8:58 AM PT: DCCC: This is a first: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is holding a contest to identify a "DCCC Grassroots Champion"—and you get to vote. All of their Red to Blue candidates are listed at the link, though if you don't see your favorite there, you can also cast a write-in vote. The prize?
The top six campaigns will be named as Finalists and receive an e-mail to DCCC supporters in their state to further build their grassroots network. The campaign that recieves the unique votes overall by June 15th receives the title of DCCC Grassroots Champion and a fundraising e-mail to their state from the DCCC.
9:29 AM PT (Steve Singiser): Kentucky: Today marks primary day in two states: Kentucky and Arkansas. Let's start downallot in the Bluegrass State. Daily Kos community member SouthernINDem offers a pretty damned good synopsis of the key races up for grabs today at the link. While most of the attention will be placed on the GOP primary in KY-04 that will likely pick the replacement for the retiring Geoff Davis, there is also one really interesting state House race with a great backstory.
You might recall, in 2011, that the Democrats got a rare party switch from the GOP. The individual in question was HD-37 incumbent Wade Hurt, a Republican who was gifted this long-Democratic seat when the Democratic nominee, Jeffrey Donohue, was knocked off the ballot for insufficient signatures (he needed only two, by the way). Hurt moved to the Democrats, arguing he could do more for his district in the majority party. Now Donohue is back, making the case that he is the real Democrat in the primary. Hurt has two years of incumbency in his corner, and endorsements have not been uniformly in Donohue's corner. This one is worth keeping an eye on today, especially since the winner gets a free pass in November: no Republicans filed for the seat.
9:54 AM PT: New York: As you may know, New York lawmakers made the absurd choice to hold two separate primaries this year (three, if you count the presidential contest). A while back, a judge ordered that primaries for federal races be moved to June 26 to comply with a federal law regarding the mailing of overseas ballots. But even though it would have saved money and minimized voter confusion, the legislature refused to move the September primary for local races to the same date. Now, though, they've actually gone ahead and shifted it... two days later. It was originally scheduled for Sept. 11, but rather than have the election coincide with the anniversary of the attacks, it's been moved to Sept. 13, a Thursday.
9:58 AM PT (Steve Singiser): Arkansas: Turning our attention to Arkansas, Daily Kos community member GradyDem offers an exceptional preview of the down-in-the-weeds state lege races there, as well (another reason to love the Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections community--GradyDem and SouthernINDem both did masterful research on these pieces).
In addition to the relatively well-known battles in the House (AR-01 and AR-04), there is a high-intensity state senate primary (SD-24) pitting African-American incumbent Jack Crumbly and white state representative Keith Ingram, with an interesting backstory you can read at the link. Victory in the primary guarantees a seat in the next legislature, as no Republicans filed in this uber-Democratic delta district.
A lot of competitive primaries are on tap tonight for both the state senate and state house, with huge implications for November. Democrats have what must be described as imperiled majorities in both chambers.
10:08 AM PT: VA-11: Hahah! Oh, please! I would love this too much! An unnamed "source close to" ex-Rep. Artur Davis tells BuzzFeed that good ol' Artur is considering a comeback bid for Congress... in Virginia... as a Republican. Apparently, he'd run against Dem Rep. Gerry Connolly, which would be great since Connolly's district was deliberately made bluer by Republicans to protect adjacent GOP-held turf. In a 61-38 Obama seat, Davis would get steamrolled. Oh, also, he's not from Virginia. Amusingly, Davis isn't denying the report. A boy can dream, right?
11:04 AM PT (David Jarman): Washington: Some Dems get how to win, and some don't. On the plus side of the ledger, outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire is one who does get it; she's taken a page from the Steve Beshear playbook, and just pried a popular Republican state Senator out of her Dem-leaning seat by giving her a permanent job. The Senator is Cheryl Pflug, whom some of you may remember as one of the few Republicans to cross the aisle in support of Washington's gay marriage law; she'll join the Growth Management Hearings Board. Pflug was running for re-election in LD-05 in King County's suburban Eastside (the second-bluest district in the state with a Republican Senator, at 51.8% Murray, meaning probably around 58% Obama). Filing closed on Friday, so that means the only Republican left in the race is an anti-gay-marriage Some Dude (Brad Toft), which immediately boosts the Dem candidate here, Issaquah city councilor Mark Mullet, from long-shot to likely winner.
On the other hand, there's the Washington Education Association, who just endorsed a Republican for the open Secretary of State position (
Nancy Kim Wyman, the Thurston County auditor). This job has been in Republican hands for four decades, as it's where the state's Dem-leaning electorate tends to cast votes for moderate, good-government GOPers to scratch its bipartisan itch... and that's just going to continue if folks like WEA keep reinforcing that. Ordinarily that's not a big deal since credible Dems don't usually bother running here, but with it being an open seat this year, there actually several progressive options available.
11:34 AM PT: IN-Gov: Both parties' gubernatorial nominees are announcing their choice of running mates, and both are tapping women. Republican Mike Pence named freshman state Rep. Sue Ellspermann to his ticket, while Democrat John Gregg is expected to pick state Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson. Simpson had considered a run for for governor herself; meanwhile Ellspermann made immediate news after her selection was made public because she voted in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008. She's refusing to say whether she backed Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, but I don't see how either choice pleases the GOP base.
12:02 PM PT: NM-01 (PDF): Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham is out with an internal poll of the three-way Democratic primary (courtesy Greenberg Quinlan Rosner) showing her tied with state Sen. Eric Griego at 35 apiece, while former Albuquerque mayor Marty Chavez is back in third with 23%. A trendline included in the memo aims to show that Grisham is "surging": In February, her own survey had Chavez at 37, Griego at 28, and herself at 24. All three candidates have gone up on the airwaves, though Lujan Grisham was the first to do so, late last month. What's heartening here is that progressives apparently are not splitting the vote in such a way as to benefit the conservaDem Chavez—and even he's tried to tout his Democratic bona fides in his most recent ad.
12:13 PM PT: VT-Gov: A new poll from Castleton State College shows Dem Gov. Peter Shumlin demolishing his Republican opponent, state Sen. Randy Brock, by a hefty 60-27 margin. In the only other public poll (PDF) of this race, taken by PPP last summer, Shumlin led Brock 51-29.
12:27 PM PT: MT-Gov: Democrat Steve Bullock continues to lead the pack in fundraising in the Montana gubernatorial race, with $100K raised since April 6, bringing his cash-on-hand total to $575K. Rick Hill once again performed the best among a very crowded Republican field, taking in $54K and banking $200K.
1:04 PM PT: WI-Gov (PDF): A new poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for the labor coalition We Are Wisconsin paints a tighter picture of the recall race than other recent surveys, with Gov. Scott Walker just three points ahead of Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, 50-47. A memo (PDF) from the group argues that polls from PPP (Walker +5) and Marquette Law School (Walker +6) contained samples that were too Republican, and also says that the picture has changed since those surveys were in the field in one very meaningful way: There is now "ad parity" between both sides, according to the memo, "which had never existed until this week."
1:21 PM PT: NM-01: Sometimes we talk about dueling internals; in this case, we have something more like a (New) Mexican standoff: In response to Michelle Lujan Grisham's internal poll, both of her Democratic primary rivals, Eric Griego and Marty Chavez, have released data of their own. Griego's survey, taken in mid-May by GBA Strategies, has the race at 35 Griego, 30 Lujan Grisham, and 28 Chavez. A trendline from early March had it as Chavez 37, Griego 30, Lujan Grisham 24, so Griego agrees with Lujan Grishman both that Chavez had a lead earlier this year, and that he's now in third place.
Chavez's own numbers are a lot sketchier. He apparently isn't revealing the name of his pollster, but according to the New Mexico telegram, his survey was "an automated poll of over 1900 respondents" taken this past weekend. That huge sample size makes it sound even more questionable. And the results show Chavez with the narrowest of leads—a three-way tie, really—with him at 26, Lujan Grisham at 25, and Griego at 24.
Jeff Flake (R): 42 (56)
Wil Cardon (R): 20 (7)
Undecided: 33 (31)
Richard Carmona (D): 35 (35)PPP has new numbers in the Arizona Senate race, and, at least as far as the general election is concerned, find that not much has changed since February. Republican Rep. Jeff Flake still has a double-digit lead over Dem Richard Carmona, while if the GOP somehow nominates rich tea-partier Wil Cardon, it suddenly becomes a tossup. The good news for Carmona is that he's the least known of the three, giving him some upside (he's at 19/15 faves, compared with 33/27 for Flake and 15/25 for Cardon).
Jeff Flake (R): 48 (46)
Undecided: 17 (19)
Richard Carmona (D): 37 (33)
Wil Cardon (R): 40 (37)
Undecided: 23 (30)
Actually, the good news here might be that the trajectory points toward the GOP gifting us Cardon as nominee. Thanks to a few million dollars in TV advertising, Cardon has boosted himself from Some Dude status to making a real impression in the Republican primary, turning a 49-point deficit into a 22-point one in three months. The primary is in another three months (Aug. 28), so theoretically he could draw even if he keeps gaining on Flake at the same pace. An interesting note, though, is that even though Cardon is ostensibly running to Flake's right, Flake is just as strong among 'very conservative' voters as other categories; Tom Jensen speculates Cardon voters are more voting 'anti-politician' in general than based on ideology. Because Flake already has 'very conservative' bona fides (more in a Club for Growth way than a theocratic way, though), he may prove less vulnerable, in the end, to an outsider primary challenge that various other establishment GOPers have in the '10 and '12 cycles.
2:29 PM PT: MA-Sen: The DSCC is out with a new-ish poll, conducted by Harstad Research a couple of weeks ago, showing the Massachusetts Senate race tied at 46 apiece for Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Note, though, that the poll purports to survey likely voters, even though the election is still five months off. And if you click through, you'll see that it starts with an unusual screening question: "Do you or does anyone in your household happen to work for a radio station, a newspaper, or aTV station?" If a respondent answered "yes," their interview was terminated. I've gotta believe that that sort of screen yields a less news-aware sample and therefore benefits any candidate who's been on the receiving end of negative headlines—in this case, Warren. I also wonder why the DSCC is releasing a two-week old poll now. Are they concerned about the Suffolk numbers due out on Wednesday?
3:02 PM PT (James L): Media Watch, part one:
• TX-Sen: Texas Conservatives Fund just dumped another $300K's worth of negative ads against Ted Cruz (R), bringing their total investment in this race to a cool $2 million.
• CA-08: Two low-dollar PACs are duking it out in this open seat primary on behalf of their preferred GOP candidates. Jobs Opportunity and Freedom PAC (gee, I'm not sure if they tried hard enough to cover their bases with enough platitudes) filed a report indicating they spent $23K on radio ads backing San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt... a month ago. Meanwhile, the Spirit of Democracy America has dropped another $17K on mailers boosting state Assemblyman Paul Cook.
• CA-26: Both the faucet and the goose (the one that be layin' them golden eggs) are out in full force for Democrat Julia Brownley in this hotly-contested open seat primary. House Majority PAC has filed another $75K ad buy on Brownley's behalf (presumably to keep this ad in rotation), bringing their total investment in this race to just shy of $500K. Meanwhile, EMILY's List (via its expenditure arm Women Vote!) has pumped in another $21K on pro-Brownley mail.
• NM-01: EMILY's List also filed another $23K on mailers in support of Michelle Lujan Grisham.
3:03 PM PT: Media Watch part two:
• TX-Sen: Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, who has gone absolutely nowhere in the polls this entire campaign, has a kind of goofy spot with a bunch of literal "empty suits" dancing around in the background, each representing one of his GOP primary opponents. (The Craig James suit tosses a football.) Reportedly the ad is "part of the Leppert campaign’s final $1.63 million push." Meanwhile, Ted Cruz's new ad seems to tout his father ("tortured and imprisoned by a Cuban dictator") more than himself, and finishes with an audio endorsement from Sarah Palin that sounds like it was recorded via Flintstone phone from the bottom of a well.
• UT-Sen: Dan Liljenquist challenges his GOP primary opponent, Sen. Orrin Hatch, to eight debates. Politico reports that the ad "is the beginning of a $125,000, two-week buy on broadcast television and Fox News Channel."
• WI-Gov: The Greater Wisconsin Committee hammers GOP Gov. Scott Walker over the fact that Wisconsin has the worst-in-the-nation record on job creation—and that Walker's tries to juke the statistics so that things don't look as bad for him.
• SC-07: State Rep. Ted Vick's first ad is a positive biographical spot, with a couple of barbs about how we need more bipartisanship thrown in, too. Size of the buy: $37K.