• MA-Sen: Holy shnikeys! Democrat Elizabeth Warren somehow keeps blasting through every personal fundraising record she sets. Her new second quarter numbers are in, and she hauled in a beyond-monster $8.7 million! That compares to $6.9 mil in 1Q, which beat the $5.7 mil she raised in the quarter before that, which beat the $3.2 mil she raked in in her very first (abbreviated) quarter in the race. Dayumn! To top it off, Warren's cash-on-hand is $13.5 million. That compares with $11 million at the end of March. Obviously she's spending a lot, but she keeps upping her take. And no, Scott Brown has not released his totals yet.
• CT-05: Elizabeth Esty (D): $340K raised, $900K cash-on-hand
• FL-18: Patrick Murphy (D): $508K raised (yowza!)
• IN-Sen: Rep. Joe Donnelly (D): $900K raised, $1.3 mil cash-on-hand; Richard Mourdock (R): $1.6 mil raised. Note that Mourdock had a competitive primary and isn't revealing his cash-on-hand, so I'd be willing to bet that Donnelly has more money in the bank.
• MI-Sen: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D): $1.5 mil raised, $4.5 mil cash-on-hand
• NC-Gov: Pat McCrory (R): $2.2 mil raised, $4.4 mil cash-on-hand
• NY-25: Rep. Louise Slaughter (D): $530K raised (broken leg and all!)
• RI-01: Rep. David Cicilline (D): $300K raised, $825K cash-on-hand; Brendan Doherty (R): $200K raised, $663K cash-on-hand
• MN-02: Mike Obermueller (D): $253K raised (in two months), $214K cash-on-hand
• NY-27: Rep. Kathy Hochul (D): >$500K raised
• IL-13: Rodney Davis (R): $440K raised (in six weeks), $400K cash-on-hand
• WI-01: Rep. Paul Ryan (R): $957K raised, $5.4 mil cash-on-hand
• CA-Sen (PDF): Field Research is out with its very first poll of the California Senate race, where ultra-longshot autism activist Elizabeth Emken is trying to unseat Dem Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The incumbent has a 51-32 lead, though given how unknown Emken is (she has favorables of 22-13), those numbers are a bit meh. In the last couple of years, Field has shown Feinstein with weaker job approvals than she's been accustomed to in her long tenure in office; right now, she stands at 45-32—pretty much her weakest standing in 20 years—which helps explain her results in the head-to-heads. An upset will still be well-nigh impossible for Emken, but I suspect Feinstein is going to have to work harder than she'd like.
• CT-Sen: In her new ad, ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz tries to compare her extremely uphill battle for the Democratic nomination ("some people say I shouldn't run for the Senate because I didn't get the party endorsement") to some legislative accomplishments that also supposedly faced steep odds (stopping "drive-through mastectomies" and banning "gifts from lobbyists") but ultimately won the day.
• MO-Sen: Ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman is out with her first ad of the race, a compare-and-contrast spots which starts off hitting GOP primary frontrunner John Brunner for being from St. Louis (as opposed to "real Missouri") and for allegedly donating to a group called the "Humane Farming Association" which the narrator mocks for wanting "to give farm animals rights." The second half features Steelman talking to the camera about what a great conservative she is (pro-life, pro-"sanctity of marriage," and "I love to hunt!"). Brunner, for what it's worth, says the contribution came from his daughter (via his family's foundation), not himself.
• ND-Sen: Whoa: Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS just spent $800K on an ad buy which will "run from September to the middle of October"—a large sum in any state, but positively monster in tiny North Dakota. On top of that, another conservative "charity," American Commitment, is starting a $115K ad run on Tuesday (the spot's not available yet).
When you add the serious third-party spending—Democrats are playing heavily here, too—plus all of the unanswered polls showing Dem Heidi Heitkamp either tied or ahead of GOP Rep. Rick Berg, it's clear that Republicans are now very concerned about this race. While an open seat in a red state should favor them, this is why candidates and campaigns matter, because in this case, we can no longer say that the GOP has the edge. We're therefore moving our rating of this race from Lean R to Tossup.
• NM-Sen: The Sierra Club has a new spot going after Republican Heather Wilson, with an interesting visual approach. Footage of adorable kids drinking water, taking baths, and brushing their teeth is slowly covered over by a dark, oily sludge as the announcer attacks Wilson for allowing "big oil" to get away with "polluting hundreds of ground water sites with toxic chemicals" while accepting polluters' campaign cash. The buy is for 2,140 gross ratings points in Albuquerque as well as 500 points on cable in El Paso.
• NV-Sen: A poll fragment is out in the Nevada Senate race, not as useful as true toplines but potentially telling. It's a poll of Latino voters only, taken by Latino Decisions as part of a poll of several western battleground states; they find that Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley leads appointed GOPer Dean Heller by 23 points, 53-30. At first glance, that seems great, but it's actually a bit iffy for Berkley (though presumably that cushion will grow as her name rec increases). Barack Obama, by contrast, leads by 49; Harry Reid beat Sharron Angle by 39 in 2010 exit polls, while Rory Reid won Latinos by 32 points that same year and still lost. (David Jarman)
Meanwhile, the House Ethics Committee has voted to continue an investigation into whether Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley's efforts to save Nevada's only kidney transplant center represented a conflict of interest because her husband, a nephrologist, works with the program. The committee's press releases notes that "the mere fact of establishing an investigative subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred."
• OH-Sen: This is kind of interesting. "Vote with party" scores are easy to come by for members of Congress—various organizations put out different numbers that are generally used in attack ads to say, "So-and-so voted with George W. Bush/Barack Obama/Nancy Pelosi," etc. "92/95/98 percent of the time!" But you don't commonly see figures like this for state legislators, which is why I like the fact that the Dayton Daily News went to the trouble of calculating such a score for Republican Josh Mandel, who served in the state House for four years before getting elected state treasurer in 2010. It turns out Mandel, who of course likes to tout his independence, voted against his party "on just 29 occasions during 654 votes, or about 4.5 percent of the time." For what its worth, Mandel's opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, has voted with the Democrats 92% of the time, according to OpenCongress.org.
• VA-Sen: Democrat Tim Kaine just bought another $1 mil in fall TV airtime, adding to the $2.5 mil he's already booked. Republican George Allen previously reserved $3 million.
• WI-Sen: In a new TV ad, Democrat Tammy Baldwin talks about how she was raised in part by her grandparents (she was born when her mother was only a teenager), and how she in turn took care of her grandmother when she grew old. That experience, she says, is why she "know[s] it's wrong" when "people in Washington talk about slashing Medicare benefits instead of asking millionaires to pay their fare share."
P.S. Be on the lookout for this PPP poll on Tuesday: Tom Jensen says that businessman Eric Hovde has "a small lead" over ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson in the GOP primary.
• IN-Gov: The AP reports that GOP Rep. Mike Pence has spent $1.4 million so far on television ads to promote his campaign for Indiana's open governor's mansion. The spots have been remarkably content-free—or as reporter Tom LoBianco puts it, they're "touchy-feely pieces detailing his courtship with his wife, his history growing up in Indiana and a devastating storm that struck his hometown of Columbus." We mentioned the first two spots in previous Digests; the third one can be viewed here.
• ME-Gov: Republican Gov. Paul LePage goes Godwin:
"We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo—the IRS."What a fucking asshole. Why do all these Republicans think it's okay to compare ordinary bureaucrats to genocidal bastards?
• NH-Gov: Even though conservative activist Kevin Smith probably hasn't raised much money, he's somehow managed to become the first gubernatorial candidate from either party to go up on the air in New Hampshire this year. The ad has something of an odd theme: Smith complains that his father, "like many Granite Staters," commutes to work in Massachusetts—which he says is "not right" and therefore promises to create jobs in New Hampshire. But tons of anti-tax Massholes move out of the Bay State and just across the border to New Hampshire because they want to work in Massachusetts while avoiding many of its taxes. Do they want to work in New Hampshire instead? I don't think that's the idea.
• WA-Gov: One thing I've noticed: Post poll results about the Washington governor's race, and in the comments you always get a lot of carping from locals about the invisibility of Democrat Jay Inslee's campaign. Inslee seems to have been marshaling his resources until closer to the election, but it looks like we're at that "close enough" point, and now he's the first candidate to hit the TV airwaves (Rob McKenna, by contrast, has been relentlessly focusing on ubiquitous online advertising all year, which may contribute to locals' vague sense of Inslee being outgunned). Inslee's first at, "Get to Work," is, unusually, a minute-long spot, which gives him enough elbow room to both introduce himself and his family at length, and talk about his job proposals. (David Jarman)
• WI-Gov: The AP takes a post-mortem look at spending in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, where GOP Gov. Scott Walker spent an extraordinary $33.4 million. By contrast, his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, only spent $6.6 mil. (None of this counts outside spending by third-party allies.) Here's the breakdown:
The Walker campaign's biggest expenditure—$16 million—was TV advertising, double what the campaign paid for anything else. The next largest expenditure was $8.1 million for mailings. Other notable expenses included $1 million for radio ads; a little more than $554,000 for website development; $441,000 for legal fees; $285,000 in wages; $226,000 for automated calls; and $36,900 for online advertising. [...]House:
The biggest expense for Barrett's campaign was TV, too. He paid $4.2 million for ads between March 30 and June 30, a hefty number but only a quarter of Walker's TV spending.
The mayor didn't spend more than $625,000 on any other area—his next largest payouts were $623,000 for online advertising; $406,875 for automated calls; and $240,107 for staff wages.
• FL-18: Yep, more Allen West slavery comparisons. The Republican congressman was on FOX News (where else?) this past Sunday:
That is an unfortunate consequence of failing economic policies coming from the president so that now when people are running out of the unemployment benefits, now they are looking toward going on Social Security disability... so once again we are creating the sense of economic dependence, which to me is a form of modern, 21st century slavery.It's his new favorite theme. Just a week earlier, you probably saw these remarks:
"He does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning and having that title of 'American,'" the congressman said of the president. "He'd rather you be his slave and be economically dependent upon him."In non-insane FL-18 news, a super PAC called American Sunrise is spending $55K on online ads to boost the candidacy of Democrat Patrick Murphy, who of course is running against West. (Ordinarily, I wouldn't mention web ad buys, but this is a fairly sizable purchase.) If the organization's name rings a bell, it's because they're the folks who announced back in January that they planned to support three Dems in different races around the country—the day after one of them, Andrew Hughes, dropped out of WA-01.
Hughes decided to re-engage in a quixotic bid against veteran Dem Rep. Jim McDermott in WA-07, so it's unclear whether Sunrise will still stick with him. And their third dude, Joaquin Castro, is a lock to win the safely blue TX-20. That means only Murphy is left, so we'll see if the group devotes their planned "$1.5 to $2 million" on him alone, or if they branch out—assuming they wind up spending what they claimed they would. (This is their first expenditure of the cycle.)
• IL-02: Illinois's senior senator, Dick Durbin, is weighing in on the issue of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s health, which has remained shrouded in mystery. Durbin, rather surprisingly, prodded his fellow Democrat, saying: "As a public official, there comes a point when you have a responsibility to tell the public what's going on. [Jackson] will soon have to make a report on the physical condition he's struggling with." Jackson hasn't been seen since early June; his staff later said he was being treated for "exhaustion," then make the picture sound graver (albeit still very vague) last week. For what it's worth, Jackson probably doesn't care what Durbin thinks—Durbin refused to get involved in Jackson's primary earlier this year against ex-Rep. Debbie Halvorson.
• KY-06: Republican Andy Barr is out with another internal poll (again from Public Opinion Strategies), and he's trying to convince people that Dem Rep. Ben Chandler's 47-42 lead actually represents some kind of genuine movement from the 49-42 Chandler edge Barr came up with in January, as opposed to just noise.
• NC-08, -09, -11: A week from Tuesday, Republicans will hold runoffs in three North Carolina congressional districts: the 8th, the 9th, and the 11th. As per usual, we've compiled all of the pre-runoff fundraising reports, which were recently filed with the FEC. In the 9th, you'll see Robert Pittenger's self-funding train rolls on, with another $788K tossed in from his own bank account. Meanwhile, in the 8th, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's YG Action Fund spent another $46K on mailers attacking Scott Keadle, on top of the $23K they've already shelled out.
We're not done with the 8th District just yet. The American Action Network, the "mainstream" Republican group that goes around boosting candidates like Richard Lugar, often finds itself at odds with the Club for Growth, and NC-08 is yet another example. The AAN (which is run by ex-Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman) is apparently set to start airing an ad attacking dentist Scott Keadle, reportedly backed by a 750-point buy. Like the YG Action Fund, the AAN wants former congressional staffer Richard Hudson to win. Meanwhile, the CfG, predictably, supports Keadle, and they've put their money where their press releases are, spending over $400K on his behalf since the runoff (and more than $700K overall).
• NY-06: Rory Lancman says he's ready to vacate the Working Families Party line this November to help fellow Assemblymember (and Democratic primary victor) Grace Meng beat Republican Dan Halloran in the fall (though in this blue seat, she's heavily favored no matter what). New York has very stupid rules about replacing candidates, but since Lancman is an attorney, he can be nominated to a judgeship (that he'll have no intention of running for) in order to clear the WFP spot. There's one other way to get your name off the ballot: As Lancman archly jokes, "I could die between now and then."
• NY-13: With the math very much against him, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat conceded the Democratic primary to Rep. Charlie Rangel. Espaillat, who came up about 2% short, is also dropping his lawsuit challenging the results, though he said that other groups may pursue alleged incidents of voter suppression. Espaillat also would not say whether he would seek re-election to the state Senate; he has until Thursday to decide.
But don't even think about breathing a sigh of relief: The New York City Board of Elections remains as fucked-up as ever, with 28 previously uncounted ballots mysteriously discovered on Monday. Obviously that's not enough to make a difference, but it's just further proof that the BoE is a criminally incompetent organization filled with pathetic patronage hacks. For a chilling look at what the board is really like, I strongly encourage you to read this 2010 Village Voice piece from investigative journalist Tom Robbins. Appalling stuff.
• WA-01: Democrat Suzan DelBene is out with her second ad, a positive spot in which she touts her work as director of the state's Department of Revenue. She hits two mild partisan notes (on issues that always poll well): She supports "passing the Buffett Rule, to make millionaires pay their fair share" and "cracking down on Wall Street abuses."
Meanwhile, that new super PAC Progress for Washington is doubling its efforts: They're spending another $21K on mailers, presumably the same negative flyers attacking DelBene that they shelled out $21K for last week.
• OR-Init: It looks like Oregon will join several other western states (Washington and probably Colorado) in having a ballot measure in November allowing the legalization, sale, and regulation of marijuana. Supporters have turned in more than twice the number of signatures needed to qualify, and hopefully its presence on the ballot will help drive turnout from otherwise unlikely-to-vote youth voters. Other initiatives looking likely to qualify for the ballot include an end to corporate tax "kicker" rebates (good) and an end to the state's estate tax (bad). (David Jarman)
• Ideology: Here's a new wrinkle in the efforts to quantify anything and everything about politics: It's now possible to assign a DW/Nominate-style score to members of the judiciary, which can be directly overlaid with congressional numbers. The 7th Circuit's Richard Posner (a jurist who's generally regarded as one of judicial conservatism's brightest lights but who attracted a lot of attention last week for complaining how the GOP has left him) is the example that VoteView focuses on.
It turns out Posner's somewhat right: In the 1970s, there were a number of congressional Republicans to the left of Posner, but now, there aren't any. Posner, though, is more moderate than you might have thought: He occupies roughly the same ideological space as Jim Jeffords, Arlen Specter, and Olympia Snowe. Of course, Article III judges aren't elected so it's mostly a theoretical exercise... but this kind of analysis could just as easily be applied to state-level courts, which are elective offices in many jurisdictions. (David Jarman)