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Leading Off:

MT-Sen: Two new polls survey Montana and its criminally under-polled Senate race. PPP gives Republican Rep. Steve Daines a 46-39 lead over appointed Democratic Sen. John Walsh. Back in October, when Walsh was still lieutenant governor, PPP gave him a larger 52-35 deficit.

Neither candidate is particularly well liked: Walsh posts a 38-37 approval rating, while Daines clocks in at 39-40. The good news for Walsh is he may have some room for improvement. Generic Democrat trails Generic Republican 45-41, and PPP believes Daines’ larger lead is a product of his name recognition. Walsh has a lot of ground to make up if he wants to pull off a win, but if PPP’s right it does look like he can at least get within striking distance.

A Walsh internal from Harstad Strategic Research Inc., gives Daines a similar 43-38 lead. There are no crosstabs or field dates, but they find much more optimistic approval ratings for both candidates than PPP. Harstad gives Walsh a 47-32 job approval rating and also finds Daines at 49-36. Two unreleased Harstad polls from earlier in the year gave Daines a 14 and 8-point lead respectively.

There aren’t too many publicly released Harstad polls from within a month of the election, but what they’ve released has, on balance, been good. In early October of 2010 they gave Democratic Sen. Mike Bennett a 44-41 lead in Colorado’s Senate contest: He won by a similar 48-46 margin. There’s a bit more from the 2012 cycle:

AZ-Sen: Harstad: Carmona (D) 47-43; actual: Flake (R) 49-46; error: +7 D

MA-Sen: Harstad: Warren (D) 50-44; actual: Warren (D) 54-46; error: +2 R

MO-Sen: Harstad: McCaskill (D) 47-35; actual: McCaskill (D) 55-39; error: +4 R

PA-Sen: Harstad: Casey (D) 52-40; actual: Casey (D) 54-45; error: +3 D

Overall, it’s a pretty good performance. While the Carmona poll was off, Harstad did give a good lay of the land each time. At the very least, Walsh can’t be displeased to have two pollsters show him competitive in a race many people have written off.

Senate:

AR-Sen: Republican Rep. Tom Cotton stepped in it with remarks from a July 8th tele-town hall where he compared food stamp recipients to drug addicts when defending his vote against the farm bill:

“I don’t think that we should be using farmers as a way to pack more welfare spending into Barack Obama’s government,” Cotton said. “Nor should we have a food stamp program that isn’t reformed, that doesn’t have job training and work requirements, that doesn’t have drug testing requirements, so we can get people who are addicted the help they need. Or make sure that long-term addicts or recidivists are not abusing taxpayer dollars.”
Cotton is challenging incumbent two-term Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in a tight race and can’t afford to be making mistakes like this, particularly in one of the poorest states where a large proportion of low-income residents rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (commonly referred to as food stamps). (Stephen Wolf)

GA-Sen Two pollsters give us their final numbers for Tuesday’s Republican Senate runoff.  Insider Advantage gives Rep. Jack Kingston a 46-41 edge over businessman David Perdue. Landmark Communications has Kingston with a not-too-different 48-41 edge.

Landmark also surveys both hypothetical general election matchups. Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn posts an eight-point lead over Kingston and a five-point lead over Perdue, giving Nunn some of her wider leads by an independent pollster thus far. Interestingly, this is one of the few polls to show Nunn performing better over Kingston rather than Perdue. (Stephen Wolf)

LA-Sen: Days after pulling the plug on his Senate run, Republican state Rep. Paul Hollis is endorsing GOP frontrunner Rep. Bill Cassidy. Both Hollis and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness were attempting to run to Cassidy’s right, but Hollis is sticking with the establishment on this one.

LA-Sen, NH-Sen, OR-Sen: Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners has made three hefty ad reservations: $890,000 for Louisiana’s potential December runoff, $1.8 million in New Hampshire for September 9th through Election Day, and $1.9 million in Oregon from August 6th through Election Day. (Stephen Wolf)

MI-Sen: The always unpredictable EPIC-MRA gives Democratic Rep. Gary Peters a 45-36 lead over Republican rival former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. In May, the pollster gave Peters a 44-38 edge. (Stephen Wolf)

OR-Sen: Incumbent Democratic senator Jeff Merkley has reserved $2 million in ad time for the last five weeks of the campaign against Republican challenger Monica Wehby. (Stephen Wolf)

Gubernatorial:

GA-Gov: Landmark's gubernatorial portion gives Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter one of his largest leads ever over incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and tantalizingly close to avoiding a December runoff. The poll has Carter with a 49-41 lead: Their last survey from March had Deal ahead 43-39. As always when looking at an unexpected result, caution is recommended, at least until someone else confirms it. (Stephen Wolf).

IL-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner has had no problem raising money, but he's still opening up his wallet and self-funding an extra $1.5 million. Or as he probably refers to it, “Some change I found under my couch cushions.”

MA-Gov: SocialSphere for the Boston Globe has another of its weekly surveys. Yet again it finds both leading candidates, Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley and 2010 Republican nominee Charlie Baker stuck in the 30s with high undecideds and a trivial share going to minor candidates. (Stephen Wolf)

ME-Gov: Internal polling by Normington Petts for Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud finds similar numbers as we’ve seen in the past. It gives Michaud a narrow 41-37 lead over unpopular Republican Gov. Paul LePage: It also finds independent Eliot Cutler, the 2010 runner-up, lagging far behind. (Stephen Wolf)

MI-Gov: The gubernatorial portion EPIC-MRA poll indicates that former Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer has narrowed his deficit to incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. Snyder leads 46-43, down from his 47-38 lead in May. Strangely, Snyder’s approval rating has improved from a 41-58 deficit in May to 44-55 in July, but in a light blue state those are not the type of numbers a Republican incumbent wants to see. (Stephen Wolf)

NM-Gov: A Lake Research internal for Democratic Attorney General Gary King finds him trailing Republican Gov. Susana Martinez by just 45-39. King’s internal comes out at a time when he lags far behind the governor in fundraising, but there have been very few other polls of this race. (Stephen Wolf)

NY-Gov: Siena predictably has Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo annihilating his probable GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. In fact, in this poll, he damned near tripled Astorino up (60-23). Democratic incumbents Thomas DiNapoli (comptroller) and Eric Schneiderman (attorney general) also post huge leads. (Steve Singiser)

OK-Gov: Rasmussen: Mary Fallin (R-inc): 45, Joe Dorman (D): 40. (Stephen Wolf)

TX-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis is getting some big support from Planned Parenthood, which has announced it will spend $3 million on the race.

House:

MI-03: The US Chamber of Commerce has endorsed challenger Brian Ellis in the heated Republican primary in Michigan’s 3rd district. Ellis is taking on two-term Rep. Justin Amash, who has earned the Chamber’s ire by aligning more with the party’s Paulist wing and who has the support of the tea party-friendly Club for Growth. Amash has led in all released polling by a wide margin, but Ellis’ campaign is well funded and not lacking allies among the party’s business-oriented establishment. (Stephen Wolf)

NY-18 Well here's a surprise. Gravis has former Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth with a four-point lead (44-40) over the man who took the job from her in 2012, Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. Obama’s approval numbers are brutal (34/56), which actually seems a little off, given that Obama carried the district with 51 percent in 2012. Obama has been running beneath his 2012 totals, without a doubt, but the norm has been about 10 points behind his 2012 vote totals in most state and national polling. (Steve Singiser)

Ads (Jeff Singer & Stephen Wolf):

AK-Sen: Former Republican state Attorney General Dan Sullivan goes positive in his new spot, which also features his wife.

AR-Sen: Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor’s new spot responds to Republican Rep. Tom Cotton’s attack on Pryor’s faith. The ad features clips of Cotton’s jab, with Pryor showing up mid-way through and declaring his faith in a low-key but persuasive way.

CO-Sen: Both candidates have a new spot out. Democratic Sen. Mark Udall portrays Republican Rep. Cory Garnder as an ally of the rich at the expense of the middle class. Gardner’s commercial features his family and again has Gardner call to shake up the Senate.

GA-Sen: Both Republican candidates have a new ad for the Tuesday runoff. Rep. Jack Kingston throws the kitchen sink at businessman David Perdue and portrays him as a Common Core loving, amnesty supporting, America dissing, TARP-monger. Perdue for his part does some of the same thing, accusing Kingston and his Chamber of Commerce allies of supporting amnesty for undocumented immigrants. The Perdue spot briefly features a shot of Congress as babies once again, ‘cause why not?

HI-Sen: Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has two new ads, both of which feature her speaking to a crowd. In the first spot Hanabusa declares she actually reads the bills she votes on rather than just serving as a rubber stamp. In the second commercial Hanabusa describes what she learned from the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, with the spot featuring two pictures of the two together.

KS-Sen Sen. Pat Roberts and Republican primary challenger Milton Wolf both have a spot out. Roberts hits Wolf for his poor voting record, while Wolf portrays Roberts as someone who has completely lost touch with Kansas. Wolf’s ad features audio of a recent Robert’s gaffe where the senator accidentally declares he returns home whenever he gets an opponent: Expect to hear this a lot from now until the August 5 primary.

KY-Sen: Are you a Kentucky voter? Then Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell wants you to know he really loves coal and Barack Obama doesn’t.

MN-Sen: This minute-long ad has Minnesota resident Jeff Almer tell how after his mother’s death from food contamination, Al Franken worked to pass a law protecting against similar incidents in the future.

MT-Sen: A local veteran praises Republican Rep. Steve Daines for intervening when deceased veterans were denied grave markers at a cemetery.

NH-Sen: Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen emphasizes her work on student debt.

AR-Gov: The RGA links former Democratic Rep. Mike Ross to Nancy Pelosi as closely as they can.

AZ-Gov State Treasurer Doug Ducey portrays Republican primary rival and former Go Daddy executive Christine Jones as a phony on immigration. Fellow Republican Andrew Thomas, who is lagging in the polls, bashes illegal immigrants and vows to take on “the gay lobby” in this cheaply produced ad.

MI-Gov: The RGA goes after former Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer on taxes.

RI-Gov: State Treasurer Gina Raimondo goes after Democratic rival Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, with an iron worker criticizing him on commercial property tax rates.

WI-Gov: Democrat Mary Burke responds to an attack by Republican Gov. Scott Walker on her business career, before transitioning into an attack on Walker’s job record.

CO-06: ConcernedVets praises Republican Rep. Mike Coffman on veterans’ issues.

FL-26: Republican challenger Carlos Curbelo touts his business background and service on the county school board and vows to tackle corruption while surrounded by his family.

HI-01: Honolulu Councilor Stanley Chang portrays himself as a bold progressive.

MI-04: Businessman Paul Mitchell hits Republican primary foe state Sen. John Moolenaar as a fake conservative. Moolenaar hits right back, portraying Mitchell as someone who got rich off the stimulus.

NH-02: The Club for Growth praises state Rep. Marilinda Garcia as an anti-tax crusader.

TN-03: Rep. Chuck Fleischmann has two new spots out. In the first, he attacks Republican primary rival Weston Wamp as weak on immigration. In the second commercial, the narrator calls Wamp a showhorse, in contrast to workhorse Fleischmann.

Other races:

CA Controller: Our long national nightmare has ended. Assembly Speaker John Pérez has ended his recount efforts in the ultra-narrow June 3rd California Controller primary, ensuring that fellow Democrat and Board of Equalization Member Betty Yee will advance to November. Official results gave Yee a 481 vote lead over Pérez, and the ballots that were recounted did not change the results in any meaningful way. Yee will face Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin in the general.

Primaries: Tuesday brings us back to the Peach State for primary runoffs. You can check out our primary preview here. The main event will be the Republican Senate runoff, where polls show Rep. Jack Kingston leading businessman David Perdue, but an upset looks possible. We also have Republican races in the safely red 1st, 10th, and 11th Congressional districts.

Special Elections: Via Johnny Longtorso:

Connecticut HD-122 - This is an open Republican seat just northeast of Bridgeport, taking in parts of Shelton, Stratford, and Trumbull in Fairfield County. The Democratic nominee is Shelton School Board member Arlene Liscinsky, while the Republican is realtor Ben McGorty.
Our preliminary numbers have Romney winning HD-122 55-44. As Johnny notes, this is the only special until mid-August. (Jeff Singer & Johnny Longtorso)

Grab bag:

Deaths: Former Oregon Gov. Vic Atiyeh passed away on Sunday at the age of 91. Atiyeh was the first Arab American governor of any state, and his 1982 reelection win marks the last time Oregon has elected a Republican governor (though Team Red came close as recently as 2010).

Fundraising - The DSCC raised nearly $22 million from April through June which was its second strongest quarter in history and gives it $30.5 million cash on hand. Republican quarterly numbers are not yet outl but they are likely lower than the Democrats’ quarterly haul after lagging behind Team Blue in June by over $1 million. Democrats continue to establish an advantage in fundraising among the official party committees, with Republicans relying increasingly heavily on super PACs and the Koch organization for third-party spending.

While the DSCC and DCCC have run roughshod over their Republican counterparts recently, though that’s traditionally often happened (and even more so this cycle, with many high-dollar GOP donors now short-circuiting the NRCC and NRSC and heading straight for the Super PACs and 501(c)(4)s). The RNC has almost always beaten the DNC, though ... but this year is different, as the new GOP donor tendency to give to shadowy third-party groups takes its toll there too.

The DNC raised $9 million to the RNC’s $8.5 million in June, meaning the DNC has beaten the RNC in all but one month of 2014. The RNC still has a residual overall advantage, though: it has $14.4 million in cash-on-hand, compared to $7.8 million for the DNC. That’s partly because the DNC has been paying down debt from 2012 (down to $3 million, from $23 million in March 2013), while the RNC remains debt-free. (Stephen Wolf & David Jarman)

Site News: Our condolences go out to Daily Kos Elections’ chief David Nir, whose father Dr. Yehuda Nir passed away on Saturday. Dr. Nir led an incredible life, surviving the Holocaust as a young Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied Poland by pretending to be a Catholic. Dr. Nir later turned his experience into a memoir, The Lost Childhood: The Complete Memoir, which in turn was turned into an opera: The opera was recently performed by the National Philharmonic. Dr. Nir was also well-known as a psychiatrist, and performed groundbreaking work in treating psychological wounds. You can find more about his long and frankly miraculous life at his New York Times obituary.

David will be absent from the site for the coming days to be with his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with him at this difficult time.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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