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Leading Off:

NYC Mayor: Former Comptroller Bill Thompson has launched the first negative ad of the Democratic mayoral primary, with a spot attacking Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for telling "lies" about Thompson's position on stop-and-frisk. In a recent ad, De Blasio claimed he was the "only" candidate who would "end a stop-and-frisk era that targets minorities," something Thompson has angrily disputed.

But Thompson isn't arguing from a position of strength. In May, he told the New York Times that there'd been "overreaction to stop and frisk," and the paper reported that he was "pledging to keep stop-and-frisk operations as a crime-fighting tool." De Blasio isn't exactly promising to eliminate stop-and-frisk altogether, either, but he supports two bills just passed by the city council that would increase police oversight. Thompson opposes the legislation, which de Blasio has used as the basis for his claim that his own views on stop-and-frisk stand apart.

Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's latest ad touts her endorsements from New York's three biggest papers: the Times, the Post, and the Daily News. Mostly it focuses on the NYT, since winning over the troglodytes at Rupert Murdoch's rag doesn't exactly count as a major victory in a Democratic primary. But don't forget that in his two re-election campaigns, the Grey Lady endorsed Mike Bloomberg, the man Quinn is eager to emulate.

The primary is on Sept. 10—just two weeks away—with a runoff between the top two vote-getters on Oct. 1 if no candidate clears 40 percent.


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GA-Sen: Just a week after backing Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, EMILY's List is endorsing another Democratic woman running for Senate in the South, Georgia's Michelle Nunn.

IA-Sen: Earlier this summer, Roll Call's Emily Cain pointed out a looming problem for Iowa Republicans: If no candidate for Senate clears 35 percent of the vote in the primary, then the nomination will be decided at a statewide convention. Given the crowded field and the lack of a clear frontrunner, this could very well happen, and the process would be similar to the caucus system that gave wins to Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee in recent years.

Now it's about to get worse. Because the Secretary of State has 27 days after the June 3 primary to certify results, the state GOP has moved the convention, originally scheduled for June 14, to July 12. That would give Republicans even less time to gear up for the general election, which is why several of the candidates (as well as Gov. Terry Branstad and Sen. Chuck Grassley) are criticizing the change. But unless the primary is shifted earlier, or the SoS's certification deadline is shortened, there may not be any alternatives.

KY-Sen: The Madison Project, a right-wing super PAC now headed by ex-Rep. Jim Ryun, is getting the outside spending action started in the GOP primary with a $30,000 buy for a radio ad attacking Sen. Mitch McConnell over his conservative bona fides. The expenditure is small, and few people will hear the spot, but the real worry for McConnell is that this may only be the beginning of what third-party groups are willing to spend to help businessman Matt Bevin dethrone him.

SC-Sen-B: Democratic state Sen. John Scott says he's considering a bid against appointed GOP Sen. Tim Scott, potentially setting up an all-Scott matchup in next year's general election. Former Barack Obama campaign advisor Rick Wade is also weighing a run.


GA-Gov: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed never displayed any interest in running for governor next year, but since he's one of the few prominent Democrats in Georgia, his name almost automatically comes up on lists of potential candidates. You can cross it off, though: Reed just formally launched his re-election campaign on Monday. The election for mayor takes place this year, and Reed is likely to cruise. Technically, therefore, he could run for something else in 2014, but that probably would not endear him to his constituents.

NE-Gov, NE-Sen: Wealthy cattle rancher/multi-level marketer Chuck Herbster has dropped out of the GOP primary for governor, citing his wife's health. Shortly after Herbster's announcement, Republican state Sen. Beau McCoy jumped into the race, which is wide open because Gov. Dave Heineman is term-limited. Several candidates (including a pair of Democrats) are already running, and a number of other Republicans are still weighing bids.

On the Senate front, which also involves an open seat due to Sen. Mike Johanns's retirement, the field has been slower to develop, but one new contender may get in, wealthy banker Sid Dinsdale. Dinsdale also considered running for Senate last cycle but ultimately stayed out.


ME-02: I'd been holding out the faintest of hopes that former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Senate last cycle, might try to primary Sen. Susan Collins next year, but alas, it's not to be. Poliquin just announced that he'll run for Maine's 2nd District congressional seat, which is being left open by Rep. Mike Michaud's run for governor.

MT-AL, MT-Sen: Democrat John Lewis, who just resigned earlier this month as Sen. Max Baucus's state director, had been weighing bids for either the Senate or the House. Now, it seems, he's decided on the latter, since he's filed paperwork with the FEC (PDF) to create a campaign committee for the House. However, GOP Rep. Steve Daines still hasn't announced whether he'll seek a promotion; if he doesn't, I'd be surprised if Lewis challenged him rather than running for the open Senate seat.

NE-02: D'oh! Omaha City Councilman Pete Festersen, who looked like the most intriguing Democratic option to take on Rep. Lee Terry next year, has decided against a run for Congress. However, Terry only eked out a 2-point win in 2012 despite facing an underfunded opponent, so other Democrats may yet step forward.

Other Races:

CO Recall: Like Republicans, Colorado Democrats are also trying to make next month's recalls about more than just gun regulations. A recently established 527 group called We Can Do Better, Colorado is running a new ad attacking Republicans George Rivera and Bernie Herpin for wanting to "ban[] common forms of birth control" and "allow police to investigate miscarriages."

The claims are based on the two candidates' support of so-called "fetal personhood," which Rivera openly favors but is something Herpin denies backing. Herpin, however, filled out a questionnaire earlier this year in which he said life begins at the "single cell" stage. We Can Do Better previously sent out mailers on the same topic.

Seattle Mayor: Courtesy of PubliCola, here's a precinct-level map of the mayoral primary election from several weeks ago. It shows incumbent mayor Mike McGinn faring well in the younger and denser parts of the city (Capitol Hill, the University District), while state Sen. Ed Murray dominated the wealthier and more single-family-home parts of the city.

Comparing it to the similar-looking precinct map of the very close general election in 2009, it suggests that McGinn may not be as dead as I've assumed in the general election. If McGinn can win back the non-white parts of south Seattle (which he won in 2009, but which opted this year for Bruce Harrell in the primary), he will have basically reassembled the coalition by which he narrowly won last time. (David Jarman)

Special Elections: It's been a while since we've had a legislative special election, but Johnny Longtorso is right back in the game, as always:

Maine SD-19: This is an open Democratic seat consisting of Sagadahoc County and the town of Dresden. The nominees are Democrat Eloise Vitelli, an entrepreneur and "women's economic empowerment advocate" (so says her biography in the Maine Women's Hall of Fame); Republican Paula Benoit, who was elected to this seat in 2006 and lost it in 2008; and Green Party candidate Daniel Stromgren, a social worker. The district is Dem-leaning, going for Obama by a 57-41 margin in both 2008 and 2012, but the presence of a Green on the ballot and Benoit having won the seat once before makes it rather less than a sure thing.
There's also a Democratic primary runoff in South Carolina's 42nd state Senate District, between attorney Marlon Kimpson and former Charleston City Councilman Maurice Washington. (Kimpson led 44-22 after the first round.) In this heavily black district, Tuesday's winner is all but assured of victory in the October special election.

Grab Bag:

Georgia: A federal judge has moved Georgia's primary up yet again, from June 3 to May 20. Previously, the same judge ordered that Georgia's primary take place in early June rather than mid-July so that ballots can be sent to overseas voters in a timely fashion if there are any runoffs. The latest change was requested so that early voting would not coincide with Memorial Day weekend.

Pres-by-LD: Today we make a stop in Ohio, the wellspring of many past presidents, former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer, and Karl Rove's tears. As always, links to all of our data can be found on our master table.

Summary Detailed Calculations
State CD LD (Upper) LD (Lower) CD LD (Upper) LD (Lower)
OH X X X Pres.; Sen. Pres.; Sen. (nested)
Despite President Obama's 51-48 victory over Mitt Romney in Ohio, Republicans have drawn themselves intimidating majorities in both the state legislative chambers. Romney carried 60 of the state's 99 state House districts, which is the exact number of districts the GOP holds. There isn't too much crossover voting here: Three Democrats sit in Romney districts, while three Republicans won in Obama seats.

Of the three Dems in red seats, only Nick Barborak represents a district that also supported Republican Senate nominee Josh Mandel's unsuccessful campaign against incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown in last year's Senate race. Brown's 51-45 statewide victory allowed him to carry a bare majority of House districts, with 50. Our Combined Average Performance (or CAP, the average performance among all 2012 statewide candidates in partisan races) pretty much splits the difference between Brown and Obama, with 46 HDs sporting a Democratic CAP versus 53 with a Republican CAP.

The GOP has ruled the House since 1994, with the exception of a two-year period of Democratic control from 2008 to 2010. Retaking the majority here is possible, but even if the three "Obama Republicans" were to see their seats turn blue while the three "Romney Democrats" held on, seven more victories in light red districts would be needed. The chamber's median district is HD-06 in suburban Cleveland, which went 51-48 Romney but also 50-46 Brown.

Meanwhile, Republicans hold a 23-10 super-majority in the state Senate, and Democrats haven't controlled the chamber at any point in recent memory. Perhaps surprisingly, though, the Senate's districts, which are each made up of three nested House districts, are actually somewhat less slanted against the Democrats: Obama won 14 of them to Romney's 19. Brown once again carried a narrow majority of the seats, 17 to Mandel's 16, but the GOP has a narrow edge based on CAP, 17 seats to 16. Five Republican Senators occupy Obama districts, while Lou Gentile being the only Democrat to hold a Romney constituency. Gentile's district, which Romney won 51-46 but Brown carried 48-47, is actually the chamber's median district.

Democrats have a good chance to break out of the super-minority they've found themselves in, with four of the five Obama Republicans in the Senate on the ballot in 2014, when the state's odd-numbered districts will be up. With the notable exception of Gentile's district (which isn't up until 2016), Dems don't have much to worry about on defense for any Senate seat: Obama's performance in every Dem-held seat is north of 57 percent.

Capturing the long-lost majority in 2014 is very unlikely though. Even if Democrats won the four Obama seats, they'd still be three short. Taking a majority in the Senate would require a similar performance in 2016, essentially requiring Democrats to run the table twice in a row. (Darth Jeff)

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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