• NY-27: My jaw just hinged open and didn't want to shut after I read this. Major, major props to Adama Brown for this find about Republican Chris Collins, running against Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul in New York's 27th Congressional District:
The healthcare reforms Collins said he would push would be tort reform and open up competition in insurance by allowing policies across state lines.As Brown points out, prostate cancer kills almost 30,000 men a year (PDF) in the United States, while breast cancer kills nearly 40,000 women each year (PDF). I am absolutely dumbfounded. But I'm also a bit troubled by the fact that this interview was published on June 24, but neither the Hochul campaign nor the DCCC spotted Collins' remarks until after Brown (who isn't paid to do this sort of thing) discovered them and published his piece a week later. Hochul's eventual response was also very ineffectual:
Collins also argued that modern healthcare is expensive for a reason.
"People now don't die from prostate cancer, breast cancer and some of the other things," Collins said. "The fact of the matter is, our healthcare today is so much better, we're living so much longer, because of innovations in drug development, surgical procedures, stents, implantable cardiac defibrillators, neural stimulators—they didn't exist 10 years ago. The increase in cost is not because doctors are making a lot more money. It's what you can get for healthcare, extending your life and curing diseases."
"Chris Collins has demonstrated a stunning lack of sensitivity by saying, 'people now don't die from prostate cancer, breast cancer, and some of the other things.' Tragically, nearly 70,000 people will die this year from these two types of cancer alone. We can disagree about public policy without making these kinds of outrageous and offensive statements."That's it. (And I can't even link to the press release on her website because it's just a splash page.) What's more, Hochul's press release failed to even cite a source or provide a link, and didn't quote Collins' statement in full—an error which opened the door for the publisher of the original interview, Howard Owens of The Batavian, to accuse Hochul of "rip[ing] this quote out of context." Owens went too far, though, in insisting that Collins "clearly... misspoke." If Collins in fact misspoke, he could have said so—but in response, Collins did not admit to any sort of misspeaking. So the onus is still on him to explain himself.
Meanwhile, I'm left wondering what the D-Trip is up to. They should be doing the dirty work here, tying these remarks to other outrageous things Collins has said in the past—like when he called state Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, a Jew, the "anti-Christ" and likened him to Hitler, or when he allegedly told a woman attending a crowded gubernatorial address: "I'm sure if you offer someone a lap dance you can find a place to sit." So far as I know, though, no such press release has gone out.
These kinds of blunders, like the one Collins made, offer rare golden opportunities to define your opponent as unacceptable and out-of-touch. I figured Democrats would instantly pounce and put Collins on the defensive. But it looks like this opportunity is being fumbled away, and I cannot understand why.
• FL-22: So it begins: the flood of second-quarter fundraising numbers, that is. Former West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel once again had a huge haul, pulling in $400K. No word on her cash-on-hand, though. I'll be curious to see what Kristin Jacobs, her Democratic primary opponent, raises, as well as Adam Hasner, the GOPer waiting in the wings for the winner of the Frankel-Jacobs contest.
• PA-03: Missa Eaton (D): $84K raised
• HI-Sen: Rep. Mazie Hirono is touting a two-week-old survey from her pollster, the Benenson Strategy Group, which shows her up 53-38 over ex-Rep. Ed Case in the Democratic primary. That's very similar to the last Benenson poll we saw all the way back in November, which had Hirono leading 54-36. As before, the Hirono campaign did not release general election matchups.
• MT-Sen: We'd previously mentioned that the Montana state Democratic party was getting a big check from the DSCC to do a $400K ad buy (since the state party can apparently lock in lower rates than the DSCC)—gigantic by Montana standards. The Montana Dems recently swapped in a new ad for the remaining days of the buy, which runs through July 9; this one goes after Denny Rehberg for voting for tax breaks for millionaires.
Meanwhile, it looks like the pro-Dem Patriot Majority USA is spending another $88K against Rehberg. Interestingly, though, the ad—in which an Iraq vet attacks Rehberg for voting against money for prosthetic research and aid for wounded vets—closes with a disclaimer saying that VoteVets, not Patriot Majority, is responsible for the spot. (David Jarman & David Nir)
• NE-Sen: The Nebraska Democratic Party is also getting in on the ad-buying act (though there's no word on whether they're being underwritten by the DSCC this time, as in Montana). The state party is out with an ad hitting Deb Fischer for signing on to Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge. No word on the size of the buy, though probably most notable is the fact that the state party hasn't given up on Bob Kerrey. (David Jarman & David Nir)
• OH-Sen: Republican Josh Mandel, the alleged treasurer of the state of Ohio, has reportedly made a $4 million television ad reservation for this fall. You'll recall that the DSCC recently reserved over $5 mil in TV time as well.
• TX-Sen: It seems a bit odd that so few members of Texas's congressional delegation have endorsed in the Senate GOP runoff. On Monday, Rep. Michael Burgess became just the second to do so, along with Ron Paul; they're both backing Ted Cruz. One unnamed GOP operative suggests people are feeling "burned" after taking sides in the last big Republican primary fight in Texas: the 2010 gubernatorial battle between Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. I guess you'd only feel burned, though, if you backed KBH! Wikipedia actually has a list, and funny enough, Burgess actually supported Hutchison.
• WV-Sen: Whoa. I'm not sure I've heard a crazier, more over-the-top voice-over than the serial killer/megalomaniac Bond Villain/evil arch-wizard voice that recites this roll call of the "Gang of Four" supposedly anti-coal figures, as produced by Republican John Raese's fevered mind. I say "fevered" because, love him or hate him, it's pretty damn hard to paint Dem Sen. Joe Manchin as anti-coal. (The other three horsemen of the coal-pocalypse: EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, United Mine Workers president Cecil Roberts, and, of course, Barack Obama.) Is Raese's polling really telling him that this is a weakness for Manchin?
• IN-Gov: Evidently, the RGA must not think it has the Indiana governor's race in the bag, seeing as how they recently donated a cool $1 million directly to Republican Rep. Mike Pence's gubernatorial campaign. Second quarter fundraising reports are not due in the Hoosier State until July 16, but candidates are required to disclose any donations over $10,000 within a week of receiving them. That gives us a partial sense of how fundraising has been going: In large donations over the last three months, Pence has pulled in $1.7 million in total, while Democrat John Gregg has raised over $800K. So as you can see, without that RGA infusion, Gregg would have led Pence among big donors. (The DGA has not contributed to Gregg's campaign.)
• CA-30: Redistricting Partners has done a helpful slice-and-dice of the precinct-level results in the Top 2 primary in the 30th, which, as expected, saw the resolution of the Battle of the -ermans (Brad Sherman and Howard Berman) get deferred to November. They find that Latino voters broke heavily for Sherman, while Jewish voters broke heavily for Berman. Sherman won more narrowly among Asians, while Sherman finished 2nd among Republicans (after GOPer Mark Reed). On the balance, that was enough to propel Sherman to a 41-31 victory over Berman in the first round. (David Jarman)
• IL-08: Just when you didn't think it was possible, GOP freshman Joe Walsh has reached a new low. Listen to him describe his Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth, at a recent town hall:
"Understand something about John McCain. His political advisers, day after day, had to take him and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say, "Senator, you have to let people know you served! You have to talk about what you did!" He didn't want to do it, wouldn't do it. Day after day they had to convince him. Finally, he talked a little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That's what's so noble about our heroes. Now I'm running against a woman who, my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, it's the last thing in the world they talk about. That's why we're so indebted and in awe of what they've done."• FL-26: This is amusing: Rep. David Rivera, whose case of cooties is so serious that virtually none of his fellow Republicans want to breathe the same air as him, is now acting like he's too good for Mitt Romney! Rivera says that because of Romney's stance on immigration, he won't act as a surrogate for the presumptive GOP nominee. How terrible for Mitt! I'm sure he's inconsolable about this news.
• NJ-05: After Rep. Steve Rothman's loss to fellow Rep. Bill Pascrell in the NJ-09 Democratic primary, we'd dreamed up a fantasy scenario whereby Adam Gussen would step aside in NJ-05 and Dems would appoint Rothman as a replacement candidate to take on Rep. Scott Garrett. Of course, that was beyond unlikely, since Rothman chose not run in the 5th in the first place. But now this late-nite sports call-in radio-type pipe dream definitely won't happen, since Rothman says in a new interview that he's done running for office: "I'm not going to try again. This is the end. I know the cost and I don't want to pay it any more."
• NC-08: So of course Rep. Larry Kissell, always a wobbly vote at best and now trying to win re-election in a much redder district, is doing everything in his power to distance himself from the Democratic Party. Last week, he voted to holder Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, and now he says he won't endorse Obama, may not attend the Democratic convention (even though it's taking place right next door to his district), and will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
It's that last bit which makes me wonder about his political acumen, though. Yes, Kissell voted against the ACA when it first passed Congress, but in January of 2011, when Republicans took back control of the House, one of the first roll calls they scheduled was a vote on repeal. And at the time, Kissell voted against repeal, saying it was time "to look forward and work to make things better." If he wanted to repeal the ACA, he could have voted in favor of doing so a year-and-a-half ago. So how exactly is he going to sell this flip-flop now?
Over on the GOP side, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's YG Action Fund is spending another $23K on mailers attacking former Iredell County Commissioner (and dentist) Scott Keadle, in an effort to boost one-time congressional aide Richard Hudson in the runoff. That brings the group's total outlay to almost $100K on behalf of Hudson, including expenditures before the primary.
• OH-16: A new poll for House Majority PAC and SEIU, from Normington Petts, shows Dem Rep. Betty Sutton with a slight lead over GOP Rep. Jim Renacci, 41-38. Libertarian Jeff Blevins is at 4. That's good news, and it's also pretty similar to the only other survey we've seen of this incumbent-vs.-incumbent race, a Democratic internal conducted all the way back in October which had the contest tied at 45 apiece. It's worth noting that this battle is being fought mostly on Renacci's turf: He currently represents 42% of the redrawn 16th while Sutton represents just 21%. This is also a district McCain won 51-47. If Renacci has any contrary polling, we haven't seen it.
• TX-33: State Rep. Marc Veasey continues to roll up endorsements as he heads to the Democratic runoff against ex-state Rep. Domingo Garcia. The latest is from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC. Veasey is African-American, but interestingly, Rep. E.B. Johnson says candidates backed by the CBC "do not necessarily have to be African-American but rather they simply have to demonstrate that they are the best person to represent the interests of our community." I'd be curious to see a list of their recent endorsements, but they don't seem to have one on their website.
• WA-01: State Sen. (and National Guard member) Steve Hobbs has tried to stake out the manly-man segment in the Dem primary in the 1st, and over the weekend he received a couple endorsements that should help him make that case: He got the backing of the national Fraternal Order of Police and the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters. (David Jarman)
• Dark Money: OpenSecrets identifies a serious disclosure loophole when it comes to super PACs:
Any super PAC choosing to submit its reports to the FEC on a quarterly schedule must file a pre-election report detailing its finances—including donors' names—before a primary in which it is active. But then there's a black hole—a period of 20 days before the primary election, during which the group can take in and spend money without disclosing its donors until the next quarterly filing.Nine such super PACs spent $1.3 million in this manner during the second quarter, playing in primaries while hiding their donors. Here's just one example:
In other words, by timing their expenditures just right in the races on which they focused, these super PACs are able to keep their donors under the radar until after the primaries. The public will learn who the contributors were on July 15.
The spending patterns of the Conservatives Acting Together PAC, or CATPAC, demonstrate the loophole. The super PAC filed a pre-primary report on May 16 disclosing all donors and expenditures from April 5 to May 9. CATPAC reported having received just $20,500 in contributions, and that it was down to less than $25 cash on hand.• Demographics: Could a land developer's marketing decisions be responsible for tipping the nearly 50-50 political balance in Florida? Adam Smith has an interesting man-on-the-street piece about Osceola County, Florida (south of Orlando and home to part of Disney World), one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and the center of Hispanic growth in the I-4 corridor.
Yet the day after its report, CATPAC made a nearly $100,000 radio buy supporting Michael Williams' bid for the GOP nomination in Texas' 25th congressional district.
The most interesting detail, though, is the decision by a suburban developer to aggressively market its new subdivisions to Puerto Ricans, both on the island and in the New York area, spurring the huge influx of new Puerto Rican residents. The tough part, it seems, isn't so much about getting the new residents interested in politics or converting them to the Democratic agenda, though, as much as it's about turning their attention away from parochial Puerto Rican issues (the independence vs. commonwealth issues that dominate politics there) and over toward presidential and congressional politics. (David Jarman)
• Ohio: PPP shows a positive trend on the gay marriage front in Ohio, but the generic congressional ballot has gotten a bit worse for Democrats. The last time they asked, back in May (PDF), Dems led 45-41. Now it's all tied at 43 apiece.
• Rhode Island: And then there were two. Rhode Island's filing deadline has come and gone, and you can find complete candidate lists at the link. That leaves just Delaware and Louisiana as states where the filing deadline is still open.
• SCF: Sen. Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund, which has raised and spent a legit amount over the last few years in an effort to elect ultra-conservatives to Congress, is morphing into a super PAC so that the group can seek unlimited donations from big fish. That means that DeMint has to formally sever ties with the organization because specific rules limit the role elected officials can play in super PACs, but the restrictions are pretty minimal. And most of the group's work has been carried out by DeMint operatives anyway, so really this just means DeMint will become even more of a pain in the ass for the rest of the Republican caucus.
• SEIU: The SEIU is throwing down for paid staffers in a bunch of races: WI-Sen, NV-Sen, OH-Sen, NV-04, CO-06, and US-Pres, for some $210K in total.
• Site News: I'm very pleased to announce our first Featured Writer at Daily Kos Elections: dreaminonempty, a longtime Kossack whose excellent in-depth examinations of polling you may have already encountered on the sidebar. Dreamin's stand-alone work, which includes a lot of deep dives into the Daily Kos/SEIU raw polling data, will now appear on the Elections front page. Please give him a hearty welcome!
• OH Redistricting: Here's some good news: It looks like there will be enough signatures to get a proposed constitutional amendment on Ohio's November ballot to create a California-style independent redistricting commission for the state. The commission would have four Dems, four GOPers, and four independents, and would have authority over both congressional and legislative redistricting. (Currently the state legislature handles congressional redistricting, while a commission of statewide elected officials does legislative redistricting.)
We Are Ohio, the main force behind the 2011 referendum that preserved collective bargaining rights, is supporting the measure, while the state's Republicans—obviously unwilling to give up their power, and mindful of the radical changes wrought by California's commission—are opposed. Interestingly, if it passes, the commission will immediately re-draw lines for the 2014 elections (see section 10). (David Jarman & David Nir)