Archive: August 31, 2014

Franken Maintains Lead in Minnesota

A new SurveyUSA poll in Minnesota finds Sen. Al Franken (D) well ahead of challenger Mike McFadden (R), 51% to 42%.

In the governor's race, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) leads challenger Jeff Johnson (R), 49% to 40%.

Senator's Refusal to Resign Changed South Dakota Politics

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader has the fascinating story of how Sen. Karl Mundt (R-SD) suffered a massive stroke in 1969 but would not resign.

"Mundt, the state's longest serving member in Congress, never would resume his duties as a senator, though he would occupy that office for three more years. His refusal to resign and allow outgoing Republican Gov. Frank Farrar to appoint his replacement before leaving office himself had profound consequences for South Dakota politics that ripple through today."

"Political observers have speculated on why Mundt stayed, despite urgings from longtime friends, prominent local Republicans and even the Nixon White House. The episode is one of South Dakota's prominent political mysteries."

Political Ads Flood the Airwaves

Associated Press: "Election Day is just two months off and the national tab for the 2014 campaign already stands at $1 billion. Before it's all over, the bill for the first midterm election since both Democrats and Republicans embraced a historic change in campaign finance is likely to grow to $4 billion or more."

The 5 Worst Campaigns of 2014

Washington Post: "Happy Labor Day weekend! In politics, this marks the final period of calm before a whirlwind nine weeks leading up to Election Day. It's also a good time to reflect on the 2014 election cycle so far -- full of dramatic twists, turns, unexpected triumphs and bitter disappointments. Sometimes all in the same day."

"There have also been a handful of unmitigated disasters. We're talking about the campaigns that failed miserably, after kicking off full of promise, in most cases."

McConnell Expands Lead in Kentucky

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) strengthening his lead over his challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 46% to 42%.

Democrats Rally Black Voters in Effort to Save Senate

"With their Senate majority imperiled, Democrats are trying to mobilize African-Americans outraged by the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., to help them retain control of at least one chamber of Congress for President Obama's final two years in office," the New York Times reports.

"In black churches and on black talk radio, African-American civic leaders have begun invoking the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, along with conservative calls to impeach Mr. Obama, as they urge black voters to channel their anger by voting Democratic in the midterm elections, in which minority turnout is typically lower."

Archive: August 30, 2014

McConnell Campaign Manager Quits Amid Scandal

"Jesse Benton resigned as Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) campaign manager following reports that he had emerged as a figure in an endorsement scandal during the 2012 Iowa presidential caucus," the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

"In an emailed statement Friday evening, Benton denied any involvement in the scandal, in which Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson admitted receiving payments from U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's campaign before switching his endorsement to the congressman. He had previously backed U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann."

Neck-and-Neck in Arkansas

A new Rasmussen survey in Arkansas finds Sen. Mark Pryor (D) barely ahead of challenger Tom Cotton (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 43%.

Archive: August 29, 2014

Judge Dismisses McDaniel Challenge

A Mississippi judge has tossed out Chris McDaniel's (R) challenge to that state's June 24 GOP primary runoff results, ending another chapter in one of the most bitterly contested U.S. Senate primaries in recent memory, CNN reports.

Jackson Clarion Ledger: "McDaniel is taking the long holiday weekend to mull whether he'll accept defeat from the June 24 GOP U.S. Senate primary, or continue his appeal to the state's high court."

Peters Keeps Lead in Michigan Senate Race

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) leads Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race by six points, 45% to 39%.

Baker Catches Coakley in New Poll

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Charlie Baker (R) has edged ahead of Martha Coakley (D) in the race for governor, 38% to 37%.

GOP Doesn't Need a Wave to Win

Amy Walter: "Despite dismal numbers for President Obama, a public deeply pessimistic about the direction of the country, and a Senate battleground based almost solely in red states, Republicans aren't running up the score in Senate races, even in deep red states. Many are asking: why hasn't the bottom dropped out on Democrats yet? The answer is: it already did."

Romney In Demand by GOP Candidates

"Mitt Romney, widely criticized by Republicans for losing a presidential race that many thought to be winnable, is suddenly one of his party's most sought-after campaigners," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"He has lent a hand to GOP Senate candidates in Arkansas, North Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire in a travel schedule that has included three-dozen fundraising events and rallies in the past year."

The Week: The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney

Landrieu Claims Parents' Home as Her Voting Address

"In Washington, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) lives in a stately, $2.5 million brick manse she and her husband built on Capitol Hill," the Washington Post reports.

"Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu's federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records."

O'Malley Offers Staff to South Carolina Democrats

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), "a 2016 White House aspirant trying to win backing in the first Southern presidential primary state, is sending four aides from his political-action group to help the S.C. Democratic party with the November election," the Columbia State reports.

"No other major Democratic candidate has offered staffing help to the state party."

Archive: August 28, 2014

Forecast Shows Democrats Outperforming Expectations

Sam Wang has updated his Senate forecast which shows Democrats with a 70% probability of retaining control of the upper chamber.

One reason his forecast is more favorable to Democrats than others is that he's relying more on actual polls than so-called "fundamentals."

"This year's Senate race is harder than any electoral forecast that the other forecasters have ever had to make. To be frank, 2008 and 2012 were easy. My own experience is guided by 2004 Presidential race, which was as close as this year's Senate campaign. In 2004, I formed the view that the correct approach is to use polls only, if at all possible."

Even Brownback's Poll Shows a Toss Up

An internal poll released by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) shows him barely ahead of challenger Paul Davis (D) in the race for governor, 43% to 42%.

McConnell Pledges No Government Shutdown

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "tried to quash talk that he would allow another government shutdown if he becomes Senate majority leader next year," CNN reports.

Said McConnell: "Of course not. Remember me? I am the guy that gets us out of shutdowns."

Brian Beutler: "He's threatening to use the appropriations process as leverage to extract concessions. That's a government shutdown fight. And no matter how he plays it, he will unleash forces he and other GOP leaders have proven incapable of restraining."

Schauer Pulls Ahead in Michigan

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Mark Schauer (D) has edged ahead of Gov. Rick Snyder (R) among likely voters by two points, 45% to 43%.

Said pollster Bernie Porn: "I would have bet that Snyder would have a significant lead at Labor Day. The fact that Schauer is up by a couple of points against an incumbent ... probably spells that this is going to be a close race."

Wolf Headed for Landslide Win in Pennsylvania

A new Franklin & Marshall College poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) with a 25-point lead over Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in the race for governor, 49% to 24%.

Said pollster Terry Madonna: "The big takeaway here is that the race has not changed because Corbett has not changed. His narrative remains the same, and that's the fundamental problem for his campaign."

Corbett would be the first Pennsylvania governor ever to be denied a second term.

Quote of the Day

"The best part of my life is I've been hired to work for the people of the state of Maine and I'm very humble and very proud. The worst part of my life is newspapers are still alive."

-- Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), quoted by the Bangor Daily News.

Archive: August 27, 2014

Walker Holds Edge in Wisconsin

A new Marquette Law School poll in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) with a slim lead over challenger Mary Burke (D) in the race for governor, 48% to 44%.

Deadlocked in Iowa

A new Suffolk University/USA Today poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) and Bruce Braley (D) tied in the race for U.S. Senate, 40% to 40%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"There's only one thing Barack Obama needs to keep his grip on power. He needs the U.S. Senate!"

-- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by the New York Times Magazine.

Crist Wouldn't Be First Party Switcher Elected in Florida

Morning Line: "If Charlie Crist wins the governorship -- for the second time -- this fall he would become the first governor in Florida history to ever win as a member of two different parties... Crist would also be only the second Florida governor in 117 years -- and only the second since it achieved statehood -- to serve two non-consecutive terms. Gov. William Bloxham served as governor from 1881 to 1885 and was later elected again 12 years later... Crist, though, would not be the first party-switcher in state history to serve as governor. Three Florida governors before him actually switched parties before holding office, but none to the Democratic Party."

Roll Call: How and when to switch political parties

Boehner Haters Head Back to Congress

Bloomberg: "Ten of the 12 House Republicans who didn't support John Boehner's 2013 selection as speaker are cruising to November victories, despite the business community's attempts to knock some of them off."

"It's an ominous twist in the Republican civil war between the Tea Party and the business community. Neither side had enough power to annihilate the other, so the fight goes into the 2016 presidential campaign. The House rebels could thwart the work of Senate Republican candidates, who were backed by corporate cash and have promised to move legislation."

GOP Candidates Credit Koch Brothers for Their Rise

"Three top Republican Senate candidates heaped praise on the political network built by the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch during a secretive conference held by the brothers this past summer," the Huffington Post reports.

"For all three, the association with the Koch brothers' network is likely to provide kindling for their opponents, who have already argued that the Republicans are steered by deep-pocketed conservatives."

Hagan Doesn't Avoid Obama

Rick Klein: "The pictures of Sen. Kay Hagan greeting President Obama in Charlotte weren't on the Charlie Crist level. (That level of political infamy ranks alongside the Joe Lieberman-George W. Bush embrace, history enshrined by Crist's victory in the Democratic primary for governor Tuesday.) Yet how Hagan handled the presidential visit suggests a realization that while Obama can't and won't help virtually any endangered Democrat this year, the president's negative effects are already baked into the electoral cake."

Ex-Lt. Governor Rips Scott in New Book

In a new book, former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) "describes the misery of being in a 'boys' club' led by Gov. Rick Scott (R), who showed no interest in her ideas to reach out to black and Hispanic voters and whose staff members treated her shabbily, the Miami Herald reports.

"Her story hits bookstores on Wednesday -- her birthday. By coincidence, her grievances about Scott will spill into public view on the very day he will launch his general election campaign for a second term."

Worst Comeback Attempt Ever

Former Rep. David Rivera (R-FL), "who served in Congress from 2011 to 2013, officially lost his hapless comeback bid Tuesday, falling short in the Republican primary election in Florida's 26th district," National Journal reports.

"It may have been the worst congressional comeback attempt of all time. Rivera lost the nomination, but he dominated the headlines. Throughout the race, he faced questions about his role in an alleged 2012 campaign finance scheme, sparred with the media, and even briefly suspended his campaign for unclear reasons--only to restart it just two weeks before the election."

Archive: August 26, 2014

Close Three-Way Senate Race in Kansas

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kansas finds Sen. Pat Roberts (R) just five points ahead of challenger Chad Taylor (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 37% to 32%, with independent Greg Orman at 20%.

Is Obamacare Helping Some GOP Governors?

Sam Wang notes that Republican governors who supported Obamacare's Medicaid expansion are being rewarded for it in recent polls.

"According to these data points, Republican governors who bucked their party's stance and accepted the policy are faring better with voters--in these races, an average of 8.5 percentage points better. Considering that crusading against Obamacare has been a core part of the G.O.P. playbook, this 8.5-point difference may come as a surprise. But it doesn't necessarily mean that voters' sentiments are driven entirely by health-care policy. Think of the Medicaid expansion as a 'proxy variable,' one that is predictive of stands on many other issues."

Franken Up in Minnesota

A new SurveyUSA poll in Minnesota finds Sen. Al Franken (D) leading challenger Michael McFadden (R) in the U.S. Senate race by nine points, 51% to 42%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) leads challenger Jeff Johnson (R) by the same margin, 49% to 40%.

Iowa is a Toss Up

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds Bruce Braley (D) barely leading Joni Ernst (R) for U.S. Senate, 42% to 41% with third party candidates splitting 5%. In a straight head to head the two are tied at 42%.

"This represents a significant tightening from PPP's last poll in May when Braley led 45/39, but is consistent with most public polling since the primary."

GOP Odds of Taking Senate Grow

The Upshot now gives Republicans a 67% chance of winning control of the Senate.

"Recent polls are one big reason. As we discussed last week, the latest evidence from Georgia has been favorable for Republicans. In West Virginia, polling continues to suggest that Natalie Tennant, the Democratic secretary of state, is a long shot to win. In Alaska -- an important state for Democrats to hold -- a Rasmussen poll released on Monday suggested the race was close. (Polls from Rasmussen were Republican-leaning in 2012, but these house effects are not very consistent between cycles. This cycle, we estimate Rasmussen polls have been perhaps a little more Republican-leaning than those of the typical pollster, but not much.)"

Republicans Much More Optimistic Ahead of Midterms

Pew Research: "With just over two months before the midterm elections, Republican voters are widening the 'expectations gap' with the Democrats. About six-in-ten (61%) Republican and GOP-leaning registered voters think their party will do better than in recent elections -- roughly double the share of Democrats (32%) who feel similarly about their party's chances."

"This gap has not reached the same levels of the GOP's margin before their large 2010 gains or the Democrats' expectations in their 2006 sweep of both houses of Congress."

The Second Most Important Race This Year

Noam Scheiber: "Everyone knows the most important political race in the country this fall is the race that determines control of the U.S. Senate... But what's the second most important election in the country? You might be tempted to say it's another competitive race like Louisiana, Arkansas, or Colorado. But I'd argue that the second most important election isn't a Senate race at all. In fact, it's one whose winner won't even hold office in Washington, at least not right away. It's the campaign for governor of Wisconsin, which pits incumbent Scott Walker against Mary Burke, a little-known executive at the bike manufacturer Trek. And it could shape U.S. politics for years to come."

Coming to the End of Primary Season

First Read: "It's the next-to-last primary day of the midterm cycle, with Arizona, Florida, and Vermont holding their nominating contests, as well as with Oklahoma deciding its runoffs. And our focus today is on the two states with gubernatorial elections -- Arizona and Florida. Arizona is worth watching because Democrats have a real shot in the general election to succeed term-limited Jan Brewer, especially if Republicans nominate anyone too conservative."

Roll Call has 4 things to watch in today's primaries.

Biden's Secret Fundraisers

Vice President Joe Biden "has been crisscrossing the country attending closed-door fundraisers and donor events for Democratic House candidates -- but you won't find many on his schedule," Politico reports.

"None of these side events were on the official public schedule -- and they came with strict rules for the elite group of participants from Biden's office: No emails. No Facebook or Twitter posts, before or after. Phone is best, they tell everyone involved. Nothing written at all -- that would complicate security and require approval from the White House. All told, Biden's done more than two dozen of these unofficial events, tacked on to government and campaign trips, with more under-the-radar appearances already planned."

Is a GOP Wave Coming?

Politico: "So where's the wave? This is President Obama's sixth-year-itch election. The map of states with contested Senate seats could hardly be better from the Republicans' vantage point. And the breaks this year--strong candidates, avoidance of damaging gaffes, issues such as Obamacare and immigration that stir the party base--have mainly gone the GOP's way, very unlike 2012."

"Nonetheless, the midterms are far from over. In every single one of the Crystal Ball's toss-up states, (Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina), the Republican Senate candidate has not yet opened up a real polling lead in any of them. Democratic nominees have been running hard and staying slightly ahead, or close to, their Republican foes."

GOP Staffers Ready to Cash In If Senate Flips

"Washington's lobby firms are being inundated with phone calls and emails from GOP staffers looking to jump to the private sector if Republicans capture the Senate in November," The Hill reports.

"With GOP odds of a takeover growing, high-ranking aides are checking in on their value 'downtown' at law and lobby firms, where they could command salary offers of up to $500,000 per year."

Will Disapproval of Congress Lead to Higher Turnout?

Gallup: "Americans' disenchantment with Congress may lead to higher voter turnout on Election Day this year. In the last five midterm elections, voter turnout has exceeded 40% when Congress' approval rating was low, but turnout was below 40% when Americans were more approving."

Archive: August 25, 2014

Coakley Slips in Massachusetts

A new Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley's (D) "seemingly insurmountable lead has dwindled to a dozen points in the Democratic race for governor." Coakley now holds just a 42% to 30% advantage over Steve Grossman (D) with just 15 days left before the Sept. 9 primary.

In the Republican contest, Charlie Baker (R) is coasting to his party's nomination with a 70% to 11% lead over Mark Fisher (R).

Brown Flip Flops on Climate Change

"Former Sen. Scott Brown (R), now running for Senate in New Hampshire, over the weekend was pretty clear: science has not proven that climate change is real. But back in 2012, when Brown was running for re-election in Massachusetts, he said that he "absolutely" believed climate change is real and that it is a result of both man-made and natural causes," TPM reports.

Sullivan Takes Early Lead in Alaska

A new Rasmussen survey in Alaska finds Dan Sullivan (R) edging Sen. Mark Begich (D) in the race for Senate, 47% to 45%.

Export-Import Bank is Midterm Election Wildcard

New York Times: "In an election cycle where no single issue is animating voters, the relatively obscure lender, which provides loans and loan guarantees to foreign buyers of American products, has become an unlikely source of prominent campaign friction."

"The fight over whether to reauthorize the bank, which Congress must do by the end of September to sustain its operations, has roiled Capitol Hill in unexpected ways, creating a divide between the Tea Party movement and establishment Republicans. It also is providing an avenue for Democrats to showcase their support for American companies and to try to drive a wedge between business interests and Republican candidates."

DesJarlais Wins by 38 Votes

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) has officially won his primary race, barely squeaking past Jim Tracy (R), who conceded after more than two tense weeks following the Republican primary in Tennessee's 4th district, Roll Call reports.

"DesJarlais was among the most vulnerable House incumbents this cycle, thanks to personal scandal that dried up his fundraising ability and made him a pariah among some of his peers in the Tennessee delegation. Proceedings from a 2001 divorce arose in October of 2012 that revealed DesJarlais had encouraged an ex-wife and former mistress to have multiple abortions."

Nunn Won't Say If She'll Vote for Reid

Michelle Nunn (D) "served notice to her fellow Democrats that she wasn't a sure vote for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to keep his job -- should her party keep control of that chamber in November," the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Said Nunn: "I look forward to changing the composition in the leadership of the Senate. The way that we're going to change Washington is to bring more people to recognize - to have the humility to recognize - that there are good ideas on both sides of the aisle... I will vote for the Democratic leader that I think best represents our capacity to get things done and move things forward."

Will a 'Disconnected' President Take Down Democrats?

A tough few weeks during President Obama's vacation "left the impression of a disconnected president, frustrated with both the expectations and the limitations inherent in being the nation's leader at this moment in history," the Washington Post reports.

"It also led to worries -- expressed privately -- among Democratic party strategists that Obama's seemingly long-view approach to international and domestic conflicts could spell doom for the party's chances in the midterm elections, which are only about 10 weeks away."

Pell Claimed Unpaid Internship was 'Critical Experience'

In the wake of a new poll showing his Democratic primary opponent Clay Pell (D) gaining ground in the race for Rhode Island governor, Angel Taveras (D) made public an email in which Pell claimed an unpaid summer internship between his sophomore and junior years at college as "critical experience" at the State Department, the Providence Journal reports.

Did McDaniel Wait Too Long to Challenge Election?

"Chris McDaniel's first hurdle in his lawsuit to overturn his loss to Thad Cochran is a doozy: He may have waited too late to file it," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"As he worked for weeks building a case and campaigning that the election was stolen from him, McDaniel's team said a 20-day deadline applies only to challenges of county and local elections, not a statewide U.S. Senate primary. Others, including the secretary of state, agreed with him."

A Campaign About Nothing

"America seems resigned to a Seinfeld election in 2014--a campaign about nothing," John Avlon notes.

"To an exhausted electorate, the final midterms of the Obama presidency are failing to drive much mainstream excitement, and no clear national themes have emerged despite the high-stakes fight for the Senate. DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz essentially admitted as much when she dismissed the idea of Democrats running on any national message, seeking instead to focus on local themes."

Archive: August 24, 2014

Democrats Build Ground Game in Arkansas

Molly Ball says Democrats are building an extensive ground operation in Arkansas in an attempt to re-elect Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in a tough midterm election environment.

"Democrats aren't advertising this office and 39 others like it that are scattered around Arkansas--in fact, their locations are a closely guarded secret. When I visited last week, having tracked it down through creative public-records sleuthing, I took Chita Collins, the field organizer on duty there, by surprise. But I wanted to see the evidence of what Democrats have been claiming they're building in states like this one, and what could be crucial to their uphill quest to keep the Senate: an Obama-style community-organizing effort of unprecedented scale for a non-presidential election."

Will Iowa Tip Senate to Republicans?

"Iowa was never supposed to be a Senate battleground for Democrats," The Hill reports.

"Following two cycles where it was GOP missteps and subpar candidates who cost them winnable races, the tables have turned and it's now Democrats who are scrambling to right Rep. Bruce Braley's flagging campaign before it's too late."

Tight Race in Maryland

A new OnMessage poll in Maryland shows a very close race for governor with Anthony Brown (D) just ahead of Larry Hogan (R), 45% to 42%.

Archive: August 22, 2014

Poll Shows Nunn Leading in Georgia

A new Landmark Communications poll in Georgia finds Michelle Nunn (D) leading David Perdue (R) in the U.S. Senate race by seven points, 47% to 40%. Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford received 3% while 10% are undecided.

Most other recent polls have found Perdue with a growing lead.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Well, I am flattered because she is a strong leader. I am a strong independent leader. I am a strong female independent leader. And I do believe they use that as a distraction. Rather than focus on me, they're focusing on someone else. She is the kind of politician I admire because she speaks what's on her mind."

-- Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R), quoted by the New York Times, on being compared to Sarah Palin.

Democrats Plan Midterm Ground Strategy

Daily Beast: "With fewer than 75 days left until Election Day, Democrats across the country are feverishly moving from planning to implementing a vast, multilayered turnout operation that they hope will make the 2014 mid-term elections look more like a victorious Obama presidential year and less like the sort of mid-term wipeout that cost them the House majority in 2010."

Did Weiland Accidently Concede Senate Race?

South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland (D) says it was a "light moment" when he called opponent and former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) "senator" during a public forum, the AP reports.

Weiland quickly corrected his remark to "soon-to-want-to-be senator."

Coakley Maintains Lead in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading Charlie Baker (R) in the race for governor by seven points, 41% to 34%.

Coakley has a big lead in the Democratic primary, topping Steve Grossman (D), 45% to 24%.

Malloy Trailing in Connecticut

A new Rasmussen survey in Connecticut shows Tom Foley (R) leading Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 38%.

Archive: August 21, 2014

Shaheen Barely Leads in New Hampshire

A new WMUR poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading challenger Scott Brown in the U.S. Senate race by just two points, 46% to 44%.

Last month, Shaheen led the race by 12 points.

Another Senate Forecast

The Votemaster is back and updating his Senate forecast daily. He currently shows Republicans at 50 seats, Democrats at 49 seats and one toss up.

Performance Review Described Laxalt as Incompetent

A law firm performance review of Nevada Attorney General hopeful Adam Laxalt (R) was leaked to Jon Ralston which describes Laxalt as "a train wreck" who "doesn't even have the basic skill set."

The evaluation suggested that Laxalt attend seminars to "address basic legal principles" because of his "horrible reviews" and because he "has judgment issues and doesn't seem to understand what to do."

I Feel Pretty

GOP opposition research group America Rising PAC released a video in an attempt to link Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley (D) to John Edwards.

States Increasingly Voting Along National Trends

The Wall Street Journal notes the field of competitive Senate contests "is considerably narrower than in years past."

"That's because data point to increasingly nationalized Senate races, with results of those contests more frequently matching a state's presidential preference. And with state voting patterns becoming less variable, it's becoming more difficult for Democrats to compete in red states, or for Republicans to mount a viable bid in blue states."

Archive: August 20, 2014

Six Races Will Decide Control of the Senate

Harry Enten: "The map right now is simple: Control of the Senate will be decided in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina. Republicans must win at least half of these races."

"Yet, we still can't say with much confidence who will win the Senate. These are tight races."

Pryor Touts Obamacare in New Ad

Instead of running away from the issue, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is touting his vote for the Affordable Care Act in a new ad for his tight re-election campaign.

Greg Sargent: "The spot represents an effort to shift the debate over the law away from the land of GOP talking points where it has resided so long -- in this and so many other Senate races -- and back to one of the fundamental moral imperatives driving health reform, i.e., protecting the sick and vulnerable from insurance industry abuse."

Wonk Wire: Why attacks on Obamacare are dwindling

Is Georgia Slipping Away for Democrats?

The Upshot says that GOP chances for taking control of the Senate are rising primarily because the party is increasingly likely to hold onto Georgia.

"With these developments, our rating in Georgia has steadily progressed from Tossup to Lean Republican to Likely Republican, and now gives Michelle Nunn only a 12 percent chance to win in November. For several months, Georgia had represented a possible window of opportunity for Democrats in a midterm cycle in which most Democrats are playing defense. Although Ms. Nunn cannot yet be counted out, this latest polling suggests that window may be closing."

Hagan Holds Narrow Lead in North Carolina

A new USA Today/Suffolk poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) is clinging to a 2-point lead over challenger Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 43%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh at 5%.

FitzGerald Punished Employees Without Valid Licenses

"As Cuyahoga County executive, Ed FitzGerald (D) has disciplined employees for not holding a valid driver's license - something the former FBI agent and Democratic candidate for governor himself lacked for years," the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

"In 2013 his administration punished at least eight employees, with penalties ranging from a written reprimand to a five-day suspension without pay."

Rhode Island Primary Tightens

A new WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll in Rhode Island finds Gina Raimondo (D) leading the Democratic primary for governor with 32%, followed by Angel Taveras (D) at 27% and Clay Pell (D) at 26%.

Sullivan Will Face Begich in Alaska

"Dan Sullivan, the former Alaska attorney general and natural resources commissioner, declared victory early Wednesday in one of the most divisive Alaska Republican primaries in decades, while Fairbanks lawyer Joe Miller ran 8 points behind in second place. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell trailed third in the fight to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in the fall," the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

Roll Call: "Sullivan ran as the most qualified of the group to defeat Begich. His nomination has been the expected outcome for months, but the general-election race couldn't start in earnest until Sullivan dispensed with his Republican foes."

Cuomo Still Way Ahead

A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) way ahead of challenger Rob Astorino (R) in the race for governor, 56% to 28%.

Archive: August 19, 2014

Is Pat Roberts in Trouble?

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kansas finds Sen. Pat Roberts (R) leading challenger Chad Taylor (D), 32% to 25%, with independent Greg Orman at 23%, and Libertarian Randall Batson at 3%.

Key finding: "As weak as a 32% standing is for an incumbent, that still gives him a pretty clear lead due to his opponents pretty much splitting the anti-Roberts vote evenly. But if one of them was to pull out Roberts would really be in trouble."

In the race for governor, Paul Davis (D) leads over Gov. Sam Brownback (R) by two points, 39% to 37%, with Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr at 9%

Crist Wants to Campaign with Obama

Tampa Bay Times: "With Barack Obama's approval ratings lately barely cracking 40 percent, plenty of Democrats will keep their distance from the president heading into the midterms, just as Alex Sink did she when ran for governor in 2010. Not Charlie Crist, who said today he hopes to be campaigning side by side with the president."

Rauner Says He Nearly Punched Someone

Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (R) "revealed to a small group in a private meeting that the closest he was to punching someone in the governor's race came after a dust-up before last Spring's Greek parade" with Gov. Pat Quinn's (D) camp, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

"Quinn's campaign says it doesn't know what Rauner is talking about,"

Hagan Still Leads in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) leading challenger Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 42% to 38%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh at 8%.

In a two way race, Hagan leads by just one point at 43% to 42%.

Perdue Builds Lead in Georgia

A new SurveyUSA poll confirms what many recent Georgia polls show: David Perdue (R) is building a solid lead over Michelle Nunn (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 41%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) tops challenger Jason Carter (D), 48% to 39%.

Latest Senate Forecasts

The latest Monkey Cage forecast gives Republicans an 86% chance of winning control of the U.S. Senate after the midterm elections.

The Upshot gives Republicans a 58% chance.

Republicans Back Off Using Obamacare as Issue

"Republicans seeking to unseat the U.S. Senate incumbent in North Carolina have cut in half the portion of their top issue ads citing Obamacare, a sign that the party's favorite attack against Democrats is losing its punch," Bloomberg reports.

"The shift -- also taking place in competitive states such as Arkansas and Louisiana -- shows Republicans are easing off their strategy of criticizing Democrats over the Affordable Care Act now that many Americans are benefiting from the law and the measure is unlikely to be repealed."

"The party had been counting on anti-Obamacare sentiment to spur Republican turnout in its quest for a U.S. Senate majority, just as the issue did when Republicans took the House in 2010. Now, Republicans are seeking a new winning formula for an election less than three months away."

Wonk Wire: There's a reason Obamacare is working

Reid Thinks Democrats Will Lose South Dakota

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) believes Democrats will retain control of the U.S. Senate after the midterm elections but said he's most concerned about the open seat in South Dakota, where Sen. Tim Johnson (D) is stepping down, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

Said Reid: "We are going to lose in South Dakota, more than likely."

A new Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll finds Mike Rounds (R) leading Rick Weiland (D) by 25 points, 49% to 24%.

Republicans Gain Steam in House Races

The Rothenberg Political Report shifted six House races in favor of Republicans as "district-level data demonstrates a difficult landscape for Democratic candidates."

Archive: August 18, 2014

Scott Holds Edge in Florida

A new Cherry Communications poll for the Florida Chamber of Commerce finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) leading challenger Charlie Crist (D) in the race for governor, 44% to 41%.

In a three way race with Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, Scott leads 41% to 35%.

Reid Predicts Democrats Will Retain Majority

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) told a large crowd in Reno that he was confident the Democrats would keep the majority in the Senate after the 2014 Election Day, the Reno Gazette Journal reports.

He also had harsh words for the Koch brothers.

Said Reid: "They think they have enough money to buy America. Not only with the U.S. Senate, not only with the House of Representatives but with the constitutional offices as well. They are even involved with the state senate races here as well."

Rivera Asked to be Patched In for Debate

In an unusual arrangement, embattled former Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) did not appear in the television studio with his GOP primary rivals for a debate, the Miami Herald reports.

"Instead, as he requested, he was patched in from outside the West Dade Regional Library early-voting site -- purportedly because he was there meeting voters. As a result, the other contenders in the studio could not hear his responses. After the show, co-host Glenna Milberg wrote on Twitter that Rivera didn't end up campaigning at the site at all, despite the TV station's agreeing to his request in good faith."

Christie's Top Six

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) duties as chairman of the Republican Governors Association will mean focusing more on the "top six" gubernatorial races as the November election nears, the Newark Star Ledger reports.

The top six: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, and Maine.

Martinez Comfortably Ahead in New Mexico

A new Albuquerque Journal Poll in New Mexico finds Gov. Susana Martinez (R) leading Gary King (D) in the race for governor by 9 points, 50% to 41%.

Said pollster Brian Sanderoff: "It's a comfortable lead, especially when you take into consideration the tremendous financial advantage the governor has."

Boehner Rakes In Big Money

House Speaker John Boehner's fundraising skills "put him in a class with few others. He has scooped up more than $43 million for accounts under his direct control and helped amass tens of millions more for Republican allies," the AP reports.

"The Ohio lawmaker accounts for about one-fifth of the cash collected by House Republicans' campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee. Boehner has written almost $18 million in checks to the group, which has raised $101 million this campaign cycle."

Congressional Re-Elect Number Remains Near All-Time Low

A new Gallup poll finds just 19% of registered voters think most members of Congress deserve re-election -- on pace to be the lowest such "re-elect" sentiment in a midterm election year since the question was first asked in 1992.

Kyle Kondik: If Congress is so unpopular, why do so many incumbents keep getting re-elected?

Montana Democrats Pick New Senate Candidate

Montana Democrats selected a little-known state lawmaker named Amanda Curtis (D) as their candidate for U.S. Senate after Sen. John Walsh (D) dropped out amid plagiarism allegations from his time at the U.S. Army War College, the AP reports.

Archive: August 16, 2014

Schatz Wins Primary in Hawaii

"In one of the most narrow, dramatic races in state history, Sen. Brian Schatz (D) edged Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) in their campaign for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate and the inside track to succeed the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)," the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.

"Schatz finished 1,769 votes ahead of Hanabusa. He had a 1,635-vote lead following Saturday's primary election that ended with two Hawaii island precincts unable to cast ballots because of surrounding damage from Tropical Storm Iselle."

Very Tight in Wisconsin

A new Rasmussen survey in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) barely edging challenger Mary Burke (D), 48% to 47%.

Archive: August 15, 2014

Palin Endorses Miller for Senate

Sarah Palin endorsed Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) on Friday, four days in advance of a hard-fought GOP primary election, the Alaska Dispatch reports.

Said Palin: "We said we'd send the good guys in Washington their reinforcements, so, Alaska, here we go! Vote for Joe Miller on Tuesday and shake off the liberal stronghold so we can get on the right track."

Zell Miller Endorses Michelle Nunn

Georgia Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn (D) scored a key endorsement in her effort to pitch herself as a moderate capable of representing a GOP-leaning state, garnering the backing of former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller (D), the AP reports.

Said Miller: "Michelle Nunn gives this old Georgian hope," adding that Nunn is a "bridge builder, not a bridge burner."

"A colorful Democrat who famously crossed party lines in 2004 to endorse President George W. Bush for re-election and delivered a scathing keynote address at the GOP convention that year, Miller has long been a popular figure across the state."

Ernst Suggest United Nations Could Take Iowa Farms

Yahoo News has obtained video showing Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) warning that the United Nations "could force Iowa farmers off their land, dictate what cities Iowans must live in, and control how Iowa citizens travel from place to place."

Said Ernst: "The United Nations has imposed this upon us, and as a U.S. senator, I would say, 'No more. No more Agenda 21.' Community planning -- to the effect that it is implementing eminent domain and taking away property rights away from individuals -- I don't agree with that."

Agenda 21 is "a community planning provision in a decades-old United Nations treaty that's become an object of fear and conspiracy theories on the right."

Perdue Leads in Georgia

A new InsiderAdvantage poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading Michelle Nunn (D) by seven points in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 40%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) is ahead of challenger Jason Carter (D), 43% to 39%.

Coakley Maintains Lead for Governor

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading Charlie Baker (R) in the race for governor by double-digits, 40% to 32%.

Judge Won't Delay Friday Voting in Hawaii Primary

A state judge denied Rep. Colleen Hanabusa's (D) request to postpone voting in Hawaii's Democratic Senate primary, where voters in a couple precincts are scheduled to cast ballots Friday, Roll Call reports.

"Hanabusa filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking that special extended voting hours in two precincts on the Big Island be pushed back further. The make-up date was scheduled by the state Office of Elections after a hurricane shut down the precincts' polling places Aug. 9, when the rest of the state voted."

Archive: August 14, 2014

Toss Up for Iowa Senate

A new Rasmussen poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) locked in a dead heat with Bruce Braley (D) for U.S. Senate, 43% to 43%.

Hanabusa Tries to Delay Vote

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) "asked a state court to delay Friday's vote in two Puna precincts that could settle her Democratic primary against Sen. Brian Schatz (D)," the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.

"The congresswoman is seeking a temporary restraining order from Circuit Court in Hilo to postpone the election until Puna residents have had more time to recover from Tropical Storm Iselle."

Archive: August 13, 2014

Landrieu's Campaign Flight Charged to Taxpayers

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) "used government money to charter a private plane to travel to a campaign fundraiser" last year, "in violation of federal law," CNN reports.

A Landrieu spokesman said that the charter company "mistakenly billed Landrieu's Senate office instead of her... campaign. Levy said the campaign noticed the error a few weeks ago and asked the company to refund the Senate office and bill the campaign, which the company did."

Perdue Pulls Ahead in Georgia

A new Hicks Evaluation Group poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading Michelle Nunn (D) in the U.S. Senate race by six points, 48% to 42%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and challenger Jason Carter (D) are tied at 45%.

Quote of the Day

"More them, less us."

-- Kurt Zellers (R), quoted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, after his son asked at his primary party, "What's the score?"

Hollywood Tries to Save Senate for Democrats

The Hill: "Hollywood is pouring money into the midterm elections, with A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Barbra Streisand all coughing up blockbuster bucks. The donations are largely aimed at keeping the Senate in Democratic hands. Republicans, who have the political winds at their backs, need to pick up six seats to win control of the upper chamber."

McDaniel Lists His Own Lawyer as an Irregular Vote

"As Chris McDaniel's (R) team continues to scour voting records to add to an expected legal challenge of his loss to Thad Cochran (R), it has listed McDaniel's lead lawyer in the challenge, and his wife, as irregular votes that should be tossed out," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

GOP Defends 'Blunt' Comments from LePage

"The Republican Governors Association is airing a new television ad on behalf of Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country, that tries to turn his lack of a political filter into a prized asset," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The ad calls Mr. LePage, "blunt," "brutally honest," and "extremely candid." The closing line: "He's one of a kind."

Kasich Maintains Lead in Ohio

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) leading challenger Ed FitzGerald (D) for governor, 50% to 44%.

Archive: August 12, 2014

Brownback Trails Badly in Kansas

A new Rasmussen survey in Kansas finds Paul Davis (D) leading Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in the race for governor by 10 points, 51% to 41%.

Someone is Excited About His Candidacy

Tucson Weekly: "Theodore Roosevelt once said 'Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.' I think Republican Congressional candidate Gary Kiehne took that quote a bit too seriously... Did Kiehne just not see the giant horse penis in the background, or is he trying to tell us something?"

Pell's Resume Mocked in Rhode Island

Rhode Island gubernatorial hopeful Clay Pell (D) "has compiled a lengthy résumé in the nine years since he received his bachelor's degree from Harvard University, an employment history that is drawing more scrutiny as it comes under fire from one of his rivals," WPRI reports.

In a TV attack ad released last week, Angel Taveras (D) mocked Pell for having "had nine jobs in the past eight years - two of them internships" while spending "less than 18 months of that in Rhode Island."

McConnell Inches Ahead in Kentucky

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) taking a small lead over challenger Allison Lundergran Grimes (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 40%, with Libertarian David Patterson at 7%.

Also interesting: "Patterson's supporters say if they had to choose between the major party candidates they would pick McConnell by a 44/34 spread, and when you reallocate those voters to their second choice it leaves McConnell with a 47/42 advantage."

Republican Crist Used to Attack Democrat Crist

Miami Herald: "Democrats across Florida heard a mysterious recorded call over the weekend that seemed aimed at attacking likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. The voice in the recording? Charlie Crist."

The script: "Hi, this is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I'm pro-life. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program."

"Not exactly your standard Democratic primary platform. But the voice in the robocall really is Crist's and so were the positions he stressed. But it was Charlie Crist circa 2006 -- not 2014."

Jeff Bridges for Senate?

An effort to draft Hollywood star Jeff Bridges as the Democratic Party's replacement for Sen. John Walsh on the November ballot "has grown like wildfire over the weekend," the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports.

Very Different from Six Years Ago

First Read: "But one race that's not dominating junkies' attention is the GOP Senate primary in Minnesota. Businessman Mike McFadden is trying to beat back four other candidates to get the nod to run against Sen. Al Franken. That's the same Al Franken who only won the seat after an eight month legal battle resulting from one of the closest elections in Senate history. Now? There just aren't signs that Franken's the kind of serious trouble that most observers would have predicted in 2008. In a year when Republicans are boasting of a big Senate map, it's remarkable that this is the one we aren't talking about."

Obama Drags Party Down

A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds President Obama "is dragging down his party and hurting the prospects of fellow Democrats as they head into midterm elections that will determine who controls Congress."

Key findings: "Just 40% of voters approve of the way he's doing his job, tying his worst mark in three years and the second worst of his presidency. Just 39% approve of the way he's dealing with the economy and only 33% approve of how he's dealing with foreign policy, the worst of his years in office."

By 42% to 32%, voters say their opinions of Obama make them more likely to vote this fall for a Republican than for a Democrat. And for the first time this election cycle, more people said they'd vote for a Republican than a Democrat for Congress, by 43% to 38%.

Last Hawaii Voters Will Vote on Friday

Several thousand voters in Puna on Hawaii island will get the rare opportunity Friday to settle a close election, but Colleen Hanabusa (D), who trails Sen. Brian Schatz (D) in the Demo­cratic primary for Senate, questioned whether holding the vote so soon is realistic, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.

The area did not open for Saturday's primary because of nearby damage from Tropical Storm Iselle.

Democrats Spend Big Against Grimm Despite Indictments

"National Democrats are poised to dump nearly $1 million in negative ads on Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), a sign that the congressman could hang onto his seat despite a 20-count indictment against him," the New York Daily News reports.

"While national pundits have written off Grimm, Democrats say the Republican could win, in good part because his opponent, former City Councilor Domenic Recchia, resides in Brooklyn, a big handicap in the mostly Staten Island District."

Roberts Barely Ahead in Kansas

A new Rasmussen poll in Kansas finds Sen. Pat Roberts (R) leading challenger Chad Taylor (D) in the U.S. Senate race by just four points, 44% to 40%.

Petition Candidate Spends Big in South Carolina

South Carolina petition gubernatorial candidate Tom Ervin (I) is spending $2 million to air three TV ads statewide through Labor Day, the Columbia State reports.

"The ad buy means Ervin, a Greenville attorney and radio-station owner, will have laid out as much money -- $3.5 million -- as Republican incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley and Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen had spent together through June 30."

Archive: August 11, 2014

Cuomo Still Holds Mammoth Lead

Despite extensive media coverage about U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) now defunct Moreland Commission, a new Siena Poll finds Cuomo leads challenger Rob Astorino by a whopping 32 points, down a little from 37-points three weeks ago.

Coakley Holds Solid Lead in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading Charlie Baker (R) in the gubernatorial race by double-digits, 42% to 31%.

Coakley is also way ahead of Steve Grossman (D) in the Democratic primary, 45% to 18%.

Rauner Crushing Quinn in Illinois

A new We Ask America poll in Illinois finds Bruce Rauner (R) way ahead of Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in the governor's race, 51% to 38%, with 11% still undecided.

A new Gravis Marketing poll has Rauner ahead 48% to 40%.

Democrats Run Like Republicans

"It's one thing for Democrats running in red parts of the country to sound like Republicans on the campaign trail. It's another when Democrats running in purple or even blue territory try to do so. Yet that's what's happening in race after race this season," Politico reports.

"Faced with a treacherous political environment, many Democrats are trotting out campaign ads that call for balanced budgets, tax cuts and other more traditionally GOP positions. Some of them are running in congressional districts that just two years ago broke sharply for President Barack Obama."

Archive: August 10, 2014

Pat Roberts Goes 'Home'

During the GOP primary, Milton Wolf (R) attacked Sen. Pat Roberts (R) "for living most of the year in northern Virginia. The issue is unlikely to go away as the race moves into the general election. Roberts promised Tuesday night to go on a listening tour of the state. He flew back to the Washington, D.C. area following his victory, according to his campaign manager," the Wichita Eagle reports.

Said Leroy Towns: "He went back home for two days or three to rest. I think he's going to come back here the first of next week. He's going to spend most of August out here."

Wendy Davis Runs Risky Rape Ad

While political strategists and experts praised the boldness of Wendy Davis's (D) new ad accusing Greg Abbott (R) of "siding with a corporation over a rape victim," some said it carries the chance of a backlash that could doom the long-shot campaign, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"The risk may be especially high after the Davis campaign acknowledged Friday it had not spoken with the victim before releasing the ad Thursday night."

An Election About Nothing?

Washington Post: "This is an election about nothing -- and everything. Unlike in previous midterm election years, no dominant national theme has emerged for the 2014 campaign, according to public opinion surveys as well as interviews last week with scores of voters in five key states and with dozens of politicians and party strategists."

"Even without a single salient issue, a heavy cloud of economic anxiety and general unease is hanging over the fiercely partisan debate. Listening to voters, you hear a downbeat tone to everything political -- the nation's economy, infrastructure and schools; the crises flaring around the world; the evolving culture wars at home; immigration laws; President Obama and other elected leaders in Washington."

Hawaii Senate Primary Still Up in the Air

Neither Sen. Brian Schatz (D) nor his primary challenger, Colleen Hanabusa (D), went to bed after Saturday's primary election knowing who won their party's nomination, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.

"In one of the closest races in state history, Schatz and Hanabusa were separated by a mere 1,635 votes with all but two precincts accounted for and potentially as many as 8,000 votes from Hawaii island still to be tallied. Election officials still need to tabulate votes from two Puna polling sites that were closed as a result of roads damaged by Tropical Storm Iselle, affecting about 8,000 registered voters."

Abercrombie Blown Out in Primary

David Ige (D), who was unknown to many voters six months ago, ousted Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary, 67% to 32%, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.

"Abercrombie, who outspent Ige 10-to-1 and was endorsed by Hawaii-born President Barack Obama and Hono-lulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, had trailed in public opinion polls before the primary and had poor job approval ratings for the past three years. But the governor's defeat is startling given the state's economic rebound during his four-year term and recent policy victories on the minimum wage, land conservation at Turtle Bay Resort and marriage equality."

Archive: August 09, 2014

Some Hawaii Primary Voting Postponed

"Two Hawaii island polling sites will be closed Saturday and voting postponed for affected voters while election officials try to determine how to distribute and collect absentee ballots from the areas hemmed in by damaged roads stemming from Tropical Storm Iselle," the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.

KITV: "Under state law, the Office of Elections can postpone an election for no more than 21 days because of a natural disaster."

Archive: August 08, 2014

It's Anyone's Guess in Hawaii

Harry Enten: "I don't know who is going to win Saturday's special Democratic Senate primary between Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa -- and it's not just because there's a lot going on in Hawaii right now (an earthquake rattled Hawaii on Thursday, and two tropical storms are on course to hit or come near Hawaii in the next five days). Instead, the polling picture in the Aloha State is a mess."

Inside Scott Walker's War Room

"A file titled 'War Room' that spells out Gov. Scott Walker's priorities while he was Milwaukee County executive, including groups he wanted to track, was part of thousands of documents released Friday that were originally collected as part of a now-closed investigation into Walker's aides," the AP reports.

Councilman Who Quit in Klingon Runs for Senate

"The Indian Trail councilman who wrote his resignation letter in Klingon wants to beam up to Capitol Hill. David Waddell is running as a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate," the Charlotte Observer reports.

Said Waddell: "Having campaign signs in Klingon is probably a bad idea. But maybe I'll make up one or two and put one in the mayor's yard."

GOP Takeover Looking More Likely

James Carville: "Democrats, myself included, tend to respect and value expertise, and find that people who have established a record of accuracy and developed a model that's proven to be beneficial over time should be people accorded great deference when they opine on a topic that they have demonstrated past mastery over."

"You don't hear complaints about skewered polls, global cooling, tax cuts paying for themselves, people riding dinosaurs and other silly crap like that from Democrats. So that is why it's disturbing news that David Wasserman, from The Cook Political Report, who is a smart person's idea of what a smart person sounds like, recently changed his House rating's model toward favoring Republicans.'s Nate Silver's recent commentary that Republicans have a 60 percent chance of a Senate takeover is similarly disconcerting. The reasons are plentiful and valid; the obvious ones are that we're in the sixth year of the presidential term, there's a tepid presidential approval rating, we're seeing high wrong-track numbers, and we're facing an unfavorable map. In the past these numbers have proven to have a great deal of validity."

Is McConnell's Wife Trying to Kill the Coal Industry?

Yahoo News reports that while Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "presents himself as a defender of Kentucky coal mining, a member of his own family who serves as a key campaign surrogate is taking a role in funding one of the most aggressive anti-coal campaigns in the country."

"McConnell's wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, sits on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has plunged $50 million into the Sierra Club's 'Beyond Coal' initiative, an advocacy effort with the expressed goal of killing the coal industry."

Voters Tuning Out Midterm Elections

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll "shows an angry electorate that blames Washington for much of its pain. And with their blood boiling and Election Day only three months away, voters look ready to do... maybe not too much."

"For all the displeasure with the country's general direction - more than 70% say the country is on the wrong track, only 40% approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing and only 14% approve of Congress - there is less interest in this November's voting than there was at this time in 2010. And that's true across Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives and all age groups."

Will Obama Face Midterm Backlash on Immigration?

Brendan Nyhan wonders why President Obama would risk taking executive action on immigration before the midterm elections.

"Of course, Mr. Obama faces short-term pressures to address the surge in migrant children being detained at the border, but news media reports suggest that the policy changes under consideration would be far broader, potentially providing legal status to many of the nation's undocumented immigrants. Such a broad executive action could provoke a backlash in the midterm elections that might be avoided with a move just a few months later."

"It's easy to overstate the effects of policy on electoral outcomes, but there is a recent worst-case example: the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Research that I conducted with a group of political scientists found that the Republican landslide in 2010 was strengthened by health care reform."

Alexander Wins Nomination Easily

Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-TN) "convincing win over his tea party challengers in Thursday's Republican primary sets up another battle the two-term incumbent is expected to win," the Tennessean reports.

"But even though the Tennessee Democratic Party remains undermanned compared with the state's dominant Republicans, it at least will have a candidate this fall who's not a national joke -- something the party couldn't say two years ago."

Roll Call: "His victory means no Republican senators have lost a primary challenge, ending the tea party's streak at two cycles. None of the remaining primaries feature a Republican senator."

DesJarlais in a Nail-Biter

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) "was clinging to what appeared to be a narrow victory over challenger Jim Tracy (R), defeating the state senator by 35 votes," the Tennessean reports.

"The results are unofficial. Tennessee does not have an automatic recount law, but a candidate can request one from state and party officials. There also could be uncounted absentee or provisional ballots."

Nashville Public Radio reports Tracy had already declared victory before the last votes were tallied.

Democrats Seek Senate Candidate in Montana

"A number of Democrats expressed interest in seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate to replace Sen. John Walsh, who ended his campaign Thursday," the Billings Gazette reports.

"And a number of prominent Democrats ruled themselves out, including Gov. Steve Bullock, former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau and state Auditor Monica Lindeen."

Archive: August 07, 2014

Walsh Drops Senate Bid

Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) said he is "pulling out of the Senate race because his campaign was distracted by the controversy over allegations that he plagiarized a U.S. Army War College research paper," the Billings Gazette reports.

"The Montana Democratic Party now will choose a replacement... The party has to select a new Senate candidate at a nominating convention by Aug. 20. About 175 delegates, including statewide and federal elected officials, county party committee leaders and the party executive board members, will pick the nominee."

National Journal reports Walsh's wife Janet was "openly sobbing" as she thanked members of the campaign.

LePage Doesn't See a Close Race

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) told the Bangor Daily News that he doesn't believe the polls that show him in a tight re-election race.

Said LePage (in the third person): "The governor does not agree... The governor says that he's either going to be blown out by a landslide or he's going to win by a landslide... The Maine people are either going to throw me out or take me in wholeheartedly, but I don't think this is going to be close."

The Enthusiasm Gap is Overrated

Neil Newhouse: "Two years ago, the same polls that now show the GOP with a marginal advantage on this measure, showed much of the same thing - that GOP voters were significantly more excited about voting in the November Presidential election."

"And, what happened? The enthusiasm gap was taken to the woodshed by the Obama team's GOTV efforts. In a nutshell, the Democrats turned out voters who were unenthusiastic, unexcited and not 'energized' to vote, rendering the enthusiasm gap meaningless."

Brownback Blames Obama for Poor Showing

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) offered a theory to KSHB-TV when asked why significant numbers of Republican primary voters cast ballots against incumbents on Tuesday.

Brownback won, but his little-known primary opponent Jennifer Winn (R) received 37% of the vote.

Said Brownback: "I think a big part of it is Barack Obama. That a lot of people are so irritated at what the president is doing, they just, they want somebody to throw a brick."

Why Does Tennessee Have Thursday Primaries?

Politico: "All other states -- except Hawaii, which votes this Saturday -- hold their primaries on a Tuesday. Tennessee even holds its presidential primaries on Super Tuesday. Yet, when it comes time to elect or nominate state or federal candidates, the Volunteer State waits until Thursday."

"The rule is tucked away in the state's first constitution, which was drafted in 1796 and meant to govern elections "forever after." Since then, it's survived the drafting and amending of two new constitutions, Tennessee's secession from the Union and efforts by the federal government to standardize when and where Americans vote."

Merkley Way Ahead of Wehby

A new SurveyUSA poll in Oregon finds Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) is crushing challenger Monica Wehby (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 52% to 33%.

In the race for governor, Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) leads challenger Dennis Richardson, 48% to 36%.

Snyder Barely Ahead in Michigan

A new MRG poll in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) just ahead of challenger Mark Schauer (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 44%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Gary Peters (D) leads Terry Lynn Land (R), 47% to 40%.

GOP Upside Limited in the House

Kyle Kondik: "To be clear, the overall House atmosphere favors Republicans. The president's party almost always loses seats in a midterm: an average of 33 seats per election in the 38 midterms held since the start of the Civil War. Of course, those elections often come after the president's party was elected with acclaim two years prior to the midterm, inflating the president's party's numbers in the House to artificial heights, but President Obama and his Democrats are already at a rather low ebb in the House, where they hold just 201 seats... President Obama's approval rating is 43%, two points lower than where he was on Election Day 2010. The national House generic ballot is roughly tied, although these polls generally have a built-in Democratic slant, so Republicans probably have a tiny edge in all actuality (though considerably smaller than 2010 at this time)."

"But the GOP is limited in the sense that the House playing field is small: The most recent Crystal Ball House ratings list just 37 seats in the most competitive categories, Toss-up or Leans Democratic/Republican. Of those seats, 21 are currently held by Democrats and 16 by Republicans."

Democrats Mull Possible Replacement for Walsh

Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) "hasn't made a public appearance since the weekend, and Montana Democrats are reviewing the steps they would need to take to replace him with another candidate if he decides to withdraw from the Senate race," the Montana Standard reports.

"Walsh has until Aug. 11 to drop out of the race against Republican Rep. Steve Daines, and the state's Democratic Party has until Aug. 20 to submit the name of a replacement candidate to the Montana Secretary of State."

Republicans Still Need to Worry About Primary Challengers

Nate Silver notes that "while Republican incumbent senators have gotten some credit lately for their clutch performances in Kansas, Mississippi and other states, where they've fended off challenges from more conservative opponents, the GOP still has plenty to worry about. There have been far more close calls to its incumbents than usual."

"Between 2004 and 2008, just four of 39 Republican senators running for renomination, or 10 percent of them, got less than 65 percent of the primary vote. This year, five of 10 have fallen below that threshold: not only Roberts, Cochran and McConnell, but also Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas, who both benefited from running against divided fields."

Disapproval Rages

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that nearly 9 in 10 Americans say they disapprove of how Congress is handling its job, and 6 in 10 disapprove of President Obama. More than half of Americans, 54 percent, disapprove of both.

Archive: August 06, 2014

Tough New Ad in Wisconsin Governor's Race

Mary Burke (D) put out a devastatingly effective ad against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) that should make Republicans at least a little more worried.

Chris Cillizza: "I've become convinced that the best (read: most effective) negative ads in the modern political world are those that feature a politician's own words. The video of Walker promising that he would create 250,000 jobs is political gold -- and something the Burke campaign can just keep running on TV in lots of different iterations between now and November."

GOP Spends Big in Georgia

Democrats were thrilled to see that Republicans "are going to spend early and big on the Georgia U.S. Senate race," the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

"The news that the National Republican Senatorial Committee will spend $2.5 million on Atlanta TV on a five-week span starting Tuesday -- a huge sum at this stage of the race -- was immediately picked up by Democrats as evidence that Georgia is not as safe as the GOP would like to claim."

Daines Crushing Walsh in Montana

A new Vox Populi (R) poll in Montana finds Steve Daines (R) way ahead of Sen. John Walsh (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 34%.

Man Says McDaniel Paid Him to Lie About Vote Buying

A man who claimed Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) campaign asked him to pay people to vote for Cochran now says he was actually paid $2,000 by a member of Chris McDaniel's (R) campaign to make the accusation, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

GOP Establishment vs. Tea Party Is an Expensive Fight

Bloomberg says the cost of the GOP civil war has been more than $135 million already this year.

"The yearlong fight over the direction of the Republican Party -- stretched over two dozen Senate and House primaries involving more than 50 candidates -- means the tug-of-war will go on, extending into next year's debate on the debt ceiling and the 2016 presidential and congressional races."

Scott Holds Edge in Florida

A new Survey USA poll in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) edging challenger Charlie Crist (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 43%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I want to say to lobbyist Pete Hoekstra, you're a disgrace. I'm glad we could hand you one more loss before you fade into total obscurity and irrelevance."

-- Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), quoted by WOOD-TV, in an unusually harsh primary victory speech.

Walsh Mulls Dropping Senate Bid

Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) "is engaged in internal deliberations with his political team about whether to stay on the ballot this year, sources said Tuesday, in the wake of a plagiarism scandal that has tarnished the appointed Democratic lawmaker's standing," Politico reports.

"Senate Democratic leaders in Washington and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are not playing an active role in the discussions, allowing the situation to be sorted out between Walsh and his Montana Democratic colleagues... The talks come ahead of a key deadline on Monday, the last day for a candidate to withdraw from the race."

The AP notes Walsh has already postponed several upcoming campaign events.

Storms Threaten Hawaii Primaries

A pair of tropical cyclones are on track to hit Hawaii just before Saturday's primary elections, CNN reports.

"Local media reported that many turned up for early voting in anticipation of severe weather on election day. Others are concerned that voting turnout could be affected."

Democrats Throw Everything at Republicans

"Democrats are throwing the kitchen sink at Republicans in a bid to keep the Senate and erode the GOP's House majority in November's elections," The Hill reports.

"While the Democrats' official campaign strategy focuses wholly on the economy, education and women's rights, party leaders have charged into the August recess with a much broader message that paints Republicans as too tough on immigrants, too easy on corporate election donors and too focused on toppling President Obama in lieu of helping the middle class."

"The wider emphasis could pay dividends in November's midterms, as the Democrats are highlighting issues that tend to poll strongly in their favor. But the strategy is not without its perils, as calling attention to a spectrum of topics also risks muddling their message ahead of the elections."

Booker Leads in New Jersey

A new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey finds Sen. Cory Booker (D) leading challenger Jeff Bell (R) in the U.S. Senate race by double-digits, 47% to 37%.

Accidental Congressman Loses Primary

The accidental congressman's tenure in Washington came to an end Tuesday evening, when Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) lost the Republican primary to attorney David Trott (R) in this district northwest of Detroit, Roll Call reports.

Detroit Free Press: "Bentivolio had gone into the Republican primary with grave doubts hanging over his political future, and only one potentially significant advantage: his incumbency. From the beginning, it looked like that might not be enough for him to beat Trott, however."

Amash Survives Primary Challenge in Michigan

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) "survived a challenge Tuesday from businessman Brian Ellis (R) in a west Michigan primary that, if nothing else, showed just how popular Amash is despite alienating some powerful elements of the mainstream Republican Party," the Detroit Free Press reports.

TPM says Amash gave a cutting victory speech who he said ran a "despicable smear" campaign.

Roberts Wins in Kansas

Sen. Pat Roberts' (R-KS) victory over Milton Wolf (R) in Tuesday's Republican primary "was part of a mainstream conservatives blow to the tea party movement, which also lost a a first-term Michigan congressman to a more moderate GOP businessman," the Topeka Capital Journal reports.

"The Senate's establishment is on a roll, with incumbents also prevailing in Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina and Mississippi, though it took six-term Sen. Thad Cochran two tries before defeating Chris McDaniel, who is challenging the outcome."

Archive: August 05, 2014

Predict Senate Control

270 to Win has just launched a very cool 2014 Senate Election Simulation.

The model starts with an average of the forecasts used by the Washington Post and New York Times and allows you to adjust the outcome probabilities for each seat.

Treadwell Makes It a Race in Alaska

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Alaska finds Mead Treadwell (R) closing the gap in the Republican primary for Senate, but he still trails Dan Sullivan (R) by six points, 35% to 29%, with Joe Miller (R) at 20%.

In general election match ups, Sen. Mark Begich (D) continues to have modest leads over all of his potential Republican opponents.

Wolf Maintains Solid Lead in Pennsylvania

A new Magellan Strategies (R) poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) leading Gov. Tom Corbett (R) by 12 points amonglikely voters, 38% to 50%.

Rivera's Stealth Campaign Continues

Miami Herald: "For the second time in a week, David Rivera, the embattled former Miami congressman who claimed he had suspended his campaign for his old seat, has reached out to voters through automated telephone calls."

Tennant Says She Doesn't Agree with Obama on Most Things

Maj. Gen. Allen Tackett, the campaign chairman for West Virginia U.S. Senate nominee Natalie Tennant (D), was recorded on video saying Tennant agrees with President Obama "on most of his policies" forcing the campaign to say he misspoke, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

Said Tennant campaign spokeswoman Jenny Donohue: "Natalie does not support the majority of the president's policies."

Tight Race for North Carolina Senate

A new Civitas poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) barely leading challenger Thom Tillis (R) in a three way U.S. Senate race, 41% to 39%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh at 7%.

In a head-to-head match up, Tillis leads by two points, 45% to 43%.

FitzGerald Did Not Have Valid Driver's License

Columbus Dispatch: "Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald had not had a regular Ohio driver's license for at least five years when Westlake police found him in a car with a woman early one morning two years ago. If he drove his car home after dropping her off at her hotel, as he said he did, he would have violated Ohio law requiring those with just a temporary permit to be accompanied by a licensed driver."

Cuomo Still Way Ahead Despite Controversy

A new Marist Poll finds a majority of New Yorkers don't think Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) acted ethically in shutting down a corruption commission but he still holds a wide lead over challenger Rob Astorino (R) in the race for governor, 54% to 23%.

Cotton Slightly Ahead in Arkansas Senate Race

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Arkansas finds Tom Cotton (R) just ahead of Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 41% to 39%.

Also interesting: "At least for now Republicans appear to be positioned for a sweep at the state level. In the race for Governor Asa Hutchinson leads Democratic foe Mike Ross 43/38... Republicans hold leads ranging anywhere from 4 to 11 points in all of the down ballot races."

McConnell Says Kentucky Key to GOP Chances

Asked whether the Republican Party has any chance of retaking the U.S. Senate if he doesn't win his re-election bid in Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told National Review: "No."

Top 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Roll Call: "Three months before Election Day, it's clear some senators may not return to Congress after the midterms -- and that's mostly good news for Republicans."

Top 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

Roll Call: "Two House members have already lost their re-election in primaries this cycle -- and it's unlikely they will be the last with ruined plans to return to Congress."

Primaries in Kansas, Michigan and Washington Today

There are more tea party vs. establishment primaries tonight.

Politico notes that if Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) win today, "this will be the first cycle since 2008 in which no incumbent senator loses in a primary."

Harry Enten says Alexander and Roberts "are heavy favorites to win their primaries this week against conservative challengers, but the data from past primary challenges suggest that Alexander has a higher chance of being upset."

Roll Call has 6 things to watch as results come in.

Democrats Seize on Social Issues

New York Times: "They aim to match President Obama's feat in 2012, when the incumbent used topics such as same-sex marriage and contraception as weapons to offset his vulnerability on the economy. That they would even try while facing the older, whiter, more conservative midterm electorate shows how thoroughly the politics of social issues have turned upside down."

"The tumultuous social changes that began in the 1960s supplied decades of political ammunition for Republicans. Beginning with Richard M. Nixon, they rallied Americans disturbed by noisy protests over civil rights, the sexual revolution and the Vietnam War."

Archive: August 04, 2014

McDaniel Files Formal Challenge to Runoff Result

Chris McDaniel (R) has formally challenged his defeat in a runoff by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in Mississippi, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"McDaniel will have to prove there were enough illegally cast votes to change the outcome or that the election was so sloppily handled its result is in doubt."

McDaniel claims 3,500 of illegal crossover voting by Democrats, 9,500 "irregular votes" and 2,275 "improperly cast" votes. Certified results show Cochran won by 7,667 votes, or 51 percent.

Rick Hasen: "But the reason I expect McDaniel will likely lose is that he is not asking for a new election. Instead, he is asking for a remedy of having him declared the winner."

House Deportation Vote Unlikely to Hurt GOP This Year

Nate Cohn: "Republican hopes for attracting more Hispanic voters suffered another setback on Friday when the House passed a bill to effectively end President Obama's program to defer deportations of undocumented children. Yet the vote is unlikely to deal a severe blow to the party's chances in November's midterm elections. Hispanic voters may be flexing their growing political muscles in presidential elections, but they have far less sway over the composition of the House or the Senate, particularly in 2014."

Quote of the Day

"Barack Obama has been a disaster. I guess that's what we get for electing someone with no experience. He was only two years into his first big job when he started campaigning for the next one. Sound familiar?"

-- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by Politico, campaigning against challenger Allison Lundergran Grimes.

Republicans Slightly Favored to Take Senate

Nate Silver: "The problem for Democrats is that this year's Senate races aren't being fought in neutral territory... It therefore shouldn't be surprising that we continue to see Republicans as slightly more likely than not to win a net of six seats this November and control of the Senate. A lot of it is simply reversion to the mean.2 This may not be a "wave" election as 2010 was, but Republicans don't need a wave to take over the Senate."

"Summing the probabilities of each race yields an estimate of 51 seats for Republicans. That makes them very slight favorites -- perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-40 -- to take control of the Senate, but also doesn't leave them much room for error."

"However, I also want to advance a cautionary note. It's still early, and we should not rule out the possibility that one party could win most or all of the competitive races."

The Upshot says Republicans have a 53% chance of winning control.

Dead Heat in Wisconsin

A new Human Events/Gravis Marketing poll in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) and challenger Mary Burke (D) deadlocked in the race for governor, 47% to 47%, with 6% still unsure.

Six States in Six Days

First Read notes there are primary contests taking place in six states over the next six days.

"On Tuesday, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington hold their primaries... On Thursday -- a rare day for elections -- Tennessee holds its primaries... And then on Saturday, Hawaii has primaries featuring the top Democratic intra-party fights this cycle."

Conflicting Polls in Hawaii

A new Hawaii News Now/Star Advertiser Hawaii poll shows Colleeen Hanabusa (D) leading Sen. Brian Schatz (D) by eight points in their Democratic primary race, 50% to 42%.

A Civil Beat poll last week found Schatz with an eight point lead.

Archive: August 03, 2014

Billings Gazette Urges Walsh to Stop Campaign

Billings Gazette editorial: "Sen. John Walsh's response to plagiarism has destroyed our faith in him... Having repeatedly said that he wants to do the honorable thing, Walsh should stop campaigning and do his utmost to serve Montanans well in the remainder of his brief Senate appointment. That is the honorable course."

Billionaire Will Spend Big to Take Down Rick Scott

Miami Herald: "In a nationwide push to fight Republicans who deny the existence of man-made climate change, investor-turned-activist Tom Steyer has founded a Florida political committee, seeded it with $750,000 of his own money, and says he'll spend far more to help Democrat Charlie Crist defeat Gov. Rick Scott."

"Florida Democrats are buzzing about Steyer spending $10 million, which he won't discuss. Republicans say the California Democrat is a phony environmentalist, but they nevertheless worry that his financial commitment could be real in Florida."

GOP Holds Small Lead in Generic Ballot

A new NBC/WSJ/Marist poll also shows that Americans "are divided on congressional control for the upcoming midterm elections. By 43% to 41%, voters say they want to see congressional Republicans stay in control of the House. And by an equal 43% to 41% margin, they want to see Republicans in charge of the Senate."

Archive: August 02, 2014

Romney in Demand on Midterm Campaign Trail

"President Obama thumped Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, but now their political standings seem reversed. During a summer in which Democratic candidates are keeping their distance from an unpopular president, Romney is emerging as one of the Republican Party's most in-demand campaign surrogates," the Washington Post reports.

"Over three days in mid-August, Romney will campaign for GOP Senate and gubernatorial candidates in West Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas, aides said. In September, he is planning visits to the presidential swing states of Colorado and Virginia. Romney is filling up his October schedule, as well."

Barbs Traded at Fancy Farm

"Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell traded barbs, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced he will run for governor and Rand Paul read poetry," the Lexington Herald Leader reports.

"While Comer stole the show with Republicans at the end of Saturday's Fancy Farm picnic in front of a record crowd, the U.S. Senate race was the main event as supporters of McConnell and Grimes got rowdy early and stayed that way through the speeches."

"Despite its reputation, Fancy Farm was not the firehose of vitriol aimed at the candidates that organizers feared and reporters from all over the globe hoped for, and none of the major candidates committed any gaffes that will haunt them from here to November."

Rauner Moved Assets to Cayman Islands

Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner (R) "has channeled at least part of his fortune into the Cayman Islands, a Caribbean paradise long criticized as a tax haven for American investors," the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

"A Rauner spokesman insisted that the former private equity investor has met his legal tax obligations and properly disclosed to the federal government information regarding at least five investments by him or his firm in a country that has no income tax and a financial system cloaked in secrecy. Rauner's campaign has refused so far to release a full set of his most recent tax returns to corroborate that and perhaps show the extent and value of those investments in offshore companies."

Coakley Holds Solid Lead Over Baker

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) running well ahead of Charlie Baker (R) in the race for governor, 42% to 32%.

The Coming Democratic Collapse

Jeff Greenfield: "If you're looking for a truism that remains true, then reach out and grasp this one: the "six year curse." With one (highly instructive) exception, the party that holds the White House will lose Congressional seats in the six-year midterms. It happened to Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt; it happened to Ike and LBJ and Reagan. It will almost surely happen to Barack Obama this November."

"Why? There is no single reason; there are, rather, different forces, any one of which can afflict the party that's held the White House for six years. What makes this November so daunting for Democrats is that almost all of them are at work this time."

GOP Requested Police Records on FitzGerald

"The Republican Governors Association, which is providing campaign support to Gov. John Kasich's re-election bid, requested information from the Westlake Police Department about a report of a suspicious car that led officers to FitzGerald and a woman who was not his wife in a parked car before dawn in October 2012," the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Archive: August 01, 2014

Police Found Fitzgerald in Car with Another Woman

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that police officers in 2012 responded to a call about suspicious behavior and found Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald (D) and a woman who was not his wife in a parked car at 4:30 am.

Said the witness in an audio recording: "I don't know if they're having sex in the parking lot or what they're doing here. I don't know if they don't notice all my lights inside and they're just [inaudible] something, but all I keep seeing is like something going back and forth, and I'm like, eh, you know what, this is a little fishy."

Fitzgerald says nothing inappropriate happened in the car and he was not charged with a crime.

Florida Elections Could Be Delayed as Judge Orders New Map

A Florida judge ordered the state legislature to submit a redrawn congressional map within two weeks to replace ones for two districts that were ruled illegal, the New York Times reports.

The ruling held open the possibility of delaying the November elections.

Greer Will Stay Quiet For Now

Tampa Bay Times: "Here's some good news for Charlie Crist: Jim Greer, his former close friend and former state GOP Chairman, has decided against doing interviews since leaving prison a month ago. In a recently published tell-all book written by St. Petersburg author Peter Gollenbock, The Chairman: The Rise and Betrayal of Jim Greer, Greer castigates Crist as a self-absorbed liar and lightweight."

How Lamar Alexander Fended Off His Primary Challenge

"Conservatives have poured millions into primary challenges to senators this cycle, even in races where chances of success were slim. But Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has proved one of the greatest exceptions, and now he's poised to defeated state Rep. Joe Carr and several lesser-known challengers in the Aug. 7 GOP primary," Roll Call reports.

"So how did Alexander avoid the fate of many of his colleagues?"

Schatz Opens Solid Lead in Hawaii

A new Civil Beat poll in Hawaii finds Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) with a solid lead over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 41%.

Roll Call: Hawaii senator gets distance from governor who appointed him

Is Rivera Running a Stealth Campaign?

Former Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) "supposedly put off his campaign last month for Florida's 26th congressional district. But now, some voters say he's back," the Miami Herald reports.

"Several older Hispanics have told other Republican candidates in the race that they received automated phone calls this week urging them to vote for Rivera. Because Rivera never formally withdrew his candidacy, his name still appears on the Aug. 26 GOP primary ballot."

Little Talk of Foreign Crises on Campaign Trail

"Crises in Gaza, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine have dominated the news this summer and even grabbed the attention of many Americans who are usually indifferent to international affairs. Yet the events might as well be in a parallel universe for all the notice they are getting in this year's congressional campaigns," the New York Times reports.

"Candidates are not raising such subjects in appearances or television ads, except for some Republicans who are broadly blaming President Obama, strategists in both parties say. Nor are local reporters or voters asking about them."

How the Forecasts Have Changed

The Upshot has a nice chart showing how their daily election forecasts have changed over the last four months.

Organizers Hope for More Subdued Fancy Farm

"When Mitch McConnell (R) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) get up to speak Saturday at Fancy Farm, organizer Mark Wilson doesn't want the constant chanting and noisemaking that has made the event more a test of will than a political speaking contest," the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

Said Wilson: "We want to get some more civility to the program. The last few years, it got a little bit worse than it had been."

"There's a long tradition of showmanship and heckling at Fancy Farm, but it wasn't always like it is today -- where politicians have to strain to be heard over a screaming crowd."

Republicans Hand Democrats a Campaign Message

First Read: "Another stunning legislative embarrassment for House Republicans has handed Democrats a mighty big talking point over the next three months until the midterm elections: The GOP is incapable -- if not unwilling -- to govern, they will argue..."

"In other words, Democrats now have something fresh to run against. And you couldn't necessarily say that on July 1. Yes, there was the government shutdown last fall. But that was a year ago -- and it got immediately overshadowed by the months-long story about HealthCare.Gov's failure (an example of the Obama's administration own difficulty in governing). But what's significant about yesterday's legislative embarrassment for Republicans is that 1) it comes just three months before the midterm elections, and 2) it came a day after the House, in a partisan vote, moved to sue the president. That's why Democrats have a chance to exploit this -- that is, of course, until we see the next Democratic misstep or national/international crisis."

David Perdue, Then and Now

"My answer is no."

-- Georgia U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue (R), quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution in May, when asked if he would support Mitch McConnell (R) as Senate Majority Leader.

"I don't want to put words in his mouth... but he was very clear with the Leader that he's going to be a team player."

-- Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, on Perdue's apparent change of heart after talking to McConnell this week.

Brown Making History in New Hampshire

Smart Politics notes that if Scott Brown (R) "wins the New Hampshire GOP primary, he would become just the fourth major party politician in U.S. history to face three female major party U.S. Senate nominees, and, if he loses to" Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), "would become the first to lose to two of them."

Abercrombie Trails Badly in Hawaii

A new Civil Beat poll in Hawaii finds David Ige (D) leading Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) in the Democratic primary for governor by double-digits, 51% to 41%.

Archive: July 31, 2014

Hagan Slightly Up in North Carolina

A new Gravis Marketing survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) holds a 3-point margin over challenger Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 41%, with 15% still undecided.

Democrats Work to Shore Up Black Vote

"The DCCC has undertaken a new black voter outreach initiative -- which the committee says is the most expansive and expensive project in the history of the DCCC -- that has consisted of demographic focus groups, battleground polling, ad testing and renewed ground game in black neighborhoods," the Washington Post reports.

"In 15 of the top 25 House seats being targeted by the DCCC this cycle, African Americans make up at least 10 percent of the voting-age population. In close races that will likely be decided by just a few points, the DCCC believes boosting turnout among those black voters by just a few points could keep them be competitive in places they would otherwise lose this year."

Walker Gets Big Win Against Unions in Wisconsin

"The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld Gov. Scott Walker's signature labor legislation Thursday in just one of the three major rulings issued by the court on union bargaining, election law and same-sex couples," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"In addition to ruling that Walker's labor law is constitutional, the state's highest court also upheld the state's voter ID law and upheld a 2009 law providing limited benefits to gay and lesbian couples."

Comeback for DesJarlais?

"Two years is a lifetime in politics. Just ask Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Roll Call reports.

"GOP operatives had all but written off the Tennessee Republican. In October 2012, it was revealed the anti-abortion rights physician had encouraged an ex-wife to have two abortions prior to their marriage and had carried on multiple affairs with patients and co-workers -- an infraction for which he was fined $500 by a medical board."

But now, in the final days of a primary race with Time Tracy (R), DesJarlais "is in a better position than Republicans ever anticipated. He might even win."

Archive: July 30, 2014

Peters Still Leads for Senate in Michigan

A new Rasmussen survey in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) leading Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race by six points, 45% to 39%.

Democratic Poll Gives Pryor the Edge

A new Anzalone Liszt Grove (D) poll in Arkansas finds Sen. Mark Pryor (D) leading challenger Tom Cotton (R) by two points in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 46%.

Perdue Opens Up Lead Over Nunn

A new Vox Populi Polling (R) survey finds David Perdue (R) with a nine-point lead over Michelle Nunn (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 40%, with 10% undecided.

The Most Frightening Congressional Candidate

David Wasserman: "As a House analyst for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, I've personally interviewed over 300 congressional candidates over the course of seven years, both to get to know them and evaluate their chances of winning. I've been impressed by just as many Republicans as Democrats, and underwhelmed by equal numbers, too. Most are accustomed to tough questions."

"But never have I met any candidate quite as frightening or fact-averse as Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney, 55, who visited my office last Wednesday. It's tough to decide which party's worst nightmare she would be."

Pentagon Will Investigate Plagiarism Charges

The Defense Department and the Department of the Army "will be reviewing the plagiarism allegations against Sen. John Walsh (D-MT), according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army War College, where Walsh allegedly used the work of other people in his 2007 thesis for a master's degree," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"The school said that because Walsh is a member of Congress and a former military serviceman, the Defense Department's Office of the Inspector General has authority to review the investigation."

A new Gravis Marketing poll finds Steve Daines (R) has increased his over Walsh from four points to seven points, 45% to 38%, since the plagiarism scandal began.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"In '06 I put a lot of my own money into the race, some people took away that I was trying to buy the race. This time I'm really focused on showing I have a broad base of support. And also, quite frankly, I learned that if somebody writes you a ten dollar check they're going to vote for you."

-- Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts (R), quoted by Bloomberg.

Turning the Midterms Into a Base Election

First Read: "So both sides are playing this cynical game, turning the midterms into a base election that will be decided by who best motivates their base rather than by trying to fix the country's problems. (Republicans: 'This President is breaking the law!' Democrats: 'They want to impeach the president!') And what's particularly jarring is that this isn't taking place on the campaign trail -- but rather from their official capacities at the White House and on Capitol Hill. It's beneath the White House, and it's beneath the speaker. And each side can rationalize their actions all they want, but all its doing is reinforcing the decision by MILLIONS of Americans who have chosen not to participate in the political process this year that they made the right decision. The leaders in both parties aren't taking their frustrations seriously. Instead, leaders in Washington are falling back on base turnout gimmicks."

Kasich Up By Double Digits in Ohio

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) leading challenger Ed FitzGerald (D) in the race for governor by double digits, 48% to 36%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: "The Democratic nominee still has a long way to go with little more than three months until Election Day. Almost two-thirds of registered voters don't know enough about FitzGerald to have an opinion of him. That's an awful lot of Ohioans who still have to be introduced to him. This survey was conducted during the period in which the Democrat had just begun his television advertising buy."

Arkansas Senate Race Remains Close

A new Hendrix College poll in Arkansas finds Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in the U.S. Senate race by two points, 44% to 42%.

Meanwhile, Pryor released an internal poll that shows he has a six point lead, 45% to 39%.

Quinn Trails Badly in Illinois

A new We Ask America poll in Illinois finds Bruce Rauner (R) with a big lead over Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in the race for governor, 47% to 33%.

Archive: July 29, 2014

Most Wouldn't Want Obama Campaigning for Them

A new Fox News poll found that 57% of American voters would not want President Obama to campaign with them if they were running for office this year, while 41% said they would.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"How did I get here? Why am I the guy they shoved out on the end of the diving board, OK, stuck him in the butt with a knife?"

-- Parker Griffith (D), quoted by the Huntsville Times, on his decision to run for Alabama governor.

Fiorina Inches Back Into Politics

"Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in California in 2010, is diving back into electoral politics," according to U.S. News and World Report.

"For now, her work is focused on pushing back against Democrats' claim of a Republican-led 'war on women' in the 2014 midterms. But her recent moves in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire have convinced some she's eyeing a bigger prize come 2016."

A Major Unforced Error by Michelle Nunn

First Read looks at the leak of a strategy document from Michelle Nunn's (D) campaign and notes "the revelation isn't good for her consultants' business, that's for sure."

"More importantly, this is something Nunn can't afford. If she's going to win -- in this environment, in the red state of Georgia -- she's got to run a flawless campaign. Talk about a major unforced error. And the timing couldn't be worse for Nunn: This story comes out just after the GOP's nine-week runoff and with the start of the general election."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline: "Leaked doc: Michelle Nunn non-profit validated grants to charity with Hamas-tied affiliate"

Are Republicans Repeating Mistakes of 1998?

Byron York: "That's what scares some Republican strategists. Back in 1998, there was an intense internal debate among Republicans over how much to make the midterms about President Bill Clinton. The strategists who favored attacking the president won the day, but in the end their strategy didn't work out. Now, there is an intense internal debate among Republicans over how much to make the 2014 midterms about President Barack Obama."

Brownback Took Loan from Running Mate

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) "relied on a loan from his lieutenant governor to raise slightly more money this year than his Democratic challenger," the Kansas City Star reports.

"Brownback reported taking in $1.2 million for the reporting period ending July 24. That included a $500,000 loan from Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a plastic surgeon. Subtract the loan, and challenger Paul Davis (D) would have raised about $378,000 more than Brownback between Jan. 1 and July 24, records show."

Alexander Internal Poll Shows Him With Huge Lead

Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-TN) internal polling shows him with a 30-percentage point lead over tea-party challenger Joe Carr in Tennessee's Republican Senate primary, 53% to 21%, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Strip Club Endorses Pastor for Congress

"A Phoenix strip club has endorsed a Democratic pastor for Congress. And the candidate, Rev. Jarrett Maupin, says he welcomes the The Great Alaskan Bush Company's support," the Arizona Republic reports.

Said Maupin: "The Lord works in mysterious ways."

Still Very Close in Kentucky

A new Survey USA poll in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) just ahead of challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 45%.

Dead Heat in Connecticut

A new Anazlone Liszt Grove Research (D) poll in Connecticut finds Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) in a dead heat with challenger Tom Foley (R) in the race for governor, 46% to 46%.

Carter Has Edge in Georgia

A new Rasmussen survey in Georgia finds Jason Carter (D) just ahead of Gov. Nathan Deal (R) in the race for governor, 45% to 44%.

Archive: July 28, 2014

No Signs of a GOP Wave Forming

Nate Cohn: "Unfortunately, generic ballot polling has been sparse so far this cycle. Last week, however, there were three national polls, by Fox News, CNN and Pew Research, asking the generic ballot question. None showed an anti-Democrat wave, like the one that brought Republicans back to power in 2010. In fact, none of the three polls showed Republicans with a lead among registered voters at all."

Leaked Document Sheds Light on Nunn Campaign

National Review obtained a fascinating document from Michelle Nunn's (D) U.S. Senate campaign which highlights what her strategists consider her major weaknesses.

"Though the campaign plan recommends emphasizing Nunn's accomplishments at the Points of Light Foundation, which she has done on the campaign trail, her strategists express enormous concern about attacks that might arise from her work there. She has served as CEO of Points of Light since 2007 and, according to the document, it has made grants to 'terrorists' and 'inmates' during her tenure. The document also makes reference to a 2010 audit that concluded Points of Light's accounting system was 'not adequate to account for federal funds.'"

"The Nunn campaign plan also contains details about messaging, fundraising, staffing, organization, and scheduling that are usually closely held."

Jindal Still Hasn't Endorsed at Home

The Huffington Post reports that Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) "has been putting his mark on Senate races around the country, expanding his sphere of influence should he decide to run for president in 2016. So far, he's endorsed GOP Senate candidates in Arkansas, Iowa and North Carolina. But in one tight Senate contest, Jindal is noticeably absent: In his home state, he hasn't yet endorsed a Republican challenger to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)."

Peters Expands Lead in Michigan

A new Mitchell Research poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) leading Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race by five points, 43% to 38%.

The same poll showed Peters leading by 3 points in June. The poll had Peters trailing Land by 6 points in April.

GOP Closer to Taking Senate Control

Cook Political Report: "Just how close are Republicans to picking up the six seats they need to win the majority? The short answer is pretty close. Perhaps not surprisingly, Republicans and Democrats hold very different perspectives on the state of play in the most competitive races, and where the overall battle for the majority stands today."

Also interesting: "One great frustration we have this cycle is polling. Yes, polling has been problem in the last three cycles, but it seems to be getting worse, not better this cycle."

Tea Party Allies Defend Amash

"No House Republican enrages the business-friendly wing of the GOP more than Justin Amash. But members and operatives who hoped to end his political career are running out of time and moxie before Michigan's Aug. 5 primary," Roll Call reports.

"So far, many of Amash's cash-flush critics have passed on investing substantial resources in his GOP rival, Brian Ellis (R). At the same time, Amash allies such as the Club for Growth and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have tangibly backed the libertarian sophomore's re-election in the 3rd District."

Democrats Hold Edge in Generic Ballot

A new CNN/ORC International poll finds Democrats lead Republicans in the generic congressional ballot, 48% to 44%.

GOP Prospects for Taking Senate Brighten

"With 100 days to go until the midterm election, unexpectedly strong bids by several Republican candidates and President Obama's continued sagging approval ratings are boosting GOP chances of capturing a Senate majority," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"A battery of recent polling shows Republican candidates mounting competitive bids for at least 10 Senate seats now held by Democrats, including in Iowa and Colorado, states that have been leaning Democratic in recent years. Many Republican candidates have narrowed their opponents' fundraising advantage, according to the latest campaign-finance reports. And a series of international crises has dealt the president some of the lowest approval marks of his second term, weighing on his party's candidates."

Roll Call: 6 reasons Senate Republicans should be optimistic -- and concerned about Election Day

Archive: July 27, 2014

GOP Improves Odds of Taking Senate

The Upshot: "With the addition of the YouGov estimates to our model, the overall outlook for the Senate remains roughly the same. The Republicans appear to have a slight advantage, with the most likely outcome being a Republican gain of six seats, the minimum they need to finish with a 51-49 seat majority. But we, like many other forecasters, would not be surprised by a gain of anywhere from four to eight seats."

"Summing up the possible outcomes, our model gives the Republicans a 60 percent chance of taking control, up from 54 percent on April 1."

Archive: July 26, 2014

Obama Ramps Up Fundraising

Washington Post: "This year alone, Obama has attended 40 fundraisers and has hosted nearly 400 events while in office. And Michelle Obama has been hitting the fundraising circuit as well... Obama is not breaking new ground by spending so much time fundraising. In fact, he is part of a long-term trend. Over the past 30 years, the number of fundraising events undertaken by presidents in office has been on the rise... During their second terms, recent presidents have ramped up the number of events they host, no longer having to worry about their own re-election campaigns."

Two Different Polls in Georgia

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading Michelle Nunn (D) in the U.S. Senate race by six points, 46% to 40%.

A new Landmark Communications survey shows Nunn leading by four points, 47% to 43%.

Washington Post: "One rare feature of the race is that neither of the major party candidates has held elective office before. From 1980 through 2012 there were only two elections like this."

Archive: July 25, 2014

Army War College to Investigate Plagiarism Charge

The U.S. Army War College told NBC Montana that it will convene an Academic Review Board to look into allegations of plagiarism against democratic Sen. John Walsh (D-MT).

"Walsh is accused plagiarizing portions of his 2007 Master's Thesis. According to the statement, if Walsh is found to have intentionally plagiarized another work the college could revoke his graduation status."

Brownback's Re-Election Bid in Trouble

A new Survey USA poll in Kansas finds Paul Davis (D) leading Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in the race for governor by eight points, 48% to 40%, with Libertarian Keen Umbehr at 5%.

Shaheen Maintains Lead in New Hampshire

A new Magellan Strategies survey in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading challenger Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race by six points, 46% to 41%.

Deadlocked in New Mexico

A new Rasmussen survey in New Mexico finds Gov. Susana Martinez (R) locked in a tie with challenger Gary King (D) in the race for governor, 43% to 43%.

Graham Holds Double-Digit Lead in South Carolina

A new Palmetto Politics poll in South Carolina finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) leading a four-way race for U.S. Senate with 45%, followed by Brad Hutto (D) at 33%, Thomas Ravenel (I) at 10% and Victor Kocher (L) at 4%.

The poll also found President Obama's approval rating at just 39%.

Said pollster Jim Lee: "I think the elephant in the room in the Senate race is Obama's approval rating. That's really the reason why, in my opinion, Hutto is not competitive."

Archive: July 24, 2014

Democrats Plan to Play Up GOP Lawsuit

Greg Sargent: "Democratic leaders are planning an aggressive effort to turn the House GOP lawsuit against President Obama into a political positive in the 2014 elections, with ads and other paid media designed to cast the GOP as extreme and committed to destructive governing -- which Dems hope will contrast sharply with their concrete economic policy agenda."

No Signs of a Wave Yet

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball: "Let's stipulate that a wave can develop late in the season, in September or even October, and if it does in 2014, it will be colored Red and the Senate will surely go Republican. Even without a wave, there's a fair to good chance the GOP will end up with the six net seats they need for control -- and little chance they'll pick up fewer than four seats in any event."

"But 2014 is no 2006. The electorate had turned off to George W. Bush and would never again turn on. The Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina were two principal reasons. The full Democratic wave emerged in the fall, after some GOP congressional scandals, but even at this point in 2006, we were just debating how high the Democratic tide would rise."

"2014 is also no 2010. All of the energy was on the Republican side four years ago, as Obamacare bombed, the Tea Party arose, and the poor economy that helped elect Obama lingered. The building GOP wave was so impressive that the Crystal Ball was able to predict a House switch from Democratic to Republican control by Labor Day even though Democrats held about a 75-seat majority at that time."

Probably a Fatal Blow for Democrats in Montana

First Read sees the plagiarism scandal severely hurting Sen. John Walsh's (D-MT) ability to hold on to his seat for Democrats this fall.

"Yes, politicians can survive plagiarism scandals -- see Vice President Biden and Rand Paul (so far). And Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) survived his own A1 New York Times hit. But you don't do it in the midst of a campaign you're already losing, especially in a red state. By the way, we've said it before, and we'll say it again: Perhaps the biggest events that triggered the GOP's real chances of winning back the Senate were when 1) Max Baucus announced he wasn't seeking re-election, and when 2) Brian Schweitzer didn't run (and turned out not to be the recruit Democrats thought he looked to be on paper). If Montana weren't in play -- and now looking like a slam-dunk pickup opportunity -- the GOP's math would be more difficult."

Democrats Suffer from Midterm Enthusiasm Gap

A new Pew Research survey finds the Republican Party holds a clear advantage in voter engagement.

Key finding: "Republicans lead on a number of key engagement indicators, though in most cases by smaller margins than four years ago. Currently, 45% of registered voters who plan to support the Republican in their district say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in prior congressional elections; that compares with 37% of Democrats who express greater enthusiasm about voting. However, that gap is narrower than the both the GOP's 13-point enthusiasm advantage at this point in the midterm campaign in 2010 (55% to 42%) and the Democrats' 17-point advantage in 2006 (47% to 30%)."

Brown Keeps Huge Lead in California

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll finds Gov. Jerry Brown (D) leading Neel Kashkari (R) in the race for governor by a wide margin, 52% to 33%.

Astorino Will Confront Chrisite

ABC News: "Expect it to be rocky in Aspen. Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is planning on confronting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over comments he made earlier in the week about his campaign's viability against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo."

Astorino told reporters he had not seen Christie yet at the Republican Governor's Association meeting in Aspen, but he plans on seeing him this evening at a group dinner, saying it's "the first time we will all be together."

Walsh Blames PTSD for Plagiarism

Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) said "his failure to attribute conclusions and verbatim passages lifted from other scholars' work in his thesis to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College was an unintentional mistake caused in part by post-traumatic stress disorder," the AP reports.

Said Walsh: "I don't want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor. My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment."

Meanwhile, a new Gravis Marketing poll conducted before news of the plagiarism scandal found Walsh trailing Steve Daines (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 41%.

Schauer Admits to Voting in GOP Primary

Michigan gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer (D) "voted in the 2012 Republican primary, likely for Rick Santorum in order to embarrass Mitt Romney in his home state," Politico reports.

"Schauer acknowledges casting an absentee Republican ballot, but a spokesman refused to say who he voted for in 2012, calling the way a person votes private."

Archive: July 23, 2014

Senator Plagiarized Master's Thesis

An examination of the final paper required for Sen. John Walsh's (D-MT) master's degree from the United States Army War College "indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors' works, with no attribution," the New York Times reports.

"Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a 'strategy research project,' to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online."

Tight Race for Wisconsin Governor

A new Marquette Law School Poll in Wisconsin finds that the governor's race is still a dead heat, with Gov. Scott Walker (R) barely edging challenger Mary Burke (D), 46% to 45%.

Can Huge War Chests Save Senate Democrats?

Roll Call: "If Senate Democrats lose the majority, it won't be for lack of cash-flush campaigns. Facing a daunting map, Democrats turned in solid -- sometimes eye-popping -- second-quarter fundraising totals for the midterms."

"Even with incumbents such as Sens. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska already spending significantly on the airwaves, Democrats running for the party's most endangered seats also continued to sit on significant war chests primed for a post-Labor Day advertising assault."

Nikki Haley in Trouble?

A new Palmetto Politics poll in South Carolina finds Gov. Nikki Haley (R) leading Vincent Sheheen (D) by just four points, 46% to 42% in a race that includes independent and libertarian candidates.

In a head-to-head matchup, Haley leads Sheheen, 53% to 40%.

How Much Does Presidential Approval Matter in a Midterm?

Morning Line: "Overall, midterms are not kind to presidents and their parties. And when a president's approval rating is below 50 percent, like President Obama's is now, the president's party loses an average of about three more seats in the Senate than if his approval were above 50 percent. Overall, since World War II, the president's party has lost an average of 3.7 Senate seats in midterm elections. When the president's approval is above 50 percent, the average loss is 2.6 seats. But when the president's approval rating is below 50 percent, his party has seen an average loss of 5.5 seats in midterms -- ironic, considering Republicans need to gain a net of six seats this year to win control of the Senate."

"The wildcard here, though, is the continued unpopularity of the Republican brand. The party's favorability hovers in the 30s, slightly worse than Democrats and the president."

Crist Holds Lead in Florida

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the race for governor, 45% to 40%.

However, when Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie is added to the mix, the race is too close to call, with 39% for Crist, 37% for Scott and 9% for Wyllie

Perdue Wins Georgia Runoff

David Perdue (R) stunned Georgia's Republican political establishment Tuesday by capturing the party's U.S. Senate nomination in his first run for office, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Perdue "toppled 11-term Rep. Jack Kingston (R) by a narrow margin, setting up a battle of political newcomers with famous kin in the fall... In addition to his famous last name and lingering political network from his cousin, Perdue deployed $3 million of his own money to back his bid. Still, he was outspent by Kingston and allied Super PACs - including the deep pocketed U.S. Chamber of Commerce."

Jim Galloway: 5 reasons Perdue shocked Georgia's political world

Peach Pundit: Does anyone know how to poll this state?

Crist Retakes Lead in Florida

A new SurveyUSA poll in Florida shows Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the governor's race by six points, 46% to 40%.

The previous poll had Scott leading by two points.

Astorino Slams Christie Over Remarks

New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino (R) slammed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) after Christie contended as head of the Republican Governor's Association that Astorino has little chance in his race against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), the Poughkeepsie Journal reports.

Said Astorino: "Clearly, he could come across the bridge and not just raise money for himself but raise money for the Republican candidate here - unless he is unable or unwilling because he has an issue that we don't know about with Andrew Cuomo and the Bridgegate scandal. And if that's the case and he feels he can't do it, then maybe he should step down as chairman because his role is to raise money for Republican candidates."

Warner Holds Big Lead in Virginia

A new Roanoke College poll in Virginia shows Sen. Mark Warner (D) with a 25-point lead over challenger Ed Gillespie (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 22%, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis at 5%.

Tight GOP Race for Arizona Governor

A new Harper Polling survey in Arizona shows a tightening Republican primary contest for governor with Doug Ducey (R) just ahead of Christine Jones (R), 23% to 21%, with another 22% undecided.

Archive: July 22, 2014

Colorado Races Extremely Close

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Colorado finds Sen. Mark Udall (D) just ahead of challenger Cory Gardner (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 43%.

In the race for governor, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) edges challenger Bob Beauprez, 44% to 43%.

Quote of the Day

"We don't pay for landslides, and we don't invest in lost causes."

-- Gov. Chris Christie (R), Connecticut Mirror, when asked about the New York governor's race.

Hagan Increases Lead in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) continuing to grow her lead over challenger Thom Tillis (R) as the legislative session drags on.

Hagan now has a seven point lead, 41% to 34%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh pulling in 8%.

GOP Holds Slight Edge in Senate Battleground

A new Democracy Corps poll in 12 states where control of the Senate is being contested shows that control of the chamber "rests on a knife's edge" with Republicans leading 46% to 44%.

Turnout Way Down Across Country

A new report finds that turnout in the 25 states that have held statewide primaries so far has declined from 18.3% in 2010 to 14.8% this year.

First Read: "What's more, the report says that turnout in 15 of these 25 states has reached historic lows, and only three of 25 (Nebraska, North Carolina, and West Virginia) had higher turnout in 2014 than four years ago. So take President Obama's low job-approval ratings, add them with Congress' lower numbers plus a sense that the political process is broken, and you get low turnout -- record lows in some cases. Now we don't know what turnout will be for the general election, but if these numbers are any guide, then you can probably bet some money that the number of Americans voting is going to be down in November. And that could produce some striking consequences."

What to Watch in the Georgia Runoff

"Jack Kingston finished second in the Georgia Republican Senate primary back in May, but he's the favorite to win Tuesday's runoff," Politico reports.

"David Perdue, who finished first in the May 20 primary but fell short of the threshold to avoid the runoff, made 50 stops over the final weeks on a statewide bus tour and was slated to finish Monday with an eight-city fly-around. Kingston has also kept up an aggressive travel schedule, campaigning so much that he lost his voice over the weekend."

Atlanta Journal Constitution: 5 things to watch

Tight Race in Iowa

A new Human Events/Gravis Marketing poll in Iowa finds Bruce Braley (D) with a one-point lead over Joni Ernst (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 43%.

Still No Signs of a GOP Wave

Nate Cohn: "This year seemed poised to turn into another so-called wave election, like in 2006 or 2010, when a rising tide of dissatisfaction with the incumbent party swept the opposition into power. Given a favorable midterm map, with so many Democratic Senate seats in play, some analysts suggested that Republicans could win a dozen of them, perhaps even picking up seats in states like Virginia, New Hampshire and Oregon."

"The anti-Democratic wave might still arrive. But with three and a half months to go until November's elections, the promised Republican momentum has yet to materialize."

Montana Senate Race Tightens

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Montana shows Steve Daines (R) continues to lead Sen. John Walsh (D) in the race for U.S. Senate but the gap has narrowed to just seven points, 46% to 39%.

Archive: July 21, 2014

Pell Gains Traction in Rhode Island

Ted Nesi: "Could Clay Pell win the Democratic nomination for governor on Sept. 9? No small number of people have scoffed at that suggestion. But with 50 days to go before the primary - and nearly $1 million in Pell TV ads saturating the airwaves - there's reason to think the 32-year-old political newcomer has a real, if still unlikely, shot at victory."

"The evidence for a Pell surge is anecdotal at this point because there's been no public polling in the race since a May WPRI 12/Providence Journal survey that put Providence Mayor Angel Taveras at 33%, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo at 29% and Pell far behind at 12%. But WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming, who conducted the poll, suggested the next survey may show some movement."

Cuomo Holds Massive Lead

A new Siena poll in New York finds Gov. Andrews Cuomo (D) leading challenger Rob Astorino (R) by 37 points in the race for governor, 60% to 23%.

Said pollster Steven Greenberg: "With a little more than a hundred days until voters go to the polls, Astorino has a gigantic hole to climb out of to even make the race for governor competitive. Cuomo currently has the support of 80 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents and 32 percent of Republicans. Cuomo's lead among independents is larger than the lead Astorino has among Republicans."

Fallin in Close Race in Oklahoma

A new Rasmussen survey in Oklahoma finds Gov. Mary Fallin (R) with a slim lead over challenger Joe Dorman (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 40%.

Archive: July 20, 2014

Quote of the Day

"This is the turning point. The lines are drawn now. We know who our friends are; we know who our adversaries are. Now we're going to take it back."

-- Chris McDaniel (R), quoted by the Jackson Clarion Ledger, on challenging the results of the GOP Senate runoff that he lost.

Archive: July 19, 2014

Black Voters May Be Key to Midterm Outcome

Nate Cohn: "Southern black voters don't usually play a decisive role in national elections. They were systematically disenfranchised for 100 years after the end of the Civil War. Since the days of Jim Crow, a fairly unified white Southern vote has often determined the outcome of elections."

"This November could be different. Nearly five decades after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, black voters in the South are poised to play a pivotal role in this year's midterm elections. If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate, they will do so because of Southern black voters."

Quote of the Day

"I'm very excited about where we are. It's tight but we got momentum. And we're going to shock some people Tuesday. There's some powerbrokers who are really throwing their weight and money around. And it's not sticking."

-- David Perdue (R), quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, after polls showed a much closer GOP Senate runoff with Jack Kingston (R) than expected.

Archive: July 18, 2014

Democratic Hopes Hinge on Single Women

Los Angeles Times: "Though single women make up a growing share of the electorate -- nearly 4.2 million became eligible to cast ballots since 2008 -- they turn out in far lower numbers in midterm elections than presidential contests. The dropoff in their share of the electorate between 2008 and 2010 was significant. In 2010, some 22 million fewer unmarried women voted than in 2008... 10 million fewer married women voted."

"Facing the very real possibility of losing the Senate, Democratic operatives are doing everything they can to reverse that trend between now and November. That is why voters in Colorado, Montana and Michigan have seen a flurry of ads focused on abortion and contraceptive coverage from the campaigns and outside groups like the Senate Majority PAC, which is focused on maintaining Democrats' control of the Senate."

The Rise of One Candidate Super PACs

Washington Post: "Along with a driven campaign manager and sophisticated social media strategy, candidates need a rich friend or relative. For the first time, the kinds of super PACs that became prominent in the 2012 presidential campaign are also a basic requirement in competitive, down-ballot House races."

"As one of their first to-do items, congressional hopefuls are now asked to identify wealthy family members, friends or business associates willing to spend on behalf of their candidacies. As a result, deep-pocketed political patrons and special interests have a greater ability than ever before to influence the outcome of individual races, with a relatively modest investment of funds."

Warren and Paul Are the Hot Tickets for 2014

Amy Walter says "it's telling that two of the most popular surrogates on the campaign trail -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the Democrats and Sen. Rand Paul for the Republicans -- are both newbies to the national political scene. While they disagree on a whole lot of issues, they represent a similar yearning for a more populist, less regal (established) voice by both parties."

"We've got a long way to go before 2016. But the fact that two relative newcomers who preach a message that is outside what we've long held as the established 'norms' of their respective parties are gaining so much traction is noteworthy. For any candidate hoping to win the nomination in 2016, listening to the current beat, not being content to stay on the same station, is going to be critical."

Coakley Loses Edge in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll finds Martha Coakley has seen her edge over Charlie Baker (R) nearly erased in the last several weeks and is now leads by just three points, 39% to 36%.

Just a month ago, Coakley held a nine-point advantage over Baker.

Democrats Strong in Michigan Races

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) leading Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race by nine points, 45% to 36%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) holds a slim lead over challenger Mark Schauer (D), 46% to 43%.

Poll Finds Carter Leading for Georgia Governor

A new Landmark Communications poll in Georgia finds Jason Carter (D) leading Gov. Nathan Deal (R) in the race for governor, 49% to 41%.

Archive: July 17, 2014

Davis Money Haul Less Than Claimed

A day before fundraising reports were made public in the Texas governor's race, the campaign of Wendy Davis (D) boasted that she had outraised Greg Abbott (R) over the last few months and hauled in $13.1 million for their fall battle, the Texas Tribune reports.

However, the actual reports told a different story.

"The $11.2 million Davis claims she raised over the latest period -- an amount she said was larger than the $11.1 million Abbott raised -- contains over half a million dollars in non-cash 'in-kind' donations and counts contributions that could benefit other Democratic candidates."

Brown Not Talking About Birth Control

A Guardian reporter tried to ask former Sen. Scott Brown (R) about the Supreme Court's recent decision on allowing private companies with religious objections to stop offering contraception coverage to their employees but was rebuffed.

Said Brown: "Not without notifying my office."

"Brown stood up, walked to the back of the diner, and took shelter in the bathroom. A campaign aide, Jeremy, looked bewildered. He lingered beside me for a few moments, before politely excusing himself - 'Nice to meet you' - and joining his boss in the bathroom."

Quote of the Day

"I got mad. I walked out of a 60-minute interview in about 10 minutes. There's a rumor going around that I lost my temper. I can confirm for you today that that is true."

-- Georgia U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue (R), quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, on why he didn't get the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsement.

Kingston Heads Into Runoff with Lead

A new InsiderAdvantage/Fox5/Morris News survey in Georgia finds Jack Kingston (R) leading David Perdue (R) in next week's GOP Senate runoff, 46% to 41%.

Said pollster Matt Towery: "This survey indicates that Kingston has managed to retake momentum in the race with under a week to go."

Kissing Congressman Refunds Contributions

Rep. Vance McAllister's (R-LA) "re-election campaign has refunded contributions from the former staffer he was caught kissing on a leaked surveillance tape and the woman's husband," the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

"His latest campaign filing with the Federal Election Commission shows two refunds of $2,600 each to Melissa Peacock, the former staffer. Also refunded were two $2,600 contributions from Heath Peacock, the woman's husband."

The $100 Million Senate Race

The Fix: "Two years ago, Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown -- and their various and sundry allies and enemies -- combined to spend $82 million in the Massachusetts Senate race, making it the most expensive Senate race ever. Now, that eye-popping record is in serious jeopardy thanks to the massive cash coming in for this November's race between Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes."

Said former McConnell chief of staff Billy Piper: "I think there is absolutely a chance that the Kentucky race ends up costing more than $100 million."

How Senate Forecasts Compare

The Upshot has an excellent table showing how the various forecasts differ.

The GOP's Hidden Barrier to a Senate Majority

Kyle Kondik: "If Republicans are to win the Senate, they probably are going to have to do something they haven't done since 1980: beat more than two Democratic Senate incumbents in November."

"In that Reagan Revolution election -- one of the best for the Republican Party in its entire history -- the GOP flipped 12 seats held by a Democratic incumbent who sought another term... Incredibly, in the 16 Senate elections since then, the Republicans have flipped only 12 Democratic Senate seats where the incumbent was running again: It's taken them three decades worth of elections to match the achievement of that single 1980 effort."

McDaniel Will Formally Challenge Runoff Result

Lawyers for Chris McDaniel (R) say they expect to file a challenge of McDaniel's June 24 GOP runoff loss to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) within the next 10 days, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"Attorney Mitch Tyner said that despite 'roadblocks' to access of voting records that have required lawsuits against county circuit clerks, the campaign has uncovered widespread illegal voting. He said it's already enough to support a legal challenge of the Republican runoff, but the campaign is still gathering evidence and will not yet provide specifics."

The GOP is Bullish About 2014

The Wall Street Journal reports the Republican National Committee has recruited 16,630 leaders precinct leaders and dispatched 304 staffers in the field to try to mobilize 10 million "low propensity Republican voters" in November.

In addition, the Republican Governors Association "says it's ready to spend $100 million in the last 100 days of the campaign."

Republicans have also set a goal "to get super majorities in a majority of legislative chambers across the country."

Very Tight Senate Race in Colorado

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) edging ahead of Sen. Mark Udall (D) by two points, 44% to 42%.

Said pollster Tim Malloy: "This race shifts back and forth a point or two and remains too close to call. There's a whole lot at stake as Udall runs neck and neck with Cory Gardner, the GOP challenger, in a marquee race that could tip the balance of the Senate."

Q2 Fundraising Reports

Roll Call has a good summary of second quarter fundraising reports. It's especially interesting to see the "self-funding" column.

Archive: July 16, 2014

Poll Gives Snyder the Lead in Michigan

Despite a Marist Poll yesterday showing Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in a very tight re-election race, a new Denno Research poll finds the governor with a solid lead over challenger Mark Schauer (D), 43% to 35%.

Senate Democrats in a Perilous Position

Harry Enten reviews the latest polling averages and concludes "the final outcome for the Senate could be anything from a minor Republican gain to a GOP romp. At the moment, the state of play seems manageable from a Democratic perspective, but the party's position is perilous. A tiny shift could tip the canoe and spill a lot of Democrats overboard."

Where is the Polling in Alaska?

The Upshot currently has the race for control of the U.S. Senate listed as a toss up -- giving Republican a 54% chance of taking over the chamber.

Sam Wang's latest forecast also suggests a toss up -- but with Democrats having the slimmest of edges.

But Wang also issues an important caveat: "The biggest problem with the polling snapshot right now is a near absence of information about the Alaska race. Senator Begich (D) is locked in a close race with the probable (but not definite) nominee, Dan Sullivan (R). In other close states, there's at least a little June data. The last published Alaska poll that went into today's snapshot was completed on May 11th."

Poll Shows Gardner Leading Udall

A new Gravis Marketing poll in Colorado shows Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) by four points, 47% to 43%.

For comparison, a Marist poll this week found Udall leading by seven points. Quinnipiac will release their poll of the race in the morning.

Brown Forgets Where He's Running

Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), now running for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, attacked Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on the crisis at the border telling Boston Herald radio that he's "not for amnesty and never have been, I have not supported the Dream Act, she has. And that's a big difference between Senator Shaheen and me and many other people in the Massachusetts delegation."

The Hill: "It's not the first time he's slipped and forgotten he's no longer representing Massachusetts or running for a seat in that state."

Begich Touts Closeness With Murkowski

A new campaign ad from Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) spotlights his relationship with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), "saying the two vote together as much as 80 percent of the time," Alaska Dispatch reports.

"But Murkowski is pushing back, saying that in spite of their cooperation on key Alaska issues, she and Begich are not as close as the ad would lead listeners to believe."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I feel very certain that we will win the 17 seats we need. We have to net that though, which means we have to hold everything else. And right now, members are telling me now that the Koch Brothers are just pouring money into their districts. That has an impact, there's just no question."

-- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), quoted by the Washington Post.

Beauprez Slightly Ahead in Colorado

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado finds Bob Beauprez (R) edging Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in the race for governor, 44% to 43%.

Shaheen Maintains Solid Lead in New Hampshire

A new NBC News/Marist Poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) fending off a challenge by Scott Brown (R), 50% to 42%.

Dead Heat in Iowa

A new NBC News/Marist Poll in Iowa finds Bruce Braley (D) and Joni Ernst (R) deadlocked in the race for U.S. Senate, 43% to 43%.

Archive: July 15, 2014

Cochran Solidly Ahead in Mississippi

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Mississippi finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) leading Travis Childers (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 40% to 24%.

However, the survey also found 31% still undecided and another 5% going to Reform Party candidate Shawn O'Hara.

Branstad Defends Fake Website

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) defended his campaign's use of a fake website that uses the name of their Democratic opponents, with Branstad saying the idea came from younger campaign operatives and "this kind of stuff happens in campaigns all the time," the Des Moines Register reports.

"The Branstad re-election campaign purchased the domain of, setting it up as though it were an official campaign website but using it to portray gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch and Monica Vernon, who is running for lieutenant governor, as seeking to raise taxes, cause higher unemployment and pass unbalanced budgets."

Can Women Save the Senate for Democrats?

First Read: "The Democratic path to survival in this very difficult midterm season for the party is through women. And that's especially true after the Hobby Lobby decision. There's no doubt Democrats are going to win women voters in the fall; the questions are by how much and whether it will be large enough to save the party's Senate majority."

Rauner Up Big in Illinois

A new We Ask America poll in Illinois finds Bruce Rauner (R) crushing Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in the race for governor, 51% to 39%.

Peters, Snyder Lead in Michigan

A new NBC News/Marist Poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) ahead of Terri Lynn Land (R) for U.S. Senate, 43% to 37%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) edges challenger Mark Schauer (D) by two points, 46% to 44%.

Udall, Hickenlooper Lead in Colorado

A new NBC News/Marist poll in Colorado finds Sen. Mark Udall (D) leading challenger Cory Gardner (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 41%.

In the race for governor, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) leads challenger Bob Beauprez (R), 49% to 43%.

Cotton Holds Lead in Arkansas

A new Gravis Marketing poll in Arkansas finds Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 51% to 43%.

Quote of the Day

"Elizabeth Warren is to the left of the left of the Democratic party."

-- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), quoted by WCHS, while campaigning in West Virginia.

Warren Whips Up Progressives in West Virginia

"Populist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) got a rock-star reception during a standing-room-only campaign rally here Monday, as hundreds of liberal activists cheered her broadsides against corporate interests and voiced hopes that her presence might shift the political winds in an increasingly Republican state," the Washington Post reports.

"The rally on behalf of Senate candidate Natalie Tennant was the latest in a string of recent Warren appearances in red and blue states alike, where Democratic base voters have embraced her fiery message as an envoy to working-class voters frustrated with both Wall Street and the Obama administration."

National Journal: "It may trigger some cognitive dissonance to picture Warren in one of the reddest states on the 2014 Senate map--but the freshman senator from Massachusetts has nothing to lose and everything to gain by helping out Democratic candidates in important races this year, particularly if she's considering a national campaign in 2016 or beyond."

Archive: July 14, 2014

Kingston Maintains Edge Heading Into Runoff

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Georgia finds Jack Kingston (R) leading David Perdue (R) in the GOP Senate runoff by six points, 47% to 41%.

Scott Stays on Talking Points

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) takes not answering a question to a new level.

Economic Boost Unlikely to Help Democrats in 2014

Alex Roarty: "This month's surprisingly strong jobs report elicited fresh optimism that at long last, the economy was poised to recover its full strength. And in Washington, naturally, the question quickly became: Would Democratic candidates receive an unexpected boost from a late-in-the-election-cycle economic surge?"

"The short answer? Don't count on it. Even if job gains do spike--and there's plenty of reluctance to predict an accelerating recovery after years of stop-and-start growth--it's unlikely voters will feel demonstrably better about the economy in time for November.... But there's another, more surprising reason a late-developing recovery wouldn't help Democrats. A plethora of political-science research suggests the economy, except in extreme circumstances, doesn't matter much in midterm elections anyway."

GOP Race for Arizona Governor Close

A new Conservative Leadership for Arizona survey finds the GOP race for Arizona governor is tight with Doug Ducey (R) edging Christine Jones (R), 26% to 22%.

They are followed by Scott Smith (R) at 14% and Ken Bennett (R) at 11%.

Two Battlegrounds for Midterm Elections

First Read notes the midterm elections "are taking place on two different battlegrounds -- the red states that Barack Obama lost in 2012, and blue and purple states he won two years ago. The distinction is crucial because Republican success in the red states would represent a good night (and most likely control of the U.S. Senate). Yet GOP success in the blue/purple states would mean a GREAT night for the party (and inroads into the states it needs to win in 2016 to retake the White House)."

"Conversely, Democrats holding off Republicans in the blue and purple states could be an important silver lining for the party, even if it loses control of the Senate. The message it would send: In a political environment when President Obama's approval numbers are in the low 40s and when the Democratic base isn't that fired up, it can still win statewide races in places like Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire -- all of which are important presidential swing states."

Georgia GOP Runoff Gets Nasty

"The political slugfest between Republicans Jack Kingston and David Perdue took a bruising turn Sunday as both U.S. Senate candidates leveled increasingly personal attacks in the sole televised debate for one of the nation's mostly closely watched GOP runoffs," the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

The runoff is on July 22.

The Democratic Firewalls of Alaska and Arkansas

Morning Line: "If you were to ask before this election season started which Democrats winning or losing could tell us what happens on election night -- whether Republicans take back the Senate or not -- most observers would have said to watch places like Louisiana and North Carolina. While it's still true that Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan's fates in those states, respectively, will tell us a lot about what happens on election night, few would have said the red-state Democratic Marks -- Begich and Pryor -- might be the plugs in the dams for Democrats. Begich and Pryor have looked surprisingly strong in states that at the presidential level have gone heavily Republican. If they win, it makes Republicans' path to a majority much more difficult."

"Republicans acknowledge they are doing well so far, but most expect -- because of those national trends and President Barack Obama's struggling approval ratings -- for that to change. Whether that trajectory does change may, in fact, hold the key to the election. Watch the polls after this summer..."

GOP Candidates Avoiding Big Gaffes So Far

"As the nation's midsection has grown more conservative and Republican, Democrats have sometimes had to rest their hopes on well-positioned GOP contenders imploding with their own politically off-key statements," the AP reports.

"But with less than four months until the 2014 election, Democrats are still waiting for new bombshells and growing more anxious about the lack of incendiary material as they try to hold enough Senate seats to keep control of the chamber. Party researchers are diligently scrubbing every transcript and public comment for a hint of fringe language that might spook moderate or independent voters."

Poll Finds Kasich in Close Race

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) barely leading challenger Ed Fitzgerald (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 44%.

Archive: July 13, 2014

Warren Hits the Road for Democrats

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) "is quickly becoming a top Democratic fundraiser and campaign powerhouse, hitting the road on behalf of candidates in key races the party will need to win to retain control of the U.S. Senate in November," the AP reports.

"Since March, the Massachusetts Democrat has stumped for candidates in Ohio, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Kentucky and has trips planned this week for West Virginia and Michigan. It's a hefty schedule for a freshman senator who not long ago was teaching law at Harvard."

GOP Replays 2010 Strategy

"Republican candidates for governor around the country have built an unexpectedly strong position for election this fall, helped by an improving economy, disaffection with President Obama and a national fund-raising machine that is leagues ahead of the opposition," the New York Times reports.

"Four years after an economic crisis and opposition to Mr. Obama's health care law propelled Republicans to capture a lopsided majority of statehouses across the country, they are faced with a staggering political task: defending 22 of the 36 executive mansions that will be up for grabs in November, led by a governor who is trying to rebound from a scandal."

"While the sheer scale of Republican gains four years ago offers Democrats a wealth of opportunities to win, the political environment appears to be tilting again in the Republicans' direction."

Ex-Im Bank Is Sleeper Issue of 2014

"The 2014 campaign season's got a sleeper issue: a government bank most people have never heard of," Politico reports.

"The Export-Import Bank, a federal entity that has handed out loans to American businesses in relative obscurity for years, is suddenly a political flashpoint -- either a symbol of government-sponsored corporate welfare, as some tea party Republicans argue, or a critical force for small business, some Democrats and establishment Republicans say."

Archive: July 12, 2014

Kingston Holds Edge in Georgia Runoff

A new Insider Advantage poll in Georgia finds Jack Kingston (R) edging David Perdue (R) in the Republican U.S. Senate runoff, 43% to 41%.

Archive: July 11, 2014

McDaniel Claims to Have Found 8,300 Improper Ballots

Chris McDaniel (R) said that "as a result of misleading information coming from the Secretary of State's Office," many county clerks aren't coughing up the voting records he needs for a challenge of his June 24 GOP runoff loss to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R), the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

McDaniel also claims to have found over 8,300 questionable ballots cast, "many of which were unquestionably cast by voters ineligible to participate in the June 24th runoff election."

The Return of Edwin Edwards

National Journal: "Edwin Edwards is loosely a New Deal Democrat, but he doesn't believe so much in any grand vision of America; he believes in doing favors. His version of politics is much more personal than ideological. Edwards is running for Congress in a district that Mitt Romney won by 34 percentage points--enemy territory for a Democrat--but he believes he can prevail by peeling off Republicans one by one, with a promise that he'll do right by each and every one of them. Sure, Edwards is competing in an era of micro-targeting and ideological purity, when retail political skills are much less central to congressional elections than they once were. But so what, his thinking seems to go. Who can resist the sly smile, the Cajun lilt, and the mischievous wink of the man they call the Silver Fox?"

Landrieu Holds Edge in Louisiana

A new Rasmussen survey in Louisiana finds Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) just ahead of challenger Bill Cassidy (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 43%.

Archive: July 10, 2014

Judge Invalidates Florida Congressional Districts

"In a ruling released late Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ordered the redrawing of Florida's congressional map, contending that it violates the Fair District standards," the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Not Throwing the Bums Out This Year

Kyle Kondik: "With the primary season more than half over, it's fair to say that incumbents have done just fine this cycle so far: better than fine, in fact."

"So far this cycle, 273 of 275 House incumbents who wanted another term have been renominated, and 18 of 18 Senate incumbents. That includes results from the 31 states that have held their initial primaries; while a few of those states -- Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina -- have runoffs coming up later this month, those overtime elections for House or Senate seats are all in open seats. This is a better performance than the postwar averages in both chambers."

Scott Holds Edge in Close Florida Race

A new SurveyUSA poll in Florida shows Gov. Rick Scott (R) edging challenger Charlie Crist (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 43%.

Shaheen Holds Big Lead Over Brown

A new WMUR Granite State Poll in New Hampshire finds Sen Jeanne Shaheen (D) with a comfortable 12-point lead over Scott Brown (R), double what it was in April when Brown made his candidacy official.

Outside Spending Could Set Record

The Fix: "So far in the 2014 election cycle, 114 super PACs have spent money on federal races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Yes, 114. And that's before the primary season is over. Those 114 super PACs have spent $77.8 million so far -- a number that will jump up after the groups submit their latest Federal Election Commission filings next week. The top five super PAC spenders this year have spent $38.3 million of that total. In total, 23 super PACs have spent more than $1 million."

Cotton Holds Small Lead in Arkansas

A new Impact Management Group poll in Arkansas shows Rep. Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 43%.

The Challenge of Reading the Midterm Polls

"With four months to go until this year's midterm elections, perhaps the only thing clear about the fight for the Senate is that it will pose challenges to public polling," Nate Cohn reports.

"There's always the possibility that the polls could miss the outcome in a close contest. Polls have missed the result in three close Senate races in the last two cycles. But this year is particularly challenging. The rapid growth of partisan polls has contaminated the polling averages in states where surveying public opinion is already difficult. Many of these partisan polls employ dubious weighting and sampling practices. The combination will make it even harder for polls to nail the result."

Archive: July 09, 2014

Cuomo Holds a Huge Lead for Re-Election

A new Wall Street Journal/WNBC-TV/Marist poll in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) leading challenger Rob Astorino (R) by 59% to 24%.

Bayh Mulls Running for Governor

Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D) is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold about his possible intentions to run for governor, Howey Politics reports.

"Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago. For now, it appears, they'll just have to keep waiting, perhaps well into this fall. Despite a hefty campaign war chest and deep nostalgia for his days as a popular centrist Democrat, Bayh says he needs more time to decide whether he'll try to recapture his old job."

Said Bayh: "I think it's less likely than more likely. I haven't ruled it out."

Archive: July 08, 2014

McDaniel Gets Cash Infusion to Challenge Runoff

The Senate Conservatives Fund "wired $70,000 to Chris McDaniel's legal fund to investigate alleged voter fraud in last month's election between McDaniel and Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran," Yahoo News has learned.

Cruz Seeks Investigation Into Mississippi Runoff

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "is calling for an official investigation into the Republican Senate primary runoff in Mississippi between Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and the challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R)," Politico reports.

The Texas Republican called the runoff contest "appalling" and said that allegations of voter fraud need to be investigated.

First Read: "Um, Cruz is still the vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which supports its incumbents like Thad Cochran."

Ravenel Seeks Political Comeback After Prison

Former South Carolina state treasurer Thomas Ravenel (R), who resigned from office after his arrest on drug charges, said he is running as an independent for the U.S. Senate currently held by Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, the AP reports.

"Ravenel said he knows the 10 months he served in prison after pleading guilty to buying cocaine for himself and friends in 2007 makes him an imperfect messenger, but he says he has the right ideas to save the country."

Hassan Holds Huge Leads in New Hampshire

A new WMUR-TV Granite State Poll in New Hampshire finds shows Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) leading Walt Havenstein (R), 55% to 29%, and Andrew Hemingway (R), 54% to 28%, in the race for governor.

Democrats Hold Slight Edge on Generic Ballot

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Democrats lead the generic House ballot 41% to 39%.

Archive: July 07, 2014

McDaniel Wants a New Runoff

Chris McDaniel's (R) attorney confirmed the U.S. Senate campaign's plans to challenge the results of last month's runoff, arguing the only solution is to hold a new election for the GOP nomination, Roll Call reports.

Meanwhile, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports campaign canvassers "started going through records at every courthouse statewide" McDaniel's lawyer is "confident McDaniel can successfully overturn the June 24 GOP runoff."

Candidate Takes Hit From His Own Team

Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden (R) released a new ad with a strange ending where a player on the candidate's youth football team actually hits him in the gut -- or perhaps lower.

Scott's Use of Police Officers in Political Ad Violated Law

At least a half-dozen on-duty law officers in uniform took part in a re-election event for Gov. Rick Scott (R) despite Florida laws saying public employees must avoid political activity during working hours, the Tampa Tribune reports.

McDaniel Lawyer Features Cochran on his Website

Jackson Clarion Ledger: "Talk about stubbing your toe out of the gate... Attorney Mitch Tyner is representing Chris McDaniel (R) in the run-up to a likely challenge to the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate from Mississippi. So, it probably would have been a good idea for the former Republican gubernatorial candidate to have taken down that picture of him and Thad Cochran (R) from his website. The photo isn't hidden away on some inside page; it's front-and-center on the homepage."

No Defining Issue for the Midterms

First Read: "Now less than four months until Election Day 2014, everyone is so sure about what is going to happen in November. Republicans are either going to have a good night (picking up four to six Senate seats), or a great night (picking up more than six, including in blue and purple states). And yet, given this apparent certainty in the Acela Corridor about how the elections are going to play out, here is something to ponder: We still don't know what the fall campaign is going to be about."

"Is it health care? (Premium increases could be news in fall; then again, health care hasn't received much national attention in the last two or three months). Will it be about the economy? (Maybe, maybe not -- see below for more on its limited midterm impact in the past.) What about immigration? (Possibly, but we haven't seen Democratic or GOP campaigns eager to run on this subject, especially Democrats in the red states) Foreign policy? (Remember Ukraine or Bowe Bergdahl? Or the debacle that is America's Syria policy?) Will the midterms be about President Obama and Democrats suffering from a thousand different cuts? (Perhaps.) Or will it simply be about the red-leaning map and the fact that key parts of the Democratic base just don't turn out in midterm elections? (Could be.)"

"Bottom line: Election Day is a little more than 100 days away, and it's hard to come up with a defining issue, even as so many folks are so sure about the outcome."

Coakley Solidly Ahead in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading the Democratic gubernatorial primary with 52%, followed by Steve Grossman (D) at 19%.

In a general election match up, Coakley leads Charlie Baker (R) 40% to 31%.

Libertarian Could Swing North Carolina Senate Race

Sean Haugh's Libertarian U.S. Senate campaign "barely exists anywhere but on YouTube. But it is doing surprisingly well in a high-stakes Senate contest in which candidates and outside groups have already spent more than $15 million," the Washington Post reports.

"Four polls lately put his support somewhere between 8 and 11 percent -- not enough to suggest a realistic possibility of winning, but conceivably enough to affect the outcome of the race. The same surveys show the margin between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and her GOP challenger, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, at six points or less."

Archive: July 06, 2014

Republicans Have Expanded Senate Map

Politico: "Six months ago, the GOP path to the majority was narrower: Republicans essentially had to sweep seven races in states Barack Obama lost in 2012 but where Democrats currently hold seats. Unlikely, in other words."

"Now Republicans have more options. They've landed top recruits to take on first-term senators in New Hampshire and Colorado, nominated credible female candidates in open-seat contests in Michigan and Iowa, protected all of their incumbents from tea party challenges and thwarted more conservative candidates that could have hurt the GOP's chances in states like North Carolina and Georgia."

Meanwhile, The Upshot gives Republicans a 54% chance of taking control of the Senate.

Centrists Under Attack in Both Parties

"As the ranks of centrist lawmakers in both parties have thinned, political operatives' efforts to oust them have intensified," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Once, there were 60 to 70 'middle-of-the-road' Democrats in the House... Now, thanks to redistricting and the GOP's 2010 gains, there are nine House Democrats in districts lost by Mr. Obama, with two retiring at year's end. The remaining seven--Mr. Peterson, Reps. Nick Rahall of West Virginia, John Barrow of Georgia, Patrick Murphy of Florida, Pete Gallego of Texas and two Arizona lawmakers--are now GOP targets."

"Democrats, meanwhile, are focusing their sights on 14 House Republicans running for re-election in districts won by Mr. Obama in 2012."

Archive: July 05, 2014

How a Loss of the Senate Could Help Obama

Dana Millbank: "Crazy talk, you say? Maybe so. The prevailing view is that a Republican Senate would only compound Obama's woes by bottling up confirmations, doubling the number of investigations and chipping away at Obamacare and other legislative achievements."

"Yet there's a chance that having an all-Republican Congress would help Obama -- and even some White House officials have wondered privately whether a unified Republican Congress would be better than the current environment. Republicans, without Harry Reid to blame, would own Congress -- a body that inspires a high level of confidence in just 7 percent of Americans, according to a Gallup survey last month finding Congress at a new low and at the bottom of all institutions tested."

Cassidy Says Teenage Daughter is Pregnant

Rep. Bill Cassidy's (R) U.S. Senate campaign announced that the candidate's unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant as she prepares for her senior year at a Baton Rouge high school, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

Cassidy said in a statement that his daughter faces "a more challenging future" and that she has his and his wife Laura's unconditional support. The baby is expected later this summer.

Archive: July 04, 2014

McDaniel Offers Cash for Voter Fraud Evidence

Chris McDaniel (R) "is offering $1,000 rewards for voter fraud evidence as he moves to overturn results of the June 24 GOP primary he lost to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"He claims Cochran and others stole the primary through vote buying and other skullduggery."

Could Immigration Battle Help Democrats Take the House?

Bill Scher: "Everyone assumes that Republicans will easily hold the House in November. The dominant storyline among the chattering classes centers instead on the possibility that Republicans could seize control of the Senate from Democrats. But the rapidly escalating immigration face-off between President Barack Obama and House Republicans raises the possibility that Democrats could win back the House -- even if Republicans do take the Senate."

"How is that possible? It's simple: There are more competitive House races than Senate races in areas with significant Latino populations."

Archive: July 03, 2014

Beauprez Has His Own 47% Moment

A 2010 video surfaced of Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez (R) making comments that echo those that hurt Mitt Romney's challenge to President Obama two years later, the Denver Post reports.

Said Beauprez: "I see something that frankly doesn't surprise me, having been on Ways and Means Committee: 47% of all Americans pay no federal income tax. I'm guessing that most of you in this room are not in that 47% -- God bless you -- but what that tells me is that we've got almost half the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill, and most of that half is you all."

Cochran Conference Call Descends Into Chaos

"A conference call set up by the campaign for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) devolved into a shouting match and then ended, after which time supporters of GOP primary challenger Chris McDaniel (R) chatted for a bit," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"As word of the debacle spread on Twitter, it quickly became journalists dialing in to see what the commotion was about, only to sit and laugh about the fact that it was over. At the time of this posting, some 30 minutes after the call started, someone was playing soundbites from President Barack Obama, Animal House and news shows. Eventually, some of the clips became racist and vulgar. Wildly entertaining but wholly unprofessional."

Paul Plans Another Iowa Visit

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) "is returning to the presidential testing grounds of Iowa in August," the Des Moines Register reports.

"He's tentatively scheduled to be here for three days. Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, has been building his Iowa network for months, telegraphing his interest in a 2016 presidential bid by connecting privately behind the scenes and publicly with voters in the lead-off voting state."

Archive: July 02, 2014

Coakley Up By Double-Digits in Massachusetts

A new WBUR/MassInc poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading Charlie Baker (R) in the race for governor by a wide margin, 41% to 28%.

McDaniel Says Cochran Stole Election

In a fundraising email to supporters, Chris McDaniel (R) says Sen. Thad Cochran (R) "stole last week's runoff election" and is asking for money to wage a legal battle, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

Writes McDaniel: "Thanks to illegal voting from liberal Democrats, my opponent stole last week's runoff election, but I'm not going down without a fight. I have not given up on sending my conservative values to Washington."

Meanwhile, a source on the Cochran campaign told Business Insider that McDaniel is a "clinically diagnosable narcissist" and a scam artist.

Dave Weigel: "There's no recent precedent for a challenge like this. For the moment, there are just the poll books, and the rumors, and the trading of insults."

Congressional Black Caucus Wants Payback from Cochran

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) "won a primary runoff by turning out the black vote. Now they are asking -- what are you going to do for us?," Politico reports.

"Already the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are talking about what they want Cochran to do. The wish list is filling up with ideas like maintaining funding for food stamps, beefing up programs that help poor blacks in Mississippi and even supporting the Voting Rights Act."

Booker Maintains Lead in New Jersey

A new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll in New Jersey finds Sen. Cory Booker (D) leading challenger Jeff Bell by 20 points, 43% to 23%. Another 15% say they would vote for another candidate at this early stage of the campaign and 17% are undecided.

Said pollster Patrick Murray: "The underlying fundamentals of Booker's steady, positive job rating should place him in a strong position for November, but voters are less ready to commit to his reelection than they were just a few months ago."

Grossman's Own Poll Shows Him Lagging Behind Coakley

An internal poll from the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign of Steve Grossman (D) shows Grossman far behind Martha Coakley (D) for the Democratic nomination, 47% to 24%.

Wolf Way Ahead in Pennsylvania

A new Philadelphia Daily News/Franklin & Marshall College poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) way ahead of Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in the race for governor, 47% to 25%.

Cochran Denies Buying Votes

Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) campaign "is denying reports from a conservative blogger that it was trying to buy votes," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"The report comes as McDaniel continues to examine records from the June 24 runoff that he narrowly lost and to consider a challenge of the results. Tea party groups supporting McDaniel have cried foul over the runoff, in which traditionally Democratic and independent voters helped Cochran narrowly win the Republican primary."

Dead Heat for Colorado Governor

A new Rasmussen poll in Colorado finds Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Bob Beauprez (R) locked in a tie for governor, 44% to 44%.

Archive: July 01, 2014

Runoff Looks Likely for Louisiana Senate Race

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Louisiana finds Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and Bill Cassidy (R) are likely to advance to a December runoff and that match up is a toss up, 47% to 47%.

In the November election, Landrieu leads with 44%, followed by Cassidy at 27%, Rob Maness (R) at 8%, and Paul Hollis (R) at 5%.

Key finding: "Even with 17% of voters undecided it will be a pretty difficult road to 50% for Landrieu in the November election -- she has only an 8% approval rating with those remaining undecideds... Most of those folks seem likely to end up deciding who to vote for in November between the trio of GOP hopefuls."

LePage Denies Saying He Wanted to Execute Democratic Leaders

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) "vehemently disputed" assertions made in a forthcoming book, As Maine Went, that he made references in 2013 to executing Maine's speaker of the House and Senate president, the Bangor Daily News reports.

Said LePage: "I was never in the room where 'execute' was used... It never happened. We did not discuss execution, arrest or hanging."

Snyder in a Fight for Re-Election

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) in a dead heat with challenger Mark Schauer (D), 40% to 40%. Snyder had led by 10 points in April and by four points in December.

In the U.S. Senate race, Gary Peters (D) leads Terri Lynn Land (R) by five points, 41% to 36%.

The Media Ranks the Senate Races

A Smart Politics review of recent U.S. Senate race rankings by PBS NewsHour, The Fix, The Hotline, FiveThirtyEight, and The Upshot finds that all five forecasters were in universal agreement on the rank ordering of only one state for its likelihood to flip in 2014 - South Dakota at #1.
An average of forecaster rankings finds Democratic seats holding of the Top 9 slots with South Dakota at #1 (rank average 1.0), West Virginia at #2 (2.2), Montana at #3 (2.6), Louisiana at #4 (4.2), Arkansas at #5 (5.4), North Carolina at #6 (6.0), Alaska at #7 (7.6), Colorado at #8 (8.4), and Iowa at #9 (8.6).

How Thad Cochran Pulled Out a Win

Stuart Stevens: "No trick strategies were necessary to push the incumbent over the Tea Party challenger in Mississippi. Instead, hard legwork and reaching out to past voters got it done."

Dick and Liz Cheney Mend Fences

Politico: "In a series of private meetings and back-channel discussions, the Cheneys have quietly been working to repair their relationship with a Republican establishment of which they'd been card-carrying members for decades -- but that was strained by Liz Cheney's ill-fated Senate bid in Wyoming last year. And if the charm offensive helps lay the groundwork for her to run for public office again someday, all the better."

Archive: June 30, 2014

Senate Republicans Copy Democratic Fundraising Emails

"The campaign arm of the Senate Republicans has sent a series of fund-raising emails that appear to have language lifted from messages sent by the campaign arm of the House Democrats," Business Insider reports.

"In at least three emails to supporters in the last week, the National Republican Senatorial Committee closely mirrored the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, borrowing phrases, framing, and even the font color on key words."

Udall Barely Ahead in Colorado

A new Rasmussen survey in Colorado finds Sen. Mark Udall (D) barely leading Cory Gardner (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 42%.

Race for Florida Governor Remains Tight

A new Gravis Marketing survey in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) edging Charlie Crist (D) in the race for governor, 41% to 39%.

Kissing Congressman to Announce Plans

Rep. Vance Mcallister (R-LA) has scheduled a "special press conference" Monday in which he is expected to reveal whether he'll run for re-election this fall, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

"After surveillance video from last December was leaked in April showing him kissing a married staffer, McAllister announced he would serve out the remainder of his term but not seek re-election. Later, McAllister said he reserved the right to change his mind."

Update: Roll Call reports McAllister will run for re-election.

Rebuffing Inouye May Cost Abercrombie His Seat

As he lay dying in 2012, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) asked Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) to appoint Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), "a protégée and the daughter of a gas station owner here, to fill his seat. But Mr. Abercrombie, a fellow Democrat, disregarded that deathbed request, choosing his lieutenant governor, Brian Schatz, as the interim senator instead," the New York Times reports.

"Eighteen months later, the decision to defy one of the most popular politicians in Hawaii history has come back to rock Mr. Abercrombie and the Democratic Party, setting off a backlash that threatens to topple both Mr. Schatz and the governor -- who had already been struggling during an occasionally tumultuous first term -- in the Democratic primary on Aug. 9."

Archive: June 28, 2014

Virginia Republicans Find Unity Elusive

Washington Post: "Ever since Dave Brat dethroned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor this month, the political newcomer has vowed to bring together the warring factions of the Republican Party. But a dramatic showdown in a Republican committee meeting in Brat's congressional district this week shows that Brat -- and the party -- have a long way to go."

"Cantor loyalists who still sit on the 7th District Committee outmaneuvered Brat supporters to strip the committee of most of its budget -- nearly $400,000. In a savvy bit of parliamentary procedure, they voted to send the money to national GOP organizations based in Washington -- leaving empty-handed the conservative activists who planned to use the money to build a get-out-the-vote operation to complement Brat's fledgling campaign."

Archive: June 27, 2014

McDaniel Claims Thousands of Irregularities

Mississippi U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel (R) "hasn't given up, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity that he's still looking into voting irregularities in his runoff election against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R)," Politico reports.

Said McDaniel: "We've found more than a thousand examples of that in one county alone widespread irregularities."

Challenger Says Lawmaker is a Body Double

Oklahoma congressional candidate Tim Murray (R) has announced he plans to contest this week's primary election of Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) saying "it is widely known" that Lucas "is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike," KFOR reports.

Murray says on his website that Lucas was executed in Ukraine in 2011.

Lucas responded: "Many things have been said about me, said to me during course of my campaigns. This is the first time I've ever been accused of being a body double or a robot."

Cochran Holds Comfortable Lead for Re-Election

A new Rasmussen poll in Mississippi finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R) comfortably ahead of challenger Travis Childers (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 34%.

Mississippi Tea Party Leader Kills Himself

Sources tell the Jackson Clarion Ledger that Mark Mayfield, vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, has committed suicide.

Mayfield was "one of the three men charged with conspiring with Clayton Kelly to photograph Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) bedridden wife in her nursing home and create a political video against Cochran."

Deal Up in Georgia

A new InsiderAdvantage poll in Georgia finds Gov. Nathan Deal (R) leading challenger Jason Carter (D) in the race for governor by seven points, 47% to 40%.

Crist Releases Tax Returns in Response to TV Ad

"Prodded by a pointedly personal TV ad by Gov. Rick Scott, Charlie Crist released a decade's worth of tax returns Thursday, but it was old news that mainly reinforced Crist's frugal reputation," the Miami Herald reports.

"The Democratic candidate for governor released tax returns for 2001 through 2010 and promised many more years to come, but the first batch held no revelations."

First Read: "Why it's fascinating - because Scott is the wealthy one in this contest."

Haley Holds Small Lead in Re-Election Bid

A new Public Policy Polling survey in South Carolina finds Gov. Nikki Haley (R) just edging Vincent Sheheen (D) in the race for governor, 49% to 46%.

Archive: June 26, 2014

Hagan Grabs Back Lead in North Carolina

A new Civitas Poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) leading challenger Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 42%.

A previous poll had Hagan trailing by five points.

Grimes Just Ahead in Kentucky

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kentucky shows Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) leading Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 46%.

Tea Party Promises Win in Tennessee

After a loss in Mississippi, the New York Times reports Tea Party members in Tennessee "were making a bold -- even defiant -- proclamation: They will win the Senate seat in Tennessee."

"The activists hope a little-known state representative, Joe Carr, a self-described underdog who has attacked efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, can oust the Republican incumbent, Lamar Alexander, 73, the former governor and two-time presidential candidate who began working on Capitol Hill in the late 1960s."

NAACP Wants 'Reciprocity' from Cochran

Black voters played a huge role in helping Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) fend off tea party challenger Chris McDaniel (R) in a runoff election Tuesday, and now the state NAACP is asking the six-term senator to return the favor, the Huffington Post reports.

Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, "said that Cochran could thank black voters by supporting efforts to re-establish protections in the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down last year."

New York Times: "As a practical matter, that could mean pushing Mississippi officials for expanded black voting rights or more access to affordable health care, black leaders here said."

Odds Tilt Towards Republicans Taking Senate

"Republicans are in the strongest position to win back the Senate since losing it eight years ago," The Hill reports.

"Over several months, the party has expanded its range of targeted seats, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has helped defeat insurgents it didn't want representing the GOP in the midterm elections. This sober realization came to Democrats on Wednesday, as Tuesday night's primary results showed they cannot count on Tea Party candidates upsetting more-electable incumbents."

The Upshot forecast gives Republicans a 58% chance of taking control of the Senate.

Wonk Wire: How a Republican Senate could tinker with Obamacare

The Cost of Crushing the Tea Party

"National Republican leaders are toasting primary season as a smashing success over activist conservatives that has put the hard right on the ropes and given the Washington GOP the slate of candidates it wanted for 2014," Politico reports.

"Those victories, however, have come at a staggering cost -- and Republicans are painfully aware of the price of putting down an intraparty insurrection. Establishment-aligned groups have already spent some $23 million on independent expenditures propping up favored House and Senate candidates in contentious primaries... By comparison, Republican nominees raised and spent that amount in the 2012 North Dakota, Indiana and Nevada Senate races combined -- three of the most competitive campaigns fought that year."

Collins Backs Same-Sex Marriage

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) "announced her support for same-sex marriage for the first time Wednesday, hours after the nation's largest gay-rights group endorsed her for re-election this year over Shenna Bellows (D), a longtime advocate of gay couples' right to marry," the Portland Press Herald reports.

"Collins had previously declined to reveal where she stood personally, saying the issue was best handled at the state level."

Archive: June 25, 2014

Brownback Trails in Kansas

A new Survey USA poll in Kansas finds Paul Davis (D) leading Gov. Sam Brownback (R) in the race for governor, 47% to 41%, with Liberarian Keen Umbehr at 5%.

Snyder Fires Intern Who Tried to Infiltrate Rival Campaign

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's (R) re-election campaign "has parted ways with an intern who tried to volunteer for Democratic challenger Mark Schauer in an apparent attempt to infiltrate the rival campaign," MLive reports.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I'm going to do everything I can for you, buddy. Even if that means I don't come around."

-- Tom Tancredo (R), quoted by the Denver Post, conceding the GOP gubernatorial primary to Bob Beauprez (R).

Brown Holds Big Early Lead in California

A new Field Poll in California shows Gov. Jerry Brown (D) leading challenger Neel Kashkari (R) in the race for governor by 20 points, 52% to 32%.

Cochran Rebounds in Mississippi to Win Runoff

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) "has won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate for the seventh time, squeaking past challenger Chris McDaniel (R) in a runoff Tuesday," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"But McDaniel didn't concede Tuesday night and in a speech to supporters referenced 'dozens of irregularities' in voting Tuesday and indicated he would challenge the results over Democrats voting in the Republican primary."

Nate Cohn: "The Cochran campaign's efforts to appeal to Democratic-leaning black voters appeared to succeed. The increase in turnout was largest in heavily black counties, particularly in the Mississippi Delta. Over all, turnout rose by 43% in the counties where black voters make up more than 65% of eligible voters."

National Journal: "Over 347,000 voters cast ballots in the runoff, a higher total than in the primary -- marking the first time in 30 years that has happened in any Senate race."

Rick Hasen: What's next for McDaniel?

Beauprez Wins GOP Nod in Colorado

"Faced with the choice of a far-right candidate or a more moderate mainstream pick, Colorado Republicans chose the latter Tuesday, selecting former Congressman Bob Beauprez as the party's gubernatorial nominee," the Denver Post reports.

"The dairy farmer-turned-banker-turned-buffalo rancher got into the GOP contest late as Republicans worried they didn't have a viable candidate to defeat Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November. Now the party believes it has a fighting chance of unseating an incumbent whose popularity has teeter-tottered much of the past year."

Rangel Appears to Win Primary

Rep. Charles Rangel (R-NY), "seeking a 23rd term, held a slim lead in a fierce battle early Wednesday with State Senator Adriano Espaillat (D) in their primary election contest, a rematch that was largely fought along ethnic and generational lines," the New York Times reports.

New York Post: "And woe to those who had ditched Charlie. Earlier Tuesday, a confident Rangel said that the political and labor leaders who abandoned him during the race 'made one hell of a mistake' -- ­implying that he might not be willing to forgive and forget."

Brown Wins Democratic Nomination Easily in Maryland

Anthony Brown (D) claimed victory in the Democratic nomination for governor in Maryland after early returns suggested a landslide win, the Baltimore Sun reports.

In the Republican race, Larry Hogan (R) accepted the GOP nomination.

"The primary victories set the stage for a spirited general election contest to succeed term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley, who praised Brown as 'a true American success story.'"

Archive: June 24, 2014

Lankford Avoids Senate Runoff in Oklahoma

Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) avoided a Republican primary runoff for Oklahoma's open U.S. Senate seat, while Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) easily won the GOP nomination Tuesday in his bid to keep the state's other seat for a fourth term, the Oklahoman reports.

"This year's election is the first time in modern history that both of Oklahoma's U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot at the same time. Besides the full six-year term for Inhofe's post, the state's other Senate seat became open when U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn announced in January that he was foregoing his final two years in office after a recurrence of cancer."

Clawson Will Replace Radel

Curt Clawson (R) won the special election to replace former Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) in Florida's 19th District -- "an outcome long expected in this heavily Republican district on the state's Gulf Coast," Roll Call reports.

Participation Gives Tea Party Its Muscle

Allison Kopicki: "Only 21% of Americans now say they support the Tea Party movement... But public support isn't what gives the Tea Party its influence."

"Interest in the 2014 election runs high among Tea Party supporters... 81% of voters who support the Tea Party say they will definitely vote in the 2014 election, compared with 67% of voters who don't support the Tea Party."

"Among Tea Party voters who identify as Republican and independents who lean Republican, 41% said they had been paying 'a lot' of attention to the 2014 election, compared with 25% of non-Tea Party Republican-leaning voters. And these Republican Tea Party voters are 15 points more likely to say they are very or somewhat enthusiastic about voting in this November's elections for Congress than non-Tea Party Republican voters."

If Cochran Loses It's Not Because of Money

First Read: "While McDaniel is the odds-on favorite to win tonight's GOP Senate runoff in Mississippi, it's worth pointing out that Cochran has crushed him in fundraising and spending. It's not even close. Here are the statistics per NBC's Natalie Cucchiara: As of June 4, Cochran had $407,574 in cash on hand, while McDaniel had $60,157. In contributions from June 4-23, Cochran raked in nearly $1.25 million vs. $181,000 for McDaniel. So if Cochran does indeed lose, it won't be due to money. McDaniel's campaign has been almost entirely bankrolled by outside groups."

Cochran Staffer Arrested for Stealing Signs

A staffer for Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) re-election campaign "has been arrested and fired from the campaign for allegedly taking or destroying Chris McDaniel (R) campaign signs," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

An End to the Early Primary Season

"Tuesday brings the end to the early primary season, and with it the last, best chance for Republican insurgents to win a seat in the Senate," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Voters head to the polls today in Mississippi, Oklahoma, New York, Colorado and Maryland.

Roll Call: 6 things to watch in tonight's primaries

The Appeal of Partisanship

New York Times: "Regardless of who wins Tuesday's unpredictable Republican Senate runoff in Mississippi, the fracas has sent a message to incumbents in Congress: It is no longer enough to be a diligent member, quietly representing your constituents' interests. You have to join the partisan fray."

Archive: June 23, 2014

Cochran Releases Nasty Ad Against McDaniel

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) released a brutal ad against challenger Chris McDaniel (R) in the final day of campaigning before their GOP Senate runoff.

Rangel Rap

Rep. Charlie Rangel's (D-NY) campaign is out with a catchy biographical rap about their candidate.

The Week: "It's doubtful anyone besides Rangel would really bump this, window down, while rolling through Harlem. But hey, points for effort."

Corbett Did Not Drag Feet in Sandusky Case

A new report finds Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) "may have taken longer than he should have to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of boys at Penn State, but there was no evidence that he tried to slow the case for political purposes as he ran for the state's highest office," the New York Times reports.

"The report delved into how Corbett -- a Republican who was attorney general when allegations arose in 2008 and reached his office in 2009 that the former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, 70, had sexually assaulted boys -- handled the high-profile case that centered on the vaunted football program at the state's largest public university."

California Could Face Record Low Turnout

Dan Walters: "The outcome of the top-of-the-ticket contest between Gov. Jerry Brown and Republican challenger Neel Kashkari is virtually certain months in advance, there's no U.S. Senate contest, and there will be no barnburner ballot measures to motivate occasional voters."

"The most heavily contested races will be at the legislative or congressional levels, but only a handful - scarcely a dozen - of the 153 districts involved are truly competitive. Given this year's lackluster dynamics, the steady erosion of voter turnout that California has been experiencing, and the pattern of past non-presidential, non-senatorial elections in the state, we could see a record-low general election turnout."

McDaniel Heads Into Runoff With Lead

A final Chism Strategies poll in Mississippi finds Chris McDaniel (R) leading Sen. Thad Cochran (R) in the GOP Senate runoff, 52% to 44%.

Conservatives Will Use Poll Watchers in Mississippi

The New York Times reports that conservative groups are deploying "election observers" to monitor Mississippi's GOP Senate runoff to "observe whether the law is being followed."

Rick Hasen: "The idea here appears to be that because poll workers cannot discourage Democrats from voting in the election (based upon an unenforceable Mississippi law which says that only those who intend to support the nominee of the party in the primary can vote in the primary), these outside election observers... may make such encouragement."

Michaud Holds Slight Edge in Maine

A new University of New Hampshire poll in Maine finds Mike Michaud (D) leading Gov. Paul LePage (R) in the race for governor, 40% to 36%, with Eliot Cutler (I) at 15%.

The Vast Liberal Conspiracy

Ken Vogel reports on internal documents from the liberal Democracy Alliance.

"The 21 groups at the core of the Democracy Alliance's portfolio intend to spend $374 million during the midterm election cycle -- including nearly $200 million this year -- to boost liberal candidates and causes in 2014 and beyond... While growing sums of that cash are being spent vilifying the billionaire conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch over their own network's political spending, the documents reveal the extent to which the Democracy Alliance network mirrors the Kochs' - and is obsessed with it."

Archive: June 22, 2014

12 Competitive Senate Races

"The November election is 135 days away, but we now have a very clear idea of what the Senate playing field will look like," the Washington Post reports.

"Primaries have largely sorted themselves out in the most competitive Senate races in the country, with Republicans -- so far -- avoiding the perils of 2010 and 2012, in which the party nominated several candidates who had major electability problems in the general election."

"What we are left with is 12 races that can be considered truly competitive -- meaning that either one (or both) of the national parties and/or the various outside groups have spent or will spend money on them. The races are tipped heavily toward Democratic-held seats; 10 of the 12 in contention -- including the six most vulnerable -- are in Democratic hands. Of the 12 states, Republican Mitt Romney carried nine in 2012."

For more, check the Cook Political Report's Senate race ratings.

Archive: June 21, 2014

Dead Heat in Mississippi

A NSON Opinion Strategy survey in Mississippi -- paid for by the Tea Party Express -- finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R) locked in a dead heat with runoff challenger Chris McDaniel (R), 44% to 44% with 12% still undecided.

Archive: June 20, 2014

7 Reasons Eric Cantor Lost His Seat

David Wasserman: "In truth, when an election result hits '10 on the political Richter scale' of shock value, there usually isn't just one reason for the outcome, but lots of them acting in concert. While surveying the wreckage, Cantor adviser John Murray acknowledged his boss's loss amounted to 'death by a thousand cuts.' None of these reasons alone would be sufficient to cause an upset, and some of them aren't neatly quantifiable. But there are plenty of ways to dissect what happened in Virginia's 7th district, as well as some lessons we political forecasters would be wise to keep in mind in the future."

McDaniel Leads Heading Into Next Week's Runoff

A new Chism Strategies poll in Mississippi finds Chris McDaniel (R) leading Sen. Thad Cochran (R) in the GOP Senate runoff by six points, 50% to 44%.

Cochran Seeks Black Voters in Runoff

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is asking black voters to rescue him in his GOP Senate runoff with Chris McDaniel (R), the New York Times reports.

"It is a remarkable political science experiment, and it also may be the only path to victory left to Mr. Cochran. But after being narrowly edged out by Mr. McDaniel, 41, in the Republican primary earlier this month, Mr. Cochran, 76, needs to expand the number of voters who will show up for the runoff, which is open to any Mississippi resident who did not vote in the Democratic primary. The winner on Tuesday will face former Representative Travis Childers, a conservative Democrat, in November."

Archive: June 19, 2014

Shaheen Leads Brown by 10 Points

A new Suffolk poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leads challenger Scott Brown (R) by dougle-digits, 49% to 39%.

Key finding: "Brown's popularity is a minus-11 (35% favorable vs. 46% unfavorable) in contrast to Shaheen's plus-16 (52% favorable vs. 36% unfavorable)."

A new American Research Group poll finds Shaheen leads Brown 50% to 38%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I'm going to wait until the 2014 election is over, and then I'm going to see what I should do. I've never been in a less productive time in my life than I am right now, in the United States Senate."

-- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), in an interview with Time, on his political future.

Senate Control May Not Be Decided Until December

"For all the money spent on the November elections, control of the Senate might not be decided until a Saturday three weeks before Christmas," Roll Call reports.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) "hopes to win re-election outright on Nov. 4 in a jungle primary against a handful of challengers. But winning a majority of the vote in a multi-candidate field would be a significant feat, and the campaigns of both Landrieu and her leading Republican opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), are undoubtedly preparing for an extended, one-on-one race."

"If a Dec. 6 runoff coincides with a 50-49 Republican advantage in the Senate, consultants in and out of the state warn of an unprecedented onslaught of spending from party committees and outside groups in a race that could become more about the national parties than the two candidates on the ballot."

Cotton Eyed Senate Within Month of Entering Congress

Talk Business Arkansas notes that an internal poll released by Rep. Tom Cotton's (R-AR) U.S. Senate campaign "included a graphic in their polling memo showing their Arkansas Senate race polling trend lines since February of 2013. Think about that for a just a moment."

"Tom Cotton was sworn in as a Freshman Congressman on January 3, 2013. And in February of 2013 Tom Cotton ran a statewide poll testing his chances of becoming a U.S. Senator. After one month in office, Tom Cotton wasn't concerned with representing the Fourth Congressional District to the best of his ability, he just wanted to be a U.S. Senator."

Obama Ratings Lag in Battleground States

A new NPR Poll finds that "in the key battleground states that will decide control of the Senate this November, President Obama's approval numbers are lower than they are nationally - but not much lower."

"In the 12 states with competitive Senate races this fall, only 38 percent of likely voters said they approved of the way the president is handling his job. An index of all national polls shows the president's approval rating about four percentage points higher nationwide."

Cochran Admits to Wooing Democrats for GOP Runoff

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), the first Republican elected to a statewide post in Mississippi since Reconstruction, told the Jackson Clarion Ledger that his campaign "hasn't tried to buy any votes. But he didn't deny efforts to lure Democratic voters."

He said he hopes, "the more the merrier will prevail in this election."

Said Cochran: "I used to be a Democrat. My parents were active in the Democratic Party. We made changes in our views about some of the policies of the parties, and over time they evolved into different parties. ... I'm a Republican member of the U.S. Senate, and it's a good thing for the state that I have been."

Cotton Insists He's Leading in Arkansas

A new OnMessage poll in Arkansas finds Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D) by seven points, 47% to 40%. The internal poll was released by Cotton's campaign.

"Campaigns' internal polls should always be viewed with a bit of skepticism, as they're released to help set narratives, and there has been little public polling of the race since early May. A number of late April polls had found Pryor with the lead."

Archive: June 18, 2014

Arizona Candidates Don't Have Homes in District

Two Republican congressional candidates in Arizona don't own homes in the districts they seek to represent, the Arizona Republic reports.

"Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) keeps his family home in the 1st District while he runs for the 4th. Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin (R) lives in the 4th District while he campaigns for the 1st."

"Gosar rented an apartment to deflect criticism. Tobin, who previously attacked Gosar for his move, didn't bother. Their decisions to run despite questions over their residency highlight that for some politicians pursuing political opportunity means running away from home, even when they know some voters will disapprove."

Governors Cruise Through Primaries

"This is turning out to be a much tougher year for senators seeking renomination than it is for governors. While a number of veteran Republican senators have been challenged in primaries, nearly all the sitting governors seeking another term have cruised to renomination," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"At this point, halfway through the 2014 primary season, four longtime GOP senators have been held to no more than 60% of their party's primary vote. Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, John Cornyn of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have all been renominated, while Thad Cochran of Mississippi appears to be in an uphill battle to win a runoff on June 24. Meanwhile, only one governor has been renominated thus far with less than 70% of his party's primary vote."

Amash Looks Safe in Primary Challenge

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) "has been saying for months that businessman Brian Ellis (R) poses no threat to his winning a third term, and a new Free Press poll suggests he could be right."

Amash leads Ellis, his primary challenger, 55% to 35%.

Braley Holds Edge in Iowa

A new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa finds Rep. Bruce Braley (D) leading Joni Ernst (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 40%, "as an unusual gender gap shows women supporting the man while men support the woman."

Archive: June 17, 2014

Signs of Cantor's Defeat Were Obvious

Harrison Hickman: "Commentators are wrong in suggesting that the problems that resulted in Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary loss were new or that they were confined to the Republican primary electorate. In reality, Cantor's weaknesses were obvious two years ago in our poll of likely general election voters in Virginia's 7th Congressional District for Democratic candidate Wayne Powell."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Every enemy he's made, every person he's screwed, is now working with us to decapitate these two."

-- New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino (R), quoted by the New York Observer, apparently threatening a political opponent, per a lawsuit that was filed today.

Kingston Maintains Big Lead in Georgia Runoff

A new Gravis Marketing poll in Georgia finds Jack Kingston (R) has assumed an 11-point lead over David Perdue in next month GOP Senate runoff, 49% to 38%.

Hagan Stretches Out Lead in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina poll finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) with her largest lead for reelection since September. She's ahead of Thom Tillis (R) by 5 points, 39% to 34%, with 11% for Libertarian Sean Haugh.

Quote of the Day

"I'm warm, dammit."

-- Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), quoted by Politico, on his demeanor.

GOP Candidate Laments Decline of 'Traditional Population'

North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis (R) said that the "traditional" voting bloc of his home state wasn't growing like as minority populations in an interview he did in 2012, TPM reports.

He noted that unlike the Hispanic or black populations, which have been growing, the "traditional population of North Carolina and the United States is more or less stable."

McDaniel Leads Ahead of Runoff

A new Polling Company (R) survey in Mississippi finds Chris McDaniel (R) ahead of Sen. Thad Cochran (R) by double-digits in the GOP Senate runoff, 52% to 40%.

Koch Brothers Launch Super PAC for Midterms

"During a closed-door gathering of major donors in Southern California on Monday, the political operation spearheaded by the Koch brothers unveiled a significant new weapon in its rapidly expanding arsenal -- a super PAC called Freedom Partners Action Fund," Politico reports.

"The new group aims to spend more than $15 million in the 2014 midterm campaigns -- part of a much larger spending effort expected to total $290 million... t's an evolution for billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. The vast network of political nonprofit groups they helped build has mostly funneled its unprecedented political spending into issue-based campaigns that usually slam Democrats for supporting big government but seldom explicitly ask voters to support GOP candidates."

Wonk Wire: Koch brother gear up for multi-million dollar energy initiative

Archive: June 16, 2014

Very Close Mississippi Runoff

A new Chism Strategies poll in Mississippi finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R) barely ahead of challenger Chris McDaniel (R) in the GOP Senate runoff, 48% to 47%.

"Mississippi law allows anyone who didn't vote in the June 3rd Democratic Primary to vote in the GOP Primary runoff. However, the Cochran plan to expand the electorate with Democrats is a hard lift -- the most likely Democratic voters are ineligible to participate in the runoff."

Midterm Indicator at Historic Low

A new Gallup Poll finds the congressional job approval rate at just 16%, which "is on pace to be the lowest in a midterm election year since Gallup first measured it in 1974."

Cuomo Holds Huge Lead for Re-Election

A new Siena poll in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) holds a huge 36-point lead over challenger Rob Astorino (R), 57% to 21%.

Key finding: "Cuomo has a better than two-to-one favorability rating, while Astorino remains unknown to more than two-thirds of New Yorkers."

Archive: June 15, 2014

Midterm GOP Primaries Offer No Guidance for 2016

"The 2014 primary season, while leaving the Republicans in good shape for the fall elections against the Democrats, has done little to quiet their internal turmoil or to provide a winning formula going forward," the Washington Post reports.

"As Republicans struggle to understand the electoral earthquake that cost House Majority Leader Eric Cantor his suburban Richmond seat Tuesday, the party confronts a paradox: It is dominated more by conservatives than at any time in memory and yet riven with divisions, including over issues that barely registered even two years ago."

"That presents a tricky challenge to those who are seeking the 2016 GOP nomination in a presidential primary where there will be splits over immigration, trade, the government's role in education, and foreign policy, among other topics."

Archive: June 14, 2014

Franken Ahead by Just Six Points

A new Survey USA poll in Minnesota finds Sen. Al Franken (D) leading Michael McFadden (R) by six points in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 42%.

Kingston Solidly Ahead in Georgia Runoff

A new Insider Advantage poll in Georgia finds Jack Kingston (R) leading David Perdue (R) in the GOP Senate runoff by double-digits, 46% to 35%.

Warner Up Big in Virginia

A new Rasmussen poll in Virginia finds Sen. Mark Warner (D) way ahead of challenger Ed Gillespie (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 53% to 36%.

Archive: June 13, 2014

Quote of the Day

"I don't know what you're talking about. What happened in Virginia?"

-- Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), quoted by Fox News, apparently unaware that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) lost his seat in a primary.

Indictment Kills Grimm's Fundraising

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) "is struggling to fundraise for his campaign after a federal indictment," Roll Call reports.

"Grimm brought in $47,000 for his campaign between April 1 and June 4, according to his pre-primary fundraising report. That's far less than the $144,000 that his Democratic opponent, former New York City Councilmember Domenic M. Recchia Jr., raised in the same period."

Does Brown Know Which State He's Running In?

Scott Brown's (R) campaign in New Hampshire "sent a news release Wednesday questioning why Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) wasn't appearing with President Obama while he was 'in town,'" the Washington Post reports.

"But Obama was in Worcester, Mass., about 50 miles from the New Hampshire border. The president will then be raising money in Boston for Senate Democrats."

Coakley Still Leads in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe/SocialSphere poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading Steve Grossman (R) in the Democratic primary, 49% to 14%.

Coakley leads a general election match up with Charlie Baker (R), 42% to 31%.

Abercrombie Trails by Double-Digits in Hawaii

A new Honolulu Civil Beat poll in Hawaii finds David Ige (D) leading Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) by 11 percentage points in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, 48% to 37%.

A Look at Brat's Views on Economics

The New York Times interviewed several economists about the writings of David Brat (R), the conservative economics professor who toppled House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) this week in a primary.

Said University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers: "I did find him pretty confusing. This dude just really wants us all to go to church, and that appears to be his economic policy conclusion."

Gardner Holds Edge in Colorado Senate Race

A new Magellan Strategies (R) poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) edging Sen. Mark Udall (D) in the race for U.S. Senate, 47% to 45%.

Archive: June 12, 2014

War Over Surnames in Arizona

Dave Weigel follows up on the Arizona race featuring a candidate who changed his name to Cesar Chavez. It gets much crazier.

"Eric Cantor's campaign: You are no longer the most mockable and bumbling team in American politics this week."

Peters Holds Small Lead in Michigan

A new Mitchell Research poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) edging Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 42%.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leads challenger Mark Schauer (D) in the race for governor, 46% to 41%.

Abbott Holds Solid Lead for Texas Governor

A new Texas Tribune/University of Texas poll finds Greg Abbott (R) leads Wendy Davis (D) by 12 points in the race for Texas governor, 44% to 32%.

Merkley Holds Crushing Lead Over Wehby

A new SurveyUSA poll in Oregon finds Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) leading challenger Monica Wehby (D) by 18 points, 50% to 32%.

Wehby released an internal poll yesterday suggesting the race was a dead heat.

Grimes Slightly Ahead in Kentucky

A new Magellan Strategies (R) poll in Kentucky finds Allison Lundergran Grimes (D) leading Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) by three points in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 46%.

Romney Wants to be a Kingmaker

"Once fearing he would be viewed as 'a loser for life' if he failed to win the presidency, Mitt Romney is trying to re-emerge as a force in Republican politics," the AP reports.

"Romney has quietly sought kingmaker status in the GOP's fight for the Senate majority this fall and its quest to retake the White House in 2016. The effort at revival is fueling whispers about a third presidential run. But those closest to Romney suggest he's more interested in shaping party politics by lending his name and record-breaking fundraising machine to what he considers the next generation of electable conservatives."

Rauner Jumps Out to Big Lead in Illinois

A new We Ask America poll in Illinois shows Bruce Rauner (R) with a 10-point lead over Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in the race for governor, 47% to 37%, with 16% undecided.

Archive: June 11, 2014

Wehby Insists She's Close

Oregon U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby (R), seeking to discount polls showing her well behind Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), said her own pollster shows her virtually neck-and-neck with the Democratic incumbent, the Oregonian reports.

"Wehby's firm, The Alexandria, Va.-based Tarrance Group, said its June 1-3 survey of 650 likely voters showed that Merkley is at 41 percent and Wehby is at 39 percent. That is strongly at odds with two surveys conducted independently of the two campaigns shortly after the May 20 primary that showed Merkley ahead of Wehby by between 10 and 13 percentage points."

Crossover Votes Did Not Cause Cantor's Defeat

Nate Cohn runs the numbers and finds that Democratic spoilers probably did not contribute enough votes to account for Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-VA) margin of defeat as his pollster has suggested.

"There were undoubtedly Democratic spoilers... But it would be hard to argue that Democrats made up the margin of victory. Turnout was still far, far higher in Republican precincts."

Cantor Will Not Wage Write-In Campaign

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) "has decided not to run as a write-in candidate in November, according to two Republicans close to him. The Republicans were granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal talks," the Washington Post reports.

Statistic of the Day

New York Times: "One measure of the extraordinary defeat could be seen in the candidate's finances. Since the beginning of last year, Eric Cantor's campaign had spent about $168,637 at steakhouses compared with the $200,000 his challenger, David Brat, had spent on his entire campaign."

Two Warning Signs Presaged Cantor's Fall

Jeff Schapiro says there were menacing signs for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) but "few paid them any mind."

"In March -- in Cantor's home county of Henrico -- tea partyers and libertarians, disdainful of the congressman's more traditional brand of Republicanism, blocked his forces from using a practice known as 'slating' to take control of the county delegation to the party's 7th District convention."

"Then, in May, at the district convention a short distance from the outer Richmond subdivision where Cantor lives, the same coalition of grass-roots insurrectionists voted out Cantor's handpicked district chairman, Linwood Cobb, and replaced him with Fred Gruber, a tea party activist from rural Louisa County."

Cochran Goes On Attack

"After months of milquetoast statements and letting surrogates do any campaign trash talking, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) went on the offensive in Hattiesburg on Tuesday, calling his opponent Chris McDaniel 'an extremist' who would hurt Mississippi with indiscriminate cuts to federal spending," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"But his offensive campaign and more hands-on stumping comes late in the game, as Cochran trails McDaniel at least slightly in recent polls since fighting to a draw in last week's primary and heading to a runoff June 24."

Cantor Was Cantor'd

Jonathan Chait notes Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) "went out the way he carried himself throughout his career: making comically disingenuous attacks. His television commercials assailed Brat as a tax-loving Democrat -- he served on a non-partisan state revenue-estimating commission -- and actually ran ads calling him a 'liberal college professor.'

"It is conceivable that, by preposterously describing a Rand-loving right-wing crank as a liberal, Cantor actually managed to underestimate the intellectual discernment of his voters. In any case, he had ceded all the premises of the argument to his opponent even in the course of smearing him. Cantor was, finally, Cantor'd. He will not be missed."

Cantor Pollster Explains Why He Was Way Off

GOP John McLaughlin, whose firm last week showed Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) leading in his primary race by 34 points, offered National Journal several explanations for why his candidate actually lost the election by 10 points: "unexpectedly high turnout, last-minute Democratic meddling, and stinging late attacks on amnesty and immigration."

Said McLaughlin: "Primary turnout was 45,000 2 years ago. This time 65,000. This was an almost 50% increase in turnout... Untold story is who were the new primary voters? They were probably not Republicans."

Meanwhile, Daily Kos compiles other bad McLaughlin polls.

Brat Wrote That Hitler's Rise Could Happen Again

David Brat (R), who upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in a primary Tuesday, wrote in 2011 that Hitler's rise "could all happen again, quite easily," the Wall Street Journal reports.

He wrote: "Capitalism is here to stay, and we need a church model that corresponds to that reality. Read Nietzsche. Nietzsche's diagnosis of the weak modern Christian democratic man was spot on. Jesus was a great man. Jesus said he was the Son of God. Jesus made things happen. Jesus had faith. Jesus actually made people better. Then came the Christians. What happened? What went wrong? We appear to be a bit passive. Hitler came along, and he did not meet with unified resistance. I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily."

Vox compiles a list of 12 things you need to know about David Brat

Cantor's District Supports Immigration Reform

A new Public Policy Polling survey conducted in Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-VA) district last night finds that both Cantor and the GOP House leadership are "deeply unpopular" and that immigration reform "is actually quite popular in his district."

Key findings: "Cantor has a only a 30% approval rating in his district, with 63% of voters disapproving. The Republican leadership in the House is even more unpopular, with just 26% of voters approving of it to 67% who disapprove."

More: "72% of voters in Cantor's district support the bipartisan immigration reform legislation on the table in Washington right now to only 23% who are opposed. And this is an issue voters want to see action on."

Graham Easily Wins GOP Nomination

Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) six GOP challengers "predicted the primary would be a referendum on the two-term incumbent's record. Instead, Republican voters bucked Tea Party dissenters and gave Graham roughly 60% of the vote, lending credence to criticism the 'anybody-but-Graham' movement is driven by a vocal but small minority," The State reports.

Some Reactions to Eric Cantor's Stunning Defeat

Michael Tomasky: "Has a party leader ever lost a primary like this? Stop and take this in. Like any political journalist, I'm a little bit of a historian of this sort of thing, although I readily admit my knowledge isn't encyclopedic. But I sure can't think of anything."

Todd Purdum: "But in historical terms, it should not have come as a shock. House Republicans have been eating their young since the Eisenhower era, and the race has been always to the right."

Jonathan Cohn: "There's a certain poetic irony to Cantor, who exploited Tea Party frustrations in order to undermine Boehner, falling to a Tea Party challenger himself. And as my colleague Danny Vinik points out, this probably isn't good news for the Republican Party's political prospects in national elections, given how out of sync the Tea Party is with the rest of the country. But there's a long way to go before 2016."

Molly Ball: "Cantor's loss will prompt the reexamination of some other pieces of conventional wisdom: One, that the Tea Party is dead--clearly, at least in one restive precinct, anti-Washington anger is alive and well. And two, that supporting immigration reform doesn't necessarily hurt Republicans in primaries--Cantor's supposed support for "amnesty" was Brat's chief line of attack."

Nate Cohn: "Regardless of the exact reason for Mr. Cantor's defeat, the news media's focus on immigration is likely to deter Republicans from supporting comprehensive immigration reform. It could even discourage Republican presidential candidates in 2016, when the party will need to broaden its appeal to Hispanic voters in states like Florida."

Erick Erickson: "Cantor lost his race because he was running for Speaker of the House of Representatives while his constituents wanted a congressman. The tea party and conservatives capitalized on that with built up distrust over Cantor's other promises and made a convincing case Cantor could not be trusted on immigration either. Cantor made it easy trying to be a congressman from Virginia and a worthy successor to the Speaker in K-Street's eyes."

Quote of the Day

"Democrats are so absolutely freaking desperate to win the governor's race, if Charlie Crist had a dead hooker in the trunk of his car, they'd still be, 'We're good. He's the guy.'"

-- Republican media strategist Rick Wilson, quoted by the Sun Sentinel.

Archive: June 10, 2014

Cantor Falls to Tea Party Challenger

In a massive upset, little-known conservative activist David Brat (R) defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in his primary tonight, Roll Call reports.

National Journal: "Cantor's defeat will send shockwaves throughout Washington. The House majority leader was one of the most well-known Republican figures in the country, reputed for his strategic acumen and political ambition. He wielded an immense amount of clout within the Capitol and was widely expected to one day seek to become the speaker of the House. His primary was never expected to be seriously competitive, and his loss is catching everyone -- from veterans of Virginia politics to longtime analysts in Washington -- by surprise."

Politico: "Brat also halted one of the most meteoric rises in national politics, and his win illustrates the strong anti-incumbent fever that has taken over Cantor's Richmond-area district."

The Wall Street Journal said it was unclear whether Cantor "could or would run a write-in campaign in the general election."

Graham Holds Off Challengers

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) "was once thought to be among the Republican incumbents most vulnerable this year to a Tea Party challenge. But the most pressing question on Tuesday is not whether he will finish first in the party primary, but whether he can avoid a runoff by capturing more than 50 percent of the vote in a seven-person field," the New York Times reports.

All Tied Up in Florida

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott's (R) early negative advertising blitz against Charlie Crist (D) has paid off in a big way.

Key findings: "What was a 12 point lead for Crist over Scott last fall at 50% to 38% is now a tie race at 42% each, and the biggest thing that's changed over the last 8 months is how Floridians feel about Crist."

Update: A new SurveyUSA poll finds Crist leading by two points, 44% to 42%.

Wehby Addresses Harassment Reports

Oregon U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby (R) said that disagreements with former partners that resulted in calls to the police show that she stands up for her beliefs and "will fight for Oregonians with very strong conviction," the AP reports.

Said Wehby: "I think that the thing to learn from that is that I am a person who will stand up for what I believe in. I'm a person who doesn't easily back down. I will fight for Oregonians with very strong conviction. I'm a very committed, determined person."

McDaniel Leads in Mississippi Runoff

A new Strategic National (R) poll in Mississippi finds Chris McDaniel (R) leading Sen. Thad Cochran (R) in their GOP Senate runoff, 52% to 46%.

Primary Races to Watch Tonight

Voters cast ballots today in primary races in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia, and decide a some runoff elections in Arkansas.

ABC News: "Today's marquee race is a primary that was supposed to be a much tougher establishment vs. tea party brawl for a senator hated by the more conservative wing of the GOP, but whether he wins without a runoff is what we will be watching for. There is also a challenger hoping to knock down a leader in Virginia, and although there aren't as many choices or potential surprises as last week, there are still plenty of races to watch, including a candidate backed by Oprah Winfrey."

First Read: "Five additional states hold their primaries today, and there's one major storyline we're following: Does Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) cross the 50% threshold he needs to avoid a runoff two weeks from now?"

Archive: June 09, 2014

Coakley Hangs On In Massachusetts

A new Boston Herald/Suffolk University poll in Massachusetts shows Martha Coakley (D) holds a waning but still commanding lead over her Democratic gubernatorial rivals and a shaky 7-point margin over likely GOP opponent Charlie Baker (R), 36% to 29% with another 27% still undecided.

Rounds Leads Three-Way Race in South Dakota

A new Rasmussen survey in South Dakota finds former Gov. Mike Rounds still leading challenger Rick Weiland (D) by double digits in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 29%, but former Sen. Larry Pressler (I) has made the race a bit closer by pulling 18% support.

GOP Slightly Favored to Take Senate

Nate Silver: "Our March forecast projected a Republicans gain of 5.8 seats. You'll no doubt notice the decimal place; how can a party win a fraction of a Senate seat? It can't, but our forecasts are probabilistic; a gain of 5.8 seats is the total you get by summing the probabilities from each individual race. Because 5.8 seats is closer to six (a Republican takeover) than five (not quite), we characterized the GOP as a slight favorite to win the Senate."

"The new forecast is for a Republican gain of 5.7 seats. So it's shifted ever so slightly -- by one-tenth of a seat -- toward being a toss-up. Still, if asked to place a bet at even odds, we'd take a Republican Senate."

Meanwhile, The Upshot says Democrats are slightly favored to take control but the gap is narrowing.

Kingston Donors Linked to Felon

The top contributors to Rep. Jack Kingston's (R-GA) Senate campaign come from two companies linked to a felon the U.S. government has been trying to deport for the past six years, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Another Poll Shows Ernst Ahead in Iowa

A new Vox Populi (R) poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leads Bruce Braley in the U.S. Senate race by five points, 49% to 44%.

McDaniel Has Edge in Mississippi Runoff

A new Chism poll in Mississippi finds Chris McDaniel (R) with a small lead over Sen. Thad Cochran (R) in the U.S. Senate runoff, 51% to 48%.

Key takeaway: "The race is fluid and the election is more than two weeks away. In this unusual campaign, we don't know if and when another bombshell will drop and how it would impact voters."

Ted Cruz Has Taken Over the Texas GOP

Washington Post: "This year's Republican primaries proved beyond doubt that in the Lone Star State, the tea party is now the mainstream of Republicanism. Indeed, the entire Texas GOP appears to have been made over in Cruz's image."

"Come January, barring a massive shift in the state's political winds, candidates who ran by his playbook will hold just about every statewide office. And all of the dozen or so that Cruz endorsed or said nice things about will have won."

The Week: "To outsiders -- and many Republican insiders -- the Tea Party looks insanely fratricidal. But there is a method to the right's madness. The real question is how often their method pays off."

Hogan, Brown Lead in Maryland

A new Baltimore Sun poll in Maryland finds Larry Hogan leading the GOP pack for governor with 27%, followed by David Craig at 12%, Charles Lollar at 12% and Ron George at 6%.

On the Democratic side, Anthony Brown leads with 41%, followed by Doug Gansler at 20% and Heather Mizeur at 15%.

Archive: June 08, 2014

Rove Stays in the Shadows This Time

Los Angeles Times: "Not that long ago, Karl Rove emerged as a mastermind of a new type of campaign spending, leading a wave of outside groups whose ability to pour money into the 2010 midterm election helped Republicans gain control of the House and bolster GOP ranks in the Senate."

"This midterm election cycle, though, is shaping up differently. Rove's two funding groups, American Crossroads, a super PAC that discloses its spending, and Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit that does not, are playing more of a supporting role... The new stars of the dark money circuit are the billionaire Koch brothers, whose Americans for Prosperity has funneled a jaw-dropping $35 million so far into the midterm election cycle, much of it spent even before the first primary ballots were cast this spring."

Kingston Leads Senate Runoff in Georgia

A new Survey USA poll in Georgia finds Jack Kingston (R) leading David Perdue (R) in the GOP Senate runoff, 52% to 41%.

In possible general election match ups, Kingston leads Michelle Nunn (D), 43% to 37%, while Perdue leads Nunn, 43% to 38%.

Ernst Leads Senate Race in Iowa

A new Loras College poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leading Bruce Braley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 42%.

Deal Leads Re-Election Bid in Georgia

A new Survey USA poll in Georgia finds Gov. Nathan Deal (R) with a lead over challenger Jason Carter (D), 44% to 38%, with Libertarian Andrew Hunt at 7%.

Archive: June 06, 2014

Very Close in Iowa

A new Rasmussen poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) edging Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 44%.


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