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Leading Off:

MA-Sen: PPP's new Massachusetts Senate poll (commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters) shows Dem Rep. Ed Markey improving his position over Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez. There was some consternation a couple of weeks ago, when PPP's initial survey put Markey up just 44-40, but now he's legged out to a wider 48-41 lead—and, importantly, is a lot closer to 50 percent. Markey's favorability has improved a touch, from 44-41 to 48-40, and as PPP's polling memo notes, he's doing much better with self-identified Democrats (77-12 versus 68-21 initially). That suggests that slightly miffed Stephen Lynch supporters are coming home after the primary.

Gomez, meanwhile, has seen his favorables move down, from 41-27 to 42-34, probably as people learn that yeah, he really is a Republican. He's taken a nosedive with Democrats in particular, though independents seem to like him more now. But as long as Markey consolidates Democratic support and keeps Gomez from getting much in the way of crossover voters, then the math simply isn't there for Gomez.

Meanwhile, Gomez is going up with his first TV ad of the special election, for a buy of "at least $200,000," according to the National Journal. That's a pretty limp sum for a state that includes the expensive Boston media market, and the spot itself isn't exactly awesome. Gomez tries to emphasize both his family's immigrant roots (he himself was born in Los Angeles) by speaking a bit of Spanish, as well as his military background. In the second half, he insists that "if you come to America, you should commit to the idea of America"—and then awkwardly recites a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Senate:

MN-Sen: Republican state Sen. Julianne Ortman, who's been trying (unsuccessfully) to pin the whole IRS/tea party thing on Sen. Al Franken, wouldn't respond on Thursday when a reporter asked if she would run. So I guess that means you can add her to the list of GOP second- and third-stringers considering a bid for Senate in Minnesota.

Gubernatorial:

RI-Gov: As expected since late last month, former state Auditor Ernie Almonte has officially dropped out of the Democratic primary for governor and will instead run for Treasurer.

VA-Gov: Sorry, chicken littles, but Quinnipiac actually has good news for Democrat Terry McAuliffe. After that outlierish Washington Post poll last week showing Republican AG Ken Cuccinelli with a 10-point lead among likely voters set off a round of agonized worrying among certain establishment types, Quinnipiac now has T-Mac up 5. In fact, at 43-38, it's McAuliffe's largest edge since the school began polling the race last November. (Though notably, Quinnipiac surveyed registered voters; the WaPo only canvassed "absolutely certain" voters.)

The fact still remains, though, that there are still a ton of undecideds—far more, I think, than is typical for a race you'd expect to divide fairly evenly along partisan lines. But the paid TV portion of the campaign has just begun, and likely won't kick into high gear for a while, so both candidates have much lower name recognition than they ultimately will. Cuccinelli's favorables stand at 31-24 and McAuliffe's at 22-17, showing that tons of people still have no idea who either guy is, especially the latter. Regardless of who happens to be ahead in any given poll, it's still early, and it still feels very much like we're in tossup territory to me.

House:

GA-10: Businessman Mike Collins has become the latest to join the GOP field in Georgia's open 10th Congressional District. Collins runs a trucking company, but he's probably most notable thanks to his family name. His father is former Rep. Mac Collins, who represented the state's old 8th District before unsuccessfully running for Senate in 2004. The elder Collins was actually mentioned as a possible candidate earlier this year, but as awesome as another Francis Powers vs. Francis Powers-style matchup would be, somehow I doubt pops is going to run against his kid.

Other Races:

VA-LG, VA-AG: Don't forget: Virginia Republicans are hosting a convention to nominate candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general on Saturday, in lieu of a traditional primary. Party activists pressed for this change because it would favor AG Ken Cuccinelli, the firebrand movement conservative who is unopposed for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. (Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling dropped out of the race after the switch was made from primary to convention.) However, there are still hotly contested battles further down the ticket, with a pair of candidates running for AG and fully seven names in the mix for LG. Democrats will select their nominees in the June primary.

Grab Bag:

EMILY: EMILY's List has released its first half dozen "On the List" candidates, which is their bottom endorsement tier (and mostly an excuse to send out a press release, like the NRCC and DCCC regularly do). Four are in races where there's really only one notable Democrat running so far: IL-13 (Ann Callis), FL-13 (Jessica Ehrlich), FL-02 (Gwen Graham), and NY-23 (Martha Robertson). In CA-31, they're backing attorney Eloise Reyes, who is vying with Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar and ex-Rep. Joe Baca for the right to take on GOP Rep. Gary Miller. (That sets them against the DCCC, which has taken the unusual step of backing Aguilar.) And for the possible MA-05 special election, they're supporting state Sen. Katherine Clark, even though the field is still coming together and other women candidates, such as state Sen. Karen Spilka, may yet enter.

NRCC: This is a hilarious bit of fail. Not gonna summarize—funnier if you click through.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  interesting remark from Bill Bolling (0+ / 0-)

    who will forego the convention to go fishing - in West Virginia

    what the article on the Lt. Gov. battle does not mention is that Jeanne Marie Devolites Davis is the (2nd) wife of former Congressman Tom Davis who had wanted to run for governor, but was also squeezed out by a convention.  As a moderate Republican from Fairfax County with strong ties to the high tech community, he would easily have won a primary -  Virginia has no registration by party so you can vote in either party's primary.  He was hoping Jeanne would succeed him, but she lost her reelection to the state senate to Chap Petersen by 10 points in a somewhat purple district covering parts of Vienna and Fairfax City among other places.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:10:49 AM PDT

  •  The Problem with Gabriel Gomez (11+ / 0-)

    is that he can't run a whole campaign for higher office AND stay not just under the radar but be a blank slate and never really be seen and heard speaking freely by the voting public at the same time.

    The dream version of Gomez would only be seen as a smiling cardboard cut-out as voice-overs puke up endless talking points about how non-partisan and pro-whatever the current audience he is speaking to wants to hear. That was always his best chance to get elected.

    Nevada Republican Governor Brian Sandolval should start a consulting firm where he goes around the country teaching other empty suits like himself how to turn being invisible, when not carefully packaged on message and prepared for the "brutal" questions from friendlies-only gatherings, into an art form.

    We down here in Southern Nevada marvel at how Gov. Sandoval could both be our governor, and be a milk carton missing photo of a man, at the same time.    

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:26:49 AM PDT

    •  Gomez (11+ / 0-)

      has problems on the issues. He just gave a largely incoherent interview on abortion rights to the Boston Globe. Markey's already running ads showing Gomez on TV in April saying he opposes an assault weapons ban and a limit on high-capacity clips. Those positions might be OK somewhere else, but they're losers in Massachusetts. Then there's his "personal success story" on his website about making a
      company rich by advising them to ship union jobs in Canada to children in China.

      Then there's the Swift Boating of Obama, the sketchy historic preservation easement tax deduction, the recent revelation that he stiffed both an appraiser and a plumber who fixed his toilet and was sued for it. His refusal to release the 2005 tax return because he has "nothing to hide." Add in his tendency to spew word soup when asked a tough question and he's got some more problems.

      He was Mr. Moderate, Bi-Partisan Flavor of the Week after the primary. People like him less and less as they come to know more.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri May 17, 2013 at 05:58:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that explains the poll data (6+ / 0-)

        Where he's losing more Republicans than gaining Democrats, but still holding up decently with Unenrolled voters.  Unenrolled voters aren't as likely as partisans to be following the race closely, so they don't know they dislike him yet.

        •  My respect for (4+ / 0-)

          the unenrolled voters of Massachusetts (present company excepted, of course!) goes down by the day. Just unengaged and generally clueless, spewing vague generalities about "bi-partisanship" while being blissfully unaware of the context in DC.

          I am reminded of Bill Maher's takedown of the undecided in last year's presidential race.

          If you’re one of the 5 percent of American voters who are still undecided on who to vote for, it’s okay to admit you just don’t really give a shit. Seriously, if you still can’t figure out who you like more – Mitt Romney or Barack Obama – stay home…because you probably couldn’t find your polling place anyway. I mean, what more information does someone need to make this choice? Obama has been President for nearly four years. And Mitt Romney has been running for President since 1971, when his space egg incubated and he burst out of an astronaut’s chest.

          Can we please stop treating them like they’re more noble and discerning than the rest of us?...America's celebrated, undecided voter: put on a pedestal by the media as if they were Hamlet in a think-tank, searching out every last bit of information, high-minded arbiters pouring over policy positions and matching them against their own philosophies. Please. They mostly fall into a category political scientists call "low information voters," otherwise known as "dipsh*ts."

          I do have hope that enough of our independents will sour on Gomez when they decide to pay attention, but I'm sure plenty will vote for him because Markey's been in Congress a long time or some other meaningless reason.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:23:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My favorite is the unenrolled voters who (5+ / 0-)

            refuse to take a ballot in the primary or require much badgering.  I work the polls every election, so I see this a fair amount.  The conversation usually goes something like this:

            Poll Worker: What ballot would you like? Democrat or Republican?

            Voter: I'm an independent!

            PW: Yes, I know.  But you have to choose which you'd like today.

            Voter:  I'm an independent!

            PW:  There's samples of the ballots on the wall if you want to look and see which ballot has the candidate you want to vote for. See over there...

            Voter: I don't want to look at the wall!  Give me a ballot! I'm an independent!

            PW: Yes, I know that.  But you have to choose for today.  See here the candidates on the Democratic ballot; here's the ones on the Republican ballot, which do you want?

            Voter: Okay... fine... Democrat.  But I'll stay independent, right?

            PW:  Yes. You'll stay unenrolled.

            Happens two or three times every primary.
            •  This is how (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              stevenaxelrod, LeftHandedMan

              we ended up with Top Two in WA state. Voters are SO fixated on the idea of being "independent" that even selecting a party in private by blackening a simple R or D each time, with no way to link you to your choice after the ballot is received, was considered "intrusive" by many.

            •  Make up a special ballot for those folks? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LeftHandedMan

              Sure, it would be largely empty -- unless there are some people running as "Independent" for some offices -- but it would shut them up.

              In many places, you actually don't stay unenrolled (or "undeclared" or whatever it's called) -- if you take a party ballot in the primary, you're considered a member of that party until you disaffiliate. Last fall we did a good business in disaffiliation forms as people were leaving the polling area. Most people told me they prefer "undeclared" because it cuts down the number of GOTV and candidate robo-calls they get bothered with. It has nothing to do with how knowledgeable they are, or how they'll actually vote.

      •  Whoa whoa whoa! Offshoring? On his website? (9+ / 0-)

        Yikes. Um. Where does that play well, exactly, other than Mitt Romney's "base" of billionaires?

        "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 17, 2013 at 06:35:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Doesn't mention "offshoring" (4+ / 0-)

          Of course. Just helping businesses escape "excessive regulation."

          Here's the plumber story. The plumber apparently donated to Steve Lynch so Gomez is calling him a Democratic plant. (Keep talking, fella...)

          Also some always-fun GOP fundraising hypocrisy.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:29:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, the Markey campaign can mention it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeftHandedMan

            as offshoring, then.

            Hammer the guy on the economic stuff. That's how you get indies and Lynch people out to the polls, unless I'm misreading Mass. Which is possible, since I don't live there and did not grow up there.

            "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:52:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Stiffed a plumber? If I know Mass at all, that (11+ / 0-)

        will play worse than Swift-boating Obama. Much as Mass likes Obama, stiffing a working-class guy is going to look worse than saying something mean and untrue about a DC politician. In my view.

        That's almost as bad as offending a local bartender.

        "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 17, 2013 at 06:38:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your first paragraph (4+ / 0-)

      Ron Johnson managed to do just that in the 2010 elections here in Wisconsin. It's just a matter of looking competent and amiable while controlling your own message. Maybe the Boston media won't permit that, but the craven and lazy Milwaukee media certainly gave Johnson a free pass. I'm guessing the Johnson model is what the Republicans will try to use in any nominally blue state.

      The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

      by Korkenzieher on Fri May 17, 2013 at 06:25:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Boston Globe isn't buying it (3+ / 0-)

        They had the "unpaid appraiser" story on the front page of the website yesterday.

        not sure about the Herald though.

        •  Maybe that's the difference (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftHandedMan

          Boston has two newspapers. So the Globe, say, can be liberal, and the Herald can be conservative. In Milwaukee, we only have one paper, so they're afraid to alienate half the customers by being either liberal or conservatives. They're a bunch of fence-sitters. It's one thing to be that on your editorial page, but the Milwaukee paper is like that in their news section as well. They report A as well as Not A, even when one side is demonstrably full of crap. Apparently you don't have that problem in Boston, and you're lucky.

          The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

          by Korkenzieher on Fri May 17, 2013 at 11:45:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, that strategy has worked in other (5+ / 0-)

      circumstances. :-)

      But Gomez, unfortunately for him, as a newcomer to politics, has to introduce himself somehow--and people are less susceptible to the charismatic nice guy who's a policy chameleon in 2013 than they have been in the past. Things have gotten so crappy people don't settle for the BS as readily. At least not that version of BS. The high-octane, I-know-exactly-what-to-do-if-it weren't-for-those-darned-kids/Democrats BS still gets some hurrahs.

      "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 17, 2013 at 06:34:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ed Markey has it in a walk in Mass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChadmanFL
  •  That Gomez ad isn't that new... (5+ / 0-)

    It's just a rehash of previously shot footage and expanded from his ad for the primaries showing him reciting the pledge. That's all he's got. The Boston Globe did a sit-down with him this week where they were going to grill him on women's issues (Gomez knew this going in). They found him evasive, with no real answers to their questions.
    Why am I not surprised?

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Fri May 17, 2013 at 06:13:56 AM PDT

    •  How much are women's issues a minefield (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, MA Liberal

      in Mass, between the liberal civil-rights minded side of Mass and the Catholic side?  Are most of the Catholics anti-abortion but pro-choice, or is this a real rock and a hard place issue?

      "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 17, 2013 at 06:55:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's big (7+ / 0-)

        Romney had to vow to be Mr. Pro-Choice in his Senate and Governor runs. This state is fervently pro-choice and pro-gay rights.

        •  That's pretty cool, given the large Catholic (0+ / 0-)

          presence. I guess most of them go with the position Kerry and Kennedy took--which is morally opposed but legally of the opinion that it's between a woman and her doctor?

          "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:53:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can be (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SouthernLiberalinMD, MA Liberal

            pro-choice and pro-life at the same time is answer you'll most hear from the many Catholics in my area.

            •  That's awesome. In fact, they get it. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              stevenaxelrod

              That's the argument that pro-choice advocates have been making for over 30 years.

              It's good to see somebody understands it!  Good on 'em.

              "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 17, 2013 at 08:12:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Stats say something like 99% (0+ / 0-)

            (or close to) of Catholic women have, at one time in their lives, used contraception.
            Just another area where the Church is woefully out of step with their parishioners.

            Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

            by MA Liberal on Fri May 17, 2013 at 03:03:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  We're a very educated bunch... (0+ / 0-)

        by and large. And lots and lots of College students...who have sex...who need contraception.
        This is not to say there aren't intelligent folks elsewhere, but we just have a huge concentration of them. It's just one reason we're a blue state.
        But, yeah, it's pretty big. As the other commenter said, you can't win here unless you're pro-choice.
        While we have our "red" conservatives here, you can't be pro gun and anti-choice in MA, which Gomez is.
        Face it, he's another Scotty brown wannabe. The only difference is he wears a flight jacket instead of a barn coat.
        ;)

        Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

        by MA Liberal on Fri May 17, 2013 at 03:02:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Gomez (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal

      sad thing, seems like a nice fellow, but is totally out of his depths running for Senate.

  •  I don't live in Massachusetts (5+ / 0-)

    And this polling data, while important, never seems to remind people of the date of the special election there.

    So, ummm, when is it again?

    I mean we all know the regular November elections are in November, but.....

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Fri May 17, 2013 at 06:22:20 AM PDT

  •  They aired a brief interview with Gomez (4+ / 0-)

    this morning on WBUR... they let him comment on each of the Obama "scandals," but didn't bring up his taxes.

  •  "Absolutely certain voters" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    majcmb1

    I don't think I've ever heard of that, let alone 6 months out from a General Election.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:12:59 AM PDT

  •  Terry McAuliffe is known familiarly as T-Mac? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    Shades of the WWF. I still remember fondly the days when Vince McMahon's son, known in his wrestling persona as "Shane-O Mac" would bounce around in a silly fake-boxer kind of way looking like the big mouse that beats up Sylvester in the cartoon.

    We need to spice up our elections. T-Mac could throw Cuccinelli, who needs a good wrestling name ("Ken" is a terrible wrestling name) through a panel of sugar glass to the cheers of the uproarious crowd...

    T-Mac. Well, I'm glad I don't live in VA.  Choosing between T-Mac and Cuccinelli would give me heartburn. You guys have much better food down there than we do in MD, though (excluding the crabs).

    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:16:58 AM PDT

  •  Just imagine how well Markey would be doing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    ....if he had some non-confusing commercials.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:22:27 AM PDT

  •  Probably wise on Almonte's part (0+ / 0-)

    to forgo a run for RI-Gov.  Chafee is practically the de facto Democratic candidate anyhow, much like Sanders was in VT.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Fri May 17, 2013 at 10:14:57 AM PDT

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