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Leading Off:

CT-05: Yowza! The flame war between Dan Roberti and Elizabeth Esty in the Democratic primary just got a lot hotter. The super PAC linked to Roberti's dad, well-connected lobbyist Vince Roberti, is out with a scathing new TV spot that blisters Esty explicitly from the left. Says the narrator: "In the legislature, Elizabeth Esty voted against the Democratic budget, against funding Connecticut's prescription drug program, and against funding job training—while protecting tax breaks for millionaires." Ouch! Based on the IE report we saw a day earlier, it looks like this ad is backed buy a $140K buy.

This, though, is certainly an unexpected development: With less than a week to go until the primary, the Dem-aligned Patriot Majority USA is spending $200K on TV ads... to nuke Republican state Sen. Andrew Roraback. That's a pretty smart move, seeing as Roraback has by far the most moderate profile among the GOP field. Unfortunately, the ad's not on the group's YouTube page yet. And there's one more IE to mention, another $17K in mailers from EMILY to help Esty.


AZ-Sen: Republican Wil Cardon is pushing back against a report in the Arizona Republic which made the case that Cardon was winding down his campaign (just ahead of the primary) on account of the fact that he was no longer running any TV ads. Now Cardon is saying he's filming new ads, even posting pictures of a shoot on Facebook. But he could have simply told this to the Republic, instead of having a spokeswoman cryptically insist that "we would never reveal campaign strategy for the next three weeks." Since that claim turned out to be phony, it's easy to believe Cardon's campaign is bs'ing about how serious of a race they plan to keep running.

HI-Sen: With Hawaii's Democratic primary on Saturday, we have a pair of contradictory polls of Senate race. First is Rep. Mazie Hirono's internal (from her usual pollster, Benenson Strategy Group) which shows her up 50-33 over ex-Rep. Ed Case. That's not too different than a Hirono survey from about a month ago which had her leading 53-38. And a recent Ward Research poll put Hirono on top 55-37. Merriman River, though, once again sees a dead heat, with Case edging Hirono 47-46. But kudos to Honolulu Civil Beat writer Michael Levine for acknowledging in his writeup that other polling diverges from Merriman's numbers. Most media outlets that commission their own polls typically act like no other data exists.

MA-Sen: We've got two new ads in the Massachusetts Senate race. The first is from Democrat Elizabeth Warren, bemoaning the massive amount of student loan debt owed in this country. She doesn't offer much of a prescription for the problem, though perhaps her ideas for fixing things are hard to fit into a 30-second spot. (She has more on the topic on her website.)

Meanwhile, Scott Brown trots out yet another ad from yet another turncoat Dem, this time former Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh. The script is almost comical in its parochialness, with Walsh claiming that Brown has "gone after some of those bureaucrats in Washington that wouldn't know a quahog from a scallop." Duh, everybody knows Quahog is the town Peter Griffin lives in!

MO-Sen: LOL! Just call her Br'er Claire (as in Br'er Rabbit, of course).

MT-Sen: Here's an interesting—and visually compelling—issue ad that I hadn't seen before. It's from a 501(c)(4) called Citizens for Strength and Security Fund and it attacks GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg on distinctly libertarian—you might almost even say black helicopter-ish—grounds. The high-quality spot features lots of night-vision-style footage of swooping drones and scouting troops. Here's the transcript:

From two miles up, a drone can read a license plate. And if Dennis Rehberg gets his way in Congress, government aircraft could soon be reading yours. Rehberg's bill gives the Department of Homeland Security unprecedented new authority over our land, to conduct surveillance and patrols—even build fences and forward operating bases. After he supported the PATRIOT Act and REAL ID, speak out before it's too late. Tell Congressman Rehberg government fences and drones are wrong for Montana.
Forward operating bases! I guess this is the kind of message that plays well in Montana, though. Meanwhile, on a somewhat more traditional outside spending front, the League of Conservation voters is forking out a massive $171K on mailers to help Dem Sen. Jon Tester. I imagine with a buy that big, they're targeting the whole state.

NV-Sen: Patriot Majority USA is hitting GOP Sen. Dean Heller with a new ad, backed by a $260K buy. They repeat their previous attacks against Heller for twice voting for the Ryan budget to end Medicare, but they update to include a new hit based on the tax cut-related votes Congress took at the end of last month. The narrator says that Heller "voted to give another $160,000 tax break to millionaires," then "voted against a tax cut for the rest of us—the middle class." (H/t to Jon Ralston for uncovering this spot, which is on Patriot Majority's YouTube but, annoyingly, is marked as "unlisted.")

VA-, WI-Sen: Quinnipiac included Senate numbers for two of its three new swing-state polls (Colorado, which doesn't have a Senate contest, was the third). In Virginia, Tim Kaine leads George Allen by a 48-46 margin, which compared to 46-44 Allen edge last month. Meanwhile, in Quinnipiac's first-ever poll of the Wisconsin race, Tammy Baldwin ties Tommy Thompson at 47 apiece while beating Eric Hovde 47-43 and Mark Neumann 48-45.

WI-Sen: There was a second poll of the Wisconsin Senate race out on Wednesday, from Charles Franklin at Marquette Law, who nailed the gubernatorial recall polling. Marquette continues to go against the CW on the GOP primary, which will finally be decided in less than a week, by showing ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson still with a sizable edge (unlike other pollsters who are finding something like a three-way tossup). Double-T is at 28, with Eric Hovde at 20, Mark Neumann at 18, and Jeff Fitzgerald is at 13, with 21 still undecided. (They do, like other recent polls, see Neumann momentum and Hovde stalling, though; their mid-July poll was Thompson 35, Hovde 23, Neumann 10, and Fitzgerald 6.)

They also are more bullish on Thompson's November chances: They see him beating Dem Tammy Baldwin 48-43, while Baldwin and Neumann tie 44-44, Baldwin beats Hovde 44-41, and Baldwin tops Fitzgerald 45-40. (In July, it was Thompson over Baldwin 45-41, Baldwin over Hovde 44-38, and Baldwin over Neumann 43-40. Also of note, Barack Obama beats Mitt Romney 50-45, down a smidge from a 51-43 edge in July, keeping the Wisconsin on the very cusp of "swing state." (David Jarman)


MO-Gov: This story's about a week old, but that doesn't make it any less lulzy. The Riverfront Times blasts a mortal hole in a new ad from Republican gubernatorial nominee Dave Spence:

The spot opens on a shuttered industrial building with Spence's voiceover: "After 65 years, this business shut its doors last year," followed by the on-screen words: "McHenry Truck Equipment: Closed in 2011." Spence continues: "It's the same all over Missouri. Small businesses are struggling to stay afloat with Jay Nixon in charge."

Well, maybe, maybe not.

But Spence should probably find a better example to make his case: McHenry Truck Equipment did indeed close its doors in 2011—in order to move to its new location only four miles away, still within the city of St. Louis. As of yesterday, it was still open for business.

MT-Gov: Democratic AG Steve Bullock is out with his first TV ad of the gubernatorial election, a positive spot in which he talks about working "across party lines" to protect citizens' rights to hunt, fish, and bear arms.

NC-Gov: Two different polls have come out in the last few days in the North Carolina gubernatorial race, although neither one finds Dem Walter Dalton in good position. One is from Rasmussen, so that's no surprise; they give GOPer Pat McCrory a 46-41 lead (although the trendlines are great, if only there had been any reason to believe their June poll's 49-35 spread).

The other is from PPP, but they find about the same thing: a 45-38 lead for McCrory (with Libertarian Barbara Howe at 7); they had it at 43-36 a month ago. PPP also looks at all the downballot races; the Lt. Gov. race (left open by Dalton) has a 38-37 lead for Republican Dan Forest over Dem Linda Coleman, but it looks like Dem incumbents are poised to hang on in other statewide races. (Click through for the full tally.)

Finally, McCrory is out with a new TV ad, and while I'll give him props for nice lighting and location scouting (it's set in a cathedral-like abandoned textile mill), it's a strangely slow-paced ad, with 30 seconds worth of content padded out to a full minute, thanks to McCrory's contemplative delivery, as he blames "politics" itself for the state's woeful economy. While he has run other limited-release ads before, this is his first one to run statewide. (David Jarman)


AZ-06: Ben Quayle's fairy godmother, whoever she may be, keeps looking out for him. The Friends of the Majority super PAC (does that make them Super Friends?) is shelling out another $208K on TV ads attacking fellow GOP Rep. David Schweikert ahead of the Aug. 28 primary. That's on top of the $150K they previously spent. To give you a sense of just how damn obscure this organization is, the first Google hit on them is... my post writing up their initial buy a week ago. Are no local reporters interested in this PAC?

CA-07: It's exactly 30 seconds long, but since it lacks the usual "I approve this message" disclosure, you know that Democrat Ami Bera's first ad is actually online only. It wouldn't make a bad TV spot, though: As B-roll of Bera, a physician, treating young kids plays, the announcer talks about Bera's commitment to service and his opposition to congressional pay raises.

CA-15: Sweet merciful Jesus:

In the latest episode raising questions about the erratic behavior of California’s longest standing Congressman, a former California State Assembly Majority leader said Tuesday that East Bay Democratic Rep. Pete Stark erupted in an angry tirade—questioning his sanity, threatening his livelihood and even vowing to call social workers to check on his kids—after he informed Stark he would endorse his opponent in the November general election.
You really, really, really have to click through to read what former Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico says Stark said to him. Eye-popping stuff, and note that Stark's campaign doesn't deny or dispute any of it. Stark faces fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell in the fall.

FL-06: Coastal Florida's Future continues to get in attorney Ron DeSantis's face. They're spending another $15K on mailers to try and block him from the GOP nomination. The group's now spent a total of about $90K on paid media to boost Jacksonville City Councilman Richard Clark and ding DeSantis, who is a Club for Growth favorite. Well, not that favorite, seeing as the CfG has spent basically bupkes here (under $10K).

IL-12: Hmm. A new Public Opinion Strategies poll from Republican Jason Plummer and the NRCC has Plummer leading Democrat Bill Enyart 45-28, but again, hmm. Enyart only recently got into the race (as a substitute for Dem Brad Harriman, who quit unexpectedly), and that shows, seeing as his name rec is a mere 26% in the same survey. Plummer, though, is already at 72%, which seems awfully high to me for a guy who, so far as I'm aware, hasn't run a single TV ad yet. Anyhow, while the topline margin doesn't look great if you call it Plummer +17, obviously Enyart isn't going pull less than 30% of the vote. That makes this survey seem a bit pointless in terms of prognostication value, though I suspect Plummer put it out there more for fundraising purposes.

MA-06: Republican Richard Tisei, who is challenging Dem Rep. John Tierney, is out with his first ad, a very generic introductory spot in which he touts his supposed independence and willingness "to work hard on a bipartisan basis."

MN-08: $17K more in mailers from EMILY's List for Democrat Tarryl Clark. That takes the group to about $80K spent in total on mail to help Clark, plus a similar sum on TV.

Other Races:

KS-St. Sen: The much-anticipated primary showdown Tuesday night between the moderate and conservative wings of the Kansas Republican Party ended in an absolute bloodbath for the mods, with at least eight of them losing to more conservative challengers. The entire tale hasn't yet been written, since several of these conservative victories will make November's general elections against the Democrats much more competitive. But Tuesday's utter washout raises a real question: Why didn't the moderates change sides—and strengthen the Democratic Party—when they still had the chance? That path would have been fraught, for sure, but it surely couldn't have been as terrible as the alternative turned out to be.

PA-St. Sen: One other contest Tuesday night slipped through the cracks: Although it's a little late in the season to be having a special election, there was one in SD-40 in Pittsburgh's suburbs to replace Republican Jane Orie after she resigned her seat in order to spend more time with her prison cellmates. It's a solidly Republican district, so it wasn't a surprise when GOP state Rep. Randy Vulakovich defeated Dem Sharon Brown. The most newsworthy thing about this election, in fact, may be the way in which Allegheny County's GOP chair stuck his foot in it at the victory party afterwards, with a "joke" implying that Obama supporters are "mentally retarded." (David Jarman)

WA-St. Lege: While Tuesday night's carnage in the Kansas state legislature primaries was the bloodiest Kansas has been in about 150 years, based on the Top 2 primary numbers coming out Washington state's primary, things are looking pretty staid there. Despite Republican protestations that they're poised to take control of the state Senate this year, projections from the Top 2 show them only gaining 1 seat (which would take the Dem advantage in that chamber down to 26-23).

Adding up D and R totals in all of the Senate races, only two currently Dem-held seats are poised to flip to the GOP, the Puyallup-based 25th (widely expected to flip after Jim Kastama's retirement to run for SoS, and where the GOP got a strong recruit, Bruce Dammeier, and the Dems got a nobody), and Whidbey Island's 10th. The 10th is hardly a done deal, though, as Barbara Bailey leads Dem incumbent Mary Margaret Haugen (whose name might be familiar since she was the final vote to put same-sex marriage over the top earlier this year) only 50.3-49.7. The Dems are also set to flip the rural King County 5th, where the GOP was left in a pickle with Cheryl Pflug's after-the-filing-deadline retirement, leaving them only with the anti-same-sex-marriage nut who was challenging Pflug from the right. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Democrats are poised to flip the Bellevue-based 41st, which is the bluest district held by a Republican; Steve Litzow leads Maureen Judge 58-42. They have a much better shot in the swingier Vancouver-area 17th, where Tim Probst trails GOPer Don Benton only 50.4-49.6.

In the state House, the Dems are poised to pick up the two House seats being vacated by the two GOPers likely to win those Senate seats above, leading the open seat races in the 10th and 25th. They're also on track to defeat a freshman incumbent in the Federal Way-area 30th, but simultaneously about to lose the other House seat in the 30th, just vacated by Dem Mark Miloscia for his failed Auditor bid. Dems also are trailing in their efforts to hold Probst's old seat in the 17th and a vacant seat in the Lakewood-area 28th; so, a 3-for-3 trade would be a total wash, keeping the chamber at a 56-42 Dem edge. (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

Crossroads: Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS is out with five new ads attacking Democratic Senate candidates as part of a reported $7.2 million buy. However, the initial run adds up to "only" $4.1 million, so presumably there's more yet to come. Four of the spots (in Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Virginia) hit broadly similar themes, painting the Dems as tax hikers—including a claim that the Affordable Care Act also constitutes a tax increase. The Nevada ad is different and hits Rep. Shelley Berkley over (by now familiar) alleged ethical transgressions. You can find all of them at the first link.

The reported size of each buy: MO, $874K; MT, $397K; ND, $191K; NV, $768K; VA, $1.9 mil. Note that all of these except the Nevada spot are bogus "issue" ads, so Crossroads doesn't have to report its spending. They did file an IE report for the Silver State, though, since the ad explicitly encourages people to vote against Berkley. So far, their filing indicates only a $175K purchase of TV time, so either their press release listed an inflated sum (something I'm almost sure they've done in the past) or there's more to come.

DCCC: The DCCC just announced the addition several more candidates to its Red to Blue program. Most of the names on the list had actually previously been tapped for R2B, but the D-Trip says this is the first time they've been mentioned in a national announcement. There are still several brand-new folks, though:

David Gill (IL-13)
Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)
Mark Murphy (NY-11)
Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
And there are also two new inclusions on the DCCC's "Emerging Races" tier:
Steve Pestka (MI-03)
Jim Graves (MN-06)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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