TWENTY-YEAR HOUSE VETERAN MIKE CAPUANO lost last night to AYANNA PRESSLEY, a 44-year-old Boston city council member who was an aide to former Rep. Joseph Kennedy and former Sen. John Kerry. Pressley, who will now hold the same seat as Tip O’Neill and John F. Kennedy, will be the first black member to serve in the Massachusetts House delegation.
DAVE WASSERMAN (@Redistrict): “The share of House Rs who are white men is 86% and rising. The share of House Dems who are white men is 41% and falling. #MA07”
CAPUANO is the fourth House incumbent to go down, after Reps. Mark Sanford (S.C.) and Robert Pittenger (N.C.) went down on the Republican side, and Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.) lost on the Democratic side.
FOR WEEKS NOW, Democratic operatives and party officials have been telling us that Capuano was going to be fine. He was an avowed progressive, they said. This wasn’t another situation where a long-time incumbent wasn’t taking his race seriously enough. He had gotten endorsements from key validators like the Congressional Black Caucus PAC. Furthermore, between July 1 and Aug. 15, Capuano spent more than $930,000.
BUT SPEND SOME TIME WITH PRESSLEY and it doesn’t take long to see that she has a real ability to connect with voters. She isn’t a political upstart like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Pressley has put in her time climbing the party establishment ranks — working in Democratic politics since she was a kid in Chicago and then later as a senior staffer on Capitol Hill and most recently as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton.
PRESSLEY, like many Democrats looking to move up in office, dealt with the refrain we hear a lot — that it’s not your turn. “I knew this was going to be lonely,” Pressley said when Anna went up to Boston to interview her for the “Women Rule” podcast. And lonely it was. EMILY’s List, which had in 2015 given her its national “Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star” award, stayed out of the race. It wasn’t until just days before the primary that The Boston Globe weighed in on her behalf. Listen to the Women Rule podcast with Pressley
THIS IS A LOT LIKE 2010 … People are being swept into Washington to completely turn upside down a party, and how it does business. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley — three of the most prominent Democratic stars of this cycle — are ideologically different, but share one common thread: They all wouldn’t take corporate PAC money — the kind of donations that power incumbent members of Congress, and the party committees. It might seem gimmicky, but this is the kind of position that could change how Washington works.
PRESSLEY was much more firm on two issues du jour than Democratic leadership: impeaching PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP and defunding ICE. Pressley said on the trail that she believes there is already enough evidence to begin impeaching the president, and she said she thought ICE should be defunded. Democratic leadership has been a lot less firm on both points, saying that impeachment needs to be bipartisan, and steering clear of the get-rid-of-ICE conversation.
AS DEMOCRATS INCH CLOSER TO POWER, they’ll spend a lot of time laying out what they want to do on issues like health care, gun violence, drug prices and the economy. But their base seems most animated by burn-the-house-down issues. And, just like Republicans in 2010, they will want quick action when they get to town if they take the majority.
— “Trump allies delight in video of Schumer appearing to endorse impeachment,” by Chris Cadelago.
NEW … POLITICO PREDICTS: RACE RATINGS — Our politics and interactive teams have put together a really cool interactive graphic. They’ve rated 2018 races, and created a tool by which you can sort the races by state, or rating. Check it out, and return often because these will be updated regularly: The POLITICO race ratings
STEVEN SHEPARD: “POLITICO race ratings: 60 GOP House seats in danger”: “Roughly 100 of the 240 Republican-controlled House seats are currently within Democratic reach, posing the most serious threat to the GOP majority since the party won control in 2010. Despite the GOP’s built-in advantages due to incumbency and redistricting, 60 of those seats are even more precariously positioned, with the Republican nominee either holding just a slight competitive edge, dead even against their Democratic opponent or trailing. … These are the findings of POLITICO’s inaugural 2018 race ratings, which reflect extensive reporting on the state of the 23-seat House GOP majority, evaluations of both parties’ strategies, historical trends and polling data.” POLITICO
— TOPLINES: THE HOUSE we have as LEAN DEMOCRATIC. While we have Ds only slightly ahead of Rs in seats leaning in their direction, virtually all of the two dozen toss-up seats are currently held by Republicans.
— THE SENATE we have as LIKELY REPUBLICAN. North Dakota is in the Lean R category; if Rep. Kevin Cramer beats Sen. Heidi Heitkamp there, Ds need to hold all their other seats, then win Arizona (Toss-Up), Nevada (Toss-Up) and either Tennessee or Texas (both Lean R).
THE GOVERNORS RACES: Dems are favored to pick up three governorships: Illinois (Likely D), New Mexico (Likely D) and Michigan (Lean D). But it could get better for them: All seven of the toss-ups are currently held by Rs.
— A ‘PHEW’ MOMENT FOR THE GOP … JOSH GERSTEIN: “Court won’t force North Carolina redistricting this year”
SCOOP … WSJ’S REID EPSTEIN on THE OWNER OF THE WASHINGTON POST: “Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Gives $10 Million to Super PAC in First Major Political Contribution”: “Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife are making their first major foray into politics with a $10 million contribution to a super PAC that aims to elect military veterans to Congress. …
“The contribution introduces Mr. Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, to a class of political megadonors that includes Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and California billionaire Tom Steyer, who have each poured more than $100 million into elections over the past decade.
“But unlike with Messrs. Adelson and Steyer, the Bezos contribution isn’t to a partisan political organization. Instead it is to With Honor Fund, a year-old super PAC that backs veterans of both major parties who are running for House seats. Federal Election Commission filings show the organization had raised $7 million between its launch last October and the end of July. …
“With Honor Fund is backing 33 House candidates now running—19 Democrats and 14 Republicans. Mr. Barcott said the PAC does ‘no screening for ideology,’ but rather seeks out a ‘common bond of service and commitment to the country.'” WSJ
ABOUT THE WOODWARD BOOK …
— THE PUSHBACK: “Trump, White House attack new book from Bob Woodward,” by WaPo’s Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey: “The White House on Tuesday aggressively challenged aspects of Bob Woodward’s explosive new book on President Trump’s administration, which paints a devastating portrait of a presidency careening toward a ‘nervous breakdown.’
“Hours after The Washington Post first reported several key incidents from Woodward’s book, ‘Fear,’ the administration mounted a vigorous string of public denials, with statements from top advisers — White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — as well as from Trump’s former personal attorney John Dowd.
“Mattis called the book ‘fiction,’ and Sanders denounced the tome in a statement as ‘nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees’ without disputing any of the specifics that have been reported in excerpts. …
“The official pushback initially was slow — coming almost exactly four hours after scenes from ‘Fear,’ which will be published Sept. 11, began dominating Twitter — and felt pro forma, more Pavlovian muscle memory than rigorous rebuttals. … As of Tuesday afternoon, the White House was still scrambling to procure a copy of Woodward’s book, and several White House aides asked reporters if they were mentioned in ‘Fear’ — and, if so, what they were quoted as saying.” WaPo
NYT REVIEW … ‘BOOKS OF THE TIMES’ … “In ‘Fear,’ Bob Woodward Pulls Back the Curtain on President Trump’s ‘Crazytown,’” by Dwight Garner: “Nothing in Bob Woodward’s sober and grainy new book, ‘Fear: Trump in the White House,’ is especially surprising. This is a White House that has leaked from Day 1. We knew things were bad. Woodward is here, like a state trooper knocking on the door at 3 a.m., to update the sorry details. …
“‘Fear’ is a typical Woodward book in that named sources for scenes, memories, thoughts and quotations appear only sometimes. Woodward has never been a graceful writer, but the prose here is unusually hapless. It’s as if he wants to make a statement that, at this historical juncture, simple factual pine-board competence should suffice.
“The critic Clive James once complained that Woodward ‘checks his facts until they weep with boredom.’ Well, fact-checking and boredom seem sexy again. Even weeping is making a comeback. … Woodward’s subjects have always been able to trade access for spotlight and some sympathy in his books. Among the primary sources for this book are clearly Priebus; Gary D. Cohn, Trump’s former chief economic adviser; and Rob Porter, Trump’s former staff secretary.” NYT
THE PRESIDENT tweeted seven times last night pushing back on Woodward’s retelling, including statements from Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis refuting sections of the book.
— @realDonaldTrump at 11:01 p.m.: “The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions ‘mentally retarded’ and ‘a dumb southerner.’ I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. He made this up to divide!”
… at 7:18 p.m.: “The Woodward book has already been refuted and discredited by General (Secretary of Defense) James Mattis and General (Chief of Staff) John Kelly. Their quotes were made up frauds, a con on the public. Likewise other stories and quotes. Woodward is a Dem operative? Notice timing?”
— FOR THE RECORD: No, Bob Woodward is not a Democratic operative. He’s a highly respected journalist who has a track record of writing meticulously detailed books about presidents with an uncanny knack for getting behind-the-scenes details.
SCOTUS WATCH …
— BURGESS EVERETT and ELANA SCHOR: “Schumer, Democrats wrestled over staging mass Kavanaugh walkout”: “Hours before Brett Kavanaugh arrived for his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Chuck Schumer and frustrated fellow Democratic senators debated staging a mass walkout — or not showing up at all. For weeks, the party grappled with how to force the release of millions of pages of missing Kavanaugh documents after Republicans spurned their previous attempts.
“The discussions culminated during a Labor Day conference call: Senators weighed the drastic protest measures but opted against them, worried about what would come next and whether the fallout from a made-for-TV moment would undercut their efforts to defeat the nomination, according to multiple Democratic sources.
“The strategy session revealed a divide on the Judiciary Committee between its more aggressive, often younger senators and veterans who prefer to adhere to the chamber’s norms. To bridge that gap, Democrats settled on a middle ground: disruption. They created a spectacle by hijacking the hearing as soon as it started and calling for the committee to adjourn against a backdrop of liberal activists being arrested in protest. At the same time, opposition lawmakers left themselves room to grill Kavanaugh in the coming days by remaining active participants in the high court hearings.” POLITICO
— SCOOP: “Liberal groups knock Schumer’s handling of Kavanaugh nomination,” by Burgess Everett and Elana Schor: “Progressive groups have a blunt assessment of Chuck Schumer’s work to defeat Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination: ‘You are failing us.’ Thirteen liberal groups are signing onto a letter panning the minority leader’s strategy of stopping President Donald Trump’s high court pick, delivered on Wednesday morning. They say ‘the Democratic Party’s progressive base expects nothing less than all-out resistance to Trump’s dangerous agenda,’ and question whether Schumer is delivering it.” POLITICO
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: ONE NATION is going up with a $300,000 statewide TV ad in Maine on Thursday highlighting several quotes from Democrats supportive of Brett Kavanaugh. STEVEN LAW, president and CEO of One Nation, said that following the theatrics Tuesday and fundraising emails off of the Senate confirmation hearing, the ad was “designed to show how reasonable people of both parties support Judge Brett Kavanaugh.” The ad
— THE STEP BACK: “A New Reality for Court Confirmations: Pandemonium, Protesters and Partisanship,” by NYT’s Carl Hulse: “Welcome to the new reality of Supreme Court confirmation hearings — pandemonium, protesters and razor-sharp partisan lines. Thirty years of warfare over judicial nominations culminated on Tuesday in the chaotic beginning of Senate consideration of the nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a tumultuous 90-minute first act that no one in the hearing room had ever seen before in decades of such events. Democrats on the typically staid, decorous committee immediately interrupted Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads the panel, as he opened the proceedings.” NYT
— PUTTING IT IN CONTEXT: “Kavanaugh hearing gives 2020 Dem hopefuls a chance to break out,” by Elana Schor: “They’re the most junior Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. But Kamala Harris and Cory Booker led the way in upending Brett Kavanaugh’s debut — and the GOP was watching with 2020 on its mind. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was only 13 words into the Supreme Court confirmation proceeding before Harris calmly broke in first, saying that ‘we have not been given the opportunity to have a meaningful hearing.’
“Booker interrupted soon afterward, appealing to Grassley’s ‘sense of decency and integrity,’ jump-starting a current of Democratic disruption. It was a team effort by the minority, which planned the moment in advance as an alternative to a full-scale boycott of Kavanaugh’s hearing. But Harris and Booker’s key roles in the protest drew quick jabs from Republicans who were already preparing to hit them as driven solely by their own potential White House runs in 2020.” POLITICO
SHUTDOWN WATCH … JOHN BRESNAHAN, SARAH FERRIS and RACHAEL BADE: “House Republicans stalling appropriations ‘minibus’ package”: “Policy fights between House Republicans and nearly everyone else on Capitol Hill are slowing down final action on the first ‘minibus’ package of annual spending bills, throwing in doubt a GOP plan to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1.
“One of the policy disputes is over a provision being pushed by Republicans in the Washington state delegation, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse. McMorris Rodgers — the No. 4 House Republican and the top GOP female lawmaker in Congress — faces a tough reelection fight this year.
“[R]ep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, top Republican on the Energy and Water subcommittee on Appropriations, said disputes over more than a dozen policy riders — including a provision that impacts salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake River in Washington State, McMorris Rodgers’ home state — have held up action on the first of the ‘minibus’ conference reports, the $145 billion package that covers the Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch funding bills.” POLITICO
— NEW … OMB DIRECTOR MICK MULVANEY will be on the Hill today to talk to the Republican Study Committee about appropriations and government reorganization. Mulvaney was once a hard-line spending foe.
THE INVESTIGATIONS — “Mueller Will Accept Some Written Answers From Trump,” by NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Mike Schmidt: “The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, eased up slightly on his demands to question President Trump in the Russia investigation, a shift that came as the president’s lawyers, who have advised him against sitting for an interview, are fighting his desire to answer investigators’ queries. Mr. Mueller will accept written answers from Mr. Trump on questions about whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference, Mr. Mueller’s office told the president’s lawyers in a letter, two people briefed on it said on Tuesday.
“On another significant aspect of the investigation — whether the president tried to obstruct the inquiry itself — Mr. Mueller and his investigators understood that issues of executive privilege could complicate their pursuit of a presidential interview and did not ask for written responses on that matter, according to the letter, which was sent on Friday.” NYT
THE JUICE …
— DAVID LAUFMAN, most recently the chief of the counterintelligence and export control section at DOJ, is opening up a private firm, the Law Offices of David H. Laufman PLLC, in D.C. The firm will do government investigations, white-collar defense, and advising on corporate compliance. Laufman oversaw the DOJ investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information on her personal email server. Until Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, he also was in charge of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. His firm’s site
— “Biden to keynote major LGBTQ dinner,” by Isaac Dovere: “Joe Biden will keynote the Human Rights Campaign dinner next weekend, helping the nation’s biggest and most politically active LGBTQ advocacy organization continues its push into the midterms.” POLITICO
TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY — The president will meet with the emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Later, he will meet with Republican congressional leaders.
WEDNESDAY LISTEN — ANNA interviewed the self-described “Conservative Millennial” ALLIE BETH STUCKEY in the lastest “Women Rule” podcast. Stuckey opened up about what she hates about the conservative world, and how being a conservative has marked her — wrongly — as someone who believes “sexism doesn’t exist.” Listen and subscribe
— COMING ATTRACTIONS: We’ll be taping a LIVE WOMEN RULE PODCAST Sunday at The Wing in Georgetown in advance of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and Congressional Black Caucus Foundation week with a salute to women chiefs of staff in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus. RSVP
JEWISH INSIDER … “Saban and Singer host dinner with Trump peace team”: “Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, Haim Saban and Paul Singer convened a private dinner on Tuesday evening in New York City featuring U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, Jared Kushner, and Jason Greenblatt. The kosher-catered dinner, held in a private room at the Pierre Hotel on the Upper East Side, brought together a politically diverse group of twenty Jewish business and communal leaders. …
“Attendees at Saban and Singer’s dinner included foreign policy experts Elliott Abrams and Martin Indyk, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, former Time Warner executive Gary Ginsberg, Start-Up Nation author Dan Senor, Israel Policy Forum leaders Charles Bronfman and Susie Gelman, Tikvah’s Roger Hertog, former New York Observer editor Ken Kurson, Guess Jeans’ Maurice Marciano, Ira Rennert, Bob Book, and former Conference of Presidents’ Chair Jim Tisch.” JI
NATASHA KORECKI and SHIA KAPOS in Chicago: “Why Rahm bailed on reelection: The Chicago mayor might have won a third term, but only after a long, painful reelection slog”: “His polling numbers were sliding, and had even bottomed out in some city wards. With Chicagoans weary of the violence playing out in their neighborhoods, frustrated with a struggling school system and blaming him for a series of tax and fee hikes, Rahm Emanuel faced a long, painful reelection slog with an uncertain payoff.
“Still, the city was stunned when the brash Chicago mayor, who has never lost an election, announced Tuesday that he was throwing in the towel. … In the end, Emanuel concluded the daily battle would be too punishing, said one top Illinois Democrat with knowledge of the decision. There were too many political variables outside of his control. Even if he were victorious next spring, he’d emerge bloodied and politically weakened, only to stare down the barrel of four years of financial instability.” POLITICO
YIKES — “This Group Posed As Russian Trolls And Bought Political Ads On Google. It Was Easy,” by BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel: “Researchers from the advocacy group the Campaign for Accountability — which has frequently targeted Google with its ‘transparency project’ investigations and has received funding from Google competitor Oracle — posed as Kremlin-linked trolls and successfully purchased divisive online ads using Google’s ad platform and targeted them toward Americans. In an attempt to trigger Google’s safeguards against such efforts, the researchers purchased the advertisements using the name and identifying details of the Internet Research Agency — a Kremlin-linked troll farm that’s been the subject of numerous congressional hearings.
“The advertisements appeared on the YouTube channels and websites of media brands like CNN, CBS This Morning, HuffPost, and the Daily Beast. … The ads used language and images identical to that of Russia’s Internet Research Agency troll farm.” BuzzFeed
VALLEY TALK — “Blood-Testing Firm Theranos to Dissolve,” by WSJ’s John Carreyrou: “Theranos Inc., the blood-testing company accused of perpetrating Silicon Valley’s biggest fraud, will soon cease to exist. In the wake of a high-profile scandal, the company will formally dissolve, according to an email to shareholders. Theranos will seek to pay unsecured creditors its remaining cash in coming months.” WSJ
TRANSITION — Katherine Lugar is joining the American Beverage Association as its new president and CEO. She most recently has served as president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. She will succeed Susan K. Neely, who in May was named president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Rebecca Davis, a genetic counselor, and Jeremy Davis, a Mohs surgeon, on Saturday welcomed Josephine Ivy Davis. Pic … Another pic (h/t proud first-time grandparents Lucy and Charlie Cook)
WEEKEND WEDDING — Luke Bolar, SVP of energy at Edelman and former chief of staff for former Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), married Kelsey Harkness, senior producer for the Daily Signal, Federalist contributor and senior fellow at Steamboat Institute. The wedding was at the Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, Virginia. Vitter attended the wedding. Pic … Another pic
BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Gabrielle Tarbert, manager of corporate communications at Abbvie. She celebrated with family in Delta, Pennsylvania (hat tip: Rachel Weiner)
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Brian Wolff, EVP for public policy and external affairs at the Edison Electric Institute, is 5-0. How he got his start in politics: “I worked for the greatest storyteller in the Senate – the great David H. Pryor (D-Ark.), who really taught me and all his staff about the power of connection.” Playbook Plus Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Holly Rosenkrantz … former Fed chair Paul Volcker is 91 … April Ryan, WH correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks and a CNN political analyst … former Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.) is 82 … Clay Risen, deputy editor at the NYT op-ed page, is 42 … Anne Marie Hoffman, principal at the Harbour Group … Ted Greenberg … Matthew Vail … David Fauvre, counsel at Arnold & Porter … CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave … Hans Riemer … Mike Castaldo … Iris Weinshall … Dale Neugebauer, principal at DNstrategic and an Issa alum … Natalie Cofield, founder of Walker’s Legacy (h/t Samaria Phillips) … Katie Weiss … Abby McIntyre … WSJ reporter Ted Mann … Catherine Reynolds, senior producer for “Face the Nation” (h/t Michele Perez Exner) …
… Noam Lee, DGA’s national finance director … Anita Huslin … Fox News’ Amy Fenton, Dana Perino’s D.C. producer (h/t Angelica Grimaldi) … Bonnie Wood … Politico’s Aaron Lorenzo … Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) is 82 … Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) is 62 … Expedia’s Erica Donovan … journalist Stephanie Green … Jeremy Furchtgott of Baron Public Affairs … Zoe Heiliczer … Melissa Sowerwine, consultant at IDS International… Edelman’s Monica Huang … John Furneaux, CEO of Hive … Rob Lehman … Terri Hasdorff … Matthew Allen … Courtney Neale … Francis Nelms … Jason Spear … Erin Reif … Enrique Padron … Annie Nguyen … Anne Marie Frawley … Kum Kang … Ed Talbot … Bob Newhart … Raquel Welch … Rochelle Moaddel … John Burmaster … Jessica Mejia (h/ts Teresa Vilmain)