GOP congressman bought a yacht on day he voted to give himself $2 million tax cut

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.


• FL-16: What could more perfectly symbolize the modern Republican Party? On the very same day he cast his first vote in favor of GOP’s bill cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy, Florida Politics reports that Rep. Vern Buchanan spent as much as $5 million on … a brand-new yacht.

Buchanan, a former car dealer whose $74 million net worth makes him the eighth-richest member of Congress, stands to get a $2.1 million tax break, according to one analysis, so that certainly should soften the price tag of that new boat—though of course, he could still afford a few more. But seeing as he faces his stiffest challenge in years this November from attorney David Shapiro, Buchanan might instead want to spend his windfall on his own campaign.

2Q Fundraising

You can bookmark our chart to track all of the competitive Senate races, and we’ll have our House chart available after the July 15 deadline passes for candidates to file their fundraising reports.

• AZ-SenKyrsten Sinema (D): $3.25 million raised, $5.3 million cash-on-hand; Martha McSally (R): $3 million raised, $4.5 million cash-on-hand

• IN-SenMike Braun (R): $2.5 million raised (including $386,000 in self-funding), $1 million cash-on-hand

• MS-Sen-BCindy Hyde-Smith (R-inc): $1.6 million raised

• NJ-SenBob Hugin (R): $1.2 million raised (plus $15.5 million in self-funding)

• TX-SenTed Cruz (R-inc): $4.6 million raised, $10.4 million cash-on-hand; Beto O’Rourke (D): $10.4 million raised, $14 million cash-on-hand

• WI-SenTammy Baldwin (D-inc): $4.4 million raised; $7.2 million cash-on-hand

• WV-SenJoe Manchin (D-inc): $1.5 million raised, $6.2 million cash-on-hand

• AZ-09Greg Stanton (D): $460,000 raised, $1.1 million cash on hand

• FL-07Stephanie Murphy (D-inc): $550,000 raised; $1.6 million cash-on-hand

• FL-25Mary Barzee Flores (D): $450,000 raised

• FL-26Carlos Curbelo (R-inc): $785,000 raised, $2.6 million cash on hand; Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D): $700,000 raised

• FL-27Donna Shalala (D): $770,000 raised

• NC-13Kathy Manning (D): $725,000 raised, $1.3 million cash-on-hand

• NJ-07Tom Malinowski (D): $1.3 million raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand

• NY-11Max Rose (D): $700,000 raised, $1.25 million cash-on-hand

• NY-19Antonio Delgado (D): $800,000 raised, $660,000 cash-on-hand

• VA-07Dave Brat (R-inc): $480,000 raised, $917,000 cash-on-hand

• WA-05Lisa Brown (D): $930,000 raised


• WI-Sen: Along with their new positive spot in support of Kevin Nicholson, the Club for Growth is now running their first negative ad attacking Leah Vukmir, Nicholson’s rival in next month’s GOP primary. In this advertisement, the narrator says Vukmir “wrote a letter seeking leniency for a fellow state legislator convicted of sexual assault” and also accuses her of some other, less sensational misdeeds. More on that letter here.


• MI-Gov: Uh … okay. In his latest campaign ad, GOP Lt. Gov. Brian Calley bangs away on the piano as he and a band play for an enthralled audience, including outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder himself. Calley explains, “It wasn’t long ago that Michigan was singing the blues”—but thanks to the efforts of the Snyder-Calley team, the economy is zipping and, apparently, everyone’s humming a happier tune now. Well, it’s different, at least.

• MN-Gov: Well, this isn’t a good sign for Tim Pawlenty. Though he holds huge advantages in money and name recognition, the former governor apparently feels the need to go negative on his opponent in next month’s GOP primary, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, in his first TV spot of the race, accusing him of supporting tax hikes and Obamacare. The only poll we’ve seen, taken for a conservative website, found Pawlenty with a giant 54-20 lead on Johnson last month, so either Pawlenty is playing it super-safe or is worried that grassroots enthusiasm on the right could propel Johnson to an upset.

• TN-Gov: State House Speaker Beth Harwell’s newest ad features a trio of kids, dressed up as her GOP primary rivals, all squabbling over a kitchen table (as kids, of course, are wont to do). Harwell then touts her accomplishments in the legislature—a rare instance of a Republican office-holder actually acknowledging that they, well, hold office—saying she lowered taxes and “outlawed sanctuary cities,” with a narrator concluding by calling her the “adult in the room.” It doesn’t seem like voters in this primary are all that interested in Harwell’s message of maturity, though, as every recent poll has shown her in fourth place.

• WY-Gov: On behalf of Wyoming PBS and the state’s public radio network, the University of Wyoming has conducted a new poll of the Aug. 21 GOP primary for the state’s open gubernatorial race. The survey finds state Treasurer Mark Gordon in front with 19 percent, while businessman Sam Galeotos takes 14, attorney Harriet Hageman is at 11, and physician Taylor Haynes is at 10. As for billionaire megadonor Foster Friess, he’s in fifth place with just 7 percent, even though he’s been on the airwaves since May.


• KS-03In his first TV ad ahead of next month’s Democratic primary, teacher Tom Niermann says, “I’ve taught everything, from the American Revolution to the civil rights movement, but I never imagined I’d have to teach my kids how to react if someone busts through the door with an assault rifle” as classroom footage simulating an active-shooter drill rolls. Niermann concludes, “No matter what Trump, the Republicans, and the NRA say, we need common-sense gun reform, and we need it now.”

• OH-12: Like his allies at the Congressional Leadership Fund, Republican Troy Balderson is now also airing TV ads attacking his Democratic opponent in next month’s special election, Danny O’Connor, by trying to link him with Nancy Pelosi. This time, though, Balderson also throws in a local bogeyman, former Gov. Ted Strickland, calling O’Connor a “Strickland protégé” and claiming he wants to “eliminate the middle class tax cut and ruin our economy again.” As we’ve noted previously, O’Connor says he would not support Pelosi for House speaker, and similar attacks on Democrat Conor Lamb (who took the same tack) failed to stop him in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th District earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Politico reports that CLF is headed back into the fray with a new $203,000 television buy this week, though there’s no copy of any ad available yet. The NRCC has also added $254,000 to its own TV reservations for the final two weeks of the race, which takes place Aug. 7.

• WI-01: For some reason, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC closely associated with retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, decided to poll next month’s Democratic primary in the race to fill Ryan’s seat. Somewhat unexpectedly, the survey, which was conducted by Republican pollster Remington Research, finds Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers with a slight 34-33 edge on ironworker Randy Bryce, who has achieved national attention thanks to his blue-collar appeal and landed a spot on the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” list highlighting top-tier candidates.

But while Bryce has raised many millions of dollars by smartly capitalizing on the man who was his opponent for most of the cycle, women candidates have performed extremely well in Democratic primaries this year, and Myers herself has raised credible sums of money that would be sizable in any other race. An upset therefore is not unimaginable. However, we have no other surveys to compare this one to, and it’s also possible the CLF is just trying to screw with the DCCC.

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