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Leading Off:

KS-Gov: Let's not beat around the bush: A new SurveyUSA poll finds Republican Gov. Sam Brownback trailing state House Democratic Leader Paul Davis by a brutal 48-40, with a Libertarian taking five. SurveyUSA found similar numbers a month ago, when they found Davis up by six points. Brownback has posted some bad numbers before, but never quite this bad.

There are many reasons why Brownback has become so toxic in this very red state. In short, the governor and his conservative allies in the legislature have made brutal service cuts, especially to education. Brownback cut taxes without any idea of how to make up for the lost revenue, and Kansans are feeling the effects. It takes a lot to go from a 63-32 victory to a deficit in the polls in only four years, but Brownback has more than earned the dubious distinction of being the country's most vulnerable red state governor.

One small good piece of news for Brownback is that he doesn't appear to be in any primary danger. SurveyUSA finds him leading unheralded primary challenger Jennifer Winn 60-30. Not an impressive result, but it does indicate that at least some people can still stand Sam Brownback.


AK-Sen: Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and his main Republican rival Dan Sullivan dutifully leaked their Senate fundraising numbers ahead of the deadline several weeks ago, as is expected of serious candidates. But if you're paying close attention, you might have noticed we never saw numbers from the second and third wheels in the GOP primary, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2010 nominee Joe Miller. Well, that's because their numbers are hilariously bad, and not indicative of serious challenges to Sullivan: Treadwell raised $164,000 and has $167,000 in the bank plus $240,500 in debts; Miller raised $130,000 and has $300,000 on hand.

The Anchorage Daily News also explores the ongoing problem of Dan Sullivan vs. Dan Sullivan. (One, the ex-attorney general, is the Republican Senate candidate; the other, the mayor of Anchorage, is the Republican lieutenant governor candidate.) "Problem" might be a bit of an overstatement, though; thanks to tons of outside spending in the Senate race, Alaskans now seem pretty clear on which Sullivan is which, as confirmed in their unscientific man-on-the-street polling on the topic. (David Jarman)

GA-Sen: We've got a duel going on in Georgia, though there's no fiddle or devil involved. On Friday we got our first two post-runoff polls, but they give us very different results. Rasmussen finds Republican David Perdue leading Democrat Michelle Nunn 46-40, which they'd probably attribute to a post-primary bounce. (For trendlines, you've got to go back to late May, where they had Nunn up 45-42.)

Nate Cohn (whose employer apparently pays the fee to see Rasmussen's crosstabs) has an important observation: the sample is only 25 percent African-American. Unbelievably, it doesn't look like there were any 2012 exit polls in Georgia, but in 2008, the vote was 30 percent. So factor in: a) non-presidential-year (and thus lower) African-American turnout, but also b) six years of a growing African-American population since then.

Landmark Communications, on behalf of WSB-TV, gives us a very different result. They find Nunn ahead of Perdue, 47-43, which, unlike Rasmussen, would mean no particular bump for the Republican; Their poll of the general from last week had Nunn beating Perdue 48-42. Of course, that same poll's GOP runoff subsample pretty much whiffed, with Rep. Jack Kingston beating Perdue 48-41 (Perdue wound up winning 51-49), so take it all with a grain of salt. (David Jarman)

KS-Sen: Voters are clearly frustrated with Sen. Pat Roberts, but it looks like he'll win re-nomination anyway. SurveyUSA finds Roberts leading tea partying physician Milton Wolf 50-30 in the August 5 Republican primary. A month ago Roberts was up 56-23: While Wolf appears to be gaining, he has a lot of ground to make up in a very short amount of time. Roberts has been battling revelations about his lack of a real residency in what is nominally his home state. However, Wolf got some bad news recently when the Kansas Board of Healing Arts announced that they would investigate Wolf's habit of posting grotesque pictures of dead and injured people on Facebook.

SurveyUSA took a look at several hypothetical match-ups, and they are a lot closer than you'd expect. In the most likely contest, Roberts leads Democratic Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor by only 38-33. Unheralded independent Greg Orman takes out a monster 14 percent, with a Libertarian at 4. Orman's only previous run for office was a brief campaign as a Democrat against Roberts in 2008. The crosstabs indicate that Orman is taking 13 percent of Republicans, 6 percent of Democrats, and a slight plurality of independents at 30 percent. We've raised concerns about SurveyUSA's crosstabs before, but this is still notable.

However, Orman has raised money shockingly well. In the second fundraising quarter of the year Orman brought in $632,000, compared to Taylor's paltrier sum of $42,000. Orman self-funded only a small bit of his haul, and still has $552,000 on hand. It's very hard to explain what is going on here. By contrast, Roberts had $2,053,000 on hand as of the end of June. It's still hard to see Orman taking enough support to throw the election to Taylor, much less win, but this very strange race appears to be getting even stranger.

If by some miraculous set of circumstances Wolf gets through the primary, Taylor starts out with a 34-33 lead, with Orman again taking 14. The Republicans do better if Patrick Wiesner, Taylor's little known primary challenger, gets to the general, but that's very unlikely: SurveyUSA gave Taylor a 48-17 lead in the primary.

MS-Sen: It's been a month since the votes were cast, but state Sen. Chris McDaniel has still not given up in his attempt to have the Republican primary runoff results thrown out and get a new election. McDaniel, who narrowly lost to Sen. Thad Cochran, has a long plan to accomplish his long-shot goal. The Washington Post has a great article explaining everything, as well as an excellent flow chart by Matt Steffey of the Mississippi College School of Law exploring how things may go from here.

MT-Sen: This does not fill me with confidence. After it emerged that appointed Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized large sections of his final war college paper in 2007, Walsh appeared to blame his behavior on combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. Walsh stated at the time, "I don't want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor. My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment."

However, on Friday, he backtracked in a radio interview. Walsh now says, "I am in no way, no way, tying what I did to any type of PTSD. That had nothing to do with the mistake that I made. … I may have said that, if that was the thought of that, that's not at all in any way what I meant or said." At a time when people are questioning his honesty and integrity, one of the worst things Walsh could do is change his story. It's very hard to see this matter ending well for him.

SC-Sen-A: Most of the interest in this race ended when Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham won re-nomination in mid-June, but Voter Survey Service, on behalf of local media, decided to survey voters on it anyway. The Palmetto Poll gives Graham a 46-33 lead over Democratic state Sen. Brad Hutto, with Libertarian Victor Kocher at 9.

When former Republican state Treasurer-turned convict-turned reality TV show star-turned independent Thomas Ravenel is added to the mix, things don't change much: Graham leads 45-33, with Ravenel taking 10 and Kocher down to 4. Graham is not popular, sporting a 39/44 approval. But in this conservative and quite polarized state, that's probably enough to win as a Republican incumbent.

WV-Sen: This seat has usually been viewed as a likely Republican pickup, with Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito clearly leading Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in what limited polling there is. Team Blue evidently isn't ready to write this one off though: Senate Majority PAC is spending $200,000 to blast Capito. The ads are playing in the fairly inexpensive Beckley, Charleston, and Clarksburg media markets, so SMP's spots should get more eyeballs than most buys of that size might in other states.

Senate ads:

IA-Sen: The Koch-backed ConcernedVets hits Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley for missing Veterans Affair Committee hearings to attend fundraisers.

KS-Sen: Sen. Pat Roberts goes after Republican primary challenger Milton Wolf over his history of posting and mocking gruesome pictures on Facebook, with the narrator mentioning that a medical board is investigating Wolf.

MI-Sen: Republican former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land talks about adopting more fair trade deals that will better serve Michigan.


MA-Gov: If I could pick one race this year to get a weekly tracking poll ... well, let's just say it certainly wouldn't be the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. The Boston Globe's poll, taken by SocialSphere, is at least somewhat interesting though, since it's seen the general election race between Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley and 2010 Republican nominee Charlie Baker getting closer this month, down to mid-single digits. This week's installment has Coakley up 38-33 against Baker, and leading Treasurer Steve Grossman 46-18 in the Democratic primary. (David Jarman)

OK-Gov: Ordinarily, when a candidate vaguely refers to an internal poll without providing topline numbers or the pollster's name, we don't bite. In this case, though, we will, because it provides some possible confirmation to last week's most 'wtf?' poll: a Rasmussen poll showing Republican incumbent Mary Fallin leading Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman only 45-40 in a previously uncompetitive race. In an introductory piece about Dorman in the Oklahoma Gazette, though, Dorman says that his most recent internal poll showed "a six point lead for Fallin," an improvement from a more-than-20-point gap in January. (David Jarman)

SC-Gov: With third party and independent candidates, there's always a real risk that they won't qualify for the ballot. In most races it doesn't matter, but in South Carolina's gubernatorial contest there has always been a real risk that former Republican-turned-independent Tom Ervin could take votes from Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

With Haley generally leading Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen by far from safe margins, Team Red would have preferred for Ervin to miss the ballot, but they won't get their wish this time: The state Election Commission has confirmed that Ervin will make the general election ballot. Ervin, a former state representative and judge, isn't incredibly well known, but he does have the ability to self-fund.

Gubernatorial ads:

AZ-Gov: Republican State Treasurer Doug Ducey's newest spot features a woman whose brother was murdered by drug cartels. She blames the Obama Administration's policies and touts Ducey as someone who will secure the border with Mexico.

HI-Gov: With the August 9 primary approaching, both Democratic candidates have new spots out. In Gov. Neil Abercrombie's first ad, a constituent touts how Abercrombie helped people get their money back after Manoa Finance collapsed. The governor's second commercial emphasizes Obama's endorsement.

State Sen. David Ige has trailed Abercrombie badly in the race for cash, but he's now airing his first TV ad. It's a biographical spot narrated by the candidate's wife, and does not mention Abercrombie.

PA-Gov: Republican Gov. Tom Corbett continues his $1.7 million July ad blitz, once again going after Democratic rival Tom Wolf on taxes.


FL-19: Yeah. So the new guy isn't very smart. At least there was no cocaine involved this time. That's progress, right?

NE-02: Republican Rep. Lee Terry keeps finding new ways to squeak by in this Omaha-area district, narrowly winning both primaries and generals, and now he seems to dodged one of the biggest bullets he's faced yet. Chip Maxwell, a former Republican state senator, had previously threatened to run an independent bid from Terry's right: This would have split the GOP vote in this swingy district and potentially handed the seat to the Democratic candidate, state Sen. Brad Ashford.

On Thursday, though, Maxwell reversed direction and said he won't run, instead preferring to focus on a 2016 GOP primary challenge to Terry. Even without Maxwell in the race, it's hardly a lost cause for Ashford: An early June internal poll from Ashford's camp had the race tied 41-41 even without factoring in a Maxwell candidacy. Still, thanks to turnout fluctuations, Terry tends to fare much better in off years than presidential years, and Ashford still faces an uphill climb. (David Jarman)

NY-21: New York's use of fusion voting and minor parties has previously created some quirky results in the 21st; in fact, that's a large part of why Democrat Bill Owens was able to win this seat in the first place in 2009 (thanks to Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman's run). Unfortunately, his would-be successor, Aaron Woolf, won't have the full advantage of that. Matt Doheny lost the Republican primary but has the Independence Party line, and there was an open question as to whether Doheny would forge on, which would split the GOP vote and give Woolf a better shot here.

Unfortunately, Doheny announced on Friday that he was standing down and wouldn't continue to campaign on the IP line, instead endorsing GOP nominee Elise Stefanik. There's still one hopeful angle here, though: Doheny's name will continue to remain on the ballot, meaning he'll still pick off a few votes, which could make all the difference in a close race. As New York politics devotees know, to truly get off the ballot, Doheny would have to be nominated for a judgeship, move entirely out of state, or die, and he doesn't seem to be planning to do any of those. (David Jarman)

House ads:

AZ-02: Republican Air Force veteran Martha McSally has a minute long spot with her friends and family praising her as someone who helps others in their time of need.

MN-08: House Majority PAC and AFSCME team up on a $150,000 buy hitting Republican Stewart Mills as an out of touch rich guy. The narrator criticizes Mills as someone who inherited his wealth but opposes paying taxes on it or raising the minimum wage.

Other races:

WA House: Here's one more addition to the "if Republicans are the ones always freaking out about voter fraud, why are they the ones always getting caught committing it?" pantheon. Republican state Rep. (and aspiring beefcake model) Mike Hope suddenly resigned on Friday after it was revealed that he's registered to vote in both Washington and Ohio. This won't shift the balance of power in Washington's state House though: Democrats are in control of the chamber 55-43, and Hope was already retiring in November from his swingy district. (David Jarman)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    Contributing Editor, Daily Kos Elections. 24, male, CA-18 (home and voting there), LA-02 (resident). Formerly known as Darth Jeff.

    by Jeff Singer on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 05:00:04 AM PDT

  •  Sam Brownback claims to be (7+ / 0-)

    Christian.  He's an elected public official.  

    A case could be made that he's failed at both public service and the central tenets of Christian teaching.  

    The voters in Kansas have a far better choice in this race.  I hope they make it.  Sounds like they're more than leaning that way already.  

    "...the baffled king composing 'Hallelujah'..." (Leonard Cohen)

    by Remediator on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:05:23 AM PDT

    •  I just shake my head.... (6+ / 0-)

      People are upset in Kansas because he's cut state income taxes and made brutal service cuts. Just look at his record and rhetoric. What did they think he was gonna do when they voted for him? There are times when you just can't save people from themselves.

      Just another day in Oceania.

      by drshatterhand on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:30:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People want to have it both ways (5+ / 0-)

        They want the services but they don't want to pay for them. That's what the problem is. Thankfully Kansans are much more willing to vote Democratic for Governor than they are for Senator or President.

        •  One thing (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stude Dude, Woody, Remediator, MarcKyle64

          Property taxes are already rising in response to Brownback's gutting of school funding.  We know (or at least we desperately hope) that state funding will pull back up when this tax plan gets tossed out, but our schools have to survive till then.  And the only way is through property tax hikes.  

          I think the combination of the two is what's really got my mom's generation mad.  

          These are the people who go to every ball game, every music concert, every school play, if they've got a grandkid participating.  And sometimes even if they don't have a descendant involved.  So the first major cuts are to music, arts, forensics, debate, and similar programs, and then they see the property tax statements that are anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars higher?  They are furious!

          And also, nearly everyone has a disabled friend or family member who is losing services due to Brownback's cuts.  That is too close to home for them to take.

          To the left, to the left....

          by CWinebrinner on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:34:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  His rhetoric (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Remediator, MarcKyle64

        While I think they expected and wanted some tax cuts, I think they thought they'd be more moderate rather than specifically exempting the Kochs from all state income taxes while cutting back on middle class exemptions. I mean, that's pretty ballsy right there. And then he breaks a (weasel worded) campaign promise that implied he wouldn't cut school funding.  

  •  This shows that for GOP voters, there's no (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, sulthernao, sap

    such thing as 'too far to the right' no matter what the rest of the voters think.

    One small good piece of news for Brownback is that he doesn't appear to be in any primary danger. SurveyUSA finds him leading unheralded primary challenger Jennifer Winn 60-30. Not an impressive result, but it does indicate that at least some people can still stand Sam Brownback.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:13:02 AM PDT

    •  Oddly, her opponent is a one-issue candidate. A... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MarcKyle64, birdboy2000

      Oddly, her opponent is a one-issue candidate. And that issue is marijuana. That she's polling at 30% shows that there's a strong bipartisan "anyone but Brownback" consensus.

    •  Winn's a protest vote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, Woody

      Brownback's gonna win the primary because Jennifer Winn is a "protest vote" candidate. She's got no real support, no money, and the only reason she's running is because her son is in jail for a drug-related murder and she wants to legalize pot.  (And she's still polling in double digits!)

      If Brownback had a legitimate Republican challenger, it would be a different story. For instance, if Sandy Praeger, the insurance commissioner had chosen to run against him, his nomination would be far from certain. She's been critical of Brownback's giving the middle finger to medicaid expansion -- and for reasons and even Republicans can understand. Instead, she's endorsed Davis in the general election.

      May contain literary devices. For adult consumption only.

      by Dead Eyed Suburbanite on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 10:06:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It just goes to show you that the extremist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    policies of GOP candidates are good talking points for many, but when the policies are put into place, the public sees the failings of them.

    By the authority vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm II, I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution...and the kiddie pool needs to stay open 24/7!

    by HarryParatestis on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:24:36 AM PDT

  •  AZ Republic endorsed Doug Ducey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Comment section, not so much.

    It is ridiculous to pretend that firing teachers based on student test scores, starting charter schools, giving out vouchers or implementing merit pay will overcome the challenges facing a child living in poverty. -Jersey Jazzman

    by Desert Rose on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:32:38 AM PDT

    •  It's an interesting endorsement (0+ / 0-)

      Basically, 'we like Smith better but his polling is bad, and we're declaring everybody else but Ducey an unserious candidate.'

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:48:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A quick perusal shows that most of Orman's cont... (0+ / 0-)

    A quick perusal shows that most of Orman's contributions come from outside of Kansas and that many have made both primary and general contributions.

    Orman has been connected with America Elect and similar millionaire austerity platforms. That is probably the secret to his fundraising prowess.

    •  Ah ha! (0+ / 0-)

      That exclamation is in response to your "millionaire austerity platforms" statement.  

      He looks good on camera, and his ads are catchy, but if he's another one with a man behind the curtain (probably named Koch), I don't want him!

      Thanks for the information!

      To the left, to the left....

      by CWinebrinner on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:37:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Roberts is going down in primary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I know its not what the polls are showing - but turnout is going to be low for the Aug 5 primary - and the Republican base in KS is all tea-party.  On the ground here - I see Wolf signs all over in moderate Johnson County (KC Suburbs) and nary a Roberts sign other than in parking lots of big companies.

    •  Americans for Prosperity (0+ / 0-)

      is running an ad currently badmouthing Roberts for his misstatements regarding residency and for his time in office (47 years!  My gosh).  They don't say anything regarding Wolf, since they are attempting to keep their tax-free status, but it's pretty obvious who they want to win.

      To the left, to the left....

      by CWinebrinner on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:40:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      I've never actually been to Kansas, but my political junkie Spidey-sense says this one has "possible upset" written all over it.

    •  Roberts' campaign isn't taking it for granted (0+ / 0-)

      The Roberts campaign sure isn't taking a victory for granted. They were going door-to-door here full force on Saturday. The literature emphasized Roberts' super-conservative bona fides and his veteran status:  endorsed by the NRA, loves him some Ted Cruz, has always hated that Obamacare like sin, hates him some United Nations taking away your kids, etc.

      Being in the middle of a diaper change -- for the baby, not me -- I didn't have time to chat much with the volunteer about which candidate would have the poorest chances in the general election. Neither Repub even qualifies as the lesser of two evils in that race. If Wolf really is willing to run as a write-in if he loses the primary and split the (R) vote, that'd be the best chance of electing a Democrat to the Senate from Kansas in a long time.

      May contain literary devices. For adult consumption only.

      by Dead Eyed Suburbanite on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 10:31:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dems not winning in KS Senate (0+ / 0-)

        I will say I heard Wolf interviewed, and he was fairly articulate - in a scary Huckabee kind of way - he's a nut, but he's a decent communicator.

        In other words, I just don't see Wolf losing the general as he is too smooth.

  •  NY-21 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Stude Dude

    I can't imagine why Woolf won't keep running ads attacking Doheny.

    Brownback's Republicans made a major effort to drive moderate Main Street Republicans out of office and out of the party.  Apparently they were even more successful than they had planned.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:59:58 AM PDT

  •  Orman is the only guy running TV ads to define ... (0+ / 0-)

    Orman is the only guy running TV ads to define himself. His campaign is really vague, but he paints himself as being a reasonable moderate who just wants to get the job done. It's a slick marketing campaign and I could see folks going for it.

  •  Vintage GOP governance... (0+ / 0-)
    Brownback cut taxes without any idea of how to make up for the lost revenue

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

    by tuma on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 09:09:53 AM PDT

  •  Sam Brownback is what's the matter with Kansas. (0+ / 0-)

    Sam Brownback is what's the matter with Kansas.

  •  Opus Dude (0+ / 0-)

    Brownback, of course, belongs to the self-flagellating, let's take a shower together and talk about Jee-zuss right wing whack job group Opus Dei- which in Latin mean Bat Sh*t Crazy.  I would recommend The Family, by Jeff Sharlet.  This is Sam Brownback and his ilk.  They really do believe they are holier than thou.

    Boycott WalMart-Papa Johns-BP and Jack Welch is still a pr*ck

    by truthronin on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 02:59:11 PM PDT

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