Top of the Hour

Good morning. Today we're looking ahead to 2025, counting down the days until a government shutdown, and thinking of Tim Scott's girlfriend. Let's get after it.  

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What's News

FIELD OF REPUBLICANS: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) suspended his presidential campaign last night, saying that “the voters … have been really clear that they’re telling me, ‘Not now, Tim.’” He added that he has no plans to endorse any other candidate as yet, and that he doesn’t want to be anyone’s running mate. Scott had the second-most cash on hand of any candidate at the end of the third quarter, but he had been struggling to reach even 5% in recent national polls. Last month, the super PAC backing his bid canceled its fall ads. The senator, who is 58-years-old, hinted that he could run for president again in the future. (Fox News)

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s (R) campaign launched a $10-million TV, radio, and digital ad buy in Iowa and New Hampshire. The campaign will begin in the first week of December through, “a massive investment designed to give” her “an advantage over” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “at a critical moment in the GOP nomination fight. … Haley’s planned investment, as of now, is more than five times larger than DeSantis’ current advertising reserves for the same time period,” per AdImpact. The ads in Iowa will run through the Jan. 15 caucus, and those in New Hampshire will air until the primary. (AP)

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) became the first GOP presidential candidate to visit Israel since its conflict with Hamas began on Oct. 7. Christie slammed former President Trump during his visit, saying that the former president’s “rhetoric of intolerance … had fueled the surge of bigotry confronting Jews and Muslims after Hamas’s brutal Oct. 7 attack on Israel and the fierce Israeli response in Gaza.” Christie said that Trump’s “lack of ‘intellectual curiosity’ and foreign policy ambition had led his administration to give up the pursuit of a more elusive peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” (New York Times)

Trump criticized the various judges and prosecutors that are presiding over his indictments during a two-hour speech in New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon. He also attacked Gov. Chris Sununu (R) during his address. (WMUR) Trump “is planning an extreme expansion of his first-term crackdown on immigration if he returns to power in 2025—including preparing to round up undocumented people already in the United States on a vast scale and detain them in sprawling camps while they wait to be expelled. The plans would sharply restrict both legal and illegal immigration in a multitude of ways.” (New York Times)

VIRGINIA: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-07) launched her campaign for governor this morning. Spanberger was long expected to jump in the race after the Virginia legislative elections, which saw Democrats take full control of the General Assembly. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) is also expected to jump into the Democratic primary by the end of the year. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) is term-limited. Among Republican candidates, state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) and Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears (R) “are widely seen in political circles as likely contenders. Neither has publicly committed to a run.” (AP)

In VA-10, former state Education Secretary Atif Qarni (D) launched his campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D). (release) State Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D) and state Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D) are also running, with more candidates potentially jumping in.

WASHINGTON: Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz (D) dropped out of the governor’s race on Friday to run for WA-06. The announcement comes after Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-06) announced he is not seeking reelection. Franz’s “congressional campaign announcement comes with an endorsement from Kilmer.” (KUOW)

DEMOCRATS: President Biden’s policy ambitions for a potential second term are no secret, even though he hasn’t formally released any proposals as part of his reelection bid. He wants to bolster funding for childcare and community college, while lowering the cost of prescription drugs. “He also has unfulfilled promises on civil rights, such as protecting access to the ballot box, preventing police misconduct and restoring the nationwide right to abortion. Banning firearms known as assault rifles remains a priority as well.” (AP) “Top Democrats are divided on whether to make abortion the central issue of the 2024 elections, with centrists warning it could undercut efforts to focus on more broadly appealing economic topics.” (Axios)

ALABAMA: Rep. Barry Moore (R-02) won’t accept support from the conservative Club for Growth this cycle. The Club backed Moore in his initial campaign in 2020, but its rift with Trump led Moore to publicly decline the Club’s support. Moore was the first elected official to endorse Trump back in 2015, when he was a state legislator. Due to redistricting, Moore will face Rep. Jerry Carl (R-01) in a member-on-member primary. (Hotline reporting)

In the new AL-02, “at least 21 candidates” entered the primary by the qualifying deadline on Friday. The list includes six state lawmakers. State Sen. Merika Coleman (D) and former Justice Department official Shomari Figures (D) were among the high-profile names in the field. On the Republican side, former NFL player Wallace Gilberry (R) launched his bid. (Alabama Reflector)

ARIZONA: Democratic donors have left Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) since she left the party “and she hasn’t made up the loss with Republicans or independents.” This highlights the “challenge the Arizona independent faces as she weighs whether to seek reelection: Sinema quit a party with which she was often at odds, and now she will have to build a base using only her personal brand.” An analysis of Sinema’s donors shows that they are “more loyal to the Democratic Party than they are to Sinema.” Her potential Democratic opponent, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-03), has raised “two-and-a-half times as much” from major donors who contributed to Sinema in 2018 than her. (Politico)

Gallego’s stance on immigration may be shifting as he mounts a statewide bid. He is “no longer speaking for an immigrant-friendly, left-leaning district in Arizona during the Trump years they despised. Instead, his words are now directed at a Democratic administration in a potential three-way Senate contest” against Sinema and 2022 GOV nominee Kari Lake (R) “in a swing state amid rising public concern about the border.” (Arizona Republic)

MT SEN: A poll commissioned by a super PAC supporting former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy (R) from Fabrizio, Lee & Associates (Oct 23-25; 600 LVs; +/-4%) found Sheehy leading Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-02), who has yet to make an official entry to the race. Sheehy led Rosendale in a primary race with several other candidates, 38%-35%. In a head-to-head contest between the two, Sheehy led Rosendale, 44%-41%. (Politico)

OHIO: A new poll from the progressive Data for Progress (Oct. 31 -Nov. 2; 597 LVs; +/-4%) found Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in tight races with all of his three possible Republican opponents. Brown led 2022 candidate Bernie Moreno (R), 47%-44%, with 9% undecided. Brown led 2022 candidate Matt Dolan (R), 47%-46%, with 7% undecided. And Brown was tied with Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) at 46% with 8% undecided. (release)

“Several Republican lawmakers plan to fight the recently approved abortion rights amendment by trying to overthrow the judicial branch's authority to interpret it.” Four GOP state lawmakers said in a statement that they “will consider removing jurisdiction from the judiciary over this ambiguous ballot initiative.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)

RACE FOR THE HOUSE: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 20) intends to serve out the remainder of his term but did not commit to running for reelection. He said he will talk to his family over the holidays to determine the next steps. McCarthy’s potential absence from Congress could leave a black hole in the “GOP’s pocketbook.” He raised $637 million during his time as speaker and Republican leader for super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund and its sister organization, American Action Network. Speaker Mike Johnson has coordinated with McCarthy to help the new speaker boost his fundraising efforts. (CNN)

House Republicans from swing districts are no longer supporting efforts from party leaders to use spending bills to curtail abortion access. This comes after the elections last Tuesday hinted again that the GOP’s abortion position was out of sync with the American public. Rep. John Duarte (R-CA 13) said: “The American people are speaking very clearly: There is no appetite for national abortion law. And there’s enough of us in the Republican Party that are going to stand against it.” (New York Times)

LOUISIANA REDISTRICTING: “A federal appeals court has given the Louisiana legislature until Jan. 15, 2024, to draw a new congressional map after concluding a lower court correctly ruled that the previous map likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the power of the state's Black voters.” Gov.-elect Jeff Landry (R) plans to call a special session, but if he calls it on his Jan. 8 inauguration, the state constitution requires a seven-day grace period, meaning the session couldn’t begin until the Jan. 15 deadline. Outgoing Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has not commented on whether he will call a special session. (NPR)

RI-01 SPECIAL: Former Biden administration official Gabe Amo (D) will be sworn in today, bringing the Democrats to full strength at 213 members. Amo handily won the special election last week over Marine veteran Gerry Leonard (R). (WPRI)

WV SEN: Gov. Jim Justice (R) “acknowledges many but not all of his big debts on a mandatory financial disclosure.” His latest FEC filing reports between $37.5 million and $108.1 million in liabilities, including promissory notes, lines of credit and judgements. However, “that leaves out major debts that have been the subject of financial and legal conflict—along with regular news reports. In some cases, Justice personally guaranteed loans valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.” Justice’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. Justice also did not “seem to understand the question,” when asked about why some of his bigger debts were not reflected on his disclosure form. (WVRC)

   Dissecting the Off-Year Election and What to Expect in 2024

The Hotline staff analyzes the results of the off-year elections and discuss our "What It Takes 2024" series.

 Listen to our Latest Webinar

  Paging the Hotline

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 Hotline's Graph of the Day


President Biden hasn't figured out how to turn around his stagnant approval ratings and top Democratic strategists are worried he's running out of time with less than a year before the election. Last week Biden tried to downplay the New York Times/Siena College polls that found him trailing former President Trump in key swing states. At a donor event in Illinois, Biden “bragged to donors about Democrats’ performance in Tuesday’s elections" and said it's proof the Democratic message has a receptive audience, according to the Washington Post.


 Hair of the Dog

A tiny deer and rising seas: How far should people go to save an endangered species?” (NPR)

Our Call

Sen. Tim Scott had a glorious summer. The South Carolina senator spoke at packed campaign events in Iowa. Donors were exploring whether to abandon Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for him as the top alternative to former President Trump. His campaign was invested heavily in ads: In August, it spent in an $8-million TV ad campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire that was set to last until the end of this month. But his momentum came to a screeching halt when he delivered an underwhelming performance at the first primary debate on Aug. 23, where he spoke for less time than any other candidate—bar the two outsiders. When the super PAC backing Scott’s presidential bid canceled its fall ads, it was the start of his winter of discontent. Scott showed signs of promise, in part because he seemed to have some of the best favorability ratings of all the candidates. He had very few loyal supporters, though, so was never going to threaten Trump. Zac Weisz

Christmas came early this year for House Republicans, as Rep. Abigail Spanberger formally launched her campaign for Virginia governor, forgoing reelection in a battleground district. National Republicans who spoke to Hotline for our “What It Takes 2024” series emphasized Spanberger's vacant seat as a top pickup opportunity and touted 2022 candidate Derrick Anderson (R) as one of their top recruits. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter also shifted its rating toward Republicans following the announcement. But even without Spanberger's fundraising ability, Democrats have a deep bench in Virginia. Fresh off securing both chambers in the General Assembly last week, look for early movement on the Democratic side to replace the congresswoman. In the big picture, Democrats now have three vacancies in competitive seats, while Republicans have none. “All retirements are not created equal,” former NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers told Hotline. — James A. Downs

 Fresh Brewed Buzz

“​​Pope Francis on Saturday dismissed Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, one of his fiercest critics among U.S. Roman Catholic conservatives, after he refused to step down following a Vatican investigation.” The Vatican's "statement on Saturday announcing the dismissal gave no reason." (Reuters)

“An internal State Department dissent memo accuses” Biden “of ‘spreading misinformation’ on the Israel-Hamas war and alleges that Israel is committing ‘war crimes’ in Gaza.” (Axios)

​​Hamas envisioned deeper attacks, aiming to provoke an Israeli war” (Washington Post)

“Federal authorities are investigating whether” New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), “pressured New York Fire Department officials to sign off on the Turkish government’s new high-rise consulate in Manhattan despite safety concerns with the building.” (New York Times)

In one morning, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eclipsed Speaker Mike Johnson in terms of interviews conducted with mainstream American TV networks since Johnson took the gavel on Oct. 25. (Politico)

Kelly Johnson, the speaker’s wife, “has rallied opposition to abortion rights and used her pastoral counseling business to condemn homosexuality.” (New York Times)

Donald Trump arrives at MSG to attend UFC 295 flanked by Kid Rock, Dana White and Tucker Carlson” (New York Post)

“Just weeks after he abandoned his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination, former Vice President Mike Pence’s second book is set to hit the shelves.” It will provide faith and family advice. (The Republic)

 Rooster's Crow

The House is in at noon. The Senate is in at 3 p.m.

Biden will depart New Castle, Delaware, at 9:10 a.m., and head back to the White House, returning at 10:05 a.m. He will welcome the Las Vegas Golden Knights at 11:30 a.m. to celebrate their Stanley Cup win before holding a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at 4 p.m.

Swizzle Challenge

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day.

No one won Friday's challenge. Here’s our challenge: Which president first celebrated Diwali in the White House?

The 3rd correct email gets to submit the next question.

 Early Bird Special

Democratic strategists say the math is in their favor as they look to take back the chamber.

Republicans are banking on battle-tested incumbents to hold the line.

The issue of how to best regulate the internet has been embroiled in politics for the better part of the past decade.

Plus: Johnson runs into same spending-bill hurdles McCarthy faced; Cardin sees a path for release of Hamas hostages; IHS facilities in poor condition; and bill prioritizes climate resilience.


“I ran for president to be president. … I think I was called to run. I was not called to win, but I certainly was called to run.” — Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) (CNN)


“They just couldn't believe that someone would do all that running for no particular reason.” — Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump)

Kirk A. Bado, Wake-Up Call! Editor

Associate Editor: Hannah Thacker
Senior Production Editor: Taameen Mohammad
Staff Writers: Mary Frances McGowan, Zac Weisz, James A. Downs, Sydney Kashiwagi
Hotline Intern:  Erika Filter

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