• AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake (R): $908K raised, $2.8 mil cash-on-hand
• ME-Sen: Charlie Summers (R): $204K raised
• MO-Sen: Sarah Steelman (R): $241K raised; John Brunner (R): $185K raised (plus $2.5 mil in self-funding)
• NE-Sen: Bob Kerrey (D): $2 mil raised
• TX-Sen: David Dewhurst (R): $1.5 mil raised (plus $4.5 mil self-loan); Ted Cruz (R): $1.7 mil raised
• WI-Sen: Mark Neumann (R): $733K raised (no self-funding); Tommy Thompson (R): $834K raised
• WV-Sen: Sen. Joe Manchin (D): $843K raised, $2.2 mil cash-on-hand
• IN-Gov: John Gregg (D): $1.8 mil raised; Rep. Mike Pence (R): $3 mil raised
• NY-Gov (2014): Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D): $5.8 mil raised, $19.3 mil cash-on-hand
• CT-Sen: Looks like it's game over in the GOP Senate primary in Connecticut. A month ago, ex-Rep. Chris Shays suggested he might not be able to air any television ads; now, after raising just $531K in the most recent quarter, he's confirmed he won't. Primary day is August 14, and pro-wrestling impresario Linda McMahon has been flooding the airwaves, so it's impossible to see how Shays turns this one around.
• MO-Sen: This lengthy bio piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch starts out bland (with the boring headline "Brunner touts business background in run for Senate") but quickly starts punching holes in Republican John Brunner's work resume, which he's been touting as his strongest selling point. The articles leaves a clear impression of a family-run company (a major firm, not a ma-and-pa shop) that was in much worse shape when Brunner left it than when he took over:
In his first years as Vi-Jon president, Brunner nearly killed the family business, he admits, with an ill-timed expansion powered by debt.
In a retreat, he sold off much of the company to pay creditors, then began a more measured expansion. In 2006, he sold a majority interest in the firm to Berkshire Partners, a private equity firm. The deal merged Vi-Jon with one of its major competitors and left the combined entity with a $245 million debt burden and a shaky credit rating.
Meanwhile, GOPer Todd Akin's released a second ad
featuring ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. It's very similar to the first
—they didn't even bother having Huck wear a different tie for this spot. (David Jarman & David Nir)
• NE-Sen: In Republican Deb Fischer's newest ad, an announcer who sounds like he just scarfed down a box of Pixy Stix races his way through the script, first complaining about Bob Kerrey's "false negative attacks," then attacking Kerrey (for living in New York, of course), then finally talking about how awesome Fischer is.
• NY-Sen: Republican nominee Wendy Long never expected to outraise Kirsten Gillibrand—that's reasonable; I'm not sure anybody other than Chuck Schumer could. But Wendy Long's post-primary report, covering most of June, had her spending more ($86K) than she took in ($70K) in that period, pushing her overall campaign debt up to $250K. She does have $96K CoH, although in the New York market, that will buy you a cup of coffee. (David Jarman)
• WA-Sen: Dem Sen. Maria Cantwell is up with her first ad of the cycle, a positive spot touting her work on behalf of the aerospace industry. (Think Boeing:Washington::Packers:Green Bay.)
• WI-Sen: Crunchtime's begun in Wisconsin, where various ad campaigns have begun to heat up in anticipation of the August Republican primary. Ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson tries to prove he'll fight to repeal Obamacare (despite previously expressing support for it) by showing he's still in the midst of a mid-life crisis. At least, that's how I'm interpreting the fact that his new ad (for a reported $125K buy) is devoted to showing him riding around on a motorcycle clad in black leather and sunglasses.
Meanwhile, in something of a Mexican standoff, businessman Eric Hovde has decided to aim his fire at ex-Rep. Mark Neumann, who's the intended beneficiary of a big new Club for Growth ad buy. Hovde paints Neumann as hypocritical conservative (he loves earmarks and raising the debt ceiling!), and also dings him for attacking everyone's favorite Republican, Scott Walker. (Neumann ran against Walker in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. I bet he wishes he could unsay anything negative he said about Walker back then.)
• FL-Gov: Through a spokesperson, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz made clear that she has no intention of running for Florida governor in 2014. The more interesting question here may be why such a dumb rumor got started in the first place (dumb because she's as well-positioned as anyone in her generation for a top slot in House Dem leadership, not something you piss away for a gubernatorial roll of the dice), and there are also meta-rumors that the DWS-for-governor rumor was planted by someone else trying to elbow her aside in the behind-the-scenes leadership struggle. (David Jarman)
• ND-Gov: Good news... we finally have our first poll of the North Dakota governor's race, which has been kind of an afterthought amidst the state's competitive Senate and at-large House races. Bad news... it's from Rasmussen, and they find appointed Republican incumbent John Dalrymple leading Democratic state Senate minority leader Ryan Taylor 61-26. (David Jarman)
• FL-18: Democrat Patrick Murphy is out with his first ads of the election cycle. In the first spot, he touts his background as a guy who builds buildings ("send a builder, not a talker" to Washington). The second ad goes directly after tea party superstar Allen West, with Murphy calling him out for "the taunts, the name-calling, the bullying and saying "we need some who'll lead, not divide."
• FL-22: Another South Florida Democrat is out with her first ad of the cycle, former West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel. I'm not sure what the deal is with her snapping and clapping that punctuates the ad, but for whatever reason, I think I like it! Frankel recites a litany of accomplishments but her occasional percussive interjections literally snap you back to attention and help make her delivery seem very natural.
• FL-26: This may be something of a prosecutorial fish story, embellishing the big one that just got away, but it does sound like embattled (sorry, it's mandatory journalese to refer to him as "embattled") Republican Rep. David Rivera was within a hair's-breadth of getting indicted last year. There was a 52-count complaint—based on Rivera's alleged theft and/or fraud of campaign funds—ready to go, but tensions between the two cooperating agencies, the state-level Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement and the county-level Miami-Dade state attorney's office caused the case to unravel.
Interestingly, you might think that the state's FDLE—perhaps under pressure from the state's Republican governor and/or AG—was the main actor in scrapping the case, but that's not what happened at all. Instead, the FDLE was eager to push forward, but the county-level prosecutors gradually lost confidence in the legal strength of the case, and, with time running out, the FDLE finally had to throw in the towel in the face of the local prosecutors dragging their feet. It's not the end of the story, as Rivera may still face federal-level inquiries, but it's not looking like any sort of indictment is forthcoming before the 2012 election.
Over on the Democratic side, it's a few days old, but businesswoman Gloria Romero Roses is out with an introductory ad which is decidedly aimed at the Democratic primary electorate. The announcer identifies her as a progressive and says she will "protect Medicare from tea party extremists." No word on the size of the buy, but Roses only raised $99K last quarter (plus she loaned $150K to herself).
Finally, the DCCC has done some reshuffling with its Red to Blue list; previously, FL-26 was listed as an "Emerging Race" with Roses as only mentioned candidate. That was rather awkward, since 2010 nominee Joe Garcia is also running. The D-Trip has now rectified the situation, removing Roses' name and also upgrading FL-26 to full-blown "Red to Blue" status. (David Jarman & David Nir)
• GA-12: State Rep. Lee Anderson, one of several Republicans vying to take on Dem Rep. John Barrow, touts his conservative upbringing and values (what else?) in this new ad. Perhaps the only interesting thing is that his logo (which features prominently in his ad) is a tractor. Obviously he's trying to stay away from his background as an elected official, which the spot doesn't mention at all.
• MI-13, MI-14: There are two potentially interesting tweets about two separate polls in two different Detroit-area congressional races, but unfortunately, they're from Inside Michigan Politics, a local tipsheet that puts most of its content behind a paywall. There's another problem, too: This is Practical Political Consulting's second Michigan poll in about a month; their prior effort was the sketchiest poll of the cycle back in June, a garbage set of numbers (in MI-14, on behalf of Rep. Hansen Clarke) that had a sample size of 168. I could believe that Rep. John Conyers has a 48-26 lead over state Sen. Glenn Anderson in MI-13, but there's no reason to trust PPC.
It's also not clear whether PPC is also responsible for the new MI-14 survey, but if it was conducted for IMP, you have to wonder why a pollster would do work on the same race both for an independent publication and a political campaign. [UPDATE: PPC conducted both polls for IMP, as well as the MI-14 poll from last month.] In any event, the numbers there purportedly show Rep. Gary Peters beating fellow Rep. Hansen Clarke 41-34. Again, though, be very wary of these results, given the source and how little information we have about them.
• MN-02: Democrat Mike Obermueller only got into the race against GOP Rep. John Kline a few months ago and raised about $220K in his first quarter, but he's already managed to reserve some $791K in TV time for the final month of the campaign. Now, this is just a reservation, so Obermueller hasn't actually had to put his house—or his kid—in hock to pay for it. But with only about $214K in the bank, he'll obviously need to raise quite a bit more to make good on the full amount.
• PA-12: The Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC is touting the toplines from a new Benenson Strategy Group poll which show Dem Rep. Mark Critz leading Republican Keith Rothfus 44-38. That's certainly not unwelcome news for Critz, but I suspect it will be a dogfight for either man to get to 50%.
• NY-24: You have to wonder whether national Republicans will even bother trying to prop up freshman Ann Marie Buerkle this year, especially after outbursts like this about Operation Fast and Furious. From a speech given on the House floor a couple of weeks ago:
"Syracuse, New York, in the heart of my district, is roughly 2,500 miles from Rio Rico, Arizona, where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was tragically shot and killed by an AK-47 assault rifle that the United States knowingly allowed into the hands of a suspected gun trafficker. Yet every time I'm home, it is the issue first and foremost on the minds of my constituents."
Buerkle's been getting reamed
locally for being so wildly out-of-touch, to the point that she had to backtrack (duh) on a recent telephone town hall, claiming that the "economy and jobs are my first priority." And to give you a further sense of how naïve Buerkle is, she originally told the Syracuse Post-Standard
that she "she receives more feedback on Operation Fast and Furious than any other issue" (in the paper's words)—but not counting issues "ginned up" by advocacy groups. Amazing that she doesn't realize Fast and Furious is just as "ginned up" as anything else, if not more so.
• OK-02: I think state Rep. George Faught is really pushing it with this ad: He's attacking Markwayne Mullin, his Republican runoff opponent, because Mullin's plumbing company employed an ex-con who had been convicted on gun charges, and Mullin apparently went shooting with this guy. (There's some backstory here and here; this all came to light when the dude was arrested again in 2009 and charged with various crimes.) Faught thinks this means Mullin is "reckless"; to me, this means Faught is reaching.
• RI-01: ConservaDem businessman Anthony Gemma—whose zero-vote tally at the recent state convention indicates how little interest the local Democratic establishment has in him—is trying to mend some fences after his recent refusal to even commit to endorsing fellow Dems Sheldon Whitehouse and Jim Langevin. In a Friday statement, Gemma said that yes, he will engage in the most minimal level of team-player-ism and back the state's other Dems in November. But Gemma held fast to his insistence that he wouldn't support the man he's trying to unseat, Rep. David Cicilline, should Cicilline prevail in the primary. (David Jarman)
• TN-03: The American Conservative Union is spending some $31K on a radio ad boosting Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who faces two well-connected opponents in the GOP primary.
• WA-01: Given Suzan DelBene's personal wealth—she's a former Microsoft executive who put $2.3 million of her own money into her 2010 race against Republican Rep. Dave Reichert—it always seemed like a question of when, not whether, she'd go big again. According to her just-filed quarterly FEC report, DelBene's self-funded to the tune of $1 million; presumably a big TV buy can't be far behind. (Interestingly, it's a direct contribution, rather than a loan.)
Meanwhile, the Seattle Times has cracked the code on who's behind the new super PAC Progress for Washington, which has been spending a good chunk of change on mailers attacking DelBene's business record. (They just dropped another $21K, for a total of $85K so far.) It turns out their prime funder (to the tune of $115K) is one Margaret Rothschild, who happens to be the mother of ex-state Rep. Laura Ruderman, a DelBene opponent. Whether on the playground or in politics, it's never a picture of strength when mom has to bail you out.
• IA-St. Sen: Remember that state Senate special election in Iowa last year, where control of the chamber hung in the balance, and which Liz Mathis won to keep the Senate in Democratic hands. Well, that seat is in the news again, and you've gotta check this story out. You've just gotta. Trust me.
• Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso is back on the special election beat with his first writeup since April. Why the big gap? Johnny never misses a step—there's simply been a big slowdown in the number of specials this year versus last year.
South Carolina SD-41: A Republican district in suburban Charleston, the previous incumbent is became Lt. Governor after the prior LG resigned earlier this year. Candidates are Democrat Paul Tinker, a former member of the Charleston City Council, Republican Walter Hundley, an attorney, and Green Sue Edward, chair of the county Green Party. In a rather unusual situation, Hundley is running for the remainder of the current term but isn't running for the full term up for election in November. The district went 52-46 McCain in '08.
Looks like it's just this one and Jane Orie's seat in Pennsylvania next month for the rest of the year. A lot of state legislators were elected to other offices in 2010 or appointed to state offices by newly-elected governors. There weren't many elections in November of 2011 to cause the same this year.
• MN GOP: There are plenty of possible nominees for the most dysfunctional state party in the country (Nevada's state GOP and North Carolina's state Dems are currently at the top of the list), but Minnesota's Republican Party keeps finding new ways to take the cake. And this newest development won't help them dig out from under that pile of $2 million in debt (much of that legal bills from the Tom Emmer recount in 2010). They just got fined another $30,000 by the state for taking inappropriate campaign contributions from a shell company created to help pay for the 2010 recount. (David Jarman)
• Voter Suppression: I'm not sure there's enough information out there to quantify how much voter suppression efforts (like newly-implemented voter ID laws) will actually shave Democratic margins in the 2012 election, but Nate Silver is the first person to actually try and estimate that. And I don't think it'll do much to placate the more hand-wringing-prone segments of the liberal blogosphere, but his efforts suggest that it won't have much of a determinative effect on the presidential election, with the biggest effect coming in Pennsylvania, where the model projects a net 1.2% swing toward the Republican candidate. (That's not enough to impact the presidential race, though potentially it could impact close House races... but affected voters seem likely to be disproportionately in dark-blue districts rather than swing districts.) If nothing else, there's a helpful chart in here showing the impact in each of the seven states that have implemented new laws since 2008. (David Jarman)
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