• Ads: I'm probably not alone in finding political ads unbearably boring in their visual content, regardless of their actual substance, so it's nice to see some commentary in AdAge magazine from a practitioner who sees the same problem. (Elizabeth Wilner is a former Charlie Cook assistant who now works in advertising.) Unfortunately, there isn't much of a way around that: there just aren't good visual ways of illustrating complicated economic concepts, so ads just wind up sticking with the usual cliches. Add in the usual time and budget constraints that get in the way of whipping up something clever, and you're left with the same cookie-cutter collections of stock photos, newspaper headlines, and stump footage that predominate. (David Jarman)
• CT-Sen: In Dem Rep. Chris Murphy's new ad (his second), two factory owners praise him for helping their businesses. Unlike a lot of such ads, though, Murphy gets somewhat specific here, saying that manufacturers told him "that our military buys too many parts from overseas," he "brought Republicans and Democrats together to start bringing those jobs back." This is a reference to Murphy's leadership of the Buy American movement in Congress; earlier this year, he succeeded in getting an amendment added to a defense appropriations bill that would allow the military to take into consideration the impact on domestic employment when awarding contracts.
• MI-Sen: Yeah, the second-quarter FEC filing deadline was over a week ago, but thanks to the Senate's insane refusal to require candidates to file their fundraising reports electronically—they are literally sent in on paper and scanned—it takes a few weeks before that data is available online. Most legit campaigns, though, at least share their quarterly hauls with the media. Others, though, use this antiquated system to hide crappy numbers, either by sending out a press release when fewer people are paying attention, or by saying nothing at all and just waiting until the FEC finally processes their forms.
It certainly looks like GOP ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra falls into that category, waiting until the very end of last week to share his fundraising totals—and you can understand why. He only pulled in $734K (Michigan is the 8th-largest state in the nation) and has just $1.7 million on hand. Hoekstra's chief primary rival, Clark Durant, took in an even feebler $273K but has $1.4 mil in the bank. By contrast, Dem Sen. Debbie Stabenow—who announced her numbers right away—raised $1.4 million and has $4.5 mil saved up.
• OH-Sen: Rasmussen: Sherrod Brown (D-inc): 46 (47), Josh Mandel (R): 42 (42).
• WA-Sen, WA-AG: The SurveyUSA poll of Washington that was released on Thursday also had Senate and Attorney General portions down in the fine print. The Senate race remains barely competitive; Dem incumbent Maria Cantwell is past the 50% mark (at 51), while Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner is back at 40. The race to succeed Rob McKenna as AG remains just as tight as the Governor's race, though: Dem Bob Ferguson and GOPer Reagan Dunn (both King County Councilors) are tied at 37 apiece. (David Jarman)
• NJ-Gov: This is a bit unusual: Colm O'Comartun, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, publicly talked up EPA director Lisa Jackson as a possible candidate to take on GOP Gov. Chris Christie next year. The proverbial Great Mentioner has certainly brought up Jackson's name many times, but you don't often see folks in O'Comartun's position do a little light recruitment through the pages of Politico. Nevertheless, O'Comartun says that "[t]he DGA would be excited if Lisa Jackson was looking to run for governor." He also added that he thinks state Sen. Richard Codey "would be a great candidate who would match up well against Gov. Christie."
• CA-24, CA-47: There are two new Republican internal polls out in southern California, both handily wrapped up by Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad. In the Santa Barbara-based 24th, former LG Abel Maldonado's survey (from Public Opinion Strategies) purports to show him trailing Dem Rep. Lois Capps by just a 48-46 margin. Meanwhile, down in the open 47th, Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong says his internal (from Probolsky Research) has him down only 44-41 versus Dem state Sen. Alan Lowenthal. Capps continues to outraise Maldonado handily, but Lowenthal's fundraising has been anemic all cycle and DeLong beat him better than 2-to-1 in the most recent quarter.
• MN-06: I guess even Michele Bachmann is capable of pushing things too far for members of her own party to stomach—or at least, making them uncomfortable enough that they have to act like they're upset with her. You probably caught wind of her accusing State Dept. official Huma Abedin of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which prompted the likes of John Boehner to call her remarks "dangerous" and John McCain telling her to "stop now."
But that didn't stop Bachmann, who on Thursday claimed to Glenn Beck that fellow Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison also is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. (Obviously both statements are utter bullshit.) Bachmann knows how to play to her base, but I'm not sure she's ever been smacked down quite like this by other Republicans before. And she faces a legitimate opponent this fall in the form of Democrat Jim Graves, so I'm not sure that this crusade makes sense for her even as a cynical political calculation. Then again, when has Michelle Bachmann ever made sense?
• MO-01: Hah, haven't seen this before. Rep. Russ Carnahan just sent mailers attacking fellow Rep. Lacy Clay that include a greeting-card style audio chip that plays a clip of Clay speaking out in favor of the rent-to-own industry. Carnahan likens rent-to-own firms to predatory pay-day lenders, since rent-to-own companies often also charge very high interest rates; Clay of course rejects the comparison. Meanwhile, Clay is out with his first TV ad of the campaign, a positive spot in which he talks about his support for all the big Democratic agenda items (protecting Medicare, backing healthcare reform, etc.). By the way, if you've never heard Clay's distinctive, extremely scratchy voice before, definitely click the link.
• NY-24: I guess the Republican establishment isn't pitching freshman Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle overboard just yet. Buerkle, perhaps the most endangered GOP incumbent after Illinois's Joe Walsh, is facing re-election in a decidedly blue district (Obama +14), against a strong opponent she only barely beat last cycle, ex-Rep. Dan Maffei. She doesn't seem to have adapted to her new reality very well, recently declaring in a speech on the House floor that her constituents' top priority is the fallout over Operation Fast and Furious, a conservative pet issue, and not, you know, jobs and the economy. But nevertheless, House Speaker John Boehner is coming to the district for a fundraiser early next month. It may just be that Boehner's stopping there because it's convenient: A day earlier, he's headlining an event for Matt Doheny in the adjacent 21st District, a more competitive race and one of the GOP's few potential pickup opportunities this fall.
• TX-33: Burnt Orange Report got a hold of that new Realtors ad we mentioned the other day, backing state Rep. Marc Veasey in the Democratic runoff. It's a positive spot that doesn't offer much in the way of specifics, but in a nod to the people behind it, the narrator says Veasey's "been a leader in the Texas legislature, supporting home ownership and access to affordable mortgages." (The buy is for $150K.) The League of Conservation Voters also just gave their support to Veasey, but no word on whether they're going to spend anything. Veasey faces ex-state Rep. Domingo Garcia in the primary, who was once described by Texas Monthly writer Paul Burka as a "one-man leper colony."
• California: In case you missed it, on Thursday, dreaminonempty took another deep look at the Daily Kos/SEIU raw polling data, aggregating responses from California interviewees. Of course, the direction of the presidential race isn't in doubt, but there's a lot of interesting information to be gleaned about the generic congressional ballot—important, of course, given how many House seats are potentially up-for-grabs in the Golden State this year.
• DCCC/NRCC: It was neck-and-neck during the month of June for the two major House campaign committees. The NRCC narrowly edged the DCCC, with $10.7 million raised vs. $10.5 mil for the Dems. Republicans also maintain a sizable cash-on-hand lead, too, $41 mil to $32 mil.
• Wisconsin: As we've seen in almost every other state, PPP's Wisconsin miscellany finds support for gay marriage increasing at a rapid clip. Last August, Wisconsinites opposed the idea by a 39-50 margin. Now, it's down to just 43-47. In much more shocking news, PPP pitted Wisconsin's two most famous foodstuffs—beer and cheese—in a head-to-head and found dairy absolutely crushing alcohol, 64-18. I'm so stunned, I think I need to grab a brew.
• WI Redistricting: Even though the legislature is out of session, Democrat John Lehman's victory in last month's state Senate recall election has already paid dividends. Not long ago, state Sen. Mark Miller became the chamber's new majority leader, and the switchover has given Democrats new powers and privileges. At the top of Miller's agenda was a request to Michael Best & Friedrich, the law firm Republicans used during redistricting, to turn over all of their files related to the entire remapping saga. Even though the legislature itself was supposedly Michael Best's client—and lawyers are obligated to share their work with their clients—attorneys for the firm refused to provide any materials to Democratic lawmakers. But with Miller now in charge, Michael Best finally decided to comply with its ethical obligations and hand over the requested documents. The best part is that Miller has promised to make the files public.