• MA-Gov (PDF): PPP's Massachusetts miscellany includes hypothetical 2014 gubernatorial matchups between the presumptive Republican nominee, 2010 loser Charlie Baker, and three Democrats: Attorney General and 2010 Senate loser Martha Coakley, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, and Treasurer Steve Grossman. (Incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick has announced he will not seek a third term.)
Coakley (who was a state and national punch line for a while after her unexpected loss to Scott Brown) continues her impressive political rehabilitation, enjoying solid favorables and crushing Baker 47-34. The race is essentially tied between Baker and the other two Democrats, with loads of undecideds: Grossman edges Baker 36-34, while Baker tops Murray 37-36. None of the three is especially well-known, but while Baker and Grossman's favorables are near even, Murray's are underwater at 19/33. Unfortunately for Baker, nearly twice as many of the undecideds are Obama voters, suggesting that while he's primed to run another competitive race, he has a hill to climb to get to 50% +1.
Two big potential names are excluded from this poll, of course: Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. Both are tremendous fundraisers with large bases of support; only one can be Senator in 2013. Of the two, Brown, a former state legislator, is far more likely to run for Governor if he loses, and that could scramble the 2014 field completely. Two more names the Great Mentioner likes mentioning are those of U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, both Democrats. (Arjun Jaikumar)
• CT-Sen: With about a month-and-a-half to go before Connecticut's August 14 primary, underdog Susan Bysiewicz is airing her first TV ad. In the spot, a breast cancer survivor praises Bysiewicz for "[getting] a law passed" to force insurance companies to cover hospital stays for patients recovering from mastectomies. The law in question is a 1997 bill Bysiewicz co-sponsored (along with many others) while she was a state representative. Commenter Xenocrypt takes a deeper look at Bysiewicz's involvement in the legislation's passage.
• MO-Sen: Biden Alert! The VPOTUS will headline a fundraiser for Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill on July 9 in Kansas City.
• MT-Sen: The League of Conservation Voters filed another $70K (on "Field Campaign Consulting") for their ground game efforts on behalf of Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. (James L)
• VA-Sen: Majority PAC has placed another $270K ad buy in support of Democrat Tim Kaine. Presumably, that money is paying for a re-up of this anti-George Allen ad that the super PAC first released last week. (James L)
• WA-Gov: Now that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay, Rob McKenna would really, really like you to forget he was ever opposed to it. Unlike most of the nation's elected Republicans, who are mostly worried about staving off a teabagger primary, he has to worry about appealing to moderates, and now he's saying, unlike most other Republicans, that they should stop trying to repeal it and focus on tinkering with it instead. That's quite a flip-flop for McKenna, who, of course, in his role as the state's AG, joined the multi-state suit against the ACA (though that may have seemed like a good idea at the time, back when he too was probably most concerned with avoiding a challenge from the right in the gubernatorial primary). (David Jarman)
• AZ-09: It feels like the GOP race has been slow to heat up in Arizona's new 9th Congressional District, but here's Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker with what I'm sure is one of the first TV ads to come out in response to Thursday's Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. He doesn't really say much about the SCOTUS; instead, he just repeats the usual lies about the legislation, while a final title card reads "Repeal Obamacare." Parker's only raised $30K so far, though, so I'm sure this is just a video press release.
• CT-05: The PCCC is out with a poll of the Democratic primary in the 5th Congressional District, courtesy PPP. For some reason, they aren't publicizing the straight head-to-heads, but rather a question which asks respondents which candidate they think would be "strongest" in the general election. The numbers are good news for state House Speaker Chris Donovan, whom the PCCC previously endorsed. 45% of voters call him the "strongest," while 25% say ex-state Rep. Elizabeth Esty and 12% pick p.r. exec Dan Roberti. As you know, Donovan's campaign was roiled a month ago when his finance director was arrested on fundraising fraud charges and his campaign manager was fired, so while we don't have any trendlines, these numbers suggest he's weathering the storm.
• FL-06: Republican attorney Ron DeSantis, fresh off earning the Club for Growth's endorsement, is out with his first ad. He attacks members of Congress for "disregard[ing] their oath to the Constitution" but says he, an Iraq vet, "takes his oath seriously." DeSantis also looks like he's squinting badly into the sun. (The spot takes place indoors.)
• MO-01: There are only two remaining member-vs.-member primaries on the Democratic side (not including a pair of California races which will get decided in November), and one of them is in Missouri's 1st Congressional District. It's been a slow-burning race between Reps. Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan; Clay's earned two or three notable endorsements, but beyond that, there hasn't been much action. Now, though, Clay is up with his first radio ad, featuring two pastors singing his praises while some oddly peppy music plays in the background.
• NY-13: This is just pretty amazing. New York's primary was Tuesday, and yet as of Friday, we still didn't know the actual vote count in the NY-13 Democratic contest, where Rep. Charlie Rangel declared victory and where state Sen. Adriano Espaillat conceded... but perhaps prematurely. Check out this fucking mess:
Amazingly, the Board's Tuesday night tally listed 79 election districts— 15% of Rangel's entire congressional district—as recording no votes.There may also be as many as 3,000 paper ballots outstanding as well, and it sounds like even Rangel's camp thinks the margin may get closer yet. Said Rangel advisor Bill Lynch: "I'm very confident that at the end there will be a W next to Charlie's name, even if it's by 10 votes." That's a demonstration both of a lot of confidence and very little confidence at the same time!
Most of those zeroes were in areas like Washington Heights and the South Bronx, where Espaillat, who is seeking to become the first Dominican-American in Congress, happens to have his biggest base of support.
When AP reporters noticed all those zeroes, they immediately rechecked paper tallies the next day. They found 46 districts where people had in fact gone to the polls. They then counted the votes in those districts, and Espaillat suddenly gained some 1,200 votes over Rangel.
As for the other 33 election districts, AP couldn't find any paper results. I called Valerie Vazquez, spokeswoman for the Board, several times Thursday to ask about those missing districts. Vazquez did not return my calls.
One extra-ridiculous factor about the whole NY-13 debacle is that the NYC Board of Elections is trying to conduct its business in secret, which seems rather antithetical to the notion of how democracy is supposed to work! To remedy this, Espaillat's attorneys have sought legal intervention, and now a Manhattan judge has agreed to hold a hearing on Monday.
• Maps: Whether you're looking at a county-by-county map based on election results or racial composition, it's hard to miss the Black Belt, a narrow band of heavily-Democratic, heavily-African-American counties that run through the middle of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, then in an arc across the coastal plains of the Carolinas. If you're wondering about the historical roots for that, you could go back to the 1800s, when this was the most productive area in the nation for cotton production and where the plantation-based economy led to the highest concentrations of slaves... or you could go back to the Cretaceous era 100 million years ago, when the coastline followed the current arc of the Black Belt, and where the millions of invertebrates there contributed to the chalky soil today that's so suited for cotton growing. Deep Sea News (definitely the first time we've ever linked to them!) has a fascinating article overlaying geological, agricultural, racial, and political maps of the region. (David Jarman)
• Pres-by-CD: I've just updated our chart of Obama-McCain results for all 435 congressional districts to include a new piece of information: old district number. Be careful, though, because it's not an exact science—some districts have clear predecessors, while others don't. Here's my general methodology:
• If an incumbent is seeking re-election, then their old district number is used. That's true even where an incumbent is running in a seat with a different numbers. For example, Jim Matheson is running in UT-04, even though his old district is UT-02. So I've marked UT-02 as the predecessor to UT-04.Beyond this, I've had to make some judgment calls, mostly in California, where the lines were completely overhauled. Note: The old Obama/McCain numbers reflect those for the same district number. So the new results for AZ-02 (for example) reflect the district that Democrat Ron Barber will seek re-election in this fall. But the old results for AZ-02 refer to GOP Rep. Trent Franks' current district. You'll have to manually match up old results to new district numbers for a more direct comparison. So if you want to see what AZ-02's "old" results look like, first find its predecessor district (in this case, AZ-08) ,then look at the old Obama/McCain numbers for that seat number.
• If an incumbent is retiring but it's reasonably clear where they would have sough re-election, then their old district number is used. For example, Gary Ackerman was planning to run in NY-06 before announcing his retirement, so his old district, NY-05, is marked as the predecessor.
• If two incumbents are facing off against each other, I've marked both districts as predecessors. For example, see CA-30. If one incumbent has already won a primary, then I leave only the winner's district. For example, see PA-12. (Sorry, losers.)
• If a district is newly created thanks to reapportionment, then I have not marked any predecessor. Example: AZ-09. Note that in some cases, states have renumbered or incumbents have made particular choices such that the "new" districts are not always those with the highest number. Example: UT-02, as mentioned above.