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POLITICO Morning Score: Jamestown Associates’ Brent Barksdale heads to Go BIG Media

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Sparks fly in final Ky. governor debate — Scott demurs on 2018 Senate bid — MS-01 special today

By STEVEN SHEPARD

Click Here To View The Orginial Article In POLITICO Morning Score

5/12/15 10:01 AM EDT

With Kyle Cheney and Kevin Robillard

STAFF MOVES — Jamestown Associates’ Brent Barksdale heads to Go BIG Media: From a forthcoming press release: “Today, Go BIG Media, a Washington, D.C. and Florida based digital media firm, announced the addition of a new partner, and President of Creative Strategies, Brent Barksdale. The new hire is a big get for the upstart firm ahead of 2016, ensuring Go BIG’s clients will have access to one of the most creative political minds in the country. Prior to leading Go Big Media’s creative team, Brent was Executive Vice President of Jamestown Associates and President of his own full-service political consulting firm he founded in 1997.”

FIGHT NIGHT — Campaign Pro’s Kyle Cheney on the last televised Kentucky GOP gubernatorial debate: In the final televised clash between the Republicans vying to become the next governor of Kentucky, state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer again denied charges lodged by a former girlfriend that he mentally and physically abused her — and he appeared to pick up a new ally in the cause: rival Matt Bevin. Bevin called the allegations “slandering” and blamed the campaign of Republican candidate Hal Heiner for pushing the allegations against Comer. Heiner fiercely denied that he or anyone in his campaign lifted a finger to spread the controversial charges against Comer. But he ended his remarks with a subtle dig: “Domestic abuse is a serious issue. But that’s between Jamie Comer and Ms. Thomas,” he said, referring to Comer’s former girlfriend.

— Bevin, who’s sought to capitalize on the discord between Heiner and Comer, said Heiner’s camp had “soiled the bed” in the GOP primary and could be damaging Republicans’ chances of winning the general election. Heiner countered by recalling Bevin’s crushing defeat by Sen. Mitch McConnell last year in a Senate primary, noting that Bevin didn’t shy away from attacking a fellow Republican then. “He trashed Senator McConnell throughout that campaign,” Heiner said. “He’s saying we shouldn’t have attack ads. … He’s done nothing but attack.”

Bevin kicked another $500,000 of his own money into his campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday, the Lexington Herald Leader reports. http://bit.ly/1dYRPzj

SCOTT PUNTS ON SUPPORTING LOPEZ-CANTERA — Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott was in Arlington on Monday for a sit-down at POLITICO HQ. We asked him about whom he’d support in the 2016 presidential race (our colleagues at The 2016 Blast reported those comments last night: http://politi.co/1y8wkFl).

Asked about the 2016 Senate race, Scott indicated he wouldn’t wade into the primary, even if his lieutenant governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, runs. “I’ve not endorsed in primaries,” he said. “He’s done a good job as my lieutenant governor.” Video: http://politi.co/1bLYlaQ

We also asked him about running for the Senate in 2018, since term limits won’t allow him to seek a third term. Scott joked that he “could sit out four years” and run for governor again in 2022. He added that he hasn’t considered a Senate bid. “I’ve been in business, and I’ve built companies. I was the CEO of the companies,” he said. “Being the governor is more similar to that type of job. So, people have asked me, and what I tell them is I’ve got three years and eight months left in this job, and I’ll worry about that.” http://politi.co/1F412iG, http://politi.co/1PElHga

As Mississippi voters go to the polls and his Senate colleagues unload on short-timer David Vitter, here's Campaign Pro’'s Morning Score: daily news, notes and essential information for the 2015 and 2016 election cycles.

Days until the 2015 election: 175; Days until the 2016 election: 546.

Thanks for joining us. Today’s forecast high of 89 degrees would be our warmest day since last Sept. 11 — and the tenth day in a row it’s been over 80 degrees. That 80-degree streak ends tomorrow, though. Email us at sshepard@politico.com, and find us on Twitter at @POLITICO_Steve.

IF IT’S TUESDAY — MS-01 voters will whittle a list of 13 congressional candidates down to 2 today. Campaign Pro’s Elena Schneider previewed the race in last Friday’s Morning Score: http://politi.co/1F4CZQx

TODAY ON CAMPAIGN PRO — “Billionaire Justice enters West Virginia gubernatorial race,” by Campaign Pro’s Kevin Robillard: http://politico.pro/1EuFWYo

EVERYBODY HATES DAVID — “Vitter’s anti-Obamacare crusade draws scorn — from GOP,” by POLITICO’s Manu Raju: “One fellow senator calls David Vitter’s years-long crusade to scrap health care subsidies for lawmakers and their staffers ‘disingenuous.’ Another says it’s obviously being done for political purposes.’ “I just don’t think he’s made a lot of progress on this issue,” a third senator says. And those are just fellow Republicans talking. Within the chummy confines of the U.S. Senate, Vitter has managed to draw more vitriol than perhaps even Ted Cruz.” http://politi.co/1F4Cxli

2016 IN 2 MINUTES — 

 — “Jeb Bush vs. Karl Rove,” by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt: “Jeb Bush was running for reelection as Florida’s governor in 2002 and needed the help of his brother, the president. But there was one person standing in his way: Karl Rove. Rove, the storied strategist who helped steer George W. Bush into the White House two years earlier, had laid down a strict rule for candidates seeking presidential assistance: No one — not even Jeb — would have unfettered access to the commander in chief. … By now, after more than a decades-worth of backstage disputes between the man who was the president’s political gatekeeper and the brother who now hopes to follow him into the White House, the frostiness has become the stuff of legend, attributable, people close to them say, to everything from personality differences to professional circumstances. Many have simply come to view them as two ambitious, sharp-elbowed men in a hurry who, at various points in time, have found themselves standing in each other’s way.” http://politi.co/1HepZeT

“Rick Santorum: Odd man out?” by POLITICO’s James Hohmann: “As he prepares to announce his second run for president at the end of the month, he is staring up at many rivals for his base of religious conservatives, while many of his former senior staffers and high-profile supporters are working for rival campaigns. … ‘It’s going to be extremely difficult for Rick,’ said Iowa activist Sam Clovis, who backed Santorum’s 2012 bid and for whose own U.S. Senate campaign Santorum cut a commercial last year. ‘He’s been out here quite a bit, but I’m not sure that he has retained a lot of the infrastructure he built in ’12 … and this is a much stronger field.’” http://politi.co/1Rzor27

“Round One for the RedState Gathering,” by RedState’s Erick Erickson, who announced that Bush, Walker, Perry, Fiorina and Jindal have agreed to address the meeting: “I am asking the 2016 candidates to do one thing, though, which we rarely do. Though I am loathe to ever suggest a topic for speakers, I have asked each of the 2016 candidates to focus on one thing: if they become President, their re-election would be in 2020. I’d like them to present their 2020 vision for what the nation should look like after their first four years. We do not need Obama bashing. We need to know what they would do differently and how they would shape the nation. They should be elected not on their ability to bash the opposition, but their ability to sell a vision for the future that resonances with the base and the nation as a whole. We do not, right now, need a 50 point plan. We need to know what they see as the areas that need fixing and how their fixes will reshape the country.” http://bit.ly/1bLg3LH

“First Republican presidential debate on track for Aug. 6 at The Q in Cleveland, sources say,” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Henry J. Gomez: “Fox News, which will sponsor the first Republican presidential debate, is expected to announce soon that it has settled on Aug. 6 at The Q in Cleveland, GOP sources have told the Northeast Ohio Media Group.” http://s.cleveland.com/USEtCGi

“De Blasio, Warren escalate pressure on Clinton,” by POLITICO’s Gabriel DeBenedetti: “Like Elizabeth Warren, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t running for president — he’s running to influence the presidential race. So when he and Warren appear together at the National Press Club in Washington before unveiling his Contract with America for the left, it will be the latest step in the Democrats’ primary within the primary: liberals’ effort to figure out how to push Hillary Clinton to the left. The primary within the primary may prove more challenging for Clinton than the real thing, in which she’s leading competitors by up to 50 points in some polls.” http://politi.co/1zVVis5

CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The bad news [is] I guess I’ll now be running against a billionaire. I guess the good news is I’m still the only real Democrat in the race,” — West Virginia state Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, on Jim Justice, who has donated to both Democrats and Republicans in the past, entering the gubernatorial race. http://bit.ly/1zUhMcV

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