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Leading Off:

CT-Sen: Holy shit. What a colossal misfire. Susan Bysiewicz just put out her first negative ad of the campaign, an attempt to attack fellow Democrat Chris Murphy over accepting Wall Street cash. But—and I still can't get over this—she says that Murphy "has taken more hedge fund money than any other Democrat in Congress." There's just one major fucking problem with this: She got the wrong Murphy. According to Open Secrets, in 2010, the Dem who raised the most from hedge funds was former New York congressman Scott Murphy. Unbelievable! Anyhow, (Chris) Murphy also points out that a list of "Wall Street firms" that scrolls by during Bysiewicz's ad includes cable company Comcast, as well as a Connecticut law firm and a local real estate company. Wow.


FL-Sen: Freedom PAC, a new super PAC designed to specifically aid GOP Rep. Connie Mack, kicked off its first bit of spending with $50K for an unspecified "media placement." Seeing as zillionaire Sheldon Adelson cut a $1 million check to the group, I'd expect to see them shelling out some more dough soon.

MO-Sen: There's just no doubting which Republican Claire McCaskill would most like to face in November. Go and check out all three of her new ads, which each hammer a different opponent. The spots targeting John Brunner (over his business failings) and Sarah Steelman (over pay-to-play allegations) are both clearly aimed at making them less acceptable to the GOP primary electorate which will pick a nominee next month. But the ad "attacking" Todd Akin is almost hilariously transparent in its attempt to buff up his conservative credentials. Here's the transcript:

"The most conservative congressman in Missouri—as our Senator? Todd Akin: a crusader against bigger government, Akin would completely eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy and privatize Social Security. Todd's pro-family agenda would outlaw many forms of contraception, and Akin alone says President Obama is a 'complete menace to our civilization.' Todd Akin: Missouri's true conservative is just too conservative."
This also fits in with Majority PAC's new ad (mentioned in the previous Digest, and incidentally, backed by a $230K buy), in which they go after Brunner on similar grounds as McCaskill herself does. What's so funny about this turn of events is that Akin was, much like Connie Mack in Florida, viewed as a savior candidate when he first got into the race, after much cajoling and reluctance. Now he's obviously their worst dude. Bring him on!

MT-Sen: The Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund, more or less a front group for the League of Conservation Voters, still had some $50K left over in its kitty after the LCV deposited some $410K in their bank account, most of which went to airing an ad attacking GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg. They've now drawn down most of the remaining amount (some $42K), for a "television ad buy and production." So I'm not sure if that means they're extending the buy on the original ad, or if they spent money to produce a new ad—which would likely mean some more funding is in the pipeline.

ND-Sen: In yet another new ad, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp says that as AG, she stopped a "government land grab" when the Feds allegedly "tried to misuse environmental easements to try to take over North Dakota farmland and put farmers in prison." I'm not gonna say I'm up on the issue she's discussing (though she explained it a bit more in this January interview), but obviously Heitkmap's once again trying to distance herself from both Washington and from national Democrats. (She doesn't mention this detail, but this easement business went down back when Bill Clinton was president.)

P.S. Majority PAC is adding another $67K to keep airing this ad that attacks GOP Rep. Rick Berg on Medicare, doubling their total purchase of TV time for the spot.

NM-Sen: The size of the buy on the Sierra Club's second spot attacking GOP ex-Rep. Heather Wilson as a tool of big polluters: $110K.

NV-Sen: Republican pollster Magellan has a new survey for Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers' front group. They find GOP Sen. Dean Heller leading Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley by a 45-42 margin... and if a Republican firm is only finding Heller up three points after all those Beltway bloviators decided to write Berkley's campaign off after the House Ethics Committee decided to continue its investigation into the whole kidney transplant center business... well, maybe those bloviators ought to reconsider. The same survey also finds Obama up 50-46 over Romney.

P.S. Patriot Majority USA is re-upping their buy for this ad that attacks GOP Rep. Dean Heller for twice voting for the Ryan budget to end Medicare, tacking on another $272K, on top of the $200K they launched with.

VA-Sen: Quinnipiac: Tim Kaine (D): 44 (44); George Allen (R): 46 (43). Rasmussen: Tim Kaine (D): 46 (46); George Allen (R): 45 (45).

WI-Sen: I think I've said this before, but one of my favorite brands of Republican hypocrisy is the "conservative who rails against government money for private industry but accepts it anyway." Newest example: Eric Hovde, whose real estate firm received about $8,000 in subsidies for tobacco farming, even though he claims to oppose farm subsidies. Also, of all things, tobacco?


NH-Gov: Jackie Cilley is out with a month-old internal poll of the Democratic primary from Benenson Strategy Group, showing her tied with her chief rival, fellow ex-state Sen. Maggie Hassan at 20 apiece. Third wheel Bill Kennedy takes 10%, leaving fully half of voters undecided. These numbers are very similar to a May PPP poll which had Hassan 23, Cilley 20.

WA-Gov: Get ready to see a lot more results like this one over the next three months: SurveyUSA's new poll of the Washington gubernatorial race finds Republican AG Rob McKenna at 42, Democratic ex-Rep. Jay Inslee at 41. That's little changed from SUSA's last poll in May, which was McKenna 40, Inslee 38... and not much different from any other poll we've seen in the last three-plus months. McKenna can take some heart in the fact that his opposition to the ACA, which he's been trying to sweep under the rug since the Supreme Court ruling, didn't blow up too badly in his face: Voters split 39/38—probably along the exact same partisan lines as the topline—over whether his ACA stance would make it more or less likely to support him. (The poll also has a presidential portion, with Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 46-37.) (David Jarman)


AZ-09: Well, this is something. In his new ad (which we mentioned in yesterday's Digest), Democrat Andrei Cherny claims he "fought Bush's plan to privatize Social Security." But in a book he wrote in 2000 called "The Next Deal," Cherny himself favored partial privatization—and even decried Social Security as "a huge and antiquated Ponzi scheme"!

And according to an L.A. Weekly endorsement of his opponent two years later in that infamous state Assembly race Cherny ran in California, he was still espousing privatization then.

FL-16: The other day, we took note of the fact that GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan's second quarter fundraising went, in large part, to legal fees and refunds of illegal contributions. It turns out the picture is even worse. Fully $60K of Buchanan's net $261K take was raised from Republican House leaders (like John Boehner and Eric Cantor) and their PACs, with $40K of that sum coming in the last 48 hours of the fundraising period. Without that help, Buchanan would have hauled in an ultra-feeble $200K. Now, ol' Vern is supremely rich and he can cut himself a fat check at any time. But with the sources of his wealth under federal scrutiny, he probably would prefer to avoid calling attention to his bank accounts. And in any event, as the NRCC's top fundraising official, surely he should be doing a lot better than $200K, right?

FL-26: Things have gotten hot and nasty in the Democratic primary in Florida's 26th Congressional District. 2010 nominee Joe Garcia and businesswoman Gloria Romero Roses have been exchanging negative mailers, with Roses trying to tie Garcia to Enron for some talks he had with Ken Lay back in 2001 while seeking an appointment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Garcia hitting Roses for alleged union-busting. The Enron issue came up back in 2008 during Garcia's first run for Congress; it was thoroughly smacked down.

As for the union matter, the Miami Herald took a close look at the story back in April; SEIU accuses Roses of helping to block efforts to unionize workers at a condo management company which began in 2004. Roses of course disputes the charges, but a local SEIU official said the group still has "deep concerns about her candidacy."

HI-02: No one trolls the depths of YouTube more thoroughly that commenter Setsuna Mudo, who somehow managed to dig up a couple of ads from Esther Kiaaina, a former state government official and congressional aide who is probably the most unabashedly progressive candidate running in the HI-02 Democratic primary. Unfortunately, Kiaaina has struggled to gain traction and has raised little, so I'd expect the buys for these two spots to be rather small.

IL-13: Ah, I love this: Rep. Tim Johnson, whose unexpected retirement earlier this year set his fellow Republicans off in search of a replacement, is refusing to say whether he's supporting the guy they picked as a substitute! Now, Johnson's not exactly a beloved or influential figure, and his weird departure only diminished whatever stature he might have had, but this is still an unpleasant embarrassment for Rodney Davis, the congressional aide who was tapped as the new GOP nominee. Davis faces physician David Gill in November.

MI-06: The Optometrists (aka AOA-PAC) are forking out $100K to run radio ads on behalf of Rep. Fred Upton, who faces a challenge from the right in the GOP primary in the form of ex-state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk.

MI-14: The Realtors are throwing in a fairly big way for Dem Rep. Gary Peters, spending $250K on TV ads for him. Again, unfortunately, I don't think they're in the habit of putting their commercials YouTube. Also, as with Marc Veasey a day earlier, they paid $27K to Hart Research for a poll.

NY-11: Big news out of the 11th: The Daily News reports that a grand jury as part of the FBI's probe into GOP freshman Mike Grimm's fundraising activities. That allows investigators to force potentially unwilling witnesses to talk to them by issuing subpoenas, and according to the News, four campaign workers have already spoken to the FBI. In addition, the paper reports that the rabbi who originally told former Rep. Anthony Weiner that Grimm was pressuring his congregants for donations has met with law enforcement officials over 20 times.

OK-02: Markwayne Mullin angrily pushes back against a new ad from his GOP runoff opponent, George Faught, which accused him of recklessly employing a convicted felon who was later convicted again of further crimes. Mullin's spot cites comments from local law enforcement officials who think Faught's all wet, with one of them calling the original ad "despicable at best."

TN-06: A new mystery group called the Congressional Elections PAC is spending $45K on TV ads attacking freshman Rep. Diane Black, who faces a rematch from former Rutherford County Republican Party chair Lou Ann Zelenik in the GOP primary. The ads don't appear to be online, though this weird page at the WaPo that seems to think it's a video (check out the URL) seems to have a screenshot. I don't quite know what to make of that.

WA-01: Progress for Washington—better known as Laura Ruderman's mom's PAC—is expanding its target list a bit. Their newest round of mailers hits not only Suzan DelBene (who get hit as "DelRomney") but also Darcy Burner (who gets tagged as a "loose cannon," with references to her anti-Obama tweets and the old canard about her Harvard degree inflation). The total spend is for another $21K.

Also, there's a new public poll of the primary, which clears up why Ruderman's mom is taking that route. Much as that Steve Hobbs internal from Wednesday showed, this survey (PDF), from local consulting group Strategies360 (not on behalf of any candidate), has DelBene and Burner neck-and-neck for the second slot in the Top 2 primary. Burner's at 12 and DelBene's at 11, meaning Ruderman (back at 3) needs to take both down a few pegs. Hobbs also trails, at 7. (John Koster is a lock to finish first and advance, though that's by virtue of being the sole Republican on the ballot; he polls at 36.) Burner is the best-known of the Dems (at 26/21 approvals), though she has slightly higher negatives than the more blank-slate-ish DelBene (24/17).

But wait! There's yet another poll of the Top 2 primary in the 1st, this time from Public Policy Polling, on behalf of the Burner-backing group Democracy for America. Their press release may be the first time I've ever heard a 4-point lead referred to as "commanding," but that's where they see the race: Burner leads Suzan DelBene 17-13, with 5 for Steve Hobbs and 4 for Laura Ruderman (and an alarmingly-high 48 for John Koster, more than all the Dems combined). (David Jarman)

Other Races:

MI-HD-76: Whoo, boy. This is both stunning—and terribly predictable—all at the same time. You might recall a while back when then-Democratic state Rep. Roy Schmidt made the cowardly decision to switch parties at the filing deadline and run as a Republican. Well, it turns out that move was even shadier than we knew at the time. Schmidt had also orchestrated with Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger to throw a fake Democrat into the race, to prevent Michigan Democrats from filling their line on the ballot via a primary write-in candidate.

Click on the link to see an outstanding summary of the sordid details, courtesy of our community member Eclectablog. For what it's worth, Bolger's Democratic opponent is demanding (ugh) an apology from Bolger for his chicanery, while the state Dem party chairman is going a step further, demanding his resignation from leadership. (Steve Singiser)

MO-LG: For those of you who miss Peter Kinder, the lieutenant governor of Missouri who at one point was the presumptive Republican nominee in this year's gubernatorial race, before scandal brought him low and pushed him into seeking re-election as LG, check out the ad at the link. You'll enjoy it.

Grab Bag:

DSCC: It looks like the DSCC is the first of the major campaign committees to release its June fundraising totals. They raised $8 million and have $31 million cash-on-hand.

Polltopia: Sigh. Connecticut lost again, but Tom Jensen is taking question suggestions for this weekend's polls in PA and MI.

Redistricting Roundup:

OH Redistricting: According to the Ohio Secretary of State, organizers of an effort to put a measure on the November ballot that would create an independent redistricting commission have fallen 130,000 signatures short of the number they need. (They needed 385K and submitted 466K, but only 255K turned out to be valid.) However, the group behind the push, Voters First, has until July 28 to make up the shortfall. While that timeframe might seem exceedingly short, the first batch of petitions was turned in on July 3, and Voters First says it has continuously collected signatures since that date.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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