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Leading Off:

IN-Sen: Hahah:

And that means it's up to people like Sen. Coburn to convince voters that Mourdock's views will change if he gets to Capitol Hill. "I believe in compromise." said Coburn, "and I believe Richard will compromise in the best interest of our country which ultimately will be in the best interest of Indiana."

Mourdock, meantime, was asked to name a Democrat he could compromise with. He said he is only familiar with the Democratic leadership. "And I have to tell ya," he said, "I don't see many ideas coming from their leadership that are the types of ideas we need." The remaking of Richard Mourdock, it appears, is a work in progress.

Senate:

AZ-Sen: A new League of Conservation Voters poll from PPP has remarkably good numbers for Democrat Rich Carmona: He trails GOP Rep. Jeff Flake by just a single point, 44-43. That's much tighter than the presidential race, where Romney is handily beating Obama, 53-44. The question is, is Carmona out-performing Obama, or is Flake just underperforming Romney? If the former, then we might have a potential upset on our hands. If the latter, then I'd expect Romney to drag Flake over the finish line. I'd also like to see some other polling here, since this is actually the first survey of the race since late July (and that poll was also from PPP, albeit using their registered voter model).

MA-Sen: Local Republican polling outfit Kimball Consulting turned some heads with its late-August poll of the Massachusetts Senate race, which put Elizabeth Warren down by 6 and, hot on the heels of PPP's sample that gave Scott Brown a similar-sized lead, led to the sudden emergence of a bit of an "OMGZ, Elizabeth Warren = Martha Coakley!!" meme in some quarters. Well, Kimball is back with another poll, and now they find the race back to the same equilibrium where it's been all year, with Brown at 46, Warren at 45.

They ascribe this movement to a convention bounce, since Warren did a star turn there and also they find a similar 5-point jump for Barack Obama vis-à-vis Mitt Romney (now leading 56-40). That's quite possible, but I think it's just as possible that there really was no August drop for Warren in the first place, that Kimball and PPP both got bad bounces of the polling ball at the same time, and that the race is just as deadlocked now as it's always been. (More support for that idea: The candidates' favorables are near-identical, with Warren at 55% and Brown at 54%.) (David Jarman)

ME-Sen: Either the NRSC senses an opportunity, or they're desperate to expand a shrinking map. According to Reid Wilson at The Hotline, national Republicans plan to spend $500K in the Maine Senate race over the next two weeks, though I haven't seen any IE reports or spotted any new ads. That comes on top of $250K spent by a super PAC that's been trying to boost the little-known Democrat, Cynthia Dill, in an effort to pull votes away from leftish-leaning independent Angus King, all in the hopes of ultimately helping Republican Charlie Summers.

MO-Sen: In just two weeks from now, Republicans will no longer be able to replace Todd Akin on the ballot—and Akin is taking another pass through the media to ensure that the GOP establishment once again hears that he has no intention of dropping out. Once that Sept. 25 deadline comes and goes, Akin is convinced that national Republican money will flow back into his race, and I'd personally be pretty surprised if it didn't. Still, we just need him to hang on for a fortnight—then we can worry about the final stages of this campaign.

OH-Sen: PPP finds Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown still comfortably leading Republican Josh Mandel, 48-40. That's a bit tighter than the 47-37 spread they saw in August, but with just two months until election day, Mandel—who has never led in a single public poll—is running out of time to catch up to the incumbent.

Ads:

Crossroads: Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS is out with four new ads in three Senate races, each backed by substantial buys. In NV-Sen, they attack Shelley Berkley for (accurately) saying GOP Sen. Dean Heller voted to end Medicare while repeating the standard "voted to cut $716 billion from Medicare" crap about her. (Size of the buy: $409K.) In OH-Sen, they awkwardly turn Sen. Sherrod Brown into a quarterback who calls bungled plays. I struggle to understand how being a QB has anything to do with job creation. Unless you get hurt and open up a spot for the second-stringer. (SOTB: $1 mil.)

And finally, there are two spots in VA-Sen. Paul Krugman would love the first one, which attacks Tim Kaine for supporting the bi-partisan budget deal that includes automatic cuts to defense spending—which the narrator says would cost jobs... in the very same breath as he derides the stimulus! (Krugman refers to this as "weaponized Keynesianism.") The second claims Kaine cut education funding as governor. (SOTB: $1 mil.)

Gubernatorial:

FL-Gov: In response to one of those junky StPetePolls.org surveys that circulated on Monday, Democratic pollster Tom Eldon of SEA Polling provided the Miami Herald with some much more legitimate-looking numbers of a hypothetical Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2014. SEA's poll, on behalf of EDGE Communications, finds 2010 nominee Alex Sink at 31 and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (who still hasn't formally switched to the Democratic Party) at 29. That ludicrous St. Pete poll had Crist crushing... but absolutely zero undecideds.

MT-Gov: Montana is at the forefront of campaign finance transparency, requiring monthly disclosures from its gubernatorial candidates. That keeps us regularly informed about the money race, and so now we know that Republican Rick Hill has outraised Democrat Steve Bullock for the second straight month in a row, $229K to $184K. However, Bullock still maintains a wide lead in the cash-on-hand department, with $783K in the bank versus $437K for Hill.

NH-Gov: In last night's New Hampshire primary for the open governor's mansion, ex-state Sen. Maggie Hassan beat fellow former senator Jackie Cilley for the Democratic nomination. She'll face attorney and 2010 Senate hopeful Ovide Lamontagne, who handily dispatched conservative activist Kevin Smith for the GOP nod.

WA-Gov, WA-Sen: SurveyUSA (on behalf of KING-TV) has another installment in its regular polls of the Washington gubernatorial race. This one is good news for Dem Jay Inslee, who leads 49-44 over GOPer Rob McKenna. That's up from a 3-point lead six weeks ago, and SUSA looks to be right on the money in these two polls, as right in between those two polls came the top 2 primary (with a sample of n > 1,000,000), which Inslee "won" over McKenna by 4 points.

Inslee's better luck in recent months seems based on his now being known just as well as McKenna (41/28 faves for Inslee, 40/26 for McKenna). Also, Inslee seems to have drawn even on the question of who'd be better for education, which seemed to be bedeviling him earlier (McKenna now leads that only 39-38). And while this is the first time SUSA has asked the question, this may be the most important factor of all: on the question "which candidate do you think is more likeable personally," Inslee wins hands-down, 43-30.

There's also a slew of downballot data: Dem incumbent Maria Cantwell is having no trouble with the Senate race, leading Michael Baumgartner 54-38, and in the open Attorney General's race, Dem Bob Ferguson is opening a solid lead, 42-33, over GOPer Reagan Dunn. The referendum that would allow same-sex marriage in Washington is passing 56-38, while the initiative that would legalize and regulate marijuana is even more popular, passing 57-34. The only progressive trouble spots are an initiative allowing charter schools (on track to pass at 52-26), and the every-two-years-like-clockwork Tim Eyman initiative to require a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes is also passing, 58-21 (though it will likely get struck down by the courts just like its predecessors).

The airwaves in WA-Gov are also going to get even busier: Both sides just made big additions to their ad reservations for the closing months. The DGA-backed Our Washington PAC has made another $2.8 million in reservations, up to a $5 million total, while the RGA also put in another $1.2 million, for a total of $5.2 million. Meanwhile, in a new ad of his own, McKenna makes a pretty transparent play for women voters by touting his work as attorney general on matters like domestic violence and stalking. (David Jarman & David Nir)

House:

MD-06: Apparently, GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's been on this Holocaust kick for a while. A day before making his now-infamous remarks that put student loans on the road to the Holocaust, there was this:

"If you can ignore the Constitution to do what you consider good things today, tomorrow you can ignore the Constitution to do bad things," Bartlett said at a Funkstown, Md. town hall meeting. "More than half of our people in this country are of German descent. How in the heck—I know those people! How could the Holocaust have happened? These are the same German bloodlines that represent the biggest ethnic group in our country today. It's just, if you start down a slippery slope, you could end up doing that kind of thing."
I think the amazing thing here is not his repeated invocations of the Holocaust, but that he basically just accused German-Americans of having it in them to pull off another one! (Also, I love that there is a town called "Funkstown.")

WI-01: Huh, wow. Paul Ryan is going on the air Wednesday... in his House district. As the AP puts it, he's asking "voters to elect him to an eighth House term he hopes to never serve." Two thoughts: First, and most obviously, Ryan's evidently making sure his backup plan is in place—which is not an optimistic statement about the Romney-Ryan ticket's chances. Secondly, does this mean Ryan is actually taking the threat from Democrat Rob Zerban seriously? Zerban's run an energetic campaign and his fundraising's been decent, but beating Ryan (who has over $5 mil in the bank) was always going to be incredibly difficult. Still, the fact that Ryan seems to be worrying at all is quite remarkable.

Ads:

IL-10: GOP Rep. Bob Dold! touts his bipartisanship.

MI-01: The Michigan LCV has a second spot targeting GOP Rep. Dan Benishek as a friend of polluters.

ND-AL: Republican Kevin Cramer says: "We need to grow the economy in America, not strangle it with red tape." This ad is surprisingly un-partisan-ish, though.

Grab Bag:

New York: Even after a federal judge ruled that New York must conduct federal primaries in June to comply with federal laws concerning when ballots must be mailed to overseas voters, legislators decided to keep state and local primaries in September, increasing voter confusion and undoubtedly decreasing turnout. Oh, but they did move the election in the end—by two whole days, to Thursday, so that it wouldn't coincide with 9/11.

In any event, the primaries are almost upon us, and Politicker's Colin Campbell has an excellent run-down of all the key races, grouped by categories like "The End of the Rainbow" (challenges to Republican legislators who supported gay marriage) and "Indictment Excitement" (it wouldn't be New York politics without the corruption). A must-read for those interested in the Empire State, especially if you're following the contest for control of the up-for-grabs state Senate.

Redistricting Roundup:

OH Redistricting: PPP's new Ohio poll also has some unfortunate news for backers of a ballot measure that would create a new redistricting commission for the state. Tom Jensen explains:

Republicans knew what they were doing with the ballot wording for the Ohio redistricting referendum. Last month we found voters in the state supported an independent redistricting commission by a 37/24 margin. But with the official ballot language, which frames the commission as "removing the authority of elected representatives" and giving it to appointed officials, only 33% of voters now say they support the amendment to 38% who are opposed.
That's why supporters have gone to court to try to force election officials to change the ballot language.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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