• CA-31: When we left off at the conclusion of Tuesday night, we were in danger of having a repeat of the freak failure that led to the 31st, a 57% Obama district in the San Bernardino area, being occupied by Republican Gary Miller for two years. The Top 2 primary in 2012 left two Republicans, Miller and Bob Dutton, in the top two slots, as four Democrats split the remaining vote. Fast forward to 2014, where, again, four credible Democrats split the vote. At the end of Tuesday's counting Republican Paul Chabot finished first, and only 390 votes separated the second-place finisher, Democrat Pete Aguilar, from the third-place finisher, Republican Lesli Gooch.
On Thursday, there was another ballot drop from San Bernardino County, revealing that the margin between Dem Pete Aguilar and GOPer Lesli Gooch got even closer in the 31st, but it still has Aguilar in second place, meaning he advances to the general election, where, given the district's Democratic lean, he has a good shot at beating Chabot and picking up the seat for the Dems. Aguilar leads Gooch 8,959 to 8,776, a 183 vote difference. Aguilar has claimed victory, while the fourth-place finisher, Dem Eloise Reyes, has conceded. Gooch, however, has not conceded.
The San Bernardino County ballot drop accounts for the last of the mail-in ballots, apparently, but there are still around 5,207 ballots needing to be counted around the county (a mix of provisional ballots, damaged ballots, mail-in ballots under further review, and the like). Bear in mind, though, that San Bernardino County is huge (2.1 million people), so most likely only about one-third of those ballots fall within CA-31, so it might be more like 1,700 ballots outstanding in the 31st. Results won't be truly finalized until a final canvass on July 1, at which point there's a five day window in which any district voter can request a recount.
A European male model pretending to be a coal miner appears prominently in a newspaper advertisement released by Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes....• LA-Sen: Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy spends $150,000 on his first ad. The spot, which is currently only airing in the New Orleans area, features Cassidy, a former practicing physician, in scrubs condemning Obamacare. Cassidy vaguely calls for replacing it with a plan that "gives the power to you, not the politicians and bureaucrats." (Jeff Singer)
The stock photograph could undermine Grimes’s messaging as Republicans raise doubts about the authenticity of her pro-coal position.
• MS-Sen: The Washington Post compares and contrasts Thad Cochran's somnambulant campaign with several of his other Senate colleagues up this year who faced Tea Party primary challenges and either won or soon will win (John Cornyn, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham). Cochran seems have run the same low-key campaign he always has run, while the others spent heavily and engaged local activists.
It's becoming increasingly clear that Cochran's obliviousness is responsible for his current dire condition, not any great skill or brainpower on the part of Chris McDaniel and his merry band of supporters. Several cases in points from Thursday include: McDaniel campaign supporters' strange explanations for why they were got locked in a 70s-sitcom-style caper in the Hinds County courthouse after hours on election night, which have been flatly contradicted by the sheriff's office ... and an open, if inadvertent, admission by McDaniels' allies at the Tea Party Express that they've illegally coordinated with the McDaniels campaign.
• MT-Sen: The pro-Democratic group VoteVets has pledged to spend $5 million on this year's midterms and their spending in past election cycles suggests they aren't bluffing. They're beginning with a $275,000 ad buy in Montana on behalf of Democratic Sen. John Walsh. The spot features military families praising Walsh for taking care of soldiers and their family members. The ad then hits Daines for opposing raising troops' pay and voting against improving veteran's services. (Jeff Singer)
• NH-Sen: This company sounds like a great investment, right?
Global Digital Solutions was founded as a beauty supply company in New Jersey, selling hair spray, conditioners, and shampoos, before reinventing itself as a wireless data firm based in California, and then again last year as a South Florida-based firearms maker and gun-technology innovator. The publicly traded company has no revenue, no products, no trademarks, no patents, and only a “virtual office” space in West Palm Beach.But wait, there's more! We'll also throw in a former Republican senator, who has a role as "senior adviser" in this company, and what was originally* $1.3 million in stock in the company! If we told you that Scott Brown was that Republican senator ... now how much would you pay for this story?
Brown has been fending off questions about his relationship with Global Digital Solutions since the Boston Globe reported about his ownership of the stock on Monday. On Wednesday, however, Brown threw in the towel, announcing that he's ending his relationship with the company (as a member of its "advisory board," not its board of directors) and relinquishing his rights to the stock.
* (Now worth $455k.)
• SC-Sen-A: Seems like every major university these days feels it has to have its own polling operation in order to be competitive, and now Clemson University is getting into the game. They poll the Republican Senate primary in their native South Carolina, and they find that incumbent Lindsey Graham is just shy of the 50% mark he needs to avoid a runoff against his many penny-ante challengers. Graham is at 49, with state Sen. Lee Bright at 9, Richard Case is at 3, Nancy Mace is at 2, Det Bowers (who's done the best at fundraising among the challengers) at 1, and Bill Connor at 1.
The South Carolina primary has sneaked up on us and is next Tuesday (June 10), so if anybody's going to make a move, it had better be soon. As long as Graham's every sentence for the next week is "noun verb impeachment," though, it seems like he's staying in decent shape with his state's GOP base.
And sure enough, Graham has a new ad portraying himself as a conservative leader. Graham talks up his accomplishments and mostly focuses on Republican red meat like fighting union, Obamacare, and Benghazi. (David Jarman & Jeff Singer)
• CO-Gov: Get your smelling salts and/or clutching pearls ready, because Democrats are trying to ratfuck one more major race where there's a wide range in general-election electability among the various Republicans fighting for the nomination. A DGA affiliated-group, Protect Colorado Values, has two different ads out in the Colorado governor's race, backed by a "significant" six-figure buy.
The two candidates the ads target are both ex-Reps.: the relatively normal Bob Beauprez, and the cartoonish Tom Tancredo. Beauprez, however, gets hit for voting "for earmarks and spending bills while the national debt ballooned" and supporting "the individual mandate that's at the cornerstone of Obamacare." Tancredo gets hit for being "one of the nation's strongest opponents of Obamacare," and the ad closes with "Tom Tancredo: he's just too conservative for Colorado." (Both ads can be viewed at the link.)
As much as it's clear that the DGA would prefer that the GOP primary electorate goes with Tancredo, there isn't a big polling difference yet between how John Hickenlooper performs vs. Tancredo, as opposed to how he fares against Beauprez. Tancredo, however, seems much likelier to serve up a game-changing gaffe than Beauprez, which is probably what the DGA is gambling on.
• ID-Gov, ID-Sen: Rasmussen is out with the first and probably last poll of the cycle for Idaho. In the Governor's race, they find Republican incumbent Butch Otter leading Dem A.J. Balukoff by a large, but perhaps smaller than expected, 50-36 margin. (As a comparison point, Otter won in 2010 by a 59-33-6 spread.) Presumably some of the Republicans who voted for Russ Fulcher (or the biker or the grizzled prospector) in the primary haven't come home to Otter yet, but eventually will. It's worth noting that, at least for now, the Democrat in the Idaho gubernatorial race is doing better than the Republican incumbent in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race.
While they were there, they also polled the Senate race, perhaps the least-watched of all the Senate seats up this year; Jim Risch leads Nels Mitchell 54-29.
• MD-Gov: Attorney General Doug Gansler finally takes direct aim at what he hopes will be Lt. Gov Anthony Brown's Achilles' heel. Gansler stars in a new ad where he highlights the problems Maryland had with its Obamacare program and blames Brown, who was tasked with implementing the law. Gansler has brought up the roll out in a previous spot without mentioning his opponent but with Brown looking like the frontrunner ahead of the rapidly approaching June 24 Democratic primary, it's not hard to see why Gansler is ditching any traces of subtlety. (Jeff Singer)
• CA-25: Here's something you don't see every day: a Democrat endorsing a Republican who beat him. But that's the nature of the Top 2 primary in California, where every mundane race becomes a new experiment in game theory. Podiatrist Lee Rogers, who many Dems hoped could be competitive in this year's open seat race after holding GOP Rep. Buck McKeon to a fairly close margin in 2012, finished third behind two Republicans on Tuesday: ex-state Sen. Tony Strickland and state Sen. Steve Knight. On Wednesday, while conceding the race, Rogers endorsed Knight.
Now this wasn't a full-on embrace of Knight, of course, with Rogers offering the caveat that "Both Tony Strickland and Steve Knight are conservatives and wouldn’t represent the views of district Democrats at all in Washington," and couching his comments more in an anti-Strickland vein than a pro-Knight vein:
“To the contrary, Tony Strickland is a politician in search of a district,” Rogers continued. “Recommending a Republican for Congress may not sit well with some in my party, but I didn’t create the rules and I care too much about our district to let it fall to a dishonest carpetbagger who is interested only in himself, like Tony Strickland.”In fact, that carpetbagging problem is Strickland's main liability in November; Strickland is from Ventura County, and you may remember him losing there, to Julia Brownley in next door CA-26, in 2012. Knight, by contrast, is from the district's center of gravity in Palmdale in northern Los Angeles County. Strickland seems tighter with the GOP establishment, though, and probably hopes to ride his financial advantage to victory.
That all suggests that Rogers may be playing a deeper game here. If and when he tries again in 2016 -- when he's likelier to benefit from better turnout and two more years of this rapidly-changing district gaining more Latino voters -- it seems he'd prefer to face Knight (who's more of a social conservative, and less of a moneybags) rather than Strickland. (Knight, for example, is closely associated with his father, ex-state Sen. Pete Knight, best known as the author of 2000's Proposition 22, which banned same-sex marriage in California.)
• IA-03: If you're wondering about what direction the nominating convention in Iowa's 3rd might take -- necessitated because none of the GOP contenders cleared the necessary 35 percent in the primary -- well, join the club, because we don't know either. But Desmoinesdem, writing at Bleeding Heartland, has some well-informed speculation on the subject: while state Sen. Brad Zaun finished first in the primary, the convention is under no obligation to pick him, and they probably won't, given his links to the Paulist wing of the party and his poor fundraising.
SoS Matt Schultz also seems good on paper, given his title, but isn't well-liked either; second-place finisher Robert Cramer could unite the business and social-conservative wings, but his ties to activist Bob Vander Plaats could be too offputting. David Young might be too Beltway-oriented and not have enough local connections, so that means fourth-place finisher (and Big Ag's horse in the race) Monte Shaw may actually have the best shot.
Ed Kilgore reaches similar conclusions in his analysis of the race; he points out that Terry Branstad has put enough of a stamp on the convention's delegates, via his efforts to remake the party in his more establishment-flavored image, that Shaw or Young have the best odds. Kilgore's analysis relies partly on an article from Craig Robinson at the Iowa Republican, which goes into helpful detail about the procedural side of the convention.
• WV-03: A few months ago, the conventional wisdom had coalesced that Nick Rahall was the most endangered Democratic House incumbent. That CW, however, keeps dwindling, with a series of unrebutted Democratic internal polls giving Rahall a healthy-looking lead over Republican challenger Evan Jenkins. The latest poll, issued Thursday by Garin Hart Yang on behalf of House Majority PAC, gives Rahall a 52-39 lead. (That's a small improvement over their April poll, which had Rahall up 52-40.)
If the most endangered Dem isn't Rahall, that raises the question of: who is? It might be Ron Barber in AZ-02, or it might even be Scott Peters, despite the much-bluer confines on CA-52.
• VA-08: Former Lt. Gov Don Beyer takes advantage of the Washington Post endorsing his campaign ahead of the June 10 Democratic primary. The narrator quotes the Post to argue Beyer's the best person for the job. (Jeff Singer)
In the state Controller race, Democrat John Perez is now slightly more than 2,000 votes ahead of GOPer David Evans for 2nd place, to face off against Republican Ashley Swearengin in November. Perez and Evans have 22 percent of the vote apiece.
In CA-15, Republican Hugh Bussell leads Dem Ellen Corbett by 610 votes for second place, to take on Dem incumbent Eric Swalwell. No call or concessions yet.
Similarly, no call or concessions in CA-24, where Republican Chris Mitchum leads fellow Republican Justin Fareed by 914 votes for second place, to take on Dem incumbent Lois Capps.
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie is running for a second term, but faces a primary challenge from state Sen. David Ige. Initially, it looked like Ige would just be a minor obstacle for Abercrombie to overcome, but what polling there is shows an unexpectedly competitive race.
The Republicans are fielding former Lt. Gov Duke Aiona, whom Abercrombie defeated 58-41 in 2010. Former Democratic Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is also running for governor as an independent. Abercrombie and Hannemann have a long and bitter electoral history: They faced off in a House race in 1986, and Abercrombie recently beat Hannemann 60-38 in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. Daily Kos Elections rates this three-way general election as Likely Democratic.
Abercrombie's appointed lieutenant governor Shan Tsutsui also faces a primary challenge. Tsutsui has four opponents, with state Sen. Clayton Hee looking like the most serious. Two Republicans are running, as is independent former Honolulu Parks Director Les Chang. The governor and lieutenant governor are nominated separately but run on the same ticket in the so-called "shotgun marriage."
Appointed Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz is running to fill the rest of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye's term. Schatz faces a primary challenge from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. The Republicans are running former state Rep. Cam Cavasso, who will be the clear underdog in the general against either Democrat. Because of the competitive primary, we rate this as a Race to Watch. Note that this seat will next be up in 2016 for a full term.
Seven Democrats are running to succeed Hanabusa in the First District, which is concentrated around Honolulu. Polling indicates that the two main contenders are state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and state Rep. Mark Takai. Also running are Honolulu City Councilmen Ikaika Anderson, Stanley Chang, and Joey Manahan; state Sen. Will Espero; and activist Kathryn Xian. The Republicans are running former Rep. Charles Djou, but we rate the general as Safe Democratic. In the state's other House district, Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has nothing to worry about.
• Massachusetts: Candidate filing closed in the Bay State May 6, but the state has finally released an official list of contenders for the September 9 primary. Note that the Democratic convention will help determine ballot access: Candidates must receive at least 15 percent of the delegate's vote to advance to the primary. The Democratic convention will be held June 13-14 (the Republicans have already held their convention).
Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick is retiring, and five Democrats are running to succeed him. Attorney General Martha Coakley is the early frontrunner, with state Treasurer Steve Grossman looking like her main opponent. Also running are former biopharmaceutical executive Joe Avellone; US Medicare/Medicaid Administrator Don Berwick; and former US Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Juliette Kayyem. The Republicans are rallying behind 2010 nominee Charlie Baker, who faces minor opposition from tea party activist Mark Fisher in the primary. We rate the general as Likely Democratic.
Four Democrats and one Republican are running for lieutenant governor: This is another state where the governor and lieutenant governor are nominated separately but "shackled" together on one ticket. In the race to succeed Coakley as attorney general, former Coakely aide Maura Healey faces former state Sen. Warren Tolman in the Democratic primary: Neither should have much trouble in the general. Three Democrats and one Republican are running for treasure: Longtime SSP/ DKE readers may remember state Sen. Barry Finegold, who ran in the special 2007 primary for the then-vacant MA-05. Democratic incumbents are running again for auditor and secretary of the commonwealth (aka secretary of state).
Sen. Ed Markey and the state's nine House members (all Democrats) are running again and most face little primary or general opposition. The one exception is 6th District Rep. John Tierney, who has taken some hits over his wife's legal problems despite not being involved in them. Tierney will face a well funded primary challenge from veteran Seth Moulton. The Republicans are fielding former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, who nearly won the seat in 2012. We rate the general as Lean Democratic.
Democratic (okay, Democratic-Farmer-Labor) Gov. Mark Dayton is running for reelection. Four credible Republicans are running: Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who just won the influential state party's endorsement; venture capitalist Scott Honour; former state House Minority Leader Marty Seifert; and former Speaker Kurt Zellers. We rate the general as Likely Democratic.
Democratic Attorney General Lori Swanson is running again and will likely face Republican state Sen. Scott Newman. Democratic state Auditor Rebecca Otto has a primary challenge from former state House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, with former Republican Long Lake Mayor Randy Gilbert awaiting the winner. In the open seat race for secretary of state three Democrats and two Republicans are in.
Freshman Democratic Sen. Al Franken won a very close race in 2008 but he starts out the clear favorite this time. His likely opponent is Republican businessman Mike McFadden, who won the state party's backing. McFadden faces three GOP foes including state Rep. Jim Abeler, but is the heavy favorite in the primary. We rate the general as Likely Democratic.
Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann is retiring and leaving her 6th District seat open. Former state Rep. Tom Emmer is the favorite in the GOP primary against Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah. This suburban Twin Cities seat backed Romney 57 to 42, and is safe for any Republican who isn't Michele Bachmann.
Four House members face credible challenges in the general election. In the southern 1st District, Democratic Rep. Tim Walz has two GOP foes: businessman Jim Hagedorn and veteran Aaron Miller. We rate it as Likely Democratic. In the 2nd District, Republican Rep. John Kline faces a rematch with former Democratic state Rep. Mike Obermueller. We rate this as Likely Republican.
In the 7th District, Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson faces Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom. Romney won MN-07 54-44 but Peterson is a tough candidate and we rate it as Likely Democratic. In the Iron Range's 8th District, Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan faces wealthy Republican businessman Stewart Mills. We rate this as Lean Democratic.
• President-by-LD: After a long hiatus, we're pleased to bring you new data in our ongoing effort to calculate the 2012 presidential election results according to legislative districts in every state. Today we take a look at Florida and Utah, two very different states that nevertheless both have heavily Republican legislative majorities. You can find our master list of data available here.
We have Florida's 2012 statewide results broken down by state House, state Senate, and Congressional district. Obama narrowly carried the state 50-49 but only won 55 of the 120 House districts. Twelve Republicans sit in districts Obama won compared to only two Democrats in Romney seats. The bluest GOP held seat is HD-103, located in Miami-Dade and Broward counties: Obama carried it 55-45. Both Romney Democrats sit in seats that went red 54-45. As a forthcoming map from Stephen Wolf will help visualize, both Democrats in Romney seats hail from central Florida rather than the conservative but ancestrally Democratic Panhandle. The median seat went for Romney 51-48, about four points to the right of the state.
The GOP has held the majority in the Senate since the 1994 election, and currently holds an intimidating 26 to 14 edge there. Romney carried 22 of the 40 districts (and came within 23 votes of carrying another), and the GOP currently holds all of them. Of the 18 Obama seats, the GOP controls four, the bluest being the Miami-area SD-38 (Obama won it 52-47). The median district point in the Senate is 52-47 Romney, five points to the right of the state.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was also on the ballot in 2012, and he defeated Rep. Connie Mack IV by a decisive 55-42 margin. Nelson carried 88 of the 120 state House districts along with 30 of the 40 Senate districts and 20 of the state's 27 Congressional districts. To add insult to injury for Mack, his father the former Sen. Connie Mack III won every single county in his 1994 reelection bid.
The Beehive state gave Mitt Romney his greatest victory in any of the 50 states. Romney carried 68 of the 75 House districts as he won the state 73-25. Unsurprisingly, Republicans currently hold a 61 to 14 super-majority, and they aren't going to lose control anytime soon. Seven House Democrats sit in red districts: The most Republican seat to have a Democratic representative is Salt Lake County's HD-30, which went for Romney 60-37 but reelected Rep. Janice Fisher 52-48.
Romney carried 27 of the 29 state Senate districts, and Republicans hold a 24 to five super-majority there as well. Three Democrats hold Romney seats: the most Republican seat held by a Democrat is SD-05, which went for Romney 57-40.
Republicans also easily won statewide for US Senate, governor, attorney general, auditor, and treasurer. The closest statewide contest was for attorney general, where now-former Attorney General John Swallow won 65-30. Swallow carried 67 House districts and 21 Senate seats, not too different from Romney. Every statewide Republican carried all four of the state's Congressional districts. The closest any Democrat got to carrying any of the four seats was in the US Senate race, where Democrat Scott Howell lost UT-04 to Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch by "only" a 60-36 margin.