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Leading Off:

VA-07: A ton has already been written about Eric Cantor's primary loss, but if you read just one post-mortem, I urge you to make it this exceptional piece of analysis from Daily Kos Elections' own David Jarman. Three main theories have made the rounds to explain Cantor's demise, centered around immigration reform, crossover Democratic votes, and redistricting, but as Jarman discovers, each of these comes up lacking, at least individually.

Rather, the chief cause seems to have been at once both more prosaic and more profound: Cantor simply lost touch with his district. Cantor's aloofness, combined with his nakedly ambitious pursuit of the speaker's gavel, left him distant from many of the Republican voters in his own back yard—a distance that economics professor Dave Brat was able to exploit, despite being badly underfunded. But this summary doesn't do justice to Jarman's masterful exploration of this remarkable race's many contours, so please, click on through and read the whole thing for yourself.

Senate:

AR-Sen: A poll from Fabrizio Lee for the conservative Government Integrity Fund finds some very gaudy numbers for GOP Rep. Tom Cotton, who leads Sen. Mark Pryor 51-43, putting him over 50 percent for the first time in any public survey. It also ties for the biggest advantage Cotton's ever had. The last four polls have all been pro-Cotton to one degree or another, including this one, but note that three are from Republican outfits and one is from Rasmussen, even if you even count that one.

MS-Sen: Sen. Thad Cochran goes positive ahead of the June 24 Republican primary runoff. Cochran portrays himself as someone whose leadership can continue to bring the state vital industries. This isn't a line of argument you see very often in Republican primaries these days, but it's not like Cochran has many other options. It's far too late for him to sell himself as a born-again tea partier, so he may as well argue he's too valuable to fire. (Jeff Singer)

OK-Sen-B: A new poll for Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, finds former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon edging Rep. James Lankford 39-37 in the GOP primary. (OCF has endorsed Shannon.) That's similar to the bulk of recent polling, which has shown a tossup, but it's a big drop for Shannon, who led 42-32 in POS's last survey in April. It not a very good sign when you're fading in your own allies' polls.

House:

IL-11: Speaking of awesome pollsters (well, see just below), conservative pollster We Ask America finds Democratic Rep. Bill Foster leading Republican state Rep. Darlene Senger by just a 46-41 spread. I wouldn't worry too much, though. WAA performed awfully in 2012, and they utterly blew it in this district. Their final poll had Foster tied with GOP Rep. Judy Biggert, but he won by 17 points. And their last poll of this year's GOP gubernatorial primary had Bruce Rauner winning by 17 when he actually prevailed by just 3.

VA-07: One much-discussed aspect of Eric Cantor's stunning loss was how god-awful his internal polling was—but if you're a serious election junkie, you already knew that McLaughlin & Associates has one of the most abysmal track records known to man. But McLaughlin's survey was bad even for them, outstripping their worst-ever performance (a 34-point miss) by double digits.

The National Journal's Shane Goldmacher actually talked to John McLaughlin to see if he could try to explain himself, but of course he couldn't. One of McLaughlin's excuses was that turnout was unexpectedly high—but isn't the whole point of polling getting the voter universe right? As Jed Lewison put it, this is like "a weather forecaster saying that they only thing they got wrong was the weather."

Indeed, McLaughlin's hurricane-sized miss has earned them a top spot in the Pollster Hall of Shame. Here's where they stand among some of the very worst all-time flubs in two-way races:

Rochester, NY Mayor (D primary, 2013): Siena: Thomas Brown, 63-27; actual: Lovely Warren, 57-41; error: 52 points

VA-07 (R primary, 2014): McLaughlin: Eric Cantor, 62-28; actual: Dave Brat, 55.6-44.4; error: 45 points

KY Ag. Comm'r (2011): Braun: Bob Farmer (D), 45-29; actual: James Comer (R), 64-36; error: 44 points

HI-Sen (2010): Rasmussen: Dan Inouye (D), 53-40; actual: Inouye, 75-22; error: 40 points

FL-SD-14 (2012): St. Pete Polls: Darren Soto (D), 43-37; actual: Soto, 70-30; error: 34 points

In fact, that McLaughlin poll for Dan Halloran alluded to above ties them with St. Pete for the bottom slot, so really, they should appear on this ignominious list twice. (And let's not forget Mary Cheney's Vox Populi, which missed Cantor's race by "only" 24 points.) Of course, this isn't exhaustive, and it only goes back a few years, so if you know of other awful polls that belong here, please let us know. As for McLaughlin, well, they're probably just glad Siena decided to poll Rochester.

Grab Bag:

Ads:

IA-Sen: Americans for Prosperity hits Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley for opposing the Keystone Pipeline. Predictably, the spot throws in footage of Braley's infamous "farmer from Iowa" comment.

NC-Sen: The Koch-allied "Generation Opportunity" goes after Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in a spot aimed at young voters. It's a pretty generic attack on spending and Obamacare, though.

NH-Sen: Americans for Prosperity spends $730,000 criticizing Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on Obamacare, linking it to problems at state hospitals.

IA-Gov: The RGA is up with their second ad hitting Democratic nominee Jack Hatch. Once again, they're portraying him as a secretive developer.

MI-Gov: The DGA features Democratic challenger Mark Schauer criticizing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's economic policies.

NY-22: American Unity PAC attacks Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney on jobs while praising Rep. Richard Hanna as a job creator. Tenney is challenging Hanna in the June 24 Republican primary.

WV-03: Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall shores up his conservative credentials while continuing to portray Republican foe Evan Jenkins as a Koch puppet.

(Jeff Singer)

California: Another 150,000 ballots were counted in California on Tuesday, almost two thirds of which were from Los Angeles County. We estimate there are about 318,000 ballots left outstanding statewide. Here's a summary of the remaining overtime races:

In the controller's race, by our count, Democrat John Perez now leads fellow Democrat Betty Yee by 2,718 votes and Republican David Evans by 14,828. Evans is almost definitely finished at this point, since 30 percent of ballots left are from the Bay Area, another 1 in 6 ballots are from L.A., and a further 1 in 6 ballots are from Sacramento (where Yee and Perez lead Evans by 7 and 2 percent, respectively). With Evans out of the picture, this turns into a NorCal-SoCal showdown between Yee and Perez, and it'll be close: We're currently projecting (using a linear extrapolation model) that Yee will prevail by about 1,200 votes.

In CA-15, neither Alameda nor Contra Costa Counties have reported additional votes, but both have updated their outstanding ballot counts. With 4,500 ballots left in Alameda and 14,000 in Contra Costa, CA-15 will likely see only about 3,000 more votes. This makes Republican Hugh Bussell's 721-vote lead over Democrat Ellen Corbett much harder to overcome (much to the delight of incumbent Democrat Eric Swalwell).

In CA-24, both San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties added ballots on Tuesday, about 1,500 new votes in total. Republican Chris Mitchum's lead over fellow Republican Justin Fareed is now up to 599, 101 votes wider than it was over the weekend. With about 2,500 votes left to be added to the count, this lead is also looking fairly substantial. Incumbent Democrat Lois Capps is probably happy to face the more conservative Mitchum.

CA-31 remains in the same holding pattern, as Democrat Pete Aguilar maintains his 181-vote lead over Republican Lesli Gooch. No further update is expected from San Bernardino County until the mysterious deadline of "Upon Certification". The county reported 3,900 unprocessed ballots last Friday, so hopefully that update will come soon.

(jeffmd)

Primaries: Amazingly enough, there actually were a few elections Tuesday night other than Eric Cantor's. Here's a quick recap of the main action:

SC-Sen-A (R): Sen. Lindsey Graham has often been viewed as a conservative apostate, but he ran a smart campaign (hollering "Benghazi!!!" a lot) and easily held off the large pack of ankle-biters looking to force him into a runoff. Graham avoided that fate by taking 56 percent of the vote; his nearest opponent, state Sen. Lee Bright, managed just 15. Because Graham survived his primary, he'll be the heavy favorite against Democratic state Sen. Brad Hutto in the fall, so we're moving this one from a "Race to Watch" to Safe R.

VA-08 (D): Former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer rode advantages in name recognition and fundraising to a decisive win in the open-seat race to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran. Beyer took 46 percent in a very crowded field, far outpacing Del. Patrick Hope's 18. Beyer is a lock in November. (Safe D)

ME-02 (D & R): As the only poll of the race predicted, state Sen. Emily Cain crushed fellow state Sen. Troy Jackson, winning the Democratic nomination 71-29. Cain will face former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who defeated former state Sen. Kevin Raye 56-44 in the GOP primary. Republicans seemed to experience some Raye fatigue (he'd lost two prior races for this seat), but Democrats have to be happy that the more conservative Poliquin will be his party's standard-bearer. Cain has the edge. (Lean D)

NV-Gov (D): A funny thing happened in Tuesday night's Democratic primary for governor in Nevada: Nobody won. Well, more accurately, the option for "none of these candidates" came in first place with 30 percent, thanks to the fact that no serious Democrats entered the race to challenge popular GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval.

But this quirky choice that's unique to the Silver State actually has no impact on the race, because under Nevada law, it just means that the next-highest scoring actual candidate earns the nomination—in this case, two-time lieutenant governor candidate Bob Goodman, who managed 25 percent. (Goodman probably prevailed because he shares a surname with the well-known Oscar Goodman, a former mayor of Las Vegas.)

The last time this happened, by the way, was in a 1986 Democratic primary for state treasurer. Go no one! (Safe R)

NV-LG (R): Sadly, the Chicken Lady fell a few clucks short of a comeback. Former state GOP chair Sue Lowden, who ran an infamously disastrous campaign for Senate in 2010, lost to state Sen. Mark Hutchison, 54-36. Hutchison will face Democratic Assemblywoman Lucy Flores in the fall in what should be a very competitive contest. The race has implications for the 2016 Senate race, because if Flores wins, Sandoval might be less inclined to challenge Harry Reid, since a Sandoval victory would hand the governorship to the Democrats.

NV-04 (R): Assemblyman Cresent Hardy beat certifiable nut Niger Innis 43-33 for the right to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford. Hardy may have been the establishment choice, but he's still a longshot. (Likely D)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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