8:53 AM PT: FL-13: Republicans aren't going to let David Jolly skate to the nomination after all. Just ahead of Tuesday's filing deadline in the special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young, state Rep. Kathleen Peters joined the race, ensuring that Jolly will have competition in the January primary. And according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls, there's a chance Jolly could be stopped. He leads Peters 39-17 among Republican voters, meaning that a plurality either supports "someone else" or is undecided.
Either way, this should be a good matchup. Jolly represents the flawed establishment choice: He was supposedly Young's preferred successor, but he's also a D.C. lobbyist who's donates tens of thousands to Democrats. Peters, meanwhile, doesn't sound like a raging tea partier, but she's repeatedly emphasized her local connections and can argue that she hasn't "gone Washington," unlike her opponent.
But no matter which candidate the GOP selects, both start off at a considerable disadvantage to the presumptive Democratic nominee, Alex Sink. The same St. Pete poll finds her beating Jolly 49-35 and Peters 50-31. The Sink-Jolly matchup is a bit tighter than St. Pete's previous test earlier this month, where Sink led 52-31, but the fact still remains that Sink starts off the race right near the 50 percent mark. That means Republicans will have a hard time catching up to her, especially since they're now going to spend the next two months fighting one another.
9:39 AM PT: NJ State Assembly: Counting has now concluded in two overtime legislative races in New Jersey, and Democrats are feeling good. In North Jersey's 38th District, Assemblyman Tim Eustace appears to have held off his Republican challenger, Rochelle Park Mayor Joseph Scarpa, by a 54-vote margin. Meanwhile, in the Atlantic City-based 2nd District, Democrat Vincent Mazzeo, the mayor of Northfield, has a 38-vote lead over GOP Assemblyman John Amodeo, following a judge's order to count 115 provisional ballots that Republicans had contested.
A Mazzeo victory would offset the loss of Democratic Assemblyman Nelson Albano in the 1st, meaning Gov. Chris Christie would net zero pickups in the legislature despite his 22-point win at the top of the ticket. Scarpa and Amodeo have until Wednesday to request recounts, but barring irregularities, it would be hard to overturn these margins.
10:20 AM PT: VA State Senate: Absolutely horrific: Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds is in critical condition after being stabbed "multiple times around the head and neck" at his home on Tuesday, and his son has died of a gunshot wound, according to police. Details are still unclear, but the authorities currently say they are not looking for any third-party suspects. Deeds was the Democratic nominee for state attorney general in 2005 and for governor in 2009, losing both times. Our thoughts are with him and his family.
10:36 AM PT: PA-08: EMILY's List has endorsed four more Democratic House candidates: Aimee Belgard (NJ-03), Laura Fjeld (NC-06), Shaughnessy Naughton (PA-08), and Margie Wakefield (KS-02). Naughton is probably the most interesting name on the list, as the DCCC has long been touting Army vet Kevin Strouse in Pennsylvania's 8th. So far, Strouse has raised double what Naughton has, though EMILY's help could change that. Either Dem, though, will face a difficult time unseating GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in the general.
10:47 AM PT: GA-Sen: I don't usually link to campaign staff turnover stories, mostly because it's far too easy to misread them. But when four of your aides—including your general consultant, your campaign manager, and your political director—all bail at once, there's no way that's good news. And that's exactly what happened on Monday to GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey, who is running in a very crowded primary for Georgia's open Senate seat. There isn't much dirt, here, though: The GC, Chip Lake, is chalking up the departure to a "fundamental disagreement on the vision on what the campaign needed to do to succeed."
Regardless of the real reason, Gingrey now has to start over without any top staffers, which is no easy thing to do in the middle of a hotly contested race. Lake says he thinks Gingrey will stay in, but if he quits or stumbles as a result of this development, Rep. Paul Broun is the most likely to benefit, as he and Gingrey have both been striving hardest for the tea party vote.
11:53 AM PT: MT-Sen, MT-AL: PPP's new Montana numbers contain little but bad news for Democrats. In the state's open Senate race, GOP Rep. Steve Daines leads Lt. Gov. John Walsh 52-35 and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger 51-36, and that's despite his newly negative 37-42 job approval rating. (He was at 41-33 in June.) Barack Obama's approvals, meanwhile, are a brutal 34-63; by contrast, they stood at 44-53 a year ago, just ahead of Democratic Sen. Jon Tester's narrow re-election victory. If that doesn't change, it'll be very hard to stop Daines.
And while conservatives have grumbled over Daines' vote to end the government shutdown in October, he blows away state Rep. Champ Edmunds 66-7 in a hypothetical primary. Democrats, meanwhile, have a much closer race, as Walsh has a 39-31 lead over Bohlinger. Interestingly, Walsh does better with more liberal voters, even though Bohlinger is running a classic "outsider" campaign; however, Bohlinger used to be a Republican, so that might explain the gap (and in any event, the sub-group samples are very small).
Meanwhile, the picture for Daines' now-open House seat isn't much better. Democrats have been hyping former congressional aide John Lewis, but he trails every Republican PPP tested. Former state Sen. Corey Stapleton leads 44-31; former Secretary of State Brad Johnson is up 43-32; and state Sen. Matt Rosendale and former state Sen. Ryan Zinke are both ahead 37-32. All of these candidates are unknown, so Lewis' deficit can't be ascribed merely to lack of name recognition. For what it's worth, though, Stapleton has an early lead in the GOP primary, taking 32 percent to Johnson's 20, with Zinke and Rosendale at 9 apiece.
All the usual caveats of "just one poll" and "it's still early" apply, as ever. But if Republicans finally end their lengthy streak of losing in Montana, will anyone really be surprised? It's Montana, after all. Democrats should consider themselves very fortunate to have done this well in a state this red for this long.
12:28 PM PT (David Jarman): Demographics: Colin Woodard's 11 "American Nations" concept is a fascinating way of breaking the nation down into regional affinities that cross state lines. However, he seems to be overstating the importance of those regional lines between Appalachian and Tidewater Virginia, in terms of how the rural counties in those two areas split their votes (or, at least, is overlooking a key intervening variable, in the form of race).
He observes that Terry McAuliffe won the most rural parts of the Tidewater region (51-41) even while Ken Cuccinelli was winning the rural parts of Appalachia 63-31, and says that means that there isn't an urban/rural split so much as a culture-based regional split at work. However, there's a key difference here: many of the rural counties in the Tidewater have large African-American populations. Among the counties in Virginia that are 100% rural according to the Census, compare the ones in the plains between Richmond and Hampton Roads, versus the ones in the furthest reaches of VA-09:
Charles City Co.: 62% for McAuliffe; 48% black
Surry Co.: 58% for McAuliffe; 46% black
Sussex Co.: 57% for McAuliffe; 58% black
Buchanan Co.: 30% for McAuliffe; 3% black
Dickenson Co.: 35% for McAuliffe; 0% black
Floyd Co.: 33% for McAuliffe; 2% black
Granted, those are the extreme ends of the spectrum among the state's entirely-rural counties; there are a number of other counties in the Tidewater region with smaller black populations where Cuccinelli won (like Northampton on the Eastern Shore, which is 37% McAuliffe, 36% black, or Lancaster on the Northern Neck, which is 39% McAuliffe, 28% black), though not by large-enough margins to cancel out the big McAuliffe wins in the black-plurality counties.
12:46 PM PT: FL-Gov: Sen. Bill Nelson is doing everything he can to make life impossible for ex-Gov. Charlie Crist. Nelson has repeatedly refused to rule out a bid for governor—unlike Crist, who actually had the courage to launch a bid against GOP Gov. Rick Scott. That's led to a reported "freeze" among some big Democratic donors who might give to Crist but feel compelled to wait on Nelson.
And his latest coy comments are only making things worse. "What I’ve said all along is I have no intention of running," Nelson initially told Politico on Tuesday, adding, "I wish Charlie Crist the best." He later followed up with an even more obnoxious remark that he'd consider getting in if Crist "gets into trouble." What a way to stand with the party! And what a way to create a self-fulfilling prophesy: With Nelson hovering over the race and harming Crist's fundraising, then by gum, Crist sure might find himself in "trouble"!
Reporter Marc Caputo notes that at the party's recent state convention, "Crist was mobbed. Nelson wasn't." This better not be about Bill Nelson's ego, but it's starting to feel like it just might be. Whatever the case is, Nelson's up to some grade-A bullshit, and it could cost Democrats a major pickup opportunity next year. If he wants to run, then he simply needs to run, and run now, pure and simple. Otherwise, Nelson had better think long and hard about whether he wants to be remembered for sabotaging Crist's chances.
12:57 PM PT: VA State Senate: Virginia Democrats, confident that state Sen. Mark Herring will prevail in the ultra-tight attorney general's race, are moving ahead with plans to select a nominee for the special election to fill his seat. They'll meet this Saturday to pick between attorney Jennifer Wexton and Herndon Town Councilor Sheila Olem. Republicans, meanwhile, are probably stuck waiting, since they may not want to pick a candidate lest it look like they're undermining state Sen. Mark Obenshain's hopes of the AG results changing in his favor. That could give Dems an advantage, if their choice is ready to start campaigning while the GOP is unable to put forward anyone at all.
1:02 PM PT: FL-26: Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez says he'll formally kick off his campaign against freshman Dem Rep. Joe Garcia on Thursday. He'd join several other Republicans in the race, chief among them Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo, who just raised a massive $451,000 in his first quarterly fundraising report.
1:07 PM PT: So why did Martinez wait so long to get in? Well, if you're an assiduous Digest reader, you may recall that earlier this year, he released his own cologne, remarkably named "The Commissioner." Smells like... victory.
1:18 PM PT: VA-Sen: Responding to efforts by conservatives to lure him into next year's race against Sen. Mark Warner, outgoing state AG and 2013 gubernatorial loser Ken Cuccinelli says he finds the idea "tempting" but claims he has no plans to run. Well, do ya feel lucky, punk? Anyhow, the whole piece—a post-mortem interview with the Kooch—is worth a read, just to soak in his sore-loser churlishness about the whole governor's race. And nope, he still hasn't called Terry McAuliffe.
1:57 PM PT: FL-19: Well, the headline pretty much covers it: Politico reports that freshman GOP Rep. Trey Radel, who represents Florida's 19th Congressional District, was arrested late last month in Washington, D.C. for possession of cocaine. He's due in court Wednesday, but so far, there are no further details about how Radel was nabbed or how much of the white stuff he had on him, though he's apparently been charged with a misdemeanor.
Unfortunately, Radel's seat is solidly Republican—it went for Mitt Romney by a 61-39 margin last year. But Radel only won his primary with a slim 30 percent plurality, so one of his old opponents or some other ambitious Republican could very well decide to parlay this bit of news into an intra-party challenge.
2:09 PM PT: CO-Gov: Quinnipiac's new Colorado poll shows a slight improvement for Dem Gov. John Hickenlooper against one of his Republican opponents, but for the most part, the numbers are similar to their prior survey's. Here's how the incumbent stacks up, with August trendlines in parens:
• 46-41 vs. ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo (46-45)It's not really clear why Kopp should hold Hick closest, or why Tancredo should move a few points south while his fellow Republicans stay steady. Then again, Quinnipiac's Colorado polling has always seemed a bit strange. I'd love to see PPP go into the state, since they haven't polled here since April. But right now, I'm rooting for Illinois, since the Land of Lincoln hasn't seen a proper survey in a full year.
• 45-40 vs. Secretary of State Scott Gessler (47-42)
• 44-38 vs. state Sen. Greg Brophy (47-40)
• 44-40 vs. former state Sen. Mike Kopp
2:42 PM PT (David Jarman): Demographics: The Census Bureau released a slew of data on state-to-state migration on Monday (showing that Americans are becoming significantly less mobile than they used to be, with 11.7% of Americans moving in the last year, near historic lows). That's interesting in itself, but if you're wondering where people are going, a new data viz from analyst Chris Walker really makes the numbers pop.
Instead of a boring bar chart, it's a dizzying pinwheel of webs between states. If you want to drill down to a particular state, you can mouse over each state and see individual links to other states. (For instance, contra what conservatives are claiming, not everyone in California is moving to Texas... in fact, nearly as many Texans are moving to California as Californians are moving to Texas, and nearly as many Californians are moving to Washington as they are to Texas.) If you don't like the functionality, Atlantic Cities has some stationary images, as well as a brief interview with Walker.
2:51 PM PT: MS-Sen: PPP's new numbers out of Mississippi ought to make GOP Sen. Thad Cochran strongly consider retirement. In a primary matchup with state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cochran clings to a narrow 44-38 lead, and only because he's much better known. Among those who've heard of McDaniel (half of all primary voters), he crushes, 60-29. Cochran is simply out of step with the times, since 55 percent say they'd prefer a "more conservative" option versus just 35 percent who want to see him re-elected. Indeed, his job approval among Republicans is a mere 45-42. You can't survive like that.
But even with Cochran gone, it'd be hard to get very excited about Democratic chances for stealing this seat, despite the fact that McDaniel would start off narrowly trailing state AG Jim Hood 43-41. McDaniel leads ex-Rep. Travis Childers 41-38, who is actually considering a bid, and ex-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove 44-41, but Democrats have a high floor and low ceiling when it comes to federal races in the Magnolia State, thanks to extremely polarized voting along racial lines. Black voters here are solidly Democratic, and whites are solidly Republican; since African Americans have always constituted less than 40 percent of the electorate, a Democrat would need an exceptional degree of crossover support to win.
That would be even more true should someone other than McDaniel emerge as the GOP nominee. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who is almost certain to run if Cochran quits, leads Hood 42-41, Childers 46-36, and Musgrove 46-38. And the primary would start out very tight. In a hypothetical kitchen-sink scenario, McDaniel's at 25 and Hosemann's just behind at 23, with Rep. Gregg Harper at 15, Rep. Steve Palazzo at 13, Rep. Alan Nunnelee at 8, state Auditor Stacey Pickering at 5, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves at 3. Still, barring an exceptional meltdown, it probably doesn't matter much who Republicans choose, since their path to victory in Mississippi is quite clear.
3:16 PM PT: AZ-02: Dem Rep. Ron Barber, who was first elected in a special election to fill Gabby Giffords' seat last year, says that he hasn't yet decided whether he'll run again in 2014. On the one hand, Barber only narrowly survived a tough re-election bid against Republican Martha McSally just months after the special last year, and he already faces the prospect of a difficult rematch. Barber also sounded pretty reluctant about running to succeed his old boss in the first place.
On the other, he's filed paperwork with the FEC and has been raising plenty of money, taking in $312,000 in the last quarter and sitting on a $767,000 war chest. And even if he does want to run again, it may be wise for Barber to avoid campaign talk too early, much in the same way that Charlie Crist waited to announce his bid for governor of Florida, so as to minimize the window for GOP attacks. Still, Barber didn't offer a timetable for announcing his plans, so he's still someone to keep an eye on.
3:23 PM PT: MI-Sen: Maybe this is why the GOP establishment has treated Terri Lynn Land like she has a case of triple cooties: In the space of a few hours on Monday, she managed to twice change her position on repealing the Affordable Care Act. Basically, she was for it before she was against it before she was for it. Or I guess, since she opposes Obamacare, she was against it ("I supported defunding it") before she was for it ("We're past that now—we need to now fix this") before she was against it ("I support repealing the Obamacare law if we can get it repealed"). Ah, who the hell knows. Even Terri Lynn Land doesn't seem to.