Special elections, secrets, and stress
Two brewing political battles have big implications, particularly for the GOP:
1. Tomorrow the special election in Georgia, which has turned into the most expensive House race in history, will help set the early midterm fundraising and recruiting tempo for the parties. In the past, it might have been an easy win for Republican Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff. But the district is affluent and diversifying, hardly Trump country.
- To the dismay of Republicans involved in the white-knuckle race, Trump tweeted this morning: "The Dems want to stop tax cuts, good healthcare and Border Security...ObamaCare is dead with 100% increases in P's. Vote now for Karen H."
- A Republican operative explained the "D'oh!" effect: "We used every trick in the book — and a few new chapters — to localize the race. Trump tweets nationalized poor Karen's message and knocked her off the basic message that he is an outsider and she is one of us."
2. The secretly written health care bill, which the White House and Senate are ramming toward a pre-July 4 vote, ran into new headaches today:
- Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, found the House version of repeal-and-replace, which will be changed by the Senate but which has helped crystallize public opinion, is deeply unpopular in three states where a Republican Senator will have a key swing vote on health care (Nevada, West Virginia, and Alaska).
- Axios' Caitlin Owens uncovered key details today about the draft Senate health care bill: It would move to the left of the House bill by easing the phaseout of the Medicaid expansion. But it would also move to the right by eventually shifting to a lower Medicaid growth rate.