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Leading Off:

MI-11, MI-06: EPIC-MRA has new polls of two Michigan GOP House primaries, conducted on behalf of a group of local media outlets. The 11th District contest is extremely hard to poll, though, since only one candidate, Kerry Bentivolio, is actually on the ballot, while his chief rival, Nancy Cassis, is waging a write-in bid. EPIC asked two different questions of respondents. First, they tried: "In the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District, who are you voting for: Kerry Bentivolio, someone else, or are you undecided?" That yielded just 21% for Bentivolio, while 40% said "someone else" and 39% were undecided.

Then they offered this twist: "In the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District, only one name appears on the ballot, Kerry Bentivolio, but Nancy Cassis is running as a write-in candidate. Knowing this, would you vote for Bentivolio or write in Cassis' name?" That led to Cassis beating Bentivolio 52-36 with just 12% undecided. Personally, I think the best approach is to do what Alaska pollster Ivan Moore did when Lisa Murkowski waged her write-in Senate bid in 2010: He started by asking an open-ended question that allowed interviewees to volunteer Murkowski's name, then prompted them with a question similar to EPIC's second query here.

There are also some numbers from the MI-06 race, where ex-state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk has been doggedly challenging Rep. Fred Upton from the right. But Hoogendyk never got quite the level of support from the Club for Growth that I figured he'd need to pull off the upset, so I'm not surprised to see him trailing by a 61-31 spread.


AZ-Sen: Here's a great quote from GOP Rep. Jeff Flake, from a recent online chat:

"If individuals are allowed to access health care services only when they are sick or injured, there is no reason for anyone to have insurance. If insurance companies are required to accept all pre-existing conditions, insurance is no longer insurance."
If Flake wants to run on a platform that supports denying insurance coverage to anyone with pre-existing conditions, then... awesome!

Meanwhile, Liberty for All has finally filed their IE report for that ad they're running to help Jeff Flake, roughly matching the $375K they said they'd spend. The spot still hasn't showed up on their YouTube account, though.

HI-Sen: Dem Rep. Mazie Hirono has a new, fairly generic positive spot out about protecting Medicare and Social Security for our "kupuna" (seniors).

MO-, ND-, WI-Sen: Majority PAC has new ads out in two states. In North Dakota, they once against hit GOP Rep. Rick Berg for voting in favor of the Ryan budget to end Medicare. A little further south in Missouri, they slam Republican John Brunner for taking credit for creating jobs that already existed... in Tennessee, no less.

I'm a little unclear how much the PAC is spending, though. An IE report filed on Wednesday shows $67K toward North Dakota and $230K for Missouri (as well as $174K for Wisconsin). But a new filing on Thursday showed $342K being spent on what has to be the new ad, since $16K in production costs were also listed. So that earlier $230K figure might have been to re-up an existing buy. The same is also possible for ND-Sen; it may just be that Majority PAC hasn't gotten around to filing a new report for that race yet.

Oh, and speaking of Brunner, he has a new spot out himself. Basically, he just insists that he's still an awesome job creator. Your word against everyone else's, buddy.

MT-Sen: The League of Conservation Voters says they've spent $70K on "field campaign consulting" on behalf of Dem Sen. Jon Tester. I hope that means some actual field work was done, and not just, you know, consulting.

NJ-Sen (PDF): I understand the point Fairleigh Dickinson is trying to make in their latest poll writeup, but this passage about Republican challenger Joe Kyrillos still struck me as unintentionally funny:

There's some good news for the Senator from Monmouth County. More than half of all registered voters (57%) remain uncertain about who he is.
At any rate, consistent with most polls, FDU finds Dem incumbent Bob Menendez with a solid lead over Kyrillos, 45-33. Given voters', um, uncertainty about Kyrillos, though, he has some room to grow. Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 49-36 upticket. (David Jarman)

NM-Sen: The NRDC throws in another $40K on mailers attacking GOPer Heather Wilson, while Environment America reports paying $17K on canvassing for Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich.

NV-Sen: Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley attacks GOP Sen. Dean Heller for opposing the DREAM Act and voting against Pell grants in this new Spanish-language ad. What's interesting is that even if you don't speak Spanish, I think you'll find that the meaning of the ad is nevertheless very clear. Heller also has a new Spanish ad, which I'm fairly certain is a direct translation of this spot that we mentioned the other day.

TX-Sen: The biggest loser, in terms of taking a credibility hit, on Tuesday night in Texas may not have been David Dewhurst but his pollster, Baselice & Associates, who predicted a 5-point victory shortly before Dewhurst lost in the real world by 13. Now Baselice, in an unusual moment of candor, is explaining how they managed to juice those numbers: the polling included not just those who would "definitely" vote but those who would "probably" vote, too. Their president says, in retrospect, maybe that wasn't the best choice, and that their polling did find that Ted Cruz was leading among the purely "definite" voters. (PPP's Tom Jensen is quoted in the story, saying that their polling, which came very close to the mark, didn't include "probable" voters.)

Cruz's internal pollster, WPA Research, is also out with their retrospective, which is mostly self-congratulatory but at the end also does some pulling-back-the-curtain on how they put together their runoff model and also what all the polls that they didn't release said. (David Jarman)

WI-Sen: Yowza! The right-wing group Americans for Job Security is dropping a monster $650K to attack Republican businessman Eric Hovde, with less than two weeks to go before the primary. They posted two new ads to their YouTube account on Thursday (see here and here), which lambaste Hovde as a hypocrite for benefitting from stimulus money and other federal largesse. I'm wondering if they're trying to boost Mark Neumann or Tommy Thompson with this effort, though I'd guess Neumann, both due to the framing of the ads and because I feel that any direct attacks on Hovde at this point are much likelier to help Neumann than Thompson.

Meanwhile, a little kid in overalls and pitchfork (really!) says that Neumann was "conservative way before it was cool" in this new ad which touts the fact that GOP leaders kicked Neumann off a committee back in 1995 for insubordination. (You can read about the saga here.) And if the first half of the spot seems familiar, that's because it is. Local Wisconsin writer Lisa Mux at Blogging Blue makes a nice catch: Several years ago, MoveOn put together a (much more visually compelling) spot featuring kids doing adult jobs as a way of attacking Bush on the deficit. Neumann simply copies that same shtick. Mux has both commercials at the link so that you can compare.


CT-Gov: PPP's Connecticut odds-n-ends have the usual politician approvals/gay marriage/sports numbers, but the ones that stand out most belong to Dem Gov. Dan Malloy. He continues to be one of the most unpopular governors in the nation, with a 33-51 job approval rating. And right now, he loses to Generic R by a 46-39 margin. Fortunately, CT doesn't have a strong GOP bench and Malloy's not up for re-election until 2014, but he has some serious work to do to get out from under this.

MO-Gov: D'oh! Somehow we managed to also miss that there was a gubernatorial portion of that new Mason-Dixon poll they conducted for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, their first of the race. The numbers show Dem Gov. Jay Nixon looking good but not dominant: He's up 48-49 over wealthy businessman Dave Spence and 50-35 over tea partier Bill Randles. And the free-spending Spence, as you'd expect, is very likely to be Nixon's opponent: He leads Randles 41-15 in a hypothetical GOP primary.

OR-Gov, -Sen: GOP Rep. Greg Walden has long been viewed as interested in moving up the House leadership ranks, so any chance that he might run for governor or senator in 2014 always seemed slim. Now, that looks even less likely, since he's prepping a bid to become chair of the NRCC next cycle. The job is currently held by Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, who had some positive things to say about Walden, and no one else really seems to be in the mix, so I'd guess Walden is quite likely to wind up with the gig. That's good news for Oregon Democrats, since the Republican bench thins out rapidly after Walden.


AZ-05: Super PAC National Horizon is adding $13K more to its buy to keep airing this ad dinging Kirk Adams and praising his GOP primary rival, Matt Salmon.

AZ-06: We already knew that GOP Rep. Ben Quayle has friends in high places (* cough * like his mom * cough *), and now they're coming through for him. A new super PAC called Friends of the Majority is unleashing a $150K TV ad buy against Quayle's primary opponent, fellow Rep. David Schweikert. Like most super PACs, it's next to impossible to find out anything about them online—they don't even appear to have a website. So we don't have a copy of the ad, but we'll keep looking out for one.

AZ-09: I could say that "someone has it in for Andrei Cherny," but so many of his fellow Democrats dislike him that pretty much anyone could be behind the new super PAC, Restoring Arizona's Integrity, that's hitting him with $16K in mail. EMILY's List is also getting into the game, with $14K worth of mailers on behalf of Dem Kyrsten Sinema.

CA-09: As I alluded in the previous Digest, I figured Dem Rep. Jerry McNerney wanted to get the drop on his Republican opponent Ricky Gill releasing any internal polls and thus pre-emptive put out his own numbers (which had him up a healthy 49-33). Indeed, Gill and the NRCC had a poll in the field a couple of weeks after McNerney's (perhaps the incumbent even got wind of it), and now they're leaking results from the Tarrance Group which show Gill back just 47-45. Gill doesn't seem to have released presidential toplines, though, so it's much harder to judge whether his data is reality-based.

CA-24: Here's another Republican who seems to be having a problem releasing his tax returns: Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who is challenging Dem Rep. Lois Capps, promised to post his 2011 tax returns publicly by June 22. Well, now it's August and Maldonado—who has a history of tax issues—still hasn't lived up to his own word.

CT-05: Well, that much-awaited EMILY's List attack mailer in CT-05 has finally arrived in mailboxes, and it looks like the group completely backed off its plans to attack Democratic state House Speaker Chris Donovan as a "tax hiker" (at least for now). Instead, the flyer focuses entirely on the investigation of former Donovan staffers for alleged campaign finance fraud. Amusingly, it says of Donovan: "We couldn't trust him in the state House." Then why did Elizabeth Esty, when she was a state representative, join in the unanimous vote to elect Donovan as Speaker? (Incidentally, EMILY has thrown in another $19K for these mailers, making their total outlay $38K.)

Donovan, meanwhile, has a new ad of his own in which he directly takes on the issue of the investigation into his former staffers' alleged wrongdoing. He says that what they're accused of is "everything wrong with politics," but that's why he "immediately fired them and asked a former Republican U.S. attorney to conduct an independent investigation." That report said Donovan himself had done nothing wrong and was unaware of what his staffers were accused of doing, though as the investigator acknowledged at the time, he was unable to interview the suspects in the case.

FL-09: I've gotta wonder: Why did the DCCC name Alan Grayson to its "Majority Makers" list many moons ago if Republican John Quinones appears to be such a threat? As I understood it, putting someone on Majority Makers was meant to signify that the race was more-or-less in the bag, like OH-03, where Joyce Beatty is a guaranteed victor in November. But both Grayson and the House Majority PAC are busy trying hard to ratfuck the GOP primary, in the hopes of ensuring that Quinones doesn't emerge as the nominee. Maybe it's just an insurance policy, or maybe it's a motivated by genuine concern, but either way, HMP has now dropped in another $13K on anti-Quinones mailers, bringing their total spend to $25K. (And that's on top of whatever Grayson himself is shelling out.)

FL-19: It looks like there's something of a brush war taking place in Florida's open 19th Congressional District, a race that hasn't gotten a whole lot of attention. But in its waning weeks, the battle to replace GOP Rep. Connie Mack has started to heat up, at least as far as outside spending is concerned. One group, called the Conservative Values Project, is putting $90K behind a TV buy supporting conservative talk radio host Trey Radel. (There's also $11K for a poll from Basswood Research, but those kind of things never see the light of day.) Another super PAC called Character Counts has responded in kind, with $100K worth of television ads attacking Radel. The real question here is who is gunning for Radel, of course. Based on fundraising alone, the other two main players are state Rep. Gary Aubuchon and Chauncey Goss, son of ex-Rep. Porter Goss (who held this seat's predecessor before Mack did). It's a good bet that partisans of one or the other have decided to try kneecapping Radel.

HI-02: The Democratic veterans group VoteVets is going in big for Tulsi Gabbard once again. Their first ad seemed to be an important key in helping Gabbard close a once-enormous gap in the polls, and now they're spending a hefty $218K to air a new ad. At least, that's how it looks from their IE report, which indicates some $19K in new production costs; however, the spot isn't on their YouTube page yet. In any event, for a cheap media state like Hawaii, this is a very large buy indeed—though the primary is little over a week away, so now's the time to strike.

The Sierra Club is also pitching in with another $28K in pro-Tulsi mailers; all told, they've spent about $84K on mail here. I'm still amazed that the guy Gabbard's chased down, Mufi Hannemann, doesn't seem to have struck back yet... and time's basically up. (He's on the air with some positive spots but, apparently, nothing negative.)

LA-03: The first poll of the member-vs.-member contest in LA-03 comes from Charles Boustany, who is vying with fellow GOP Rep. Jeff Landry for a seat in the 113th Congress. The poll, from Public Opinion Strategies, finds Boustany beating Landry by a punishing 61-23. Louisiana conducts elections differently from pretty much everywhere else, though: They hold a so-called "jungle primary" on Nov. 6 (the same day the rest of the country is conducting general elections), and if no one secures more than 50% of the vote, the top-two vote-getters from any party advance to a December 8 runoff.

While Democrats have no shot here, folks file late in the Pelican State (you still have two weeks to get your name on the ballot!), so POS did something unusual and tested a fake generic Democrat, "Fred Green," in a hypothetical three-way race. Boustany still dominates, taking 56 percent to just 20 for Landry and a mere 15 for poor Fred Green. I'll be very curious to see if Landry responds with an internal of his own.

MI-13: Working for Us, the labor-backed group trying to keep John Conyers alive in the Democratic primary, just threw down another $42K split between mailers and various field operations. That means they've spent over $100K now on his behalf. So far we mostly have just anecdata and sketchy polls, but could Conyers truly be in trouble?

MN-08: Democrat Tarryl Clark's new ad features Bill Clinton, who recently endorsed her. The spot intersperses clips of Clinton praising her while local workers do the same.

NY-18: The flood of House polls continues. The House Majority PAC and SEIU teamed up on a poll of New York's 18th Congressional District from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and they find good news for Democratic challenger Sean Maloney. He trails freshman GOP Rep. Nan Hayworth by just a 48-45 margin, and Hayworth also has a very poor 38-49 job approval rating. Additionally, the survey puts Obama up 49-47 over Romney; the president won the district 52-47 in 2008, so that's a very plausible score.

NY-21: The DCCC has just put out a new poll (courtesy Anzalone Liszt) in New York's 21st Congressional District, where Dem Rep. Bill Owens faces a serious rematch challenge from Republican businessman Matt Doheny. In the survey, Owens is already at 50 (even though almost 40% of the district is new to him), while Doheny is at 38 and Green Party candidate Donald Hassig is at 4. The fact that Owens is doing so well in spite of a left-wing spoiler candidate is also a welcome sign, as is the fact that Owens has a 41-17 favorability rating while Doheny is at 27-19. Doheny's pushback is seriously weak.

WA-01: Yet another $21K dribbled out from Progress for Washington. Why oh why did they have to pay for these mailers on the installment plan?

WA-10: I guess it's better than taking out a loan from the mob: Pierce County councilor Stan Flemming, running in a very uphill race again Democrat Denny Heck in Washington's new 10th District, has borrowed some $200,000 from a mysterious entity linked to the widow of the late comedian Buddy Hackett named "Spanky LLC." Is that what they do to you if you don't repay? (Also, check out Flemming's awesome website.)

Other Races:

MD-Init: A new poll from Hart Research, conducted on behalf of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, finds a majority in favor of keeping the state's new law allowing same-sex marriage. Fifty-four percent say they would vote to retain the law when it comes up for a repeal vote on the November ballot, while 40% plan to cast a ballot against it. That's a little less optimistic than PPP's last survey in May, but it's still pretty much in line with other numbers we've seen.

Grab Bag:

HMP: The House Majority PAC has made $2.5 million in new fall TV ad reservations. Full details about how much and where are at the link.

House (PDF): Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, on behalf of Democracy Corps, is out with one of their regular polls of competitive House races, using a grab-bag method of polling 1,000 voters nationwide in the 50-odd hottest districts on the question of a Generic Dem vs. their named GOP representative. While that doesn't help us zoom in on any particular district, it gives us an overall sense of where things stand, and they paint a fairly optimistic picture this month. In the 27 most competitive "Tier I" races, there's a 50-44 Democratic lead; in the 27 more GOP-leaning "Tier II" races, Republicans lead 50-41. (Click through for the lists of which district goes in which tier.) This suggests the Dems can still make a serious dent in the GOP's edge in the House, though actually taking the majority would require a serious feat of table-running. (David Jarman)

Polltopia: As I mentioned in Wednesday's writeup, there was a whole lot of Republican whaaaaambulance-calling over the three swing-state polls from Quinnipiac that had superficially-Dem-friendly samples, if you looked purely at party identification. So here's some pushback on that, and it's not from the first source you'd expect to fight back on Republican narrative-setting: Real Clear Politics' Sean Trende. Trende advises not reading too much into self-identified party ID (which can produce fluid answers—it doesn't ask how you're actually registered, but how you think of yourself). The polls also included self-described ideology questions (liberal/moderate/conservative), and on this more stable topic, the sample composition in the Qpac polls was pretty close to the results from 2010 exit polling. (David Jarman)

Redistricting Roundup:

WI Redistricting: That big cache of materials from the law firm that the Wisconsin GOP used in redistricting has now been made public, as promised, thanks to the new Democratic leader of the state Senate, Mark Miller. It looks like Miller's created an online document repository here, so if you like exploring the nitty gritty of redistricting legal arcana, have at it.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Aug 03, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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