• VA-AG: If you've been following the ongoing post-election recanvass in Virginia's open-seat race for attorney general, you know that things are incredibly, absurdly tight. According to the State Board of Elections' official count as of Monday evening, Republican Mark Obenshain now leads Democrat Mark Herring by just 17 votes ... out of over 2.2 million cast.
As local election officials throughout Virginia have been reviewing their results, Obenshain's edge has continued to narrow. And on Monday afternoon, following a retabulation in the heavily Democratic city of Richmond—where votes from a previously uncounted voting machine were incorporated for the first time—Herring appeared to unofficially take the lead.
Indeed, according to the Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman, who has been assiduously updating his "crowdsource canvass" Google doc, Herring should have a 115-vote advantage once Richmond's new totals are certified to the state. This follows the discovery of nearly 3,000 uncounted votes in solidly blue Fairfax County late last week that also aided Herring.
These frequent shifts, though, underscore that the lead could change hands yet again. They should also serve as a reminder that mistakes happen in elections, which is why carefully taking the time to get things right is so important. And after the entire statewide vote is certified on Nov. 25, the trailing candidate can (and probably will) seek a recount at state expense. So we're a long way off from knowing the winner.
For now, though, Herring and Virginia Democrats have to be feeling pretty good, as the biggest known concerns about missing votes appear to have been resolved. And if you want up-to-the-minute updates on where things stand, you'll definitely want to follow Dave Wasserman on Twitter.
• AR-Sen: A conservative group called the Judicial Crisis Network is going after Dem Sen. Mark Pryor with a new TV ad, supposedly backed by a "six figure buy for more than 1,000 points" (according to a press release). The spot attacks Pryor for voting "for every one of Obama's liberal activist judges," which is an interesting line of attack. I know that high-information activists on both sides often get worked up about judicial nominations, but I wonder if this angle means much to ordinary voters. Maybe the Obama linkage is enough to tar Pryor, though.
• NC-Sen: Radio host Bill Flynn, who took 22 percent in the GOP primary against Rep. Howard Coble last year, for some reason has decided to set his sights higher and run for Senate this cycle. It's an especially weird choice, since Coble's retiring and his 6th District seat certainly offers a better opportunity for someone without much of a profile like Flynn. But whatever.
• NE-Sen: Looks like there's a minor split among the purity brigades in the Nebraska GOP Senate primary. FreedomWorks just announced that it's backing former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, while the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund have said they're supporting Midland University President Ben Sasse. According to Open Secrets, the Club and FreedomWorks were pretty well-matched in overall spending last cycle (SCF is much smaller), so if they go toe-to-toe here, it could get pretty interesting. And by interesting, I mean bloody.
• SC-Sen-A: Sen. Lindsey Graham can't be saved by the clown car because South Carolina requires runoffs if no one gets 50 percent in a primary election, but he might get a boost if the considerable pile of true believers hoping to unseat him remains split, preventing one challenger from consolidating the conservative vote. And that pile just got one bigger: Attorney Bill Connor, who lost a runoff for lieutenant governor in 2010, is joining the field. Connor didn't do too well in that race, losing 61-39 to the eventual winner, Ken Ard, who ignominiously resigned after barely a year on the job due to a campaign finance scandal.
• SD-Sen: Is this the black swan event Democrat Rick Weiland needs to reshape the South Dakota Senate race, or is it a damaging blow to his hopes—or neither? In an utterly unexpected move, former Sen. Larry Pressler says he's considering a bid for his old seat... as an independent. Pressler served three terms as a Republican, before losing in 1996 to the man whose retirement has now left this seat open, Tim Johnson. So on paper, you'd imagine that a GOPer-turned-indie would hurt the likely Republican nominee, ex-Gov. Mike Rounds, the most.
But Pressler's charted an unusual course in recent years. Pressler endorsed Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, was appointed by the president to a heritage commission, and signed an amicus brief in favor of same-sex marriage that was submitted to the Supreme Court. So is he more likely to draw support from low-information voters who fondly remember him from his days as a Republican senator? Or will Pressler's recent leftward migration cut into Weiland's potential pool of votes? First, of course, he has to decide whether to run at all, but I'll be very curious to see what the next poll here looks like.
• CT-Gov: Republican Tom Foley, who is still "exploring" a second bid for governor of Connecticut next year, is running an amusingly trollish ad... in New York City. The spot begins with the infamous New York Post election eve cover that featured Democrat Bill de Blasio's mug on a red background next to the hammer-and-sickle as Foley narrates: "Hey, New York City. With your new mayor, I know many of you are thinking about leaving." YES, TO ESCAPE COMMUNIST OPPRESSION. Oh, thank you, Tom Foley, for saving us from the gulags!!!
Before the secret police shut down our samizdat operation, we have to wonder why Foley would even air an ad like this. Trying to scare up some dollars from financiers who are furious at the possibility of slightly higher taxes to pay for universal pre-kindergarten? Or maybe laying down a marker in the GOP primary by showing that he, too, is a vanguard in the battle against the Red Menace? Either way, I'll sleep better knowing that Tom Foley is ready to be our savior, just one state away.
• GA-Gov: With state Sen. Jason Carter's entry into the gubernatorial race, fellow Democrat and former state Sen. Connie Stokes is dropping down to clear the way for Carter and will run for lieutenant governor instead.
• IL-Gov: Is Gov. Pat Quinn trying to do everything in his power to lose re-election? Because it sure seems that way. Despite being a Democrat running for a second term in a blue state, Quinn's future looks dicey, and he did himself no favors with what looks like an asinine choice for his running mate. (His current lieutenant governor, Sheila Simon, wisely opted to run for state comptroller instead.) Quinn just tapped former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas, who hails from the Michelle Rhee school of education "reform," meaning he instantly succeeded in pissing off the teachers unions. Quinn also infuriated black pols, who were eager for him to select an African American candidate like state Sen. Kwame Raoul.
Quinn may be banking on Vallas bringing in big bucks from hedge fund types obsessed with charter schools, but how does he expect to win without serious support from the labor movement and from black voters? If these coalitions remain on the sidelines or simply focus their efforts on other races, an incredibly challenging campaign will become even more difficult, no matter how much Wall Street money Quinn raises.
• PA-Gov: Former state Auditor Jack Wagner, who lost a mayoral primary in Pittsburgh back in May and has since been playing footsie with a bid for governor, says he'll make up his mind by the end of the year. Wagner would join an incredibly crowded field of heavyweight Democratic hopefuls, but he'd be the most prominent candidate from western Pennsylvania, so he may see a geographic opening.
• VA-Gov: Politico offers a detailed look at environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer's spending in the recently concluded Virginia governor's race, where he shelled out a giant $8 million of his own money to help Democrat Terry McAuliffe get elected. Steyer's tab included "$3.1 million in TV advertising, $1.2 million in digital ads, 12 different pieces of campaign mail, a field program that hit 62,000 households on get-out-the-vote weekend and even a Cuccinelli impersonator who showed up at public events carrying a briefcase of mock cash to attack the Republican's ethics."
• FL-13: Lobbyist David Jolly sure has gotten lucky so far. Two more potential Republican candidates in the special election to replace his old boss, the late Rep. Bill Young, have declined to run; Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard will both sit the race out. Jolly also earned the endorsement of former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, who was the GOP's early favorite but who also decided against a bid.
But Jolly, who has a history of making big donations to Democrats, is still far from wrapping up the Republican nomination. State Rep. Kathleen Peters, whose name we hadn't heard before, now says she's considering a run herself. And Young son, Bill Young II, seems unhappy with Jolly—and even perhaps with his mother, who conveyed a supposed deathbed wish from his father that Jolly succeed him. Young skipped a recent rally with Jolly that his mom participated in, explaining: "My dad didn't believe in getting involved in primaries and it served him well for 53 years."
• Elections: Nov. 5 may be over but we're not done with this year's elections by a long shot. Starting Nov. 12, Daily Kos Elections will be debuting a regular Tuesday open thread where you can discuss the day's elections. Each open thread (or "Tuesdays with Jeffie," if you'd rather) will go live at 6:00 PM ET. This feature will run every Tuesday that we have a big city mayoral race or congressional or state legislative election (whether it be a primary or a runoff), unless we're doing a traditional liveblog that night.
This Tuesday's inaugural open thread will feature the Tulsa mayoral election between Republican incumbent Dewey Bartlett and his Democratic predecessor, Kathy Taylor. Both parties will also hold primary runoffs in Arkansas' vacant SD-21. For candidate information, poll closing times, and our complete list of future elections, please bookmark our calendar here. (Darth Jeff)
• Maps: The great site Mapping the Nation has posted an awesome county-level map of the 1880 presidential race between Republican James Garfield and Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock—won, of course, by Garfield. But what makes this map so cool is that it dates to 1883 and not only is every county colored in (red for Dems, blue for GOP), but there's even a key showing how strong each party's vote share was in each jurisdiction. As the commentary notes, you can vividly see how the Solid South was already extremely solid in what was the first presidential election to take place after the end of Reconstruction. And since the colors have since switched, it's still a pretty good representation of what the South looks like politically today.
• Texas: By one key measure, the 2014 election cycle has officially begun: Candidate filing is now open in Texas, the first state to allow hopefuls to begin the process of getting on next year's ballot. (Illinois actually has an earlier filing deadline—Dec. 2, versus Dec. 9 for the Lone Star State—but they don't permit candidates to file until Nov. 25.) Over at Texas political blog Burnt Orange Report, Joseph Vogas is busy tracking all the filings for Congress and the legislature, though as of Sunday, only eight House incumbents had actually submitted their paperwork. Many will wait until the last minute, though, so we'll know more about potential retirements as we get closer to December.
And as always, you can keep track of every state's filing deadline with our handy 2014 calendar.