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Race Ratings: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to announce our initial gubernatorial race ratings for the 2013-14 cycle. Of the 38 seats up for election, we've given competitive ratings to 26, with four in the most competitive "Tossup" category. Republican successes in the 2010 wave election mean they're playing much more defense than Democrats, as they face 16 potentially competitive races in GOP-held seats.

A full chart of all our ratings can be found at the link, along with an explanation for each. Courtesy of Stephen Wolf, a map summarizing all our ratings is below (with lighter colors representing more competitive contests):

United States map shaded to show Daily Kos Elections' initial gubernatorial race ratings for 2013-14

Of course, our ratings will change throughout the cycle as the dynamics of individual races shift, so check back in with us regularly for updates on all of these contests.

3Q Fundraising:

IL-Gov: Bill Brady (R): $75,000 raised, $275,000 cash-on-hand

MA-Gov: Steve Grossman (D): $165,000 raised (in Sept.), $729,000 cash-on-hand

FL-18: Rep. Patrick Murphy (D): $530,000 raised, $1.4 million cash-on-hand


PA-Gov: Seriously?

Interviewer: Gay marriage—that's a, a big topic that's going on right now, continues to be in the, in the news. And, uh, we already touched upon—there was a controversial remark made by a member of your legal team, uh, comparing gay marriage to the union of 12-year-olds, saying both are illegal, which you called inappropriate.

Corbett: It's—it was an inappropriate analogy, you know, I think a much better analogy would have been brother and sister, don't you?

[awkward silence]

Interviewer: I don't know. [nervous laughter] I don't know.

Yes, this really happened, in a new interview with Republican Gov. Tom Corbett on Friday morning. (And just in case it's not clear from the transcription, the interviewer, Sherry Christian, was definitely giving Corbett a "what the f--- did you just say?" response.) Corbett offered a total no-pology afterwards, saying: "My words were not intended to offend anyone. If they did, I apologize." He still insists, though, that he was providing some kind of helpful legal analogy.

VA-Gov: Friday brought us a mini-pollapalooza in Virginia, with surveys from three separate independent outfits. Democrat Terry McAuliffe leads Republican Ken Cuccinelli across the board, while Libertarian Robert Sarvis continues to take a sizable chunk of votes:

Hampton University: McAuliffe 42, Cuccinelli 37, Sarvis 8

Emerson College Polling Society: McAuliffe 43, Cuccinelli 38, Sarvis 11 (Aug.: 45-35-10)

University of Mary Washington: McAuliffe 42, Cuccinelli 35, Sarvis 10 (March: 38-37)

Judging by RCP's database, that's well over a dozen polls in a row that have had McAuliffe on top. I'd also point out that all three of these polls were conducted before the government shutdown began. Given that other polling has shown the public broadly blaming Republicans for the shutdown, and given the large number of government workers going without pay in Virginia, the issue is only likely to hurt Cuccinelli, but we won't see the effects of that until we get some newer data.

Two of these pollsters also have numbers for Virginia's downballot races. UMW finds Democrat Ralph Northam beating Republican E.W. Jackson 39-35 for lieutenant governor, while Republican Mark Obenshain leads Democrat Mark Herring 42-36 for attorney general. Hampton has similar numbers for the AG race, with Obenshain up 41-37, while Jackson somehow manages to have a 1-point edge in the LG contest, 39-38.

P.S. Yet another gubernatorial ad. McAuliffe's latest: Three mayors from the Hampton Roads region in southeastern Virginia, including Republican Will Sessoms of Virginia Beach, all give their endorsement to the Macker.

TX-Gov: As you'd only expect, EMILY's List has endorsed state Sen. Wendy Davis, a day after she launched her bid for governor. Hopefully EMILY's backing will help Davis make up the considerable fundraising gap she faces with her likely Republican opponent, state AG Greg Abbott.


MA-05: Candidates running in the special election to replace Ed Markey filed pre-primary fundraising reports on Thursday night, covering a period that almost exactly overlaps with the third quarter (July 1 through Sept. 25). Here's how things stack up in the all-important Democratic primary, which takes place on Oct. 15:

Peter Koutoujian: $608,000 raised, $690,000 cash-on-hand

Katherine Clark: $374,000 raised (plus $250,000 personal loan), $394,000 cash-on-hand

Carl Sciortino: $266,000 raised, $285,000 cash-on-hand

Will Brownsberger: $214,000 raised, $293,000 cash-on-hand

Karen Spilka: $207,000 raised, $132,000

Koutoujian, the Middlesex County sheriff, has put together some very impressive fundraising numbers, as you can see, and is clearly hoarding his cash for the final stretch run. He recently went up on the air with TV ads, but David Kravitz of Blue Mass Group speculates he might be saving his penny for a massive GOTV push in what is sure to be a low-turnout race. One thing to note, as Roll Call's Emily Cahn does, is that Koutoujian also has a lot more money that can be spent in the primary, while over a quarter of Clark's remaining warchest can only be used for the general election.

MT-AL: Two Republican legislators, state Sen. Jon Sonju and state Rep. Scott Reichner, aren't waiting on Rep. Steve Daines to make up his mind about the Senate race and have opted instead to bail on House bids of their own. Sonju in particular is interesting, because just two weeks ago, he said he was "all in"; now, he's citing the traditional "spend more time with family" excuse. It makes me wonder if Sonju simply doesn't expect Daines to run for Senate.

However, the same piece cites a long list of Republicans who are still getting ready to seek Montana's lone at-large House seat, should Daines go for the promotion: state Rep. Champ Edmunds, state Sen. Matt Rosendale, former state Sens. Corey Stapleton and Ryan Zinke, and former Secretary of State Brad Johnson. Former Max Baucus aide John Lewis is running for the Democrats, though state Rep. Amanda Curtis is also looking at the contest.

NE-02: What a schmuck:

Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., was blunt when asked if he would continue collecting his paychecks during the shutdown.

"Dang straight," he said. [...]

What about the other members who were donating or forgoing their pay?

"Whatever gets them good press," Terry said. "That's all that it's going to be. God bless them. But you know what? I've got a nice house and a kid in college, and I'll tell you we cannot handle it. Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That's just not going to fly."

And how about all those federal employees—including Terry's own congressional aides—who are still required to work, despite the shutdown, without pay? The lack of empathy, and the sense of entitlement, is extraordinary but unsurprising. Terry's certainly not alone in expressing these sentiments (Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said much the same thing), but a whole bunch of members of Congress feeling the same way only makes it more appalling, not less so.

HMP: The Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC is out with a batch of new TV ads targeting four vulnerable Republicans over the shutdown. On HMP's hit list are Mike Coffman (CO-06), Steve Southerland (FL-02), Joe Heck (NV-03), and David Joyce (OH-14). That last one is probably the most memorable: The only visual is a toddler in the midst of a tearful, snot-streaked meltdown, while the narrator chides that Joyce "didn't get his way on shutting down healthcare reform, so he shut down the government" and the hashtag "#GOPTemperTantrum" flashes on screen. (They're also using the same spot in John Boehner's district.)

There's no word on the size of the buy, but the PAC says they're running a "six-figure national multimedia campaign" hitting ten different Republicans. The rest, though, are only getting targeted with online ads.

Other Races:

Ballot Measures: Stateline's Jake Grovum offers an overview of some of the key ballot measures that will go before voters next month. In all, 31 questions will appear on the ballot in six states, the most important of which involve genetically modified food labeling in Washington, taxes in Colorado, gambling in New York, the minimum wage in New Jersey, and infrastructure in Texas. Click through for a complete rundown.

FL State House Normally, it'd be kind of hard to get excited about a random tweet regarding a state legislative special election. But when that tweet is from the well-loved GOP former occupant of that office (and current county-wide officeholder) saying he voted for the Democrat, it becomes a bit more of a BFD. And indeed, ex-state Rep. Mike Fasano tweeted that while he thought both candidates were "good people," he had cast his ballot for Democrat Amanda Murphy over Republican Bill Gunter.

Why does that matter? Two reasons. One, a pair of polls (one private, one public) showed Murphy even with Gunter in this district, centered in red-tinted Pasco County; and two the public poll (released last week) showed that, by a 3-to-1 margin, people would be more likely to vote for a Fasano-backed candidate than vote against one. This isn't a formal endorsement, per se, but it's one in everything but name. (Steve Singiser)

NYC Mayor: Comrades! The glorious people's revolution marches inexorably toward total victory! Chairman de Blasiovich, who guides the Party with unwavering ideological discipline and correct thought, wins the hearts and minds of thousands more workers every day, as he continues to smash the bourgeois Bloombergite running dog Lhota and his cowering capitalist puppet masters!

Even the class traitors of the New York Times are forced to acknowledge the inevitable wave of triumph led by the Unerring Helmsman, as now they have reported that the intellectual vanguard of Siena College has proclaimed that the Chairman holds the support of 68 percent of Nuyorcians (and undoubtedly 100 percent of workers and peasants), while the imperialist chauvinist Lhota is backed by a dwindling 19 percent, consisting entirely of landlords, capitalists, and kulaks. This is just another herald of the new dawn of socialism soon to break in the East over Flushing!

Comrades! Our Long March is not finished! With constant and disciplined adherence to right thought and Marxist-Hoxhaite-de Blasiovichite ideology, we will crush the imperialist oppressors and liberate Gracie Mansion as a new Palace of the Nuyorcian Workers! Death to Bloombergite parasitism! Death to the ineffectual Lhota! Long live Chairman de Blasiovich and the Nuyorcian Revolutionary Workers Party! Long live the Novoskaya Kos Morning Star! (Trapper Ivan)

WA State Senate: Even in the spendy Seattle market, $300,000 is a buttload to shell out on a state Senate seat. But that's what environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer is doing in the Nov. 2013 special election for SD-26 in Tacoma's suburbs. The race, where appointed Dem Sen. Nathan Schlicher faces off against GOP state Rep. Jan Angel, is a must-hold seat for actual Dems if they want to stay in position to reclaim the Senate in Nov. 2014 from the "majority caucus" (the GOP plus two renegade Dems). Important toxic cleanup legislation failed in the Senate this session, so it's easy to see how this is a key leverage point for Steyer.

Also, while it won't amount to much if the Democrats don't retake control in 2014, the median point in the Dem caucus is on track to move a click to the left, with the recent announcement by young progressive state Rep. Marko Liias that he'll seek a promotion to the Senate in safely-blue SD-21 in Seattle's northern suburbs, with Paull Shin's retirement. (Shin has usually been reliable, though his vote against same-sex marriage stood out in 2012; Liias, by contrast, is openly gay.) If Liias's name sounds familiar, he briefly ran in open WA-01 last cycle, until he found himself districted out of the 1st. (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

Maps: National Journal's demography guru Ron Brownstein takes a look at the distribution of uninsured persons throughout the U.S. (Yes, that's one of many topics that the Census Bureau keeps tabs on through the American Community Survey... though presumably Brownstein had the foresight to download that information before the government shutdown took the Census offline).

In terms of representation, it's kind of a wash: More districts represented by Republicans (107) have an above-average percentage of uninsured persons than do districts represented by Democrats (99), but on the other hand, in the average Democratic-represented district, a higher percentage of persons are uninsured (15.6 percent) than in the average Republican district (14.1 percent). The explanation for that disparity is that the mean is skewed by the very high number of uninsured persons in mostly-Hispanic districts, which are mostly represented by Democrats, while most of the other districts with above-average numbers are mostly-white areas of Appalachia, the rural deep South, and the mountain West, which are mostly represented by Republicans.

The best part of the article is the interactive map, which lets you view where the largest and smallest concentrations are. The worst-off districts are particularly concentrated in Texas, with majority-minority TX-33 highest at 37.9 percent uninsured. The nine districts with the least uninsured are all in Massachusetts, groaning under the oppressive socialist yoke of RomneyCare, with MA-04 lowest at just 2.8 percent. (David Jarman)

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

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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