I have been tabulating Senate healthcare votes here:
As of 8:15 Monday night, no one knows exactly what the Senate will be voting on Tuesday. Even Ted Cruz released a statement late Monday afternoon admiring hat he doesn't know what he will be voting on Tuesday. Ron Johnson told a reporter earlier in the day that he has no clue. McConnell's statement late this afternoon was extremely vague and only said they would be voting on something to " start the process." Obviously, Democrats have been kept in the dark as well.
The only thing we know know is that the Republican Senate Caucus will be discussing the pending vote at 2:00 PM on Tuesday. So all we know is that a vote will (if not delayed again) come after that meeting.
Also so worth keeping in mind that Republicans are currently at only 51 Senators with the continued absense of John McCain. John Cornyn said Monday that he offered to rent an RV to drive McCain to D.C. for the vote. That, obviously, never materialized.
Reportedly, Murkowski's office was telling constituents on Monday Morning/Afternoon that she intends to vote no on the motion to proceed.
After another rewrite, another meeting with the President, another meeting with the Vice President, another couple CBO scores... the Senate is (maybe) finally going to bring something to the floor for a procedural vote this week. Word is that it may happen Tuesday, but we have seen this script play out before. What seems like ages ago, the House was just an hour or so away from voting on passage before pulling the bill for a rewrite that ended up passing before getting tossed in the trash bin of the Senate cloakroom.
It isn't even clear what exactly will be voted on. Will it be the most recent Senate draft? Will it be another draft? Will it just be a clean ACA repeal? Will it need 60 or 51 votes? On that last bit, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled multiple key aspects of the latest Trumpcare draft to require a 60 vote super majority rather than being able to pass through reconciliation rules. (Not impossible to get around this in the same manner that the Senate GOP confirmed Gorsuch earlier this year.)
Key Senators to watch come into a couple groups:
1. Senators that may vote against the latest draft but could vote for a clean repeal:
Also worth noting that McCain is likley to miss this next week as well. Therefore, Senate Republicans can only afford to lose 1 vote and not 2 before the bill fails. Therefore, McConnell, for just a clean repeal, will need to flip 3 of the second group and for the latest draft would need to flip both of the first group and three of the second group.
I included the Trump Tweet in this post to highlight the elephant in the room: Trump could turn his fury at any Senator that opposes him on this. Most vulnerable Republicans are Flake and Heller. Trump reportedly met with Flake's 2018 primary opponent this last week. Heller has already drawn a credible Democratic challenger and Flake is expected to draw one soon as well in the 47 year old Mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton. There are also rumors that Mike Kelly (former astronaut and husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords) is considering a run.
If you were to send me the above map and say that is how the 2018 Gubernatorial races are going to finish, I wouldn't call you crazy. The weird thing about 2018 is that we have a variety of forces at work that could get us a strange set of results.
Having a Republican in the White House is certainly an asset for a Democrat running for office in 2018. An unpopular one such as Donald Trump is probably going to exacerbate that situation. That may not be enough, for example to ensure Democrats a win in Connecticut next fall. Connecticut has had a series of issues during Malloy's tenure that has led to his personal approval sitting at 29% according to a Morning Consult poll from this spring. His disapproval sits at a staggering 64%. While Malloy isn't running for reelection, voter's opinion of him could color how the electorate views a Democrat running to replace him in 2018. This is the same scenario that helped elect John Bel Edwards Governor in Louisiana's 2015 race to replace Bobby Jindal.
Democrats also face challenges winning against popular incumbents in Clinton states such as Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Popular incumbents in those states are scaring off many top-tier challengers.
On the other end of the spectrum, Republicans could lose Governor ships in a slew of Trump states. Some of those states (Florida and Michigan) wouldn't be that surprising considering Democrats have done well on the recruiting end and the states were relatively quite close in 2016 as well as the last 2014 Gubernatorial elections. Other states, such as Kansas and Oklahoma could flip as a result of any combination of unpopular retiring Governors, hostile climate and good recruiting. In Oklahoma, Democrats have drawn an A+ candidate in 4 term Oklahoma State Attorney General and Vietnam War veteran Drew Edmondson. The outgoing Republican there sported a 42%-47% approval rating in the April Morning consult poll. Fallin's approval rating is still better than outgoing Kansas Governor Sam Brownback who holds a dismal 26%-65% approval spread.
Democrats could hold the Minnesota Governor's Mansion while losing the race in Wisconsin. Democrats have a wealth of candidates running (and even more that could still run) in Minnesota while the Minnesota Republican party has yet to recruit anyone above 2014 nominee and Hennepin County Commissioner, Jeff Johnson. In Wisconsin, Scott Walker has a 48-48 approval spread according to the latest MULaw poll, but Democrats have yet to recruit anyone to run. Though Tony Evers (one of only two state wide elected Democrats at the moment), who has expressed interest, would be a credible challenger.
I can't finish this post without mentioning: there is a homeless man running for Governor of Idaho, on the Democratic side, who started campaigning while in the county jail this spring. Democrats there are holding out hope that 2014 nominee, A.J. Balukoff, will run again. Balukoff is a businessman who ran a surprisingly strong race in 2014 against incumbent Governor Butch Otter in a very unfavorable year for Democrats.
A more practical guess at where the 2018 Gubernatorial races may end up would be something like this:
You would (generally) assume the outgoing Governor would want to help out his Lieutenant Governor in her attempt to replace him after his second term is completed. Generally. Unless, of course, the outgoing Governor is Christopher James Christie.
To make a long story short: The State of New Jersey went into a Government Shutdown on July 1st. All nonessential services were cut off until a budget deal was reached and the Government was reopened on the 5th. One of the nonessential services was State Parks which includes Island Beach State Park. That beach was closed to everyone. Everyone that is except the Governor and his family. The Governor has a State provided summer beach house in the park. The Governor chose to visit that beach house (as previously planned) despite the shutdown. In his infinite "wisdom," he decided to take the family out behind the beach house to the beach where Photojournalist Andrew Mills captured some terrible imagery. The image of the Governor of New Jersey lounging on a closed beach during a Government shutdown.
Even the Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno, called the scene "beyond words." The 2017 New Jersey GOP nominee for Governor went on to say "If I were governor, I sure wouldn’t be sitting on the beach if taxpayers didn’t have access to state beaches." Guadagno is wise to try to distance herself from
According to a June 14th Quinnipiac poll, Chris Christie has a 15% approval rating compared to a 81% disapproval figure. That isn't helping Guadagno who sports a 20%-28% approval spread in the same poll. The Democratic nominee, Phil Murphy, sports a 33%-18% approval spread. Both candidates benefit from having large portions of the electorate yet to make up their minds about the candidates. The problem though for Guadagno is that voters have already made up their minds about Christie and Trump. Though, compared to Christie, Trump has better numbers with a 28%-66% approval spread. It is no wonder, then, that Quinnipiac's poll has Murphy leading Guadagno 55%-26%. Needless to say, this one was probably over anyhow before "beachgate." I can't imagine that Guadagno benefited much from the shutdown and Christie's beach vacation.
On Wednesday, the 5th, Murphy's campaign released some fundraising numbers. Murphy has raised approximately $750,000 since June 7th when the general election began. This clears Murphy past the $450,000 threshold to receive matching funds from the state. I have yet to see any fundraising numbers from the Guadagno camp for the general election.
Unless something turns around, Phil Murphy is going to be the 56th Governor of New Jersey. Maybe on his way out of office, Christie paraphrase some portion of Richard Nixon's 'last' press conference in 1962 when he said
The last play. I leave you gentlemen now and you now write it. You will interpret it. That's your right. But as I leave you I want you to know- just think how much you're going to be missing.
You won't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference and it will be one in which I have welcomed the opportunity to test wits with you. I have always respected you. I have sometimes disagreed with you.
Nixon, of course, didn't go away.
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