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Leading Off:

Votes: On Monday, Republicans pushed through a final vote on another poison-pill continuing resolution to keep the government running, though this time they changed the nature of the poison slightly. In this case, they sought to delay implementation of the individual mandate portion of Obamacare, which inspired a little more crossover voting than before. Nine Democrats, almost all in vulnerable districts, joined with the GOP, though two names stand out. Reps. Dan Maffei (NY-24) and Steven Horsford (NV-04) both sit in districts Barack Obama won by double digits last year, so their votes are puzzling.

Meanwhile, most of the 12 Republican defectors opposed the bill from the right because it didn't go far enough to derail the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Peter King (NY-03) claimed he was going to lead a coup of dissenters who wanted to stop the anti-Obamacare insanity, but in the end, it seems like he was only able to bring along Charlie Dent (PA-15) and maybe a handful of others, such as Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25). The bill passed, 228-201.

Ultimately, none of this mattered, because Senate Democrats, as they said they would, rejected the measure, leading to a shutdown of supposedly "non-essential" government functions. But from a political perspective, the important thing to note is that party unity has remained remarkably high, particularly among Democrats, who are fast shedding their Will Rogers branding. The VoteView blog offers some especially vivid depictions of this partisan divide with charts depicting key votes in both the House and the Senate. That means someone's going to have to cave for this shutdown to end.


NE-Sen: If you're going to share your quarterly fundraising haul before the mandatory reporting deadline, I typically exhort campaigns to do so early—if you wait until a couple of days before the 15th, you'll get buried in an avalanche of numbers. But this time around, with the government shutdown dominating the news (and even the Digest), it may be best to hold off.

That probably explains why we only came across a single candidate who put out fundraising figures on Tuesday, Midland University President Benjamin Sasse, who is running in the GOP primary for Senate in Nebraska. Sasse says he raised $800,000 in the third quarter, with no self-funding, though he didn't provide his cash-on-hand totals.

NH-Sen: Politicians, ever desperate for money, will always attempt to raise cash off of any topic they can get their hands on. Sometimes their claims are legitimate, sometimes they're bogus, and sometimes they're downright offensive and cause serious blowback. Certainly among the most common and inoffensive refrains, though, is that "candidate so-and-so is gearing up to run against me," and that's exactly the kind of email that Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen sent about Scott Brown the other day.

So what did Brown, a former Massachusetts senator who has visited New Hampshire seven times this year, have to say? He called Shaheen's message "shameful" because—get this—"I'm not a declared candidate." Oh yes, Shaheen should feel utterly embarrassed, and I'm sure she does. How dare she fundraise off of Brown's dalliance with carpetbaggery! Bleh, what a goofy thing for Brown to say, though it does make me wonder if he actually is planning to run and is the one feeling silly about all this kabuki.

NJ-Sen: Hrm. Here's another poll showing Democrat Cory Booker with a lead in just the low double digits. This time, it's from Monmouth, which features Booker up 53-40 over Republican Steven Lonegan, similar to the 53-41 edge Quinnipiac gave Booker last week. However, Monmouth has always seen the race closer than other pollsters have, and indeed, their prior two surveys had Booker up 16 both times. So another way of looking at this is that Lonegan moved up all of 2 points and Booker dropped 1.

Lonegan, meanwhile, claims he's down just 48-42 in his own internal polling, but it's a classic bogus leak that doesn't include the pollster name, the field dates, or the sample size. In other words, unsubstantiated puffery.

Booker's also up with a new ad attacking Lonegan, backed by a relatively modest $337,000 on cable, at least by Garden State standards. The spot starts with a clip of Lonegan calling himself "a right-wing radical," after which the narrator says he'd "privatize Social Security, shut down government, ban all abortion." (The second half features positive Booker pablum.) This has to be the first campaign ad to use the shutdown as a bludgeon, though I'm sure it won't be the last.


CO-Gov: A bit out of nowhere, former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp says that he'll join the field of GOP hopefuls looking to take on Gov. John Hickenlooper next year and will make an official announcement "in the coming days." (Greg Giroux already spotted him creating a fundraising committee.) Kopp won office in 2006 by ousting an appointed incumbent in a primary, presenting himself as the more conservative option. But following a quick rise through the Republican ranks, he resigned two years ago after his wife died of cancer at the age of 37.

Kopp will enter a crowded primary that features Secretary of State Scott Gessler, ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, and state Sen. Greg Brophy. Republicans definitely think Hickenlooper is vulnerable, but the fight for their party's nomination is liable to get messy.

FL-Gov: PPP's latest Florida poll still finds devastating news for GOP Gov. Rick Scott. He sports an abysmal 33-55 job approval rating, barely changed from his 33-57 score in March. He also trails ex-Gov. Charlie Crist by a 50-38 margin, same as his 12-point deficit six months ago and similar to the 10-point edge Quinnipiac found for Crist in June. Crist's favorables remain middling, at 43-42, but when you're as unpopular as Scott, that doesn't really matter.

What might be most humiliating for him, though, is that he leads absolutely unknown Democratic state Sen. Nan Rich just 37-36. Needless to say, an incumbent is in truly miserable shape when he's in the high 30s. If Crist runs, though it's unlikely Scott will face Rich, as Crist is beating her 59-16 in a hypothetical Democratic primary. Scott still has more money than Satan, so he'll put up a brutal fight no matter what, but I don't think I'd like to be him right now.

VA-Gov: Democrat Terry McAuliffe continues to make the case that his Republican opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, is a conservative extremist, this time with an ad that claims Cuccinelli "sponsored a bill that could have made common forms of birth control illegal, including the pill." This fits in with other spots that have gone after Cuccinelli for wanting to ban abortion and eliminate no-fault divorce.

Cuccinelli's messaging, meanwhile, has been much more scattered. He seems to alternate between ads criticizing McAuliffe's business dealings one week and explaining why Cuccinelli doesn't suck the next. This week, it's the latter, as Cuccinelli's latest spot features Tichi Pinkney Eppes, a member of the Richmond school board who happens to be black, female, and (she claims) a lifelong Democrat. Says Eppes: "The attacks against him are false and misleading. That Ken has some agenda against women? Ridiculous." I'm sold! Take that, T-Mac!

Grab Bag:

DCCC: Ordinarily, we don't take much of an interest when party committees announce a bunch of robocalls because usually they're just a play for a little free media coverage. But the DCCC's new hit-list of 63 House Republicans (whom they're attacking over the shutdown of the federal government) is a little noteworthy just because it's so broad. That suggests this is the Democrats' widest possible roster of targets for next year, though quite a few can't even be classified as reaches, like Mick Mulvaney (SC-05) or Martha Roby (AL-02). It also doesn't include open seats, though so far, only WV-02 looks to be contested.

But for the most part, this is where 2014's battleground will lie. The list is also interesting because it indicates that the D-Trip believes they have a unified message they can wallop Republicans with in almost any district, no matter how red, much in the same way that Democrats on Capitol Hill have remained united in the face of Republican obstructionism.

FEC: The Federal Elections Commission is apparently regarded as "non-essential" and thus, thanks to the government shutdown, the agency has closed its doors. (It's not like keeping democracy running is an essential part of democracy, right?) Because of that, the FEC has decided to allow campaigns to delay filing fundraising reports until "24 hours after the Commission resumes operations" following the end of the shutdown. That could directly affect campaigns in several upcoming special elections, as the Sunlight Foundation details.

But as of now, the FEC's systems appear to be online, and candidates can and should file whatever reports are due. Indeed, I think it would look bad if your opponents submitted their reports while you declined to do so. But a much bigger deadline is looming: Quarterly reports for all federal campaigns are due on Oct. 15. If the shutdown lasts that long (and the FEC's computers are still up), I wouldn't be surprised to see some candidates use this as an excuse to delay.

House: Two pollsters published new generic congressional ballot numbers on Tuesday, and though all the data was gathered ahead of the current government shutdown, the results favor Democrats in both cases:

Quinnipiac: 43 Democrat, 34 Republican (Aug.: 40-36 D)

PPP: 45 Democrat, 40 Republican (July: 43-42 D)

For what it's worth, Rasmussen released its weekly poll on Tuesday as well, showing Democrats up 42-38, versus 40-37 last week. Quinnipiac also finds that voters "oppose Congress shutting down major activities of the federal government as a way to stop the health care law from being put into place" by a massive 72-22 margin. In light of results like this, it'll be very interesting to see what the generic ballot looks like after voters have had time to grok the shutdown.

Maps: You might remember that amazing map of the nation's slave population in the mid-19th century that surfaced courtesy of Slate the other week. It seems like diving into the historical map archive is going to be a regular feature there now, and on Tuesday, they unveiled another terrific antique county-level map, this time of wealth per capita in 1870.

And just as with the slavery maps showing that concentrations of African-American populations really haven't moved much in the last 150 years, the same applies to the nation's riches. Compare the historical map to one showing contemporary median household income; it's still highest in lower New England, the New York/Washington corridor, and around the cities of the Midwest, while it's still lowest in Appalachia and the rural Deep South. The most notable changes show wealth moving from lowland cities of the South (Charleston and New Orleans) further inland, toward Atlanta and the Piedmont parts of the Carolinas, and the evolution of Florida from unlivable swamp to air-conditioned mega-suburbia. (David Jarman)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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