1. Washington Democrats can’t seem to make up their minds about Allan Fung. House Democrats’ super PAC is airing a barrage of TV ads that attack the former Cranston mayor as “extreme and dangerous,” allegedly eager to help Kevin McCarthy ban abortion nationwide. Yet House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer went on the record with D.C. reporters Thursday to say Fung is “not an extremist” — literally contradicting his own party’s message. That split screen in the race to replace Jim Langevin neatly captures the struggle Democrats seem to be having in running against Fung, who Langevin himself has repeatedly praised as a nice guy even as he urges voters to make Seth Magaziner his successor. Hoyer’s comment helped fuel a buoyant mood around the Fung campaign this week, in part because it came the same day Fung was in Boston for a fundraiser headlined by Southern New England’s most prominent moderate Republican, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. Magaziner’s allies counter that they were never under any illusions about how hard Fung would be to beat, and they still think they can convince a plurality of voters to look past his personal qualities and focus on which party should control the House. They also think abortion could be a crucial differentiator, since Fung has at times struggled to crisply articulate his position on the issue. But Fung has a huge head start over Magaziner in defining himself with 2nd District voters thanks to his two decades on the political scene, and he also has the wind at his back to the extent this year’s midterm election sees the typical backlash against the president’s party. Suffice to say, the next public poll in this race is going to draw outsized attention.
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