• DCCC/DSCC: Roll Call's Nathan Gonzales has an interesting piece on how the major campaign committees, which have to calve off separate arms to handle "independent expenditures" that aren't coordinated either with the campaigns they're trying to help or the motherships which spawned them, get around these anti-coordination rules. One method has led to some interesting consequences: The DCCC has started posting extensive opposition research briefing books and video clips of Republican targets. (The DSCC is doing something similar.) Nathan explains how anyone can find the goods:
From the group's main page, go to "2012 races," click on a state and click on a district that features a Republican candidate's name. In many cases, you'll find downloadable clipbooks, research books, links to raw video footage, and sometimes bulleted talking points. For example, anyone can access the 85-page research book on Arizona Republican Jesse Kelly or the 135-page file on California candidate Abel Maldonado (R).Here's the DCCC's Kelly page Nathan mentions; just scroll to the bottom and you'll see links to all the dirt they have on him. (Republicans tend to use a somewhat different method, usually creating race-specific micro-sites. But the NRCC does have a kind of weaksauce hub at "Democrat Facts.") This stuff is a serious treasure trove that could make for a lot of good blogging fodder.
Similarly, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has research attainable through a handful of clicks. From the committee's home page, click on the Races tab, then "Read More" about a particular state, then "See what Republicans are doing in Ohio" (for example) and you'll find a multipage PDF file with quotes and clips.
• FL-Sen: Connie Mack? Arrogant? Never! Yet for some reason, the humble Republican congressman is already declaring victory in the GOP primary:
Connie Mack has declined an invitation to participate in a statewide prime-time televised debate, effectively declaring the GOP U.S. Senate primary over.Yes, Mack leads in the polls, but this kind of attempt to project inevitability doesn't always work out so well. I'm thinking of a primary, maybe back in 2008... a big one... someone help me out here?
"It’s clear the race for the U.S. Senate in Florida is now between Connie Mack, the Republican, and Bill Nelson, the Democrat," Mack campaign manager Jeff Cohen wrote in a letter to Jeanne Grinstead, deputy managing editor of the Tampa Bay Times. [...]
"A primary debate among Republicans would only serve to benefit Bill Nelson," Cohen wrote adding that a debate between Mack and Nelson "makes all the sense in the world."
P.S. Speaking of polls, PPP has a brand-new one out on the Senate race (where Nelson cruises), plus a Republican primary portion (where Mack's edge is actually not all that impressive). Follow the link for our complete analysis and all the numbers at Daily Kos Elections.
• ND-Sen: Majority PAC, the unofficial-official Super PAC of the Democratic Senate caucus, is out with a new ad targeting Republican Rick Berg for being a general schmuck. (The spot is backed by a $67K buy, a small but still effective sum for a cheap state like North Dakota.) The buy coincides nicely with a new Mason-Dixon poll that gives Democrat Heidi Heitkamp a 47-46 lead on Berg. (James L)
• NM-Sen: With New Mexico's primary now concluded, a large coalition of environmental groups are supporting Democratic nominee Martin Heinrich with a $1 million ad buy in his race against Republican Heather Wilson. The organizations involved include the Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Whew!
• UT-Sen: Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who faced his own fight to secure his party's nomination, had been reluctant to endorse in his state's simultaneous Senate race, lest he further piss off the teabaggers who hate him by backing Sen. Orrin Hatch over the insurgent Dan Liljenquist. But Herbert easily dispatched his challengers at the state convention, so he's lending his support to Hatch, who still has to contend with Liljenquist in a primary later this month.
• WI-Sen: Eric Hovde is out with another TV spot—he's the rich guy who's forced himself into the four-way conversation in the Wisconsin GOP primary through nonstop advertising. This one features his daughters talking about how the rest of the Senate won't like him because of his
funny smell anti-spending stances. Real Clear Politics also takes a look at how all the Republican candidates are trying to latch themselves onto Scott Walker's coattails, now that Walker's mojo got re-upped on Tuesday. (David Jarman)
• Crossroads: Karl Rove's demonic American Crossroads organization is out with ads in three key Senate races. In Montana and Indiana, Crossroads GPS is up with $860K's worth of ads attacking Jon Tester and Joe Donnelly for being reckless spendocrats hellbent on supporting Barack Obama's scheme to take control of your healthcare. (Or something.) And in New Mexico, the American Crossroads PAC is up with a $119K ad buy that strikes a notably different tone – one that attempts to portray Heather Wilson as an independent moderate with a record of "standing up to her own party". Shah! (James L)
• AZ-04: In a new TV spot, Republican state Sen. Ron Gould wears a proud little smirk as he loads up a copy of the healthcare reform bill into a trap, shouts "pull," pumps his shotgun, and then blasts the legislation to smithereens. So clever! Except: Joe Manchin called, and he wants his ad back.
• AZ-08: With the Arizona's 8th district special election looming next week, Ron Barber is out with one more ad from his campaign, a positive spot that focuses on what he's done for small business. Roll Call's writeup also has a helpful recap of everybody's spending in the race, and finds that Dems aren't getting outspent in the same way they were in Wisconsin. In fact, Barber plus allies have the slight advantage over Kelly and allies, at $1.7 million to $1.5 million. (The NRCC has significantly outspent the DCCC, but Barber's camp has outspent Kelly's camp and more importantly, House Majority PAC has closed the gap.)
Meanwhile, the DCCC is up with what may be their last ad buy of this special election campaign, totaling nearly $200K. It's unclear if the money is going to a new ad, or for an extended rotation of their latest ad, one that features the emotional narration of a local construction worker who's appalled by Jesse Kelly's anti-Medicare ravings. (David Jarman & James L)
• CA-35, CA-31: Hearing about new target lists from the Campaign for Primary Accountability has now become a staple of political reporting—and as I've said many times in the past, wait until you see if they put their money where their press releases are, because anyone can draw up a list, and the CPA has definitely failed to follow through on certain races it's identified. But if you want to keep up with their machinations, they're saying that they may now go after Dem Rep. Joe Baca, who turned in a weak performance in Tuesday's top-two primary, taking just 45% of the vote while fellow Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod scored 36%.
The CPA adds that they'll also take a look at CA-31, the disastrous blue-leaning district where two Republicans managed to advance to the November general election: Rep. Gary Miller and state Sen. Bob Dutton. (It'd be the incumbent Miller they'd have in their sights.) Incidentally, Roll Call mentions that Miller conducted a last-minute poll over Memorial Day weekend which showed Democrat Pete Aguilar in third place, so I guess he wasn't surprised at the final results, even though it seems everyone else (ourselves included) was.
• CT-05: Democratic state House Speaker Chris Donovan's union allies are sticking with him after his campaign was rocked by the arrest of his finance director on campaign finance charges, and they showed it by rallying with him on Wednesday. It was Donovan's first event (apart from a press conference) since the story broke, and representatives "from the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers Union and the American Federation of Teachers" all spoke on his behalf before 200 supporters. Donovan has said he had no knowledge of his staffer's alleged wrongdoing.
• FL-02: Former state Sen. Al Lawson, who nearly unseated ex-Rep. Allen Boyd in the 2010 Democratic primary, is getting some fundraising help on Thursday from the third-ranking Democrat in the House, Rep. James Clyburn. (Rep. Corrine Brown, of "she's crazy!" fame, will also appear at the DC event.) This time, Lawson faces a primary with state Rep. Leonard Bembry, who has the endorsement of the Blue Dogs and is probably the establishment favorite. Remarkably, Bembry responded to this news with an attack on Lawson from the left:
"I'm surprised that anyone could support Al Lawson given the fact that when he was in the state legislature he voted for every single budget that Florida Republicans offered, many of which cut state education funding, led to teacher layoffs and cut programs to benefit seniors," Bembry Communications Director Ralph Mason said in a statement. "We are proud of the support we've received from over a dozen members of Congress and endorsements from organized labor."Both men are vying to take on freshman GOPer Steve Southerland, who beat Boyd last cycle.
• MI-11: Local Republicans have been looking to coalesce behind one write-in candidate to try and salvage the 11th district, where Thad McCotter's petition failure left them with only a Paulist reindeer farmer as their candidate. It sounds like they've decided to focus their efforts on Nancy Cassis, who was a state Senator until being termed out in 2010. The Oakland County party is still officially neutral—which makes the process of cat-herding Republican voters that much harder—but a committee of that organization picked Cassis over harder-to-spell options like Rocky Raczkowski. (David Jarman)
• NJ-09: Here's some interesting Wednesday-morning quarterbacking from a local source (Bergen Co. reporter Charles Stile, who sounds knowledgeable about the county machine-level politics in north Jersey, which seemed to make all the difference here) about what went wrong for Rep. Steve Rothman, who lost the member-on-member primary in the 9th by a bigger-than-expected margin. He thinks Rothman's message of going negative on Bill Pascrell didn't get any traction in the Passaic County portions of the district. (David Jarman)
• NY-06: EMILY's List invites you to witness the firepower of their fully armed and operational direct mail battle station. Fresh off of successful interventions in the CA-26 and NM-01 primaries, EMILY is touching down in the open seat race to replace retiring Dem Rep. Gary Ackerman with an $18K direct mail expenditure on behalf of Assemblywoman Grace Meng. (James L)
• PA-07: I'm not sure there's much to be gained by releasing an internal poll showing you're down by 20, but maybe Dem challenger George Badey wanted to show that GOP incumbent Pat Meehan wasn't cresting 50 (the poll from GBA Strategies shows the lawyer/Mummer down 50 to 30). The poll also finds Obama up 48-41 over Romney in the district, decent numbers since the 7th got taken down to 51% Obama (in 2008) by redistricting. (David Jarman)
• OR-AG: Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has appointed Ellen Rosenblum, who just won the Democratic primary for Attorney General a few weeks ago, as the state's AG. She replaces John Kroger, who had previously decided not to run again and now is resigning to take over as president of Reed College. That should give her a bit of incumbency advantage going into November, where it turns out the GOP did manage to scrape up a candidate to oppose her. James Buchal managed to get 13,000 write-in votes, enough for the nomination after the GOP wound up leaving that line blank in primary... not that they have much of a shot in November, but failing to recruit anybody at all for a statewide open seat was a baffling screwup. (Similarly, the GOP managed to get Tom Cox onto the Treasurer ballot in November via write-in, after failing to get a candidate for the primary.) (David Jarman)
• OH GOP: Gov. John Kasich's takeover of the Ohio Republican Party now appears to be complete: One of his key loyalists, Dave Luketic, was just installed as chairman. Luketic was a leader in the effort to dump the prior chair, Kevin DeWine, a Kasich nemesis. And no, there never appeared to be an ideological element to this long-running internecine battle—it purely seemed to be about personal fiefdoms.