SPECIAL ELECTION UPDATE – “Democrats face heart vs. head decision in Montana,” by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider (in Kalispell, Mont.) and Gabriel Debenedetti: “Sen. Jon Tester bounded to the stage on Saturday, whipping up a standing-room-only crowd with fist pumps and cheers that a Democratic victory in Montana’s special House election next week will be a ‘shot fired across the bow’ of the GOP … That’s exactly what the Democratic base … wants to hear. But an increasingly vocal handful of national Democrats, weighing spending priorities ahead of a possible battle for control of the House of Representatives in 2018, grumble that they’re spending at all.” Full story.
– IN GEORGIA – Handel releases first TV ad for GA-06 runoff: Republican Karen Handel speaks straight-to-camera in her first TV ad of the runoff period, five weeks before Election Day on June 20. “I’ve been involved in the 6th District for almost 25 years, from my time as Fulton County Commission chairman and as secretary of state, and even from my time as president of the Chamber of Commer,” Handel says in the ad. “… It would be extraordinary and a real privilege” to represent the district in Congress, she continues. Watch the ad here.
– “House Speaker Paul Ryan urged Republicans Monday to rally behind” Handel, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Greg Bluestein reports. “… In a brief pep-talk at a Dunwoody hotel, Ryan invoked the history of the suburban Atlanta district, which has been in GOP hands for decades … Ryan said Georgians could play a deciding role … in ensuring whether the sweeping plan to repeal Obamacare or overhaul the tax code is achieved. ‘The left and Nancy Pelosi are trying to stymie people here in the 6th District,’ he said.” Full story. Ryan’s visit could be the first of several big names including Vice President Mike Pence, also per the AJC.
FIRST IN SCORE – Northam releases two new television ads: Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is out with two new ads in the Virginia governor’s race. The first ad, “Emily,” features the mother of a student wounded at the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech testifying about Northam’s support for universal background checks. “Ralph was from a conservative district. But he agreed to take on the NRA and support expanded background checks,” she says. Watch the ad here. The second ad, “Build,” has Northam speaking direct to the camera about his plans to offer free community college and raise teacher pay. Watch the ad here.
ON THE AIRWAVES – American Action Network spending $400,000 on AHCA radio ads across 10 districts: The GOP nonprofit is up with another round of advertising thanking Republican House members for voting for the party’s Obamacare repeal bill at the beginning of the month. The expenditure brings the group’s post-vote spending to $3.1 million and total health care-related spending this year to $13.1 million. Key claims from the ad’s narrator, as Democrats attacks the bill and the GOP: “It protects people with pre-existing conditions by stopping insurance companies from raising their premiums if they maintain continuous coverage, And it provides new funding for maternity coverage and newborn care.” The ads will back 10 GOP members in mostly swing districts, with a few others tossed in: Reps. Martha McSally (AZ-02), Jeff Denham (CA-10), David Valadao (CA-21), Steve Knight (CA-25), Rod Blum (IA-01), Kevin Yoder (KS-03), Bruce Poliquin (ME-02), Don Bacon (NE-02), Pat Tiberi (OH-12), and Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-01). Listen to the ads here.