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Leading Off:

WV-03: Here's an interesting angle to the debate over the Affordable Care Act that's playing out with particular salience in West Virginia—a state you might expect to be particularly hostile to Obamacare because, well, Obama. However, as the law's supporters point out, thanks to the efforts of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, the ACA contains a provision that makes it much easier for miners who contract black lung disease (or their widows) to win federal benefits. That means calling for Obamacare's total repeal, like Republican congressional candidate Evan Jenkins has, is much riskier position than you might expect.

Indeed, a recent House Majority PAC ad raised this very issue, leading Jenkins to demand the spot be taken off the air, because he insists he supports black lung benefits. However, as the West Virginia Gazette reports, Jenkins "has not explained what he would do to protect those benefits if the ACA were repealed." And despite the Jenkins campaign's claims that some stations had stopped airing the ad, station managers contacted by the Gazette say it's still on TV.


GA-Sen: A second consecutive poll finds businessman David Perdue leading Georgia's GOP Senate primary, albeit by a much closer margin than the last. The survey, from Landmark Communications and Rosetta Stone Communications on behalf of Channel 2 Action News, has Perdue at 21, with Reps. Jack Kingston and Paul Broun tied at 15, Rep. Phil Gingrey at 13, and Rep. Karen Handel at 10. A SurveyUSA poll earlier this month had Perdue up 29-19 on Kingston. Either way, this nomination is very much up for grabs, and a runoff is likely.

IA-Sen: As soon as we heard about Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley's remarks slighting GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley as "a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school," we wondered if they'd get used in an attack ad. Two days later, the answer is "yes." A conservative group founded by a couple of former Mitt Romney staffers called Priorities for Iowa says they're spending $250,000 to air an ad featuring Braley's comments.

The heart of the spot, though, isn't particularly well-executed. The ad bounces back and forth between a narrator trying to provide context and fragments of Braley speaking, with some kind of night-vision filter layered on to make the video footage look like it captured a super-secret event.

Narrator: Bruce Braley is putting Iowa's Senate seat up for sale.

Braley: If you help me win this race...

Narrator: Caught at a closed-door fundraiser with trial lawyers in Texas, Braley says if they don't help him, Chuck Grassley...

Braley: A farmer from Iowa, who never went to law school...

Narrator: Might be the next Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.

Republicans are lucky they captured Braley on tape, but they diminish the impact of his own words by splicing it with all this chatter. Braley, though, isn't helping his own case, sending out a press release touting his agriculture cred that was filled with misspellings of common farming terms. It's such a minor thing, but when you're back on your heels like this, you don't want to wind up looking like Harold Ford in a hunting cap.

Meanwhile, there's also a new Rasmussen poll, half of which was conducted after Braley's "farmer" jab hit the news: Braley: 41, Mark Jacobs (R): 38; Braley 40, Joni Ernst (R): 37; Braley: 40, Matt Whitaker (R): 36; Braley 44, Sam Clovis (R): 31.

LA-Sen: Speaking about a health care proposal of his own at a recent meeting of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy claimed his plan "actually reflects the reality of who the uninsured are: relatively less sophisticated, less comfortable with forms, less educated." But as Sy Mukherjee points out, most people who applied for Medicaid prior to Obamacare were rejected because they didn't meet the program's strict income eligibility requirements, and many others found the individual insurance market unaffordable.

Called out for his statements, Cassidy tried to change his tune, saying "the uninsured come from all segments of society. This includes the more and the less educated." Of course, that's pretty much exactly the opposite of what he originally said.

MI-Sen: Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who's already faced a barrage of negative TV ads from the Koch brothers, is going on the air for the first time with two ads of his own. One is a minute-long biographical spot that stresses Peters' middle-class roots and mentions his own military service, including the fact that he volunteered to serve again after 9/11. It's light on policy specifics, but one line that stands out is the narrator's claim that Peters broke "with his party to oppose billions in wasteful spending." The second ad is 30 seconds but is very similar thematically.

As for the size of the buy, MLive says "it will be more than $1 million," which is quite a lot if accurate.

NC-Sen: This is kind of funny. State House Speaker Thom Tillis recently sent a personal email to one of his GOP primary rivals, clergyman Mark Harris, to complain about Harris' allegedly "going negative" on him—but seriously, if you're upset at one of your opponents, do you really think whining to him is going to bring you satisfaction?

So of course, Harris proved how bad Tillis' idea was by sending a lengthy email of his own to his supporters that included his direct reply to Tillis, declaring that "discussing the facts of one's record is not 'going negative.' " Harris didn't publicize Tillis' original email, but Harris' response makes it clear what the general thrust was. No one should have to say this, but if you're having a bad day on the campaign trail, find someone you trust to bitch to, not the guy you're running against.

OK-Sen-B: The Senate Conservatives Fund just endorsed former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon in his bid for the Senate, becoming the first major (or at least mid-major) conservative group to pick sides in the race. They haven't announced any spending plans as yet, but they say they're trying to directly raise money for Shannon's campaign, with a $50,000 goal. Rep. James Lankford is also running for the GOP nomination.

SD-Sen: Two Republicans are out with their first ads in South Dakota's open seat Senate race: ex-Gov. Mike Rounds and physician Annette Bosworth. Rounds' is a minute-long spot in which he vaguely sums up his record as governor: "Over the years, we built one of the country's strongest economies. A nationally recognized quality of life. We've balanced our budgets, lived within our means, and created a place where young people are proud to make a living and raise their families." These are general election themes—there's no red meat for the base whatsoever, which suggests Rounds isn't taking his primary very seriously.

What little polling there's been shows he doesn't have to, but that isn't stopping Bosworth from taking to the air, too. Her spot, though, is even more anodyne. A narrator declares that Bosworth (shown in her white lab coat) "has brought her caring, healing touch to thousands in need. Now she wants to care for you in the United States Senate." Usually these conservative doctors at least rail against Obamacare or something. If Bosworth wants to have even a remote prayer, she has to out-crazy Rounds big-time. All she's doing here, though, is out-nurturing him.

But Rounds is certainly out-spending Bosworth. He's already shelled out at least $370,000, while Bosworth has only spent $35,000, though she claims her total buy will run to $100,000. And if you want some incredibly granular details on the full advertising picture, the Argus Leader's David Montgomery has gone above and beyond the call with this summary, breaking down spending by race and TV station for all of South Dakota's major campaigns.

VA-Sen: Quinnipiac's new poll, their first of the race, finds Democratic Sen. Mark Warner leading former RNC chief Ed Gillespie 46-31. Warner sports a strong 55-33 job approval rating, so this is yet another strange Quinnipiac survey that features a wide gap between those who approve of an incumbent and the smaller contingent that says it'll actually vote for him.


AR-Gov: I definitely didn't expect Bill Clinton's impeachment to come up on the campaign trail this year, but gotta admit, this bit from Democratic Mike Ross dissing Asa Hutchinson, his likely GOP opponent, gave me a chuckle:

Hutchinson was one of the House managers who argued before senators—a group that included his brother, former Sen. Tim Hutchinson—for Clinton's removal over lies he told about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The Senate voted to acquit the 42nd president of charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in 1999.

"There's 435 members of Congress and less than a handful actually conducted the trial in the U.S. Senate," Ross told The Associated Press. "For an Arkansan to say 'Send me to remove Arkansas' only president from office' shows how partisan he is."

Ross also dinged Hutchinson's legal expertise, quipping: "He may be the only lawyer in America who has conducted a trial with his brother on the jury and lost."

Tim Hutchinson, by the way, was the dude that Sen. Mark Pryor, who of course is up for re-election this fall, originally beat in 2002 to win a Senate seat in the first place.

CA-Gov: PPIC's new poll of the California governor's race finds Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown beating Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly 47-10 in the June top-two primary, with former Treasury official Neel Kashkari and Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount both at just 2 percent. That's little changed from November, when Brown led Donnelly 46-16 (Kashkari and Blount were not included). Donnelly, however, has almost no money, and his campaign manager departed under cloudy circumstances earlier this month. Kashkari has done better on the fundraising front, but his pace has dropped off considerably after a fast start.

PA-Gov: The narrator in Rob McCord's new ad says that McCord is the only Democrat running for governor "who has actually battled Tom Corbett in Harrisburg—and won." What was the fight? "When Corbett tried to hand the state lottery to a foreign firm, McCord said no, protecting Pennsylvania's seniors." The rest of the spot also tries to distinguish McCord, saying he's the only Democrat who supports a minimum wage of $10.70 an hour. Everyone else wants $10.10 apparently, so this is a welcome race to the top, for once.


AZ-07: Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela says he won't seek Rep. Ed Pastor's House seat, but he declined to endorse any other candidates in the Democratic primary for now. The nomination in this dark blue district seems like it's coming down to three main contenders: former state Rep. Ruben Gallego (who recently resigned to run), Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, and state Rep. Steve Gallardo.

CA-17: Following a lawsuit brought by a local GOP official, a judge just booted Google attorney Vinesh Singh Rathore, who had filed as a Republican, off the ballot in California's 17th District due to a lack of signatures. (In fact, some appeared to be faked.) But why should you care about some obscure candidate no one's ever heard of? Because Democratic Rep. Mike Honda would very much like the one legitimate Republican running, physician Vanila Singh, to beat out fellow Democrat Ro Khanna in the June top-two primary—a fate Khanna badly wants to avoid—since it would be much easier to defeat Singh in the general election in this dark blue district.

But if there were multiple Republicans on the ballot—especially two Indian-Americans with somewhat similar names—that would have made it harder for Singh to squeeze past Khanna, so this development counts as a boon to Honda. Khanna's denied any involvement in helping Some Dudes qualify for the race to help his cause, but at least one supporter who circulated petitions for Khanna also did so for another minor candidate, independent Joel Vanlandingham. However, California law apparently does not prohibit this, so the judge refused to nuke Vanlandingham's candidacy.

ID-02: GOP Rep. Mike Simpson's new ad starts off with three different clips of his tea party primary opponent, Bryan Smith, declaring "I love my job." What is Smith's job, asks the narrator? "He's a personal injury lawyer, who's enriched himself by filing over 10,000 lawsuits" and "opposed conservatives' efforts to limit frivolous lawsuits and outrageous payouts." That's a pretty scalding line of attack in a Republican nominating contest, and the footage of Smith repeatedly declaring how much he likes what he does makes it much more effective.

IL-10: It's usually not news when Planned Parenthood backs a Democrat, but their newly announced endorsement of freshman Rep. Brad Schneider is a little bit noteworthy because the group declined to take sides in 2012, when Schneider unseated GOP Rep. Bob Dold!. Dold is seeking a rematch, but he only earned a 50 percent rating from Planned Parenthood in 2012, while Schneider has scored a perfect 100. The idea that a Democrat would have a better record on reproductive choice barely even reaches "no duh" level, though. Why PP didn't appreciate that last cycle is beyond me.

Other Races:

Charlotte Mayor: Following now-former Mayor Patrick Cannon's arrest and resignation on Wednesday, the Charlotte City Council announced that it will choose an interim mayor on Monday. The interim mayor will serve until the end of Cannon's term in December 2015, so there will be no special election. (Jeff Singer)

NY State Senate: Businessman Adam Haber, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Nassau County Executive last year against Tom Suozzi, announced on Thursday that he'll run against sophomore GOP state Sen. Jack Martins in the 7th District. Haber represents another good get for Long Island Democrats, who are challenging a number of different Republicans. Like most of the seats in the area, the Martins' went for Obama, by a 54-45 margin. What's more, Martins squeezed by with a narrow 52-48 win against an unheralded opponent in 2012, and Haber can self-fund.

Grab Bag:

Census: The Census Bureau came out with a new slew of metro-area and county-level population data on Thursday; not surprisingly, the nation has hit another new high in terms of the percentage of people living in metropolitan areas rather than rural areas (up to 85.4 percent of the population, in 2013), with 1 in 3 Americans living in one of the nation's 10 largest metros. In 2013, the nation's metro regions gained 2.3 million people, while the rest of the country actually lost a net 27,000. That's good news on the long-term political front for Democrats, with urban living increasingly correlated with voting for the blue team.

Also of note, the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, became the first to ever clear the 10 million mark in 2013. Only two of the nation's 50 most populous counties lost population during 2013: Wayne County, Michigan, and Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Detroit and Cleveland, in other words). And Bloomberg's Greg Giroux has a great observation about this, pointing to what some would say is the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the Senate, and how that's especially on display when the Class II seats are up, as they are this year:

Putting it another way, Los Angeles County's population also is greater than the combined populations of six states holding consequential Senate elections in November.

The total population of South Dakota and West Virginia, where retiring Democrats probably will be replaced by Republicans, along with Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, and New Hampshire, where Democratic senators face serious Republican challengers, is about 8.7 million.

(David Jarman)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  MI-8: Rogers retiring (6+ / 0-)

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 05:54:24 AM PDT

    •  Media whores gonna media whore (0+ / 0-)

      I'm just glad he's going into conservative radio and not taking advantage of all the fawning media coverage he has received in the past 2 years to run for higher office. Dems can rack up soundbites on him to marginalize him off to the right again.

      (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

      by TrueBlueDem on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:32:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting that Rogers, as Intel Comm Chair (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      according to the linked story:

      last year appeared on more Sunday public affairs shows than any other elected official in the nation
      and is a
      former FBI agent
      •  What's interesting to me about Rogers' profile is (0+ / 0-)


        with the CIA-Senate dispute having broadened into a "Constitutional Crisis",

        and with NSA revelations continuing to drip out based on the Snowden materials,

        Rogers could continue to increase his visibility, and earn more gratitude from the intelligence community, by remaining a direct participant with privileged access to MSM megaphones.

        His giving up of that role might be a sign that the insiders are starting to see more political risk than reward in these controversies.

    •  MI-8 is an R+2 seat (6+ / 0-)

      Another very winnable seat for Dems.  There are a large handful of GOP retirements now from these middle of the line seats that Dems can win.  

      CA-25 R+3 Buck McKeon
      CA-31 D+5 Gary Miller
      IA-03 Even Tom Latham
      MI-08 R+2 Mike Rodgers
      NJ-03 R+1 John Runyan
      PA-06 R+2 Jim Gerlach
      VA-10 R+2 Frank Wolf

      FL-13 R+1 David Jolly who won the special election for retiring Bill Young's seat

      If Dems can flip these seats that would make up for the sure losses in UT-04 and NC-07 and would cut the GOP majority significantly down.  Dems could sure use a few more of these though.  There aren't too many GOP reps in blue districts that the Dems can target:

      CA-21 D+2 David Valadao
      CO-06 D+1 Mike Coffman
      IL-13  Even Rodney Davis
      NV-03 Even Joe Heck
      NJ-02 D+2 Frank LoBiondo

      The rest of the GOP held seats are R+1 or worse and even in an R+1 its tougher to beat an incumbent.  So if the GOP wants to gift seats to the Dems by retiring in these competitive seats then the Dems shouldn't look a gift horse in a mouth (unless of course it's a trojan horse).  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 06:53:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Non Prez Year (0+ / 0-)

        Its going to be tough for Dems to win many of these. The GOP is going to over-perform the district tilts by probably a 3-5% spread this year because they show up to vote and dems don't.

        It will be interesting to see if the dems can build any sort of momentum this summer. They are going to need every bit of it!

        •  They overperform because Dems UNDERperform (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          old mark

          In 2006 showed that if our voters go to the polls we can not only win but win decisively.  

          So if the Dems do a good job of targeting their voters and getting them to vote the Dems can win.  I keep bringing up Blake Farenthold's seat because it clearly shows how a solid GOTV effort can even flip an R+12 seat.  IN 2010 Solomon Ortiz lost that seat by 799 votes in a district that has 700,000 people.  Now in 2010 that district had over 70% Hispanic but it got redrawn in 2011 and only has 50% Hispanic population.  In a GOP friendly off year of 2010 Farenthold only got 51,000 votes total.  Ortiz got closer to 50,000.  That means that even in a shitty Dem year the Dems could count on 50,000 +/- votes.  Even factoring in the district realignment, if Dems can increase that by an additional 20% of their voters to the polls then they'll win that seat.  An additional 10,000 voters in a district that is predominantly Hispanic shouldn't be all that hard to manage, not when 33,000 more Dems turned out in 2012 to vote for a nobody running against Farenthold.  All you have to do is get 1/3rd to 1/2nd of those 33,000 to turn out and you win.  Or you can tap into the animosity that the GOP has shown towards the Hispanics and make a real concerted effort to register many of those 50% Hispanics to vote which will also help in 2016.  This guy Wesley Reed is running against him.  

          Of course if the Dems don't do shit to register new voters and get their voters to the polls then of course they won't win shit.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 10:49:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, so those goddamn interferin', gun-grabbin' (0+ / 0-)

    feds are good for something after all, eh, WV?

  •  NY-22 (0+ / 0-)

    Incumbent Congressman Richard Hanna (R) is apparently facing a Tea Party challenger in the primary:

    Tenney eyes a House seat

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 07:56:21 AM PDT

  •  Regarding the WV black lung protections: (0+ / 0-)

    Isn't it funny how blue-collar Appalachian Republican types can support THESE kind of health benefits, earned or entitled, for a particular disease that affects THEM disproportionately, and yet they don't extend that logic to health care in general, health care for all? I'd like a Tea Partier to explain to me why black lung protections are a good, great thing when the rest of the ACA is Worse Than Slavery(tm).

    "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

    by MarthaPeregrine on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 09:22:30 AM PDT

  •  Byrd? Fascinating...and it just goes to show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the more you come down on the side of the people, the better you are. Jenkins is in a real bind against his Dem. opponent, Rep. Nick J. Rahal.

    Bless you savvy old soul, Robt. Byrd! As many faults as you had and as many disagreements as we had with him, he is the gift that truly keeps on giving.

    The people MATTER, dammit! ;And there IS a right side to be on.

    What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

    by TerryDarc on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 09:25:10 AM PDT

  •  South Dakota US Senate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    John Nicols at The Nation thinks the Democratic candidate is running the right sort of campaign yet is being overlooked.

    PPP, please poll this race. If Rick Weiland actually can make a race of this, our odds of holding the Senate just improved.

    •  SD Kos diaries (0+ / 0-)

      Have covered the Weiland campaign and would support this view. As for the R candidates, Bosworth has certainly achieved the goal of out-crazying Rounds.  Local blog Madville Times has a series of investigations into  her personal, professional and campaign activities which are just bizarre. And opposition to Obamacare? Check.

      Weiland is seeking $9.00 contributions to counter Round's goal of $9 million and he has an ActBlue site if anyone wants to help his odds.

      Never separate the life you live from the words you speak - Paul Wellstone

      by meralda on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 02:56:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bosworth? (0+ / 0-)

    SD-Sen: Two Republicans are out with their first ads in South Dakota's open seat Senate race: ex-Gov. Mike Rounds and physician Annette Bosworth. Bosworth's is a minute-long spot in which he vaguely sums up his record as governor:

    Of course Bosworth is not a "he" and she was never governor.  

    I worked for the Nader presidential campaign in 2000. I'm so sorry!

    by NYLefty on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 11:00:16 AM PDT

  •  Here in PA registered Dems outnumber GOpers (2+ / 0-)

    by over 1 million. We were swept by the T bags in 2010, governor and both houses of the legislature, because republicans voted and democrats did not.

    Let's try real hard  to not do that this year...

    I should be ashamed of myself...I'm NOT, but I probably should be.

    by old mark on Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 11:57:05 AM PDT

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