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%.

Close Race for Massachusetts Governor

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leading Charlie Baker (R) in the race for governor by just five points, 37% to 32%.

Said pollster John Della Volpe: "We are now in a real horse race. Now it's within the margin of error."

It's Not Too Early to Pay Attention to Polls

Nate Cohn and Josh Katz: "The conventional wisdom holds that at this stage the so-called fundamentals of a race, like the partisanship of a state and incumbency, are more predictive than the polls. That assumption is based on data from presidential election cycles, but political scientists have not found, to our knowledge, any analogous research in Senate elections."

"An analysis of Senate contests since 1992 suggests, surprising as it may seem, that polls are at least as accurate as the fundamentals at this point in the cycle. That's because the fundamentals influencing Senate elections are already shaping public opinion."

Listen to our new conversation with Cohn about The Upshot/NYT Senate forecasting model, LEO.

Archive: June 05, 2014

What Were McDaniel Staffers Doing Inside Courthouse?

"A sheriff's department spokesman refutes claims by the Chris McDaniel camp that three staffers were let into the courthouse by 'uniformed personnel' sometime after it closed late election night," the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

"The incident is now under investigation by the sheriff's department, and they have requested courthouse security footage... Hinds County Circuit Clerk Barbara Dunn says it would be virtually impossible to tamper with ballots after they make it to her office. All ballots including absentee were locked inside a vault in her office, which was locked when everyone left Tuesday night between 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m."

A Campaign About Nothing

Michigan Democrats hit U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land with a Seinfeld-themed web video parody.

Brown Suddenly Cuts Ties to Florida Company

Scott Brown (R) "abruptly resigned Wednesday from an obscure Florida company and gave up stock initially valued at $1.3 million after facing a barrage of questions about his role as a 'senior adviser,' a controversy that had dogged his US Senate campaign in New Hampshire," the Boston Globe reports.

McDaniel Seen as Having Edge in Runoff

Jackson Clarion-Ledger: "Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) needs a large, broad turnout in a June 24 runoff -- a steep hill, since runoffs are typically parochial with low turnout. Challenger Chris McDaniel needs his blue collar and tea party base of voters in his strongholds to turn out strong again. They still appear fired up and ready. Both Republican U.S. Senate campaigns need money, lots of it fast, or outside groups willing to spend on their behalf."

"As the two campaigns analyzed Tuesday's voting -- in which they fought to nearly a draw -- and plotted strategy moving forward, most prognoses had the runoff tilted in McDaniel's favor."

However, Harry Enten says "we should be cautious in speculating how the Mississippi runoff will go. There hasn't been a GOP primary for Senate or governor in the past 26 years in which an incumbent didn't get the most votes but still made a runoff. We're in mostly uncharted territory."

Democrats Unlikely to Prevail in Mississippi

Nate Cohn says Democrats shouldn't get their hopes up about winning a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi -- even if tea partier Chris McDaniel (R) prevails in a runoff against Sen. Thad Cochran (R).

"There is no state more polarized than Mississippi. Eighty percent of voters are black or white evangelical Christian. And the problem for Democrats is that they're on the wrong side of the ledger. In 2012, 50 percent of voters were white evangelical Christians, and they voted 95 percent for Mitt Romney. They form a nearly unbreakable bloc, and they're augmented by the state's deeply conservative non-evangelical white voters. Over all, Mr. Obama barely exceeded 10 percent of white voters, if at all... There just might not be a road to victory for Democrats in Mississippi."

Archive: June 04, 2014

Tea Partier Locked in Courthouse with Ballots

TPM: "A Mississippi tea party official with close ties to U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel apparently ended up inside a locked and empty county courthouse late Tuesday night after primary election results had come in."

Candidate Arrested After Losing Primary

South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth (R) turned herself in following the issuance of a warrant for her arrest just after she lost the election, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

Keloland: "Bosworth confirms that she has been charged with six counts of perjury and six counts of offering a false or forged instrument for filing... Concerns were raised during her campaign that she had submitted nominating petitions where she was listed as the petition circulator but was allegedly not in the country at the time the petition was circulated."

According to Business Insider, Bosworth's Facebook and Twitter accounts provided evidence against her.

Graham May Avoid Runoff in South Carolina

A new Clemson University Palmetto poll in South Carolina finds Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) leading the GOP primary for Senate with 49%, followed by Lee Bright (R) at 9% and five other candidates in the low single digits. Another 35% of respondents said they were still undecided.

Graham needs 50% support to avoid a runoff.

Wehby Breaks Silence Over Police Reports

Oregon U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby (R) spoke to the Oregonian about the police reports which said she stalked an ex-boyfriend and harassed her ex-husband.

Said Wehby: "I think these are personal matters that have been put to rest by the fact that both of these guys are close friends of mine and very supportive of my candidacy. I don't think any of us - man or woman - would like to answer out in the public square for things that we say to our spouses in the heat of an argument. I find this to be a despicable attack by Merkley and his band of bullies."

"Merkley has said he didn't know anything about the report before it became public and said he doesn't intend to make an issue of her personal life."

Major Super PAC Won't Contest Mississippi Runoff

The Cook Political Report has learned that American Crossroads is staying out of the Mississippi GOP Senate runoff, denying Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) "a major source of outside spending."

Runoffs Not Kind to Incumbents

The Fix: "We looked at six times since 2000 in which an incumbent has faced a primary runoff, and then compared the primary vote totals to the runoff totals in each race. In all but one case, the challenger took at least 75 percent off the votes that were 'up for grabs' in the runoff, and in two of those cases, the incumbent actually lost votes in the runoff."

Senate Candidate Learns On-Air She Lost Primary

The Week: "Annette Bosworth's South Dakota Senate campaign ended Tuesday with a loss in the GOP primary, a defeat made all the more humbling by the way Bosworth learned she'd lost: in a live interview on Fox News."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Hello, how are you doing? I'm Thad Cochran."

-- Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), to The Atlantic's Molly Ball less than half an hour after she interviewed him.

Questions for the Mississippi Runoff

First Read says that if Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) "was in trouble before the last night, he's in bigger trouble today."

Two questions: "One, do pro-Cochran outside groups try to prop up the incumbent? McDaniel has benefitted from outside groups so far, but does Haley Barbour now bring in the cavalry to save Cochran? Two, what does the National Republican Senatorial Committee do in the runoff? In the original primary, not only was it backing the incumbent Cochran, it also went for the kill against McDaniel -- helping to turn those arrests into a national story. We bet the folks at the NRSC are doing some polling right now to see how electable, or unelectable, McDaniel could be in a general election. As we wrote yesterday, Democrats have a semi-credible candidate waiting in the wings to face the runoff winner: former Rep. Travis Childers (D-MS)."

Runoff Likely in Mississippi

"A runoff appeared likely in the GOP Senate primary between six-term incumbent Thad Cochran and tea party challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel on Tuesday night, with the race tight, neither at over 50% and a little-known third candidate, Thomas Carey, tracking just under 2%," the Clarion Ledger reports.

"McDaniel and Cochran swapped leads as results came in. With 97% of precincts in, unofficial results showed McDaniel leading 49.5%, or 147,451 votes, to Cochran's 49% or 146,071 votes. To avoid a runoff, a candidate must receive more than 50%. A runoff would be held on June 24."

New York Times: "The senator's backers were deeply concerned going into the balloting on Tuesday about the possibility of a runoff, fearing that Mr. McDaniel's Tea Party supporters would be more likely to show up at the polls again."

Ernst Easily Wins GOP Senate Nomination in Iowa

Joni Ernst (R), "who highlighted her ability to shoot guns and castrate hogs to overcome disinterest in a sleepy primary election, dominated the field to become the first female GOP U.S. Senate nominee in Iowa history," the Des Moines Register reports.

"The 43-year-old farmer's daughter turned state senator and military commander blew past the 35% necessary to claim victory over her four competitors, including retired businessman Mark Jacobs, who tried to overpower the rest of the field by self-funding his campaign with millions from his own wealth. With some precincts still out, Jacobs appeared to have fallen to a disappointing third place. He quickly pledged 100 percent support to Ernst."

Kashkari Will Face Brown in California

Neel Kashkari (R) eclipsed rival Tim Donnelly (R) in the governor's race late Tuesday, while California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) "was poised to finish first by an enormous margin," the Sacramento Bee reports.

"Kashkari, a moderate Republican, was ahead of the tea party-backed Donnelly 18% to 15% when Donnelly conceded the race and called Kashkari to congratulate him. Neither Republican came close to touching Brown, who led all challengers with 55% of the vote. He will face Kashkari in the fall."

Wolf Thumps Corbett in Pennsylvania Poll

A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) way ahead of Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in the governor's race by a commanding 53% to 33% and outscores the Republican incumbent on every measure in the survey.

Tight Race for GOP Nomination in Alaska

A new Dittman Research poll in Alaska finds Dan Sullivan (R) edging Mead Treadwell (R) for the GOP Senate nomination, 37% to 35%, with Joe Miller (R) at 12%.

The winner will face Sen. Mark Begich (D) in the November election.

Archive: June 03, 2014

Tight Battle in Rhode Island

A new WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll finds a tight race between Angel Taveras (D) and Gina Raimondo (D) for the Democratic nomination for governor.

Taveras is still in the lead at 33%, with Raimondo still a close second at 29% and Clay Pell (D) a distant third at 12%. More than one in five voters - 22% - haven't decided whom they'll support in the Sept. 9 primary.

Could Minimum Wage Save the Senate for Democrats?

Greg Sargent: "Democrats who are trying to get an initiative raising the minimum wage on the ballot in Arkansas tell me they have now collected more than the requisite number of signatures -- which, if certified, could boost turnout for Dem Senator Mark Pryor, possibly helping determine control of the Senate in this fall's elections."

"A minimum wage ballot initiative could give Pryor a turnout boost among core voter groups who tend to drop off in midterms, and any single race could sway the battle for the Senate."

Wolf Holds Landslide Lead in Pennsylvania

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) leading Gov. Tom Corbett (R) by a whopping 25 points, 55% to 30%.

GOP Poll Shows Cotton Ahead in Arkansas

A new Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll in Arkansas finds Tom Cotton (R) with a small lead over Sen. Mark Pryor (D), 46% to 41%.

Will the Mississippi Primary Change the Senate Map?

First Read notes that "if Democrats get any kind of opening in Mississippi, here's why that would be very important in November: A Democratic win there -- as remote as it may seem -- would raise the GOP's magic number (from six to seven) in the seats it must net in order to win back the Senate. Given the stakes, you are going to see a lot of pressure on the Lotts and Barbours to get on board if McDaniel wins. Then again, it's very possible Cochran holds on. This is a 50%-50% race, folks."

The Senate Race That Slipped Away from Democrats

National Journal: "The Senate race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson could have been one of the most consequential contests in the country, if Democrats had a little more luck. Just over a year ago, the political talk in South Dakota centered on which of their up-and-coming prospects would run--former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, one of the most popular figures in the state after representing it for three full terms in the House, or Tim Johnson's son Brendan Johnson, who's serving as a U.S. attorney."

"As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee tried to engineer the situation to their advantage--they preferred Herseth Sandlin to the more-liberal Johnson, and wanted to avoid a contentious primary--the party's worst-case scenario materialized. Johnson first expressed his disinterest in May 2013, leaving the door wide open for the former congresswoman to run. At the same time Johnson made his decision, Weiland announced his candidacy with support from some Johnson allies."

Will Cochran Survive His Primary Challenge?

"What Chris McDaniel is trying to do Tuesday - defeat an incumbent U.S. senator from Mississippi - would be almost unheard of in the state's history," the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports.

"If McDaniel prevails against long-serving Sen. Thad Cochran in Tuesday's Republican primary, it would mark the first time since 1942 an incumbent from Mississippi lost a U.S. Senate race. That year Jim Eastland defeated incumbent Wall Doxey, who had won a special election in 1941 after the death of Sen. Pat Harrison."

Clarion Ledger: "Voters say contentious races are not new to Mississippi, but they can't remember a Senate race that has been so nasty."

Archive: June 02, 2014

Ernst Pulls Aways from GOP Rivals

A new Suffolk poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leads all four of her Republican opponents for the GOP Senate nomination by between 20% and 34%.

Said pollster David Paleologos: "Joni Ernst has caught the imagination of Republican voters and is extending and accelerating her advantage over her GOP opponents. In the April statewide poll, Ernst had just overtaken Mark Jacobs, and it was close at that point. Now, the bellwethers are confirming her improved standing and solid strength in the Republican primary."

Dead Heat in Mississippi

A new PMI poll in Mississippi finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R) in a very close primary race with Chris McDaniel (R), leading his challenger by a razor-thin 42% to 41%.

Most interesting: "Indeed, the possibility of a June 24 runoff forced by a third spoiler candidate, Thomas Carey, looks increasingly likely. However, twelve percent of voters are still undecided at this late date."

Archive: June 01, 2014

Ernst Leads in Iowa GOP Primary

A Des Moines Register poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leading the Republican U.S. Senate primary with 36%, followed by Mark Jacobs at 18%, Matt Whitaker at 13% and Sam Clovis at 11%.

Brown Holds Huge Lead in California

A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll in California finds Gov. Jerry Brown (D) "holds a commanding lead in his bid for an unprecedented fourth term, but the race among GOP candidates seeking to take him on in November has become a dead heat just days before Tuesday's election."

"Half of Californians deemed likely to vote in the primary supported Brown's reelection. Among his chief challengers, both Republicans, Neel Kashkari was far behind at 18% and Tim Donnelly trailed at 13%. The difference between the two vying for the second slot in the general election was within the poll's margin of error."

Wolf Crushing Corbett in Pennsylvania

A new Rasmussen poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) way ahead of Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in the governor's race, 51% to 31%.

Cuomo Defuses Third Party Threat

"Defusing a tense and potentially campaign-changing challenge from the left, Gov. Andrew Cuomo secured the endorsement of the Working Families Party on Saturday night, easing the popular Democrat's path as he runs for re-election and solidifying his broader political prospects," the New York Times reports.

"After weeks of negotiations and last-minute tribulations, Mr. Cuomo was able to mend rifts created by some of his centrist policies and ease the concerns of Working Families, a small but influential group of labor unions and liberal activists. In doing so, the governor -- a savvy politician with rumored presidential ambitions -- simplified a re-election campaign in which he hopes to win by a large, message-sending margin."

Archive: May 31, 2014

Cochran Remains in Close Primary Fight

A new Harper Polling survey in Mississippi finds Sen. Thad Cochran (R) leading challenger Chris McDaniel (R) in the Republican primary by five points, 45% to 40%.

A new Chism Strategies (D) poll finds McDaniel leading Cochran, 46% to 44%.

Archive: May 30, 2014

Cuomo Launches War on Third Party

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) "is responding to a rebellion from the state's progressive third party by attempting to push other Democrats away from the Working Families Party," BuzzFeed reports.

"Cuomo's move is an escalation that raises the stakes on both sides of the ideologically charged battle, one that has brought to the fore the New York governor's growing rift with the state's left. Cuomo political aide and longtime enforcer Joe Percoco has, the sources said, made the request, which is aimed at threatening the party's ability to get the 50,000 votes for governor in November's election required for a permanent slot on the statewide ballot."

Meanwhile, Harry Enten looks at how polling in three-way races is very unpredictable.

GOP Candidates Retreat on Obamacare

"Republican candidates have begun to retreat in recent weeks from their all-out assault on the Affordable Care Act in favor of a more piecemeal approach, suggesting they would preserve some aspects of the law while jettisoning others," the Washington Post reports.

"The changing tactics signal that the health-care law -- while still unpopular with voters overall -- may no longer be the lone rallying cry for Republicans seeking to defeat Democrats in this year's midterm elections."

Wonk Wire: Have those dire predictions about Obamacare materialized?

McConnell Opens Up Lead in Kentucky

A new Rasmussen survey in Kentucky shows Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) with a seven point lead over challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 48% to 41%.

Tillis Holds Edge in North Carolina Senate Race

A new Civitas Institute poll in North Carolina finds Thom Tillis (R) leading Sen. Kay Hagan (D) in the U.S. Senate race by three points, 39% to 36%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh at 8%.

Archive: May 29, 2014

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"That's right. I let him get his own publicity."

-- Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), quoted by Politico, noting that he doesn't ever mention challenger Chris McDaniel (R) by name.

Republicans Likely to Maintain Edge in Governors

Harry Enten looks at the 36 gubernatorial elections this year.

"Neither party looks like it's going to make major gains. Even if Democrats win a tight three-way contest in Maine, the numbers here suggest they won't come close to picking up a net of five governorships, which they would need to hold a majority of governor's mansions."

Merkley Up Big in Oregon

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Oregon finds Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) starting the general election with a 14 point lead over challenger Monica Wehby (R), 50% to 36%.

McConnell Has Small Lead in Kentucky

A new Wenzel Strategies (R) poll in Kentucky shows Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) edging challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 44%.

Archive: May 28, 2014

Democrats Go Local

New York Times: "If Republicans are trying to nationalize the 2014 midterms, tying Democrats to President Obama and his signature health care law, Democrats considered vulnerable are countering by going local, doubling down on state-specific issues that are more typically the province of Republicans. Facing a hostile national climate -- with Mr. Obama's approval rating stalled below 50 percent, and that of Congress barely in double digits -- Democrats say they believe their path to victory hinges on a series of individual contests rather than a referendum on the president and his policies."

Three-Way Race for New York Governor?

The Working Families Party of New York "is eying education activist Diane Ravitch as its gubernatorial candidate should the liberal minor party decide to withhold its backing" of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), the New York Daily News reports.

Midterm Forecasts Still Vary Widely

The Upshot says Democrats have a 58% chance of retaining control of the U.S. Senate after the midterm elections. Meanwhile, Election Lab says Republicans have a 77% chance to win control.

Why the big difference?

Vox: "If you've been following elections in recent years, it's probably been drilled into you that averages of polls are usually quite accurate near the end of the campaign. But the election is still 6 months away, and polling is infrequent in many races -- which presents a problem for anyone trying to forecast election results now. To address this, election forecasters incorporate broader political factors called 'fundamentals' into their models."

Ted Cruz's Texas

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "wasn't up for re-election this year, but his presence was felt up and down the GOP primary ballot in the Lone Star State," The Hill reports.

"The only candidate Cruz endorsed won her primary fight on Tuesday, while incumbent candidates he ignored went down to defeat. More generally, the upstart candidates who toppled Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst and 91-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall appealed to the same state conservatives who see Cruz as a hero."

Tea Party Scores Big Win in Texas

Dan Patrick (R), "riding a wave of tea-party populism from relative obscurity as a Houston radio talk-show host to statewide prominence in just eight years, defeated incumbent David Dewhurst Tuesday to win the Republican nomination to become Texas' next lieutenant governor," the Houston Chronicle reports.

Austin American-Statesman: "Patrick's victory was a stunning achievement, far exceeding Cruz's thrashing of Dewhurst in the 2012 runoff for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison."

South Dakota Candidate Condemns Misogyny of Campaign

"Standing in front of a profane backdrop created by her own campaign, an emotional Annette Bosworth (R) condemned criticism of her, blasted the media, addressed her alleged scandals and even issued a book recommendation in a free-wheeling news conference Tuesday," the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

"Her campaign staff papered the room withspraypainted dozens of large Bosworth campaign signs spraypainted with slurs she said had been aimed at her, each of which she said she had been called, and papered the walls and floor of the room with them. The obscenities surrounding Bosworth during her announcement led her to warn that minors wouldn't be allowed into the event."

Snyder Still Ahead for Michigan Governor

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) holds a nine-point lead over challenger Mark Schauer (D), 47% to 38% with 15% undecided or refusing to say who they support.

A new Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll shows Snyder leading by 10 points, 45% to 35%.

King Holds Primary Lead in New Mexico

A new Research & Polling Inc. survey finds Gary King (D) leads the Democratic gubernatorial primary field with 22%, followed by Lawrence Rael (D) at 16% and Alan Webber (D) at 16%.

The winner of the June 3 primary faces Gov. Susana Martinez (R).

Romney Returns

National Journal: "Looking for another sign that the Republican establishment is holding the upper hand in contested GOP primaries? Mitt Romney has been the most effective Republican surrogate on the campaign trail this year."

"Just review the results: In races where he's endorsed 2014 candidates facing competitive primary challenges, he's undefeated so far... While many politicians endorse candidates who are safe bets to win primaries, the normally risk-averse Romney has eagerly put his reputation on the line, backing candidates in next month's primaries who face challenging odds."

Grimm Talks About Fraud Charges

When asked by Politico if he is innocent of the criminal charges filed against him this month, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) "paused for four seconds, then chuckled softly."

Said Grimm: "You know, uh. It depends on what you're asking me of."

Cochran Fights Back in Mississippi

"The last time Thad Cochran had a competitive Senate race, Ronald Reagan was president... That's why many of Mr. Cochran's supporters worried when he announced his campaign for re-election in December. With little money in the bank, no political staff and a tough tea-party opponent, the 76-year-old Mississippi Republican quickly came to be viewed as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Now, they're breathing easier. The race in Mississippi has been nasty and unpredictable. But Mr. Cochran, powered by support from the state's top Republicans, has built a campaign versed in Twitter, quick-hit negative ads and other tools of modern electioneering to counter a challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel, whose campaign has been taken off-point by the arrest of four supporters."

Hall Loses Seat in Texas Runoff

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) "lost his bid for an 18th term Tuesday night, making him the first incumbent to not win re-election in 2014," Roll Call reports.

John Ratcliffe (R) defeated Hall with 52% of the vote and "is all-but-certain to hold this seat for Republicans in the fall."

Archive: May 27, 2014

Scott Pulls Ahead in Florida

A new SurveyUSA poll in Florida finds that a $10 million ad blitz has helped Gov. Rick Scott (R) to pull ahead of Charlie Crist (D) in the race for governor, 42% to 40%.

Peters Leads for Senate in Michigan

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) leading Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 38% with 18% still undecided.

Said pollster Bernie Porn: "The ads by Peters (and his allies) attacking Land on women's issues have had more of an impact in terms of the race than the Obamacare attacks on Peters have benefitted Land."

A new Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll shows Peters ahead by 40% to 35%.

Schatz Leads in Hawaii Primary

A new Honolulu Civil Beat poll finds Sen. Brian Schatz (D) leads Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary by 5 points, 44% to 39% with 16% still undecided.

Quote of the Day

"I have a better chance of being pope than he has of being governor."

-- GOP donor Mark Chapin Johnson, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, on California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari (R).

Two Races to Watch Today in Texas

Morning Line: "There are two races to watch, including whether Ralph Hall, who at 91 is the oldest member of Congress, becomes the first congressional incumbent of the cycle to lose. So far, they are 139-for-139. He is running against former U.S. attorney John Ratcliffe, who is 48 and has subtly raised the issue of Hall's age... Hall placed first in the March primary with 45 percent of the vote compared to 29 percent for Ratcliffe. Getting that extra 5 percent could be a hurdle for Hall, considering he's the only member of Congress anyone in this district has known for 34 years."

"The latest tea party vs. establishment battle of the primary season also takes place Tuesday in the Lone Star State in the lieutenant governor's race. Democrats hope to contest -- and win their first statewide seat in 20 years -- if the tea party candidate wins. But Democrats' candidate, Leticia van de Putte, trails in the polls, and despite being Latina and having served in the state legislature for 24 years is not well known among Latinos statewide."

Capito Holds Big Lead in West Virginia

A new West Virginia poll finds Shelley Moore Capito (R) leading Natalie Tennant (D) in the U.S. Senate race by 11 points, 49% to 38% with another 13% undecided.

Republicans Press for Another 'Contract with America'

"A faction of Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham is agitating for party leaders to unveil a policy manifesto in the midterm elections, detailing for voters what the GOP would attempt with a Senate majority its members are increasingly confident they'll achieve," Politico reports.

"Advocates of the strategy, which has triggered a closed-door debate in recent weeks among the party's current 45 senators, say it would serve as a firm rejoinder to Democrats casting the GOP as the 'party of no.' They say voters should know what they'd be getting by pulling the lever for Republicans in November."

Carter Ahead in Georgia

A new Rasmussen survey in Georgia finds Jason Carter (D) leading Gov. Nathan Deal (R) in the race for governor by seven points, 48% to 41%.

Archive: May 26, 2014

Merkley Up By Double-Digits

A new Rasmussen survey in Oregon finds Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) leading challenger Monica Wehby (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 37%.

Archive: May 23, 2014

Judge Puts Conyers Back on Ballot

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) "narrowly escaped a political fiasco on Friday when a federal judge granted him a place on the Democratic primary ballot in August, allowing him to survive a campaign misstep that left him hundreds of valid signatures short on his petitions for re-election," the New York Times reports.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"I will sit down and talk with them. I'm just trying to figure out right now where my lord Jesus Christ wants me to go and what he wants me to do."

-- Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), quoted by Politico, on whether to endorse David Perdue or Jack Kingston in the Georgia GOP Senate run off.

Nunn Leads Both Possible Rivals

A new Rasmussen survey in Georgia finds Michelle Nunn (D) leading both possible GOP candidates in the U.S. Senate race.

Nunn leads Jack Kingston (R), 47% to 41%, and tops David Perdue (R), 45% to 42%.

What Is Going on in Mississippi?

ABC News: "More arrests after a conservative blogger was accused of breaking into a facility and photographing the wife of Sen. Thad Cochran. She has lived there for over a decade, suffering with dementia. It's as nasty as it sounds and all those arrested are supporters of Cochran's opponent, Chris McDaniel. McDaniel has denied any connection to the situation or a relationship to the individuals involved, but, it is dominating the headlines in the run up to the June 3rd primary. There is little polling in the race, but all indications are that the race is completely locked up and this is a real chance for the tea party to take down a giant. Could the extreme dirtiness of the incident bring sympathy to Cochran and actually help him?"

First Read: "McDaniel's problem now is that the coverage down in Mississippi certainly creates the illusion of a connection. By the way, given the direction this race was headed, one has to ask themselves why these McDaniel supporters thought they needed to do this. Now, this story has given Cochran new political life."

GOP Candidate Hasn't Voted in a Republican Primary

Minnesota U.S. Senate hopeful Mike McFadden (R) "is feverishly seeking support from primary voters in an intense contest to determine who will run against Democratic Sen. Al Franken, but the Sunfish Lake businessman has not voted in a primary election for the past 20 years," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

"According to state voter records, McFadden has cast ballots only in general elections -- a habit, it turns out, he shares with the majority of Minnesotans."

O'Donnell Says Another Bid Unlikely

Christine O'Donnell (R) told the Wilmington News Journal that she would "rather slam my hand in a car door" than run another U.S. Senate campaign this year, calling a rematch with Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) "highly unlikely."

But O'Donnell added that the Tea Party movement, despite defeats this week, has been an overwhelming success.

Archive: May 22, 2014

Tea Party Leader Arrested Over Cochran Photos

"The vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and one other suspect have been arrested in connection with the photographing of the bedridden wife of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)," the Clarion-Ledger reports.

Romney Returns to Iowa

Mitt Romney is returning to Iowa for the first time since the 2012 general election to stump for U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R), the Des Moines Register reports.

"The five-way GOP race for Iowa's rare open U.S. Senate seat is down to Joni Ernst, a hog-castrating, Harley-riding combat veteran, versus Mark Jacobs, a millionaire retired investment banker and energy industry CEO, several polls have shown. The vote is in 12 days, on Tuesday, June 3."

Grimes Embraces Political Upside of Her Gender

The Washington Post notes that Allison Lundergran Grimes (D) is "unabashedly embracing the political upside of her gender," is suggesting that Sen. Mitch McConnell "is not taking this female challenger (or other women) as seriously as he should."

"Grimes's focus on her gender follows years of efforts by other female candidates who have sought ways to be their authentic selves while also setting aside concerns that some voters might have about electing women to jobs traditionally held by men."

Brown Holds Huge Lead in California

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) leads the state's jungle primary with 48%, followed by Tim Donnelly (R) at 15% and Neel Kashkari at 10%.

Brown also has a 54% to 35% approval rate.

Nationalization of Races is Challenge for Democrats

Alan Abramowitz notes that in U.S. Senate elections since the 1970s "voting decisions in these contests have become increasingly influenced by opinions of the incumbent president's performance. This relationship set a new record in 2012."

This makes it very hard for Democrats to offset predicted gains by Republicans in states like Montana and South Dakota by flipping Senate seats in states like Georgia or Kentucky.

"Between 2000 and 2012, almost 90% of seat switches in Senate elections were in a consistent partisan direction. Moreover, in the four federal elections between 2006 and 2012, this trend has become even stronger. Nearly all of the seat switches in this quartet of elections -- 23 of 24, or 96% -- have been in a consistent partisan direction."

How Republicans Lose by Winning

Todd Purdum: "It's the predominant paradox of contemporary American politics: If Republicans prevail in this year's midterm congressional elections, it will be because of their party's sharp-edged stances on topics like abortion and Benghazi, Obamacare and immigration, gay marriage and the minimum wage -- issues that energize the GOP's core base of support."

"But if Republicans lose the race for the White House in 2016, it will be because of their party's polarizing, out-of-step stances on those very same issues, which alienate much of the broader electorate the GOP needs to win a national contest in a country whose demographics and political realities are shifting under its feet."

Democrats Return to the 47% Argument

"With Tuesday's primaries reinforcing the strength of the Republican establishment, House Democrats are reassessing their electoral strategy based on a major internal research project that shows their candidates stand a better chance when they portray Republicans as uncaring toward working-class Americans while they continue to back policies favoring the wealthy and corporate America," the New York Times reports.

"Democrats could build on this distrust, the research showed, by emphasizing support for policies such as equal pay for men and women, ensuring that corporations pay a fair share of taxes, and increased job opportunities in the United States."

Coakley Leads in Massachusetts

A new WBUR survey in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) is leading Steve Grossman (D) the Democratic gubernatorial primary, 51% to 7%.

In a possible general election match up, Coakley tops Republican frontrunner Charlie Baker (R), 39% to 30%.

Wehby's Support Lower After Stalking Report

"Republican voters who cast their ballots in the last days of Oregon's primary -- following news stories about Monica Wehby's (R) 'stalking' incident -- were less likely to support her in Oregon's GOP Senate primary," the Oregonian reports.

Rangel Leads in Primary

A new Siena College poll finds Rep. Charlie Rangel (D) leads primary challenger Adriano Espaillat (D), 41% to 32%.

Archive: May 21, 2014

Democrats Slightly Favored to Retain Senate

The Upshot now gives Democrats a 57% chance of retaining control of the U.S. Senate.

Dead Heat for Wisconsin Governor

A new Marquette Law School Poll finds that the Wisconsin governor's race has tightened to a dead heat, with Gov. Scott Walker (R) and challenger Mary Burke (D) each receiving the support of 46% of registered voters, while 6% are undecided.

"Turnout in the fall election is likely to play an important role. While the race is tied among all registered voters, among likely voters--those who say they are absolutely certain to vote in November--Walker receives 48% to Burke's 45%, which is inside the +/-3.5 percentage point margin of error for the poll."

Ernst Opens Up Wide Lead in Iowa

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leading the Republican U.S. Senate primary field with 34%, followed by Mark Jacobs (R) at 18%, Sam Clovis (R) at 14% and Mark Whitaker (R) at 6%.

McConnell Proposes Lincoln-Douglas Style Debates

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), "fresh off his primary win against challenger Matt Bevin, is challenging Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes to three debates," Sam Youngman reports.

The invitation: "In order to present our views fairly and without interpretation by traditional media filters, I believe we should participate in three traditional Lincoln-Douglas style debates moderated only by a single timekeeper/moderator. By conducting these debates without an audience, without props and without notes, it will allow for an unvarnished exchange of views for Kentuckians to evaluate."

Nunn's Narrow Path in Georgia

Nate Cohn: "In the racially polarized South, where white voters have been trending Republican for more than a generation, the Democratic route to 50% is mainly a matter of racial demographics. Democrats must wait for more nonwhite voters to overcome their disadvantage with white voters."

"That wait might end soon in Georgia, but not in this November's election. In the midterm balloting, the share of whites will be around 64% of registered voters, down from 72% in 2002, when the Democratic senator Max Cleland lost re-election by 7 points. Ms. Nunn will need nearly 30% of white voters to prevail. If Mr. Cleland were running today, his 30 or 31% of white voters would probably be enough to squeak out a win."

"But most Democrats running for federal office in Georgia fall well short of that 30%... The difference between 26 and 30% of white voters might not seem like much, but it is very significant in the South. It is even harder for Democrats to reach 30% of Georgia's white voters today than it was in 2002."

McDaniel Fumbles Radio Interview

Mississippi U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel (R) walked into a buzzsaw during a radio interview regarding the blogger who was arrested for filming Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) bedridden wife.

First Read: "It's quite possible McDaniel and his campaign had nothing to do with the blogger, but McDaniel's statements and body language are striking."

Cuomo Ahead by Huge Margin

A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) crushing challenger Rob Astorino (R), 57% to 28%.

GOP Establishment Runs Up Primary Wins

"In 2014, the tea party insurrection is starting to look more like the Boston massacre," Politico reports.

"In state after state this primary season, entrenched politicians are proving that incumbency counts for something after all, leveraging the stature and financial firepower that comes with high office to demolish challengers from the activist right. In three states Tuesday night, long-serving lawmakers rolled over tea party opponents."

Washington Post: "After years of intraparty turmoil that cost Republicans key races, voters this year are coalescing around the GOP's strongest candidates ahead of November's general election, when control of the Senate during President Obama's final two years in office will be up for grabs."

The Hill: "One of the biggest winners of the night was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who saw all of their major endorsed candidates in Georgia, Kentucky, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Oregon net big wins."

Wehby Wins Despite Personal Issues

Monica Wehby (R) handily defeated Jason Conger (R) in the Oregon Republican race for the U.S. Senate as she survived the personal controversy that dogged the last days of her primary race, the Oregonian reports.

In her victory speech, Wehby thanked Republican voters for seeing through "all the negativity" and said, "I do have a message for those national Democrats who were willing to shred my family for their own political gain: People are tired of your dirty tricks."

Roll Call: "Still, the opposition research on Wehby is already flying, and she will have to deal with some image issues straight out of the gate in a state already challenging for Republicans statewide."

Perdue and Kingston Advance to Run Off in Georgia

David Perdue (R) and Jack Kingston (R) advanced to the runoff for the Republican Senate nomination in Georgia, Roll Call reports. The winner will face Michelle Nunn (D) in the general election.

"The runoff will serve as a continuation of the skirmish already underway between Kingston and Perdue, who regularly touted his position as the only candidate among the top five to never hold public office. Perdue grouped his four top opponents in early ads that portrayed them as crying babies. Kingston pushed back in the final week with an ad showing Perdue as a greedy toddler, prompting another Perdue ad, calling Kingston 'desperate.'"

Bloomberg: "The two Republicans will spend the next eight weeks competing against each other in what promises to be a tough and expensive campaign, instead of focusing their fire on Nunn."

Wolf Easily Wins Democratic Nod in Pennsylvania

Tom Wolf (D), "the wealthy small-town businessman who sold himself as an outsider, cruised to the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania governor Tuesday, dispatching three rivals after a dominant television advertising campaign," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "With nearly 70 percent of the vote counted, the first-time candidate appeared to be on a track to finish first in every one of the state's 67 counties, capturing three of every five Democratic votes, more than three times the tally of his closest competitor."

Allentown Morning Call: "Numerous polls showed Wolf enjoying double-digit leads built largely on TV spots that started in January. For many voters the ads introduced and defined Wolf, a relative unknown compared to at least two of his opponents, as a successful small-town businessman who drives a Jeep, cares for his family and shares profits with employees. While polls repeatedly showed voters embracing those ads, Schwartz and McCord stayed off the air for more than two months, despite having millions of dollars each at their disposal. In effect they conceded the air wars to Wolf."

McConnell and Grimes Kick Off An Epic Battle

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) emerged victorious from their respective primaries in Kentucky Tuesday night, "setting up a bruising battle this fall as Grimes tries to deny McConnell a sixth term," the Lexington Herald Leader reports.

"The primary winners used their victory speeches to outline the cases they will take to Kentuckians beginning Wednesday, as Grimes vies to become the state's first female senator and McConnell hopes to claim the title of majority leader in the Senate."

Archive: May 20, 2014

Margolies Defeated in Comeback Attempt

Brendan Boyle (D) "easily defeated three other Democrats Tuesday night, including former Rep. Marjorie Margolies (D), to win an open-seat primary in Pennsylvania's 13th District," Roll Call reports.

"Margolies started the race as the odds-on favorite to succeed Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, who ran for governor. Margolies' name was still familiar to voters in the district thanks to her one term in Congress in the early 1990s, and she had ties to the Clinton dynasty as former first daughter Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law -- making her appear to be a near lock for the nomination."

Businesses Rally Workers Against Tea Party

Businessweek looks at efforts by companies to encourage their employees to vote for establishment Republicans.

"The aim of the corporate coalition is to avoid the nomination of untested candidates who could hurt Republican chances of taking control of the Senate away from the Democrats in November, as happened in the 2010 and 2012 elections. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to retake the chamber. It's also a mission to boost candidates who are better steeped in and more supportive of the business community's agenda, including ensuring that the nation doesn't default on its debt."

Primaries in Six States Today

"Today is the closest thing to a Super Tuesday this primary season, and the results of voting in six states will set the stage for some of November's marquee races," Politico reports.

"The Democrats' best hopes for Senate pick-ups are in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces a tea party-inspired primary challenge, and Georgia, where a crowded field of Republican candidates will be narrowed to a two-way runoff."

Poll closing times in Georgia and Kentucky are at 7:00 pm ET; Pennsylvania's polls close at 8:00 pm ET; Arkansas' closes at 8:30 pm ET; and Idaho's and Oregon's close at 11:00 pm ET.

Who Will Advance to the GOP Runoff in Georgia?

Morning Line: "This is perhaps the biggest question of the night as the outcome could have far-reaching consequences for the battle this fall over which party will control the Senate next year. The Republican establishment would prefer to see one of three candidates ultimately emerge from the field of five contenders: businessman David Perdue, Rep. Jack Kingston or former Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel. The other two candidates running are Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey, who some Republicans see as weaker opponents against philanthropist Michelle Nunn, who is expected to easily defeat three lesser-known candidates on the Democratic side."

"No candidate in the GOP primary is likely to clear 50 percent on Tuesday, so the top two finishers will advance to a runoff, which means they will spend the next two months debating who the true conservative is in the race and draining resources that could be useful come September and October, when voters really start to pay attention."

Cochran Knew of Photos for Two Weeks

Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) "legal team apparently held onto information concerning a man's taping of the senator's bedridden wife for as many as two weeks before turning it over to the police," The Hill reports.

Meanwhile, the wife of the man who took the photos tells the Clarion Ledger that her husband "didn't sneak into the facility, and that he appears to be a pawn in a big political game."

Democrats Look to Obama for Midterms

"For months, President Barack Obama has been telling donors that there's nothing more important to him than the November elections. But many Democrats say their biggest worry for the fall is the president himself."

"The problem, according to the nearly two dozen top Democratic operatives and outside allies who shared their frustration with Politico, is Obama's investment -- or lack thereof -- in the midterms. The White House, they complain, has yet to broaden its economic message. The president has no set meetings with his political staff, and does little to help beyond headlining events to activate big donors. There's no strategic direction."

The Hill: "Top Democratic donors say they are exasperated by a lack of leadership from the White House on policy and are questioning whether they should throw money into midterm elections they believe won't change Washington."

Don't Forget the House Primaries

First Read: "Also on this Super Tuesday, don't forget the potentially interesting House primaries. You have two ex-members -- Republican Bob Barr in Georgia and Democrat Marjorie Margoiles (who is Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law) in Pennsylvania -- trying to make a return to Congress. And also in Pennsylvania, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster is getting a Tea Party challenge from Art Halvorson, though Shuster is expected to cruise to victory."

Archive: May 19, 2014

Wehby Accused of Harassment by Ex-Husband

The ex-husband of U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby (R) accused her of "ongoing harassment" as they were going through a divorce in 2007, according to documents obtained by the Oregonian.

From the police report: "Jim said they are currently in a divorce situation and is tired of the ongoing harassment by his wife. Jim said over the last year Monica has pulled his hair, slapped him and thrown items at him. Jim said he had been violent with her in the past approximately three years or so ago."

McConnell Maintains Large Primary Lead

The final Gravis Marketing survey in Kentucky before the Tuesday primary shows Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) with a double-digit lead over challenger Matt Bevin (R), 48% to 34%.

Cochran in Tight Primary Race

A new Citizens United Political Victory Fund poll in Mississippi finds Chris McDaniel (R) leading Sen. Thad Cochran (R) in a U.S. Senate primary, 43% to 39%.

The election is on June 3.

Shaheen Holds Big Lead in New Hampshire

A new Vox Populi polling survey in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading Scott Brown (R) by double-digits in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 35%.

In another match up, Shaheen leads Bob Smith (R), 45% to 34%.

Reviewing Super Tuesday

Morning Line: "If there's one primary day to pay attention to, it's this Tuesday. It's got everything -- Senate control, another bite at the GOP establishment vs. tea party apple, prominent women candidates on both sides, political dynasties, and the Democratic fight to replace a vulnerable Republican governor swept in with the 2010 tea party wave."

Nate Cohn: "Not much matters six months before a midterm election, but Tuesday's primaries are an exception. Republicans will have an opportunity to nominate candidates in three potentially competitive Senate contests: in Kentucky, Georgia and Oregon. Here's what you need to know."

Are Republicans Stuck with Flawed Candidate in Oregon?

Rick Klein: "This wasn't supposed to happen anymore. The late-breaking revelation that GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby - first reported by Politico late last week - was accused of stalking by an ex-boyfriend undercuts a powerful biographical story around the first-time candidate, a renowned pediatric surgeon. And in Oregon, a vote-by-mail state, it may actually have come too late to swing the primary. Instead, the news is likely to help define Dr. Wehby for the general election - undercutting what would always have been a longshot campaign against a Democratic Senate incumbent. More broadly, it undercuts Republican attempts to further expand the Senate field - and serves as a reminder, again, that candidates matter. These aren't the kinds of surprises Republicans were looking for this year."

Blogger Accused of Photographing Senator's Wife

Authorities say a conservative Mississippi blogger went into a nursing home, photographed the bedridden wife of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) without permission and posted an image online as part of a video, the AP reports.

Meanwhile, the Clarion-Ledger reports police said there are other individuals in the case that they'd like to talk to "who might have been part of a conspiracy."

Georgia Candidates Won't Support McConnell

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that both David Perdue (R) and Karen Handel (R) said they will not support Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as the party's leader if they're elected to the U.S. Senate this year.

Midterm Danger Signs for Democrats

A new Politico poll finds that in the congressional districts and states where the midterm elections will actually be decided, likely voters said they would prefer to vote for a Republican over a Democrat by 7 points, 41% to 34%. A quarter of voters said they were unsure of their preference.

Key finding: "Both Obama's job approval and the partisan ballot matchup are markedly more negative for Democrats in this poll than other national surveys -- a reflection of the political reality that the midterm campaign is being fought on turf that is more challenging for Democrats than the nation as a whole."

Latest from the Cook Political Report: House races | Senate races | Governor races

GOP Incumbents Fend Off Challengers

Politico: "Tuesday's primary here in Kentucky, along with others in Georgia, Idaho and Oregon, represents the most important moment on the 2014 calendar to date in the tug of war between GOP leaders and conservative activists. From the beginning, Mr. McConnell has highlighted his conservative stances, but never at the expense of his main message--that his perch as a party leader gives Kentucky more clout in Congress."

"Last year, a stampede of conservatives declared their intent to challenge dozens of Republicans in Congress. But at this point, many of those campaigns have fizzled, as incumbents responded in various ways."

Huffington Post: The tea party may be losing, but it's pulling the GOP right

Supreme Court Decisions to Shape Campaign

David Hawkings: "As the justices bring this season's caseload to a close, they have a pretty clear idea how the rest of this Supreme Court year will play out. The rest of the country, however, will remain almost entirely in the dark until the remaining decisions are unveiled over the next six weeks."

"The outcome in at least four of the most important disputes will help shape both the policymaking and campaign agendas of Congress through the midterm elections and beyond. But it's possible no single ruling will have as much impact on the national political climate as the pattern that emerges in how the cases get decided."

Archive: May 18, 2014

Very Tight in Kentucky

A new Survey USA poll in Kentucky finds Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) barely edging Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) in their U.S. Senate race, 43% to 42%.

In the GOP primary, McConnell holds a commanding lead over Matt Bevin (R), 55% to 35%.

Perdue Maintains Primary Lead in Georgia

A new Insider Advantage poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading the GOP Senate pack with 27%, followed by Jack Kingston (R) at 19%, Karen Handel (R) at 17%, Phil Gingrey (R) at 10% and Paul Broun (R) at 9%.

However, a poll done for GA Pundit finds a three-way tie between Perdue, Kingston and Handel.

Sasse Way Ahead in Nebraska

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Nebraska finds Ben Sasse (R) way ahead of David Domina (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 51% to 34%.

Wehby Leads Primary in Oregon

A Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll in Oregon shows Monica Wehby (R) way ahead of Jason Conger in the GOP Senate primary, 41% to 24%.

Archive: May 16, 2014

Lessons from Idaho

Huffington Post: 10 lessons we learned from Idaho's incredibly dysfunctional GOP candidates

Advantage on Issues Won't Save Democrats

Brendan Nyhan: "Democrats know they face a difficult midterm campaign landscape, but they can cling to one seeming reason for hope: The public agrees with them more than with Republicans on the issues."

"This apparent political advantage is less important than it might seem, however. For instance, Democrats had greater advantages on several major issues at comparable points in the 1994 and 2010 electoral cycles, which both resulted in Republican landslides."

New Race Ratings

The Cook Political Report updated its ratings for a slew of Senate, House and Governor's races.

If you don't subscribe yet, you really should.

Senate Hopeful Accused of Stalking Boyfriend

Oregon U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby (R) was accused by her ex-boyfriend last year of "stalking" him, entering his home without his permission and "harassing" his employees, according to a Portland, Oregon police report, according to Politico.

The Week: Wehby is having a bizarre month.

Rounds Way Ahead in South Dakota

A new SurveyUSA poll in South Dakota finds Mike Rounds (R) leading Rick Weiland (D) for U.S. Senate, 44% to 30%, with Larry Pressler (I) trailing at 17%.

Archive: May 15, 2014

Two Very Different Views of 2014

Amy Walter: "Republicans are counting on the national political environment to sweep the GOP to victory. A recent post by the GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies suggests that Democrats are headed for a disastrous midterm by pointing out that on five of six 'key national measures' such as perceptions of the economy and the president's approval ratings, the 'results are worse for the president and Democrats than the comparable findings on the last weekend heading into the 2010 election.'"

"Democrats, meanwhile, are counting on making this an 'all politics is local' election. Touting a strong targeting and turnout operation, as well as a tarnished GOP brand, Democrats argue that their candidates will be able to overcome the drag coming from President Obama and DC."

"So, who's right?"

Ernst Opens Up Lead in Iowa

A new Loras College poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) now leads the GOP Senate field with 31%, followed by Mark Jacobs (R) at 19%, Sam Clovis (R) at 10%, Matt Whitaker (R) at 7% and Scott Schaben (R) at 2% with another 29% still undecided.

For more on the race, listen to our conversation with Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson:

Idaho Candidates Debate

If you haven't been paying attention to the Idaho gubernatorial race, you might want to watch last night's debate.

Watch the whole thing or start with the closing statements at 52:23. You'll be glad you did.

Brown Tried to Block Energy Bill

New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown (R) "called Senate Republican leadership to urge them to stop a bipartisan energy efficiency bill, so as not to give Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the bill's Democratic sponsor and his Democratic opponent, something to run on," the Huffington Post reports.

God, Grass and Guns

The Huffington Post notes that Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Chad Moody (R) has a catchy slogan that he hopes will get voters talking: "God, grass and guns."

Said Moody: "I tried a few different slogans and that one flashed in and I was pretty certain that was it. Most political campaigns start out as something serious and turn into a joke, this started out as a joke and turned into something serious."

Quote of the Day

"There is no 'above the fray' in politics anymore. There is only 'the fray.'"

-- GOP strategist Mark McKinnon, quoted by the Washington Post, when asked whether Hillary Clinton is still a stateswoman operating above the political fray.

Democrats Meddle in GOP Primaries

"In the flurry of divisive Republican primary contests, some Democrats see an inviting opportunity: A chance to try and help pick their own opponent in Senate and House races," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Democrats increasingly are running ads against GOP candidates even before they win their party's nomination. By attacking GOP candidates while they are still embroiled in a primary election campaign, some Democrats have seen an opportunity to promote the GOP candidate they think is easiest to beat, or to weaken the one they consider strongest."

Archive: May 14, 2014

Incumbents Safe So Far

Rhodes Cook: "With Tuesday's elections in Nebraska and West Virginia, we are now seven states deep into the 2014 primary season. Already, nominations have been decided in nearly 100 of the nation's 435 congressional districts."

"In a year when it once looked as though many incumbents would be quite vulnerable, exactly none, zero, nada have lost thus far. That goose egg applies not only to sitting House members but to senators and governors as well."

Wolf Holds Huge Lead in Pennsylvania

A new Harper Polling survey in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) way ahead of the Democratic field for governor with 50%, followed by Allyson Schwartz (D) and Rob McCord (D) at 15% and Katie McGinty (D) at 5%.

Another 16% of respondents answered that they were "not sure" who they would vote for.

Carroll Strikes Back at Scott

"More than a year after she was forced from office," former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) "continues to antagonize her former boss, Gov. Rick Scott (R), as he's running for re-election," the Tampa Bay Times reports.

"Appearing on a Cocoa Beach radio station, Carroll said Scott had 'issues' with Medicaid fraud and that his 'good ol' boy system' was difficult for minorities. She said her loyalty to Scott was not returned... Carroll said she was given no reason why she had to resign, then raised another episode that Scott and his team would rather forget: chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth's admission last December that he falsely claimed to have a college degree before actually earning it."

Quote of the Day

"I can tell you my intent is not to run for re-election. To say I'm 100 percent sure, I would never box myself in like that."

-- Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), quoted by Alexandria Town Talk.

Many Pennsylvania Democrats Still Undecided for Governor

A new Franklin & Marshall College poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) leading the Democratic primary for governor with 33%, followed by Allyson Schwartz (D) at 14%, Rob McCord (D) at 9% and Katie McGinty (D) at 5%.

Big caveat: 39% of registered Democrats are still not sure.

Congress Will Soon Be Even More Polarized

Morning Line: "Most wouldn't think the House could get any more partisan, but it will. Retirements of moderates in at least half a dozen seats will likely mean even more ideological rigidity. And it's not just on the Republican side. National Journal noted that the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats are down from a membership of 54 in 2010 to 19 today. (Part of that is, of course, that many of those Blue Dogs were targeted in 2010 by Republicans because they were in conservative districts -- not because of primaries like on the Republican side.) Brookings has a great interactive on how things have changed in Congress since just before the Civil War. And polarization has gotten worse over the last 30 years. There are plenty of reasons for the trend -- from members jetting home and not socializing anymore to the more partisan bents of gerrymandered districts. But whatever the reason, the reality is the next Congress will almost certainly mean more of the same inertia and incivility."

Kasich Widens Lead in Ohio

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) leading challenger Ed Fitzgerald (D) by double-digits, 50% to 35%.

This compares to a 43% to 38% Kasich lead in a February survey.

Deal Holds Narrow Lead for Re-Election in Georgia

A new Survey USA poll in Georgia finds Gov. Nathan Deal (R) 43% ahead of challenger Jason Carter (D) in the gubernatorial race, 43% to 37%, with Andrew Hunt (L) at 7%.

A new St. Leo University poll finds Deal leading Carter, 38% to 35%, with Hunt at 7%.

Perdue Continues to Lead GOP Field in Georgia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading the GOP pack for the U.S. Senate nomination with 27%, followed by Jack Kingston (R) at 19%, Karen Handel (R) at 16%, Phil Gingrey (R) at 10%, and Paul Broun (R) at 10%.

A new St. Leo University poll finds Perdue leading with 26%, followed by Kingston at 16%, Handel at 15%, Broun at 13% and Gingrey at 8%.

Sasse Wins Big in Nebraska

Ben Sasse (R) pulled off a victory in Nebraska Tuesday night, winning the Republican Senate primary to become the nominee and likely the next senator from the Cornhusker State, Roll Call reports.

"Sasse benefited from massive spending by outside groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund. Those groups did a lot of the dirty work, running a barrage of negative ads bashing first Osborn and, later, Dinsdale, while Sasse's own campaign only ran positive spots about the candidate."

Omama World Herald: "The Sasse campaign gained national attention for his Tea Party-aligned message, which won him backing from various Tea Party leaders and national conservative groups. Those outside groups contributed more than $2 million in campaign spending to boost Sasse and take down his rivals."

West Virginia Set to Elect Female Senator

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Natalie Tennant (D) captured primary wins on Tuesday, "setting the stage for a historic U.S. Senate showdown in November that will give West Virginia its first female senator," the AP reports.

"Capito, a seven-term congresswoman and daughter of former Gov. Arch Moore, and Tennant, the state's secretary of state, each cruised to victory and will square off to replace Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who is retiring after 30 years."

Cantor Tea Party Opponent Picks Up Momentum

Washington Post: "There was a time when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) sympathized with the tea party's frustration with Washington. Now, he's engaged in open warfare with the GOP's insurgent wing."

"This week, Cantor's opponent in the June 10 primary -- a tea party activist named David Brat -- is gaining national attention as a potential threat to Cantor's hold on his solidly Republican, suburban Richmond district... The intraparty drama is the latest reflection of the deepening chasm in the Republican Party across Virginia and the nation. And it is all the more remarkable because it is happening to a man widely seen as the likely next speaker of the House."

Archive: May 13, 2014

Conyers Does Not Make Ballot

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) failed to qualify for the Michigan 13th District primary ballot, Roll Call reports.

"Conyers' re-election had been a foregone conclusion -- as it has been for decades -- until recent weeks, when the 25-term incumbent's position on the ballot became imperiled. Two individuals collecting signatures for Conyers' ballot-qualifying petition were found to not be registered voters and thereby the signatures were ruled invalid. As a result, Conyers did not meet the 1,000-signature threshold to appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot."

Begich Leads in Alaska

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Alaska finds Sen. Mark Begich (D) leads Dan Sullivan (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 42% to 37%, and tops Mead Treadwell (R), 41% to 33%.

Race for Florida Governor Tightens

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has closed the gap with Charlie Crist (D) in a new statewide survey from a business interest showing the two candidates are virtually tied, 43% to 44%, the Miami Herald reports.

Jolly Challenger Drops Race

Ed Jany (D), the Marine and former cop, national and state Democratic leaders hailed as an ideal candidate to take on newly elected U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R) is dropping out of the race, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

"The sudden and surprise announcement comes days after a Tampa Bay Times report about him seemingly padding his educational background and resume."

Bloomberg: "It has been an absolute comedy of errors for Democrats in Florida's 13th congressional district, which as of mid-May stands atop an unthreatened throne as the most bizarre House election this year."

Nathan Gonzales: "Since Democrats don't have a candidate, I think we're pretty secure in changing our Rothenberg Political Report rating of the race from Lean Republican to Safe Republican."

Graham Censured by Local Republicans

Republicans in Charleston County, South Carolina fought among themselves Monday night before deciding to issue a "censure" of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for not being Republican enough," the Charleston Post & Courier reports.

"The censure document, running to about 30 points taken from Graham's two terms in the Senate, covered a variety of Graham criticisms, ranging from supporting President Obama's Supreme Court nominees to cooperating with Democrats. Similar censure votes have been considered in other counties around the state, pressed by Graham opponents."

Hagan Barely Holds Lead in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) leads challenger Thom Tillis (R) by two points, 38% to 36%, with Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh pulling 11%.

Key finding: "Haugh's presence in the race has the potential to be a headache for Tillis moving forward if the contest remains this competitive -- people planning to vote for him right now say they would support Tillis over Hagan 47% to 27% if they had to choose between the major party candidates. When you reallocate those folks the race is tied at 41% -- usually a 2 point difference like that doesn't matter but given the closeness of this one it could."

Schatz Holds Wide Lead in Hawaii Primary

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Hawaii finds Sen. Brian Schatz (D) with a commanding 15-point lead over his primary rival Colleen Hanabusa (D), 49% to 34%.

Riptide Developing for Democrats

GOP pollster Glen Bolger: "Well, there are twelve states listed as 2014 lean or toss-up Senate races by Charlie Cook and his crack team at the Cook Political Report. In 2012, Mitt Romney averaged 53.3% of the vote in those twelve states while Barack Obama averaged just 44.8%. Eight of the twelve were won by Romney in a not particularly stellar year. I am using averages here because each Senate state is of equal value. Larger states do not count for more."

"While Republicans should not be measuring their drapes for the Senate majority offices just yet, key data in those lean/toss-up Senate seats from the early 2014 merge of the NBC/WSJ polling done by my business partner Bill McInturff and his Democratic counterpart Fred Yang at Hart Research serves as a measuring tape for a forecast of a Republican takeover."

How Big a Wave?

Larry Sabato: "So where is the Senate right now? Hypothetically, there's still a wide range of potential outcomes - and all the likeliest ones involve at least some kind of Republican wave, perhaps delivering the magic six-seat gain that would dethrone Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."

Primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska

"Tea party-versus-the establishment is the theme Tuesday night as voters head to the polls in two of the hottest GOP primaries of the year: open-seat contests for party nods in Nebraska Senate and West Virginia's 2nd District," Roll Call reports.

The Fix has a good run down of the key races.

Polls close in West Virginia at 7:30 pm ET and in Nebraska at 9 pm ET.

Brown Leads for Maryland Governor

A new Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research (R) poll in Maryland finds Anthony Brown (D) leading Larry Hogan (R) in the race for governor, 42% to 35%.

In the Democratic primary, Brown leads the field with 34%, followed by Doug Gansler at 20% and Heather Mizeur at 7%.

Archive: May 12, 2014

Kansas Board Clears Roberts for Ballot

"Three of the state's top officials avoided a debate that has riven Kansas Republicans, deploying stand-ins Monday who threw out claims that Sen. Pat Roberts (R) should be barred from seeking re-election this year because he isn't a resident of the state," the Topeka Capital-Journal reports.

Udall Just Ahead in Colorado

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Colorado finds Sen. Mark Udall (D) leading challenger Cory Gardener (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 43%, with another 10% still undecided.

Shaheen Holds Edge in New Hampshire

A new Dartmouth poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) just ahead of Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 39% to 36%.

Candidate Falsely Claimed She Was a Prosecutor

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Christine Jones (R) has suggested in testimony before Congress that she is a former Los Angeles prosecutor, the Daily Caller reports.

"Jones, however, has never been a paid employee of the Los Angeles District Attorney Office or even been admitted to the bar in California. But she was a certified law clerk that helped the D.A.'s office prosecute cases in the nineties."

Voter Enthusiasm Down Sharply

Gallup: "A majority of U.S. registered voters, 53%, say they are less enthusiastic about voting than in previous elections, while 35% are more enthusiastic. This 18-percentage-point enthusiasm deficit is larger than what Gallup has measured in prior midterm election years, particularly in 2010 when there was record midterm enthusiasm."

Democrats Competititve in Southern Senate Races

Three new NBC News-Marist polls in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky were released today.

In Arkansas, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) leads challenger Tom Cotton (R) by 11 points among registered voters, 51% to 40%.

In Georgia, Michelle Nunn (D) is running neck and neck against all of her potential GOP opponents in November. In the GOP primary, David Perdue leads with 23%, followed by Jack Kingston at 18% and Karen Handel at 14%.

In Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) barely edges challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 46% to 45%.

Quote of the Day

"The recent generic ballot numbers showing the GOP ahead add very little to the debate over whether Republicans will take over the Senate. No one, repeat, no one on our side is measuring the drapes for GOP control of the Senate. Campaigns matter, and this one has only just begun."

-- GOP pollster Neil Newhouse, quoted by the Washington Post.

Cuomo Works to Mend Fences With Liberals

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) "has won significant support from traditionally Republican constituencies, including business executives who like his tax cuts and Wall Street financiers delighted with his support of charter schools. But this courtship has come at a price: As he begins his bid for a second term, he is struggling to hold on to support from the left wing of his own party," the New York Times reports.

"But they are now so frustrated with Mr. Cuomo that they are privately talking about whether to nominate their own candidate to run for governor this year."

Archive: May 10, 2014

Tight Race for GOP Senate Nomination in Georgia

A Rosetta Stone poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading the GOP pack for Senate with 23%, followed by Karen Handel (R) at 21%, Jack Kingston (R) at 15%, Paul Broun (R) at 9% and Phil Gingrey (R) at 9%.

Really Close in North Carolina

A new Rasmussen poll in North Carolina finds Thom Tillis (R) edging Sen. Kay Hagan (D) in the race for U.S. Senate, 45% to 44%.

Archive: May 09, 2014

Democrats Are Competitive in Georgia

Jim Galloway teases an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll out Saturday that finds Democrats in an especially close race for Georgia's top offices in November.

The poll shows Gov. Nathan Deal (R) just three points ahead of Jason Carter (D) in the race for governor.

In the Senate race, Michelle Nunn (D) "has sizable leads against each of the five top GOP Senate contenders in a potential November matchup, though her lead against businessman David Perdue is particularly narrow."

Democrats Infiltrated Tillis Celebration

Democrats crashed the victory party for Thom Tillis (R) and filmed footage for an effective new ad.

Landrieu's Numbers Continue to Deteriorate

A new Southern Media & Opinion Research poll finds Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) leading the jungle primary for Senate with 36%, followed closely by Bill Cassidy (R) at 35%.

Key findings: Landrieu's disapproval rating has risen from 28% to 58% in the last 18 months and 59% says they would rather have a new senator, even though Landrieu is now the chair of the powerful Senate Energy Committee.

Koch Brothers Will Spend Big on Midterms

Politico: "The Koch brothers' main political arm intends to spend more than $125 million this year on an aggressive ground, air and data operation benefiting conservatives... The projected budget for Americans for Prosperity would be unprecedented for a private political group in a midterm, and would likely rival even the spending of the Republican and Democratic parties' congressional campaign arms."

Huffington Post: Former 'Dark Money' Man For Kochs Was Behind Mystery Video

Deadlocked in Connecticut

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) remains deadlocked in a reelection battle with challenger Tom Foley (R), 43% to 43%.

Palin Speaks Up in Alaska

Sarah Palin "resurfaced in Alaska politics Wednesday, calling an Anchorage radio talk show to heap praise on the former oil tax regime she helped put into law, take a jab at Gov. Sean Parnell's ties to the oil industry, and all but endorse one of his opponents in this year's governor's race, attorney Bill Walker," the Anchorage Daily News reports.

"An elusive and enigmatic presence in Alaska after she became a national celebrity and resigned as governor in 2009, Palin has long been quiet in state politics."

Obama Hones Midterm Pitch

"The White House is carving out a role for President Barack Obama in this fall's midterm elections, which he will try to pose as a choice between the parties' economic visions while targeting appeals to African-Americans, young voters and others in his coalition," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The driving theory in the White House is that this election, like every one since the 2007 recession, is foremost about the economy. Mr. Obama already has been drawing contrasts between his economic program and that of Republicans, and he is preparing additional executive actions over the next month relating to infrastructure projects and job training to bolster his argument, aides said."

Archive: May 08, 2014

Kitzhaber Could Be Vulnerable

A new DHM Research poll in Oregon finds Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) could be vulnerable as just 35% of voters say he deserves reelection, while 49% say it's time to replace him.

However, in a possible match up, Kitzhaber leads state Rep. Dennis Richardson (R) by a 48% to 36%.

Tight Race for Maine Governor

A new Critical Insights poll in Maine finds Rep. Mike Michaud (D) barely edging Gov. Paul LePage (R) in the race for governor, 37% to 36%, with independent Eliot Cutler at 18%.

Meanwhile, the Portland Press Herald notes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) campaigned for LePage yesterday.

Pryor Meets Obama in Arkansas

New York Times: "Among those greeting Mr. Obama when he landed in Little Rock was the state's Democratic senator, Mark Pryor, who is running for re-election against Representative Tom Cotton. The race has been expected to be tight, and Mr. Pryor has tried, until recently, to distance himself from Mr. Obama and other Democrats. The president is particularly unpopular in Arkansas -- and this was his first visit to a state he lost by wide margins in both 2008 and 2012."

"But the powerful tornado that roared through this town of 3,800 people two weeks ago has pushed politics to the side, and last week Mr. Pryor -- one of only a handful of Senate Democrats from the South -- issued an invitation to the president to visit and bear witness to the devastation."

The Undercover Senator

"There's a new volunteer at the Goodwill clearance center, and there's a lot to learn... As they talk, an older white woman wanders over and asks, 'You here for court-ordered time?,'" the Washington Post reports.

Said the volunteer: "Not this time."

"What he neglects to mention is that his name is Tim Scott, that he's a U.S. senator -- her senator -- and that he's running for election in the fall."

A Very Unrepresentative 2014 Senate Map

Kyle Kondik: "One big reason the 2014 Senate class is so unrepresentative is that California, with its 38 million residents (about an eighth of the country's population), has no Senate election this year. Neither do New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively the nation's third, fourth, sixth and seventh biggest states. No Senate election is ever a national election -- but this year's least of all."

Archive: May 07, 2014

McConnell Barely Ahead in Kentucky

A new Hickman Analytics poll in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) just ahead of challenger Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 45%.

Braley Just Ahead in Iowa

A new Hickman Analytics poll in Iowa finds Bruce Braley (D) leading Joni Ernst (R) in a possible U.S. Senate match up, 44% to 40%.

In another match up, Braley leads 43% to 42%.

Lynne Cheney Wants Daughter to Run Again

Lynne Cheney told USA Today that she hopes her daughter Liz makes another bid for public office.

Said Cheney: "I sure hope so. She is a great candidate and, you know, the family was going through some crises. It's now evened out. She did exactly the right thing to turn her attention to some difficult situations, and she'll do exactly the right thing, in my opinion, if she runs for office again. She'd be a terrific candidate and a terrific representative or senator for us."

Shaheen Leads in New Hampshire

A new Hickman Analytics poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading Scott Brown (R) in their U.S. Senate race among likely voters, 49% to 43%.

Tillis Wants to 'Divide and Conquer' Those on Public Assistance

Just as Thom Tillis (R) was cruising to the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in North Carolina, Greg Sargent notes a video was uncovered which shows Tillis "appears to be a diehard 47 percenter."

In the video, Tillis said we have to "divide and conquer" those on public assistance, by getting those who really need it -- the sick -- to turn on and look down at those who "choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government."

He added: "At some point, you're on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies, but we're not going to take care of you."

Crist Says Racism Drove His Party Switch

Charlie Crist (D) told Fusion that a "big reason" why he left the Republican Party was because many in the GOP were hostile to President Obama due to his race.

Said Crist: "I couldn't be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I'll just go there. I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing, it was intolerable to me."

He added: "I am liberated as a Democrat, my true soul is able to be seen, and I couldn't be happier about it."

For really great insight into Crist as a politician, see our conversation with Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times.

Quirky Republican Survives Primary

Ben Jacobs: "Perhaps the quirkiest Republican in Congress won re-election Tuesday night. Incumbent Rep. Walter Jones fended off a primary challenge from a Taylor Griffin, a longtime GOP apparatchik, who worked for Jesse Helms and in the George W. Bush administration in his deep red district along North Carolina's coast."

Aiken Holds Small Lead in North Carolina Primary

"The battle between Keith Crisco, a moderate, business-friendly Democrat, and former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken came down to a very slim margin Tuesday night: As the vote-count neared completion, Aiken led by fewer than 400 votes," the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

The winner will face U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC).

Judge Halts Investigation Into Walker

A federal judge ordered a halt "to the John Doe investigation into campaign spending and fundraising by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) campaign and conservative groups, saying the effort appeared to violate one of the group's free speech rights," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Archive: May 06, 2014

Tillis Will Face Hagan in North Carolina

Thom Tillis (R) "scored a major victory on Tuesday night, when he won the GOP primary outright to become his party's nominee to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), Roll Call reports.

"Tillis had 46% of the vote when the Associated Press called the race for him... He defeated Greg Brannon, an obstetrician aligned with the tea party who had support from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who had 27% of the vote, and Mark Harris, a pastor, who had focused his appeal on social conservatism and was backed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who had 17% of the vote."

Another Poll Give GOP Edge in Generic Ballot

A new CNN/ORC International poll finds Republicans lead the generic congressional ballot among registered voters by 46% to 45%.

New Forecasting Model Sees GOP Winning Senate

The Monkey Cage launched Election Lab, a new Senate forecasting model that gives Republicans an 82% chance of retaking the Senate in this year's midterm elections.

"How did we arrive at this conclusion? You can read more about that model here, but in brief: the model looks at Senate elections between 1980-2012 and estimates the effect of several key factors in the country and in individual states or races -- the rate of economic growth, the popularity of the president, whether it's a midterm or presidential year, the most recent presidential election outcome in that state, whether the incumbent is running, and each candidate's qualification (measured as highest elective office to date)."

In contrast, The Upshot gives Republicans a 54% chance of winning control of the Senate.

The First Competitive 2014 GOP Primaries

"Republican leaders have spent much of the past 18 months trading barbs with conservative groups about the direction of the GOP. On Tuesday, voters get a say," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Primaries in Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio represent the first serious test of which faction holds the balance of power inside the Republican Party. The outcome of these contests will determine whether the pragmatists or the purists hold more sway."

Polls close in Indiana at 7 p.m. ET; North Carolina and Ohio close at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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

The 10 Most Vulnerable Members of 2014

Roll Call: "Every name on this list has a 50 percent chance -- or more -- of not returning to Congress next year. To compose this regular feature, Roll Call's Politics Team examines every aspect of a member's re-election prospects: district composition, campaign operation, fundraising, quality of opponent and recent performance."

Archive: May 05, 2014

Americans Prefer Democrats Control the Senate

A new CNN poll finds that Americans would prefer that the Senate remain under Democratic control.

Key findings: 45% of respondents said that, should Republicans maintain control of the House come November, the country would be "better off" if Democrats kept their majority in the Senate. Meanwhile, 42% said they hoped Republicans would take the Senate while holding the House.

Momentum Shifts Against GOP Establishment in North Carolina

The final Public Policy Polling survey of North Carolina's GOP Senate race finds Thom Tillis (R) leading with 40% -- the mark needed to avoid a runoff -- with Greg Bannon (R) at 28% and Mark Harris (R) at 15%.

"The momentum has been on the anti-establishment candidates' side as the race has come to a close. Brannon's support has increased 8 points in the final week of the campaign and Harris' has increased by 4 points. Their increases in support come as voters report having seen more from their campaigns- they've each had an 8-9 point increase in the percentage that have seen their TV ads, while Tillis was already pretty much maxed out on that front."

May Primaries at a Glance

Roll Call has a must-see cheat sheet for all the House and Senate primaries this month.

Taking Aim at Obamacare

Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst (R) is the latest candidate pledging to shoot President Obama's health care law in a new ad.

Rivera Seeks Return to Congress Amid Federal Probe

Under federal investigation, former Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) filed for Congress, chatting with fellow candidates in line while refusing to talk to The Miami Herald about his legal challenges.

Said Rivera: "You can email me."

Poll Suggests GOP Wave Forming for Midterm Elections

A nationwide USA Today/Pew Research Center Poll "shows the strongest tilt to Republican candidates at this point in a midterm year in at least two decades, including before partisan 'waves' in 1994 and 2010 that swept the GOP into power. Though Election Day is six months away -- a lifetime in politics -- at the moment, Democrats are saddled by angst over the economy, skepticism about the health care law and tepid approval of the president."

Key finding: "Registered voters are inclined to support the Republican candidate over the Democrat in their congressional district by 47% to 43%. That 4-percentage-point edge may seem small, but it's notable because Democrats traditionally fare better among registered voters than they do among those who actually cast ballots, especially in low-turnout midterms."

The Week: Democrats aren't in as much trouble as you think

Obama Plays to His Base

The Wall Street Journal notes President Obama "isn't making any special overtures to independents."

"Midterm elections often hinge on which of the two parties does a better job of mobilizing base votes. The White House is emphasizing pay equity for women and the minimum wage... It's the stuff that excites party activists and liberals. Swing voters? Maybe not as much."

"As a political matter, the strategy is a gamble. The bet is that, come November, any softening of independent support will be offset by a wave of minority, women and liberal voters eager to keep the Senate in Democratic hands."

Poll Shows Oregon Senate Race Competitive

A new Vox Populi Polling (R) survey shows Monica Wheby (R) leading Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 41%.

May Primaries Are Big Test for Republicans

Politico: "The month of May will go a long way toward answering one of the overriding questions of Election 2014: Can the Republican establishment finally quell the tea party and retake the Senate?"

"A month-long series of primaries, stretching across 10 states from the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest, is the first major electoral clash between the GOP's two wings since 2012. It kicks off Tuesday in North Carolina, where the party establishment has lined up behind state House Speaker Thom Tillis against a tea party-aligned foe, Greg Brannon, and another contender who has galvanized the Christian right, Mark Harris."

The Hill: "The Republican establishment is going all-in for North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis -- and it seems to be working."

Kingston Ahead in Georgia Primary

A new McLaughlin & Associates poll in Georgia finds Jack Kingston leading the GOP pack for Senate with 20%, followed by David Perdue at 17%, Karen Handel at 14%, Phil Gingrey at 13% and Paul Broun at 8%.

Archive: May 02, 2014

Congressional Primary Turnout is Dismal

Walter Shapiro: "In the three prior midterm election cycles in this century (2002, 2006 and 2010), national voter turnout in congressional primaries has never exceeded 7.5 percent of the voting age population. Put another way, more Americans have a favorable image of Iran (12 percent in a February 2014 Gallup Poll) than are likely to vote in congressional primaries this year."

McConnell Challenger Falters

"For Matt Bevin, the main challenger in the Republican primary to topple Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the campaign could be boiled down to this, his one chance to try to confront his opponent in person, in the crowded ballroom of a Marriott hotel," the New York Times reports.

"He pushed, shoved and maneuvered close to the senator at a political dinner, only to be elbowed out of the way by Mr. McConnell's wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, and a couple of dexterous campaign aides."

Democrats Recruit Military Man to Take On Jolly

"Ed Jany, a former member of the Army Special Forces and Marine Corps colonel, announced today he will run against Rep. David Jolly (R-FL)," the Tampa Bay Times reports.

"Jany was a Republican who registered recently as a Democrat. But because of Florida qualifying rules, he'll run as a no party affiliation candidate. The DCCC instantly came out in support of him today."

What If Senate Control Comes Down to Louisiana?

Morning Line: "And how about this scenario -- in Louisiana, the winning candidate needs 50 percent in the November general election to win. If that doesn't happen, the top two go to a runoff in December. Imagine -- what if the GOP picks up five seats, and we're all waiting on Louisiana in December for Senate control of the new Congress, which would start a month later. The entire country's focus would suddenly and sharply turn to the Bayou State. Talk about big money and ground game. The entire country's political infrastructure would be trained there."

Don't miss our deep dive into Bayou state politics on the Political Wire podcast.

Runoffs Could Make Things Messy for Republicans

Morning Line: "Potential runoffs in three states -- North Carolina, Georgia, and Iowa -- with primaries coming up in the next month and a half could complicate Republican hopes at winning control of the Senate."

"As we noted yesterday, Republicans are hoping Thom Tillis in North Carolina can get above the 40 percent threshold to avoid a runoff two months later that would not allow him to immediately focus on vulnerable Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan. But in Georgia, a two-month-later runoff is likely with its 50 percent threshold and crowded primary, giving Democrat Michelle Nunn a chance to continue to tack to build her image in one of only two targets for the party this cycle. And in Iowa, if no one gets 35 percent, which is possible in the multi-candidate field -- not only would the general election start be pushed back (only by 11 days), but the eventual nominee would be picked at the state party convention, where the most conservative candidate usually emerges."

Wolf Maintains Big Primary Lead in Pennsylvania

A new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College survey in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) leading the Democratic primary for governor with 38%, followed by Allyson Schwartz (D) at 13% and Rob McCord (D) at 11%.

Add in undecided voters who are leaning toward one candidate, and Wolf comes away with 42%, Schwartz 16% and McCord 14%.

Democratic Turnover Problem is Bigger Than They Think

Nate Cohn says Democrats will spend millions "to target Democratic-leaning voters over the next six months. And you would think that if anything could fix a turnout problem, it would be the vestiges of President Obama's vaunted ground operation."

"But not even the most sophisticated and well-funded turnout effort can fix this problem. Strong turnout operations can help Democrats at the margins. The Democratic turnout problem, however, is not marginal."

Archive: May 01, 2014

Handel Surges in Georgia GOP Primary

A new InsiderAdvantage poll in Georgia finds Daivd Perdue (R) leading the Republican Senate primary race with 22%, followed by Karen Handel (R) at 21%, Jack Kingston (R) at 17%, Paul Broun (R) at 14% and Phil Gingrey (R) at 12%.

Mayoral Candidate's Racist Tirade Caught on Tape

Belleville, NJ mayoral candidate Marie Strumolo Burke (D) was caught on tape allegedly spewing a racist rant in which she said she didn't want her village to become a "fucking nigger town," the New York Daily News reports.

The Newark Star Ledger reports a Michigan forensics lab has confirmed with "85 percent" certainty that the voice heard on a phone message is that of Burke.

Wehby Turns Down Televised Debate

Oregon U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby (R) has turned down what would have been the only live televised debate of the primary race between her and state Rep. Jason Conger (R), the Oregonian reports.

Conyers May Not Qualify for Primary Ballot

An attempt to get Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) "kicked off the August ballot is focusing on whether backdated voter registrations of two of his petition collectors invalidates their more than 300 collected signatures," the Detroit News reports.

"The official review of Conyers' petition signatures by the Wayne County Clerk's Office found 1,193 of the 2,000 signatures he submitted are from valid registered voters in the district. By law, the Detroit Democrat needs 1,000 signatures to make the Aug. 5 primary ballot -- meaning a loss of 194 or more signatures would disqualify him."

Democrats Write Off New Mexico

Democrats seeking to oust New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) in November apparently won't get help from one of the biggest Democratic contributors in the last gubernatorial race, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.

"Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, said what some national pundits have been saying for a long time: He doesn't expect a Democrat to win the gubernatorial race in New Mexico. He also mentioned Nevada and Texas as probable losses for Democratic gubernatorial candidates."

Archive: April 30, 2014

Carroll Says She Was Betrayed by Scott

Former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll (R) told the Florida Times-Union she felt cheated by Gov. Rick Scott (R) and his top staff "for abandoning her 13 months ago when she was abruptly asked to resign the state's second highest office."

Carroll said she was excited about her upcoming tell-all biography to be released later this summer.


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