• MI-Init: In a huge and unexpected decision, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on Friday that a measure aimed at repealing the states controversial new "emergency manager" law must appear on the ballot this November. Amazingly, the case centered around whether organizers had used a sufficiently large font size on their petitions! Michigan's high court is filled with notorious Republican hacks who practically live to do the bidding of their political masters, but I guess knocking the measure off the ballot proved to be a bridge too far for one of those justices, Mary Beth Kelly, who sided with the court's three Democrats to preserve it.
In addition to giving voters the chance to veto the law at the ballot box this fall, this ruling also immediately suspends the law pending the election. And if you aren't familiar with it, the emergency manager law is basically an end-run around collective bargaining rights, allowing managers to terminate such agreements in certain circumstances under the guise of helping fiscally troubled jurisdictions. A recent PPP poll found voters actually favor retaining the law by a 41-31 margin, but it can be a tricky thing to poll, since the good guys want a "no" vote (much like the SB5 fight in Ohio last year). But more importantly, neither side has really engaged on this issue yet because everyone was waiting on the outcome of this lawsuit. Now, it's game on.
• CT-Sen: Living in New York, there isn't much political advertising on TV, so I can tell you that this is the first time all year that I've encountered a campaign ad on television before seeing it on YouTube. And that's actually pretty scary, because it means Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon is spending so much of her bottomless wealth that she's able to advertise on NYC broadcast TV—during the Olympics no less. (Hey, I keep the games on in the background.) In any event, in the spot, the narrator praises McMahon as a job creator and also tries to portray Chris Murphy as a "career politician" who has "never created a single job." Sorry, but I just don't think trying to brand the youthful-looking, 38-year-old Murphy as a career pol is going to work.
• FL-Sen: Now that's more like it! Dem Sen. Bill Nelson's first television ad of his re-election campaign was an anodyne positive spot. His second, though, is exactly what you'd hope for: a sharp negative attack on GOP Rep. Connie Mack in which, as the Tampa Bay Times' Alex Leary says, he throws the kitchen sink at his opponent. Rather than attempt to summarize, here's a transcript:
"Florida, meet Connie Mack IV, a promoter for Hooters with a history of bar-room brawling, altercations, and road rage. A big spender, with a trail of debts, liens, and unpaid bills. He has one of the worst attendance records in Congress this year—but he still voted to end Medicare as we know it. 'Questionable work habits.' 'A sense of entitlement.' Connie Mack. He thinks the rules are different for him."Florida Republicans must be pretty desperate: In response to Nelson's omnibus attack against Mack, they're going after Nelson's son, who was arrested for disorderly intoxication back in 2006. How is this not completely off-limits? Nelson's son isn't running for office, and in any event, he was 30 years old at the time. Pathetic garbage.
• IN-Sen: Rasmussen: Joe Donnelly (D): 40 (42), Richard Mourdock (R): 42 (42).
• MA-Sen: If you're a Democrat and former mayor of one of the biggest cities in Massachusetts, what makes you wake up one morning and say, "I'm gonna endorse Scott Brown and cut an ad for him!" Well, that's what ex-Worcester mayor Konnie Lukes has done, following on the heels of ex-Boston mayor Ray Flynn, who did the same a week earlier. Flynn at least has a long history of being a bogus Dem (he's endorsed George W. Bush and Mitt Romney for president, and backed Brown in the 2010 special election, too). As for Lukes, though, I don't know what her deal is, though the Boston Globe called her a "conservative Democrat" back when she first gave her support to Brown in the spring.
• MO-Sen: Democrats have made no secret of their desire to face GOP Rep. Todd Akin in November, rather than Sarah Steelman or John Brunner—ironic, since Akin originally had to be begged to get into the race. Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill's run a TV ad that attacks Akin for being "too conservative," obviously designed to make him more appealing to Republican primary voters. Now McCaskill and the DSCC are airing a radio ad along the exact same lines, a pretty hilarious 60-second litany of all the right-wing lunacy Akin subscribes to.
Meanwhile, the pro-Steelman super PAC Now or Never just dropped in another $250K on their multi-ad buy that's mostly devoted to attacking Brunner. (In fact, it look like their new spending is entirely anti-Brunner.) That takes their total TV expenditures to about $638K. The Chamber of Commerce also re-upped their existing ad that goes after both Steelman and McCaskill to the tune of $93K. On top of that, they also cranked out a new last-minute pro-Brunner spot, but the buy seems to be small: Their IE lists $48K in expenses, but that includes production costs.
It's also worth noting that the self-funding in Missouri's GOP Senate primary has reached some pretty intense levels. Brunner has now given his own campaign over $7.5 million, while Steelman just added another $400K from her own pocket for $800K in total. Obviously Brunner's contributions dwarf Steelman's, but if she's doubling down like that, then she must think she still has a decent shot at the nomination. The primary is on Tuesday.
• PA-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Casey hits a theme that's growing familiar in his first ad of his first re-election campaign: requiring the armed forces to use American products, in this case, U.S.-made steel for vehicular armor, rather than metal from China. What's odd is that Casey doesn't seem to explain whether he did anything to change this situation, but merely says that "'Made in America' should be stamped on all steel used by our military." PoliticsPA's Daniel Gleason notes that Casey does take credit for a reversal of Defense Department policy in an accompanying press release, but obviously no one is going to read that. Am I wrong to think he's underselling his own efforts?
• TN-Sen: What a debacle in Tennessee. It's not like Democrats were ever going to have a shot at unseating freshman Sen. Bob Corker, but at least our preferred candidate, actress and activist Park Overall, is a real Democrat. The guy Dems did nominate seems to be anything but: Mark Clayton says he works at a "conservative activist group" called "Public Advocate of the United States," and, well, just check out their website. He doesn't even understand who he's running again, writing on his website that he hopes to unseat Tennessee's other senator, Lamar Alexander! Apparently, that's because Clayton hasn't updated his site since 2008, when he last ran for Senate. Oy vey.
Tennessee Democrats, by the way, are doing their best to disavow their new nominee, even going so far as to urge Democrats to vote write-in instead. Blech. What a mess.
• CA-Gov: California Republicans don't have a lot of good options when it comes to potential gubernatorial candidates in 2014, and even if he had been interested, I'm not sure Steve Poizner would have been among them anyway. But in any event, the conservative former state insurance commissioner who unsuccessfully sought the 2010 GOP nomination for governor says he has "no plans" to run for office again.
• CT-05: There's a whole lot of self-funding going on on both sides of the aisle in the open 5th Congressional District. Democrat Elizabeth Esty just dropped a cool half-mil into her own campaign at the last moment, while Dan Roberti put in even more, $585K. (Chris Donovan, the article notes, "does not have the personal wealth of Roberti and Esty.") Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley has matched Roberti's total, while another GOPer, Mark Greenberg, has contributed vastly more to his own effort, some $1.8 million.
Meanwhile, EMILY's List just spent another $19K on mailers to attack Donovan.
• FL-09: Another $13K in mailers attacking Republican John Quinones from the House Majority PAC.
• FL-19: The Conservative Values super PAC is adding another $22K to their TV buy fluffing right-wing talk radio host Trey Radel in the GOP primary.
• MI-11: It's awfully late to be lowering the boom on Nancy Cassis, seeing as the primary is on Tuesday, but Liberty for All just filed an IE report late on Thursday evening for a massive $358K television ad buy. (The spot is not available on their YouTube page.) The libertarian super PAC has been supporting Cassis's primary rival, Kerry Bentivolio, and previously had spent about $160K on phones and mail. We'll see if there's still enough time for them to make a difference on the airwaves.
MN-08: More EMILY mailers: another $16K to help Democrat Tarryl Clark (and attack Rick Nolan and Chip Cravaack).
• MO-01: I thought this new ad from Dem Rep. Lacy Clay dinging Russ Carnahan was amusingly goofy.
• SD-AL: An independent poll taken by the local firm Nielson Brothers shows freshman GOPer Kristi Noem in a shockingly close contest with her Democratic challenger, Matt Varilek. Indeed, Noem's 47-46 lead seems simply too good to be true; you may recall a Nielson poll from October which had Noem losing a hypothetical rematch to ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin by an absolutely impossible 58-37 margin. So no, I don't think the race is as close as they say, especially since the presidential toplines seem too optimistic (49-43 Romney, in a state Obama was fortunate to lose by "only" 8). That said, I think Varilek remains a strong sleeper candidate, and I'll bet the contest is a good bid tighter than the GOP would wish.
• WV-03: A new poll from Dem Rep. Nick Rahall (courtesy Anzalone Liszt) finds the incumbent beating Republican state Rep. Rick Snuffer by a meaty 62-34 margin, and also gives Rahall a gaudy 64-30 approval rating. This is Snuffer's second time trying to beat Rahall, and the poll numbers are eerily similar to the final tally in that first 2004 matchup, which went 65-35 for the Democrat.
• WI-02: In a new positive spot, Dem state Rep. Mark Pocan talks about how he's fought for kids and seniors.
• Ads: An interesting catch by Emily Schultheis: Google has now made it possible for advertisers using its AdWords system to target individual congressional districts. Schultheis says that the NRCC is already taking advantage of this feature, though I'm sure many more campaigns and third-party groups will follow suit.
• Blue Dogs: Center Forward, the re-named PAC of the Blue Dogs, is also getting into the fall TV ad reservations game. They're reserving $1.3 mil worth of television time in three races where Blue Dog incumbents are seeking re-election: GA-12, KY-06, and UT-04.