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• MS-Sen: With Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel apparently headed toward a June 24 runoff in the GOP primary, Cochran allies seem pretty apprehensive about his chances of surviving. American Crossroads, a Cochran backer, says they're pulling out, and as one unnamed "pro-Cochran strategist" tells the National Journal, the Club for Growth has no problem spending heavily on McDaniel's behalf, while the NRSC has much more important things to worry about (namely November), even as they claim to be "all in" for the incumbent.
Cochran still has the Chamber of Commerce and the Mississippi Conservatives super PAC in his corner, but he trailed (albeit narrowly) on election night and needs to make up that gap. What's more, he openly made a play for Democratic votes, but anyone who cast ballots in Tuesday's Democratic primary is now ineligible to participate in the Republican runoff, cutting off a potential source of support. And the conventional wisdom says that McDaniel's ultra-enthusiastic tea-flavored backers will be more likely to turn out for an oddly timed election in any event.
It also sounds like Cochran's supporters are worried about damaging McDaniel too much—particularly with regard to the nursing home scandal involving Cochran's bedridden wife—lest they unduly soften him up for Democrat Travis Childers. And they'll be facing difficult odds if they try, since challengers typically improve their vote share by a greater margin than incumbents do. We'll see how things play out, but McDaniel may have a relatively easy ride toward the nomination from here on out.
• AK-Sen: Perhaps the Alaska's GOP Senate primary isn't quite over yet. While former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan has emerged as the frontrunner (and the clear establishment favorite), a new survey from Republican pollster Dittman Research finds him with just a 37-35 lead on Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, with 2010 nominee Joe Miller far behind at 12. Interestingly, the poll was paid for by the other Dan Sullivan—the better-known Anchorage mayor who is running for Treadwell's job. It's not clear why Mayor Sullivan would release these numbers, particularly since he didn't share numbers on his own race. Maybe he thinks Alaska's only big enough for one Dan Sullivan.
• DE-Sen: She's not a witch, and she's not a Senate candidate either: Christine O'Donnell, one of the Democrats' most favorite tea partiers of all time, will not run against Sen. Chris Coons this fall. Coons is running for his first full term, but he's a lock for re-election no matter which covens line up against him.
• GA-Sen: The dominoes keep falling Jack Kingston's way: Fellow Rep. Phil Gingrey, who finished a distant fourth in the GOP primary with 10 percent, just became the latest notable Republican to give his backing to Kingston for the runoff. Has David Perdue announced a single major endorsement since primary night?
• IA-Sen: Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley wastes no time welcoming Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst to the general election. Braley's new ad plays on Ernst's now legendary pig castration commercial (those aren't words I ever expected to write a few months ago) and tries to portray her as a hypocrite. The ad asserts that despite Ernst's claims that she'll cut pork, she actually voted to increase spending while in the legislature.
It's a decent ad, but it seems a little odd that Braley is going after Ernst on spending. In a recent debate, Ernst practically gift wrapped several potential lines of attack for Democrats. Among other things, she said she'd vote against the recent farm bill, spoke against the idea of a federal minimum wage, attacked the Clean Water Act, and oh yeah, called for the privatization of Social Security. It's a little weird that Braley's criticizing her on spending when he has the chance to define her very early on as an extremist who would vote against Iowa's best interests. (Jeff Singer)
• MI-Sen, -Gov: Democrats have just made a pair of big reservations in Michigan. In the Senate race, the DSCC has booked $1.2 million in airtime for the final five weeks before Election Day, while in the gubernatorial contest, the DGA is locking down a monster $6 million for October.
• OK-Sen-B: Republican Rep. James Lankford does his best to turn his service in the House into a positive in his new ad. As the narrator asks why Lankford says goodbye to his family each week to head to Washington, the camera follows Lankford as he leaves home and drives to the airport.
The narrator answers her question by explaining that Lankford keeps heading back to Congress to fight Obama on the usual conservative tropes: government spending, Obamacare, and "the Benghazi and IRS scandals." It ends with the narrator declaring, "While other conservatives talk about what they would do, James Lankford is already doing it." It's an interesting example of how members of this universally despised institution can try and take advantage of their service rather than run away from it. (Jeff Singer)
• CO-Gov: A Magellan Strategies poll for ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez finds him narrowly trailing ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo in the GOP primary, 27 to 25, with Secretary of State Scott Gessler at 13 and former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp at 10. That leaves 25 percent undecided ahead of the June 24 election. There's been little polling of the race, but a March poll also showed Tancredo just ahead of Beauprez, 24-20. Candidates have gone on the air since then, but it looks like little has changed.
Gessler, for his part, tries arguing that he's the most electable conservative in a new ad. The narrator points out that both Beauprez and Tancredo lost previous races for governor, while Gessler unseated a Democratic incumbent. What goes unmentioned is that the Democrat Gessler unseated was an appointed incumbent who had never been elected statewide. Electability is also a difficult argument for candidates to sell, as most voters just don't seem to think that strategically. (David Nir & Jeff Singer)
• IA-Gov: Republican Gov. Terry Branstad is mostly seen as a clear favorite to win re-election, but polling indicates he's not a lock. It's unclear if the RGA believes that Democratic state Sen. Jack Hatch can give Branstad a real challenge or if they just want to leave nothing to chance, but the group is already on the air hitting him. Interestingly, the RGA goes after Hatch for supporting the age-old state power of eminent domain, which is certainly not a common line of attack in campaign ads. They also sprinkle in some jabs about Hatch not releasing his tax returns. (Jeff Singer)
• PA-Gov: Tom Wolf just keeps crushing it. In Quinnipiac's new poll, Wolf, the newly christened Democratic nominee, smashes GOP Gov. Tom Corbett 53-33, very similar to the 55-30 mark Wolf posted in PPP's latest survey. Interestingly, though, this doesn't represent a primary bounce, but that's because Wolf was already walloping Corbett back in February, 52-33. It's hard to do much better than that against an incumbent.
• RI-Gov: A new Fleming & Associates poll for WPRI and the Providence Journal finds Providence Mayor Angel Taveras leading state Treasurer Gina Raimondo 33-29, with attorney Clay Pell a distant third at 12 percent. That's little changed from February, when Taveras was up 31-27, though both candidates only recently went on the air.
In fact, Taveras' first ad just launched Wednesday, a pretty solid minute-long spot he narrates, focused on his humble upbringing. Taveras calls himself "the son of Dominican immigrants" who was raised by a single mother and would go "from Head Start to Harvard, and then to Georgetown Law—me, the son of nobody famous." He then transitions to his stewardship of Providence, saying he made "tough choices, even cut my own pay" as the city teetered near bankruptcy, but he declares his town is now "on the way back."
• FL-26: The LIBRE Initiative, a member of the Koch Army of Champions, has a new Spanish language commercial portraying freshman Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia as ... a communist. We wish we were kidding. The spot (which has English subtitles) shows footage of Garcia declaring "communism works." Garcia was making an (admittedly ill-advised) joke when he said that, but it's no surprise this is showing up in attack ads. The ad also throws in footage of Garcia at a hearing picking his ear and doing something gross with what he found. (Jeff Singer)
• LA-05: Republican ex-Rep. Rodney Alexander, who resigned from Congress last fall, lasted less than a year heading up Louisiana's Department of Veterans Affairs, but a spokesman says he's not going to run for his old seat. Alexander had suggested he might seek a comeback after Rep. Vance McAllister's kissing-related career implosion, but instead, he'll apparently head to the private sector.
• ME-02: State Sen. Troy Jackson won plaudits for his fiercely populist speech at Maine's Democratic convention last weekend, but he badly trails fellow state Sen. Emily Cain in next week's primary for Rep. Mike Michaud's open seat. A new PPP poll from the League of Conservation Voters, which has endorsed Cain, finds her with a huge 60-25 lead on Jackson, up from 50-23 three weeks ago (in a previously unreleased trendline).
• NY State Senate: Former New York City Councilman Oliver Koppell, who is challenging renegade state Sen. Jeff Klein in the Democratic primary, just formally secured the endorsement of the Working Families Party. A number of key unions have indicated they'll stick with Klein, though, so the real question is what kind of resources the party will put behind Koppell's candidacy.
However, one very big union, 1199 SEIU (which represents health care workers), says it's no longer going to help Republicans and is "definitely on board with a Democratic-coordinated effort to take back the Senate." Presumably that means taking out the IDC as well, but 1199 hasn't yet decided whether it'll back primary challengers like Koppell.
• San Jose Mayor: As expected, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese will advance to the November general, taking first place in Tuesday's primary with 33 percent. The race for the second place spot was much closer, with City Councilor Sam Liccardo edging Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen 25-21. Both Cortese and Liccardo are Democrats, but they have real policy divisions. Liccardo supports the pension changes instituted by outgoing Mayor Chuck Reed, while the labor-backed Cortese opposes them. San Jose is the largest city that will hold a mayoral election this year, and it looks like this will be a hard-fought race. (Jeff Singer)
: Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley stresses his biography
and service in the Senate in his first ad.
• AZ-Gov: Republican Treasurer Doug Ducey has a dull ad where he talks to the camera about the stuff he'll do as governor. He then assigns the viewer some homework by telling them to go to his website and read his plan. Guessing most voters will skip this assignment.
• GA-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter has a pair of minute-long ads (his first of the race), both featuring his children. The first is a little disjointed, cramming in a lot of messages. The second spot is far better, with Carter describing how he wants every kid to grow up in a state where they can get a good education and good jobs.
• WV-03: The American Energy Alliance hits Obama on coal and portrays Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall as someone who stood with the president rather than his constituents.
• Primaries: Tuesday night's primaries were incredibly tense, and several races are still undecided, including the marquee Senate matchup in Mississippi. We've summarized all the action below, with Daily Kos Elections' race ratings appended. Note that in California, where many voters cast ballots by mail, lots of votes may still be outstanding. And also bear in mind that results of the top-two primary, which features a less Democratic-friendly electorate than is typical in the general election, aren't very predictive of what will happen in November.
• AL-06 (R)
: State Rep. Paul DeMarco and former conservative think tank chief Gary Palmer will advance to the July 15 runoff, after winning 33 and 20 percent of the vote respectively. (Safe R)
• CA-Gov (2): Democrats had hoped that ultra-conservative Assemblyman Tim Donnelly would emerge from the top-two, not because they're worried about Gov. Jerry Brown's chances (he took 54 percent), but because Donnelly would have acted like a major anvil to down-ticket Republicans. But former Treasury official Neel Kashkari managed to up his name recognition just enough to secure the second slot, beating out Donnelly 19 to 15. (Safe D)
• CA-07 (2): Establishment Republicans are happy that their pick, ex-Rep. Doug Ose, handily beat out former congressional aide Igor Birman 27-17. But freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera took a healthy 47 percent. (Lean D)
• CA-15 (2): First-term Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell easily advanced to the second round with 49 percent, but it's not yet clear who will join him there. Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, a fellow Democrat who's been trying to run to Swalwell's left, is in third place at the moment with 25, just behind Republican Hugh Bussell, who has 26. Swalwell would very much like Corbett to get shut out, as this district is safely blue. (Safe D / Likely Swalwell)
• CA-17 (2): As expected, it'll be a pair of Democrats in the fall: Rep. Mike Honda and former Commerce Department official Ro Khanna. But Honda looked strong, finishing far ahead of Khanna, 49-27. Khanna will spend vast sums trying to improve on that mark in November, but he has a tough climb ahead of him. (Safe D / Likely Honda)
• CA-21 (2): Democrats were fortunate that former congressional aide Amanda Renteria's superior campaign held off bumbling 2012 nominee John Hernandez 25-11. But GOP Rep. David Valadao took 64 percent, and while primaries are not necessarily prologue in California, that's a pretty high mark and illustrates the problems with Democratic turnout in this heavily Hispanic district. (Likely R)
• CA-24 (2): Democratic Rep. Lois Capps is moving on to November with her 45 percent vote share, but Chris Mitchum has just a 16-15 edge on fellow Republican Justin Fareed. As is always the case in California, plenty of votes have yet to be counted. (Likely D)
• CA-25 (2): Oof. In an embarrassing development, Democrat Lee Rogers was shut out of the general election in this blue-trending district, a development we feared might happen. November will instead see a fight between two Republicans, ex-state Sen. Tony Strickland and state Sen. Steve Knight, who finished with 29 and 28 percent respectively. (Rogers took 22.) Because of this turn of events, we have no choice but to change our rating on this race from Likely R to Safe R.
• CA-31 (2): Last cycle, no Democrats managed to advance past the top-two in this 57 percent Obama district, a huge black eye for the party. This year, the race has once again given Democrats fits, and they're holding on to the second slot by a thread. Republican Paul Chabot easily captured first place with 27 percent, but Democrat Pete Aguilar, the DCCC choice, is ahead of Republican Lesli Gooch by a 17.4 to 16.5 margin at this point, or 390 votes. Another Democrat, Eloise Gomez Reyes, was just a bit further back at 16.0 percent, 232 votes behind Gooch. There were no obvious trends as votes came in on Tuesday night, but if Aguilar can't hang on, it would be a true disaster for Democrats, who should be heavily favored to pick up this seat. (Likely D)
• CA-33 (2): In the insanely crowded race to replace Rep. Henry Waxman, Republican Elan Carr managed to snag first place with 21 because so many Democrats split the vote in this very blue district. Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu will join him in November, taking 19 percent, while fellow Democrat Wendy Greuel finished out of the money with 17. (Safe D)
• IA-Sen (R): State Sen. Joni Ernst utterly crushed the competition, taking an outright majority of 56 percent. Radio host Sam Clovis finished a distant second with 18, and self-funding businessman Mark Jacobs, who was Ernst's co-frontrunner at one point, ended up a pitiful third with just 17. Ernst will now have to deal with Rep. Bruce Braley in the fight for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin's seat. (Lean D)
• IA-01 (D & R): State Rep. Pat Murphy handily won the Democratic nomination, beating Cedar Rapids City Council Monica Vernon 37-24, while three other candidates were in the teens or single digits. He'll face businessman (and 2012 candidate) Rod Blum, who dispatched businessman Steve Rathje 55-37, for Braley's open seat. (Lean D)
• IA-02 (R): Ophthalmologist Marianette Miller-Meeks will try to unseat Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack for the third time, after beating state Rep. Mark Lofgren 49-38 for the GOP nod. (Likely D)
• IA-03 (R): State Sen. Brad Zaun finished first in this six-way race with just 25 percent of the vote, falling far short of the 35 percent mark necessary to secure the nomination outright. Now, instead, it'll get thrown to a convention, which will take place on June 21, and anybody—not just the candidates who ran in the primary—can get nominated. It's anyone's guess as to who has the inside track with convention delegates, though Paulists have made serious inroads in the Iowa GOP. (Tossup)
• MS-Sen (R): In an unbelievable photo finish after an insane number of lead changes on primary night, Mississippi's hotly contested Senate primary looks like it's going to a runoff. State Sen. Chris McDaniel currently leads Sen. Thad Cochran 49.53 percent to 48.92 percent, achingly close to the 50 percent mark that would have given him an outright win. (Some Dude Thomas Carey managed to pull in just enough of the vote—1.5 percent—to allow this to happen.) It doesn't appear that late-counted ballots can change the outcome, which means a runoff will take place very quickly, on June 24. (Safe R)
• MS-04 (R): After seesawing back and forth all night, Rep. Steven Palazzo pulled out a late 51-43 lead on ex-Rep. Gene Taylor, a former conservative Democrat trying to make a comeback as a Republican. That Taylor made the race as close as he did was quite a shock, but in the end, Palazzo held him off and managed to avoid a runoff. (Safe R)
• MT-AL (R): In a race that was close all night, Ryan Zinke beat out Corey Stapleton 33-29 in the race for Rep. Steve Daines' open seat. Matt Rosendale finished just behind Stapleton, also with 29. Zinke will take on Democrat John Lewis in the fall. (Likely R)
• NJ-03 (R): Sadly, Democratic efforts to meddle in the GOP primary were for naught, as former Randolph Mayor Tom MacArthur smashed former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan 60-40 in the battle of the North Jersey carpetbaggers. MacArthur will try to hold Rep. John Runyan's seat for the GOP against Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard in November. (Lean R)
• NJ-07 (R): Rep. Leonard Lance barely fended off penniless Some Dude David Larsen, prevailing by a rather weak 54-46 margin. Lance is relatively moderate for today's GOP, and this is actually the third occasion Larsen's challenged him, getting closer and closer each time. One day, someone with a little cash will give Lance a run for his money. (Safe R)
• NJ-12 (D): Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman decisively won the primary for Rep. Rush Holt's open seat, defeating state Sen. Linda Greenstein 43-28. Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula finished third with 22. (Safe D)
• NM-Gov (D): Even though he finished last at the state party convention, Attorney General Gary King rode his greater name recognition to a primary win, finishing with 34 percent to 23 for businessman Alan Webber, 20 for businessman Lawrence Rael, and 15 for state Sen. Howie Morales. King now has an uphill battle against GOP Gov. Susana Martinez in the general election. (Likely R)
• WATN?: Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who had served in the House before joining the Obama administration in 2009, made a successful return to electoral politics on Tuesday night, winning a seat on the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.