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Leading Off:

Fundraising: Our omnibus 2Q House fundraising chart is now available! We have quarterly fundraising numbers for 374 candidates, covering all the key races. Check it out.

Senate:

CT-Sen: Linda McMahon (R): $115K raised (plus $5.9 mil in self-loans).

MI-Sen: I'm not sure which story out of Michigan's Senate race is weirder: that the notoriously racist and spectacularly backfiring Debbie-Spend-It-Now ad from Pete Hoekstra somehow wound up running on TV again, on a Flint CBS affiliate (perhaps by accident)... or that Practical Political Consulting's new poll of the GOP primary (on behalf of Inside Michigan Politics) finds no undecideds. Hoekstra is dominant at 75, with 11 for social con Randy Hekman. That means the self-funding tea party type who was supposed to be Hoekstra's main opposition, Clark Durant, is back in third place at 8, with Gary Glenn at 6. (If PPC's polls of the Dem primaries in MI-13 and MI-14 that we mentioned in the previous digest have the same methodological problem, I'm not sure they're worth much more than the pixels they're printed on, either.) (David Jarman)

MT-Sen: Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg responds to Dem Sen. Jon Tester's devastating ad attacking him for voting to cut funding for breast cancer clinics by putting his mother on camera. Rehberg's mom says that "[f]or 30 years Denny has helped me battle cancer" and accuses Tester of "playing politics with a deadly disease." Let me be blunt: Helping to care for a sick relative does not mitigate support for policies which hurt other ill people.

NM-Sen: Hey, I wanted to poll Connecticut! But New Mexico was the winner, and what does PPP find? Absolutely no change at all. Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich led Republican ex-Rep. Heather Wilson by a 48-43 spread in April, and in their new survey, they have Heinrich leading Wilson... by a 48-43 spread.

There is some more interesting NM-Sen news to report, though. The Sierra Club returns to the theme of its first spot: attacking Wilson for cozying up to polluters. Once again, the imagery features kids and water, though this time, youngsters drink from water fountains that stream black sludge instead of water. Yuck! Heinrich also has another ad out of his own, a mostly content-free spot in which he says he wants to raise the minimum wage, among other things.

NV-Sen: I liked this lede:

Sen. Dean Heller was widely expected to vote no on the DISCLOSE act Monday night. Instead, his campaign spent the evening not quite disclosing where the senator had been when he should have been voting.
NY-Sen (PDF): In the first post-primary poll of New York's Senate race, Siena finds Dem Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand pounding conservative activist Wendy Long into a very flat pancake—really, a crepe almost, maybe with strawberries or some nutella on top. Man, I could really go for some crepes right now. Damnit, where was I? Oh yeah, Gillibrand leads 62-25. Now where are my crepes?

TX-Sen: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's dark money friends are finally springing back into action. The Texas Conservatives Fund, a super PAC which aided Dewhurst before the primary, is throwing down $1.35 million on a new TV spot that once again hammers Ted Cruz for his choice of clients. (Ah, the lawyer's lament.) This time, they're taking Cruz to task for representing a convicted felon in a scandal you may have heard about—the so-called "kids for cash" outrage in which two Pennsylvania judges accepted bribes from Robert Mericle, the owner of two private juvenile detention facilities to give harsh sentences to young offenders so that his jails would get used. Cruz represented Mericle in a suit against his insurance company, "which refused to pay out any money to help settle scores of civil claims arising from the scandal," according to the Texas Tribune. (Mericle lost.) A pretty good ad, in my opinion.

WI-Sen: Ex-Rep. Mark Neumann has now responded to businessman Eric Hovde's new ad attacking him with a spot of his own. The first half is pro-Neumann fluff ("Wisconsin's most conservative congressman in decades"); the second hits Hovde for supporting the stimulus ("for high-speed rail!") and the bank bailout. Here's hoping this three-way Republican primary gets even messier.

Gubernatorial:

NM-Gov: Fortunately, PPP also took a look ahead to the 2014 New Mexico governor's race, when first-term Gov. Susana Martinez will be up for re-election. Jensen tested Martinez against two possible opponents: state AG Gary King, who just announced his intention to run, and Auditor Hector Balderas, who lost last month's Senate primary to Heinrich. Martinez has a 50-37 lead over Balderas and a pretty similar 51-39 advantage over King. Tom points out, though, that this poll is relying on a presidential-year sample; turnout in the midterm likely won't be as favorable to Democrats.

Also of note is that Balderas evidently acquitted himself quite well in his longshot Senate bid: A year ago, his favorables were 22-17, while now, they're up to 34-20. King, meanwhile, starts off at 30-34, and Martinez's job approval is a strong 56-34.

VA-Gov (first half of year): Bill Bolling (R): $962K raised, $1.5 mil cash-on-hand; Ken Cuccinelli (R): $538K raised (plus $477K transfer from AG campaign account), $627K cash-on-hand.

WA-Gov: Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna's campaign is trying to put out a new little internal fire, with revelations, courtesy of Seattle alterna-weekly The Stranger, that one of his policy staffers was caught with some appalling stuff on her personal Twitter account.

One tweet, sent in January, read, "shut up and speak english #asians." The other, from November, said, "If it takes you an entire green light to walk in front of my car GET A WHEELCHAIR #toooldtowalk."
Remarkably, Kathlyn Ehl will remain with the campaign, though perhaps that's only because those tweets predated her working for McKenna. (David Jarman)

House:

AZ-05: The GOP primary in Jeff Flake's open House seat has turned deliciously nasty, with state House Speaker Kirk Adams launching an ad attacking ex-Rep. Matt Salmon, saying Salmon's lobbying firm "was paid $190,000 to lobby for Obamacare" by the pharmaceutical industry. Salmon reacted furiously, calling the ad a "terrible lie" and claiming he didn't support the Affordable Care Act but rather that his firm simply "represented interests on health care issues in that bill."

AZ-09: Here's the latest installment in Bill Clinton's never-ending endorsement tour. True to form, it's another situation where he's backing a loyalist (Andrei Cherny, who was an aide in the Clinton White House in the 90s) over an '08 Obama backer (Kyrsten Sinema). (David Jarman)

FL-07: Rep. John Mica is saying that a new internal poll conducted on his behalf by Cherry Communications has him up 55-17 over fellow Rep. Sandy Adams in the GOP primary. Mica's revealed minimal information about this poll—we have the sample size (500), but not the field dates. I certainly believe Mica's far ahead, though: These numbers are pretty similar to those from a May internal for Mica (from a different company, Conquest Communications) that showed him leading 55-25. Adams had no meaningful response to that survey, nor to this one.

FL-16: The race in Florida's 16th is noteworthy enough simply because Democratic ex-state Rep. and challenger Keith Fitzgerald outraised GOP incumbent Rep. Vern Buchanan... but more interesting may be Buchanan's burn rate. He spent $156K of the $330K that he took in last quarter, and not on advertising or staffing up, but on a) refunding illegal campaign contributions and b) legal fees related to DOJ and House Ethics Committee investigations into his fundraising practices. (Buchanan still has more cash-on-hand than Fitzgerald, and, as wealthy owner of numerous car dealerships, can always self-fund as a last resort.) (David Jarman)

GA-12, UT-04: The DCCC has added to its pile of October airtime reservations with two new bookings designed to help a pair of conservative Democrats in very difficult races. The D-Trip is reserving $400K in UT-04 on behalf of Rep. Jim Matheson and $419K in GA-12 to support Rep. John Barrow.

IN-02: Republican Jackie Walorski is out with her first ad of the cycle, a positive introductory/bio-type spot. What's most interesting is that she says "there's too much partisanship in Washington, and both parties are to blame"; given the conservative nature of this open seat, I'm surprised to see Walorski deploy a "pox-on-both-their-houses" message.

ME-02: Public polls have shown Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud with a decent leads in his race for e-election (most recently a 47-35 lead in a Critical Insights poll a few weeks ago), so he doesn't need to push back against a narrative that he's in any danger against a more-formidable-than-usual opponent, state Senate president Kevin Raye. Nevertheless, he's out with an internal poll from Normington Petts, sporting a much showier 62-30 margin. It's probably more of an insurance policy for Michaud at this point, trying to demonstrate to potential Raye donors the hopelessness of his plight. (Raye's spokesperson accused Michaud of releasing it to try and distract from Michaud's fairly meh fundraising, though the fact that they didn't release their own poll in response probably says a lot more.) (David Jarman)

MI-11: Freedom's Defense Fund, a conservative group connected to direct mail victimizers BaseConnect, has decided to help out teacher/reindeer farmer Kerry Bentivolio in the GOP primary. They're spending $20K on a cable TV spot, but it's not available on their YouTube account.

NY-11: Republican Rep. Michael Grimm can breathe a small sigh of relief, as the House's Office of Congressional Ethics recommend the Ethics Committee dismiss its case against him over charges of illegal fundraising. However, that's not the end of the story for Grimm by a long shot; it's merely a finding that he wasn't committing violations while a member of Congress. The real meat of the allegations against Grimm concern fundraising activities that happened in the 2010 campaign, before he was elected to the House... and those are questions that the FBI and the FEC are still continuing to investigate. (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

AAN: The American Action Network, an establishment Republican outside spending organization, has reserved $6 million in fall ad time in seven media markets covering some 14 House races. More details on the reservations, which were made in concert with AAN's super PAC arm (the Congressional Leadership Fund), are available at the link.

Chamber of Commerce: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is out with a quartet of new ads in competitive Senate races. Two are positive spots in support of Republican candidates (Linda Lingle in Hawaii and Heather Wilson in New Mexico), while one is a negative ad attacking Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota over healthcare. Finally, the Nevada ad is a compare-and-contrast spot that both hits Democrat Shelley Berkley and praises Republican Sen. Dean Heller. You can watch them all at the link. Size of the buys: HI-Sen, $250K; NM-Sen, $221K; ND-Sen, $202K; NV-Sen, $490K.

Pennsylvania: From the Greg Giroux files, here's a spreadsheet that details the changes in party registration in Pennsylvania over the years from 1998 to 2012. This confirms what we've known for the last decade—that southeastern Pennsylvania suburbs, a one-time GOP stronghold, are rapidly trending Dem, while once-solidly-blue southwestern Pennsylvania is trending Republican (albeit less rapidly).

And the county-by-county rates of change also pretty closely parallel the changes in presidential voting patterns over the last few decades. The biggest Dem gains, percentage-wise, are fast-growing Pike and Monroe Counties in the northeast (which are becoming de facto New York exurbs), followed closely by the big 'burbs of Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. The biggest Dem erosions, percentage-wise, are the collar counties around Pittsburgh: Greene, Armstrong, Westmoreland, and Beaver. (Those are counties that even went for Mondale over Reagan, but are now leaning Republican.) (David Jarman)

Polltopia: Time to vote again over at PPP. I'm still pulling for Connecticut, but would the dweebs who stuffed the ballot box last time please desist?

Just for fun. Note the date on the article:

Fifty-five percent of the 948 registered voters interviewed in the poll said they preferred to see Mr. Dukakis win the 1988 Presidential election, while 38 percent said they preferred to see Mr. Bush win. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

This represented a shift in Mr. Dukakis's lead from the 47 percent to 41 percent advantage he held in the last pre-convention Gallup Poll, taken by telephone July 8-10. In that poll, 1,001 registered voters were interviewed.

Also note how early party conventions used to take place. (And be sure to check out the very final line, too.)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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