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Leading Off:

UT-04: Hrm. A new poll from Dan Jones & Associates and the Cicero Group, conducted on behalf of and, oddly enough, Zions Bank, finds Republican Mia Love with a deeply unimpressive 44-32 lead on Democrat Doug Owens. Love, who biffed what should have been a sure thing against Rep. Jim Matheson in 2012, should presumably have a much easier time of things now that Matheson's retiring, especially since Mitt Romney carried this district by a 67-30 margin. Indeed, in a hypothetical rematch with Matheson, loves trails 45-39.

A recent Owens internal also wasn't gangbusters for Love, though she sported a healthier 50-41 lead. But perhaps this is a rare seat where Democrats are better off in a non-presidential year, especially since Utah claimed Romney as a native son. By way of contrast, John McCain only won the 4th by a much smaller 56-41 spread—still very inhospitable numbers, but much less daunting than what Romney put up.

It's still exceedingly hard to imagine Owens holding this seat for Democrats, but Love was roundly criticized by members of her own party for running a "disorganized, amateurish campaign," so if she hasn't learned her lessons, perhaps she might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again. It's also tempting to imagine a "what-if" scenario where Matheson had decided to run again, but alas, we can only wonder.


AK-Sen: A new Moore Information poll of the Republican Senate primary for Dan Sullivan finds, contra other recent surveys, that Sullivan has surged into a 42-25 lead on Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, with Joe Miller at 17. Just a week earlier, Moore had Sullivan up 35-27, very similar to PPP's 35-29 edge for Sullivan, and also supported by some other polls as well. Obviously Sullivan wants to push back against the idea that the race is tightening, but let's see if anyone else confirms.

At least one other data point suggests the opposite. Put Alaska First, the pro-Democratic super PAC that's been supporting Sen. Mark Begich's re-election effort, is airing a new ad (backed by a $250,000 buy) that goes after both Sullivan and Treadwell. The spot reiterates earlier attacks that Sullivan "tried to give government more power over our land and water," then hits Treadwell on decidedly libertarian themes, accusing him of creating a company "that helped the government spy on people" and launching "another company that pushed a national ID card."

There are lots of ways you can interpret this effort: PAF could be trying to prop up Treadwell by making it look like Democrats think he's worth taking seriously; they could be trying to knock both him and Sullivan down in a longshot effort to prop up Miller; or they could be trying to soften up both Treadwell and Sullivan, since they aren't sure who the nominee will be but want to drive up his negatives as soon as possible regardless of who it is. It's possible PAF thinks Treadwell has no hope and is just playing head games, but since they're spending real money to tar him, it's possible he still has a shot, regardless of what Sullivan's polling says.

CO-Sen: Most Republican ads featuring alleged tales of woe about Obamacare have come from third-party groups, but in his latest television spot, GOP Rep. Cory Gardner narrates his own sob story:

When Mark Udall voted for Obamacare, he promised us if we liked our health care plan, we could keep it. Well you know how that worked out.

I got a letter saying my family's plan was cancelled. 335,000 Coloradans had their plans cancelled too. Thousands of families saw their healthcare premiums rise. More cancellations are on the way. You might have one of those letters in your mailbox right now.

I'm Cory Gardner. I approved this message. Let's shake up the Senate.

And as with those ads from Americans for Prosperity or American Crossroads, there's plenty to pick apart here. Gardner's been claiming his insurance plan got cancelled for quite some time, and in the past, he repeatedly said that his premiums had more than doubled. But Gardner never offered any evidence for that assertion, even though KDVR asked him for it five times, and it seems like he's dropped it now.

As for those allegedly cancelled plans, 92 percent of policy-holders were allowed to keep them. What's more, according to Gallup, the number of Coloradans who were uninsured fell by more than a third between 2013 and 2014—the fifth-largest drop in the nation. And premiums are set to increase just 3.6 percent in Colorado, compared to an average of 7.6 percent a year between 1991 and 2009. So the statistics Gardner's citing may sound scary, but they lack resonance.

Finally, you might be wondering how it was that Gardner was even in a position to have his own insurance plan cancelled in the first place. Yes, members of Congress are now required to purchase insurance on the exchanges, but this cancellation happened last year, before the law went into effect. It turns out that Gardner voluntarily chose to decline congressional coverage and bought his own insurance in its place—an extremely expensive decision that's comparable to turning down a bus pass from your employer and leasing a BMW instead.

As one healthcare expert put it, most people "don't have the resources" to do something like that (nor would they want to), so even if Gardner's story is accurate, it's "not the norm." You might almost imagine that Gardner did all this to make an asinine political point, one he's now trying to capitalize on. But what politician would ever do a thing like that?

KS-Sen: Rasmussen: Pat Roberts (R-inc): 44, Chad Taylor (D): 40 (April: 50-32 Roberts). Rasmussen, which typically does not poll third parties, failed to include wealthy independent Greg Orman, who has already been advertising on TV.


IL-Gov: We Ask America: Bruce Rauner (R) 51, Pat Quinn (D-inc): 38 (July: 47-33 Rauner); Gravis Marketing: Rauner 48, Quinn 40.


AZ-07: In Arizona's 7th District, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox already turned the Democratic primary ugly back in June, and now she's escalated to plug-ugly. In a new mailer featuring a prominent likeness of Trayvon Martin, Wilcox accuses state Rep. Ruben Gallego of making similar tragedies more likely by voting for a bill that expanded "stand-your-ground" laws in Arizona. The flyer also cites Gallego's "B+" rating from the NRA.

It's probably not the sort of move a campaign that's ahead in the polls would make, and indeed, Wilcox has trailed in all three publicly released surveys of the race (two of which were Gallego internals). But Gallego's also going on the attack with his own mailers, accusing of owing $50,000 in unpaid taxes while arranging sweetheart deals for herself through her role in county government. With just two weeks left to go before Election Day, things are only likely to get messier here.

MT-AL: Montana Democrats must feel there's some hidden dirt on former state Sen. Ryan Zinke, because they keep pressing for further disclosures of his personnel records from his time as a Navy SEAL. But so far, it's been a total debacle, because the information Zinke's released so far has just given him a chance to tout his extensive decorations (including two Bronze Stars), the injuries he suffered that forced him to retire, and his stellar evaluations ("Ranks at the top of any list," "Select for command now!" etc.)

Ridiculously, Democrats are harping on the fact that the Navy once required Zinke to pay back $211 for airfare to visit Montana to scout out SEAL training sites. Zinke's smartly turned that one around, too, saying, "I probably shouldn't have pressed Montana so much, but I'm from Montana so I felt pretty strongly about it." Democrats seem to think there's more out there, but it sounds like Zinke had an exceptional military career, and this fishing expedition has already backfired.

Other Races:

VA State Senate: Blargh. Virginia state Rep. Rosalyn Dance—one of two Democratic legislators who threatened to help the GOP pass its outrageous (and subsequently torpedoed) re-redistricting scheme last year—won a party caucus for a vacant state Senate seat on Saturday night. In a real insult, the seat she'll take over belonged to Henry Marsh, the civil rights veteran whose temporary absence from Richmond to attend Obama's inauguration allowed Republicans to ram through their redistricting plan in the first place. It looks like several candidates from Richmond split the vote, allowing Dance, who is from Petersburg, to win a plurality. Sucky.

Grab Bag:

AL State Senate: This long read from the New Republic's Jason Zengerle isn't newsy, but it's the most worthwhile thing you'll read today. Zengerle examines the conundrum of how African-American political power in the Deep South is at its lowest ebb in decades even though the number of African-American elected officials is near an all-time high; he weaves together the role of the Voting Rights Act and gerrymandering, the historical shift of white Southerners from the Democrats to the Republicans, and the personal story of one Democratic legislator in Alabama trying to hold the line. (David Jarman)

FL Redistricting: We've already discussed how minor the GOP's proposed corrections to Florida's congressional lines are, but this excellent interactive map from the Orlando Sentinel illustrates just how small the differences are better than mere words can. You can also get a sense by looking at the changes in the presidential vote according to congressional district: Only seven districts were affected, and all of the shifts were pretty minor.

Polltopia: The Upshot's Josh Katz deftly deconstructs an oft-repeated complaint, that Alaska is a particularly difficult state to poll. While the Last Frontier is above average in terms of the kind of yielding off-base polling, there are other states that have had greater average pollster-added error in the last few decades of Senate polling, and you certainly don't hear many people complaining about how difficult it is to survey Maine, for instance. (Notably, Hawaii isn't on his list, though, speaking of other states currently in the news for being allegedly hard to poll ....)

Moreover, there's nothing unusual about Alaska's demographics that should cause it to be more troublesome. The issues that pollsters actually cite as making it challenging to poll, such as transient residents often moving in or out of the state, or a diverse population with certain subpopulations likely to be cellphone-only or Internet-only, are endemic everywhere. (David Jarman)

Primaries: Tuesday brings us primaries in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (and our fourth primary night in the last eight days); we have our preview here. The GOP will decide their nominees in the Connecticut and Minnesota gubernatorial races, there will be open GOP races in MN-06 and WI-06, and Wisconsin Democrats will pick their candidate for the very competitive attorney general's race. (Jeff Singer)

Ads & Independent Expenditures (Jeff Singer):

AR-Sen: Republican Rep. Tom Cotton defends himself from a recent Democratic ad that accused him of voting against funding a children's hospital. The narrator instead accuses Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of being the one who voted to cut the hospital budget.

CO-Sen: Fair Share Action ties Republican Rep. Cory Gardner to the Koch Brothers. The group is funded by wealthy Democratic activist Tim Gill, and the spot has $300,000 behind it.

KY-Sen: Senate Majority PAC spends $276,000 against Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

MI-Sen: Republican Terri Lynn Land once again accuses Democratic Rep. Gary Peters of being a flip-flopper when it comes to border security. The spot is very similar to another Land ad from last week.

NH-Sen: Former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown has a 15-second spot hitting Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on border security. Luckily for Brown, the ad's short enough that he doesn't need to get around to explaining what he did in the Senate to deal with the issue.

NC-Sen: Senate Majority PAC spends $265,000 against Republican Thom Tillis.

AZ-Gov: Republican Corporate executive Christine Jones highlights her background and independence from special interests, stating that "No special interests paid for this ad. I did, with money I earned myself. It's my pledge to be nobody's governor but yours." Wealthy candidates often say something like this to argue that they won't be financially beholden to any outside groups, but it's still pretty unusual for someone to put it quite this way.

FL-Gov: The Republican Party of Florida accuses Democrat Charlie Crist of being a hypocrite when it comes to polluters. Crist in turn goes after Republican Gov. Rick Scott on the infamous Medicare fraud fine leveled against his old company, featuring clips of Scott evading questions about it during a deposition.

IL-Gov: Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn hits Republican Bruce Rauner over recent revelations that Rauner stashed money in the Cayman Islands, ostensibly to avoid taxes. The ad is basically an adaptation of Obama's legendary "Firms" ad against Mitt Romney. This one features headlines about Rauner's vulture capitalist dealings in place of any narration, with a clip of Rauner declaring "I love this state" constantly on repeat.

MA-Gov: Democratic Treasurer Steve Grossman calls for universal pre-kindergarten. The campaign in spending $250,000 on the spot. Democratic primary frontrunner Martha Coakley is also scheduled to go one the air with her first ad this week, spending $56,000 on it.

SC-Gov: Republican-turned-independent Tom Ervin is up one the air with two spots (here and here). The first ad has Ervin call for various economic fixes, including raising the minimum wage and eliminating the personal income tax. The second commercial is narrated by Ervin's wife and describes how he paid for a World War II veteran's funeral after the VA supposedly wouldn't. There's no word on the size of the buy for either spot, but Erwin has spent a reported $1.4 million of his own money so far.

FL-18: Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy is out with his first spot, stressing his independence from party politics.

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

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  NY-Gov : Cuomo (7+ / 0-)

    loses court fight to throw Zephyr Teachout off the Democratic primary ballot.  Spokesman for the Cuomo campaign says they will appeal.

    Anyone arguing that there's no difference between the parties is a fucking moron who can simply go to hell. -- kos

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 05:27:28 AM PDT

  •  Mia Love (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, Stude Dude

    It looks like the GOP will still get a token African American female that they can show off to show how diverse they are.

  •  Ervin spending $2 million on the ads (0+ / 0-)

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 05:46:42 AM PDT

  •  VA State Senate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patate, milkbone

    The race for this senate seat in Virginia was fascinating:

    Governor Terry MacAuliffe nominated the Reverend Dwight Jones, Mayor of Richmond, earlier this year.  The Virginia Democratic Party State Central Committee pushed back hard, led by the LGBT community statewide, because of Jones' bigoted views against gay marriage.  Ultimately, the governor got his way and Jones was installed as chair, but there are still bad feelings toward Jones simmering just below the surface.

    Mayor Jones tried to push through a huge baseball stadium in Richmond, that met with HUGE opposition, and ultimately the idea died but apparently it really kicked up a lot of dust in the city, and is still harboring a lot of bad feelings.    

    Richmond state legislature Delores McQuinn was running for this senate seat against Dance, which was represented by Henry March for decades.  Marsh apparently was a huge civil rights lawyer in Richmond for decades.

    McQuinn was a huge backer of the baseball stadium and several days before the fire house primary, Quinn's campaign had Mayor Jones, in his capacity as Mayor of Richmond and Chairman of the Virginia Democratic, record a robo call on behalf of McQuinn, that was sent to tens of thousands of registered voters.  

    As a result, the issue of the baseball stadium blew up in McQuinn's face, as many opponents turned out to vote against McQuinn and Jones over the baseball stadium, allowing Dance to win the seat.

    Meanwhile, since McQuinn lost her seat, she stays put in her state legislature seat, which is really ironic, because if she had won, Jones' son, a minister at Jones' church, would have run in a primary for McQuinn's seat.  

    Jones apparently wants to run for Lt. Governor in 2017, but his opposition to gay marriage, his inability to push through his agenda as mayor in Richmond, and the clear political backlash that has popped up to his leadership in Richmond amongst Democrats seems to be crippling his ability to run for Lt. Governor.  

    "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

    by unapologeticliberal777 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 05:58:16 AM PDT

  •  Hmmm... looks like Sam Brownpants (8+ / 0-)

    is trying to take Pat Roberts down with him.  Fine with me.  That's just another race on which the GOP will be forced to spend money to defend, and less money to spend on other races like Kentucky and North Carolina.

    by Da Fireball on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 06:12:07 AM PDT

  •  I think the KS - SEN poll from Rasmussen is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, wdrath, James Allen, camlbacker

    supposed to be Roberts (R): 44 and Taylor (D): 40...

     I would be ecstatic if it were tied.

  •  Patrick Murphy's spot sounds like a typical (0+ / 0-)

    fake conservative, Republican who is a DINO.

    He claims to have cut BILLIONS and BILLIONS from the budget but he blithely fulfilled his obligations to his corporate masters by voting against reform of sugar industry welfare price supports.

    He seems so in love with himself and his awesome bipartisanship!  He's a tool.

  •  About that 44% figure for Mia Love (6+ / 0-)

    Mormon in Utah - check
    Conservative - check
    Whackjob birther - check
    Female - depends, hot? Yes. Okay, then - check

    Black - aahhhhh! Run away! Run very far away!!

    That's why she's not looking that good in the reddest part of America.

    It's really hard to look inclusive when you aren't, even when Hollywood Casting drops perfection in your lap.

    Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

    by pucklady on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 07:26:43 AM PDT

  •  Not to prejudicial(ly) generalize, but... (0+ / 0-)

    I truly don't know what to make of a Black, female, Mormon, republican.
    Mia Love takes the concept of anomaly to a whole new level.


    "These 'Yet To Be' United States" --James Baldwin--

    by kevinbr38 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 07:31:41 AM PDT

    •  I think it's great (0+ / 0-)

      I think Black Republicans are good for America, to be honest.  As long as we're going to have Republicans, and my Magic 8-Ball says it will be for another few years at least, they might as well have some faint representation of our diversity.  The only thing I don't like about Black Republicans is that they're even more disproportionately crazy than Republicans as a whole.  (Not having been born yesterday, I recognize that this isn't just some random outcome--it's overdetermined, as the Marxist theory of my youth would have it.)  

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 07:57:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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