8:39 AM PT: NJ-Sen: Quinnipiac's final poll of the New Jersey Senate race ahead of Wednesday's special election has Cory Booker leading Republican Steve Lonegan 54-40. That's right in line with the bulk of other final-stage polling we've seen, including Quinnipiac's own. The only real outlier we've seen of late is that Rutgers poll we mentioned yesterday that had Booker up 22. That's puffed up RCP's average to a hair over 14, but every other poll in the month of October has found Booker up 10 to 14. We'll know soon enough!
As for King's own paycheck during the shutdown, he said it's not something he's concerning himself with now.One study last year showed that two-thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Evidently, Steve King won't even pretend to understand what that's like.
"I don't know if I'm paid or not," he said. "I haven't looked. I have not. And I get questions I've never thought about. I never thought about my own insurance. I never thought about my own pay. I'm thinking about what's right for America."
10:26 AM PT: CA-21: A correction on an item in the previous Digest: Former congressional staffer Amanda Renteria, who is running against GOP Rep. David Valadao, actually does live in California's 21st Congressional District, in the town of Sanger. Media accounts have also described her as hailing from Woodlake, which is where she grew up (not far from the 21st).
10:36 AM PT: AK-Sen: Former state Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, who resigned his post last month in anticipation of a Senate bid, finally went ahead and made his campaign official on Tuesday. Sullivan joins Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2010 nominee Joe Miller in the GOP primary; in a three-way matchup from PPP in July, Treadwell led with 33, versus 25 for Sullivan and 24 for Miller. All three are hoping to take on freshman Democratic Sen. Mark Begich next year.
"Really, Given that God does judge nations, it's amazing that abortion has run as far and foully as it has, without what I would consider to be a greater imposition of judgment on this country," Cuccinelli said. "Who knows what the future holds?"That's an excerpt from a speech Cuccinelli gave at something called the Christian Life Summit just last year, which local news station NBC12 recently revisited. It's hardly a game changer (after all, Republicans have all but conceded the game is lost), given that any voters who care about abortion have already made up their minds. But it's an awfully apocalyptic quote that makes it even harder for Cuccinelli to claim he doesn't harbor an anti-women agenda.
Then, there was this:
An assistant state attorney general improperly advised two energy companies in a natural gas drilling royalty fight against southwest Virginia landowners, but she did so without her supervisor's knowledge, according to a report from the Inspector General's Office obtained by The Associated Press.If you've been following this race at all, then you know that Democrat Terry McAuliffe has made this lawsuit an important centerpiece of his campaign. He's run many ads featuring aggrieved property owners who've castigated Cuccinelli for allowing his office to throw in with these gas companies, one of which, CONSOL Energy, has donated over $100,000 to Cuccinelli's campaign. Cuccinelli has denied all knowledge of his underling's doings (something the report backs up), but like a corporate CEO, an attorney general is responsible for what happens on his watch, whether he knows it or not—and he should know what his office is up to in any event.
In the report issued Tuesday to the Attorney General's Office, Inspector General Michael F. A. Morehart wrote that the assistant attorney general "inappropriately used commonwealth resources in support" of private litigation fighting class-action lawsuits by landowners who claim the companies cheated them out of tens of millions of dollars in royalty payments for natural gas drilled on their properties.
Oh, but then this there was this: a new poll from Christopher Newport University showing McAuliffe up 46-39, with Libertarian Robert Sarvis taking 11. That's actually down a touch from McAuliffe's 47-38 lead a week ago, but even if Cuccinelli's down "only" 7 points, he's still down 7 points. (And in fact, that's exactly what RCP's average shows.)
Finally, there's this: a Clinton Alert! But not of the Big Dog variety, believe it or not. In fact, it's Hillary Clinton, who is making her first campaign appearance of any sort since stepping down as secretary of state earlier this year. She'll be formally endorsing McAuliffe on Saturday in Northern Virginia, at a "Women for Terry" event. It'll be interesting to see if this is just the first of many this election cycle.
11:42 AM PT (Steve Singiser): NJ-LD-01: If there is something for Democrats to fear in next month's elections, it has been the persistent concern that Chris Christie's expected easy re-election could have coattails downballot for legislative Republicans. A new Stockton Institute poll in the state's swing-y South Jersey 1st legislative district seems to allay those fears. Even though Christie has a gaudy 66-27 lead among district voters, Democratic state Sen. Jeff Van Drew is maintaining a 58-29 lead over his Republican rival, Susan Adelizzi-Schmidt. That's only a small change (4 points) from a September poll in the district.
In the battle for the state's two Assembly seats, the Democratic incumbents remain in the lead, though their lead is quite a bit more tenuous. Incumbents Nelson Albano (25 percent) and Bob Andrzejczak (22 percent) hold a lead over Republicans Sam Fiocchi (18 percent) and Kristine Gabor (17 percent). The combined margins here between Democrats and Republicans sits at twelve points (47-35) which is not quite in "sure thing" territory, but is fairly comfortable.
12:41 PM PT: NE-02: With new Democratic recruit Pete Festersen's decision to run against GOP Rep. Lee Terry next year, several folks have mentioned that Republicans made this seat redder in the most recent round of redistricting. That's true, but only barely. According to our calculations, Obama carried this seat in 2008 by 1.21 percent under the old district lines. And recalculating the 2008 election results for the new lines, Obama still prevailed by 1.17 percent, a difference of just four hundredths of a percent.
So what happened? Well, the GOP did try to shore this district up a bit, but they weren't very aggressive about it at all. Both the old and new versions of NE-02 encompass all of Douglas County, which is home to Omaha. To ensure equal population with the state's two other districts, the 2nd also takes in part of Sarpy County. Republicans swapped the old parts of Sarpy for some redder turf, but thanks to population loss statewide, Sarpy's share of the total population in the district, which was already small to begin with, actually shrunk, from almost 19 percent to just 15 percent.
Because of that shrinkage, the needle barely budged in NE-02. (Had the GOP chosen to gerrymander seriously, they could have split Omaha in half, but other political considerations probably deterred them from doing so.) So the fact that Obama lost here 53-46 here last year didn't really have anything to do with redistricting. But even though Obama did worse at the top of the ticket this time, so did Terry: He won by 4 points in 2008, but just 2 in 2012. And that's not a positive sign for Republicans.
1:06 PM PT: WATN?: Sheebus. And this guy thought he could remain in office? Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who resigned recently due to a sexual harassment scandal of mind-boggling proportions, has now pleaded guilty to criminal charges relating to three of his victims, including one felony count of false imprisonment two misdemeanor counts of battery. Filner will be confined to house arrest for three months and probation for three years but won't face prison time. He's also required to receive mental health treatment and, thankfully, is forbidden from ever seeking office again.
1:21 PM PT: AK-, AR-, LA-, WV-Sen: Karl Rove's super PAC American Crossroads commissioned Republican pollster Harper Polling to conduct surveys of four of the toughest Senate races that Democrats are defending this cycle.
• Alaska: Sen. Mark Begich (D): 43, Mead Treadwell (R): 42; Begich: 43, Dan Sullivan (R): 41; Begich: 55, Joe Miller (R): 28The Begich and Landrieu numbers are a little bit more pessimistic than those other pollsters (mostly just PPP) have found, while the Arkansas and West Virginia results are pretty similar to what we've seen elsewhere.
• Arkansas: Sen. Mark Pryor (D): 45, Tom Cotton (R): 42
• Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D): 46, Bill Cassidy (R): 44
• West Virginia: Natalie Tennant (D): 34, Shelley Moore Capito (R): 51
1:47 PM PT: NH-Sen, -Gov, -01, -02: New England College just released an omnibus poll of all four of New Hampshire's big races next year, including separate portions for both House races and a couple of GOP primaries as well. And unlike some other all-in-one polls, NEC's managed to get decent sample sizes in every instance. Here's how things break down:
• NH-Sen: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D): 51, Charlie Bass (R): 32Strong numbers for Democrats all around except Shea-Porter, who (a) holds the redder of the state's two congressional districts; (b) is not a strong campaigner; and (c) faces a much more prominent opponent than Kuster does in Guinta, the former congressman she unseated in 2012 (and who unseated her in 2010). Guinta first has to win a primary, though NEC's early numbers have him in a dominant position, taking 54 percent while radio host Jeff Chidester takes just 7 and outgoing UNH business school dean Dan Innis 6.
• NH-Gov: Gov. Maggie Hassan (D): 53, Ted Gatsas (R): 25
• NH-01: Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D): 43, Frank Guinta (R): 42
• NH-02: Rep. Annie Kuster (D): 46, Gary Lambert (R): 26
It's also worth noting that in the top-of-the-ballot races, neither Bass nor Gatsas has actually declared. And if Bass, a former congressman, does run for Senate, he'd trail former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown 47-21 in what for now is a very hypothetical primary. (Two others are in the low single digits.) Gatsas, meanwhile, first has to win re-election as mayor of Manchester next month, something he may not succeed in doing.
2:10 PM PT: FL-13: Seeing as she's very likely to have company in the Democratic primary, this is a good get for attorney Jessica Ehrlich: She just scored the endorsement of the Florida branch of AFSCME, the powerful public employee union. However, because Florida is a right-to-work state, the labor movement is less powerful there, so AFSCME only counts 3,000 members in central Florida out of their 1.6 million nationwide.
Meanwhile, the pool of potential Republican candidates continues to shrink as Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters, a former state representative, said that she won't run for this very swingy seat, which is now open thanks to GOP Rep. Bill Young's retirement.
2:34 PM PT: CO-06, MN-03: The polling robots chained up in the DCCC's basement have cranked out two new polls, one in Colorado and one in Minnesota. The former is the more interesting of the pair because it actually features a named-ballot matchup between GOP Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff, with Romanoff ahead by a hair 43-42. That's a pretty terrible number for Coffman, as the incumbent, and it's also very similar to the 41 percent PPP recently gave him against a generic Democratic opponent. (Unsurprisingly, Romanoff, who hasn't aired a single ad yet, runs several points behind Generic D's 49 percent.)
And like those PPP polls, the D-Trip's Minnesota survey only tests GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen against a generic Dem, which makes sense seeing as no actual candidates have entered the race yet. Paulsen trails by a 37 to 43 spread, which sounds almost too good to be true given how strong of a campaigner he is, and how tough this district has been for Democrats in the past. However, Obama did narrowly carry it last year, 50-49, and the shutdown certainly hasn't helped the Republican image, so perhaps the DCCC will be able to parlay this poll into recruitment fodder.