• OH-Sen: The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police is the state's largest law enforcement union, with some 25,000 active and retired members. It also hasn't backed a Democrat for Senate since 1988. But thanks to the GOP assault on worker's rights, embodied by last year's successful fight to overturn the anti-collective bargaining law known as SB5, the OH FOP is endorsing Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown for re-election. The group's president praised Brown as "one of our strongest allies" in the battle against SB5.
• HI-Sen, MT-Sen, VA-Sen: Believe `em if you want: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is claiming to have poll results which show Republicans Linda Lingle, Denny Rehberg, and George Allen up anywhere from five to seven points in their respective races. But there are absolutely no details offered about the surveys: no field dates, no pollster names, no sample sizes, nothing. Reporters should demand that information before publishing self-serving numbers like these. One additional note: These bogus "polls" are being released in connection with the new set of four ads the Chamber just put out, which means they're missing North Dakota. It's the poll that didn't bark.
• IN-Sen: Republican Richard Mourdock, whose premature response(s) to the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act made him the butt of a lot of jokes, has decided he wants to sink his teeth into a few good Obamacare lies nonetheless. By way of attacking Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly (who voted for the bill), Mourdock claims, among other things, that the law "cuts Medicare services to seniors by $500 billion." Usually, though, Republicans try to elide things a little more, just claiming that the ACA "cuts $500 billion from Medicare." Mourdock's construction—that it cuts "Medicare services to seniors"—is even more of a lie. The $500 billion in savings (not cuts), as the WaPo has explained, "are wrung from health-care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries."
• MO-Sen: Interesting: The Dem-aligned Majority PAC is out with a new ad attacking businessman John Brunner over new revelations that he saddled his family company with mountains of debt and nearly drove it out of business. It's an obvious line of attack, but I'm wondering why Majority PAC is hitting Brunner now, since he's in the midst of a primary. Would Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill prefer to face ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman or Rep. Todd Akin in the general instead? I could believe it. Despite Brunner's flaws, he can spend a lot of his own money, and he's also never held office before.
• NJ-Sen: Quinnipiac has another New Jersey survey out, finding Dem Sen. Bob Menendez with his best showing against GOP state Sen. Joe Kyrillos since their very first poll of the contest early this year. Menendez is up 47-34, versus 45-35 in May. (That inaugural February poll had Menendez leading 49-34.) Menendez's favorables are still soft (37-25), but Kyrillos remains completely unknown.
• NM-Sen: Defenders of Wildlife, which has been part of a super-team of environmental groups that have lit in to Republican Heather Wilson on the airwaves, is also spending some $19K on new attack mailers. The flyers don't appear to be on their website, though.
• NV-Sen: This piece from The Hill's Cameron Joseph is just amazing. Sen. Dean Heller is literally refusing to take responsibility for attack ads he's running against Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley, acting as though he isn't responsible for his "campaign" and that it's just some random super PAC he has no control over:
When The Hill pointed out he was running attack ads that say Berkley "pushed legislation and twisted arms of federal regulators, advocating policies for financial gain, saving her husband's industry millions," Heller interjected.What's more, DCCyclone totally nailed it:
"The campaign is. If you have any questions or comments it'd probably be better if you directed those towards the campaign," he said. "Just talk to the campaign, they're the ones dealing specifically with this issue. Right now, I'm just worried about jobs and the economy."
Sen. Dean Heller's (R-Nev.) campaign has been running hard-hitting ads against his opponent, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.)—but he refused to echo their criticisms on Tuesday, instead referring all questions about the issue to his campaign. [...]As DC suggested, Heller's own involvement in protecting Nevada's only kidney transplant center—which is at the center of this mostly manufactured controversy—makes it very hard for him to directly take on Berkley, who led the (successful) fight to keep the program alive. With Heller forced to take this approach, Republicans are going to have a difficult time getting a lot of traction with this line of attack.
"I haven't made any comments on it. It's one of those things that I let the Ethics Committee do its job and I'll do my job," the freshman senator said when asked about the investigation.
• OH-Sen: Okay, this is quite funny.
• TX-Sen: Is this meant to un-do the Craig James endorsement? Former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, the third-place finisher (by a big margin) in May's GOP primary, has now given his backing to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the runoff. Remarkably, Dewhurst's press release still touts the James endorsement at the end! As Burnt Orange Report's David Feigen said, "The only question is how many votes the James endorsement costs Dewhurst...."
Meanwhile, the Club for Growth just poured another $450K into their buy backing this ad that attacks Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. That takes them to about $2 million spent on behalf of Ted Cruz in the GOP Senate runoff, a good bit more than the $1.5 mil they originally promised.
• WI-Sen: EMILY's List is spending another $25K on online ads in the Wisconsin GOP primary, and once again, they're attacking every single Republican candidate. Oy.
• MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon (D): $2.1 mil raised, $7.6 mil cash-on-hand; Dave Spence (R): $500K raised (plus $500K self-loan), $1.2 mil cash-on-hand. The DGA also donated $500K to Nixon on July 1, after the end of the fundraising quarter.
• NJ-Gov: As with their new Virginia poll, Quinnipiac didn't test any matchups against GOP Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey, but there are some interesting details contained in the survey. Quinnipiac asked respondents: "What one word best describes your impression" of the governor; the winner, by a longshot, was "bully," with 185 mentions. "Arrogant" was second with 75, and "tough" third with 50. (Props to the seven people who weren't afraid to tell a live interviewer that "asshole" was the first word that popped into their minds.) On a more objective level, Quinnipiac's been asking "Would you describe Governor Christie as being more of a bully, or more of a leader?" for a while. Christie rates leader over bully 50-45, but that's a lot worse than his 54-39 mark in April, and the lowest since June of 2010.
• VA-Gov: Quinnipiac also has a Virginia poll out, but it's mostly focused on the recent UVA saga and there aren't any head-to-heads. They do have some approval numbers on the two 2013 GOP gubernatorial candidates who also happen to be current office-holders, though: LG Bill Bolling and AG Ken Cuccinelli.
• WA-Gov: Yet more financial reports from the two main candidates in Washington's gubernatorial race: GOPer Rob McKenna is pulling away a smidge, raising $1 million in the June 1-July 16 period compared with $826K for Dem Jay Inslee. (Inslee's number includes another $179K contribution from the state party, who've regularly moved large increments over to him to help him keep pace with McKenna.) Inslee has $2.7 mil on hand compared with $3.8 mil for McKenna, though Inslee just ran a probably-expensive one-minute introductory ad. Also on the WA-Gov front, that hapless McKenna staffer caught on Monday with racist tweets on her Twitter account is gone, though she claims to have resigned rather than being thrown overboard. (David Jarman)
• AZ-09: Fresh off an endorsement from Bill Clinton (whom he worked for as a White House aide in the 1990s), Democrat Andrei Cherny is out with his first ad which touts his relationship with the Big Dog. The spot is also narrated by former state AG Terry Goddard, who you may remember from his unsuccessful 2010 run for governor.
• CT-04: What at one point had been a fairly busy field of GOP hopefuls looking to take on third-term Dem Rep. Jim Himes is now down to just one, consulting firm executive Steve Obsitnik. Obsitnik turned in a dominant performance at the state party convention back in May, which led all of the other contenders to drop out rather than challenge him in a primary. Call it a devastating success, though: A good chunk of Obsitnik's fundraising in the second quarter (at least $43K) was money that he could only spend if he in fact had an actual primary contest on his hands. Instead, he has to refund it. That means he raised less than $200K in the third quarter, rather than the $236K he reported, a figured that the Himes campaign called "padded." For his part, Himes pulled in $553K.
• FL-16: GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan is trying to show that months of terrible headlines, both local and national, about his serious ethics issues haven't dented his image. He's released a new survey, from Public Opinion Strategies, showing him up 54-32 over Democrat Keith Fitzgerald. The poll also says Buchanan sports a 53-33 favorability rating. A March internal for Buchanan had similar toplines, 58-36, but a Fitzgerald poll from February pegged the race a much tighter 49-38.
This time, though, Fitzgerald's campaign says they don't have their poll with which to respond, and if you check their new FEC report, you'll see they haven't spent money on a poll since early April. Considering that neither candidate has gone on the air yet, that's probably a smart decision—a new poll would probably just show the same thing (much as Buchanan's did, whether it's right or wrong.) And only once the ad wars begin in earnest would I expect Buchanan to start really suffering in the polls.
• FL-18: GOP freshman Allen West has released his second ad, a paean to "good education" in which he also deploys a few phrases that burgeoning conservatives start to fall in love with around the 10th grade. West says that in his upbringing in inner-city Atlanta, he had the choice between "economic freedom" and "economic dependency" (code for welfare, of course). He adds that "every child should have the equality of opportunity I did"—the opposite of which is "equality of result," which is code for "doing anything to help the less fortunate."
• MI-11: Republican Nancy Cassis is out with a pair of ads (her first) ahead of the August Republican primary for ex-Rep. Thad McCotter's now-vacant seat. The first spot is a strangely amusing (you might even say catchy) jingle reminding people to vote for her as a write-in candidate. ("Nothing fancy—write in Nancy!"). The second attacks Kerry Bentivolio, the only guy whose name will actually appear on the ballot, for supposedly supporting amnesty for illegal aliens, and for allegedly "causing his business to go bankrupt" by "racking up debt."
• MI-14: Dem Rep. Gary Peters is out with another ad, touting his work to save auto industry jobs and once again mentioning his relationship with President Obama (along with another picture of the two of them together). Obama, of course, has not endorsed in this member-vs.-member race (Rep. Hansen Clarke is also running here), but Peters obviously is smart to link himself to the president given that the 14th is both heavily blue and majority black.
• MO-01: I'm by no means a Facebook aficionado, but this story is pretty funny. As Leah Greenbaum of the Riverrfont Times puts it, Rep. Lacy Clay is in the midst of "a gloriously shit-slinging social media campaign" designed to highlight differences between himself and fellow Rep. Russ Carnahan, his opponent in the Democratic primary. What's so amusing is that Clay used Facebook's tagging feature to link to Carnahan in every post they put up attacking him. That meant that all of Clay's negative hits were appearing on Carnahan's own page! When Carnahan finally realized what was going on, he made an even dopier move: he removed his page from Facebook altogether, even though he could have just blocked Clay from tagging him (or removed the tags). You might say, "ah, the perils of social media!" but really, this is just "the perils of not having a 14-year-old kid to help out your campaign online."
• TX-33: While I think most observers expect state Rep. Marc Veasey to handily win the Democratic runoff in Texas's new 33rd Congressional district, it never hurts to get a little outside help. The Realtors (a somewhat unpredictable third-party group in that their spending tends to be parochial rather than partisan) are throwing down $150K on ads supporting Veasey—who himself is a realtor. I haven't seen a copy of the ad, and I don't know if they're in the habit of posting their television spots online, but perhaps they might do so here. The Realtors have also shelled out $23K to Hart Research for a poll of the race, though I'd be surprised if it ever saw the light of day.
• WA-01: Most candidates would be psyched to get a six-figure IE on their behalf, but it's turned into a bit of a PR disaster for Laura Ruderman, one of the many Dems jostling for this open seat. The problem is that the source of much of the funding for the Progress for Washington PAC is... Ruderman's mom, leaving Ruderman the punchline for easy jokes about helicopter parents. At any rate, Progress for Washington's total spending is up to almost $200K now, including another $21K for mailers and $76K in media buys for a new TV ad.
That leaves Ruderman in the awkward position of having to publicly deplore her mom's ad (which, if she's playing by the IE rules, she had to have had no previous knowledge of) and call for the ad (which morphs Suzan DelBene's face into Mitt Romney, because, y'know, they both have money) to be taken down. Don't confuse this spot with the first ad that just came out from Ruderman's own campaign, though. Bizarrely, that ad features a prominent appearance by, of all people, Ruderman's mom, talking about her battle with cancer.
There's also a new poll from the Steve Hobbs campaign, which is noteworthy because it shows Hobbs (who, despite being the only current state legislator in the Dem cast of characters, has the least money in the field and has been mostly an afterthought until recently) getting some traction. Hobbs was recently endorsed by the Seattle Times, though, which seemed to raise his profile, enough that he's right in the thick of things now. According to the survey (from DMA Market Research), John Koster, the only Republican in the race, is a lock to advance from the Top 2, at 30, but there's now a three-way pileup of Dems fighting for the second slot, with Darcy Burner at 13, Hobbs at 12, and DelBene at 11, with Ruderman lagging at 5.
This poll also points to a game-theory explanation as to why Ruderman is trying to take down DelBene, rather than Burner, who's been the ostensible Dem frontrunner so far. The center-left space that DelBene and Ruderman share is a bit larger than the left segment (which Burner has locked down) or the center segment (which belongs to Hobbs), but DelBene or Ruderman need to consolidate most of that turf (at the other's expense) in order to have enough votes to advance past Burner and Hobbs. (David Jarman)
• South Carolina SD-41: Tuesday night's special election in this decidedly Republican district turned out to be incredibly tight: Republican Walter Hundley finished with a 14-vote lead over Democrat Paul Tinkler (3,112 to 3,098), while Green Party candidate Sue Edward pulled in 53 votes. Because of the ultra-tight margin, a recount will be conducted on Friday. (H/t: Johnny Longtorso.)
• Pennsylvania: Here's a follow-up to part of our previous digest, where we looked at county-by-county registration changes in Pennsylvania over the years 1998-2012: the Dem gains look a little less impressive when you take only the years 2008 to 2012 in consideration. The Dems' 1.2 million person registration edge from 2008 is a little narrower now, closer by 168,000... maybe not that surprising, since 2008 was something of a high-water mark in many ways. (David Jarman)
• Polltopia: Mark Blumenthal has a helpful piece on the controversy of whether pollsters should, at this point, be using a likely voter model and a registered voter model. (Razz a conservative about Rasmussen's out-of-whack polling and he'll probably respond that Rasmussen is the only pollster using a likely voter model now, meaning that the other pollsters are just camouflaging Barack Obama's certain doom which won't become more apparent until all the other pollsters switch to LVs, too.) The reality is, though, that most pollsters don't use likely voter models until the last couple months before an election because doing so beforehand constitutes unacceptable guesswork. As one of the pollsters Blumenthal interviewed puts it, "people are notoriously poor predictors of their own likelihood of voting on Election Day." (Blumenthal also gets a well-known GOP internal pollster to go on the record saying that RVs are the better bet.) (David Jarman)