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AR-Sen: Writing at Vox, Andrew Prokop astutely reminds us that GOP Rep. Tom Cotton voted last year for the ultra-dystopian Republican Study Committee budget—a bill so extreme that Democrats voted "present" to try to rope-a-dope the GOP into passing it. (It almost worked.) As Prokop points out, the RSC budget includes much harsher cuts than even the Ryan plan, centered around raising the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age to 70. Pryor's gearing up to assault Cotton on entitlements, and the RSC vote gives him a whole lot of extra fodder.

Several other House members seeking promotion to the Senate are in the same boat. Rep. Cory Gardner (Colorado), Rep. Jack Kingston (Georgia), and Rep. Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) were all "ayes" on the RSC plan. (On the "nay" side were Montana Rep. Steve Daines and West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.) Democrats Mark Udall, Michelle Nunn, and Mary Landrieu will only be too happy to join Pryor in beating up their Republican opponents over the RSC budget.


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GA-Sen: A new InsiderAdvantage poll for a trio of local media outlets finds businessman David Perdue with a 27-19 lead on Rep. Jack Kingston in the GOP primary, with former Secretary of State Karen Handel at 17. That's a big jump for Perdue, who led Handel 22-21 at the end of April, with Kingston at 17.

There's also something of a mystery poll from the website GaPundit, which purports to show a much tighter race, with Kingston at 21 and Perdue and Handel tied at 20. However, the site isn't supplying the pollster's name and only says the poll was conducted via IVR (interactive voice response, aka robopolling).

And Kingston has another one of his vague "I Back Jack" ads, featuring supposedly reg'lar folks offering bits of praise for him. I'm sorry, though, but no normal person would ever say they support a politician because he's "represented five of Georgia's eight military installations."

IA-Sen: The Loras speaks for Joni Ernst: Loras College's latest poll finds the Republican state senator surging to the top of the heap in the GOP primary, with a 31-19 lead on businessman Mark Jacobs. A month ago, Jacobs had a 19-18 edge, so he's obviously remained flat, while this is actually the second survey in a row to show Ernst with a double-digit advantage. Ernst needs to clear 35 percent to avoid having the nomination decided by a convention, and with the primary now less than three weeks away, that's looking increasingly likely.

MI-Sen: In a new ad, Republican Terri Lynn Land says there's an "economic war on Michigan being waged by Washington," claiming that "because of Obamacare, full-time jobs are becoming part-time jobs." I'll be curious to see how this messaging dovetails with that of fellow Republican Rick Snyder, who's been touting Michigan's economic recovery in his bid for re-election as governor.

OK-Sen-B: A new survey from SoonerPoll finds a very tight race in the GOP primary for Oklahoma's special Senate election. Rep. James Lankford holds a 34-32 lead on former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, which is very similar to a recent NSON poll for the Tea Party Express that had the race 32-31 Shannon. The primary is still a little ways off, though, on June 24, with a potential runoff on Aug. 26.

OR-Sen: A Public Opinion Strategies internal poll for NewRepublican.org, which has endorsed physician Monica Wehby in Tuesday's GOP primary, finds Wehby leading state Rep. Jason Conger 41-24. Previously unreleased trendlines from a month ago had Conger up 17-14, but Wehby and her allies have had a much more extensive presence on the airwaves since then. POS's numbers are pretty close to those from a Wenzel Strategies survey that had Wehby up 43-22, but Wenzel was in the field a couple of weeks ago, and the race has been shifting rapidly, so that similarity may just be a coincidence.

SD-Sen: Physician Annette Bosworth goes harshly negative in her new ad attacking Gov. Mike Rounds in the GOP primary. The narrator begins: "Mike Rounds commuted the sentence of a man who shot his girlfriend in front of her children. The woman and her unborn baby were both killed." Yep, this is a 100 percent true story, sickening as it is. Bosworth doesn't have much money, though, so the size of this buy is probably quite limited.


GA-Gov: A new ad for GOP Gov. Nathan Deal begins with a really strange meditation on the meaning of "success" ("Is it the car we drive? The clothes we wear? Or is it the passion to keep working, knowing we can do more?"), then praises Deal for supporting tax cuts and "regulatory reform" to supposedly improve the business climate in Georgia.

ID-Gov: Ordinarily, candidate debates are not something we cover in the Digest—too many, and too boring. But Timothy Murphy's writeup of Tuesday night's Republican debate for Idaho governor is just too funny to skip. And once you've whetted your appetite, check out this amazing supercut of the debate. Go enjoy.

NE-Gov: Following Tuesday's primary (in which he was unopposed for the Democratic nomination), former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook is out with his first ad of the race. As executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, Hassebrook says he "stood up for family farmers" while as regent, he "secured tuition assistance for young Nebraskans." As governor, Hassebrook promises to "expand[] early childhood education" and provide job training.

OH-Gov: The Ohio Democratic Party obviously didn't like that new Quinnipiac poll showing GOP Gov. John Kasich with a 50-35 lead on Democrat Ed FitzGerald very much, so they've answered with one of their own. The survey, from PPP, gives Kasich a much narrower 47-43 edge, which actually shows a slight improvement for the incumbent from the 44-44 tie they saw last month. But Kasich's been on the air while Fitz hasn't, so this shouldn't be a surprise. And indeed, the RGA just went up with a second positive ad, featuring clips of Kasich offering platitudes about Ohio's "comeback."


ID-02: With just days until the GOP primary, Bryan Smith goes with one of those "complain about the other guy's attack ads" ads, and my question is, do those ever really work? Or do they just draw more attention to the original attacks in the first place? They just always sound very whiny to me, like the person on the receiving end can't take a punch. Meanwhile, some sort of mystery front group called Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions is also running an ad praising Rep. Mike Simpson for supporting energy innovation.

ME-02: The battle lines in next month's Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Mike Michaud are now coming into clearer view. Earlier this week, the League of Conservation voters kicked off a $150,000 mail campaign targeting state Sen. Troy Jackson over his environmental record, which is much weaker than fellow state Sen. Emily Cain's, and now Cain herself is jabbing at Jackson on reproductive rights and marriage equality.

As Nathan Gonzales summarizes, "Jackson earned 100 percent ratings from Maine Right to Life in 2003 and 2010, voted for a 'personhood' bill in the Legislature in 2011, and responded on a 2012 questionnaire that he generally supported 'pro-life legislation.'" He also voted against a same-sex marriage bill in 2009 though now says his views on that subject have changed.

Jackson, meanwhile, has attacked Cain as a "corporate Democrat" and claims she's too willing to compromise with Republicans, citing her support of a 2011 budget bill that included tax cuts on the wealthy. And it's these sort of economic matters that have taken center stage in this race, rather than social issues, with both candidates, for instance, saying they support a single-payer health care system. The primary is June 10.

NC-06: Retiring Rep. Howard Coble had been silent during the GOP primary in the race to succeed him, but with a runoff now underway, he's decided to back Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger, Jr. In the first round of voting, Berger took 34 percent, falling short of the 40 percent mark needed to win the nomination outright, while Baptist pastor Mark Walker finished second with 25. The two will face off again on July 15.

NJ-03: Monmouth University offers the first poll of the June 3 GOP primary in New Jersey's open 3rd District, finding former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur leading former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan 46-35. MacArthur's support is spread evenly when it comes to geography, as he has similar leads in both the Burlington County and Ocean County halves of the district. Both candidates have been on the air, and attacks from both sides have been nasty, but the self-funding MacArthur simply has greater resources.

PA-08: It's certainly not a game-changer, though it is a bit unusual: Ex-Gov. Ed Rendell just endorsed businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton in the Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, favoring her over Iraq vet (and DCCC pick) Kevin Strouse. Then again, Rendell often likes to butt in in unexpected (and sometimes unwelcome) places, though he did say that both are "excellent candidates."

Grab Bag:

Names: Here's a fun time-waster: The folks at Target Smart Communications took Clarity Campaigns' data set and created a widget that'll tell you how Democratic or Republican your last name is. (You may remember that Clarity itself did the same thing a while back with first names.) So, how blue or red is your clan moniker?

Radio: On Wednesday, I went back on the Michelangelo Signorile Show to talk Senate races once again with the excellent Joe Sudbay. You can listen to the segment here.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri May 16, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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