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Leading Off:

CO-06: Looks like GOP Rep. Mike Coffman's come down with another bout of Coffman's Disease, the affliction where a mouth-breathing movement conservative fails to remember that he's running in a very moderate district and lets his lizard brain do the talking:

Speaking at an event last month, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman said that he has a "fundamental concern" that President Barack Obama might conduct an October surprise of sorts that could help his bid for re-election. [...]

In his comments, Coffman alluded to a Washington Post column by Jack Anderson that said there was going to be an "October Surprise," by the Carter administration in the hopes it would help him gain re-election. Ultimately Carter ended up losing that November to Republican Ronald Reagan.

"So, would Barack Obama do something that Jimmy Carter maybe would have done? It would be superficial, that would not be substantive, but would be a rally around the flag for the American people to boast his presidency. I don't know. I don't know about that. But that was interesting in terms of my own experience," is how Coffman ended his comments to the question at the August 15 event.

For the original diagnosis of Coffman's Disease (the illness which bears the congressman's name), click here.


MA-Sen: The LCV is spending $225K on field work to defeat Republican Sen. Scott Brown—pretty much the main way outside groups can get involved, since the candidates' agreement to block third-party ad spending has proven pretty air-tight.


IN-Sen: The Club for Growth just announced it's spending $800K on a new ad campaign on behalf of GOPer Richard Mourdock, just the latest sign that Republicans are nervous about their chances here. The spot (which you can watch at the link) is a pretty generic hit, trying to paint Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly as a "typical Washington liberal" (voted for Obamacare, stimulus, bailout, Pelosi). Meanwhile, Mourdock is out with his own spot, trotting out the "are you better off now than you were four years ago" line that the GOP is trying to coalesce around (but not, I think, having a whole lot of success with yet).

MT-Sen: Here's that anticipated new DSCC ad in Montana; they attack GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg for refusing to support the Buffett rule.

ND-Sen: Crossroads GPS attacks Democrat Heidi Heitkamp for supporting the Affordable Care Act and praises Rick Berg for opposing it. (Size of the buy: $97K.) Berg also has a new spot, featuring a whiny announcer attacking Heitkamp for saying nice things about Obama.

NM-Sen: Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich says he'll always put "Main Street before Wall Street." He's also running a new Spanish-language version of this ad, first released in August.

NV-Sen: AFSCME attacks GOP Sen. Dean Heller as a tool of Wall Street who opposed "mortgage relief for Nevada homeowners." Rep. Shelley Berkley also pushes back against Heller's Medicare attacks, saying Heller wants to turn "seniors' healthcare decisions over to private insurance companies." That's a good flip of the usual GOP attack line.


FL-Gov: Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn, who first won office last year, had the unenviable task last week of playing host to the Republican National Convention. But he seems pretty content to stay where he is: Though Buckhorn is sometimes tagged as a proverbial "rising star," he says he has no plans to run for governor in 2014 and intends to finish his four-year term as mayor. But going back to the RNC for a moment, he also has a pretty good sense of humor:

"As the only Democrat that spoke at the Republican convention, I was looking for the trap door when I got up there on stage. Because I figured if I said anything that sounded anything like 'hope' or 'change' I was going down. God forbid if I had said "President Obama"—they would have ejected me out of that place," Buckhorn joked to a Florida delegation breakfast.
IL-Gov: Could Dem Gov. Pat Quinn face yet another primary challenge? Queried by reporters at the DNC, state Attorney General Lisa Madigan pointedly refused to rule out a 2014 run against Quinn, who survived a primary assault from Comptroller Dan Hynes last time by less than 1%.

NJ-Gov: In their first look at a possible 2013 gubernatorial matchup, Quinnipiac finds GOP Gov. Chris Christie, fresh off his dud of a convention speech down in Tampa, leading Newark mayor Cory Booker 47-40. Christie's favorability rating is a pretty decent 52-42, while Booker's is overwhelmingly positive at 49-11. Booker's made some noises recently about a potential run, but plenty of other options are still in the mix, and no Democrats have formally stepped forward yet. I'm guessing anyone who does take the plunge will likely wait until after this November's elections.


WA-Gov: The RGA's first spot in Washington this cycle attacks Democrat Jay Inslee for voting for the stimulus (without, oddly, actually using the word "stimulus"), and also accuses him of voting for an entirely unspecified "massive tax increase" on small businesses. They don't even bother with the little fine print in support of this ridiculous claim, though I'm guessing perhaps they're trying to reference the Affordable Care Act—though again, without actually mentioning it.

WV-Gov: Various ordinary-type folks praise Republican Bill Maloney for his jobs plan, and one even throws down this challenge at the end: "Let's send a message to Obama."


CA-47: Democrat Alan Lowenthal's released a three-week-old internal (from Goodwin Simon) that paints an even more optimistic picture for him than a DCCC robopoll did back in late July. Lowenthal leads Republican Gary DeLong 51-31 on the initial ballot test, almost twice as wide as the 47-36 gap found in that D-Trip single-day survey. But this poll passes my top sanity check: Obama's beating Romney 56-35, very similar to the 58-39 margin the president put up against McCain in 2008. I'll be curious to see if DeLong tries to push back against this one, since the original DCCC poll was actually a response to his survey that had Lowenthal in front just 44-41.

IL-11: We've been having a bit of debate among the Daily Kos Elections staff as to what exactly this new internal from Bill Foster might mean for his prospects. The survey (from Global Strategy Group) shows Foster just behind GOP Rep. Judy Biggert, 43-42, so you can either view that as a tossup, or you can say that Biggert's in trouble since she's so far under 50, or you can fret that Foster's not ahead in a district that went 61-37 for Obama in 2008. Speaking of, the poll says that Obama leads Romney by 8 (the exact margin isn't provided), which either means that this is a very pessimistic sample and thus represents something of a worst-case scenario for Foster, or it's a sign that Democratic fortunes have really collapsed in this district. Take your pick!

Personally, I think this poll is positive for Foster, particularly since Biggert is better known and, according to the Foster campaign, has already sent out well over a dozen pieces of mail, including franking. Foster hasn't done any mail, and while neither candidate has gone on the air yet, third-party groups have aired anti-Foster ads. Plus, in the expensive Chicago-area media market, Foster's enormous personal wealth will ensure he can stay on the air if he needs to go that route. (He hasn't self-funded at all this cycle.) At the very least, I'd argue these numbers point toward tossup status, which is exactly where we have the race pegged right now.

NY-18: Freshman GOP Rep. Nan Hayworth is out with a new poll from the Tarrance Group, giving her a 51-42 lead over Democrat Sean Maloney. While the memo doesn't provide precise presidential toplines, it says Romney leads Obama by 3, which is just plausible, since Obama beat John McCain here by 5. Tarrance also says that Republicans have a 4-point lead on the generic congressional ballot.


CA-03: Dem Rep. John Garamendi touts his support for veterans while attacking Republican Kim Vann for supposedly stopping "an effort to save a deteriorating local American Legion hall."

CA-24: Republican Abel Maldonado almost sounds like a Democrat when he says "bank bailouts cost taxpayers millions, while Wall Street executives rake in millions." Size of the buy is a reported $300K.

CO-03: Democrat Sal Pace's first ad is a positive intro spot, mostly about his family life.

CT-04: Dem Rep. Jim Himes's first ad features his young daughters, who say they tell people their dad is not "like a lot of those other congresspeople" because "he's super-against all that wasteful spending Congress does." This is the kind of conversation 10- and 13-year-old kids have with their friends?

IA-02: Republican Ben Lange gets on his high horse about the national debt: Do we want to keep kicking the can down the road, or do we want "new leaders with the courage to pick up the can"?

IA-03: Size of the buy on that new Patriot Majority ad attacking GOP Rep. Tom Latham: $127K.

IN-02: A bunch of supposedly reg'lar people attack Democrat Brendan Mullen as a carpetbagger, in what Republican Jackie Walorski claims are a "series of candid street interviews."

IN-08: GOP Rep. Larry Bucshon, a physician, hides behind his mother-in-law, who insists "you can trust Larry to protect Medicare." She also says that Obama cut Medicare "by $500 billion," which means she didn't get the memo that the talking point is now $700 billion. Come on, people!

MI-01: Rep. Dan Benishek, another Republican doctor, goes non-partisan, with civilians praising his skills as a surgeon and his commitment to ensuring access to healthcare for seniors.

NV-03: Yet one more Republican doctor, Rep. Joe Heck, sort of combines the Bucshon and Benishek approaches (see above). He references his work as a physician, then says his father's heart attack two years ago showed him "how important Medicare was to me."

NV-04: Wow. Driving through West Las Vegas, Democrat Steven Horsford explains: "Right here is where we lived. And, there, that's where my dad was shot and killed. I drive by it every day on my way to work." Anjeanette Damon says it's "the first time" that Horsford's "used his personal narrative in a television ad." She elaborates: "Horsford's father was killed when he was 19. Horsford interrupted his college education to care for his younger siblings while his mom struggled with a drug addiction."

NY-19: The DCCC attacks GOP freshman Chris Gibson for voting to "essentially end Medicare"—and this time, they specifically link him to Paul Ryan, who's shown in cartoon form. Size of the buy: $341K. That's a lot, but the New York media market is costly.

NY-21: Matt Doheny tosses the usual Republican playbook at Rep. Bill Owens, attacking him for supporting the Affordable Care Act and bringing up the usual lies about cutting Medicare.

NY-24: GOP Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle's first ad is your basic introductory bio spot.

PA-08: Democrat Kathy Boockvar, by way of a senior couple, hits GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick hard for supporting Social Security privatization and the Ryan plan.

PA-12: SEIU-COPE gets behind their man, Rep. Mark Critz, with this spot attacking Republican Keith Rothfus because "he's for millionaires, not people like us." The ad, which uses too much on-screen text, is backed by a reported $166K buy.

WA-01: A ponderous announcer offers some empty nostrums ("it's about our jobs") on behalf of Republican John Koster.

Other Races:

MI-Init: Big news: The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that a proposed amendment to the state constitution which would enshrine a right to collective bargaining will appear on the ballot this fall.

Special Elections: Johnny recaps Tuesday's lone state legislative special election:

Virginia HD-45: To no one's surprise, this one didn't turn out to be a barnburner. Democrat Rob Krupicka trounced Republican Tim McGhee by a 75-21 margin, with Libertarian Justin Malkin pulling in the remaining 4%."
Grab Bag:

Florida: This is really weird. Some outfit called ("a division of Fextel, Inc.") purports to have somehow polled a bajillion different Florida races all at once, including eight different congressional contests and an even larger array of legislative matchups. I'm just not sure what to believe here, so you'll have to click through and decide for yourself.

Nevada: Late on Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granting the state of Nevada's emergency motion seeking a stay of a district court ruling which said that the state's unusual "none of the above" option on the ballot was unconstitutional. That means "NOTA" will remain a choice for voters this fall, unless the Supreme Court takes up an appeal instantly, since ballots have to start getting printed in just a couple of days. Rick Hasen says he's not at all surprised by this action—in fact, he was surprised that the district court even ruled the way it did in the first place.

Also remarkable is a concurring opinion (PDF) written by one of the appellate judges, who takes the district court judge to the woodshed and just absolutely shreds him, saying his "dilatory tactics appear to serve no purpose other than to seek to prevent the state from taking an appeal of his decision before it must print the ballots." I've never seen a federal judge get whaled on so hard (it goes on for many pages), but he richly deserves this lashing.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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