• IL-08: Republican Rep. Joe Walsh's latest quotable moment:
"We have so many people now dependent upon government. So many people want handouts. The Democratic Party promises groups of people everything. They want the Hispanic vote. They want the Hispanics to be dependent upon government, just like they got African Americans dependent upon government. That’s their game. Jesse Jackson would be out of work if they weren’t dependent upon government. There’d be no work for him."
• AZ-Sen: Wil Cardon hits his Republican primary opponent, Rep. Jeff Flake, for his excessive travel habits: "Flake travels the world on the taxpayer's dime, more than any Arizona congressman." The imagery is sort of fun and makes me wish I could travel like that. Size of the buy: $288K.
• CT-Sen: It looks like New York-style feuding over minor-party ballot access is coming to Connecticut, one of the few states in the nation where so-called "fusion" voting is also allowed. (Fusion voting allows one candidate to combine votes received on more than one ballot line.) While the Working Families Party has operated in the Nutmeg State for a number of years, they're an organized bunch, and there's never any doubt about who's earned their endorsement. But now there's a battle over who gets to appear on the semi-defunct Independent Party's line this fall—the kind of party banner you want to appear under because unaffiliated low-information might feel more drawn to pulling the lever for an "independent" candidate rather than casting a vote on the Democratic or Republican line. (The same sparring happens over the slightly-differently-named Independence party in New York.)
In any event, zillionaire wrestling impresario Linda McMahon, in addition to vying for the Republican nomination, is also hoping to secure the Independent slot, but because of the IP's wobbly electoral status, she has to submit 7,500 signatures in order to so. Not a big deal for someone with McMahon's wealth, of course, but as so often happens when the stakes are so small, there's a bitter Judean People's Front/People's Front of Judea split in the Independent Party. And it seems quite possible that another faction could try to endorse someone else. But if two candidates both file petitions, then that sets off a matter/anti-matter explosion in the Secretary of State's office and no one gets to make the ballot in the Independent line. Here's hoping!
• MO-Sen: Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS keeps whaling away at Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill. The lead-in for their newest ad: "ObamaCare? More like ObamaClaire!" OMG SO FUNNY STOP YOU'RE KILLING ME. Size of the buy: $516K.
• NV-Sen (PDF): NBC/Marist just released battleground polls in Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada, but only the last one has a downballot component. In their first survey of the Senate race, Marist finds a very similar picture to most other polling, putting GOP Sen. Dean Heller up 46-44 over Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley. I'd say that's actually fairly optimistic for Berkley, though, since Marist only puts Obama up two points over Romney, whereas both PPP and Rasmussen (!) had Obama leading by eight.
• NY-Sen: Republican Rep. Bob Turner pretends like his upset victory in last year's NY-09 special means he can beat Dem Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this fall. But really, his ad is purely pitched at winning the GOP primary, seeing as one his priorities is "build the Keystone pipeline," which is not, you know, an issue any normal New Yorker gives a fuck about. The narrator also calls him a "conservative Republican," which is actually a damaging way to brand yourself for a general election in the Empire State.
• VA-Sen: Both George Allen and Tim Kaine have made their pre-primary fundraising totals public, and yet again, Kaine continues to whoop his Republican opponent. Kaine took in $1.2 million from April 1 to May 23 and now has $2.5 million on hand, versus $740K for Allen, who has $2.75 mil in the bank.
If you follow these numbers closely, you might wonder why Kaine's cash-on-hand total went down so much from the $4.5 mil he had at the end of March. That's because he recently went ahead and bought $2.5 million worth of television airtime for the fall. (Note this is no mere reservation but an actual purchase.) This has become the wave of the future in swing states, where downballot candidates are expecting the presidential campaigns and their third-party allies to absolutely flood the airwaves ahead of the November elections, so the smaller players are trying to lock in favorables rates early.
Jay Nixon (D-inc): 45 (47)Republican primary (MoE: ±4.7%):
Dave Spence (R): 34 (27)
Undecided: 21 (26)
Jay Nixon (D-inc): 46 (47)
Bill Randles (R): 32 (29)
Undecided: 22 (24)
Dave Spence (R): 32 (12)PPP's gubernatorial portion of this week's Missouri sample is a head-scratcher: it shows Dem incumbent Jay Nixon, who's been dominant in polling so far this cycle, with sharply diminished leads (though not to the point where it looks competitive, merely down to low double-digits instead of high teens). There doesn't seem to be a ready explanation, since the numbers on the presidential and senatorial portions hardly budged from last time, and nothing has happened to upset the balance here. The best explanation may simply be that Republican candidate Dave Spence has upped his name rec among the GOP electorate, and the various embarrassing things that have happened to him (like the news about his home economics degree) are long enough in the past that they're sliding down the memory hole.
Bill Randles (R): 11 (15)
Fred Sauer (R): 4 (--)
John Weiler (R): 1 (--)
Other: 10 (--)
Undecided: 43 (74)
Nixon is still one of the most popular governors up for re-election this year at 46/29 (and that's improved from January, at 44/31); Spence isn't well-known or well-liked at 13/17 among all voters, but that's also a bit improved from last time (6/15). Also better news for Spence, the GOP establishment's supposed savior here after Peter Kinder's implosion: At least he's winning the primary over little-known tea partier Bill Randles this time. (David Jarman)
• SC-Gov: Saying there were too many "unanswered questions," the South Carolina state House Ethics Committee "voted unanimously Wednesday to reopen its inquiry into whether Gov. Nikki Haley illegally lobbied while a S.C. House member, exploiting her public office for her personal gain and to benefit her employers." Notably, this panel consists of five of Haley's fellow Republicans and just one Democrat. For more details on the inquiry, click the link.
• WA-Gov (PDF): Local consulting firm Strategies 360 is out with its second poll of the Washington governor's race, and they find results that are slightly more favorable for GOPer Rob McKenna than we've seen in the last few months, but still a closer race than their previous poll. They see McKenna leading Dem Jay Inslee 43-39, but that 4-point gap is an improvement from Inslee's 7-point deficit (46-39) last September (PDF), which is also consistent with other recent polls' findings that McKenna seems to be losing ground, though to "undecided" rather than to Inslee.
Bonus findings: Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 51-40, Dems lead the GOP on the generic congressional ballot 44-41, and support for gay marriage (which will probably be up for a referendum in November) runs 54-33. There's also leaked word of an internal showing Jay Inslee leading McKenna by 2... but that's literally all we know about it, other than it's an internal by EMC Research for Dem AG candidate Bob Ferguson, rather than for Inslee himself. (David Jarman)
• WI-Gov: Clinton Alert! After weeks of lobbying by local Democrats, the Big Dog is coming to campaign with Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett on Friday. There's also another Democratic poll, this one from Barrett's campaign, which has Scott Walker up 50-48. That looks very similar to numbers Barrett put out last week, which were also courtesy Garin-Hart-Yang, just like this survey.
• AZ-08: American Crossroads throws down another $33K on mailers in support of Republican Jesse Kelly. To date, they've spent $132K on this special election—all of it on mail. (James L)
• CA-08: JOFPAC (that stands for "Jobs Opportunity and Freedom PAC"), an organization supporting GOP San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt in this open seat primary, is out with a couple of low-dollar expenditures on his behalf: $4K on pro-Mitzelfelt radio ads and $13K on mailers hitting Republican state Assemblyman Paul Cook. (James L)
• CA-24: Republican Abel Maldonado has long had serious tax issues regarding his family's 6,000 acre agri-business, and now a new analysis of court documents by the Los Angeles Times shows that the IRS is alleging Maldonado owes an additional $3.6 million in underpaid taxes, on top of a $470,000 tax bill that was made public in April. The most interesting political angle, though, is this:
Most of the multimillion-dollar dispute stems from complex accounting methods and questions about how to deduct the cost of a cooling facility and crates and boxes used to ship produce. But the IRS also alleges that the business was used to pay for items that may have personally benefited Maldonado and his family.It's also worth noting that in Maldonado's introductory TV ad, he specifically highlighted his farm, saying: "Together, my family turned a few acres into a thriving family-run small business, creating jobs and opportunities." Maldonado is looking to unseat Dem Rep. Lois Capps in November.
Those include thousands of dollars in renovations to Maldonado's home and a possible fundraiser for his campaign for state Senate, where he served before becoming lieutenant governor.
• CA-26: Sigh. If Republican-cum-independent Linda Parks somehow slips through the top-two primary here, it will be seriously disappointing. The Hotline's Scott Bland tells us just how rinky-dink her campaign operation is:
Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks is woefully underfunded compared to her main competitors in California's 26th District primary. An independent, she doesn't have a party apparatus or a natural donor base to lean on. Parks's son made her website. And she's running her congressional campaign out of her house—an initial call to the phone number on Parks's website went to a voicemail message that said, "You've reached the Parks residence, and Linda Parks for Congress."Total outside spending aimed at stopping Parks and boosting Democrat Julia Brownley has been in the neighborhood of $1 million. As of May 16, Parks' total fundraising was just $183K, plus a personal loan worth $25K. That makes you really wonder what internal polling here looks like, especially because the Dem-allied House Majority PAC just spent another $176K in pro-Brownley TV ads, plus $22K in mailers attacking Parks. Let's hope this money can push Brownley into the top two. (David Nir & James L)
• FL-16 (PDF): Politico has an unusually detailed memo explaining GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan's huge new $4 million media buy, running from Aug. 1 through Nov. 5. Of that, $3.65 mil is on broadcast (for some 17,000 gross ratings points) and another $400K is on cable. Ol' Vern only had about $1.5 mil on hand in his campaign account as of March 31, but he's enormously wealthy and probably wrote a personal check to help pay for this.">FL-16 (PDF): Politico has an unusually detailed memo explaining GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan's huge new $4 million media buy, running from Aug. 1 through Nov. 5. Of that, $3.65 mil is on broadcast (for some 17,000 gross ratings points) and another $400K is on cable. Ol' Vern only had about $1.5 mil on hand in his campaign account as of March 31, but he's enormously wealthy and probably wrote a personal check to help pay for this.
• HI-02: EMILY's List also just gave their full endorsement to Tulsi Gabbard, running in the Democratic primary in Hawaii's open 2nd CD. (They endorsed her at the same time as Kelda Roys in WI-02, which we mentioned in the previous digest.) Gabbard faces an extremely uphill fight against former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann.
• IA-02: The Humane Society's Legislative Action Fund just spent $20K on direct mail against Democratic state Sen. Joe Seng, who's challenging incumbent Rep. Dave Loebsack in the Democratic primary. The Humane Society is taking aim at Seng, who they say "led the effort to pass Iowa’s notorious “Ag Gag” bill (HF 589/SF 431), which aims to stop whistleblowers from exposing animal abuse, health violations and harassment at industrial factory farms". A copy of the mailer is available here (PDF). (James L)
• MI-11: Republican Rep. Thad McCotter's already epic petition debacle is now under criminal investigation by the state attorney general's office, a nice bit of ugliness that is sure to hang over McCotter's head as he tries to nevertheless win the GOP nomination via a write-in campaign. While we're on the topic, one more Republican is saying he won't wage a write-in effort of his own, ex-AG Mike Cox, who hails from the same town as McCotter (Livonia, in Wayne County). But Cox has utterly soured on the incumbent, with the Detroit News reporting that Cox "said his family and the McCotters are close, but now he is for 'anybody but Thad.'"
• NJ-09: Just ahead of Tuesday's primary, Dem Rep. Steve Rothman attacks fellow Dem Rep. Bill Pascrell for opposing a lawsuit to force polluters to pay to clean up the Passaic River. (The ad cites this article in the Bergen Record.) Rothman's campaign says the ad is up on New York City broadcast television, which of course is the most expensive media market in all the land. But this race is for all the marbles, since the primary winner is guaranteed to win in November, too.
• NM-01: Progressive Kick dropped $27K on this radio ad that attacks Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham's stewardship of nursing homes as head of the New Mexico State Agency on Aging (which we mentioned in the previous digest). Meanwhile, EMILY's List is adding another $10K to their direct mail campaign in support of Lujan Grisham, bringing their total investment in this primary to just over $100,000. (James L)
• NV-04: This certainly isn't good news for Republican Danny Tarkanian: A federal judge just ordered him and members of his family to pay a $17 million judgment because they personally guaranteed a bank loan to developer who later filed for bankruptcy. Local analyst Jon Ralston says there's "no way" Tarkanian can afford to pay up, so it's no surprise he's promising to appeal. But if the appeal is unsuccessful and Ralston is right, presumably Tarkanian himself would have to file for bankruptcy. I'm guessing that Tarkanian is just hoping to delay this debacle past the November elections, though it's already an issue on the campaign trail: Dan Schwartz, one of Tark's primary opponents, mentioned the lawsuit (before the judgment was handed down) in a recent ad.
• NY-18: Lovely: 2010 GOP Senate nominee Jay Townsend, who also happens to be a spokesman for freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth, has been making an ass of himself on a Facebook group run by local Democrats, but his latest remark ought to get him fired:
"Let's hurl some acid at those female democratic [sic] Senators who won't abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector."It's a two-fer: violent language towards women and eliminationist rhetoric about Democrats. Like I said, real lovely.
• SC-07: Two new ads in the GOP primary: Chad Prosser promises to make America default on its obligations ("no to raising the debt ceiling"), while Mike Huckabee endorses Andre Bauer in nearly apocalyptic terms ("Our God-given liberty is under attack by unelected judges, Washington politicians and even the president of the United States"). Bauer's buy is for $40K.
• TX-16: Now that Beto O'Rourke has defeated Rep. Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary, there isn't too much left to say about this race, since O'Rourke is all but assured of victory in November in this 64% Obama district. But I came across an odd detail in the comment section here on Wednesday that I wanted to share: O'Rourke supports a three-term limit for members of Congress. It's not quite clear from the linked page on his website whether he will abide by such a limit himself (the language he's used is very wiggly), but regardless, it's very strange to see a Democrat cottoning to this issue, especially so long after the term limits movement's heyday.
There's also an odd bit of synchronicity to point out: O'Rourke's biggest outside backer was the Campaign for Primary Accountability, whose founders were very active in pushing term limits in the 1990s. (And as you may know, O'Rourke's father-in-law was an early donor to the CPA.) I'm not saying there's any connection here, but O'Rourke's stance is unusual, to say the least.
• NY-St. Sen: The unbelievably drawn-out race to replace Democratic former Sen. Carl Kruger (sentenced to seven years in prison on bribery charges) in the 27th Senate District has finally reached its conclusion: Republican attorney David Storobin has beaten Democratic NYC councilman Lew Fidler by a grand total of 16 votes. This turf is mostly contained within the old 9th Congressional District (which Democrats rather infamously lost in a special election last year), so it's not a surprise that the race was so close, given how rapidly the Orthodox and Russian Jews in this area have moved away from the Dems.
In any event, this counts as a pickup for the GOP, putting the chamber at 33-29 in their favor, but it's not exactly a clear-cut win for them. For one, the legislative session concludes at the end of June, so Storobin won't even have much of a chance to vote on legislation. But beyond that, Republicans dismantled this seat in redistricting, instead creating a so-called "super Jewish" district in which nominal Democrat Simcha Felder is favored to win. Felder's party allegiances are very soft: He's socially conservative and has pretty much said he'll side with whoever controls the chamber (and probably the GOP if it's a tie). Storobin's pledged to seek re-election there, but he'll likely have a very tough time of things.
• San Diego Mayor: SurveyUSA is out with yet another poll of the Top 2 primary in the San Diego mayoral race, of interest because it features Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Filner looking for a job closer to home as a career capstone, and also an interesting gambit from moderate Republican rising star-turned-indie maverick state Asm. Nathan Fletcher. Republican city councilor Carl DeMaio is still in the lead at 31, with Filner close behind at 28, Fletcher at 23, and county DA Bonnie Dumanis at 11. That's good news for Filner, who several months ago had fallen into 3rd place behind Fletcher and in the previous poll two weeks ago was only starting to climb back (that poll was DeMaio 31, Filner 21, and Fletcher 21). (David Jarman)
• GA/AZ Filings: A couple of states recently saw their filing deadlines go by: Georgia and Arizona. In Georgia (where the deadline was last Friday), Democrats failed to field candidates in three red districts, including one which was held by Dems until just last cycle (GA-08, by Jim Marshall). And in Arizona (where filing closed on Wednesday), the most interesting filings are in AZ-02, the renumbered successor to AZ-08, where the Gabby Giffords special election is being held. If Ron Barber loses the special, the only other Democratic option is state Rep. Matt Heinz (Nomiki Konst bailed). For the GOP, if they decide they've had enough of Jesse Kelly, the main alternative is former Air Force combat pilot Martha McSally, who also ran in the special primary.