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Leading Off:

AZ-07, -09: So is Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema really serious about switching from the swingy 9th District to the open, but much more liberal, 7th? What began life late last week as a mere rumor has become a much realer possibility now, seeing as Sinema's refusing to comment and a top advisor refused to rule out the idea. But as we've noted, such a move would not be easy, and one of the candidates already running in the 7th, state Sen. Ruben Gallego, paid Sinema a biting left-handed compliment that explains precisely why:

"I'm a big supporter of Kyrsten Sinema. I got to work for her, work with her. I've donated to her campaign the first time around, the second time around, and I hope she stays in District 9 because she is the right moderate, business-oriented voice for that district."
Those are the exact same kinds of sentiments that would be turned into attacks against Sinema if she did decide to seek re-election in the 7th. And she'd also be abandoning her party, since she'd jeopardize Democratic control of the 9th. This isn't the kind of résumé you want to create for yourself before running for office in a difficult election, which the 7th District primary will certainly be.

Meanwhile, there are a few more updates on would-be contenders (all Democrats). Former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon announced that he's out, as, apparently, did current Mayor Greg Stanton, who said he hopes to "continue serving" in his current role "for the next six years." The Arizona Republic also mentions one more new potential name, state Senate Minority Leader Anna Tovar. And the Washington Examiner says that former White House staffer Ronnie Cho is considering a bid, but that's just according to unnamed sources.


OK-Sen-B: As expected, former state Sen. Randy Brogdon has switched from the governor's race, where he was attempting to primary incumbent Mary Fallin, to Oklahoma's open Senate contest, where he'll face a couple of heavyweights in the Republican primary (Rep. James Lankford and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon). Despite a decent performance in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, it's not clear how serious Brogdon is, since he stonewalled radio station KRMG's repeated attempts to contact him about his intentions until he sent out a mass email on Monday. KRMG tried to follow up, only to discover that Brogdon's campaign office is "a mailbox at a UPS store."

SC-Sen-A: Sen. Lindsey Graham's latest ad touts his anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-Obamacare credentials. The buy is reported to be statewide, for "six figures."


AR-Gov: GOP ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson's first ad extensively features his wife, Susan, who explains that "Asa" proposed to her... 11 months after their first date. Asa tries to interject that "that's Arkansas for you," but a year-long courtship strikes me as entirely unremarkable. What is remarkable about the spot is the second half, where Susan says that her husband is "not afraid to listen to the other side—in fact, he wants to hear the other side, so we can pull together to get the greater good done." Democrats running in red states constantly tout their bipartisan bona fides, but it's very rare to see a Republican do the same. The Hutchinson campaign says it's spending $55,000 to air the ad.

AZ-Gov: Democrat Fred DuVal has released a new internal from Garin-Hart-Yang showing Arizona's race for governor as competitive, though there are a lot of undecideds—similar to the limited polling we've seen so far. DuVal, a former chair of the Arizona Board of Regents, is tied at 32 apiece with state Treasurer Doug Ducey and trails Secretary of State Ken Bennett by a narrow 35-32 spread. On a generic ballot, voters also give a small edge to a hypothetical Republican candidate, 43-39. As you can see, leaners evidently were not pushed, but given how early it still is, it makes sense that this race has not yet taken more shape.

CO-Gov: Former GOP Rep. Bob Beauprez was set to launch his campaign on Monday, but it turns out he's merely filing paperwork and won't formally kick things off until Tuesday. Why? Because he's in D.C., making a pitch to the RNC in support of Denver's bid to host the GOP convention in 2016. As ColoradoPols observes, you never want to announce your bid for governor of Colorado from Washington. (Alternately, you don't want to announce your bid for New Jersey senator from Colorado.) There's no reason Beauprez couldn't have waited one more day. A pointless, unforced error.

IL-Gov: A new survey from Southern Illinois University finds the same thing that every other poll has: Wealthy venture capitalist Bruce Rauner leads the GOP primary field. Rauner takes 33 while state Sen. Bill Brady's at 12, state Sen. Kirk Dillard's at 11, and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford is at 10. SIU also included general election matchups, and again, as we've seen elsewhere, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn is in dire shape. Here's how he fares:

38-40 vs. Rauner

37-40 vs. Brady

37-40 vs. Dillard

38-38 vs. Rutherford

It goes without saying, but the high 30s is an ugly place for an incumbent to find himself.

KY-Gov: A new poll from Public Opinion Strategies of the 2015 GOP primary for governor finds state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer leading former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner by a 42-14 spread. (POS says the survey was not conducted on behalf of any candidate.) Neither Comer nor Heiner has formally said they'll run next year, when Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear will be term-limited, but the Lexington Herald-Leader says both are "likely" to do so.

MN-Gov: A new SurveyUSA poll of the rarely-tested Minnesota governor's race finds Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in solid shape for re-election, leading all of his potential Republican challengers:

51-34 vs. former state Rep. Marty Seifert

53-33 vs. investment banker Scott Honour

53-32 vs. state Sen. Dave Thompson

52-34 vs. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson

52-31 vs. state Rep. Kurt Zellers

52-31 vs. Some Dude Rob Farnsworth

The remarkable consistency across all of these numbers shows that the GOP field is largely unknown. That's very similar to what PPP found in an October poll, though there, Dayton's leads were all around 10 percent; here, they're double that. Demographic crosstabs are not yet available, but KSTP, the TV station that commissioner this poll, says it will release them on Tuesday night. They're also promising numbers on the Senate race, where Democrat Al Franken is seeking re-election to a second term.

SC-, WI-Gov: Two new RGA ads are now available, one in Wisconsin, where they've been going at Democrat Mary Burke for a little while, and one in South Carolina, where they're newly attacking Democrat Vincent Sheheen. In the Palmetto State, the governors association slams Sheheen for backing Obamacare, and in particular his support for expanding Medicaid. Sheheen had a pretty clever response, though, pointing out that RGA chair Chris Christie expanded Medicaid in New Jersey, calling it "the smart thing to do."

The Wisconsin spot, meanwhile, accuses Burke of presiding over "debt, mismanagement, [and] waste" when she ran the state's Department of Commerce under ex-Gov. Jim Doyle. Doyle must still poll poorly, as the ad references him twice, referring to the "Doyle-Burke Wisconsin" that yielded "130,000 fewer jobs." That number's accurate, but the claim is specious, since Doyle left office in 2010, at a point when the Great Recession's severe damage to employment numbers nationwide was barely starting to ebb.


CA-15: Barack Obama has endorsed Rep. Eric Swalwell, who faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Ellen Corbett, the state Senate majority leader.

FL-13: With a week to go before the special election, conservative blog Red Racing Horses has released a new poll from PMI that has Republican David Jolly leading Democrat Alex Sink 46-44, while "another candidate on the ballot" takes 5 percent. RRH says they asked the question this way rather than by naming Libertarian Lucas Overby because they think it will "reduce the tendency of poll participants to declare their support for a third-party candidate for whom they will not actually vote." This phrasing invites the opposite, though, because low-information voters can mentally fill in the blank with whatever idealized candidate they like, rather than having to say, "Oh, yeah, I'll vote for the Libertarian."

PMI doesn't have much of a track record, though they've conducted a couple of polls for RRH in the past. A Nov. 2012 survey of the LA-03 GOP runoff did pretty well, calling an 18-point win for Rep. Charles Boustany; he prevailed by 22 over Rep. Jeff Landry. But a poll conducted just ahead of last May's special election in SC-01 found Republican Mark Sanford tied at 46 with Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch; Sanford won by 9 points.

FL-19: Things are heating up a bit in the all-important GOP primary in Florida's other special election, down in the 19th District. An anonymous new super PAC called the Liberty and Leadership Fund is running an ad attacking businessman Curt Clawson, who himself has already been on the air with a spot that referenced his college basketball days. Picking up on that theme, this ad features a guy dribbling a ball up and down the court, as the narrator accuses Clawson of "playing games" because "after he made millions," he "cut health insurance to 2,000 families." She also says he "talks bad about government," which is not English. Maybe he'll break bad, too?

Clawson responded with a spot of his own, featuring two workers at a company he once ran, car parts maker Hayes Lemmerz International, thanking him for saving their jobs. The super PAC buy is for $46,000, but there's no word on the size of Clawson's.

MI-12: A lot of progressive activists wish the DCCC wouldn't take sides in Democratic primaries, and while it's not an especially common occurrence, it certainly does happen. (See our item below on the D-Trip's newly launched Red to Blue program for some examples.) In most cases, though, you can understand the committee's motivations, even if you disagree with them; usually, they center around perceived electability in the general election.

But the latest example is a serious head-scratcher. On Friday, local tip sheet Inside Michigan Politics released a poll showing Debbie Dingell, the wife of retiring Rep. John Dingell, crushing all comers in a hypothetical Democratic primary—all well and good. However, later that same day, the DCCC's press shop sent out an "in case you missed it email," to call attention to the strong numbers for Dingell.

Why do this, though? The 12th is a safely Democratic seat, so there's no need for the DCCC to play favorites here. And it's not as though state Sen. Rebekah Warren, the most likely challenger to Dingell, isn't already aware of these poll numbers herself. So was this email meant to send a message that other would-be contenders should step aside? If not, why send out this poll? The D-Trip certainly didn't issue a press release when Brenda Lawrence released an internal of the Democratic primary in the nearby 13th District (another open seat). What gives?

NY-06, -07: Former New York City Comptroller John Liu has finally laid to rest the notion that he might challenge freshman Rep. Grace Meng in the Democratic primary by endorsing her on Monday. However, he still hasn't ruled out a run against another Democratic congresswoman, Nydia Velazquez, in the 7th District, even though his political base really lies in Meng's 6th. But here's a much better idea: Liu could primary turncoat state Sen. Tony Avella, who just joined the GOP-enabling Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate. It's not an ideal seat for him, but Liu, who's been critical of Avella's move, does live there, and he'd be a hero just for trying.

NY-24: In an attempt to avoid a split, the Republican and Conservative Parties are trying to unite around former federal prosecutor John Katko, who recently received the blessing of local leaders from both parties. However, seven other hopefuls also met with the GOP, and at least one of Katko's rivals, Army vet John Lemondes, hasn't ruled out a primary bid of his own. Republicans are hoping to knock off red-shirt freshman Rep. Dan Maffei, though they won't have an easy time of it in this 57-41 Obama district.

TX-04: Nonagenarian Rep. Ralph Hall is going folksy to close out the primary campaign, running a TV ad in which he points to the various wrinkles on his face and explains how he acquired them—this one by "taking on the liberals when they attacked our Second Amendment rights," that one "when we fought 'em on Obamacare." Hall, who faces a credible challenge in the GOP primary from former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, insists he's still "got room for a few more wrinkles."

TX-33: On Friday, with just days to go before Texas' primaries, President Obama endorsed freshman Rep. Marc Veasey in his first bid for re-election. Veasey is favored in the Democratic primary, but he faces self-funding attorney Tom Sanchez, who has poured almost a million bucks of his own money into the race. The fact that Veasey's team requested a last-minute endorsement from the big guy is probably just a final measure of insurance, though it's possible they're a little bit nervous.

Grab Bag:

DCCC: The DCCC has launched the first round of its Red to Blue program for the 2014 election cycle, highlighting 35 different House contests for special attention. The D-Trip has two broad categories: "Red to Blue" itself, which represents the most competitive races; and "Emerging Races," which is more of a watch list. And some races involve endorsements of specific candidates while in others, the committee isn't choosing sides (yet).

But the listings can be further broken down into a few different buckets. Most of the R2B districts don't involve contested primaries, but a few do: CA-21, where the DCCC is supporting Amanda Renteria over John Hernandez; IL-13, Ann Callis over George Gollin; and NM-02, Rocky Lara over Leslie Endean-Singh. Interestingly, it looks like the D-Trip now soft-pedaling its early endorsement of Pete Aguilar in CA-31, since it now includes that district without naming a specific candidate. (DCCC chair Steve Israel did recently host a D.C. fundraiser on Aguilar's behalf, though.) Eloise Reyes and Joe Baca are also running there.

A few candidates on the Emerging Races list have also been hit with similar downgrades. In PA-08, the committee is no longer singling out Kevin Strouse over Shaughnessy Naughton, even though Strouse, like Aguilar, had made the DCCC's prefatory Jumpstart program. Likewise, in PA-06, Mike Parrish doesn't get any special attention over Manan Trivedi, despite earlier statements of support for Parrish from the DCCC. (Parrish never made Jumpstart, though.) And in MI-11, Bobby McKenzie, another Jumpstarter, fell off the radar for some reason, even though no other notable Democrats appear to be in the race. Perhaps the D-Trip is still holding out hope someone stronger gets in?

And while the division of contests between the R2B and Emerging lists largely tracks with what you'd expect, there are a couple of races that are a bit surprising to see slotted into the second-tier. One is NY-19, where wealthy investor Sean Eldridge has both been raising money at a good clip and self-funding a bunch. The other is NY-21, the open seat in New York's North Country where local Dems have rallied around unknown filmmaker Aaron Woolf. Woolf's low ranking makes it seem that the DCCC is not optimistic about holding this district. (And oddly, NC-02 is on the list, but Clay Aiken didn't earn an individual endorsement.)

As for outright omissions, Daily Kos Elections has four GOP-held seats listed as Likely Republican that didn't make the cut at all. They are: IN-02 (Democrat Joe Bock challenging Rep. Jackie Walorski); MN-02 (Mike Obermueller vs. John Kline); NE-02 (Brad Ashford vs. Lee Terry); and WV-01 (Glen Gainer vs. David McKinley). They could always be included later, though. Obermueller, for instance, made R2B last cycle, as did IN-02 (though with a different Democratic challenger).

Mississippi: Filing closed Saturday for the Magnolia State's June 3 primary. In races where no one wins more that 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held June 24 between the top two candidates. The Mississippi Press provides a good list of who is running.

Longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran looks like he has a tough primary battle against tea partying state Sen. Chris McDaniel. A third candidate, Some Dude Thomas Carey, is also in the race. Carey won't win or even come close, but if things are tight, he could force a runoff by preventing either Cochran or McDaniel from clearing 50 percent. On the Democratic side, former Rep. Travis Childers faces little primary opposition.

If Cochran wins renomination for one more term, then it's very difficult to see him losing in November; McDaniel could make a general election more interesting, but would still start out as the favorite in this very conservative state. Daily Kos Elections currently rates the contest as a Race to Watch on account of the primary, but we will re-evaluate our rating after the Republican primary.

All four of Mississippi's House members (three Republicans and a Democrat) are running for reelection, and each seat is rated as Safe for the party that currently holds it. However, one Congressman will have to watch his back in the primary. Sophomore Republican Steve Palazzo of MS-04 faces an unusual rematch with former Rep. Gene Taylor, who represented this district for over twenty years as a Democrat. The conservative Taylor was very popular in this Gulf Coast district but even he couldn't survive the 2010 red wave, losing to Palazzo 52-47.

Taylor has since switched parties and is hoping to use the Republican primary to avenge his defeat. Three other minor candidates are running in the primary, so a close race could be thrown into a runoff. One thing the GOP won't need to worry about is holding this seat in November: Romney won this district 68-31, and Taylor was the last Democrat who could have ever held it. (Jeff Singer)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

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

    by David Nir on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:00:14 AM PST

  •  Check out Sinema's voting record (11+ / 0-)

    She has consistantly voted along with some of the most infuriating Republican House bills, including a number of the interminable anti-ACA bills. So far she's developed a pretty poor record of defending the President and Democratic interests. I'm a member of her constituency and I'm pretty unhappy with her, along with the D26 Democrats org. Her record will not make her a good bet in a heavy blue district like the 7th.

    "When does the greed stop, we ask the other side? That's the question and that's the issue." - Senator Ted Kennedy

    by Fordmandalay on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:19:57 AM PST

    •  Yes!! (6+ / 0-)

      I am a voter in the 7th district. I've noticed each of what I consider her bad votes. Gallego's comment was accurate and effective. If a more progressive candidate was running against her in a primary, I wouldn't vote for her. And I say that as a person who was definitely a fan of hers when she was a state rep and I donated to her fed campaign. I have been disappointed with her membership with the New Dems and her consistent voting with them.

      I don't know much about Gallegos yet, but he doesn't have the negative baggage for me that Sinema does.

      Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.

      by CenPhx on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:31:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Totally agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fordmandalay, Stude Dude

      Sinema's voting record and her desire to resurrect the Bluedog Democrat group shows that she's not a real Progressive.

    •  Sinema (5+ / 0-)

      and Ron Barber in the south.  I guess you kind of have to be a Blue Dog to get elected in those districts in the first place (although in Barber's case, it is NOT "Bisbee Blue"), but there's a limit.

      A great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon. -Bill Clinton

      by PSzymeczek on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:56:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  After seeing Giffords and now Barber (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fordmandalay, PSzymeczek

        I've come to the conclusion that there's good Blue Dogs and bad Blue Dogs. Giffords was moderate/conservative on some issues, but pretty liberal on others. All in all, it was obvious that she followed her convictions and wasn't afraid to take a position on contentious issues (e.g. the ACA) that she believed in.

        In contrast, every position Barber takes seems to be designed to endear him to wingnuts and head off any criticism from them. If it's something proposed by Boehner or Cantor, you can pretty much assume that Barber will vote for it. He's awful.

        Personally, I don't think a Barber loss in 2014 would be such a terrible thing if it makes room for a better Democrat in 2016 and the Presidential nominee has some coattails.

        To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

        by sneakers563 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:13:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Democratic candidates for governor in PA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek, TLS66

    is quite a large field and the candidates for LT Gov is growing larger too with the addition of Jay Paterno ( Joseph Paterno Jr) announcing his candidacy last week.  
    While the late Joseph Paterno SR was a staunch Republican,  His son Jay is a staunch Democrat. In fact, Jay was one of the Central PA campaigh chairman for the Obama campaign.   I heard there were jokes about the Paterno family being quite divided politically because his younger brother, Scott, was a Republican candidate for US Congress in the Hershey area.

    But in PA, we have a lot of choices, it is really hard to decide. However, PCN has been airing several debates but not everyone watches or even gets the PA Cable Network.

    Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

    by wishingwell on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:48:07 AM PST

    •  But can Paterno win? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, wishingwell

      A name that would have been political gold four years ago is now toxic.  One one thinks of the name "Paterno", the name "Sandusky" isn't far behind.

      "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

      by TLS66 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:18:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt he will win but name recognition and the (0+ / 0-)

        fact that the Paternos still have a helluva lot of supporters in Central PA especially, he may get a lot of votes.

        So it will be interesting to watch and see how he does in the primary. I can see him coming in second or third in a very crowded field.

        Some think he is just dipping his toe in the political waters and seeing how well he does in this electon in order to perhaps start running for local offices that he can win.

        He spent his adult life as a football coach with his father as his boss. He has not been in politics like his brother who is a lawyer and always running for some office.

        Keystone Liberals on Twitter @ KeystoneLibs , Join PA Liberals at

        by wishingwell on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:56:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sinema's voting record almost matches the tea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, askew, sneakers563

    party wingnut in the neighboring district where I live.

    The only explanation I got from her about that, so far, is:
    "Congress has to work together." It's like "Open the pod bay doors, Hal." You can forget it. She screwed the ASU students in her district with the student loan bill last summer so she might as well get the hell outa AZ-09.

    Remember this case the next time you hear the usual bullshit from Dems who go bluedog because swing district. That's bullshit, plain and simple. Represent the people who voted you into office and they'll vote for you again. If you don't, they won't.

    I don't know that AZ-07 is a match for Sinema. It's a little grittier than AZ-09 and the people in that district are used to having a member of Congress who really represented them. Pastor's voting record has been reliably and solidly Progressive. When Sinema ran in 2012, she touted her Progressive record. If she'd delivered on it, she wouldn't be scrambling now. There's no reason why she couldn't have matched Pastor vote for vote. Except, "Congress has to work together."


    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:10:11 AM PST

  •  Now that I ranted, I should say, "Kudos diarist." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, Gygaxian

    These reports look like a ton of work. Tipped/rec'd.

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:22:40 AM PST

  •  CO-Gov: Can't even get the mountains right. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Caped Composer

    This seems to be a thing with our Republicans.  All those charter school educations shining through the bull.

    Did another Colorado political campaign use the wrong mountains?

    When 7NEWS questioned the campaign about where the mountains were, we were told it was "illustrated mountains."

    When 7NEWS pointed out that the mountains resembled the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, the campaign official once again stressed that it was just an artist's interpretation of mountains.

    However, minutes later, the mountains were removed from the logo.

    Caucus tonight!

    "Then why don't all girls belong to unions?" "Well, there's some that thinks it ain't fashionable; there's some that thinks it ain't no use; and there's some that never thinks at all."

    by Cadillac64 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:42:47 AM PST

  •  Beware NY 24 (0+ / 0-)

    I know my CD gets written off because it is blue trending, but remember that we sent a hardcore right winger to Congress in 2010 and the district still has a lot of residual GOP strength. The GOP holds all of the countywide offices in Onondaga County (Syracuse). They also hold a commanding edge on the county legislature. Maffei has run four times now, winning big time with Obama at the top of the ticket and losing narrowly without those coattails. A former federal prosecutor is exactly the kind of candidate that can win this race. Cuomo's blowout didn't save Maffei in 10, he's not gonna save him in 14. Don't think this seat is safe for one second.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:53:11 AM PST

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