Barack Obama with then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, pre-photoshop
• WI-Sen: Yeah, whoops. A new Republican super PAC called Restoration PAC just started airing a minute-long TV ad that tries to push some incredibly hardcore fear-mongering about Iran while taking a moment to praise GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for opposing President Obama's deal with the country on nukes. But one still image of Obama supposedly smiling and shaking hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the ad's original version was actually a photoshop—the two have never met. (The spot has since been edited.)
And at least one other still is taken from ISIS propaganda videos, which have nothing to do with Iranian-sponsored terrorism. In fact, the Iranians have been fighting ISIS, which is founded on Sunni Islam and has been all too happy to murder and rape Shiites (the branch of Islam underpinning Iran). When asked about this by BuzzFeed, a spokesman for Restoration PAC did not seem to grasp the problem with conflating Iran and ISIS, saying, "It certainly isn't being used as propaganda for them, it's being used as propaganda against them." On the eternal debate of "idiot versus liar," we're actually going to go with "idiot" here.
• FL-Sen: It's been clear for a long time that Republican Rep. Jeff Miller is going to run for this seat, but he's enjoying an extra few weeks as an unannounced candidate. Miller claims he won't make a final decision until after August even as he admits that he's putting together a campaign team and raising money. Miller's pseudo-indecision is part of a rich political tradition that dates all the way back to the Gaius Julius Caesar for Dictator Exploratory Committee's successful "Help me decide: Should I cross the Rubicon?" moneybomb.
• KY-Sen: It's really starting to feel like Rand Paul is going to have to drop out of the presidential race and focus solely on seeking re-election. Paul's super PAC managed to pull in just $3.1 million in the second quarter, the least of any of the 10 GOP candidates who've released figures—even less than Carly Fiorina. Paul's own campaign only raised $7 million, so it's a pretty bad sign that his super PAC, which can accept unlimited sums, took in less than half that. What's more, when you add super PAC and campaign figures together, Jeb Bush wound up with $114 million, Ted Cruz $52 million, and Marco Rubio $44 million. Paul's $10 million looks really weak by comparison.
Of course, Paul has long wanted to have it both ways by running for president and Senate simultaneously, but his cake-eater approach has gotten repeatedly shot down by Kentucky legislators, who are quite happy with the laws on the books that forbid anyone from seeking two offices at once. Paul's reacted to these developments with entitled furor, but his crummy fundraising might just settle things for him.
• MO-Gov, LG: Until very recently, state Sen. Mike Parson had one key advantage in Missouri's wet n' wild GOP primary for governor: geography. All of the other contestants in the race were from the St. Louis region while Parson alone hailed from ultra-conservative southwest Missouri, giving him the inside track to scoop up plenty of local votes. But that advantage began to dissipate when Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who's from Cape Girardeau the southeastern part of the state, decided to make a late entry, and it shriveled even further when fellow state Sen. Bob Dixon, who represents a seat one district away from Parson's, made an even later entry just a week ago.
So it doesn't come as a big surprise that Parson will drop down to run for lieutenant governor, a post that is, after all, open now that Kinder is seeking a promotion. But there was already a contested race for that gig, even before Kinder made his move. Attorney Bev Randles, a former leader of the state branch of the Club for Growth, has been running for the second banana job for a while, and she's been heavily bankrolled by conservative zillionaire Rex Sinquefield, who's given $1 million to her campaign. (Missouri has no contribution limits.) But Parson had been fundraising pretty well himself, and he's got almost three-quarters of a million in the bank.
As for Democrats, there are two candidates in the race, physician and attorney Brad Bradshaw and state Rep. Tommie Pierson. According to the Missouri Times, businessman Barry Aycock, who is wealthy and well-connected, may join this fall as well. If Democrats have a shot at a pickup here, it'll probably depend on how well their all-but-certain nominee for governor, state Attorney General Chris Koster, performs at the top of the ticket. And right now, Koster's looking pretty good while his Republican rivals tear themselves to shreds.
• WV-Gov: State Senate President Bill Cole has been the presumptive GOP nominee ever since Rep. David McKinley and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey both declined to run last month, and national Republicans are consolidating behind him. RGA Chair Bill Haslam headlined a fundraiser for Cole, something he probably wouldn't be doing if he seriously thought that another credible candidate would jump in.
• FL-09: Self-described "biotechnology entrepreneur" Dena Minning, who also happens to be Rep. Alan Grayson's girlfriend, has filed with the FEC to run for the Orlando-area House seat Grayson is giving up to make a bid for Senate. There'd been heavy speculation that she'd do so since May, but Grayson himself fumed that the notion was "bullshit". Evidently not.
Bullshit or not, Minning will join a very busy Democratic primary that includes state Sen. Darren Soto, ex-state Rep. Ricardo Rangel, and Grayson's own district director, Susannah Randolph, who declared herself "speechless" when the Minning rumors first broke. A handful of Republicans are poking around here, too, but this is a solidly blue seat under any ordinary set of circumstances. In fact, the only person who could have jeopardized it was Grayson himself, who ran several points behind Barack Obama last year.
• FL-13: St. Pete Polls surveys a hypothetical general election between Democrat Charlie Crist and Republican ex-St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker in what's still a hypothetical version of FL-13. They give Crist a 46-42 edge, though Crist's 46-42 favorable rating isn't nearly as good as Baker's 51-23 score. They also take a look at a matchup between Baker and former Obama Administration official Eric Lynn and give the Republican a 51-28 lead. A previous St. Pete Polls survey showed Crist dominating the primary.
Lynn is the only declared candidate right now but Crist has announced that he'll run if his residence winds up in the 13th after redistricting is completed, and there's very little doubt that will happen. Baker has expressed interest, though he declined to run for a redder version of this district last year.
• MI-13: Democratic Rep. John Conyers has represented a version of this safely blue seat since 1965, but his last few primaries have been a bit more interesting than he'd have liked. Conyers only took 55 percent of the vote in 2012 after redistricting left him with a very different district. And while Conyers easily beat his little-known foe last year, he was briefly thrown off the ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
Conyers' team had allowed people to gather signatures who weren't registered voters or were registered to vote at the wrong address, which was against Michigan law. While a judge struck down this law and put Conyers back on the primary ballot, this was still an amateurish mistake and a sign that Conyers may not be prepared for a real campaign.
And he may be getting a real campaign. Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey said on Thursday that she might run, though she declined to say much about her plans. Winfrey easily won re-election back in 2013, so she may start out with some good name recognition. While it's going to take a lot for Conyers to lose, he may need to run a much better race than we've seen these last few years.
• NY State Senate: Well, this is a surprise. Ex-state Sen. Tom Libous was just booted from the Senate after a jury convicted him on charges of lying to the FBI about using his influence to get a job for his scumbag son—but no, none of that is a surprise in the slightest. What is unexpected is that Democrats have already landed a legitimate candidate in the eventual special election to succeed Libous, Barbara Fiala, and she's been endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has always done everything in his power help Senate Republicans keep their fragile majority.
Fiala is a former two-term Broome County executive, and she was later the head of the state DMV, a position to which Cuomo appointed her, which explains his against-type endorsement. On top of that, the Broome forms the bulk of Libous' district, the 52nd. But despite Fiala's profile, this will be a very tough race. Even though Barack Obama narrowly carried the seat by a 49.2 to 48.6 margin, Republicans regularly win districts even bluer than that in New York, and Democratic turnout will be much worse in a special election. Our preliminary numbers say that Cuomo lost this seat 47.1 to 46.6 last year: not a horrible result, but also not a sign that his support will help Fiala. So don't expect this district to change hands, but maybe keep an eye on it just in case.
• Worcester, MA Mayor: The GOP doesn't have many solid bases of support in Massachusetts, but the Boston Globe's Frank Phillips tells us how they're trying to change that in both Worcester County and the city of Worcester. While Worcester County has long been to the right of the Bay State, conservatives have only recently been solidifying their gains. Team Red won the sheriff's office in 2010 and took control of a majority of the county's state House seats last year.
This fall, conservatives are aiming to take the mayor's office in the city of Worcester, the second largest city in New England. The city of Worcester is quite a bit more Democratic than the whole county: Even as Republican Gov. Charlie Baker was carrying the county 57-38, he still lost the city 53-42. But conservatives are optimistic that City Councilor Michael Gaffney, a tea partying independent, can unseat Democratic Mayor Joseph Petty this fall. The state GOP doesn't have a great bench in the Bay State, but more successes in Worcester County could help change that.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, and Daniel Donner.