Clinton Campaign Readying National Olympic Ad Blitz
High seven-figure network and cable advertising campaign

Hillary Clinton is planning a massive television ad buy during the Olympics, on the heels of accepting the Democratic nomination for president next week in Philadelphia.  

Hillary for America has reserved time for a high seven-figure national network and cable advertising campaign during the Summer Olympics, which begin August 5, according to a senior campaign official.  

NRCC Bracing for Lonely Defense of House Majority
With all eyes on the presidential race, House Republicans believe their majority is safe.

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Severe thunderstorms pounding downtown Cleveland were an ominous beginning to the Republican National Convention on Monday morning, but House Republicans in the city for the festivities don’t see a wave in the forecast that would jeopardize their majority in the November elections.  

Republicans are enjoying their largest House majority since 1928, but it feels more tenuous because of the potential that presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump could create a backlash against the entire party.  

Ratings Change: Indiana Senate Race Now Tilts Democratic
Ex-Sen. Evan Bayh’s late entry shakes up the open seat race

Former Sen. Evan Bayh will run for the Senate after all , buoying Democrats’ chances of winning the open seat in Indiana and the Senate majority.  

The news, first reported by CNN’s Tom LoBianco , is surprising considering Bayh, who didn’t seek re-election in 2010, had shown no interest in running, despite Democratic recruitment efforts earlier in the cycle. The Democratic nominee, former Rep. Baron Hill, stepped aside on Monday to allow the state party to replace him on the ballot.   

Why 2016 Is No 2006 for the GOP
Republicans decline to attack Democrats on "Culture of Corruption"

Republicans are obsessed with one high-profile Democrat who isn’t going to be indicted — while giving a collective shrug after two Democratic House members have been indicted within the past 12 months.  

On Friday, Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida was indicted on conspiracy and fraud charges related to an unregistered charity. She announced she is temporarily stepping down as the ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.   

Rating Change: Utah No Longer Safe for Donald Trump
Presumptive GOP nominee has fundamental disconnect with Mormon voters

President Barack Obama fell just short of 25 percent of the vote in Utah in the 2012 presidential election, but Donald Trump can’t take the Beehive State for granted this November.  

A June 2-8 poll by SurveyUSA for The Salt Lake Tribune showed Trump and Clinton tied at 35 percent, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson at 13 percent. It’s wise to avoid drastic conclusions based on a single poll (and an automated one at that), but there are other reasons for Trump to be concerned.  

Republicans Need Gary Johnson to Save the Senate
Libertarian candidate needs to poll at least 15 percent to qualify for first debate

On Sept. 26, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off in Dayton, Ohio, for what's anticipated to be the most-watched presidential debate in history. Republicans need Gary Johnson to be on the stage.  

Normally, both parties try to marginalize third-party candidates and keep them from getting publicity in order to prevent them from siphoning off supporters. But some Republicans just can’t vote for Trump (or Clinton) for president, yet vulnerable GOP Members need those voters to turn out for races down the ballot.  

California Democrat Moves to More Vulnerable Rating
Father's guilty plea doesn't help Ami Bera's re-election chances

Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of California topped Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, 53-47 percent, in a preview of the general election since they were the only two candidates on the June 7 primary ballot.  

Bera won close races in 2012 and 2014 in the 7th District, and was regarded as one of the few vulnerable incumbent Democrats heading into the 2016 election cycle.  

Rating Change: Utah GOP Congresswoman Less Safe for Re-Election
Personal and national factors make Mia Love's race worth watching

A recent public poll showing Republican Rep. Mia Love trailing Democratic challenger Doug Owens by 6 points doesn’t smell quite right. But the congresswoman could still be in for a competitive race, even though Utah’s 4th District isn’t a typical swing seat.  

The June 2-8 automated poll conducted by SurveyUSA for The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute showed Owens with a 51-45 percent advantage in a hypothetical general election matchup. Operatives on both sides of the aisle are skeptical of the polling numbers, but Democrats are determined to defeat Love and some Republicans concede that the race is worth watching.  

Millennials Rage Against the Machine (and Lose)
2016 has not been a good year for young Democratic hopefuls

Alex Law came to our candidate interview with three interns, and I think one of them was wearing shorts.  

Some of my colleagues chastised me for scheduling a meeting with a 24-year-old kid challenging Rep. Donald Norcross in a Democratic primary in New Jersey’s 1st District, considering Norcross comes from one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most powerful political families.  

Rating Change: Wisconsin Senate Race Moves to Democratic Column
GOP Sen. Ron Johnson is the slight underdog against ex-Sen. Russ Feingold

Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson is one of the most vulnerable senators in the country, and it’s not just because Donald Trump will be the GOP’s presidential nominee.  

Some Republicans are emboldened by considerable gains in the Badger State during midterm elections (including Johnson’s 52-47 percent victory over Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in 2010) and are confident in their data operation after Gov. Scott Walker’s multiple election victories. But other GOP strategists can’t remember the party winning a significant statewide race in a presidential year since President Ronald Reagan’s re-election in 1984.  

Rating Change: New Hampshire Senate Moves to Tossup
Ayotte vs. Hassan race likely to go down to the wire

New Hampshire voters aren’t usually shy about throwing out their senators and Democrats are hoping to do it again in the fall.  

The race between Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan might be the most competitive race in the country with two high caliber contenders. Both women started the race with high name identification, positive images, and good job approval numbers.  

What Katie McGinty Told Me About Her College Career
Pennsylvania Democrat under fire over academic history in Senate race

Republicans are criticizing one of the Democrats’ top recruits in one of the country’s most competitive Senate races for misstating her family’s college history. But Katie McGinty’s response lines up with what she told me in an interview four months ago.  

McGinty is the Democratic nominee in Pennsylvania , where Democrats are targeting GOP Sen. Patrick J. Toomey in one of the party’s top takeover targets. The race is rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.  

Safe Senator Shifts to Raise Money for Safe Colleague
Ron Wyden puts own fundraising effort on hold to pitch for Pat Leahy

Sen. Ron Wyden isn’t shy about raising money , even though he isn’t in any danger of losing re-election. At least now the Oregon Democrat has shifted some of that effort elsewhere, except it’s for a colleague who is also in a safe race.  

“They think they’ve got a shot in Vermont,” says the subject line of a June 1 email from Wyden’s campaign.  

The Strategy That Could Have Taken Trump Down
Trump’s opponents should have attacked his supporters instead of the candidate, expert says

More than a dozen Republican presidential candidates spent a year of the nominating contest waiting for someone else to attack and take down Donald Trump. But the GOP contenders had a common goal with a flawed strategy: Trump’s opponents should have attacked the celebrity’s supporters instead of the candidate, an expert on loyalty says.  

“In any cult or loyal following, fractures can occur when the followers become disillusioned by the leader,” explained James Kane , a researcher and author on the concept of loyalty. “But more often, it is their awareness of their fellow followers that causes them to pull away.”  

Open Minnesota House Seat Takeover Opportunity for Democrats
Lackluster candidates in moderate district could be one of first GOP House seats to change hands

Republican Rep. John Kline is retiring  from his competitive, suburban district in Minnesota and expressed concern over the lack of quality GOP candidates to replace him. Those concerns are becoming reality as the seat continues to develop into a prime Democratic takeover opportunity.  

In 2014, Kline was re-elected by 17 points, but his margin of victory made the 2nd District look less competitive than reality, considering President Barack Obama won the district twice, albeit narrowly.  

Volatile Climate Makes N.C. Governor Vulnerable
LGBT bathroom bill, strong Democratic challenger put McCrory on defense

Pat McCrory was the first Republican elected governor of North Carolina in 20 years, so it’s no surprise that his re-election prospects are challenging. But the governor looked like a narrow favorite this year until the nationwide controversy over House Bill 2: Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act.  

The bill spurred a national conversation about public bathrooms and whether transgender people may use restrooms consistent with their gender identity, even if it doesn’t match the gender on their birth certificate. Politically, the issue has enflamed both sides.  

When Serving Together in Congress is a Family Affair
Mooney brothers seek to succeed Sanchez sisters as siblings in Congress

Democrat Loretta Sanchez is giving up her House seat and the opportunity to continue to serve with her sister in Congress to run for the Senate in California, while the Mooney brothers are hoping to become Congress’s latest pair of siblings.  

The Sanchezes (Loretta of the 46th District and Linda of the 38th) are currently the only siblings serving in Congress. Republican Rep. Alex Mooney was first elected in West Virginia’s 2nd District in 2014 and his brother, Pat, is running in Florida’s 6th District.  

Lose One House, Win Another
A White House loss in 2016 could lead to more favorable midterms

Some Democrats are downright giddy about facing Donald Trump and his sizable unfavorable ratings in November. But the party may need to lose the presidential election in order to have a chance of controlling the House at some point over the next decade.  

If Hillary Clinton is elected president this year, the 2018 midterm elections are likely to be terrible for the Democratic Party. It would be the third consecutive midterm for a Democratic president, and easy for Republicans to make a check-and-balance argument  

Republicans Struggle to Keep Colorado Senate Race in Play
Michael Bennet's re-election race moves from Lean Democratic to Democrat Favored

The crowded GOP field to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet narrowed recently from a dozen candidates to four contenders.  

Former El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn was the only candidate to secure a position on the primary ballot at the state convention. It was a surprise boost of support for the black, retired Air Force officer and former Colorado Springs city councilman. But it also may have been Glenn’s peak performance, considering he had just $11,000 in his campaign account on March 31.  

Ratings Change: Kirk Race Downgraded to Leans Democratic
Illinois Republican remains the most vulnerable senator in the country

Nearly a year ago, we moved Republican Mark S. Kirk from Tossup to Tilts Democratic . Over the past 12 months, there is little evidence that things have gotten any better for the senator and in fact the political climate may be getting much worse, prompting another ratings change.  

The Kirk campaign released a poll, conducted March 30-31, which showed the senator trailing Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, 43-40 percent, in a general election ballot test.