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• AR-Sen: Mark Brantley of the alt-weekly Arkansas Times has gotten his hands on a late July poll from Clark Research, taken on behalf of AFSCME, that's mostly about the minimum wage but leads off with some questions on some horserace matters. Dem Sen. Mark Pryor leads GOP Rep. Tom Cotton in the Senate race by a 43-35 margin, and since we have access to the actual questionnaire, we can see that leaners were apparently not pushed. Pryor sports a decent 47-34 favorability rating, but no incumbent likes to be in the low 40s, even with this many undecideds, especially in a poll by an ostensible ally. Cotton, meanwhile, has room to grow: He has 28-22 favorables, meaning half the state still doesn't know who he is.
On a related note, a new University of Minnesota study finds that 88 senators ran in a general election after not facing a major party opponent the previous cycle, which is exactly what happened to Pryor in 2008, when the GOP failed to put up any candidate at all. (Kind of amazing, right?) The kicker is that all 88 have won their next race, so if Pryor were to lose next year, he'd be the first ever to do so in this situation.
P.S. As in Louisiana (see LA-Sen item below), Magellan also has a re-elects-only poll of Arkansas that bizarrely doesn't include Cotton at all.
• KY-Sen: Sarah Mimms has helpfully rounded up a bunch of reports on Fancy Farm, the annual political picnic hosted by a church in the far western part of Kentucky, where office-seeking hopefuls give speeches while being heckled by mobs of their opponents' supporters. Sen. Mitch McConnell's GOP primary challenger, businessman Matt Bevin, seemed to earn the highest marks, while Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes also received some praise; both lit into the incumbent. McConnell didn't necessarily do badly himself, but he's a known quantity—and he and his entourage did duck out before Bevin's address. C-SPAN has video of all the speeches.
• LA-Sen: So Republican pollster Magellan just tested Dem Sen. Mary Landrieu's re-elects, but didn't bother to ask a head-to-head pairing her with GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy, her chief opponent? Sketchy.
• MT-Sen: One of the biggest names left on the Democratic bench in Montana, Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, announced on Monday that she would not run for the Senate seat being left open by Max Baucus's retirement. (For what it's worth, she also said she wouldn't run for the House, though she says she's not "done with public service.") Several other possibilities remain, though, including state Supreme Court Justice Brian Morris, Lt. Gov. John Walsh, and state Sen. Kendall van Dyk (though one local blogger claimed he was out).
The person who appears furthest along with a potential bid is John Lewis, who just resigned as Baucus's state director to explore a run for statewide office. When Lewis first came up last month, he was mentioned as a possible DCCC recruit for MT-AL, should Rep. Steve Daines seek a promotion to the Senate, but now Lewis is apparently considering both races.
• NH-Sen: So annoying (and unfunny). After telling Rep. Peter King that "all the rumors are true" about him running against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen—and prompting a round of tweets and blog posts—Republican state Sen. Jeb Bradley later took it back and claimed he was "sort of joking" about it. I guess he had his fingers crossed. Seriously, politicians, don't do this.
• NJ-Sen: With just a week to go before the Democratic primary, Rep. Rush Holt is airing his first TV ad, in which he touts his nerd credentials ("the scientist who beat the supercomputer in Jeopardy"), then says Cory Booker is "no progressive" because he doesn't support a "carbon tax to stop climate change, break[ing] up the Wall Street banks, and stop[ping] the government spying on innocent Americans." As attack ads go, it's quite mild, and it actually sticks to the issues, though I'm sure Booker would take exception to how Holt has characterized his views. The buy is reportedly for $350,000.
Candidates have also filed pre-primary fundraising reports, and as you'd expect, Booker remains way out in front. From July 1 through 24, Booker took in $2.1 million, while Holt raised $355,000, Rep. Frank Pallone $180,000, and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver just $12,000. Booker also has $4.1 million in cash-on-hand, versus $2.6 million for Pallone, $667,000 for Holt, and $4,800 for Oliver.
• GA-Gov: State School Superintendent John Barge won't say whether he'll seek re-election to his current post, but he did just tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he plans on working "at a statewide level" after 2014, which reporter Greg Bluestein interprets as a hint that Barge might challenge Gov. Nathan Deal in the GOP primary. Apparently there's bad blood between the two over a number of education-related issues, which Bluestein explains at the link. Deal is already facing a primary opponent in Dalton Mayor David Pennington, but Barge, who's been elected statewide, would be a much bigger threat.
• NH-Gov: Biden Alert! The VPOTUS is headed to Maine later this month to headline a fundraiser for New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is already up for re-election next year. (Granite State governors only serve a two-year term.) Since Hassan seems to be in good shape and doesn't even have a GOP opponent yet, there's some speculation that this move is more about Biden positioning himself for 2016. Hassan, though, was a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, so it might be especially hard for Biden to woo her away from the Clinton camp.
• RI-Gov: I'm having a hard time puzzling this one out. After announcing in December that he wouldn't run again, 2010 GOP nominee John Robitaille is now saying he might change his mind and make another bid for governor. Robitaille cited Gov. Lincoln Chafee's recent switch to the Democratic Party as a key factor that's affected his thinking, but the only reason Robitaille came so close three years ago was because Lincoln, then running as an independent, helped split the left-leaning vote in a three-way race. In a one-on-one matchup with a Democrat, any Rhode Island Republican would face much stiffer odds.
• TX-Gov: In a Q&A following a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Monday, state Sen. Wendy Davis said that she'll either seek re-election or run for governor in 2014. That means she's ruling out a host of other offices, such as attorney general, lieutenant governor, or U.S. Senate, but she didn't offer a timetable for making up her mind, except to say that she wants to do so "soon."
• VA-Gov: Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who spent a bunch of money on the Massachusetts Senate special election earlier this year, is reportedly set to go large in the Virginia gubernatorial race on behalf of Democrat Terry McAuliffe. There's no word on how much exactly Steyer plans to spend, though his first TV ads will apparently go up on Friday.
Meanwhile, Republican Ken Cuccinelli is on the air with a new spot that attacks McAuliffe over various allegations of wrongdoing at GreenTech Automotive, an electric car company he co-founded. The ad features a lot of quick cuts of news clips with overlapping audio, almost designed not to focus on any of the specifics (which are both thin and abstruse), but rather to evoke some vaguer emotional response that McAuliffe = shady. I'm not sure if that sort of presentation actually works, though.
• NE-02: Omaha City Council President Pete Festersen, whom we recently took note of as a possible Democratic challenger to GOP Rep. Lee Terry, now says he plans to decide next month on whether he'll run.
• Detroit Mayor: Detroit's mayoral primary is Tuesday, a 16 candidate affair which will send the top two finishers to the November general election. It might be a while before we know the results, though, because former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan is running a high-profile write-in campaign, and election officials say it could take two weeks to count all those votes.
• NYC Mayor: It looks like a fatal blow to Comptroller John Liu's already-dim mayoral hopes: New York City's Campaign Finance Board voted on Monday to deny over $3.5 million in public matching funds to Liu's campaign, saying it had "reason to believe" that Liu violated the city's campaign finance laws. Liu says he'll appeal, but with the Democratic primary just five weeks away, even his attorney thinks there probably isn't time to get this ruling reversed. Every major candidate in the race has opted in to the public funding system, so everyone's made fundraising and spending decisions expecting to receive this crucial infusion of cash. Without it, you're all but doomed.
• SD Mayor: What looks to be a genuine effort to recall San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is now underway, though it won't be easy. Starting Aug. 18, organizers have 39 days to gather at least 101,597 signatures. If they're successful, a recall election would be held two to three months later.