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Leading Off:

House: Good news! Sam Wang does some extrapolation work on those PPP polls of 24 GOP-held districts that MoveOn released over the weekend. He finds that the average swing in those seats projects to a 12-point Democratic advantage on the overall House ballot next year, which he says would be good for a 30-seat pickup—and the majority. (That's based on an average 10.9-point swing in these polls, added to Dems' 1.5 percent advantage in total House votes in 2012... though that runs into the problem of expecting a 2012 turnout model in a midterm.)

Bad news! Mark Blumenthal points out that there is a problem with making any sort of dramatic leap based on "generic Dem" polling, and he demonstrates that by looking back at two similar rounds of PPP polling on behalf of House Majority PAC in Oct. 2011 and Jan. 2012. In 18 of those 20 races, most of which were based on testing incumbents against "someone else" rather than a named opponent or even a generic Democrat, the results were overly favorable for Team Blue, based on the Democrats' actual performances in Nov. 2012. It's worth noting, though, that Democrats nevertheless won 9 of those 20 races, just mostly by margins smaller than those predicted a year earlier.

Doesn't matter! As Harry Enten observes, regardless of whether or not you think the PPP results have any generalizability to what happens in Nov. 2014, MoveOn succeeded, in that they got large media outlets suddenly talking about the possibility of Dems flipping the House. The real victory, in fact, is that these polls may have spurred more interest among potential Democratic recruits, as reported Tuesday by Greg Sargent. (And see our NE-02 bullet below.) So far, the lack of more than, say, a dozen imposing recruits has been the main problem with Democratic plans to capture 17 House seats, but coverage of better Dem House odds creates something of a virtuous circle where better odds means better recruits and better recruits mean better odds. (David Jarman)

3Q Fundraising:

GA-Sen: Michelle Nunn (D): $1.7 million raised, $1.4 million cash-on hand; Jack Kingston (R): $800,000 raised, $2.9 million cash-on-hand. Very impressive first haul from Nunn.

CA-17: Rep. Mike Honda (D): $385,000 raised, $550,000 cash-on-hand; Ro Khanna (D): $504,000 raised, $1.9 million cash-on-hand.

CA-25: Rep. Buck McKeon (R): $209,000 raised, $624,000 cash-on-hand; Lee Rogers (D): $227,000 raised, $170,000 cash-on-hand. Interesting to see the unheralded Rogers, who is waging a rematch, outraise McKeon, who may retire.

ID-02: Rep. Mike Simpson (R): $437,000 raised, $600,000 cash-on-hand; Bryan Smith: $275,000 raised, $300,000 cash-on-hand. Looks like Simpson is taking his Club for Growth-backed primary challenger seriously.

MN-07: Rep. Collin Peterson (D): $82,000 raised, $227,000 cash-on-hand. Another soft quarter from Peterson, who hasn't decided whether to seek re-election, but this kind of off-year fundraising is typical for him.


AR-Sen: Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican opponent, Rep. Tom Cotton, are out with dueling ads, and the most notable aspect is that Pryor's directly addresses the shutdown while Cotton avoids mentioning it altogether.

In Cotton's spot (his first of the campaign), he tries to make the spurious claim that Pryor voted for "special subsidies" so that he'd be "protected from Obamacare." On the merits, this is absolute bullshit. (Short version: The ACA requires lawmakers and congressional staffers to get their healthcare through the new exchanges, even though those are designed for people who do not get health insurance through their employers. Like typical employers, the federal government had always paid for part of its employees' health coverage, so these "special subsidies" are simply a continuation of those premium contributions.) Whether this bogus attack gains any traction is a different question.

Meanwhile, the first half of Pryor's ad tries to denigrate Cotton's commercial as "silly" and untruthful, while the second accuses him of missing votes to attend a fundraiser in Texas when Congress "was debating whether to shut down the government." The two roll calls Cotton missed were on non-controversial bills that came to the floor just days before the shutdown. There's no word on the size of either buy.

KS-Sen: Tea partying radiologist Milton Wolf, who has parlayed his status as a second cousin of Barack Obama's into a bit of minor celebrity on the right-wing media circuit, has decided to go forward with his challenge to Sen. Pat Roberts in the GOP primary. Aside from that slim claim to fame, though, Wolf is a longshot.

LA-Sen: Unfortunately there's no link, but local Louisiana tipsheet Fax-Net reports that Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh is considering a bid for Senate. Conservatives have long been unhappy with Rep. Bill Cassidy, the establishment choice, but retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, the likeliest tea party alternative, hasn't gained a lot of traction. Could Seabaugh be the answer that movement conservatives are looking for?

Perhaps, but it won't be easy, particularly because Maness' presence in the race means they'd likely be splitting the same pile of votes. However, Seabaugh hails from the exact opposite corner of the state as Maness, so he might be able to carve out his own base in the Shreveport area in Louisiana's northwest. (Both Maness and Cassidy are from the southeastern part of the state.) Seabaugh's still weighing his options, though, but he says he "would like to have the decision made by the first of next year."

NJ-Sen: Rasmussen Reports: Cory Booker (D): 53, Steve Lonegan (R): 41 (June: 50-33 Booker). Fairleigh Dickinson: 45-29 Booker. Note that FDU is using the same sample for its Senate and gubernatorial polls (see below), even though each race will have a different electorate.


NJ-Gov: Fairleigh Dickinson: Gov. Chris Christie (R): 58, Barbara Buono (D): 25.

VA-Gov: Three more Virginia polls, three more pieces of bad news for Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Democrat Terry McAuliffe continues to lead, as he has for months, and penniless Libertarian Robert Sarvis keeps racking up a surprisingly high share of the vote:

PPP/Harper: McAuliffe 44, Cuccinelli 35, Sarvis 12

Christopher Newport: McAuliffe 47, Cuccinelli 38, Sarvis 8

Roanoke: McAuliffe 40, Cuccinelli 34, Sarvis 9

And yep, that last poll is from the notoriously GOP-leaning Roanoke College. Ordinarily I don't even pay attention to their results, but if Roanoke finds Cuccinelli trailing.... Anyhow, as for that first poll, yes, dogs and cats are living together: PPP and Harper Polling collaborated on a survey for Politico (though it's actually not the first time they've worked together).

Christopher Newport University and Roanoke both have downballot numbers as well, though at least in CNU's case, they differ considerably from those we've seen elsewhere. CNU has Democrat Ralph Northam leading Republican E.W. Jackson 48-37; most other pollsters have found a tighter race, as Roanoke does, with Northam up 39-35. The contest for attorney general is much closer all around. CNU finds Democrat Mark Herring leading Republican Mark Obenshain 45-42, while Roanoke goes the other way, with Obenshain on top 38-35.

And while it might feel like Terry McAuliffe could win at this point even if he started paying to air clips of his Hawaiian-shirt-clad, rum-bottle-hoisting TV appearance in 2008, he's still forging ahead with actual ads. In fact, he rolled out three new spots on Tuesday: two separate 15-second clips featuring Average Joe Businessmen endorsing McAuliffe as a job creator (here and here), and a 30-second ad hitting Ken Cuccinelli on his school-funding policies. (David Nir & David Jarman)


FL-10: Democrats talked about recruiting former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings for a rematch with GOP Rep. Dan Webster almost immediately after her tough three-and-a-half-point loss last November. Demings still hasn't decided, but now she's also talking about a possible bid for Orange County mayor. That post is up next year and is currently held by a Republican, Teresa Jacobs, but it offers much friendlier turf: Obama won the county 59-40 in 2012, while he lost FL-10 by a 53-46 margin.

FL-18: A shot at the GOP nomination to go up against Democratic freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy seems to be catnip for penny-ante local officials, though Republicans may still be holding out hope for someone higher up the food chain in what should, on paper, be one of their best House pickup opportunities. Former Tequesta (pop. 5,629) City Councilor Calvin Turnquest just jumped into the race, no doubt brimming with confidence, seeing as how his name rec is likely to be nearly double that of Juno Beach (pop. 3,176) City Councilor Ellen Andel. (David Jarman)

MI-03: Just a day after state Sen. Mark Jansen said he was thinking about challenging Rep. Justin Amash in the GOP primary, businessman Brian Ellis formally launched his campaign to do just that. A report last month said Ellis was likely to kick off his bid in October, so the move is not a surprise. But it also makes sense that he'd want to get ahead of Jansen, since Ellis' odds of unseating Amash are almost certainly higher in a two-way race than in a three-way.

NE-02: Good news, sports fans: In the wake of GOP Rep. Lee Terry's "dang straight" gaffe, Omaha City Councilman Pete Festersen, who had previously declined to challenge Terry, now says he's reconsidering. Terry, who won by just two points last year, received heapings of abuse for blithely insisting he'd collect his paycheck while hundreds of thousands of government workers go without, but Democrats hadn't yet landed a candidate to take him on. Terry soon apologized (and changed his mind about those paychecks), but the damage was done, and Democrats renewed their entreaties to Festersen. Festersen says his "phone is ringing off the hook," but he hasn't offered a timetable for a (new) decision.

Other Races:

Seattle Mayor: It appears that, for the first time ever, PPP has polled the Seattle mayoral race, on behalf of the League of Conservation Voters, which is supporting state Sen. Ed Murray. However, everything's pretty much the same as what we've seen before. Much as SurveyUSA found last month, Murray leads incumbent Mike McGinn by over 20 points, having consolidated most of the non-McGinn votes from the primary. PPP puts Murray's edge at 52-28, while SUSA had it at a very similar 52-30. (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

Census: The Pew Research Center has put together a comprehensive list of links to sites that offer work-arounds for accessing Census Bureau data while the bureau's website is offline during the shutdown.

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

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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