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Leading Off:

MA-Sen: PPP's latest poll of the Massachusetts Senate special (once again for the League of Conservation Voters, a frequent client) shows little change in the toplines, with Dem Rep. Ed Markey leading Gabriel Gomez 47-39; last month, Markey had a 48-41 edge. Gomez's favorables have now headed into negative territory, at 39-40, down from 42-30, which suggests that Markey's negative attacks on Gomez have worked. Markey's own favorability score has dropped a bit, too, though, from 48-40 to 44-39.

UMass Amherst also has a poll of its own (PDF), conducted by Internet-based pollster YouGov, which I believe is their first of the race. Among a small sample (n=357) of likely voters, Markey is up 51-40, including leaners; that's similar to his 47-37 edge among registered voters, indicating there isn't any kind of enthusiasm gap here.

Meanwhile, Stuart Rothenberg reports that national Democrats will, for the first time, go on the air on Markey's behalf, starting Friday. It sounds like it's insurance, though, rather than a move motivated by real fear, given that outside Republican groups have shown no indication of following suit.

This is certainly something we've seen the major party committees do in other races, though. In NV-02 in 2011, Republican groups (including the NRCC and American Crossroads) spent almost $900,000 to lock the race down for Mark Amodei, while the DCCC and the House Majority PAC shelled out over $1.6 million to ensure that Suzanne Bonamici would carry the day in OR-01 in early 2012. In both cases, the opposite party didn't spend a cent, and in both cases, the favored candidate won handily. Sometimes, you just don't want to leave anything to chance.

As for the size of the buy, the DSCC is reportedly spending $500,000. The Senate Majority PAC is also getting into the act, with an even larger $750,000 expenditure. Copies of the ads don't appear to be available yet.

Senate:

NJ-Sen: At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie tapped state Attorney General Jeff Chiesa, a fellow Republican, to serve as New Jersey's interim senator, filling the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat. Christie also announced that Chiesa would not run in the special election to be held later this year for the remainder of Lautenberg's term, making him a placeholder. Christie's decision also reduces the Democratic Party's edge in the Senate from 55-45 to 54-46, though with Democrats heavily favored in the special, that change is likely to be very temporary.

Meanwhile, Rep. Rush Holt just became the first Democrat to formally announce his candidacy for the special, confirming earlier reports that he would indeed do so. As a member of Congress, Holt will get a free pass, since he's only up for re-election in even-numbered years. The same, of course, would apply to Rep. Frank Pallone and any other New Jersey representative who's considering a bid, so the unusual timing could make the race especially tempting for a whole bunch of people.

The Newark Star-Ledger also reports that Hoboken City Councilwoman Beth Mason, who is also a wealthy Democratic activist, is considering a run. Mason has declined to comment so far, but she could apparently self-fund. Meanwhile, state Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says he won't run in the special for the GOP, but adds that he isn't ruling out a bid in 2014. In any event, we'll know very soon who's in and who's out, since candidates have to file 1,000 signatures by Monday in order to get on the ballot.

PA-Sen: It's incredibly early to be polling on a 2016 Senate race, but then again, it was incredibly early for ex-Rep. Joe Sestak to announce that he'd run for the Senate in 2016. That unusual situation gave Quinnipiac cause to pit Sestak against the man he's hoping to unseat, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey; they find the incumbent with a 42-37 edge. Sestak, as you'd expect, is mostly unknown, with just a 26-15 favorability rating, showing how little name rec you retain when you run a race and lose, even if it's statewide. Toomey, meanwhile, sits at 39-24—showing that even if you've been a sitting senator for years, plenty of people often still don't know who you are.

Gubernatorial:

IL-Gov: Battleground Polling, a firm whose name sounds deceptively familiar, though I don't recall actually ever writing about them, has a survey out of the GOP primary for the Illinois governor's race. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford leads the way with 27, while 2010 nominee Bill Brady is in second at 19, followed by state Sen. Kirk Dillard at 14, radio host Dan Proft at 13, and richie rich Bruce Rauner at just 5. Of this group, only Rauner and Rutherford have formally declared, though Dillard says he'll announce this summer.

PA-Gov: There goes that idea. Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's ill-conceived lawsuit against the NCAA over the penalties it imposed on Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal has just gotten tossed for lack of sufficient factual allegations by the judge hearing the case. Painfully for Corbett, a lot of Pennsylvanians sided with the university against the NCAA, but they've long had very negative views of how Corbett has handled the situation, and his court case did absolutely nothing to turn that around.

Yet even despite this dismissal, the Penn State story isn't going away, with relatives of the late football coach Joe Paterno also still suing the NCAA, and Democratic state AG Kathleen Kane investigating Corbett's involvement in the whole mess and promising to leave "no stone unturned." Sucks to be him.

House:

CA-31: Ex-Rep. Joe Baca's endorsement mega-debacle is still ongoing, with four local elected officials now saying they're supporting one of his Democratic rivals, attorney Eloise Reyes, instead. Unlike the three members of Congress who signed Baca's endorsement sheet and then changed their minds, Reyes makes it sound like something more nefarious was at work in this case, saying, "I saw them on his list and I called them because they have endorsed me." Then again, two of those congressmembers initially tried to claim they had never endorsed Baca but were later forced to admit they indeed had and were issuing retractions, so who knows what the hell is going on here.

MI-12: A big mazal tov to Democratic Rep. John Dingell, who on Friday will set the record for the longest tenure in congressional history at 20,997, eclipsing the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. As the New York Times points out, Dingell's term of service has lasted for more than a quarter of the time Congress has even existed!

MN-08: Stewart Mills, CEO of the retail chain Mills Fleet Farm, sounds like he may be interested in a run against freshman Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan. Mills would neither confirm nor deny that he's looking at the race, but he told the Brainerd Dispatch that they're "barking up the right tree." And for the benefit of those of us not from the region, Daily Kos Elections community member AndrewMN explains the particular appeal of Mills's stores:

Mills Fleet Farm is a uniquely upper-Midwest type of store where they sell home improvement and construction stuff, along with outdoor and hunting gear. Everyone in Minnesota has been to one at least once for when you forget something on a camping trip.
The linked article also gives Great Mentioner treatment to a few other Republicans: state Sen. John Carlson, St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg, former Duluth City Councilman Todd Fedora. None have made public comments about running, though.

MO-08: On Wednesday, less than a day after winning the special election to fill Jo Ann Emerson's seat, Republican Jason Smith was sworn in as the newest member of Congress. That means that as of this writing, John Dingell had served 20,997 times as long as Smith.

SC-01: Well, this doesn't seem very good. The ever-assiduous Greg Giroux notes that Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch managed to leave an amazing $282,000 un-spent in her special election last month. Given her 9-point loss to Mark Sanford, that money wouldn't have been a difference maker, but still, who runs a campaign without leaving everything out on the field? You never want to lose by 1,000 votes and then wish you'd bought just one more flight of ads.

Of course, if Colbert Busch's internal polls showed a hopeless situation and she truly felt it would be throwing good money after bad to spend these funds, then what was she planning to do with the leftover cash? Adam B. suggests that maybe this was unavoidable, since he thinks most of this money came in the final week and thus couldn't be spent in time. But surely a well-run campaign can have contingency plans to spend late-arriving funds, no?

NRCC: The NRCC has released some sketchy details about various internal polls they've commissioned from Harper Polling, offering only vague field dates ("mid-May"), toplines, and margins of error. For what it's worth, here are the matchups:

CA-36: Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R): 44, Rep. Raul Ruiz (D): 41

IL-10: ex-Rep. Bob Dold! (R): 44, Rep. Brad Schneider (D): 39

IL-12: state Rep. Mike Bost (R): 33, Rep. Bill Enyart (D): 27

And in UT-04, they didn't even provide actual head-to-heads, merely saying that Dem Rep. Jim Matheson leads 2012 challenger Mia Love "by 3 points." And oh yeah, those IL-12 numbers are seriously whack-ass. Forty percent undecided? Come on.

Grab Bag:

Demographics: Ruy Teixeira was one of the earliest proponents of the idea that Democrats should build upon the "coalition of the ascendant" (non-whites plus young educated voters) rather than chasing the shrinking white working class, especially the right-leaning independents and swing voters among them. But he, along with Andrew Levison, has an interesting new piece in the New Republic that encourages Dems not to entirely write off the white working class, and proposes some outreach and rhetorical strategies for rebuilding Dem fortunes with that segment. They're a large enough piece in the overall puzzle, the authors say, that they can't be abandoned; shrinking though the white working class may be, if the Dem share falls to 33 percent among them (down from the current 36 percent), that's enough to start worrying about a Republican president.

The piece doesn't specifically talk much about presidential fortunes vs. congressional fortunes, but I think that Teixeira is starting to realize that even as the "coalition of the ascendant" does now seem able to carry the day at the presidential level, we need something more than that to be able to effectively contest the House (at least in the short-term future of the next decade or two). That's thanks to the heavy Democratic concentration in the nation's urban areas, a problem that just gets compounded where Republicans control the redistricting process. Competing in those suburban and rural districts in that D+1 to R+4 range in non-wave years, which is where the House majority is made or broken, means eating into the Republican advantage among the, well, non-ascendant. (David Jarman)

Idaho: Roll Call's latest "Farm Team" installment heads to Idaho, where there aren't really any openings for an ambitious pol to move up, though some folks are holding out hope that GOP Gov. Butch Otter won't seek a third term in 2014. In addition to the usual Republican suspects, Matthew Lowe does manage to dig up a few Democratic names in this dark red state who could one day seek advancement... though, again, to what office is far from clear.

Midterms: Kyle Kondik has found an interesting historical mirror for the 2014 midterms: the 1986 elections, during Ronald Reagan's second term. The Democrats gained a significant number of Senate seats (eight) while, at the same time losing a number of governor's seats (also eight). The House was pretty much a wash (with net gain of five for the Democrats). Sounds confusing at first, but it really reflects the fact that the three different categories all have cycles that operate on different wavelengths. The Senate result was snapback from the huge Republican gains six years earlier in 1980 thanks to Reagan's coattails, while the gubernatorial result was snapback from Democratic gains four years earlier during the 1982 pro-Dem wave.

Meanwhile, the House result reflects that the Dems already had big House gains in 1982 and the realignment was already baked in, along the lines of Sean Trende's theory that two-term presidents only suffer one midterm repudiation in the House. Given the playing field at this point I can't imagine eight flips in 2014 in either the Senate or the state capitols, but the basic idea of GOP gains in the Senate (six years after Dem gains in 2008), Dem gains in the state houses (four years after GOP gains in 2010), and little of interest in the House (since the 2010 wave took the pressure off) seems plausible. (David Jarman)

WATN?: It's not every day you hear about a state Senate majority leader resigning without some kind of scandal being the cause, but I guess Rob Garagiola's just giving up on the whole politics thing. Garagiola, you may recall, badly lost the Democratic primary last year in MD-06, a district he personally helped redraw to be more favorable both to himself and Team Blue, to self-funder John Delaney. (Delaney went on to handily beat GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in November.) Garagiola's only 40 years old but says he'll step down Sept. 1 and adds that he has no plans to seek further office. A replacement will be selected by a local committee, with state Delegate Brian Feldman apparently a top contender.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  PA-Gov; PA-Pres - Quinnipiac poll good news (11+ / 0-)

    Poll this morning has Dem Allyson Schwartz beating incumbent GOP Gov Corbett by 10 points, 45% - 35%.  Dem State Treasurer Rob McCord, also expected to run, beats Corbett 43% - 35%.  Schwartz leads a poll of Dem Gov primary:  Schwartz 18%, no other Dem gets more than 5%.  63% of Dems undecided.

    In the 2016 Presidential race in PA, Dem Hillary Clinton would beat native son Rick Santorum 53% - 36%.

    Wealth of other data in the poll.

    www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute.com

  •  Michelle Obama event for Terry McAuliffe in VA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, stevenaxelrod

    yesterday. See Blue Virginia for photos, a press release, and the pool report.

  •  Given what happened in MA the last (5+ / 0-)

    time they had a special election for Senate, I think it is more than prudent for the DSCC and other Dems to get involved.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 06:55:40 AM PDT

  •  Markey's looking ok (0+ / 0-)

    But I'd be more comfortable with a 15 point lead.  Please tell me they plan to roll out the Kennedy clan, Menino, Warren et al in the next week or so.

  •  Good that Corbett's antitrust suit got tossed, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    but I'd prefer it on a basis other than that college football isn't "commercial activity."  The NCAA is an anticompetitive cartel, but not because it did one thing that is to the disadvantage of Penn State (but really to its long term advantage).

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 07:02:07 AM PDT

    •  There were additional grounds (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, Christopher Walker

      The decision is here. From the summary up top:

      Even assuming that Plaintiff’s allegations make out commercial activity, Defendant points out that Plaintiff must still identify the commercial market affected by the alleged wrongdoing and then articulate how the complained-of behavior stifled competition in those markets. Defendant argues that the complaint fails because it does not allege how Plaintiff’s identified nationwide markets for post-secondary education, Division I football players, and college football-related memorabilia will be less competitive because of the NCAA’s actions against Penn State. Rather, the complaint is driven by the allegation that Penn State as an institution, and all those who rely on its success, will fail to thrive athletically or economically because of the draconian nature of the NCAA sanctions.

      Defendant goes on to argue that even were Plaintiff able to articulate a Sherman Act claim (by pleading that the NCAA’s actions touch commercial activity and have suppressed competition and injured consumers in the markets for post-secondary education, Division I football players, and college football-related memorabilia), the injuries alleged in the complaint are either remote and not recognizable under antitrust law, or solely impact Penn State, which is not a party to this action. In other words, Defendant asserts that Plaintiff alleges derivative injury, rather than injury suffered from a “competition-reducing” aspect of the allegedly illegal restraint that would qualify it as antitrust injury.

      Each of Defendant’s arguments is strong enough to render the Governor’s action under antitrust law a Hail Mary pass. As the Court explains in some detail below, these arguments are well-founded in the law and require that the Governor’s complaint be dismissed.

      •  There were, but I read that as (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LordMike

        in the alternative.  Obviously, the appeals court can sustain on those grounds, but if I were defending the O'Bannon suit, I'd put Corbett v. NCAA in a "college sports aren't commercial activity" string cite.  Obviously, the college sports as a whole aren't restrained is a sound one; but I would have liked to see an argument that the very fact of the suit itself establishes that there was a pro-competitive justification to the sanctions, as proof of the warped priorities that jeopardized the entire college football enterprise.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 08:14:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Coakley also had a comfortable lead in the polls (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Swig Mcjigger, pademocrat

    and we see how that turned out.

    I live in Malden, where Markey is from. I see nothing going on to indicate there's a senate race in three weeks. Markey's not in the news. Gomez as well.

    I feel deja vu.

    Maybe it will ramp up in the two weeks prior. Maybe.

    •  No comparison (0+ / 0-)

      Markey's campaign is miles ahead of Coakley's in every way. Markey has a strategy to target specific voters. During GOTV there will be more outreach to presumed strong supporters. But in my local area we've had over 100 canvassing shifts most recent weeks. The number grows each week and will grow enormously now, in crunch time. Obama's coming. Gore is raising money in DC. Warren will visit to campaign.

      Meanwhile, Gomez's campaign is miles behind Scott Brown's in 2010. No fundraising, no buzz, no huge Tea Party crowds, pissed-off MA GOP base who liked the other candidates better. No coherent message, no answers on basic questions. He's getting panned in the press often. A base election is not bad news for Massachusetts Democrats as long as the GOP isn't super-energized like in 2010. They're not.

      This shows up in the polling. PPP is the most cautious of the four most recent polls (three in the past week). The others, which don't assume such a disproportionately Republican electorate (MA GOP is 12% of state, 23% of new PPP poll), have Markey up 12, 11, and 12. Gomez doesn't pass 40 in any of them (including PPP), Markey's over 50 in three. Gomez is losing women by 16-18 points, and that was BEFORE Gomez told a debate audience he'd vote to confirm the fifth Supreme Court justice to overturn Roe v. Wade. Gomez is barely even with men and unenrolleds. Scott Brown won men by 10 points and won huge with unenrolleds in 2010 and did pretty damn well in 2012. It's hard to see Gomez's path to victory here.

      But if you're that concerned, get involved. There is a great field organizer named Amanda right in Malden. She's on DK and Blue Mass Group. Email at abs0628@gmail.com.

      Tomorrow there are Get Out the Vote summits all over the state. The one in Malden is from 1 to 2:30PM. Go and sign up for a shift or two before June 25. Knock doors, make some calls. I don't like it but I do it each week. Place door hangers in your neighborhood the night before the election. Please get involved.

      "I am not for a return to that definition of Liberty under which for many years a free people were being gradually regimented into the service of the privileged few." Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1934

      by fenway49 on Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 10:16:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  MD-Leg (4+ / 0-)

    Brian Feldman's big pet issues are biotech jobs and renewable energy. If he gets bumped to the Senate, he'll be a good fit.

    I've like to see Jamie Raskin as the new majority leader, as he's one of the biggest supporters of liberal legislation we have.

  •  Congrats to Congressman Dingell (7+ / 0-)

    Over 57 years of service.  That's just remarkable.  More behind-the-scenes than in front of the camera, he really has had his hand in pretty much every major piece of social policy for over a half-century.

    •  He's probably the last political figure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IndianaProgressive

      to have met Eisenhower. Think about that; he's been dealing with presidents from the hero of WW2 to the first black president. He's met more political figures than the amount of people in general the rest of us have known over the course of our lifetimes. He's been in office so long his Congressional seat could get a senior discount at some places.

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 10:20:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A few points about Matheson and the NRCC (0+ / 0-)

    (again, this is a positive comment since I've been warned about my Matheson negativity before)

    1. Whenever a Republican push poll says he's only barely ahead, or he's behind, it usually translates to "these Republican voters are saying they'll vote for the GOP nominee to appease us, but a sizable percentage of them will end up voting for Matheson because our candidate is terribly right-wing."

    2. I would say that Matheson's base is actually not the Democratic voters, but the conservative-leaning independents and ancestrally moderate Republican voters. They're clearly a bigger portion of the electorate, and he appeals to them first, rather than Democrats. Any liberal-leaning votes he takes are to reach out to wavering solid Democratic votes (the lean Democratic independents will vote for him anyway). I'm not counting this as a negative, just as a reflection how he works.

    3. At the same time, Matheson's building a new base out of the growing Latino population, which he relied on last year. In my opinion, this will guarantee his vote on immigration reform. Sure, he'll make a big show of being undecided on it, and perhaps ask for a few amendments, but in the end he'll probably vote for immigration reform, because he needs Latino votes.

    4. I don't think Mia Love has learned her lesson from the last time. Sure, she's hired a new, experienced campaign manager who's been working in Utah politics for years, but she gives the impression of being unwilling to stick a foot into issues specific to Utah. Matheson can localize the crap out of everything, and if Love doesn't do that, abstract ideological arguments and criticism of individual Matheson votes won't work. They never have. And Love is still going to rely on using the Republican lean of the state to win, which as I mentioned in #2, doesn't work, because Matheson's base are the leaners.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 11:06:26 AM PDT

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