Election 2018 Vermont Republicans Steer Clear of National Politics at Fundraiser

Gov. Phil Scott (left) talking to his former Republican primary rival, Bruce Lisman - TERRI HALLENBECK
TERRI HALLENBECK Gov. Phil Scott (left) talking to his former Republican primary rival, Bruce Lisman

When Vermont Republicans gather to rally their troops and raise money for the 2018 election, you might wonder: How do they address the elephant in Washington who threatens to make this a dismal campaign cycle for them?

The answer: They don’t.

Gov. Phil Scott, former governor Jim Douglas and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu addressed a crowd of about 150 at a Republican Party fundraiser Thursday evening at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. They kept their politics as local as they could.

Jokes about New Hampshire vs. Vermont were big: Why is Vermont’s maple syrup sweeter? You have more tree-huggers, Sununu quipped.

Sununu, the most loquacious speaker of the three, is the only one who mentioned the T-word: President Donald Trump. And that came during a half-hearted attempt at a joke about the three governors meeting in the basement of Trump Tower.

“I don’t know where that joke would go,” he safely declared.

Vermont Republican Party vice chair Brady Toensing (left) and Gov. Phil Scott chatting with attendees - TERRI HALLENBECK
TERRI HALLENBECK Vermont Republican Party vice chair Brady Toensing (left) and Gov. Phil Scott chatting with attendees

Otherwise, the three speakers emphasized the importance of supporting local Republican candidates….

Could a new political party be on the way?

The Palace of Westminister, seen through iron railings
How realistic are Westminster whispers about a new political party?

Whispers of collaboration waft through the air. Rumours of a new political entity emerging into the light. Stories of politicians ready to cast aside tribal instinct and join something new.

But that is quite enough about the political intrigue in Germany where, weeks before the general election, there is no doubt breathless discussion in the cafes near the Bundestag about who Angela Merkel may end up working with if she’s returned as chancellor again.

I talk of the occasional chat here, among those who describe themselves as forced to sleep on the political streets: homeless in the era of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn.

Destitute, desperate and with a desire for something different, the story goes, they are smooching their way discreetly towards an immaculate political conception.

They are searching for the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of France’s En Marche, the miracle birth over the water.

Supporters take photographs with the French President Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron galvanised a French electorate disillusioned with the political status quo

President Emmanuel Macron built his own political kit car widget by widget, and, fuelled by the French electorate, drove it straight to the Elysee Palace.

So this political correspondent peeled himself away from the feverish summer squalls over the Big Ben bong ban, and instead made some inquiries.

‘Militant, muscular moderates’

One household name had already told me privately that they frequently passed colleagues from other parties in the corridors here, and thought that they had much more in common with them than plenty of their own supposed political brethren.

Another well-known politician told me of their desire to “create a home for those deeply politically engaged people who I call the ‘militant, muscular moderates'”.

“On the surface, there is the two-party system, but it is more complex than that,” I was told.

“There is a lot of voter churn – the electorate is soft and fluid.”

That’s Westminster speak for: “No-one’s quite sure what’s going on, so anything’s possible.” Possibly.

Look closely and what could be the embryonic beginnings of a new party are there.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Left-leaning parties worked together to try to defeat the Conservatives at the general election

There was what was called the Progressive Alliance

TRUMP TO RALLY IN PHOENIX AS CONTROVERSY ROILS WHITE HOUSE

TRUMP TO RALLY IN PHOENIX AS CONTROVERSY ROILS WHITE HOUSE

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McGrath Ties Barr to Trump In New Ad – “Runway” — Amy McGrath for Congress (KY-6)

PoliticalWire: Amy McGrath (D), the Marine veteran running against Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), has a new ad which ties the congressman to President Trump.

“There are times when politicians might have to make a difficult choice: do you stand with the president, or do you stand with the country? Right now is one of those times. Every Republican congressman and senator has to make a choice. Standing up to the president may not be what they signed up for, but when the president is in solidarity with white supremacists and Nazis, those members of Congress have to stand up and tell him he’s wrong.”

They need to tell him that’s not what America stands for. This is not what soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines laid down their lives for in World War II. And this is not the kind of president our country deserves.
We need leaders willing to sand up and do what’s right for our country, no matter who the president is or what party they’re in. That’s why I’m running for Congress against Andy Barr in Kentucky. He has yet to condemned the president on anything. Put another way, it reminds me of a book I’ve read to my kids. Someone needs to be willing to say that the emperor has no clothes. Too many politicians haven’t had the guts to say that. It’s time they did.

“That’s why I’m running for Congress against Andy Barr in Kentucky. He has yet to condemn the president on anything.”

New Trump Ad calls Dems & Media “Enemies” │ Let President Trump Do His Job – Donald Trump TV Ad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign released its first television advertisement on Sunday, a 30-second spot that attacks Democrats and touts the accomplishments of his first seven months in office.

The ad’s release comes amid intense criticism of Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a planned rally by white supremacists led to violence that killed a counter-protester.

Speaking on Saturday from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump stopped short of calling the demonstrators “white supremacists” and instead criticized groups on “many sides.” Even members of his own party said he had failed to adequately condemn those behind the violence.

The new advertisement uses the same video clips, still images and font as one released earlier this year by America First Policies, a political group that is able to secretly raise and spend unlimited sums of money. Trump’s campaign and America First Policies are prohibited by law from coordinating with each other.

Trump filed for reelection the day he took office, an unusual move that has allowed him to begin campaigning long before the November 2020 election. Historically, incumbent presidents have waited two years, until after the midterm elections, to file formally.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about how much money it was spending on the ad, where it was running or why it decided to release it this weekend.

The ad says Trump has created jobs and helped the stock market since taking office.

“The president’s enemies don’t want him to succeed, but Americans are saying, ‘Let President Trump do his job,'” the advertisement states.

Trump continues to struggle with low approval numbers, and the television ad could be an attempt to bolster his support. His campaign has raised more than $12 million since the beginning of the year.

“This new campaign ad speaks directly to the American people and sets the record straight, reminding them that President Donald Trump will not stop fighting for them and will not allow anyone to stand in his way to deliver success for them,” campaign manager Michael Glassner said in a statement announcing the ad.

Virginia’s Governor’s Race Heating Up │ My Life – Ralph Northam (D) TV Ad

Washington Post: RICHMOND — Congress may have left town for August, but Virginia’s governor’s race is heating back up as both major-party candidates hit the TV airwaves with ads.

Republican Ed Gillespie was first up, beginning a series of three spots on July 25. His Democratic rival, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, unveiled his first TV ad of the general election on Thursday.

Northam’s ad will begin airing in Norfolk, Charlottesville, Richmond and Roanoke, a buy of more than $100,000, his campaign said.

Titled “My Life,” the 30-second spot features ordinary-looking people mentioning details about Northam’s bio — pediatrician, trained at Johns Hopkins, Army vet — and concludes with the candidate calling to expand access to health care for Virginians.

The biographical tone echoes his rival’s early ads. Gillespie’s three spots, which continue to air in markets across the state, include a one-minute spot called “American Dream” that introduces Gillespie as the son of an Irish immigrant. It describes how Gillespie worked his way through college and wound up as an adviser to President George W. Bush. Shorter ads depict his youthful odd jobs and his plan for the economy.

The Republican beat Northam to the TV punch after waging an extremely low-key primary campaign. The laid-back strategy saw Gillespie nearly lose the nomination to fellow Republican Corey Stewart, but left him with a healthy war chest of some $3.2 million, according to campaign finance disclosures filed last month.

Northam had spent considerably more fending off his primary opponent, former congressman Tom Perriello. Though he won by a healthy margin, Northam emerged with only about $1.75 million on hand, according to the July 17 filing.

Neither candidate is likely to hurt for money this year, though, with national attention focusing on Virginia as the only competitive governor’s race of 2017 (New Jersey has the only other contest, but the Democrat in that race is heavily favored). The Republican Governors Association has already given Gillespie $2 million since last month’s campaign-finance disclosure, and the Democratic National Committee has given Northam $1.5 million.

So the TV onslaught is just beginning.

Most Effective Ad of 2017 By Far │ “Told Me” — Amy McGrath for Congress Announcement Video (KY-6)

Amy McGrath (D) announced her campaign for Congress in Kentucky’s 6th congressional district with a highly-effective ad.

CNN: A Democrat from Kentucky announced her campaign against current Rep. Andy Barr with a video that is making the rounds on social media.

Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, a Marine Corps veteran, released a video on Tuesday to formally announce that she is running for Barr’s seat in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. The video is full of compelling visuals about her time in the military.
“This is my new mission: to take on a Congress full of career politicians who treat the people of Kentucky like they’re disposable,” McGrath says in the video.

The announcement begins with McGrath highlighting her military service, saying she was the first female Marine to fly an F-18 in a combat mission.
“When I was 12 years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up,” McGrath says in the video. “I wanted to fly fighter jets and land on aircraft carriers, because that’s the toughest flying you can do.”
McGrath goes on to say that when she was 13, she was informed by her congressman after writing him a letter that she wouldn’t be able to achieve that dream because “women ought to be protected and not allowed to serve in combat.”

Her senator, Mitch McConnell, never answered her letter, she said.
McGrath says she went to the Naval Academy anyway, and while she was there the law was changed and women were allowed to serve in combat. She then had a 20-year military career, in which she flew 89 combat missions, including bombings targeting al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Now, McGrath is running against Barr, whom she calls McConnell’s “hand-picked choice” for the seat, and who defeated a Democratic incumbent in 2012. Barr has recently faced criticism from his constituents at town halls because of his support for repealing the Affordable Care Act, which provided insurance to nearly half a million people in Kentucky by expanding the state’s Medicaid program.
“Mr. Barr, my mom is a polio survivor who became one of the first women to graduate from UK Medical School,” McGrath says, addressing her opponent. “She persevered and ended up treating many of the same kind of people whose health care that you and Mr. McConnell would take away.”
McGrath is the third Democrat to announce her campaign for the seat. She joins state Sen. Reggie Thomas of Lexington and perennial Democratic candidate Geoff Young in the race.
Barr won his 2016 re-election bid by more than 20 points. However, Democrats are aiming to capitalize on President Trump’s low approval ratings thus far and challenge GOP-held House seats during the 2018 midterm elections.

Pelosi’s San Francisco Values are Wrong for America! │”Nancy” CLF SuperPAC (R) TV Ad

Fox News: A Republican-aligned super PAC is trying to knock down Democrats’ official effort Monday to rebrand themselves as “a better deal” — launching an ad campaign that targets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and argues her party remains mired in “the same, old liberal ideas.”

The Congressional Leadership Fund is behind the digital ad campaign, which is titled “Resistance” and targets Pelosi’s San Francisco congressional district and 12 other Democrat-leaning districts that President Trump won last fall. 

All 435 House seats are up for reelection in 2018.

“The Democrats are the party of the resistance,” the narrator says in the 33-second ad that includes images of window-smashing and other protester-driven violence surrounding the inauguration.

“Radical extremists who destroy buildings, burn cars and divide America. Hollywood celebrities who are blinded by their hatred of the president. Nancy Pelosi and the Washington Democrats answer to them.” 

On Monday, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will lead an event in Virginia to announce the “better deal” agenda, following party leaders acknowledging they lost to Trump in large part because voters didn’t know what the party stood for.

They intentionally are heading outside Washington to host the event in the district of GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock, whom they hope to defeat next year.

The new message — formally titled “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future” — follows months of internal debate and analysis of polling and focus groups. (After an earlier and abbreviated version leaked on Thursday, Twitter users mocked the similarity to the slogan for Papa John’s pizza, “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza.”)

Schumer acknowledged on Sunday that Democrats were partially to blame for Americans not knowing what the party stands for.

“When you lose an election with someone who has, say, 40 percent popularity, you look in the mirror and say what did we do wrong?”  he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And the number one thing that we did wrong is we didn’t have — we didn’t tell people what we stood for.”

However, Congressional Leadership Fund leaders say the message “continues to advance the same, old liberal ideas including single-payer health care, tax increases and military cuts,” despite all of the poll testing.

 “The simple truth is that a Democrat is someone who is beholden to Nancy Pelosi, wants to raise your taxes, is blinded by their hatred of the president, and regularly loses elections,” said Cory Bliss, the political action committee’s executive director.

Virginia Governor Race 2017 : 2 Candidates, 2 Different Records… │Ralph Northam (D) TV Ad

TV Ad from Democratic Candidate for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, highlighting the differences between his record vs. his opponent Republican Ed Gillespie.

The Virginia gubernatorial election of 2017 will take place on November 7, 2017. The incumbent Governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, is not eligible to run for re-election due to term limits established by the Virginia Constitution. Virginia is the only state that prohibits its Governor from serving consecutive terms.

The Democratic Party nominated Ralph Northam and the Republican Party nominated Ed Gillespie.