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Leading Off:

NYC Mayor: We have three final polls of today's Democratic primary for New York City mayor, and the chief question they all pose is, will Public Advocate Bill de Blasio hit 40 percent and avoid a runoff with either former Comptroller Bill Thompson or City Council Speaker Christine Quinn? Here are all the numbers, in the order in which they were released (with trendlines in parentheses):

Marist (9/3-6): de Blasio 36, Thompson 20, Quinn 20 (8/12-14: de Blasio 20, Quinn 20, Thompson 18)

PPP (9/7-8): de Blasio 39, Thompson 19, Quinn 13

Quinnipiac (9/6-8): de Blasio 39, Thompson 25, Quinn 18 (8/28-9/1: de Blasio 43, Thompson 20, Quinn 18)

Quinnipiac is the first pollster to actually show de Blasio cresting after his August surge, though Marist (whose prior poll was a few weeks older) still has him moving upward. If de Blasio still has forward momentum, he may well surpass the magic 40 mark; if not, he might fall just short.

And if there is a runoff, it looks like it'll be de Blasio vs. Thompson. PPP's last-minute entry, their first of the race, aligns with Quinnipiac in seeing Quinn fall to third, and Marist's trendline is no good for her, either. It's not terribly surprising: According to PPP, Quinn has a remarkably terrible 34-48 favorability rating—and remember, we're talking about Democratic primary voters here. De Blasio (62-18) and Thompson (57-18), meanwhile, are both quite popular.

But this is a good example of favorables only telling you so much. De Blasio's support evidently runs deeper and more fervently, since PPP has him crushing Thompson 53-33 in a hypothetical second round. Marist shows a tighter runoff, but de Blasio still has a solid lead, 50-38. (Quinnipiac didn't ask about runoffs this time, but their prior poll gave de Blasio a 56-36 edge, similar to PPP's.)

This may all be moot, though, if de Blasio can cap his extraordinary month-long run with a final burst of energy at the finish. We'll have our answers on tonight, so be sure to come back to Daily Kos Elections for our liveblog.


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AR-Sen: A new internal for an unnamed "Arkansas issue campaign" by Democratic pollster Global Strategy Group shows Sen. Mark Pryor with a 47-41 lead over GOP Rep. Tom Cotton in next year's Senate race. That's one of the better results we've seen for Pryor to date, but a) he's still a few points shy of 50 and b) the poll is from an ally and thus likely to be on the friendly side, so it's hard for me view these numbers with a lot of optimism.

MI-Sen: Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra, who began reconsidering an entry into the GOP primary after Rep. Dave Camp decided against a Senate bid, has ultimately decided against the race. That leaves Republicans with just ex-SoS Terri Lynn Land, about whom the NRSC has telegraphed unspecified qualms.

MT-Sen: In case Rep. Steve Daines doesn't make a Senate run, here's another Republican considering the race. Commodity trader Larry Williams, who waged two unsuccessful bids for Senate back in 1978 and 1982, says he's thinking about a possible bid. However, Williams is 71 years old, lives in the Virgin Islands, and hasn't been active in Montana politics since his second loss, 30 years ago, so he doesn't sound like the most likely of options. (Incidentally, he also happens to be the father of Oscar-nominated actress Michelle Williams.)


NE-Gov: As expected, wealthy businessman Pete Ricketts, who got crushed in an unsuccessful campaign against then-Sen. Ben Nelson in 2006, has decided to enter the GOP primary for Nebraska's open governor's race next year. Ricketts spent $12 million of his own money on his failed Senate bid but says he plans to spend less this time. "Less than $12 million," though, could still be a hell of a lot.

PA-Gov: Add one more name to the very crowded Democratic field for governor: Allentown Mayor Ed Pawloski, who just announced his entry into the race. Already running are Rep. Allyson Schwartz; former state environmental department chiefs Kathleen McGinty and John Hanger; and businessman Tom Wolf. Also likely to run are state Treasurer Rob McCord and, perhaps, former state Auditor Jack Wagner. I guess everyone wants a piece of GOP Gov. Tom Corbett, who has looked doomed for quite some time.

VA-Gov: Democrat Terry McAuliffe is out with one of those "my opponent is making stuff up about me, so here's the real truth" ads, and I have to wonder, do those ever really work? Or do they just reinforce a vague notion that there's something to be worried about with regard to the candidate under attack? Anyhow, McAuliffe's narrator says that Republican Ken Cuccinelli is full of it with regards to Global Crossing, then changes gears and calls Cuccinelli an extremist.


CA-44: More than a decade after voters approved them, term limits are finally kicking in for the Los Angeles County's powerful but obscure Board of Supervisors, whose five members have collectively served almost 100 years. Two supervisors are termed out next year, and they've drawn notable candidates seeking to replace them. In one race, former LA City Controller Wendy Greuel, who lost her bid for Los Angeles mayor earlier this year, is considering a bid, while in another, ex-Rep. and former Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis "appears to have the field largely to herself," according to the L.A. Times.

We're slotting this one under CA-44, though, because Rep. Janice Hahn, whose father served as a supervisor for 40 years, surfaced as a potential 2016 candidate, and she refused to comment directly when asked about the possibility. The fact that such major figures are interested in running for a county-level position shows just how important the board actually is.

MI-11: I guess I was wrong when I questioned whether the establishment would line up to help GOP Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, who faces a newly issued primary challenge from local attorney David Trott. According to Roll Call, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and Eric Cantor are all headlining fundraisers for the incumbent, who has otherwise done a very poor job of raising money to date.

(Bentivolio also recently told a town hall gathering that he'll call for a federal investigation of... chemtrails. If you aren't familiar with this chip off the tinfoil hat, Wikipedia explains: "The chemtrail conspiracy theory posits that some trails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for purposes undisclosed to the general public and directed by various government officials." Ah, Kerry.)

Meanwhile, Trott brings some pretty serious negatives of his own to the contest. His eponymous law firm is reportedly one of the biggest foreclosure shops in the nation and has been attacked by critics as a "foreclosure mill" that profits off of people's misery. Trott's earned some negative headlines as a result, like the time his firm foreclosed on a 101-year-old Detroit woman. This could wind up being a race between two very flawed candidates.

MN-08: According to new personal financial disclosures, Republican businessman Stewart Mills, who is challenging freshman Rep. Rick Nolan, owns a stake in his family's retail empire worth anywhere from $41 million to $150 million. Mills Fleet Farm operates 32 stores in the upper Midwest, selling everything from home improvement supplies to hunting gear. Since the company is privately held, those shares aren't going to be very liquid, but Mills himself earned from $4 million to $12 million last year, so he almost certainly has plenty of cash he can bring to bear on this race.

NH-01: For a guy thinking about running in a GOP primary for Congress, University of New Hampshire business school dean Dan Innis seems to have a bit of a problem: Less than a year ago, he wasn't even a registered Republican. And it's not like Innis had some recent road-to-Damascus conversion, either. Rather, he cast a vote in last year's Democratic primary (after donating $500 to Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jackie Cilley), meaning he had to change his party affiliation to "undeclared." Innis claims to be a lifelong Republican ("since my grandfather and father told me stories about President Eisenhower"), but his recent political activities indicate otherwise.

PA-12: John Hugya, a former chief of staff to the late Rep. John Murtha, is apparently planning to run for his old boss's seat next year. Democrats managed to hold this red-trending district following Murtha's death in 2010, but (now former) Rep. Mark Critz ultimately lost to Republican Keith Rothfus last year. Critz declined a comeback, instead making a bid for lieutenant governor, so Hugya, a Marine vet like Murtha, might not be a bad alternative. However, he's 79 years old, and Pennsylvania's 12th moved away from Democrats sharply in 2012, going for 58-41 for Mitt Romney.

Other Races:

CO Recall: Live by the early vote, die by the early vote—or just throw up your hands and admit that in a low turnout race with no public polling and totally opaque campaign strategies, there's no real way to know what it means. In state Sen. Angela Giron's recall, we learned that Democrats had an edge in early voting, but a report from state Sen. John Morse's district shows the opposite to be true ahead of today's election.

Though Democrats have a 34-26 voter registration advantage there (with independents the plurality at 38), Republicans cast more ballots in the first three days of early voting, 41-32, with unaffiliated voters providing 25 percent. Obviously, Morse would prefer his party to be ahead in the early vote, but as I say, we don't know if he plans on relying heavily on Election Day turnout to make up the difference.

NYC Comptroller: Each of the final three pollsters who surveyed the mayor's race also tested the Democratic primary for comptroller between ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer as well:

Marist (9/3-6): Spitzer 47, Stringer 45 (8/12-14: Spitzer 54, Stringer 36)

PPP (9/7-8): Spitzer 45, Stringer 41

Quinnipiac (9/6-8): Stringer 50, Spitzer 43 (8/28-9/1: Stringer 47, Spitzer 45)

That brief mid-August moment when both Marist and Quinnipiac made it look like Spitzer was about to swamp Stringer is clearly long past, if it was anything more than a mirage to begin with. Quinnipiac's newest numbers are the most notable of all, showing Stringer legging out to the largest lead he's ever had. Quinnipiac is actually the only pollster to show Stringer ahead, though, as everyone else has found Spitzer on top.

As Tom Jensen notes, a Spitzer win would be "pretty unusual," seeing as his favorability score of 43-45 is dramatically lower than Stinger's 51-22 rating. But Spitzer's higher name recognition (88 percent versus 73) may be enough to power him to victory, despite his relative unpopularity.

Special Elections: Johnny says: "Nothing exciting here—both seats look to be pretty safe. There's also one in Boston, but the Dem is running unopposed."

Massachusetts House, 6th Bristol: Open Democratic seat; this district is located in Fall River. The candidates are Democrat Carole Fiola, a former member of the Governor's Council, and Republican David Steinhof, a dentist who ran for MA-04 in 2012 and got 13 percent in the primary.

Massachusetts House, 16th Worcester: Open Democratic seat located in the city of Worcester. The candidates here are Democrat Daniel Donahue, an aide to Worcester's mayor, and Republican Carol Claros, a nurse.

Grab Bag:

DCCC: The DCCC has added nine new names to its "Jumpstart" program, which is designed to give Democratic candidates an early boost. Here's the newest contingent:

IA-03: ex-state Sen. Staci Appel
MI-01: Ret. Army Nat'l Guard Gen. Jerry Cannon
MI-07: ex-state Rep. Pam Byrnes
MT-AL: ex-Max Baucus state director John Lewis
NM-02: attorney Roxanne "Rocky" Lara
NV-03: businesswoman Erin Bilbray
NY-23: Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson
OH-06: ex-state Rep. Jennifer Garrison
VA-02: Ret. Navy Commander Suzanne Patrick
There are no real surprises here, as everyone on this list has more or less been touted as a top recruit. However, Lara's inclusion in NM-02 clears up any uncertainty about the D-Trip's interest in that race, though she faces a primary with attorney Leslie Endean-Singh. Lewis is also interesting, since it suggests the DCCC believes GOP Rep. Steve Daines will indeed run for Montana's open Senate seat.
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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