2 primaries to watch in Indiana

Gun Rights

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Quick Fix

— Crowded primaries in the blue IN-01 and potential swing seat IN-05 have attracted big spending ahead of Tuesday’s elections.


— Prominent black Democrats warn that Joe Biden needs to address the concerns of nonwhite voters proactively to win their support in November, as the country is gripped by days of unrest.

— The NRSC is launching its first round of TV ads of the cycle, an earlier-than-usual campaign as Republicans have been getting swamped on the airwaves.

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Days until the D.C., Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and South Dakota primaries: 1

Days until the Democratic convention: 77

Days until the Republican convention: 84

Days until the 2020 election: 155


ALMOST THERE — Our whistlestop tour of Tuesday’s primaries lands us in Indiana, where there are two primaries to watch: The Democratic primary in the blue, open IN-01, and the Republican primary in the possible battleground IN-05.

The race in IN-01 attracted over a dozen Democratic candidates to replace the retiring Rep. Pete Visclosky, but five have pulled in any significant amount of money: Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, attorney Sabrina Haake, state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan and 2018 state Secretary of State candidate Jim Harper.

Visclosky backed Mrvan in this suburban Chicago and Gary-area seat. But a lot of money has quietly flowed into the district, and McDermott has pretty significantly outraised everyone else. A super PAC called Democratic Progress has dropped over $500,000 backing McDermott. It was created earlier this year and appears to be entirely funded by Unite America, a Colorado-based super PAC that was founded by Charles Wheelan and counts Kathryn Murdoch and former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) among its board members. With Honor, which supports veterans of both parties running for office, also backs McDermott.

The Voter Protection Project, a super PAC launched by former California candidate Andrew Janz, has thrown in for Reardon, as has the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. A few smaller super PACs have recently backed Mrvan.

In the northern Indianapolis-based IN-05, Democrats have rallied around former state Rep. Christina Hale, who is expected to cruise through her primary. That’s not the case on the Republican side, which has seen a pileup of candidates vying to win the nomination after GOP Rep. Susan Brooks announced she wouldn’t seek reelection. In a mid-May poll from the Club for Growth PAC, three candidates broken double-digits: state Sen. Victoria Spartz (whom the Club backs), former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi (who the Indianapolis Star noted had a number of legal battles and was also temporarily suspended from practicing law) and businesswoman Beth Henderson.

The Club has swarmed the airwaves in the district with ads boosting Spartz and knocking the other two candidates as being insufficiently supportive of President Donald Trump. All told, they’ve spent over $500,000 on the district, and Spartz has significantly self-funded her campaign. Another endorsement of note in the district: Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) has backed Henderson. Brooks, the NRCC’s recruiting chair, has not backed a successor.

Presidential Big Board

NOT ENOUGH — Black leaders warn that Democrats actually need to understand why people are angry, and cannot just say voting is a solution. “You cannot motivate someone to a behavior that they don’t believe will actually bring change,” Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams told The New York Times’ Astead Herndon. “We have to start by saying what you feel and what you fear is real.” A similar message from the Rev. Jesse Jackson: “The absence of Trump is not enough.”

VEEPSTAKES — From the pandemic to the national outcry and unrest after a police officer killed a man in Minnesota, recent events are dramatically shaping Biden’s vice presidential pick. “The vice-presidential vetting process, typically a closely-guarded internal affair, is playing out in plain sight, often live and online as Biden remains sheltered at home during a pandemic that’s stalled in-person campaigning,” POLITICO’s Chris Cadelago and David Siders wrote. (Siders also looks at the political ramifications on Minnesota.)

— The law enforcement records of three candidates Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) — are being scrutinized after the protests across the country, POLITICO’s Marc Caputo and Natasha Korecki wrote. “It’s Klobuchar’s vice presidential fortunes that may end up as the first political casualty of the Minneapolis unrest,” they wrote. “Demings and Harris, who are both black, have better records when it comes to social justice, according to some progressive activists and Democratic insiders who argue that black women have a better understanding of the scourge of police brutality. Their law enforcement credentials, some of those Democrats contend, must be viewed in the historic context in which they served as leaders.”

— Karine Jean-Pierre, a newly-hired adviser to the Biden campaign, talked about the importance of having a representative ticket in an interview with the Grio’s Jason Johnson. “I think it’s important to have that representation on the ticket. Who is the best person that’s going to get you to 270? What does that ticket bring you? It’s a ticket that has to give you momentum. Has to give the entire campaign excitement,” she said.

CONVENTION SPOTTING — There’s a back-and-forth between Republicans and North Carolina over the convention, which is still scheduled to be held in Charlotte. “In a letter to Republicans leaders on Friday, North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen asked for more information on how the GOP would carry out the late-August event in keeping with guidelines for public gatherings issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” POLITICO’s Maya King wrote. RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in an interview on former Gov. Pat McCrory’s radio show that she thinks “there is a little bit of gamesmanship going on at this point. I didn’t earlier but now I do,” before the letter from Cohen was received.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s office also said Trump spoke to Cooper about the convention on Friday. “When the president insisted on a full convention arena with no face coverings and no social distancing, the governor expressed concerns and suggested a scaled-back event with fewer attendees,” Sadie Weiner, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a statement, per CNN’s Kate Sullivan and Ryan Nobles.

THE CASH DASH — Trump is set to soon resume in-person fundraising events. POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt reported that Trump is set “to host a June 11 fundraiser at a private home in Dallas and a June 13 outdoor event at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club,” with the fundraisers being “smaller than Trump’s usual events.”

POLLS POLLS POLLS — A new national poll has Biden with a wide lead over Trump. The ABC News/Washington Post poll, taken before much of the unrest that has gripped the country, has Biden leading Trump, 53 percent to 43 percent, among registered voters (835 registered voters; May 25-28; +/- 4 percentage point MOE).

Down the Ballot

THE SENATE MAP — The NRSC is hitting the airwaves. The party committee “is launching its first round of TV ads in three races this week and will be on air in six battleground states by early July,” Campaign Pro’s James Arkin reported (for Pros). “The long-planned effort represents an earlier-than-usual investment for the GOP’s official campaign arm, but Republicans acknowledge that it is coming after a prolonged period of essentially unanswered Democratic attacks. Democratic campaigns and outside groups have outspent Republicans on the airwaves in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina — in some cases by a more than two-to-one margin, according to data from Advertising Analytics.”

Ads are rolling in Arizona and Michigan (one of the only races Republicans can play offense in) today and in Maine on Wednesday.

THE HOUSE MAP — The race to pick the Republican opponent to face freshman Democratic Rep. Andy Kim in NJ-03 is presenting voters with a stark choice. POLITICO New Jersey’s Matt Friedman writes about the choice between “Kate Gibbs, a 34-year-old former elected official who as a suburban millennial woman comes from a crucial demographic that in 2018 abandoned the GOP, or David Richter, a wealthy 53-year-old former construction executive who spent decades living far from the district but whose campaign is getting help from one of Trump’s top advisers.”

— The National Rifle Association’s political arm endorsed “little-known” GOP candidate Joe Caldarera in NY-11, spurning Trump-endorsed state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis in the race to face freshman Democratic Rep. Max Rose, the New York Post’s Carl Campanile reported.

DIDN’T HAPPEN — In the days before the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, accused Democrats in the state of attempting to hack voter registration systems and opened an investigation. “But newly released case files from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reveal that there was no such hacking attempt,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Niesse and ProPublica’s Jack Gillum reported. “The evidence from the closed investigation indicates that Kemp’s office mistook planned security tests and a warning about potential election security holes for malicious hacking.”

ON THE AIRWAVES — Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper released his first TV ad of the cycle, ahead of the June 30 Democratic Senate primary. In the direct-to-camera ad, Hickenlooper talks about the economy while he was governor.

— End Citizens United, the Democratic outside group, is launching its first TV ad of the cycle. The ad, part of a $2 million campaign, criticizes Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

FIRST IN SCORE — ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF — Democratic state Sen. Joyce Elliott, who is running in AR-02 and was recently added to the DCCC’s Red-to-Blue program, is out with her first campaign ad, a digital biographical spot that talks about integrating schools and her career in the state legislature. “America is a big promise, and promises don’t come true without people doing something to make them come true,” she says in the video, referencing being inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.

THE CASH DASH — Democrat Jon Ossoff loaned his campaign $450,000 Sunday in the final stretch ahead of the June 9 Georgia Senate primary, according to a new FEC filing. James writes in. Ossoff is considered the frontrunner and has outraised his opponents, Sarah Riggs Amico and Teresa Tomlinson, both of whom have also loaned money to their campaigns. But the race to face Republican Sen. David Perdue goes to an August runoff unless one of the candidates can top 50 percent in the primary.

SAFE SEAT SCRAMBLE — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) endorsed Teresa Leger Fernandez in the NM-03 primary. (Here’s my preview of the race from last week.)

MEA CULPA — I did a dumb in Friday’s edition of Score: I wrote that Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham had $2.6 million in debt as of his pre-primary report, but I meant to write he had $2.6 million in cash on hand. (He has no debt.) My apologies!

CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t know who they’re talking to — nobody polled me, nobody polled members of my family,” interim Baltimore Mayor Jack Young on polling showing him trailing ahead of Tuesday’s primary in the city, to The Washington Post.

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