tv Newsmakers Steven Law CSPAN August 31, 2018 9:59pm-10:35pm EDT
coal miners, cotton farmers, they would calm and harrison would give them a short speech, mostly attuned to their own interests, but something that would resonate with people generally. he had his own stenographer take down what he said. he would go over what he said and make sure it is what he wanted people to read. announcer: charles calhoun sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. next,cer: coming up newsmakers takes a look at the 2018 midterm elections with steven law from the senate leadership fund, followed by the communicators. and later, the memorial service earlier today at the u.s. capitol for the late senator john mccain. joining us is steven law,
president of the senate leadership fund. joining us, jonathan martin, the new york times. and the political correspondent for axios. the democrats have to defend more seats than the republicans, but what are the races that were even most? steven: we are focused on dean heller, a tough race given the nature of the state. we have arizona and tennessee. those are usually solid republican. arizona has trended more in the middle. those are two states we are focused on. those of the top three we will spend most of her effort on the defensive side. >> there have been stories about texas. the polls show it does that
concern you? steven: they probably do accurately show a close race at the moment. the cruz campaign has acknowledged it is a rough race. that is what you get when bernie sanders steps into the delorean from back to the future. a hard left guy with strong positions that mainstream democrats and the state would find it hard to stomach. that will get litigated. turn to our other guest. >> why do you think martha mick sally is the best candidate? steven: she is incredibly strong and has a great story, the first female pilot to lead a fighter squadron, a great fundraiser and
great competitor. she was on the offense on the night of the primary and blew away her competition, despite the fact the democrats tried to meddle in a primary and dumped $3 million of negative ads against her. we think she is a great candidate. this: we have seen highlighted in the attacks against her. what are the challenges she might face? what is her big challenge to overcome? theen: to consolidate party. aeriff arpaio represents segment of conservative republicans. she will have to unify the party. there is the mainstream in arizona that has gotten towards the swing states, so she will have to reach towards the middle while keeping a broad coalition asrepublicans in her corner she heads into the general election. >> jonathan martin of the new
york times. is it fair to say the gop will control the senate next year? steven: it is very likely. i think of our defensive seats, i feel reasonably good about all of them and we have tremendous pickup opportunities. >> are there one or two you feel you have in the bank? steven: north dakota at this point, it will be hard for heidi heitkamp to win. she is behind by double digits. hard to imagine her putting together a enough votes to beat kevin cramer. i think missouri is shaping up to be that kind of race, where claire mccaskill won't put together a winning coalition. >> you would be surprised if heidi heitkamp came back next
year? steven: i would come yes. >> is it fair to say we will see the groups that you run make a financial investment in the texas senate race? steven: if ted cruz needs our help, we will be there. we will have to take some measurements of our own. he will not be for want of resources. jonathan: what does that say to you about the politics, that the mcconnell group might write to the rescue of ted cruz and 2018? steven: we protect no matter what. i think senator cruz has become more of a partner in the senate than in the past, less the gadfly. that has helped him politically in his state and in the caucus. alexi: when we were discussing the errors in a primary, you talked about the challenge of bringing together the republican coalition. it seems increasingly difficult
for republicans, and we have seen many republican candidates mimic president trump. did you anticipate that would happen in the cycle? is importantnk it for republican candidates to be successful, particularly winning primaries, to be in line with the president overall ideologically. stylistically republican candidates have to do that. most may be outlined ideologically, but mike braun is a different persona, so is kevin cramer. so is she. to be out of step in critical with the president are tough to pull off and keep the coalition together, but you can also be your own person. alexi: what is one senate race where you think president
trump's presence in a campaign rally would be a liability? steven: as i look at the races, there is not a single state i would take off the map. would it be better to go to the cal counties up north in nevada than vegas? there are areas where he could make a positive difference, rally the troops come and get the kind of turnout we will need to win these races. alexi: it jonathan: it sounds like the hope is to use the president surgically and bring him in conservative and less populous markets. steven: we will see. the one thing i have to say is this president is guided by a good political team and has been doing surgical reasonably well.
iny took a nuanced position the primary to make sure don blankenship didn't win. intolked to kevin cramer running that raise. i think he started to recognize he does have a unique role and can strengthen the majority in the senate, and does seem to be taking advice from those in the white house. the kavanaugh nominations begin tuesday. give us a sense of these trump state republican states, joe donnelly, heidi heitkamp, if they vote against brett kavanaugh, what pressure would you put on advertising in those states? steven: it is a tough an important issue for democrats, particularly for joe donnelly and heidi heitkamp. the stakes have really changed for democrats in this fight. the really high stakes
scorched-earth approach that senator schumer has taken has put his own red state democrats in a tough spot you'd i think they will vote -- spot. i think they will vote to confirm to have any chance of winning reelection come up will hurt them more than the neil gorsuch vote with donors and activists who they need to get enthused about their candidacy, of they are in a tough spot. alexi: speaking of messaging and advertising, what has been the most effective messaging strategy for your group? that had beenue on the sidelines that we are seeing having resonance is immigration, sanctuary cities, abolishing ice, more extreme positions the party has become aligned with. not all, but some. talking about those issues as residents where we are trying to
be picking up democratic seats is fall. alexi: what message or topic has fired up donors? steven: in general, our constituency of donors is interested in winning races. they want to see an opportunity to change the senate in a positive direction and increase the strength of the majority. there was an early, strong interest in defending the house. that was an easy sale. we have to help defend the house . republican donors were responsive to that. what we have seen is the importance of the senate firewall in case the house is thesaved in november, and one thing about supreme court nominations it reminds people that is what the senate does, the personnel business, so we have seen a surge in interest in the importance of making sure we hold on to the senate. it seems the house is
in jeopardy of flipping. is that fair to say? steven: i would not write it off. i think we continue to see each week the scenario changes somewhat. we are competitive, but it is an uphill climb. jonathan: how does that shape what you do and your interaction with party strategists and donors, does the senate at some not the onlyif game in town, the biggest game in town? steven: it has not gotten there yet. it is important to protect the house, even if you think you would lose, because it easier to defend, and a 10-c deficit is easier to make up than a 40-c deficit. lookingct it starts more of a difficult proposition, people will be concerned about
making sure we had the senate. alexi: the president is talking about her red wave, what do you think about that? ,s he talking about the house the senate, and you anticipate a red wave? sure what henot means by that. i don't think there is much evidence of a red wave in terms of outsized enthusiasm and turnout. you could argue that there is a blue wave, a small blue wave, or ripple, where there is outsized democratic turnout, mostly special elections. we all know about special collections. if you spend $20 million on a small target, you can make things happen that have no relevance in the fall. it is hard to see a huge surge of republican enthusiasm that would dramatically change election outcomes beyond what we expect in the midterm. florida, you in
saw a surge in turnout on both sides, so it could be evenly matched. and wantove to see it to see it, but i don't see it yet. >> what will be the most expensive senate race this cycle? steven: the florida senate race. >> how much? steven: easily $150 million, something like that, at least that. the is one state where democrats have a quandary. you have a covenant with personal resources and access to money to find everything he would need to do. bill nelson has been a laggard in fundraising, not an energetic candidate. start looking like he might be deficit, and yet it will be a close race. face therats will
decision as to whether they spend the $27 million from labor day to the end. has the nomination in florida helped nelson with his turnout challenges, especially voters,unger, non-white or white voters overall, given that is typically the hardest group to turn out in the term cycles? to say whats hard the impact of the nomination is. he does have a lot of appeal with younger voters and is part of the reason why he won his primary. he also has a significant number of flaws. he is an avowed socialist has an fbi investigation around his administration. you can see the ticket cratering. that is also a possibility. i don't think you can assume it helps or hurts. one standing against
nelson, you would say who is that tired, old guy. alexi: what is the endorsement worth to republicans and 2018? steven: in some states it is statewide. earlier, if the president is willing to play a surgical role to build up enthusiasm among voters who might not turnout in a midterm, that could be tremendously helpful. alexi: is it? steven: it could be helpful to mike braun in indiana, josh holly in missouri. it could be decisive for patrick morrissey in west virginia. i think that race gets a shakeup if the president decides to park
himself there for the last two weeks of october. jonathan: you have come around on josh holly and think he is in a good spot now. steven: in his defense, he was caught in the quagmire surrounding the governor. the poor guy could not go to dinner because people would say why are you investigating the governor. it was hard to raise money and move around in the state. i think he is an energetic candidate. i think that is a dead heat at this point in terms of where that ballot his. jonathan: two fast questions. signals fromen any senator cruz that they would like you to play in that race? ate his allies given cues all about that race? steven: we heard some other groups are thinking about hitting involved in the race, but everyone is testing how
serious this is. jonathan: are you pulling there? steven: we will be. jonathan: who on election night will be closer in their race? who will have higher vote share? texas or tennessee? -- in: higher vote share think at the end of the day, he might come up short if his record is litigated to voters in texas, it will be considered a bridge too far. the other is the best possible recruit for tennessee. he is fondly remembered. he has done a great job reminding people of who he is. tennessee, people want to vote for the republican. i don't think you have to do too
much to distinguish one from the other to make them realize that they really want to be for black turn. he runs theu think more competitive race? steven: at the end of the day. jonathan: there are two different theories. one theory is the more traditional democratic theory, you run in the middle in a red state, blur differences, accommodate the conservative tilt, and you basically deflect questions about your national party. in an effort to energize voters who don't show up -- i'm curious what you think is the more effective strategy for the other side. steven: in many states, the democratic race is energized and the challenge they have, particularly in the states that are red, texas, tennessee more
so, you have to appeal to moderate, suburban voters who vote republican. in those states, it might be hazardous to run too far to the left. ,> as you look at that moderate suburban, educated voter, are they the key constituency for both parties? steven: in a midterm where you will not have as a motivated base, you need to win them over. one thing i like his each state has its own unique trademarks and the graphics, but certainly in a state like tennessee, the goal for phil britta's and is to reach that middle-of-the-road, educated voter, mostly suburban, but inclined to vote republican. he has to win them over. at the end of the day, most tennessee voters who would want to vote for republican would say blackburn is my kind of person. i just am think the other would
be as reliable as blackburn would be for the things i care about. >> a couple of more minutes remain. alexi: talk to me about what your life would look like in the next two months, sleeping, stressed out, and what is going on at the senate leadership fund after labor day? what is changing? what are you going to focus on? steven: those are all good questions. we will continue to raise money. in mid-october, you either run out of people to ask for things you are going to spend on, that will be at 24/7 cycle of generating advertisements, digital, testing, looking at races, figuring out if we need to allocate more resources to the state, is this state not coming online? thatve seen some states have been forgotten about that are now potentially competitive.
i think wisconsin. i think that is a competitive race. montana, recent polls show that close. we will be polling soon. haveersey, who would thought democrats would be spending money in new jersey in august, which leads us to believe the map may be shifting. texas may be something we have to look at. evaluatingtantly every other day to figure out where the next dollar is test spent. it will be tremendously busy, and we've all be completely spent, but we have a great team. they do most of the work. >> do have a number on how much you will raise? steven: last cycle we were at $150 million. i think we will go past that this time. >> jonathan martin? jonathan: because florida his self financed by governor scott, what state do expect to spend
the most in total dollars? steven: where we will spend the most? jonathan: yes. steven: nevada is a very expensive bet. we are committed to that. democrats was been the most in nevada second after florida. they will pull out of florida at some point. jonathan: you do? steven: i think they've will realize it is a money pit and they are unhappy with nelson. it is a tough choice for them. missouri is an expensive spend. that will be one of our top expenses. northe a lot about dakota, but it is a cheap date. it will be less of a drain on the treasury. alexi: what he thinks senate democratic candidates are doing well this cycle? steven: raising money. part of it is they are mostly
incumbents. they had six years to build up bank accounts, but democrats have cracked the code, especially on low dollar fundraising that is cheap to do, relatively low transaction costs come and yet able to raise large amounts of money. that matters. , claire at missouri mccaskill had four times as much money as josh holly. that makes a difference. i think they have done a good job on that. i think joe donnelly has done a good job, figuring out how to thread the needle come voting with trump only 40% of the time. he knows those issues. he tries to ingratiate himself with voters to win in november. >> how much capital does mike pence have? steven: he was the former
governor and can get attention. he can help support the republican candidate, mike braun. much in others parts of the state, so both the president and the vice president. jonathan: as you recall from the bush-cheney era, they were constantly raising money, whether the campaign committees, house and senate, individual candidates for rnc. president trump does not do as much fundraising. when he does is for his own reelection and the rnc. why do you think that his, and forthat created a demand folks like you to be more aggressive or creative on the fundraising front? itven: i hadn't focused on much because it does not directly affect us, but i do sense an ever greater need for
the work of outside groups like , just a greater need for that kind of activity because the party committees don't have the resources they have had in the past. with george w. bush, after , andn-feingold became law he did that effectively, which is why outside groups did not get formed until 2010, because president bush met the need himself. jonathan: you mention this earlier, but democrats do seem to have cracked the code on online fundraising, and maybe that is because trump provides the kindling they need to raise the money, but is that a deficit for your party, the fact you can't raise the money online that democrats can? steven: i am not exactly sure what the difference is. it is something that bears looking into.
democrats prior to president trump thing president, i think you're right it probably helped put their fundraising on steroids, but they had the machinery, the list, the whole approach, and republicans have been late to that. we have been content to have party committees raise most of the money. my organization does not raise a dollar. low typically that pipeline has done in a traditional way over the years. it is the things democrats decided to take out of the party and have done a good job at. i think republicans need to steal a page from the playbook. how long do you think he stays in the job? steven: a good long time. he is getting ready for 2020. you will see the pieces for his long game reelection. he is good at it. athink you will see him stay
that and run for another term. you never know what happens down the road. he is dedicated to coming back after 2020. jonathan: you think he would come back, if reelected, and remain leader of the party in 2021? steven: i would assume so, yeah. >> thank you for joining us on newsmakers. steven: thank you. was great being on. conversatione the om and jonathan martin for the new york times. jonathan, is this a referendum on donald trump? jonathan: it most certainly is. most midterms are. no president in modern history consumes not just the political and cultural conversation this president does. this is a unique moment in history.
democrats and republicans talk about localizing races, focusing on an issue here or there, but views of this president will drive a lot of voters to the polls this fall. alexi: that is what i will be watching when i ask about --didates mimicking himself themselves after president trump. i think it will be a real challenge in the november elections. that is something he highlighted when he said mic she needs to bring together that coalition. >> cannot stronger economy that helps republicans, and the trump personality that democrats run on? jonathan: if you are inclined to like president trump, you don't see a lot of bad news on the landscape, abroad boom in the economy at home and you are generally pretty happy. the challenge is people who vote their tribe or partisan instinct
now more than their pocketbook, right question mark that is the trend -- right? that is the trend in this country we have seen. voters in nevada or arizona might be in expensing good economic times. if they are an easy with the president's conduct, that can be a challenge for republicans come and look no further than suburban women. that is the key group. that is where it will be difficult for republicans to separate themselves from the president. alexi: especially has the president has made public lands to campaign as much as he can through november. republicans think that is an asset. we know there are places where that could hurt him, especially where hillary clinton one and places are more competitive and we have seen heightened enthusiasm so far. i am curious to see how that is handled by republicans, but
until then, we have seen the president work in their favor. steven: given how unpopular the president is with the electorate and the unmistakable evidence for a good democratic year -- evenhan: steven law referred to the blue wave. he said there was more blue wave than anything else, saying the house is an uphill fight for his party. it is ready extraordinary debt and at ease when you talk about the gop holding the senate. doubt at allve any that his party was can a halt the senate and said they are guaranteed to pick up at least one seat in north dakota, and perhaps two if missouri hangs on. >> another state florida, there
are six or seven media markets in the state of florida. think the money aspect is part of why they might feel really confident about the senate two, they know how much money they have to pump in the races themselves. they know how much money gov. rick scott has to pump into these races himself. haverats, as he said cracked the code with online donations. that is not going to help as much in big media markets like we see in florida. jonathan: i think the money is really critical. a lot of the democratic incumbents have a financial advantage head-to-head over their republican challengers. i think it will be interesting to see where the president goes this fall. i covered a rally that he did
for the governor of south carolina, heavy -- it was in a high school gym in the suburban columbia. the president made a comment that was half in jest, henry i usually don't play high school gyms, you are a good buddy so i will do it for you. you can tell that the spectrum of talking to about two dozen people in a stuffy basketball arena at a high school was not his idea. that to me is going to be fascinating to watch, can they get this president into not just markets and some of these states, can you bring air force one into some of these airstrips and have him go to places like flagstaff? not phoenix, but flagstaff. see a i'm curious to visit messaging strategy changes the closer we get to the election.
in order to get folks to turn out because they love you too then vote for whatever republican you are supporting, he has to talk more about those candidates and less about himself. those voters know they arty like the president, they should know why they should get outside and vote for the republican candidate. .> we will close on that both of you, thank you for being with us. >> national book award-winning on in-depthr guest fiction, a live call-in program on sunday at noon eastern. with the most recent book, rope, me, this is the another brooklyn, miracles boys, plus over 15 novels and illustrated books for children and young adults.
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public service by america's cable television companies. today, we continue to bring you congress, coverage of the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington dc and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. peter: so, louis rossetto, when did you found "wired" magazine? louis: my partner, jane metcalfe and i started "wired" project in 1991 and launched into the american market in january of 1993 as bill clinton was taking over as president of the united states. notably, al gore was talking about the information super highway. it was a generational change that was occurring on the political level and for -- on the larger scale on the cultural