• NY-13: With a month to go until New York's federal primaries, Siena finds Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel leading state Sen. Adriano Espaillat 41-32 in his fight for renomination, with clergyman Michael Walrond taking 6 and unknown activist Yolanda Garcia at 5. At first glance, numbers like these suggest that Rangel could get saved by the clown-car effect, where multiple candidates split the anti-incumbent vote, allowing the incumbent to scrape by with a plurality.
However, 16 percent of voters are still undecided, so things are still very much up for grabs, particularly since Espaillat remains unknown to over 40 percent of likely primary voters. With heavy-hitting unions backing him, he won't have a problem expanding his name recognition. On top of that, even in a multi-way race, it's a warning sign that the well-known Rangel is almost exactly at his actual 2012 vote share (44 percent), suggesting he may have a low ceiling.
And all that is if Siena's right—they may well not be. Siena's track record is really not that great, and in one primary poll last year, they missed the mark by over 50 net points, the worst polling miss we've ever seen. So skepticism is definitely warranted here.
• IA-Sen: Republican candidate Mark Jacobs has a new pair of ads out. In the first spot, he praises himself as a political outsider. The second ad is full of the usual conservative attacks on Obama. Jacobs does channel his inner Joe Biden in the latter commercial when he calls Obama's view of the economy, "a bunch of malarkey." (Jeff Singer)
• MS-Sen: The June 3 Republican primary is rapidly approaching and the ads have really begun to fly. Sen. Thad Cochran has a positive ad narrated by a constituent identified as Jason Graeber. Graeber describes how Cochran's office helped him cut through bureaucratic red tape and get life saving surgery for a brain tumor.
On the negative side, Cochran's allies at the Mississippi Conservatives PAC try a bit of jujitsu to portray tea partying state Sen. Chris McDaniel as a closet liberal. The ad's title pretty much sums up the content: "Trial Lawyer Chris McDaniel Voted as a Democrat." Mississippi voters should expect to see a lot of other ads backing Cochran: The deep-pocketed National Association of Realtors is shelling out $321,000 for a buy. The group has a well-deserved reputation for spending big to help its friends, and they'll probably splurge more to get Cochran across the finish line.
The pro-McDaniel Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund volleys back with their own spot where they attack Cochran for his votes to raise the debt ceiling, taking a special exemption to Obama care, and "voting to make amnesty for illegal immigrants possible." The ad's a bit crowded and probably would be more effective if they spent all 30 seconds focusing on one of the three points rather than cramming them all in. Citizen's United's new commercial also portrays Cochran as part of the Washington crowd that's making things worse, while depicting McDaniel as a change agent in the mold of Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. (Jeff Singer)
• NH-Sen: Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has a new ad out where he's determined to remind the viewer of every tie he has to New Hampshire, no matter how flimsy. The commercial includes a picture of Brown as a little kid, a shot of the Portsmouth house he lived in as an infant before the family moved out of the state, and a reminder that his parents once worked in New Hampshire.
He ends his trip down memory lane with a quick mention of his vacation home in Rye, as well as pictures of Brown dumping thousands of jars of Vermont maple syrup into Boston Harbor to protest the Massachusetts Senate cafeteria's refusal to stock New Hampshire syrup instead (I may have made that last one up). Brown than pivots to an attack on Obamacare.
Senate Majority PAC is also on the air with a $350,000 buy. The spot describes how Brown worked to kill Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's energy bill in order to deny her a key legislative accomplishment. The ad also not-so-subtly reminds voters of Brown's carpetbagging ways. (Jeff Singer)
• OR-Sen: So in the end, Monica Wehby's stalking scandal did appear to hurt her with GOP primary voters—just not soon enough for state Rep. Jason Conger, the opponent she defeated on Tuesday. But had the story broken a few weeks earlier, she might well have lost, according to an analysis by Jeff Mapes. Though Wehby is currently beating Conger by 13 points, in the last 90,000 ballots to be counted (comprising over a third of the vote), she only led by a single point. Those ballots were likely cast in in the last few days before the election, after the scandal became news.
As of Thursday afternoon, a fifth of the vote still had yet to be tallied, so the damage might actually wind up looking even worse in the end. And while the story came too late to save Conger, it may yet offer fodder for Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, particularly if any new revelations emerge.
• AR-Gov: A new ad from Democratic nominee Mike Ross attacks GOP opponent Asa Hutchinson's career in Congress and his past as a lobbyist. It then portrays Ross as a small-town champion of the middle class. (Jeff Singer)
• MA-Gov: Here's yet another poll (from MassINC) showing Attorney General Martha Coakley with a huge lead in the Democratic primary, which is not until Sept. 9. That distant date explains why the polling has been so consistent to date, because no one has started spending money on the race yet. But Coakley's main opponent, state Treasurer Steve Grossman, has a large war chest, so things may yet change once the contest begins in earnest.
• CA-17: Rep. Mike Honda once again outraised his moneybags opponent, fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, taking in $182,000 between April 1 and May 14 (so, half of the second quarter), while Khanna raised $141,000. The really notable numbers, though, are how much each campaign has spent: Khanna's forked out an amazing $2.6 million to date, compared with $1.1 million for Honda. That's evened out what was once a big cash disparity, as both sides now have around $1 million left. If Honda can keep up the pace, he might even wind up with a money advantage after next month's top-two primary—assuming Khanna even makes it through.
• GA-01, -11: The Club for Growth has chosen sides in two GOP House runoffs in Georgia. In the 11th District, they're backing state Sen. Barry Loudermilk over ex-Rep. Bob Barr, and in the 1st, they're endorsing physician Bob Johnson, who faces state Rep. Buddy Carter. Loudermilk was the top vote-getter in the primary in his race, but Johnson was the runner-up in his. The runoff is July 22.
• IL-12: Hrm. What to make of this new Tarrance Group poll for GOP state Rep. Mike Bost, a guy with a reputation for extreme abrasiveness and a weak fundraising track record? The survey gives Bost a 43-37 lead on Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart, which seems just too good to be true, from a Republican perspective. It also pegs Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's job approval rating at a dismal 31-50, which I could believe, but the problem is, Barack Obama's spread is the same (37-56)—even though this is a blue-leaning district and the president's national average is 45-51.
So have things really gone to hell for Democrats in Illinois? Or did Tarrance happen upon a favorable set of results, inspiring Bost to leak them to boost his fundraising? One thing I will note is that Tarrance's final polls of 2012 all leaned in the GOP direction, one by 18 points. They also conducted that WV-03 poll earlier this year showing Republican Evan Jenkins up 14 points, only to be followed by three straight polls putting Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall on top by similar margins.
• NY-01: Rudy Giuliani once again stars in a new ad for businessman George Demos. Giuliani starts off by complaining about state Sen. Lee Zeldin's attacks on Demos ahead of the June 24 Republican primary. Giuliani notes that while he's been in a lot of tough campaigns, Zeldin's attacks "take the cake," which is pretty hard to believe. The rest of the ad is Rudy vouching for Demos' conservative bona fides, which is probably not a sentence many people would have expected to read as recently as a few years ago. (Jeff Singer)
• NY-21: Republican finance executive Matt Doheny has released a new poll from Public Opinion Strategies, but the numbers he shared are both silly and irrelevant. In the only matchup provided, Doheny leads Democratic filmmaker Aaron Woolf by a preposterous 43-21 spread, with Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello taking 5. This just means that tons of people still haven't made up their minds (come on, 31 percent undecided?) and that Woolf is unknown, unlike Doheny, who's run for this seat twice before and already gone up on TV.
But even more glaring is the absence of any mention of Doheny's primary opponent, businesswoman Elise Stefanik. A January internal from the same firm put Doheny up 49-13 on Stefanik, but this time, there's no data on the primary nor any results from a Stefanik-Woolf matchup.
Without asking about these pairings, it's impossible to defend the claim in their memo that Doheny represents "Republicans' best chance to win." Indeed, the omission of Stefanik undercuts Doheny's argument entirely, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if this primary was a lot closer than it appeared to be earlier this year.
• VA-08: Former Lt. Gov. and Democratic primary contender Don Beyer focuses on global warming in his new ad. It opens with several kids declaring they want a clean planet; Beyer then details how he supports a carbon tax to fight pollution and protect the Earth for those children. (Jeff Singer)
• Demographics: We've written several times recently about the Census Bureau's plans for 2020 to start considering "Hispanic" a race unto itself, rather than a separate ethnicity that still leaves Hispanics the choice of checking the "white," "black," "two or more races," or "some other race" box. Interestingly, though, there's new data from Pew Research (as described by Nate Cohn) suggesting that a much larger number of Hispanics considered themselves "white" in 2010 than did so in 2000.
In fact, there was a net gain of 1.2 million Hispanics checking "white" over the decade; 2.5 million Hispanics checked "some other" in 2000 but then checked "white" in 2010, while 1.3 million went the other direction from "white" to "some other." What this means isn't entirely clear (and, of course, will become a moot point in 2020 if the Census turns "Hispanic" into its own racial category), but one interpretation is that Hispanics are assimilating at a similar pace to other groups that were treated suspiciously and often categorized as "non-white" when they first arrived as immigrants, like Italians and Irish. (David Jarman)
• NextGen: Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who previously pledged to spend $50 million on this year's elections via his super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, has now identified his first set of targets. Steyer plans to focus on stopping Republicans in four Senate races (Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and New Hampshire) and three governor's races (Florida, Maine, and Pennsylvania). There's no word yet on how much NextGen will divvy out for each state, though, and the group hasn't released any ads yet, though given Steyer's track record—he spent $8 million in Virginia last year—this is no empty promise.