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GA-Sen, -Gov: A new PPP poll for the progressive group Better Georgia offers the first numbers on the GOP Senate runoff and finds Rep. Jack Kingston leaping out to a 46-34 lead on wealthy businessman David Perdue. That's a huge 20-point surge for Kingston, who trailed 31-26 on primary night, and it's a sign of worry for Perdue, given how tiny his bump is.

What's more, Perdue's metro Atlanta home base overlapped with that of the three also-rans, so it might be natural for some of that support to fall in his direction, but that doesn't seem to be happening. In a way, this isn't terribly surprising, since Perdue was able to flood the airwaves in the primary but still achieved the lowest first-place primary finish for Senate in Georgia history. So if PPP is right, it's very possible that Perdue's performance may be closer to a ceiling than a floor, though he'll certainly spend like hell to prove otherwise.

But Georgia Republicans may actually be slightly better off if he can't. PPP also tested the general election and found Perdue trailing Democrat Michelle Nunn 48-46, while Kingston ties her at 45 apiece. That's a very small difference, though, and we'll see if Kingston actually tries to make some sort of electability argument. (That's not usually a winning move in a GOP nominating contest.)

Rasmussen also has a new Georgia poll that's much more optimistic for Democrats: Michelle Nunn (D): 47, Jack Kingston (R): 41; Nunn 45, David Perdue (R): 42.

Finally, PPP has some numbers on the governor's race, where Republican Gov. Nathan Deal ties Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter at 43 apiece, while Libertarian Andrew Hunt takes 7. That's virtually unchanged from Carter's 43-42 edge on Deal in early April, though Hunt wasn't included that time. And while, as we often note, the Libertarian is unlikely to perform quite this well on Election Day, it's looking like it'll be enough to force a runoff if the race remains close.


HI-Sen: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is finally going on the air, two months after her Democratic primary rival, Sen. Brian Schatz, did so. However, unlike Schatz, who has already run a few TV ads, Hanabusa's only up on radio, with a positive spot emphasizing her Hawaii roots.

KS-Sen: State Sen. Dennis Pyle, who had previously considered a primary challenge to Rep. Lynn Jenkins, now says he might try to unseat Sen. Pat Roberts—despite the very late date, and despite the fact that physician Milton Wolf is already attempting to do just that. Actually, it's more like because of Wolf, whom Pyle fears will "fall significantly short" and is not "electable."

The problem, of course, is that in our first-past-the-post system (Kansas doesn't require runoffs), the presence of a second candidate will only make it more, not less, likely that Roberts will win the Aug. 5 primary. It sounds like Pyle understands this, though, and he's hinted that his supporters should ask Wolf to drop out, if you read between the lines. Still, it'll be very hard to mount a credible challenge to Roberts even in a one-on-one race, given how little time is left.

MS-Sen: While we've yet to see if the whole ugliness surrounding the arrests of Chris McDaniel supporters who broke into a nursing home to photograph Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife has any effect on the polls, the Club for Growth isn't taking any chances. They just threw down another $400,000 on McDaniel's behalf, mostly on TV and radio ads attacking Cochran in the GOP primary. The spots are not yet available online.

MT-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce has added GOP Rep. Steve Daines to the list of candidates they're trying to burnish with positive ads, with a bland spot about job creation. Daines goes a different rout in his new ad, attacking Democratic Sen. John Walsh for "mismanaging" money while running Montana's Department of Military Affairs, and also for voting to raise the debt ceiling (something Daines himself has done).


AK-Gov: It's awfully late in the game, but former state GOP chair Russ Millette, a member of the party's deposed Paulist wing, says he plans to run against Gov. Sean Parnell in the August primary. Parnell's not terribly popular, with a 42-44 approval rating in PPP's last poll, but among Republicans, he was at 66-21, so it's hard to see how Millette would have a chance.


CA-17: A new SurveyUSA poll of the June 3 top-two primary finds Rep. Mike Honda leading fellow Democrat Ro Khanna 40-21, even though Honda's been outspent by more than a two-to-one margin. Of course, Honda started the race with far more name recognition, but Khanna would be in even dicier shape if the two Republicans on the ballot weren't splitting the right-leaning vote. Physician Vanila Singh currently takes 8 percent, while tech executive Joel VanLandingham (whom Honda has accused Khanna supporters of helping get on the ballot) is at 6.

That combined 14 percent would come a lot closer to Khanna than Khanna is to Honda, but alas, Singh probably can't pull it off. That just means this fight will, as it was always expected to, come down to November, with an electorate that will likely feature more Democratic voters and thus be more favorable to the incumbent.

CA-31: It looks like the DCCC's plea that Democrats concentrate their attacks on ex-Rep. Joe Baca is going ignored. EMILY's List, which has endorsed Eloise Reyes, just threw in $15,000 on mailers attacking Pete Aguilar, the D-Trip's preferred candidate. In a recent polling memo, the committee argued that two Republicans could slip through the top-two primary if Baca isn't taken down a peg, but it's also very possible they're worried that Baca himself could survive until November, which would make for an almost-as-awful race. If Aguilar and Reyes really go at each other, that doesn't seem impossible.

KS-03: Former Democratic state Sen. Kelly Kultala has released an internal poll from Lake Research showing GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder with a surprisingly soft 42-34 lead. Kansas' 3rd District is quite red, at 54-44 Romney, so that makes these numbers quite unexpected. However, this Kansas City-based seat was home to Democrat Dennis Moore until his retirement in 2010, and Barack Obama only lost it by a single point in 2008, so it might be winnable for Democrats under the right circumstances. (In that regard, the demographics are a bit like those of Nebraska's 2nd, centered on Omaha.)

Kultala, however, faces an enormous fundraising gap, with just $61,000 on hand versus more than $2.1 million for Yoder. Unpopular Gov. Sam Brownback may prove an anvil around the necks of downballot Republicans this year, but Yoder has a very substantial cushion, and given midterm turnout, an upset is very unlikely, even if this polling is accurate.

MI-13: As folks like Adam Bonin and Rick Hasen predicted, a federal judge just ruled in favor of restoring Rep. John Conyers to August's Democratic primary ballot. The judge said he'd provide his full reasoning at a later date, saying that "time is of the essence" in resolving the issue, but it's very likely he concluded that Michigan's law requiring petition gatherers to be registered voters is unconstitutional, since binding precedent in an almost identical case had already held as much. So unless the state appeals (and pulls some scrawny rabbit out of its jurisprudential hat), Conyers will face off against Rev. Horace Sheffield in the primary.

Other Races:

NY State Senate: As expected, former New York City Comptroller John Liu officially kicked off his primary challenge on Friday against renegade Democratic state Sen. Tony Avella, who caucuses with the Republicans. Liu's also secured a couple of union endorsements, from the International Union of Operating Engineers and the very powerful Hotel Trades Council.

Grab Bag:

Demographics: The Fix has an interesting piece on a new way to look at sociological differences, ones that seem to have a big impact on a place's politics. The academics behind it call it "tightness" versus "looseness." That refers to how strictly rules on social behavior are enforced, and how much tolerance for deviance there is. Unsurprisingly, the heavily evangelical states of the South are at the "tight" end of the list (led by Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas) while the most unchurched states of the west and northeast are at the "loose" end (topped by California, Oregon, and Washington).

Ultimately, though, this may just be a new name for something that's already been observed. Looking at the map, it seems to correlate strongly with the concept of the "second demographic transition," which cobbles together data like same-sex households and unmarried cohabitation, or simply the list of which states are most and least religious.

There are exceptions, though. Utah and Idaho seem to be the two states that don't quite match up as expected here, but those states' small non-Mormon populations tend to be on the liberal side. (David Jarman)

NRSC: Hah! Turns out the NRSC inflated its cash-on-hand figures by $2.6 million, telling the AP that the committee had $21.9 million in the bank at the end of April when it only had $19.3 million. (I know I have zero evidence to prove this, but I swear I thought that number seemed high when I first saw it.) What's even funnier, though, is that the NRSC's bilious spokesman, Brad Dayspring, tried to blame reporters for "repeating" the error, even though he admitted his organization misstated the numbers when first asked about them.

Texas: There are no straight-up primaries on Tuesday, but Texas is finally getting around to holding its runoff elections. There are a handful of federal races on the docket, including the Democratic runoff for Senate and Republican runoffs for the 4th, 23rd, and 36th Congressional Districts. One important metric of where things might be headed is how the primary also-rans have chosen to award their support. To that end, Joseph Vogas of Burnt Orange Report has done some impressive work rounding up every endorsement from the candidates who finished out of the money.

In the busy 4th and 36th Districts, most of the runners-up have gone in one direction: to Rep. Ralph Hall in the former, and dentist Brian Babin in the latter. But these endorsements are by no means dispositive, so check back in with us on Tuesday for our liveblog of the results.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue May 27, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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