By Scott Bland and Elena Schneider | 04/18/2017 10:00 AM EDT
With Kevin Robillard and Daniel Strauss
The following newsletter is an abridged version of Campaign Pro's Morning Score. For an earlier morning read on exponentially more races - and for a more comprehensive aggregation of the day's most important campaign news - sign up for Campaign Pro today. (http://www.politicopro.com/proinfo)
WHAT TO WATCH - Election Day in Georgia, voters' last day at the polls: Eighteen candidates and millions of dollars later, Georgia will finally deliver some answers on what suburban voters want right now, a year out from the midterm elections. Democrat Jon Ossoff, who's raised more than $8 million for his bid, hopes to reach 50 percent in the all-party primary, but Republicans on the ground have become increasingly confident that they will live to fight the 30-year-old former congressional aide in a June runoff. Here are a few things to watch when polls close at 7 p.m. Eastern tonight:
- Keep an eye on the early vote: As soon as the polls close, early vote totals will shed light on Ossoff's chances and the likely second place finisher. "If Ossoff is not at 50 [percent] in early voting, it'll be very hard, if not impossible, to get 50 on Election Day," said Chip Lake, a Republican consultant in the state. "The same can be said for the Republican side. If Karen Handel is up by 7 or 8 points in the early vote, she should feel pretty good about her chances to make it into the runoff."
- Overall turnout: For Ossoff, the more voters, the better. "Higher turnout is always good," said Rebecca DeHart, executive director of Georgia's Democratic Party. "We'll be watching closely how young people do, and women."
- Watch Cobb County: State Sen. Judson Hill, who's trailed other Republicans in public polling, could run up the score in Cobb County, his home base. He's the only candidate from this area, and it's got its own intense state senate race today, too. If he gets into the runoff, he'll do it in Cobb County. Meanwhile, DeKalb County will be important for Democratic turnout - some of the most Democratic portions of the district did not have early voting sites nearby for the last few weeks. More items to watch here.
LAST-MINUTE CALLS - President Donald Trump taped a robocall for the primary, The Hill's Olivia Beavers reported. Trump: "Liberal Democrats from outside of Georgia are spending millions and millions of dollars trying to take your Republican congressional seat away from you. Don't let them do it. ... If you don't vote tomorrow, Ossoff will raise your taxes, destroy your healthcare, and flood our country with illegal immigrants." Sen. Marco Rubio also recorded a robocall for Hill, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution 's indispensable Greg Bluestein, while Trump's Georgia campaign chair endorsed Handel, also via the AJC.
- "Hollywood collides with Trump in Georgia race," by POLITICO's Gabriel Debenedetti: "Spoiling for a fight against a president it can't stand, Hollywood has latched onto Tuesday's special election for a suburban Atlanta congressional seat, eyeing the contest as a unique opportunity to tarnish Donald Trump's first 100 days in office. Many of the entertainment world's liberal, politically active celebrities have showered Jon Ossoff, the leading Democratic candidate in Georgia's Sixth District, with cash and campaign assistance - a harbinger, some of them say, of a sustained revolt against the president's agenda." Full story.
NEXT SPECIAL UP - Sanders to campaign with Quist: Democrat Rob Quist's campaign announced Monday that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will join the folk singer on the campaign trail "across the state" for appearances in May, per a statement from the campaign. The campaign did not provide any additional details.
Days until the 2017 election: 203.
Days until the 2018 election: 567.
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CORRECTION - Yesterday's Morning Score misstated Sen. Debbie Stabenow's (D-Mich.) cash on hand after the first quarter. She had nearly $4.3 million banked at the end of March.
FIRST IN SCORE - Citizens United backs Mandel: The Citizens United Political Victory Fund is endorsing Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and donating $5,000 to this campaign. Citizens United President David Bossie played a major role down the stretch in President Donald Trump's campaign. "Josh is a principled leader who wants to come to Washington to help President Trump enact his pro-America reform agenda. Josh is ready to repeal and replace Obamacare, cut taxes, and secure the border," Bossie said in a statement.
Q1 FUNDRAISING - Ohio: "Mandel's Senate campaign raised $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2017. About $590,000 of that money came through Mandel's "Team Josh" joint fundraising committee, his campaign said, while another $600,000 was raised directly by the Republican candidate," Campaign Pro reported.
- Minnesota: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a potential Republican target in 2018 (and potential presidential candidate in 2020) raised $1.45 million in the first quarter and has $3.1 million on hand, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
- New York: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand raised $4.4 million in the first three months of 2017 and has $5.7 million on hand, per FEC records.
LIGHTER CLICK - "The Democrat challenging Steve King in Iowa used to be an internet psychic," by the Des Moines Register's Jason Noble: Democrat Kim Weaver "operated an array of psychic services websites, hosted an internet radio show and participated in online discussions of the supernatural, records reviewed by The Des Moines Register show. Known as 'Kimberanne' - a portmanteau of her first and middle names - and 'the Spirit Weaver,' Weaver charged customers as much as $3.99 per minute for readings online and over the phone and dispensed advice on matters ranging from romance to careers to real estate. In one recording obtained by the Register, Weaver performed a tarot card reading to reassure a distraught woman that her missing husband was not dead. In an interview, Weaver, 52, did not deny dabbling in psychic services, but described her activities as 'life coaching' and said they never amounted to more than a 'hobby.'" Full story.
INTERNAL AFFAIRS - Pro-Northam group's robopoll shows him leading Perriello in Virginia: "A new Public Policy Polling survey conducted for a labor union backing Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam shows him with a healthy lead over former Rep. Tom Perriello in Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial primary. The Virginia Education Association, which has endorsed Northam, paid for the robopoll. It comes after a Quinnipiac survey that showed Perriello with a slim primary lead. Northam earns the support of 42 percent of likely primary voters in the survey, compared to 28 percent for Perriello. Three-in-ten remain undecided." Full story.
WEB WARS - Gillespie releases digital ad hyping tax plans: Republican Ed Gillespie's campaign is out with three new 15-second digital ads hyping the candidate's tax plans. "Think tax plans are boring?," a narrator says in one of the ads. "What's boring about nearly $1,300 in higher take home pay for the average Virginia family?" Watch the ads here.
- Walker pushes tax cut: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's political operation is launching digital ads fighting against proposals to increase taxes in the state budget. The ads appearing on Facebook will ask Wisconsinites to push their legislators to cut taxes.
THE RECKONING - Perez names members of Unity Reform Commission: DNC Chair Tom Perez named members of the Democratic Unity Reform Commission, which was set up during the 2016 Democratic National Convention to issue recommendations to make the presidential primary process more fair. The members were selected by Perez, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton herself. Precision Strategies' Jennifer O'Malley Dillon will chair the commission, while Larry Cohen of Our Revolution will serve as vice chair. The Clinton campaign's Charlie Baker, Emmy Ruiz and Maya Harris, Rep. Marcia Fudge, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb, Young Turks reporter Nomiki Konst, pollster Jim Zogby and Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver are also on the commission.
CODA - QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I'll be voting for myself." - GA-06 Republican Karen Handel, who was approached by a volunteer for Democrat Jon Ossoff and asked for her support, via the New Yorker.
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