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Leading Off:

AZ-Gov: Amazingly enough, we've gone all year without a single public poll of Arizona's open-seat governor's race that features actual candidates (and something less than 50 percent undecideds). Now we finally have one, though, courtesy Republican pollster Susquehanna Polling & Research, which has typically surveyed Pennsylvania but is branching out westward. The firms finds that the crowded GOP primary is wide open, with Secretary of State Ken Bennett leading the way with 20 percent. State Treasurer Doug Ducey is second with 8, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith takes 6, businesswoman Christine Jones and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas are at 4, and state Sen. Al Melvin brings up the caboose with 2.

More interesting are the general election numbers, which find Bennett leading former Arizona Board of Regents chair Fred DuVal, the likely Democratic nominee, by only a 38-33 margin, while Ducey edges DuVal just 36-33. Of course, there are still a lot of undecideds here, but if Susquehanna is anything close to right, then the race is very much in play, which would be a delight to Democrats. One thing to note is that Susquehanna's Keystone State polling last year had a strong Republican tilt: They called the presidential race a tie and predicted Democratic Sen. Bob Casey to win by just 1 point. Of course, Barack Obama carried Pennsylvania by 5 and Casey won by 9. If they have a similar skew this cycle, that would be even better news for DuVal.


CO-Sen: Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, who is usually described as one of 2010's tea party victims, has endorsed state Rep. Amy Stephens in the GOP primary for Senate—and not Ken Buck, the insurgent who beat her for the Republican nomination more than three years ago, then narrowly lost to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. I still think an argument can be made that the flawed Norton might have screwed the pooch, too, but she'll forever be able to make the argument that Republicans had their chance to pick someone better ... which is exactly what she's trying to do with Stephens. It won't be easy, though: A PPP poll earlier this week had Buck leading 45-7.

LA-Sen: Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is running a new ad that's all about her efforts to fix Obamacare—specifically, the legislation she introduced that would require insurers to keep offering individual plans that they've been cancelling as the insurance exchanges have opened up. While the bill is a political winner for her, I'm not so sold on how her spot presents things, since the first 10 seconds contain news clips that only remind viewers of the debacle in the first place, before even getting to Landrieu's attempt to ameliorate the problem.

The final frame is also a bit sneaky. Landrieu's bill hasn't even come up for a vote, but a caption titled "The Result:" (of Landrieu's efforts) is displayed above a newspaper headline that reads "People now allowed to keep health care plans." I can't find that headline anywhere, though the text beneath it appears to be taken from a version of this New York Times article, which the ad says also appeared in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. But the salient point is that this supposed headline refers to an executive action taken by the president and not Landrieu's legislation, which went much further. I don't know if it's a good idea to tell people something's been fixed if it hasn't been.

In any event, according to a Landrieu press release, the buy is for a sizable $250,000.


PA-Gov: Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates don't have to file fundraising reports until Jan. 31, but wealthy businessman Tom Wolf is trying to lay down an early marker in the Democratic primary. He says he's already raised $2.9 million, from the inception of his campaign in April through Dec. 11. (The full reporting period actually goes through Dec. 31.) That doesn't include the $10 million he contributed to his campaign out his own funds.

Meanwhile, IBEW Local 98, described by reporter Thomas Fitzgerald as "one of the most politically active unions in Pennsylvania," is endorsing Rep. Allyson Schwartz for the Democratic nomination. In addition, the group is cutting her campaign a $100,000 check.

VA-Gov: You might think we really don't need one more retrospective about the Virginia gubernatorial election, but this one, from Campaigns and Elections magazine, is worth reading, if only because it so clearly shows one area where Democrats are breaking new ground and Republicans are only starting to realize they need to play catch-up: A/B testing of campaign messages. In other words, running controlled experiments where some respondents see a particular ad theme and others see nothing, or a placebo of sorts, and then analyzing which messages actually move the polling numbers.

The results from message testing in Virginia also shed some light on what themes might have worked for Republican Ken Cuccinelli (as Democrats tested how best to inoculate Terry McAuliffe against GOP attacks). Contrary to Cuccinelli's claims that he would have won if he'd had another week to make Obamacare-based arguments, the researchers found that anti-Obamacare messaging not only didn't help Cuccinelli's case but had a small backfire effect. Hitting McAuliffe as a sleazy businessman was only slightly effective; the one weird trick that would have helped Cuccinelli significantly—but one that his campaign stayed far, far away from—was hitting McAuliffe for his alleged support of "unrestricted" (and probably more importantly, "taxpayer-funded") abortion. (David Jarman)


MA-05: As expected, Democratic state Sen. Katherine Clark cruised to victory in the special election to fill Sen. Ed Markey's vacant House seat, defeating Republican Frank Addivinola 66-32. Clark may be sworn into Congress as early as Thursday, according to the Boston Globe. Of course, a special will now have to be held for her state Senate seat, and should a member of the state House win... you see where this is going. All because Barack Obama made John Kerry his secretary of state!

NC-12: Roll Call's Emily Cahn has a good rundown on all the Democrats who've already filed paperwork to succeed Rep. Mel Watt, who was just confirmed to head up the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Tuesday. The dates for the special election to fill Watt's seat have not yet been set.

TX-36: In case you missed it, the Texas Republican Party has extended the filing deadline in Steve Stockman's suddenly open 36th Congressional District until Monday, saying that state election law requires them to do so. However, incumbents (such as state legislators) who have already filed for other races will not be eligible to switch. Interestingly, three of the six Republicans who did file before the Stockman news broke say they'd gotten wind of his plans ahead of time, though the wife of one candidate actually works for Stockman, so that's hardly shocking. But the fact that Stockman managed to keep his Senate bid out of the papers until the original filing deadline is a bit surprising, given how many people apparently knew.

Other Races:

CO State Senate: Local Democrats have chosen Arvada City Councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger to fill the state Senate seat left vacant by Evie Hudak, who resigned last month to forestall a recall effort. Even though the 19th District would ordinarily not have seen another election until 2016, under Colorado law, Zenzinger must go before voters next year. This seat went for Barack Obama by a relatively close 52-45 margin, so it could be competitive in 2014.

MI Legislature: Even though Democrats dropped about 7 to 8 net points in PPP's new poll of Michigan's Senate and governor's races, their new generic legislative ballot numbers show little change. Democrats lead Republicans 46-38 on the question, just two points down from their 48-38 edge in June. However, that may not be enough to retake the legislature. In both chambers, the median seat went for Mitt Romney 50-49 while Barack Obama carried the state by 9 points. Democrats made significant gains in the state House last year (the Senate wasn't up), but that spread still wasn't enough to recapture the majority.

NJ State Assembly: Republican Assemblyman John Amodeo has finally conceded to Democratic challenger Vincent Mazzeo following a recount (and multiple court hearings) in New Jersey's 2nd District that ultimately gave Mazzeo a 51-vote victory. The win gives Democrats their first Assembly-level foothold in the Atlantic City region since 2008 and offers a potential building block for future gains.

Meanwhile, the recount in North Jersey's 38th District is still ongoing. Democratic Assemblyman Tim Eustace's lead over Republican Joseph Scarpa shrunk from 54 to 36 votes earlier this week, following a review in Bergen County. Passaic County will recount paper ballots on Thursday, but the vast majority of the district is in Bergen, so the current tally is unlikely to change much.

Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso recaps Tuesday night's action:

Kentucky SD-13: Democrats held onto this seat; Reggie Thomas defeated independent Richard Moloney by a 54-35 margin. Republican Michael Johnson brought up the rear with 11 percent.

Kentucky HD-07: Republican Suzanne Miles picked up this seat from the Democrats, defeating Kim Humphrey by a 51-49 margin.

HD-07 is a very tough loss indeed. Democrats put a lot of resources into holding the seat, but Republicans hit back with attacks on Obamacare. Considering that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has gone very well in Kentucky, it's somewhat worrying that these attacks may have succeeded. Ultimately, though, this is a seat that Barack Obama probably only took around 35 percent in, making this tough turf even for Kentucky Democrats. Humphrey says she'll ask for a recanvass, but that's unlikely to change the outcome. Of greater concern is that Democrats now hold just a 54-46 edge in the state House, and Republicans will gun hard next year to take control.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    Get the Daily Kos Elections Digest in your inbox every weekday. Sign up here.

    by David Nir on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 05:00:13 AM PST

  •  MI: "Rape Insurance" Initiative Passes (10+ / 0-)

    Well, in something of surprise, the Republicans in the Michigan House and Senate pulled the trigger and called the vote on Michigan's "rape insurance" citizen's initiative, which would require folks to buy seperate abortion riders on public and private employer health care plans.  They could have sent this to a vote by the people, but didn't, because they knew they'd lose and give Dems fodder.  I say something of a surprise, because everyone new this was going to happen, but the Republican leadership tried a head-fake, last week, by implying that they probably wouldn't do this until after the winter break.

    They did something similar on Right to Work this same time last year, hoping the chilly weather and closeness to the holidays would discourage protest.  Something more telling is that not one Senate Republican spoke out in favor of the law.  They are cowards scared crapless by Michigan Right to Life.  It seems they may have seriously overreached, though.  Both times this has been polled, opposition to the initiative has been greater than the support.  In fact, the minute this past, a West Michigan lawmaker threatened a counter initiative to replace this law, which would most certainly get the required signatures to put this on th ballot.  I hope she goes through with it.

    MI Right to Life is going to regret this.  They may have very well sacrificed control of the MI House (and a few state senators) for a short-term win.  

    BTW, I didn't want any Dem defections, but we had one in the senate and two (plus an independent) in the house.  All were basically expected.  The senator was an anti-abortion member out of Detroit, who is fortunately term limited.  The two Dems in the house are from rural or small-city districts, and the independent is a petulant Detroiter who defected from the party some months back.  Not sure about any of their statuses, but Detroit can and hopefully will do better when these seats come up for a vote.  It's only a tiny percent of the Detroit delegation, but when we can do better, we should.  

    •  The MI voters need to be reminded of the (4+ / 0-)

      number of rapes that occur in MI annually.  Years ago we freely talked about crack babies, so now it will be rape babies.  Egad.
      The forced birthers need to tend to all those babies they've been adopting and/or the mothers they've been helping because the FB's are so committed and principled, right?

      Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

      by judyms9 on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 06:24:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  AZ-Gov: Give DuVal a chance (7+ / 0-)

    We need a Dem Gov veto in AZ, badly.  For those whose perceptions of AZ are formed mostly by national news of the latest legislative craziness, and particularly on immigration, remember that we elected Napolitano twice, while nationally the country was electing Bush.

    Also, going back a little, we elected this guy in 1974:

    Read the salon link for a little sense of his style (and why some of us aren't fans of federal paramilitary occupation).

    AZ has a long history of tossing the governor's office back and forth between parties, and splitting state and federal office.  In 1964 when AZ went for Goldwater for Prez, we also elected a Democratic governor.  Since Castro was elected in '74, a Dem has held the Gov's office over 50% of the time, and of the 4 Republicans who attained the office only two did so initially via open seat election, and both of them were impeached in office.  With an open seat, and with Brewer the last sitting Gov, a strong Dem candidate has a chance.

    Help Make DuVal a strong candidate, give him a chance by donating early to his campaign:

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 06:13:58 AM PST

  •  Dems in Az. need to get behind Al Melvin for..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, Desert Rose, KingofSpades

    ... the Repub nominee,he's Arizona's answer to Louis Gohmert, Ted Cruz and
    Michelle Bachmann all rolled into one.

  •  It's really fun (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova, Gygaxian

    Hearing my coworker bitch about how Nelson Mandela was a 'bad man' because he was 'anti-Isreal' (gee I wonder why) and that he and other blacks ruined South Africa.

    She then goes into some weird spiel about how black people are the real racists, the Obamas are monkeys and that it's a great thing that this country will never have another black president because he's been so horrible. Followed by some absurdity about the knockout game.

    And then something about how Clinton and Reagen were great presidents.

    The 'best' part? She's a fucking city employee aka a union member!

    God this is so fucking infuriating.

  •  I have AZ Republican fatigue. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fox Ringo

    It's like valley fever.

    It is ridiculous to pretend that firing teachers based on student test scores, starting charter schools, giving out vouchers or implementing merit pay will overcome the challenges facing a child living in poverty. -Jersey Jazzman

    by Desert Rose on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 07:40:51 AM PST

  •  KY HD-07 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArcticStones, KingofSpades, Odysseus

    is, indeed, a heartbreaking loss.

    I am praying that Alison Lundergan Grimes not only beats McConnell next year, but has real coattails to help Dems keep the KY House and close the gap in the KY Senate.

    Sure, regardless, we're in good shape for the governor's race in '15, but I don't want a new Dem. governor to be doing nothing but issuing vetoes!  

    Some have worried that if the GOPers capture the KY House in '14, they will change the rules to allow RandPaul (R-Nutjob) to run for both Senate and POTUS in '16. They'd have to do this in '15 and Beshear would almost certainly veto it.  So, I think he has to quit the Senate (open seat in '16!) to run for POTUS or give it up.

    But, I worry that Tuesday's loss means that the GOPers are gaining even more ground in Western KY--which could spell real trouble for Grimes and for a bluer future for the Commonwealth.

    "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

    by SouthernLeveller on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 07:41:40 AM PST

  •  Real information in NC-12? (0+ / 0-)
    NC-12: Roll Call's Emily Cahn has a good rundown on all the Democrats who've already filed paperwork to succeed Rep. Mel Watt, who was just confirmed to head up the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Tuesday. The dates for the special election to fill Watt's seat have not yet been set.
    Does anyone know anything about these people other than their names?

    The information given is tremendously skimpy, and some of these candidates have to have actual voting records.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 12:11:19 PM PST

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