningful judicial review of the matter,” Election Law Blog’s Rick Hasen wrote of Tuesday’s decision (Hasen is also clearly not a fan of the decision).
AFTER ACTION REPORT — Wisconsin Republicans are doing some soul searching after getting crushed statewide in 2018, finding that the party struggled financially. A “review, commissioned by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and other top Wisconsin Republicans in the wake of statewide losses in 2018, also showed the party was ‘recklessly reliant’ on consultants,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley and Molly Beck reported. “GOP leaders also concluded the party and statewide campaigns fell short with women by including very few in their 2018 campaigns.”
AD WARS — A preview of some future messaging for Senate Democrats: The DSCC is running a “five-figure” digital ad campaign against battleground Republicans, hitting them over a provision in the 2017 tax law that “raised the amount of taxes some military families pay on their survivor benefits,” per The Hill’s Max Greenwood.
ENDORSEMENT CORNER — The pro-gun control group Giffords endorsed Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s New Mexico Senate bid, where he is facing a competitive primary.
CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Everybody wants to be governor, but nobody wants to do governor.” — Cox on his deliberation on running for governor to Deseret News.