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Leading Off:

MA-Sen: Dem Rep. Ed Markey has a new TV ad, a positive spot in which he invites us to travel back in time with him, like Blake Griffin hawking a Kia. "It's hard to believe," says Markey, "but 20 years ago, almost no one had broadband." Dude, 20 years ago, almost no one had Internet access, period. It was 1993! "Words With Friends" was called "Scrabble at the kitchen table with your family on Saturday night," and horny teenagers were lucky if they could get their hands on a purloined Victoria's Secret catalog. So I guess the message is, if you love to play games on your smartphone or are glad that you don't have to wait for your older sister's mail to arrive each month, then you can thank Ed Markey for his leadership on the Telecommunications Act of 1996. (Thank you, Ed Markey. For Words With Friends. Of course.)


AR-Sen, AK-Sen: It looks like Mayors Against Illegal Guns is indeed going up with ads targeting Sens. Mark Pryor (AR) and Mark Begich (AK) over their votes against expanding background checks, something the group was reportedly contemplating last month. (North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is also on their list, but she isn't up for re-election until 2018.) As we noted previously, it's a high-risk move. Both Pryor and Begich are very vulnerable, as Democrats running in red states, and their replacements will only be more hostile to gun safety regulations. What's more, a guy like Pryor could very well turn this to his advantage by attacking elite coastal libruhls who want to tell Arkansas voters what they should think, aka the Pace Picante school of politics.

It's also far from certain that a group like MAIG can send a clear message here. If Pryor or Begich lose next year, it could wind up being for any number of reasons. MAIG would of course try to make the case that it was their gun votes that cost them, but it would be easy to cite other causes, not least of which is simply "running as Democrat in a red state." Put another way, if background check legislation somehow does come up for another vote, and Pryor and Begich change their minds and vote in favor and then lose their re-election bids, wouldn't it be just as easy for critics to blame MAIG? I think there are a lot of moving parts here, and a lot of ways for this effort to accomplish little, if not go wrong altogether.

GA-Sen: I don't really know what to make of this supposed DSCC internal shared with Politico that lacks both field dates and a pollster name. I guess maybe the idea is to show that Michelle Nunn would start off in, perhaps unexpectedly, slightly better shape than would Rep. John Barrow, who declined to run earlier this week—sort of a, "See, we have plenty of good candidates" poll, maybe? But the undecideds are ridiculously high. How do you conduct a poll of Georgia and find GOP Rep. Jack Kingston at just 33 percent? The absence of full information about the survey is also pretty glaring, so it's hard to credit it for much of anything.

HI-Sen: It was just a formality at this point, since EMILY's List had already said they'd endorse Rep. Colleen Hanabusa for Senate, but now they've made it official. Hanabusa is challenging Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary next year.

SD-Sen: Rick Weiland, a former staffer for ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, just became the first Democrat to say he'll run for the Senate seat that Tim Johnson is leaving open due to his retirement. Weiland says he spoke with U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, who has been the subject of a draft movement, and reports: "He's focused on his job. I wouldn't be here if I didn't feel that Brendan (wasn't) going to get into this race." And in an email, Lincoln County Democratic Party Chair Ryan Casey, who has been the leader of those draft efforts, add "I'm certain that Brendan will not enter the race" and asks supporters to give their backing to Weiland instead.

Weiland ran for office once before, seeking South Dakota's at-large House seat in 1996. That year, Johnson, then the state's congressman, successfully pulled off the difficult feat of defeating an incumbent GOP senator, Larry Pressler, in a red state during a presidential election. Weiland, however, proved no match for John Thune further down the ticket, losing the open seat race by a punishing 58-37 margin. The Argus Leader describes Weiland as a "prominent South Dakota Democrat" in their lede, but he doesn't appear to have a Wikipedia page or much of a presence on Google.

WV-Sen: MBE Research has a new survey of West Virginia's seldom-polled open seat Senate race, but there are a few wrinkles you should be aware of. The poll contains data on a hypothetical Democratic primary, but with a sample size of just 207, it falls below acceptable minimums. For what it's worth, though, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant would take 40 percent, versus 12 percent for state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis, while attorneys Nick Preservati and Ralph Baxter register at just 1 apiece.

As for the general election (which at least has a more reasonable pool of 406 respondents), MBE Research only asked about a single matchup, Davis vs. GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. The results certainly aren't heartwarming for Democrats, with Capito leading 51-32. Unfortunately, crosstabs don't seem to be available, but given West Virginia's conservative lean and Capito's 54-28 job approval rating, these numbers aren't very surprising.

P.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, co-author of the expanded background checks bill that failed in the Senate last month, has seen his approval rating drop 7 points since March, but he's still at a very healthy 63-31 overall. And notably, West Virginia voters say they support Manchin's bill by a 67-30 margin.


MI-Gov: Todd Heywood at the American Independent reports that according to a "source close to" Democrat Mark Schauer, the former congressman will indeed run for governor. Heywood adds that his source "is part of Schauer's decision-making circle and is currently acting in an informal advisory position" but notes that Schauer did not return calls asking for comment.

NJ-Gov: Marist's first poll (PDF) of the New Jersey governor's race is as harsh as any other. GOP Gov. Chris Christie has a 62-28 lead over Barbara Buono, who hasn't managed to crack 30 percent since Hurricane Sandy struck.

VA-Gov: Well, they can't both be right. A couple of days after the Washington Post released results that showed wide leads for Republican Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia's gubernatorial race, NBC and Marist are out with fresh data of their own (PDF) that show a much closer affair—and is in line with the bulk of other polling we've seen to date. Among registered voters, Marist actually gives the edge to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, 43-41. In a bit of a rarity, the two men switch positions when only likely voters are considered, putting Cuccinelli up 45-42. Either way, though, it's a far cry from the WaPo, which had Cuccinelli ahead by 5 among RVs and 10 with LVs.


IL-10: Though he muffed his rollout a bit, one-term ex-Rep. Bob Dold! has now emailed supporters to confirm that he is indeed seeking a rematch against the man who beat him last year, Democrat Bradley Schneider. While Dold lost by a narrow 51-49 margin, the district's demographics will simply make life very hard for him. The 10th went for Obama by a 58-41 spread, making it even bluer than the bluest seat currently held by a Republican (and that district, CA-31, is only in GOP hands due to an absurd fluke).

Dold will certainly be able to raise money, and Schneider can't afford to rest on his laurels, but nor will he. Obviously Dold is hoping that the lack of Obama-driven favorite son turnout will redound to his advantage, but bear in mind that Schneider still won even though the president's performance dropped 10 net points from 2008 to 2012. This will be an uphill climb for the GOP, even for the likes of Bob Dold!.

TX-04: Republican Rep. Ralph Hall, who just turned 90, says he'll seek another term next fall. The super-conservative Hall (who, believe it or not, was a Democrat as recently as nine years ago) received a desultory primary challenge last cycle and survive with a less-than-impressive 58 percent as two Some Dudes equally split the remainder. Oddly, the Campaign for Primary Accountability targeted Hall, spending $167,000, but given the group's quasi-defunct status these days, who knows if they'll go after him again.

SC-01: There won't be a court date for Mark Sanford after all. The congressman-elect was scheduled to go before a judge Thursday over his ex-wife's allegations that he broke the terms of their divorce agreement by trespassing at her home. However, the parties have settled the matter, with Sanford paying his former spouse $5,000 in legal fees and admitting he was in contempt both for the infamous Super Bowl Sunday incident and other prior instances of trespass. If Sanford violates the agreement again (perhaps by flying planes at his children?), he "will be required to appear in court for sentencing," so no more get out of jail free cards.

Other Races:

Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso recaps Tuesday's non-SC-01 special:

Michigan SD-27: Jim Ananich easily held this seat for the Democrats, defeating Republican Robert Daunt by a 75-23 margin.
Grab Bag:

NY-St. Sen: Seems like just about the entire New York state Senate will soon be headed to prison. As you may know, former Democratic state Sen. Shirley Huntley is being sentenced on corruption charges, but she'd previously cooperated with prosecutors and worn a wire for some time. Now a federal judge has released a list of nine names cited in documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's office as part of Huntley's sentencing, eight of whom prosecutors say are still under criminal investigation. Seven are elected officials, and all are Democrats:

State Senator John Sampson
State Senator Malcolm Smith
State Senator Eric Adams
State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson
State Senator Jose Peralta
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
NYC Councilman Ruben Wills
The other two names on the list are staffer-types. Prosecutors aren't saying which person is off the hook, though in a statement, Wills claims he's not a target. (Kind of messed up to release a list and say that everyone but one person on here is under investigation—I don't understand why they couldn't just withhold the one uninvolved name.) Note also that Sampson and Smith have already been separately indicted in different cases. We'll see where all this goes, of course, but this could be pretty epic.

PA Redistricting: After an interminable wait, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the state's redrawn legislative maps, after previously throwing out the legislature's first attempt to craft new lines for itself. You can read the court's full opinion here.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu May 09, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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