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Leading Off:

IA-03: Well lookee here: Some prognosticators had started writing off Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell's chances in his member-vs.-member matchup against GOP Rep. Tom Latham, but it looks like that might be premature. A new DCCC poll from Benenson Strategy Group shows the two incumbents tied at 45 apiece, with independent Scott Batcher (who seems to have Republican sympathies) at 7. The rest of the survey also offers reasons for Boswell supporters to feel hopeful: For one, the Democrat is tied despite having a worse favorability rating, 34-31 vs. 39-23 for Latham. For another, Generic D beats Generic R 48-44, suggesting there are more undecided Democrats than Republicans. And Obama is beating Romney 52-45, an almost identical spread to his 52-46 margin in 2008. So if these numbers hold, Latham would need a bunch of crossover votes to win—an increasingly hard feat in our ever-more polarized political environment.

Beyond all this, these numbers appear to contradict a recent claim by the Cook Political Report's David Wasserman:

Wasserman said private polls show that Latham has "opened up a lead in the high single digits to low double digits."
If Republicans really did have data showing Latham with a 10-point lead, then why wouldn't they release it? Numbers like that would be devastating to Boswell, undermining him with donors and outside spending groups and helping to foster a narrative that he's "done." The fact that we never saw such polling, combined with these new D-Trip numbers, leads me to guess that things perhaps don't look as rosy for the GOP as all that.


FL-Sen: Two more good polls for Dem Sen. Bill Nelson. PPP has him up 46-37 over GOP Rep. Connie Mack, up from 45-38 three weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Washington Post has him with a hefty 54-40 edge in what appears to be their first poll of the race this cycle.

MA-Sen: Oh, lovely:

At least two Republican staffers, including a member of Scott Brown's US Senate office, apparently mocked Elizabeth Warren's claims to Native American ancestry by making tomahawk chops and war whoops outside one of Brown's campaign events in Dorchester, according to a video filmed by the state Democratic Party.
There's video at the link, if you want to subject yourself to it. Meanwhile, Politico has an interesting story about cracks appearing in the Brown-Warren agreement to ban third-party attack ads. Apparently, the deal only covered TV and online advertising, not mailers—so now, of course, outside groups are cranking up their mail operations. Kind of a big hole to leave open, no?

MI-Sen: Rasmussen: Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 53 (46), Pete Hoekstra (R): 37 (40).

MO-Sen: As of 5 pm Central time Tuesday, the world is officially stuck with Todd Akin as the Republican candidate in Missouri's Senate race. He gave a press conference earlier Tuesday confirming he was in, but we wanted to wait until day's end to give him the full benefit of the doubt. Needless to say, Claire McCaskill's campaign has completely shifted in tenor today, dropping a two-part advertising bomb on Akin.

NV-Sen: Here are some gaudy numbers out of Nevada from PPP, for the League of Conservation Voters. They have Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley up 48-44 over GOP Sen. Dean Heller, the first lead of any kind she's seen in a public poll since last year. The sample seems to be pretty reasonable: Respondents said they supported Obama over McCain 52-41, very similar to the president's margin in 2008. And self-identified Democrats only have a six-point edge over Republicans (four years ago it was eight). Speaking of Obama, he's beating Romney by a punishing 52-43 margin, which also happens to be the biggest edge he's ever seen. If PPP is on to something and not just an outlier, it could be Romney's experiencing a serious collapse.

Meanwhile, Jon Ralston has his hands on a separate survey from Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies (on behalf of the Nevada Retail Association) which goes exactly the other way. POS has Romney and Obama tied at 46 and Heller leading Berkley 44-39. Those would be the best numbers Mitt has seen since 2011 as well.

OH-Sen: How would you feel if I told you about a poll showing Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown up 8 points? You'd like that a lot, right? What if I said I had one with Brown leading by 10 points? Totally awesome, yes? Well, how about if I throw in this free state of Kansas Jell-O mold and give you a poll with Sherrod Brown smacking the crap out of Republican Josh Mandel by 12 percentage points? Too good to be true? Tell that to the Washington Post, which has Brown cruising by a 53-41 margin. That's the second poll this week to put Brown over the 50% mark (the University of Cincinnati had the race at 52-45). Do I really believe Brown will win by a dozen in the end? Probably not. But numbers like these are just devastating to Republicans.

WI-Sen: Oh, Tommy. From a meeting with a tea party group back in June, Republican Senate hopeful Tommy Thompson said he wanted to:

" … change Medicare and Medicaid like I did welfare and who better than me, that's already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?"
Ads: An absolutely inhuman number of new ads cropped up today (almost 60 that we're aware of), and Yom Kippur has cut my time short. So here are links (sans descriptions) to everything we've come across. Enjoy!
AZ-Sen: Richard Carmona (D)

CT-Sen: Linda McMahon (R)

FL-Sen: American Crossroads (R)

IN-Sen: Joe Donnelly (D); Crossroads GPS (R)

MA-Sen: Elizabeth Warren (D)

MI-Sen: Pete Hoekstra (R)

MO-Sen: Claire McCaskill (D) (1, 2)

MT-Sen: Denny Rehberg (R)

ND-Sen: DSCC (D) (1, 2)

NJ-Sen: Bob Menendez (D)

NM-Sen: Martin Heinrich (D)

NV-Sen: Crossroads GPS (R)

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown (D); Crossroads GPS (R)

PA-Sen: Tom Smith (R)

VA-Sen: George Allen (R); Crossroads GPS (R)

WI-Sen: EMILY's List (D)

WV-Sen: John Raese (R)



IN-Gov: Mike Pence (R)

NC-Gov: Walter Dalton (D)


FL-09: Is anyone else not particularly impressed by this new poll from Democrat Alan Grayson (courtesy the Kitchens Group) which shows him with a 48-34 edge against attorney Todd Long, over whom Grayson has a 100-to-1 cash advantage? This is a district Obama won by 60-39, after all, and the president has looked strong in Florida polling lately. Also, Kitchens engages in my least-favorite pollster tick, reporting numbers to the tenths of a percent. That's just amateur.

FL-13: Anybody remember the waning days of Jim Bunning's 2004 campaign, when he started to descend into weird paranoia, complaining about "little green doctors pounding my back?" 21-term Republican Rep. Bill Young seems to be going down a similar road, telling the Tampa Bay Times that he and his wife have been stalked and that his condo has been broken into twice recently. The problem is, the local police disagree, having investigated the incident and found nothing consistent with forced entry. Young isn't blaming the campaign of Dem opponent Jessica Ehrlich, though; instead, he suspects it's the Occupy Wall Street movement, telling the Times "The Occupiers are after me." (David Jarman)

FL-22: Nice work: Democrat Lois Frankel succeeded in getting at least one station to pull a new ad from Eric Cantor's YG Action Fund due to inaccuracies. The spot alleged that Frankel, as mayor of West Palm Beach, had caused a budget deficit, but since the city is required by law to balance its books every year, the gap was closed—hence, no deficit. Other stations are apparently still airing the ad, though.

FL-26: The Miami Herald delves into the life and times of Ana Alliegro, the mystery woman who's the missing link between Republican Rep. David Garcia and sham candidate Justin Lamar Sternad (and who's now just plain gone missing, leaving behind envelopes of cash). The overall picture is of a woman who's balanced on the edge between pushing the envelope on smash-mouth politics, and being flat-out crazy. The incident that's been getting all the media play is a case in point:

“We are going to Vegas,” she told Cosicher, a report said. The report noted that when Cosicher refused, she grabbed a gun, which appeared to be a .45 that she kept at bed side.

She then sat naked at a desk with her leg up and compared the gun to a male sexual organ.

“If you think your [expletive] is powerful (showing the gun), this is mine,” Alliegro told Cosicher, who tried to ignore her by going to make coffee, a report said. Alliegro followed him and told him to sit on the couch.

She fired a round into the ceiling.

(David Jarman)

IL-08: The LCV has another PPP poll out, this time from Illinois' Eighth Congressional District, and the numbers are pretty much what you'd expect—at least as far as the House portion is concerned. Democrat Tammy Duckworth is pasting GOP Rep. Joe Walsh 52-38. But the Obama-Romney numbers are almost disturbing: The POTUS leads his challenger by just 53-40, in a district he won by a hefty 63-36 in 2008. If the president's margin is getting cut in half, that could explain why Democratic House prospects in the Land of Lincoln don't seem to be as good as they might appear on paper. Duckworth, of course, has the advantage of running against the utterly unacceptable Walsh, but other Dems aren't so lucky.

MA-06: We knew Democratic Rep. John Tierney was in some trouble, but did you know he was getting thrashed by state Sen. Richard Tisei to the tune of a 47-35 lead for the Republican? Of course you didn't, because in the bizarro universe where GOP pollster Stinson Strategies lives, MA-04 is also a tossup at the presidential level, with President Obama holding a one-point lead over despised former Gov. Mitt Romney. Given that Obama won the district 57-41 in 2008, and Gore and Kerry did about the same, who could possibly believe these toplines?

Well, two people. One is the pollster, Jeffrey Stinson, who happens to also be the former political director of —wait for it—Richard Tisei for Congress. The other is The Hill reporter Alexandra Jaffe, who didn't seem note any possible conflict of interest with this situation. In fairness, Jaffe did point out that the presidential toplines strain credulity... but failing to identify Stinson's former role on the Tisei campaign is really egregious.

NC-08: Done and done-er: The DCCC reportedly just cancelled a second week of television ad reservations that were originally made to prop up Dem Rep. Larry Kissell. The Fix notes that they still have three weeks left of ad time, but I'd expect that those will get nuked, too.

NJ-03: Republican freshman Jon Runyan is touting an internal poll that gives him a big lead on his Dem opponent Shelley Adler, 51-34. The poll, from McLaughlin and Associates says that nearly a quarter of Dems are crossing over for Runyan, while Adler is picking up 8% of Republicans. This district (slightly Republican-leaning and prohibitively expensive for broadcast TV advertising) hasn't been a top Dem pickup priority, so the numbers might be in the right ballpark, but there are no presidential toplines, so there's no way to perform a reality check. (David Jarman)

NY-11 (PDF): Siena's gone on a tear polling House races around New York State and is now out with their sixth such survey in September alone. This time, they find GOP freshman Mike Grimm leading Democrat Mark Murphy 48-38, with Green Party candidate Hank Bardel taking six percent (ugh). Somehow, Grimm is doing remarkably well among self-identified Democrats, with Murphy leading only 56-31 in that group. I can't imagine the challenger will actually do that poorly with members of his own party on election day. And there are two positive signs for Murph: One is that Obama leads Romney 49-45, and the other is that Dems have the slight edge on the generic ballot, 49-47 (PDF). Still, he'll probably need a pretty big shoe to drop regarding the ongoing investigation of Grimm's shady campaign finance practices to make up the gap.

Meanwhile, the news story about a break-in at Grimm headquarters has quickly turned into a non-story:

Congressman Michael Grimm and his campaign made a big deal about an alleged break-in at his headquarters last weekend, calling the incident "politically motivated" and "an assault on democracy," claiming hard drives in the office were erased and comparing the situation to the deadly shooting that left former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords critically wounded last year.

According to the Associated Press, the explanation for the smashes windows at Mr. Grimm's office is actually something far more innocent.

"Police say a teenager has admitted vandalizing the campaign office of New York Congressman Michael Grimm," the AP report said. "NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says the eighth grader told a school counselor that he and a friend had broken a window over the weekend at the office on Staten Island."

NY-18: It looks like that sticky wicket in New York's 18th has gotten resolved (mostly). The Working Families Party has now made Democrat Sean Maloney their official nominee, swapping out placeholder Larry Weissman. The WFP's press release confidently says that "Maloney will appear on the Working Families Party ballot line," even though Politicker's Colin Campbell previously reported that the New York Board of Election would begin "transmitting the federal ballot to military and overseas voters no later than Saturday, September 22." Presuming ballots did in fact go out last weekend, I'm not sure where this development leaves overseas voters.

WI-08: Is it nut-cuttin' time or just race jugglin' time? The SEIU is reportedly cancelling a $130K TV ad buy on behalf of Democrat Jamie Wall, who is hoping to unseat GOP freshman Reid Ribble. That comes on top of the House Majority PAC cancelling a similar buy in mid-September. However, notes Roll Call, the DCCC still has airtime booked starting in October. It could also be that the big outside players are hoping or expecting that Wall, who's donated $50K to his own cause and self-funded $100K in an unsuccessfull primary bid in 2006, will make up the shortfall with his own cash.


AZ-02: Martha McSally (R)


CO-06: DCCC (D)

CT-05: Elizabeth Esty (D)

FL-16: Keith Fitzgerald (D)

GA-12: John Barrow (D)

IA-02: John Archer (R)

IA-04: Steve King (R); Christie Vilsack (D); SEIU (D)

IL-12: Bill Enyart (D)

IL-17: SEIU (D)

KY-06: Andy Barr (R)

ME-02: Kevin Raye (R)



NH-01: Frank Guinta (R)

NH-02: Annie Kuster (D)

NJ-03: Shelley Adler (D)

NM-01: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) English, Spanish

NY-21: DCCC (D)

NY-25: Louise Slaughter (D)

RI-01: David Cicilline (D)

House Majority (D): AZ-01, AZ-09, IL-17 & VA-02. Total size of the buy: $1 million.

Grab bag:

Ballot measures: Wondering what's going on with statewide initiatives, referenda, and even constitutional convention questions this year? Ballotpedia has a helpful new wrapup, with 185 measures in 37 different states. While the most attention-grabbing ones are same-sex marriage and marijuana-related, the most common subject is... you guessed it... taxes, which is the subject of 32 of those measures. (David Jarman)

NRSC: It looks like the brains at the NRSC have decided to get a Moran: Jerry Moran, the freshman senator from Kansas, looks set to succeed Texas's John Cornyn as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to a new report in The Hill. Why? Because apparently no one else—not Marco Rubio, not Roy Blunt, and not Bob Corker—are interested in the job. That's a bit surprising to me, since 2014 will offer the GOP a lot of good pickup opportunities and almost bupkes for Democrats... but then again, you could have (and would have) said that about 2012, too.

WV Redistricting: The Supreme Court has finally ruled on the matter of West Virginia's new congressional map and, unsurprisingly, found that it passes constitutional muster. Earlier this year, a district court had ruled that the new lines were invalid because the legislature had failed to achieve exact population equality between the districts, but the SCOTUS quickly stayed that decision. Now the high court has filed a written opinion (PDF) explaining their reasoning. In essence, says the court, West Virginia's preference for avoiding county splits was justification enough for a 0.79% population deviation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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