• CT-Gov: Whoa, this is just nuts. Tom Foley, the frontrunner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Connecticut, decided to make a campaign stop at a paper goods plants whose owners had just decided to shutter it, in theory because he wanted to blame the closure on the policies of Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy. Instead, Foley actually wound up blaming the workers themselves for the plant's closure—I shit you not:
"You want to blame people who are hundreds or thousands of miles away, malign management," Foley told the workers and First Selectwoman Cathy Osten, a Democratic state senator and Malloy supporter. "Listen, you have failed, because you have lost these jobs."Wow. Just wow. I think even Mitt Romney would have been embarrassed to say something like this. And this quote hardly does justice to the whole debacle. Foley spent a full 30 train-wrecked minutes staging this "press conference" in which he chomped down on both feet so hard he'd going to need physical therapy to walk straight again. (You can watch the entire disaster here.) For a wealthy, self-funding businessman who owns a private jet, this kind of utter tone-deafness can be ruinous.
But Malloy will need Foley to keep undermining himself, because the polling has shown him quite vulnerable. And a new survey from Republican outfit Vox Populi finds the two all but tied, with Malloy ahead 35-34. That leaves a ton of undecideds, of course, making this poll not particularly valuable, but the one bit of good news is that left-leaning independent Jonathan Pelto only garners 3 percent. In a close race, that could be a lot, but at least Pelto isn't pulling down more sizable numbers, something Malloy can ill afford.
• AK-Sen: A month-old poll from Maryland-based Republican pollster Basswood Research has just surfaced, taken on behalf of an Alaska candidate who is not running for Senate. But some Senate toplines were included, and they find Republican Dan Sullivan beating Democratic Sen. Mark Begich 45-40. HuffPo Pollster's average currently has Begich up 49-44 on Sullivan, but that seems to be heavily influenced by YouGov's very Dem-friendly poll that just put Begich on top 49-37.
• NV-Sen, -Gov: No one cares about Nevada's governor's race this year, since GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval is on cruise control against his utterly Some Dude Democratic opponent, Bob Goodman. And that's exactly what a new survey from Republican pollster Harper Polling shows, with Sandoval ahead 56-34. But Harper also included a hypothetical 2016 match between Sandoval and Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who will be up for re-election that year. Sandoval leads Reid 53-43, but of course, Harper is trying to poll a presidential-year race with a midterm-year model. They're certainly not alone: A lot of firms like to toss in these sorts of questions for fun. But that's all they're good for—fun.
• SD-Sen: It's well outside the ordinary to release an internal poll that shows you taking just a quarter of the vote in a general election, but then again, South Dakota's Senate race this year is pretty strange to begin with. Democrat Rick Weiland just published numbers from Clarity Campaigns that give Republican Mike Rounds a 34-24 lead, with Obama-supporting Republican-turned-independent Larry Pressler at 10 and Republican-turned-independent Gordon Howie, a conservative true believer, at just 3.
That leaves a very large 29 percent undecided, and Clarity's memo tries to suggest that this pool of voters is fairly equally divided, with 42 percent leaning Republican and 36 percent leaning Democratic. The difficulty for Weiland, though, is that he's 10 points behind, so if these voters wind up cleaving to their expected party preferences, he can't make up any ground.
Still, Rounds has only managed a plurality in all four polls that have included Pressler—though whoever wins this race may indeed do so with something like 40 percent. And interestingly, the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity recently said it would open an office in South Dakota. There's no word as to whether they'll spend real money on this race, but the fact that they're even keeping an eye on it is notable.
• TN-Sen: With just a week to go until the GOP primary, Sen. Lamar! Alexander leads state Rep. Joe Carr by a 53-24 margin according to his latest internal poll from North Star Opinion Research. That's a pretty minimal change from Alexander's previous poll 10 days ago, which had him ahead 53-21. Early in July, a Tea Party Nation-sponsored poll pegged the contest as just a 7-point race, but no further polling has substantiated that claim.
• IL-Gov: A new poll for the Illinois Education Association from Democratic pollster Harstad Research finds Republican businessman Bruce Rauner leading Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn by a 46-42 margin, numbers that the IEA (which has endorsed Quinn) is trying to portray as a "dead heat." But if I were them, I'd be feeling pretty queasy if the best a friendly internal can do is show a very vulnerable incumbent at 42 percent. Maybe Quinn has some sleeves we don't know about that have unseen tricks stuffed up in them, but the guy sure ain't looking hale.
• KS-04: A couple of outside groups have spent a bit o' cash on next week's GOP primary in Kansas' 4th Congressional District, where ex-Rep. Todd Tiahrt is trying to win back his old seat from the guy he wholeheartedly endorsed to replace him, Rep. Mike Pompeo. One $40,000 ad buy comes from Kansans for Responsible Government, a PAC run by Wink Hartman, who ran against Pompeo in 2010 and loathed him so much he threatened to continue on as an independent. (Alas, he demurred.)
Meanwhile, a group called Every Voice Action is jumping in with a bigger $125,000 expenditure also targeting Pompeo. We don't have copies of the actual ads, but if it's these guys, then they're a sort of anti-big money group, which is interesting since you don't exactly associate Todd Tiahrt with goo-goo causes.
• MI-14, -03, -04: Thanks to the gracious Kyle Melinn and the assiduous folks at the subscription-based tipsheet MIRS News, we have our hands on a big batch of new polling data for next week's primaries in Michigan. And a major upset may be brewing in at least one race:
• MI-03 (R): Strategic National: Rep. Justin Amash: 51, Brian Ellis: 31 (Mid-July: 47-24 Amash).It's that last poll that stands out as "whoa!" Clarke, a former congressman, and Lawrence, the mayor of Southfield and the 2010 Democratic lieutenant governor nominee, have each produced polls showing them in the lead for the dark blue 14th, based in Detroit, while Hobbs, a state representative, has always been the third wheel. But Hobbs has done a much better job consolidating establishment support, ranging from the local chamber of commerce, the UAW, and Sen. Carl Levin, as well as his brother, Rep. Sandy Levin, whose GOAL PAC paid for this poll and has also sent mailers on Hobbs' behalf.
On Wednesday, Hobbs got a further big boost, earning the endorsement of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who powered his way to an unlikely victory of his own last year. And while this poll is from an interested party, it could also help Hobbs change perceptions about his chances in the waning days of the race. If he pulls off a win here, it would be most impressive indeed.
As for the two Republican primaries on the board, Amash's large lead on Ellis remains largely unchanged in the 3rd, though the Club for Growth isn't taking any changes and is spending $138,000 on TV ads to help Amash down the stretch. However, over in the 4th, an earlier poll from EPIC-MRA showed Moolenaar far behind the self-funding Mitchell, who'd pounded his opponent with tons of negative ads. But now both Mitchell Research and Strategic National agree that the race is a dead-even tossup. If nothing else, Tuesday should be interesting in Michigan.
• TN-04: Here's another anecdotal-but-interesting piece on another Republican primary in Tennessee, this time in the 4th District. That's where Rep. Scott DesJarlais is ostensibly fighting for his political life in his first renomination battle since revelations two years ago that he carried on an affair with a patient, then pushed her to get an abortion. The shocking scandal nearly cost DesJarlais his seat in 2012, despite the district's heavy Republican lean, and many political observers figured he'd be doomed this year.
And the early signs this cycle all pointed in exactly that direction. DesJarlais wound up with just a single challenger, state Sen. Jim Tracy, a credible opponent and strong fundraiser. Indeed, as Tracy pulled in big dollars, DesJarlais' own finances dried up, making him look more vulnerable than ever. But as Emily Cahn now writes, some Tennessee Republicans think that enough voters have forgiven DesJarlais at this point to allow him to survive.
And with just a week to go before the primary, Tracy finally went negative on DesJarlais with TV attack ads about his infamous Scandal—not a sign that Tracy thinks he's winning. (Weirdly, though, Tracy seemed to pull his punch.) What's more, a poll released in early July gave DesJarlais a 45-20 lead; Tracy's camp sniffed at the results but refused to provide contradictory numbers of their own. If DesJarlais does in fact pull this one out, he'd just be the latest in a long line of family values transgressors to nevertheless earn absolution from conservative voters.
• CO-AG: The Republican group oriented toward winning attorney general races, RAGA (or the Republican Attorneys General Association), just anted up a $2.6 million reservation for television ads in Colorado's hotly contested open-seat race between Republican Cynthia Coffman (the wife of Rep. Mike Coffman) and Democrat Don Quick. It's a big chunk of the $7.4 million in contributions that RAGA has taken in this cycle, and that's already quadruple the most anyone has ever spent trying to win the state's top legal job before (Coffman herself has raised only $253,000 so far). As a point of comparison, Democrat Kamala Harris raised $4 million to win California's attorney general race in 2010, a state with more than seven times as many residents to reach. (David Jarman)
Ads (Jeff Singer):
• MT-Sen: Republican Rep. Steve Daines talks about how he'll embody the spirit of Montana, a place "where your word is your bond." Daines doesn't directly bring up his Democratic opponent Sen. John Walsh or his plagiarism scandal, but it's not hard to read into the subtext of this spot.