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September 02, 2014

Wolf Maintains Huge Lead in Pennsylvania

A new Robert Morris University Polling Institute poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) leads Gov. Tom Corbett (R) by a wide margin, 56% to 25%, among likely voters.

Quote of the Day

"Well they can come over and do same-day registration and say they want to come down and vote. So if they feel compelled to do so, come on down."

-- Scott Brown (R), quoted by, encouraging out-of-state voters to vote for him in New Hampshire.

Grimm's Trial to Start After Election

A federal judge set a December 1 trial date for Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) "on charges of tax evasion and hiring undocumented workers, rejecting arguments from the Staten Island Republican that jurors might be prejudiced by negative election ads," Newsday reports.

Roll Call: "Democrats had hoped Grimm's trial would begin in October, leading to weeks of negative press in the run up to the midterms. But Grimm's legal troubles still imperil his re-election hopes."

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

Sanford's Ex-Wife Wants Psychiatric Evaluation

Jenny Sanford is demanding her ex husband, Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) undergo psychiatric evaluations and complete an anger management program as part of their ongoing divorce proceedings, WCSC reports.

Power of Incumbency Could Save Democrats

Morning Line: "Incumbents traditionally have an advantage because voters in those states have already elected them statewide, giving them natural bases -- and fundraising networks and turnout operations -- to get 50 percent. What's more, the candidates Democrats have in some of these red states are legacy candidates. In other words, not only are they personally well known, their families are too. The Landrieus, Pryors, Begiches, and Udalls are near political royalty in their respective states. But will their personal dynasties pay the dividends needed this fall and be enough to overcome the national environment? It could be for some but not for others. How many survive could be the difference between a Democratic and Republican Senate for the last two years of Obama's presidency."

Kentuckians Don't Want Paul Running for Two Offices

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kentucky finds that two-thirds of registered voters in the state -- including a majority of Republicans -- oppose changing the law to it easier for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to run for president and re-election at the same time.

Landrieu Attacked for Representing Washington, DC

A new American Crossroads ad attacking Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is just brutal and very effective.

See more...

Alaska Democrats Back Independent for Governor

"The Alaska Democratic Party broke with long tradition Monday when its central committee voted 89-2 to not field a gubernatorial ticket and instead put its weight behind the independent campaign of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott," the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

"The vote to support the fusion ticket was contingent on Walker dropping his Republican Party affiliation. Mallott will quit as the Democratic Party's nominee for governor, as will his running mate, state Sen. Hollis French. But Mallott will remain a Democrat, executive director Kay Brown said after the vote at party headquarters in a Spenard bungalow."

Why Republicans Hold an Midterm Edge

Morning Line: "First, with primary season all but wrapped up -- Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island hold the last primaries next Tuesday -- Republicans have done all they can structurally to prevent problematic candidates from emerging, unlike in years past. But most importantly, it's where these races are taking place -- largely in conservative-leaning states. In fact, of the 12 states with competitive Senate races that are likely to decide the outcome of control of the Senate, Republican Mitt Romney won nine of them in the 2012 presidential election by an average of 16 points. And that's in a year when Republicans lost the Electoral College by 126 votes. (Republicans need to net six states seats to wrest control.)"

"What's more, if you add in the three states won by President Obama, Republicans still have an 11-point advantage. Democrats are defending more states -- 10 of the 12 are seats held by Democrats. And the two Democratic targets are in states Romney won by an average of 15 points. Plus, the demographics of who shows up in midterm elections favor Republicans. The electorate in midterms is generally whiter, older, more likely to be married and have better paying jobs."

Mayor Ousts Man for Not Standing During Pledge of Allegiance

Winter Garden, FL Mayor John Rees asked police to remove a man from a City Commission meeting because he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

"Rees said he considered the man's refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to be disrespectful to American military troops who are serving overseas and others who have given their lives in defense of freedom."

Majority Still Opposed to Scottish Independence

A new YouGov poll finds support for Scottish independence has risen eight points in a month.

The No camp are now six points ahead of the Yes campaign, 53% to 47%, down from 14 points in mid-August and 22 points early last month, excluding undecided voters.

The Political Education of Mitch McConnell

Out this month: The Cynic: The Political Education of Mitch McConnell by Alec MacGillis.

More Think U.S. Does Too Little Abroad

A new Pew Research/USA Today finds a large majority of Americans think the world is a more dangerous place than it was several years ago.

"Republicans, Democrats and independents all are more likely to say the U.S. does too little to solve world problems, but the shift among Republicans has been striking. Last fall, 52% of Republicans said the U.S. does too much to help solve global problems, while just 18% said it does too little. Today, 46% of Republicans think the U.S. does too little to solve global problems, while 37% say it does too much."

The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) tops the Roll Call list of the most vulnerable senators.

GOP Performing Below Expectations in House Races

"Tepid fundraising, underperforming candidates and a lousy party brand are threatening to deprive House Republicans of the sweeping 2014 gains that some top party officials have been predicting this year," Politico reports.

"Politico interviewed more than a dozen top strategists from both parties about their outlook for the House in the midterms, and their assessment was nearly unanimous: Republicans are on track to expand their majority by only five or six seats, or roughly half their goal. The conversations covered everything from advertising strategies to fundraising to polling."

Massachusetts Voters Not Engaged as Election Nears

A new Boston Globe poll finds that 74% of Massachusetts voters said "they were uncertain for whom to cast their ballot in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, and 60% were undecided in the race for treasurer."

Obama Approval Drops to New Low in California

A new Field Poll in California finds President Obama's approval ratings "have fallen to a record low in California, with nearly as many voters now disapproving of the job Obama is doing as approving."

"Only 45% of California voters hold a favorable view of Obama's job performance... down 5 percentage points from June and dropping below 50% for the first time since late 2011. Disapproval climbed to 43%."

Cantor Heads to Wall Street

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) plans to join boutique investment bank Moelis & Co. as he embarks on a new career on Wall Street, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Cantor lost his seat in Congress when he was defeated in a June primary. Rather than continue as majority leader, he stepped down from the post last month."

Bloomberg says Cantor will be paid at least $3.4 million this year.

Durbin Leads in Re-Election Bid

A new We Ask America survey in Illinois finds Sen. Dick Durbin (D) leads challenger Jim Oberweis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 41%.

Republicans Plan Policy Agenda for Senate

"As odds improve that the GOP will control both chambers of Congress next year, Senate Republicans are starting to plan an agenda intended to extract policy concessions from President Obama without inducing the capital's market-rattling brinkmanship of recent years," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Republican senators say the emerging plans aim to show voters that the party can successfully govern--enacting GOP policy while avoiding a sharply confrontational tone that some Republicans fear could endanger the party's electoral prospects in 2016. Some of the top goals include approving the Keystone XL pipeline, passing accelerated rules for overseas trade agreements, speeding up federal reviews of natural-gas exports and repealing the 2010 health law's medical-device tax."

NATO to Create Rapid Response Force for Eastern Europe

"As Ukrainian leaders warned on Monday of 'a great war' with Russia, NATO leaders meeting in Wales this week were expected to endorse their most concrete response yet to increased Russian military intervention in Ukraine: establishing a rapid-reaction force capable of deploying quickly to Eastern Europe," the New York Times reports.

"The new force of some 4,000 troops, capable of moving on 48 hours' notice, will be supported with logistics and equipment pre-positioned in Eastern European countries closer to Russia, with an upgraded schedule of military exercises and deployments that are intended to make NATO's commitment of collective defense more credible and enhance its deterrence."

Wealthy Donors Take Advantage of Giving to Unlimited Candidates

The Washington Post notes that "wealthy political contributors have more access than ever to candidates since the ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. More than 300 donors have seized the opportunity, writing checks at such a furious pace that they have exceeded the old limit of $123,200 for this election cycle."

"Together, 310 donors gave a combined $11.6 million more by this summer than would have been allowed before the ruling. Their contributions favored Republican candidates and committees over Democratic ones by 2 to 1."

September 01, 2014

Citizens United Case Helped Elect More Republicans

Washington Post: "The 2010 Supreme Court decision that helped usher in a new era of political spending gave Republicans a measurable advantage on Election Day, according to a new study."

"The advantage isn't large, but it is statistically significant: The researchers found the ruling, in Citizens United v. FEC, was associated with a six percentage-point increase in the likelihood that a Republican candidate would win a state legislative race."

"And in six of the most affected states -- Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee -- the probability that a Republican would be elected to a state legislative seat increased by 10 percentage points or more. In five other states -- Colorado, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming -- Republican candidates were seven percentage points more likely to win."

House Republicans Don't Expect Government Shutdown

"Almost a year since the last partial government shutdown began, many House Republicans say they have little desire to start another," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"With one month before the government's funding runs out on Sept. 30, Republicans said they expect to pass a short-term spending measure to prevent a high-stakes clash just before November's midterm elections... Several members also said their desire to avoid legislative feuding in September extends to the Export-Import Bank, a federal trade agency that supports U.S. exporters and whose charter expires at month's end."

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