• ND-Sen: Busted! On Thursday, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp sent a takedown letter (PDF) to local television stations, asking them to stop airing the new Crossroads GPS ad attacking her on the grounds that it contains false information. (Remember, TV stations are required to air all candidate ads and are immune from lawsuits regarding them, but they can be held liable for defamation when it comes to third-party ads.) Heitkamp had Crossroads dead to rights: The spot accuses her of spending "taxpayer dollars to buy private planes." But as her letter points out, the planes in questions were provided by the federal government for free. Nor were they "private": The planes were transferred from the Defense Dept. to the state AG's office and were used for official purposes only—namely, drug dealer surveillance.
So, what happened? Later that very same day, Crossroads yanked the ad—presumably to replace it with a re-cut version as quickly as possible. Rather stupidly, the group also blatantly lied about what prompted them to pull the spot, claiming they weren't motivated by Heitkamp's complaints (oh no, of course not). But thanks to Politico's Maggie Haberman, Crossroads got busted for the second time in a single day. A local TV station official confirmed that she heard from Heitkamp's people—and then informed Crossroads—long before the ad actually got nuked. Suckas.
P.S. On the Dem side of the independent expenditure world, the Majority PAC is putting in another $106K on TV ads to attack GOP Rep. Rick Berg. That's much bigger than their usual buys here, which have previously topped out at $67K apiece. I'm not sure whether this is a re-up or for a new spot, but Maj PAC usually lists production costs separately and I'm not seeing any of those in this report, so I'd guess the former. All told, the group has now spent some $617K on airing commercials in this race.
• CT-Sen: In case you're wondering how much wrestling tycoon Linda McMahon has spent on her bid for Senate this year, the latest tally comes out to $12.4 million—so far. Last cycle, the Republican hopeful dug deep into her own pockets to the tune of $50 million, all in a losing effort. Incidentally, she's raised just $524K from individual donors this time. Also, McMahon's been running a new attack ad against Murphy (again, I've seen it on TV), but she hasn't had the guts to post it on her YouTube channel.
• HI-Sen: Well, it took the New York Times about two months to take notice of GOP Senate hopeful Linda Lingle's round-the-clock "LingleVision" cable channel—which we first wrote about back in early June. But following the unofficial NYT motto ("the last with the most"), Adam Nagourney offers a copious amount of detail about how exactly the station works and what Lingle is hoping to accomplish. Unsurprisingly, pretty much no one seems to think it's an awesome idea.
• IN-Sen: A new internal for Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly from the Global Strategy Group continues to paint a very competitive picture of the race. Donnelly is at 41, Republican Richard Mourdock is at 40, and Libertarian Andrew Horning is at 4. That's unchanged from a May GSG poll that had the contest at 40 apiece. Interesting that Republicans don't seem to have released any of their own polling here. Well, Rasmussen has... but even he finds a dead heat.
• MA-Sen: Sheesh. GOP Sen. Scott Brown is flipping out because the Massachusetts welfare department is sending voter registration forms to about half a million people who receive public assistance—in order to comply with the decades-old motor-voter law. The Bay State was prodded into action in part because of a lawsuit filed by a non-partisan organization called Demos, and it so happens that Elizabeth Warren's daughter sits on the group's board. Said Brown:
"I want every legal vote to count, but it's outrageous to use taxpayer dollars to register welfare recipients as part of a special effort to boost one political party. This effort to sign up welfare recipients is being aided by Elizabeth Warren's daughter and it's clearly designed to benefit her mother's political campaign."Demos has sought to enforce the law in 18 different states over the last decade and filed at least two other lawsuits in different jurisdictions this year alone, so this is an utterly bogus charge. Of course, for aggrieved conservatives who see some kind of voting fraud conspiracy everywhere they look, this probably only helps Brown to rile up the base.
• MO-Sen: This is really funny:
An unusual thing happened in Missouri politics yesterday.More specifics at the link. Guilty as charged, I guess!
After U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill opened her fall re-election campaign by launching a website attacking Republican primary winner Todd Akin on five major issues, his campaign responded by saying McCaskill got the facts right.
"I did not go into everything in each individual issue in depth, but what it looks like is basically things they consider bad but we don't," Akin spokesman Ryan Hite said of the material on truthaboutAkin.com.
• MT-, NM-Sen: We have the size of the buys now for two new DSCC attack ads: $133K in New Mexico against Heather Wilson, and $93K in Montana against Denny Rehberg.
• NM-Sen: I like this new spot from Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich, which lists out "the top five ways you can tell" he "hasn't gone Washington." The production values are good, the message is simple and clear, and it's not your usual cookie-cutter "protect Medicare and Social Security" type of ad. Also, loved the part about him sleeping "on a camping mat" in his office!
• VA-Sen: Rasmussen: Tim Kaine (D): 46 (46), George Allen (R): 46 (45).
• WI-Sen: The Club for Growth is putting another $476K behind its already-significant TV ad buys that both boost Mark Neumann and attack his two chief GOP primary rivals, Eric Hovde and Tommy Thompson. That brings the CfG's total outlay to a huge $1.7 million. What's more, on the GOP side, 100% of all outside money has been either pro-Neumann or anti-Thompson/Hovde. Beyond the Club, other conservative groups, led by Americans for Job Security, have spent $880K here. (It's still not clear whether AJS supports Thompson or Neumann, but since they're only going after Hovde, it doesn't really matter.)
Speaking of Hovde, he's taking a new tack with his latest ad. Trying to hitch his wagon to Scott Walker's neutron star, the announcer criticizes Neumann for various negative things he said about Wisconsin's governor when the two were battling for the GOP nomination in 2010. Seems like a sort of weak attack at this late stage of the game—the primary is on Tuesday.
• NE-Gov: When the Nebraska governor's mansion becomes open in two years' time, you can expect that most if not all the action will be concentrated on the GOP side. And, though it's very early, the field is already starting to take shape. Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood is now the second Republican to signal strong interest in running, saying he'll decide for sure next month. He'd join Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, who's already officially in the mix and has the support of outgoing Gov. Dave Heineman.
• NH-Gov: The 17,000-strong NEA, aka the teachers union, is backing Maggie Hassan in the Democratic primary. The group is apparently the largest union in the state.
• AZ-04: Look out! The Club for Growth is going in huge for state Sen. Ron Gould in the GOP primary, pouring $392K into TV ads in an attempt to obliterate Rep. Paul Gosar, with another $47K online. The Club's not usually shy about posting even their harshest stuff on their YouTube page, so I'm guessing they just haven't gotten around to uploading the new material yet.
• AZ-06: Super PAC National Horizon chips in another $19K for its paid media campaign against GOP Rep. Ben Quayle. (Their initial TV buy was for $90K.)
• AZ-09: Super PAC Restoring Arizona's Integrity is spending another $16K on mailers attacking Democrat Andrei Cherny. And here's another $14K more in mailers from EMILY's List for Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.
• CO-04: Democrat Brandon Shaffer definitely got the shaft in redistricting, but to his credit, he stuck with his race against GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, and now he's out with a poll that paints a surprisingly close picture of the contest. The survey, from Lauer Johnson Research, has Gardner up 42-35, a bit tighter than previously unreleased numbers from December which had Gardner on top 45-35. But there's a good reason to take this poll with a grain of salt, seeing as it also put Mitt Romney up just 46-41 over Barack Obama. John McCain won this district by a far wider 57-42 spread.
• CT-05: Here's that new ad from the Dem-aligned Patriot Majority USA that goes after GOP state Sen. Andrew Roraback, in an effort to deny him his party's nomination. The spot, backed by a $208K ad buy, paints Roraback as a tax raiser. The difficulty here is that all the other candidates in the race are pretty conservative, so they're liable to split the vote and allow Roraback to sneak through. Hopefully Patriot Majority can stop him.
Also on the IE front, EMILY's List is dropping in yet another $17K on mailers to boost Democrat Elizabeth Esty.
• FL-06: A right-wing group called the Conservative Action Fund is spending $25K on mailers attacking two candidates in the GOP primary in this open seat: state Rep. Fred Costello and St. Johns County School Board chair Bev Slough. They've endorsed attorney Ron DeSantis, who also has the backing of the Club for Growth—though as I noted just a day ago, the CfG has been more words than deeds in this race.
• FL-09: Another $21K in mailers from the House Majority PAC aimed at mucking up the GOP primary, and once again, they're going after both Todd Long and John Quinones.
• IA-04: House Majority PAC is getting the band back together, with SEIU on keyboard and AFSCME playing the bass, as the all-star trio gets their jam on with a new ad attacking GOP Rep. Steve King. (You'll recall they previously ran a positive spot about his Democratic opponent, Christie Vilsack.) The spot goes after King because he "voted to raise his own pay but voted against raising the minimum wage." HMP says that this is the second ad in a "four-week, $400,000" buy, so I'm guessing that means it may be the last one, then, because this consortium already put $189K into their first ad. (HMP already filed an IE report, showing they're putting in $50K for this latest effort. No filings from SEIU or AFSCME yet.)
• IL-02: Well, if Eugene V. Debs could run for president from prison, then I guess Jesse Jackson, Jr. can do the same from the Mayo Clinic. Local media are reporting that some of Jackson's top campaign ads have been making calls to various players assuring them that the Democratic congressman, who mysteriously vanished from sight with a mysterious set of ailments back in June, "fully expects to be running for re-election in the fall." Of course "fully expects" is rather different from "will actually do so," so we'll see.
• IL-13: Democrat David Gill, who was just added to the DCCC's Red to Blue list on Wednesday, is out with a new internal poll from Victoria Research that gives him a 36-30 lead over Republican replacement candidate Rodney Davis. Independent John Hartman takes a surprising nine percent. Gill's vote share is actually down somewhat compared to an April survey (also from Victoria), where he led Davis 41-31. (Hartman wasn't tested then, though.) Obviously both contenders are still relatively low on name rec at this stage.
• MI-11: Hoo boy:
Four staffers of former U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia were charged today in connection with the false nominating petitions that led to McCotter's departure from Congress.Just as amazing, Schuette says that he thinks these morans did the same thing in 2008, re-using signatures collected in 2006. Schuette also lambasted McCotter as "asleep at the switch" but had insufficient evidence to charge the former congressman himself.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette described the four as "not simply Keystone Kops running amok ... criminal acts were committed."
He said the petition forgeries and cut-and-paste jobs on the petitions "would make an elementary art teacher cringe."
• MN-08: An interesting development in the MN-08 Democratic primary: Tarry Clark, who has spent the most on TV advertising, has decided to go negative with the election fast approaching on Tuesday. Her new spot hits Rick Nolan for allegedly accepting some sort of lavishly-rewarded public sector job, though it's pretty unclear to me exactly what the story is since the narrator doesn't even say what job Nolan was supposedly supposed to be performing. More important, I think, is that Clark apparently feels unsure of her chances, enough to switch gears in attack mode at the last minute.
• ND-AL: A good catch by Adam Blomeke at North Decoder: House nominee Kevin Cramer, making excuses for his fellow Republicans who adjourned Congress early, thinks that his home state "probably can weather not having a Farm Bill." For a state heavily dependent on agriculture like North Dakota, this is a remarkably clueless statement.
• NY-11: More shadiness from GOP Rep. Mike Grimm:
When Representative Michael G. Grimm, a first-term Staten Island Republican, went on a fact-finding trip abroad last year, he widely publicized his first stop, Israel, sending off a stream of messages about his activities there via Twitter. But he was largely silent about his second stop, Cyprus.Grimm, of course, says that the amended filing had no connection with the arrest. Actually, I should point out that it was Grimm's lawyer who said this—and when your attorney is acting as your press secretary, that's seldom a good sign.
In fact, Mr. Grimm did not file required paperwork about the trip, which was paid for by a private organization, with the House clerk, according to Congressional records. Nor did he initially report the Cyprus trip on his Congressional financial disclosure filing in May, even though he did list the Israel trip, according to the records.
But in June, Mr. Grimm amended his financial disclosure filing to report the Cyprus trip, the records show. The amended filing came one day after his host on the trip, Peter Papanicolaou, the president of the Cyprus Federation of America, which paid for the $6,890 visit, was arrested in Brooklyn on federal corruption charges.
• Ads: If you've suddenly noticed political ads popping up while listening to Pandora (customized online streaming radio, if you aren't familiar), you're not alone. Apparently political ad buyers are starting to notice that Pandora (which can let you target by musical choice in addition to geographical location, gender, and age) is a micro-targeter's dream come true. It's being used not only for traditional ads but also click-throughs for vacuuming up lots of e-mail addresses.
Along those lines of where to target online ads, here's a fascinating graphic that correlates political preferences and intensities with the websites that people visit. Pandora, along with the other highest-volume sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Angry Birds, are unsurprisingly smack right in the middle, but there are some interesting fissures, too. Some you might have guessed (Wikipedia users lean left, Farmville users lean right), but others are a surprise (Google leans left, Bing leans right; Zappos leans left, Amazon leans right; and maybe the most polarized spread of all is Etsy leaning way left and eBay leaning way right). (David Jarman)
• Colorado: PPP's Colorado odds-n-ends heap is out, with polling on civil unions, gun control, marijuana legalization, and the usual politician job approvals.
• Dark Money: If the FEC and IRS won't do it, at least New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will. According to a new report in the New York Times, Schneiderman is ramping up his investigation into the political activities of tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organizations, like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and the pro-Dem Patriot Majority USA. According to the article, non-profit groups that do business or raise money in New York must file copies of their tax returns with the AG's office. Schneiderman's been busy sending letters to groups that "appear to fall under those regulations but have not filed the required paperwork"—and insisting that they provide their returns. If they don't comply, subpoenas could come next.
• Dark Money: Maybe "dark money" isn't the best heading, since this contribution isn't dark at all: the Scotts Miracle-Gro company just publicly stepped out with a $200,000 contribution to the Mitt Romney-aligned Restore Our Future PAC. This is highly unusual, in that it's the first time this cycle that a major corporation has taken advantage of post-Citizens United privileges of contributing directly (instead of the time-honored tradition of breaking it down through max-out contributions from dozens of its executives). It's not the first time this has ever happened, but if you recall back to Target's ill-fated attempts to meddle in Minnesota in 2010 and the backlash that spawned, it's surprising that anyone is trying again—especially considering that if you have a well-known brand, your priority #1 is to protect the brand at all costs, including avoiding alienating anyone based on anything.
But, as the WaPo article points out, Scotts' leadership have been pretty open about their political preferences in the past. They might also be taking a look at the recent Chick-Fil-A example, where a product with an already Republican-leaning base might benefit from amping up its support among them at the expense of alienating other market segments (i.e. Democrats) who perhaps weren't going to patronize them as much anyway. In Chick-Fil-A's case, it's a matter of geography (in that they mostly only appear in the South); in Scotts' case, it may be a gamble that Democrats are less likely to own lawns, or if they do, that they're likelier to use organic products or tolerate a weedy lawn. (David Jarman)
• Friends of Democracy: A new liberal super PAC called Friends of Democracy is reportedly going big in four House districts with swap-out-the-name versions of this ad. The targets are Dan Lungren (CA-07), Chip Cravaack (MN-08), Charlie Bass (NH-02), and Sean Duffy (WI-07), and the buy is apparently for $700K all told.
• Illinois: The right-wing New Prosperity Foundation is ramping up its efforts with new TV buys targeting Democrats Tammy Duckworth (IL-08), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Bill Foster (IL-11), David Gill (IL-13), and Cheri Bustos (IL-17). Each candidate is getting dosed with $60K in TV ads—I'm guessing just a re-up of the group's previously tiny buys on carbon-copy versions of this spot. Also worth noting that this is the first time NPF has placed Gill and Bustos in its crosshairs.