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Leading Off:

ME-Gov: GOP Gov. Paul LePage just dug his Godwin hole deeper—way, way deeper:

During an interview with a reporter from the Burlington weekly Seven Days, LePage said that the IRS wasn't the Gestapo, but that the agency was headed in that direction.  

"What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated," LePage said. "Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad—yet."

Seven Days reporter Paul Heintz asked, "But they're headed in that direction?"

LePage responded, "They're headed in that direction."

Heintz then asked LePage if he knew what the Gestapo did during World War II. LePage said, "Yeah, they killed a lot of people." Heintz asked if he thought the IRS was going to kill a lot of people.

"Yeah," LePage said.

"They're headed in the direction of killing a lot of people? Are you serious?" Heintz asked.

LePage said he was "very serious," adding that the agency would be rationing health care.

2Q Fundraising:

AZ-Sen: Richard Carmona (D): $1.1 mil raised, $1.6 mil cash-on-hand

FL-Sen: Rep. Connie Mack (R): $840K raised, $1.4 mil cash-on-hand

MO-Sen: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D): $2.6 mil raised, $3.6 mil cash-on-hand (previously spent $3 mil to reserve air time)

MT-Sen: Sen. Jon Tester (D): $1.9 mil raised, $3.6 mil cash-on-hand

ND-Sen: Heidi Heitkamp (D): $977K raised

NE-Sen: Deb Fischer (R): $1.3 mil raised

NJ-Sen: Joe Kyrillos (R): $1.3 mil raised, $2 mil cash-on-hand

NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley (D): $1.5 mil raised, $4 mil cash-on-hand; Sen. Dean Heller (R): $1.2 mil raised, $4.5 mil cash-on-hand

OH-Sen: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D): $3 mil raised, $6.5 mil cash-on-hand

WI-Sen: Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D): $2.2 mil raised, $3.5 mil cash-on-hand

Majority PAC: $5.4 mil raised, $4.6 mil cash-on-hand

CA-07: Ami Bera (D): $487K raised, $1.4 mil cash-on-hand

CA-24: Rep. Lois Capps (D): $578K raised, $1.3 mil cash-on-hand

CA-36: Raul Ruiz (D): $370K raised

IL-08: Tammy Duckworth (D): $886K raised

LA-03: Rep. Charles Boustany (R): $727K raised, $1.9 mil cash-on-hand

MI-06: Mike O'Brien (D): $95K raised (in 7 weeks)

MN-08: Tarryl Clark (D): $232K raised

NV-03: Rep. Joe Heck (R): $450K raised, $1.3 mil cash-on-hand

NV-04: Danny Tarkanian (R): $135K raised, $167K cash-on-hand

PA-18: Larry Maggi (D): $203K raised, $405K cash-on-hand

WA-01: Darcy Burner (D): $178K raised

Senate:

AZ-Sen: Richard Carmona is touting the backing of three more county sheriffs (from Coconino, Apache, and Gila Counties), in addition to two more sheriff endorsements that he had previously received. (Arizona has only 15 counties, so that's a big chunk of them.) Carmona, you may recall, was a Pima County deputy sheriff and SWAT team member. (David Jarman)

HI-Sen: On Wednesday evening (east coast time), Republican ex-Gov. Linda Lingle released an internal poll, from the firm Voter/Consumer Research. The survey her up 45-40 over Dem Rep. Mazie Hirono. The other Democrat in the field, ex-Rep. Ed Case, edges Lingle by one point, 41-40. I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've ever seen a poll that has Lingle beating Hirono, though an old PPP survey once had her leading Case by two. In any event, Lingle's poll also included a Democratic primary sample, finding a virtual tie, with Hirono on top 40-39.

Late on Thursday afternoon, Hirono decided to push back against Lingle's internal, releasing her own poll (from her usual pollster, Benenson Strategy Group) that gives her a 51-40 lead, or 53-41 when leaners are pushed. This survey is a month old, though—indeed, you may recall that Hirono released a primary portion about a week ago, showing the same June 19-21 field dates. Hirono was clearly holding these numbers in reserve for a day like this.

MT-Sen: And wrapping up one final loose end, here's that Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund IE report. It shows they spent $363K on their anti-Denny Rehberg ad; since the LCV (their chief backers) sent $410K their way, that means they still have about $50K in the bank. Or they just threw a really rockin' party.

ND-Sen: Democrat Heidi Heitkamp says we need to "put partisanship aside" in this new TV spot, which (like Joe Donnelly's basketball ad) features a bunch of kids in red jerseys and a bunch of kids in blue jerseys who go ape tackling each other in a game of pee-wee football. Or maybe pee-wee rugby, since both sides take a running start from opposite ends of the field to dive on a stationary ball at the 50-yard line. (Amusingly, because of the ad's title, YouTube recommends a bunch of classic Pee-wee Herman clips when you're finished watching.)

ND-Sen: Rasmussen Reports: Heidi Heitkamp (D): 40, Rick Berg (R): 49.

NM-Sen: It turns out the Sierra Club is spending $110K backing this ad they're running against Republican Heather Wilson. When the spot first came out, we reported that the buy was for "2,140 gross ratings points in Albuquerque as well as 500 points on cable in El Paso," so now you can kinda-sorta figure out how much on GRP costs in these media markets (in mid-summer).

NV-Sen: Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley is going on the counter-attack over allegations of ethical misdeeds surrounding her efforts to save Nevada's only kidney transplant clinic with two television advertisements. The first spot directly pushes back at Heller's new negative ad, citing a Las Vegas Sun editorial which said that Berkley's "advocacy wasn't driven for personal gain, it was aimed at helping Nevadans"—and then pivots to attacking Heller for his support for the Ryan plan. The second ad picks up where the first leaves off, hammering Heller for voting for the Ryan budget to "essentially end Medicare" not once but twice (both in the House and Senate).

TX-Sen: We have two more new polls in the Texas GOP Senate runoff, and both show Ted Cruz leading David Dewhurst. PPP has Cruz up 49-44 and notes that the most motivated voters support him by a 59-36 margin, so as Tom Jensen says, "The lower turnout is, the better Cruz's chances will be." Meanwhile, Republican pollster Wenzel Strategies (in a poll paid for by Citizens United) finds Cruz on top by a 47-38 margin. (Citizens United has endorsed Cruz.)

And as expected, the air wars have finally reignited with some big outside spending. The Club for Growth is reportedly shelling out $1.5 million on new radio and TV spots slamming "big spending, tax raising" Dewhurst. Coincidentally, Cruz also just announced that he'd reserved $1.6 million of television air time for the remainder of the runoff, though that number might go up.

Gubernatorial:

WA-Gov: The latest filings from the gubernatorial candidates in Washington show a remarkable parity: Dem Jay Inslee has raised $6.667 mil over the course of the campaign, while GOPer Rob McKenna has raised $6.676 mil. If you dig a little deeper, though, that's because the state Dem party has been regularly kicking in sizable contributions, seemingly just enough to keep the overall numbers even; Inslee got $130K from the state party at the end of June. (David Jarman)

House:

IL-02: So it seems like no one really knows what the real deal with Dem Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is. An NBC report said he was being treated for depression and alcoholism at a facility in Arizona, but his wife says he is "not in rehab" and his staff says he is being treated for a "mood disorder." That phrase actually has a clinical meaning, though, and if Jackson's staff is not misusing words, it would mean he's likely being treated for depression or bipolar disorder. In any event, an increasing number of pols, including fellow Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, have called on Jackson to be forthright with his constituents about his condition.

MI-03: GOP freshman Justin Amash just gamed his way right out of a crucial endorsement. Michigan Right to Life, a powerful anti-abortion organization, is dropping Amash, a freakish iconoclast, because he insisted on voting "present" on two bills that would defund Planned Parenthood, rather than voting in favor. (Amash claimed he didn't want to single out a particular organization but instead preferred a broader bill—a stance RTL isn't having any of.) In fact, Amash's refusal to go along has netted him what RTL calls the "seventh-worst" record on abortion issues among all House Republicans, according to their scorecard.

MI-11: The two Republicans already running in the regularly-scheduled MI-11 primary, Kerry Bentivolio (who is actually on the ballot) and Nancy Cassis (who is waging a write-in campaign) both say they plan to run in the special election for the final two months of ex-Rep. Thad McCotter's term. (The special primary will be held Sept. 5, while the special general will coincide with the normal Nov. 6 general election.) That makes sense, since it allows them to seeks twice as much money from donors who have hit the maximum federal contribution level. Strangely, Gongwer News Service, a local tipsheet, reports that Democrat Syed Taj says he won't run, which just doesn't make sense. Taj's LaRouchie opponent, Bill Roberts, is "discussing it."

MI-13: Is John Conyers getting caught napping? We got a definite sense of that several months ago, when he submitted barely more than the minimum signatures to qualify for the ballot, and might have gotten DQ'd had any of his opponents had the moxie to challenge his petitions. But now there's more evidence of that: There was a June 29 "emergency meeting" among local black and labor leaders to try and get his campaign in gear before next month's primary. There's been concern that Conyers—though he has much more money than any of his opponents and Barack Obama's endorsement—hasn't been advertising or putting in more than token appearances on the trail.

Part of Conyers' problem is that 60% of his constituents are new to him, with district lines now reaching into the suburbs—and that upends the district's racial dynamics. His seemingly most imposing opponent, state Sen. Glenn Anderson, is white, and with several other African-American state legislators in the mix, if they siphon any of Conyers' share of the black vote, that could put Anderson over the top. Interestingly, the same thing is happening in Detroit's other VRA district, MI-14, where Hansen Clarke is facing a strong challenge from suburban fellow Rep. Gary Peters (who is white), along with several other black pols; we could actually see a situation where next year, neither of Detroit's two districts are represented by African-Americans. (David Jarman)

NC-08: The American Action Network filed its IE report for their head-scratcher "onion" ad attacking Republican Scott Keadle. Size of the buy: $277K. And the production costs were a pretty hefty $36K. Quite a lot to put some text on the inside of a sliced onion!

NV-03, NH-01, PA-11: The Sierra Club is airing new radio and TV ads targeting three GOP freshmen—Joe Heck (NV-03), Frank Guinta (NH-01), and Lou Barletta (PA-11)—calling on them to support wind power "to save American jobs." All three spots are the same, except that the target's name is switched in each case, and they are all issue ads ("call Congressman Heck"). Guinta and Heck both face serious re-election fights, though Barletta looks pretty safe. No word on the size of the buy.

NV-04: The newly-created 4th isn't a place where you'd expect a Republican to be leading—it's turf that went 56-41 for Barack Obama in 2008—but that's the claim from Danny Tarkanian's new internal poll, from the Tarrance Group. Li'l Tark says he has a 47-41 lead over Democrat Steven Horsford, thanks in large part to a name rec advantage, but also that Obama leads by only 4 in the district. That either means that (a) this poll is wrong, (b) all those other presidential polls of the state are wrong, or  (c) that Obama's way overperforming in the rest of the state to make up for a sharp falloff in the 4th.

It also turns out that these Tark numbers (if you buy them in the first place) actually represent an improvement for Horsford. The uncanny Steve Singiser remembered that POS polled this race for Tarkanian back in December and found the Republican leading by an even-more-improbable 47-36.  Still, if Horsford has a poll in hand that says something otherwise, now would be a good time to let us know. (David Jarman & David Nir)

OK-02: Markwayne Mullin is touting an internal poll of the Republican runoff from Cole Hargrave Snodgrass that shows him up over George Faught by a hefty 57-20 spread. Mullin led by 19 on primary night (42-23), so I would have expected him to be ahead, but not by quite so much. Mullin's memo argues that Faught's negative ads have "backfired"; he's been running a spot that, rather remarkably, features a clip of Mullin speaking out in favor of a single-payer healthcare system. (Mullin claims he misspoke.) The runoff is a ways off: Aug. 28.

RI-01: Self-described "conservative Democrat" Anthony Gemma went on ex-Providence mayor (and ex-con) Buddy Cianci's radio show and refused to say whether he would endorse Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and RI-02 Rep. Jim Langevin in their re-election bids, despite repeated hounding from Cianci. Gemma's pissed because the entire Rhode Island establishment supports incumbent Rep. David Cicilline, and he doesn't seem to know that the way you play the game is to embrace the people who shun you. But even better is his statement on what he'd do if he loses the primary to Cicilline: "I would write myself in as a candidate." Ah, the ego is strong in this one!

TX-23: San Antonio's mayor, Julian Castro, just gave his endorsement to state Rep. Pete Gallego in the upcoming Dem runoff against ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. Now, that's not too surprising, since most of the Dem establishment is behind Gallego, who seems better able to fundraise and just more engaged than Rodriguez. But, it's also an important building block for Gallego, who comes from the rural western part of the district and who needs to make some inroads into the San Antonio part of the district, which is Rodriguez's base. (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

Polltopia: Yargh. Some wiener kid stuffed the ballot box for Connecticut, so PPP won't be polling there. Instead, New Mexico and Iowa are the winners. Tom Jensen is taking question suggestions at the link. Also—and I think you will like this—I heard from a little birdie in a peach tree that a certain southern state which rhymes with "Borgia" may be an option next week....

NRCC: The NRCC has added seven new candidates to its Young Guns program, though none are very surprising, except perhaps for the two Iowa names. Click through for the full list.

Redistricting Roundup:

CA Redistricting: Ah, wonderful news! As you may recall, the California GOP basically bankrupted itself trying to get a measure on the ballot this fall that would invalidate the state's new state Senate map. Not only did they fork over a ton of money just for signature collection efforts, but they also spent a bunch of on related litigation, unsuccessfully arguing that the map should be suspended for the November elections while the initiative was still pending. Now, it's all over. The measure will still appear on the ballot, but Republicans say they won't raise money or campaign for it. Job well done!

MD Redistricting: Maryland's State Board of Elections says that the Republican-sponsored effort to put a "people's veto" of the state's new congressional map on the ballot has succeeded, with proponents managing to make the 55,736-signature cutoff by just a few hundred petitions. (Considering organizers only submitted 65,722 signatures, that's a remarkably low error rate.) Democrats say they may challenge the petitions in court, but if the measure stays on the ballot, I wouldn't be surprised to see it succeed in November. After all, when average voters see a copy of the map (which is damn ugly), they tend to have an instinctively negative reaction to it.

But don't fret: It'll all be for naught no matter what. If the referendum is successful, it simply means that the legislature has to redraw new maps for the 2014 elections, and Democrats will still be in charge of that process. Gov. Martin O'Malley says, "There could be some marginal changes," so in the end, this will all have been a waste of time. Of course, Daily Kos Electioneers know that Maryland Dems could produce a much better (and "cleaner-looking") set of lines, so should the current map fall, let's hope we can convince O'Malley to try something different next year!

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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