GOP Rep. Scott Garrett
• NJ-05: GOP Rep. Scott Garrett usually hauls in big donations from corporate America, but they've soured on him lately. Garrett voted against re-electing John Boehner as speaker in January, and his opposition to the Export-Import Bank also did not put him on Wall Street's good side. The final nail in the coffin may have been a Politico report describing how Garrett refused to donate to the NRCC over their support for gay candidates. Major Wall Street donors canceled a fundraiser for Garrett after the news broke, and Bloomberg Politics reports that some of them are helping his Democratic opponent Josh Gottheimer.
Gottheimer, a former aide to both Clintons, was already raising real money before this, but he's been getting an influx of cash recently. Top executives from AT&T and JPMorgan Chase will host a breakfast for Gottheimer, and he may be one of the rare Democrats to earn the support of the deep-pocked U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is not happy with Garrett's record and they're willing to help Democrats whom they see as pro-business. Garrett's team is still reaching out to financial lobbyists to get them to attend his fundraisers and he should still bring in the money he'll need to advertise in this expensive seat, but it sounds like Gottheimer will have the resources he'll need. Romney carried this North Jersey seat 51 to 48, but Democratic Sen. Cory Booker narrowly won it 50 to 49 last year.
• FL-Sen: For a while, it looked like the Obama administration's deal with Iran could be a flashpoint in the Democratic primary between Reps. Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson. Murphy announced his support for the agreement while Grayson, who has been portraying himself as the progressive candidate in the contest, badmouthed it but didn't say which way he planned to vote. However, Grayson has announced that, like Murphy, he'll support the deal.
• IN-Gov, Sen, 01: Democratic Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott has been flirting with entering either the Senate or gubernatorial race this year for a while. McDermott recently conceded to Howey Politics that 2012 nominee John Gregg has a secure hold on the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, so it seems like we can cross his name off that prospective candidates list.
But McDermott still sounds interested in running for the open Senate seat, saying that he thinks he could boost turnout in northwest Indiana and in turn help Gregg against GOP Gov. Mike Pence. The Democratic Senate field also isn't particularly intimidating right now: Ex-Rep. Baron Hill raised a disappointing amount of money last quarter, and retired non-profit executive John Dickerson is untested. Brian Howey also notes that McDermott might be considering trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky in the safely blue 1st District but while McDermott doesn't appear to have ruled it out, he acknowledged that race would be very tough. In any case, McDermott recently said that he won't make a decision on 2016 until he's re-elected this November.
But another Democrat seems to have decided that Gregg is beatable in the gubernatorial primary. Tom Sugar, a former campaign manager and chief of staff to ex-Sen. Evan Bayh, tells Howey Politics that he's made a decision and will announce it "as soon as I fulfill my previous obligations." There's really no reason Sugar couldn't just announce his plans now if he wasn't running (unless he just enjoys trolling us), so it looks like he's going to kick off his campaign before too long. Sugar should have some connections to Bayh's still-influential political network, though he'll need to work hard if he wants to pass Gregg, who has been raising real money and locking up union endorsements.
• LA-Gov: Filing closed Thursday for Louisiana's Oct. 24 jungle primary and despite weeks of speculation that a credible candidate or two would make a last-minute run, there were no surprises.
State Rep. John Bel Edwards will be the only notable Democrat on the ballot, and he should be able to consolidate the state's Democratic vote enough to take one of the top two spots and advance to the November runoff. Three Republicans are running: Sen. David Vitter, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. Vitter and his allies easily have the most money of the four candidates and he's likely to join Edwards in the runoff. However, a few polls show Angelle within striking distance of Vitter. Louisiana is a dark red state and any of these three Republicans would be favored in a runoff with Edwards.
• VT-Gov: On Thursday, Sue Minter resigned as state secretary of transportation and quickly announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for governor. Minter, a former state representative, also served as chief Irene recovery officer after Hurricane Irene hit Vermont in 2011 and wrecked hundreds of miles of infrastructure. Minter will face state House Speaker Shap Smith and ex-state Sen. and Google executive Matt Dunne in the primary.
While a few other Democrats haven't said no to a gubernatorial bid, Minter was the last potential candidate who seemed very interested. However, the left-wing Progressive Party has been talking about fielding their own candidate in the general rather than deferring to the Democratic nominee. Minter is reportedly closer to Progressive-friendly liberal groups than Smith or Dunne, and Progressives may decide it's better to get behind her in a primary rather than risk throwing the election to the GOP.
• IL-18: Voters went to the polls Thursday for the special election to replace disgraced GOP Rep. Aaron Schock and GOP state Sen. Darin LaHood defeated little-known Democrat Rob Mellon 69-31. Once LaHood is sworn in, the House will be back up to its full compliment of 435 members for the first time since early January, when New York's Michael Grimm resigned. While it's pretty common for the House to be fully stocked at the beginning and end of each Congress, it's actually been pretty rare for the chamber to have all 435 members in the middle.
• Nashville, TN Mayor: On Thursday, progressive Megan Barry defeated conservative David Fox 55-45 in the non-partisan runoff. Barry's win brings to an end a short but very nasty runoff campaign. Fox sought to portray Barry as unacceptably liberal even for this Democratic-leaning city, and things took an ugly turn when he launched a radio ad depicting her as an anti-Christian extremist. Barry also accused Fox of pushing a phone banking campaign where callers informed voters that Barry allegedly is an atheist, which he denied. Barry's victory will make her the first female mayor of Nashville.
• VA State Senate: Our long Joe Morrissey nightmare is over. On Thursday, the Democrat-turned independent-turned Democrat-turned independent former state delegate dropped his bid to unseat Democratic state Sen. Rosalyn Dance this November. Morrissey said that a paralyzed diaphragm forced him out of the contest, and he even produced a message from his doctor confirming it.
Morrissey's decision ends a long and strange saga in Virginia politics. Until last year, Morrissey was a Democratic delegate from the Richmond area. Morrissey resigned after pleading guilty to statutory rape, but he decided to run for his old seat as an independent in the special election to succeed himself... and won. Morrissey soon announced that he would challenge Dance in the Democratic primary even though his state House seat didn't overlap with her Senate district at all. Morrissey moved to her district to run and had to leave behind his position in the state House again since he was no longer a resident of his district. Morrissey announced he would run as an independent for this safely blue seat, but he finally called it quits this week.
• North Carolina: It wasn't that long ago that North Carolina was seen as a safely red state in presidential contests, but it was the site of two very tight races in 2008 and 2012. Both parties are expected to seriously contest its 15 electoral votes again next year, and Democrats are planning to target Sen. Richard Burr and Gov. Pat McCrory. In a new piece, Stephen Wolf breaks the Tar Heel State down into eight distinct regions and looks at the political leanings of each, and analyzes how demographic changes could turn North Carolina into a Democratic leaning state before too long.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and Stephen Wolf.