Republican Sen. David Vitter (at left)
• LA-Gov: If you've been waiting anxiously for new data in the forthcoming battle to determine the next governor of Louisiana, wait no more: In roughly a daylong span, we were treated to three different surveys of the October 24 primary down on the bayou. Two of the polls bear fairly close resemblance, in that they forecast the same "top two"—remember that the first round is merely an all-party primary, with the top two vote getters advancing to a runoff. They do disagree on the order of finish, however.
The Triumph Campaigns poll, which has been a regular fixture this cycle, has Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards out to a fairly decent lead over Republican Sen. David Vitter (36-29), with Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (12 percent) and Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne (11 percent) well behind. (Angelle and Dardenne are also both Republicans.) Meanwhile, a MarblePort poll for the local blog The Hayride shows Vitter leading Edwards (29-26), with Angelle (15 percent) and Dardenne (14 percent) well back.
But one of these ones is not like the others. A new poll from Causeway Solutions had an all-GOP final two as Vitter (24 percent) and Angelle (21 percent), with Edwards, the lone Democrat in the field, just missing the cutoff at 20 percent. (Dardenne's at a distant 10 percent.) Causeway was also the only firm to poll a hypothetical runoff, finding Angelle up double digits on Vitter (43-32). Given the lofty status for Angelle in this poll, perhaps it will not surprise you that the poll was commissioned" by Louisiana Rising, which happens to be a pro-Angelle super PAC.
In addition to all the new polling, we've got a trio of new ads as the campaign shifts into the final stretch. The Louisiana Water Coalition once again goes negative on Republican Sen. David Vitter with an ad clearly targeted at female voters, while both Edwards and Angelle go positive with self-narrated 30-second spots in front of smiling, applauding audiences.
• CO-Sen: Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler hasn't even announced his bid for the Republican Senate nomination in Colorado yet (though that looks imminent, once October starts and the third fundraising quarter ends), but he's already the subject of a poll from a Democratic group.
But the decision to release the poll seems like an odd one, at first glance, because it doesn't show Dem incumbent Michael Bennet in a particularly dominant position: He leads Brauchler only 45-42, according to Democratic pollster Clarity Campaign Labs, and beats self-funder Robert Blaha 45-41. Both Republicans are virtually unknown, as only 15 percent of respondents have any opinion about Brauchler and just 12 percent for Blaha.
What's going on, probably, is that the Senate race wasn't really the main point of the poll; it was sponsored by a new group called End Citizens United and, predictably, the survey finds that Coloradans do want to do away with the Citizens United decision (by a 66-17 margin among all respondents). In all likelihood, the Senate race aspect was probably just an add-on to get some press. Another important caveat: The poll's sample is only 8 percent Latino, which is very different from the 14 percent Latino turnout from 2012, according to exit polls.
An while Brauchler and Blaha appear likely to run, there are some other Republicans still considering the race, along with one new name, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith. Smith garnered a ton of publicity in 2013 as one of the most vocal law enforcement officials to criticize the gun safety legislation championed by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. Smith, who said he'll wait at least a month to decide, would immediately be the darling of Colorado's very active gun owners rights' crowd, but he did hint that he might defer to Brauchler.
• MD-Sen, 07: Longtime Rep. Elijah Cummings has told folks that his decision on a potential Senate bid would come "in maybe less than two weeks," but it seems like the secret is out. On Tuesday, local Rev. Jamal Bryant told his congregation that his campaign for Cummings' House seat, which he launched just a week ago, was over. In an interview after his announcement, Bryant said he backed off of after personally talking with Cummings, which can only mean he thinks Cummings is staying put. Cummings, for his part, is still keeping mum.
• MT-Gov: The Republican primary to challenge Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock got a little more crowded with the (not unexpected) news that Public Service Commissioner Brad Johnson is joining the race. Johnson, who also served as Montana's secretary of state from 2005-2009, becomes the second major GOP candidate in the field, following wealthy businessman Greg Gianforte, who entered the race last month. Ironically, Johnson was once an employee of Gianforte's, working in sales for Gianforte's RightNow Technologies over a decade ago.
• NH-01, Gov: Former Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who announced her bid to reclaim this seat for the second time over the weekend, has chased one potential Democratic opponent out of the race. Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, who had been talked up for the seat prior to CSP's entry, announced that he will not run for Congress and instead endorsed Shea-Porter. (Pappas will reportedly run for re-election to the Executive Council, which would also take him out of the running for next year's gubernatorial race.)
Meanwhile, reporter Paul Steinhauser of NH1 (that's a news outfit—not to be confused with the congressional district) has talked with embattled GOP incumbent Rep. Frank Guinta, and Guinta appears determined to press onward. Guinta, whose campaign finance travails have led some prominent fellow Republicans to suggest he step aside, seems certain to face a primary challenge, with former candidates Rich Ashooh and Dan Innis at the top of the list.
• VA-10: Apparently, there was one other Harper poll for the NRCC on top of that pile of other GOP-friendly polls. But this one is a bit different, since freshman GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock currently lacks a Democratic opponent. Harper therefore only tested her against good ol' Generic Dem, whom she leads by a 49-36 margin.
• PA-02: It is entirely possible that we're only putting this in the Digest so that we can use the phrase "Commissioner Gordon," but this is actually somewhat notable: Brian Gordon, a commissioner in Lower Merion Township, says he's leaning towards a bid for Congress, challenging scandal-wracked longtime Democratic Rep. Chaka Fattah. But Commissioner Gordon's entry could actually save Fattah, since he's the second Democratic to announce, following Philadelphia Ward Leader Dan Muroff, who announced a bid last month. Could the anti-Fattah vote split evenly, allowing the embattled incumbent to slide through with a plurality win? We've seen it happen plenty of times before.
One factor working against Fattah: His trial date is set for just after the primary, and would undoubtedly be a gigantic cloud over the campaign for the incumbent, since even if he is exonerated, it will happen well after the primary.
• House GOP: A group of nearly a dozen Republican freshmen have penned an open letter to their colleagues beseeching them to avoid a government shutdown, which looms in the coming weeks. The fact that all of them are first-termers, and that virtually all of them sit in competitive districts (California's Mimi Walters being a possible exception) tells us that this might be more of an exercise in 2016 inoculation than a legitimate attempt to avoid a shutdown.
To wit: The one other person loudly ringing the "no shutdown" bell is New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who notably (and vocally) jumped all over her colleagues for trying to attach defunding of Planned Parenthood to a stopgap spending measure. Ayotte, of course, is also looking at a potentially competitive re-election bid, especially if Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan makes the plunge.
• Congress: Pew Research has an interesting chart tracking, over time, the percentage of members of Congress who are immigrants. The number right now is very low: only six, or just 1 percent of the House and Senate. The highest percentage was at the very start of the nation's history, where 10 percent were born abroad (instead of in one of the colonies), and then it spiked again in the period of the most immigration, the 1890s and first decades of the 20th century.
The six members, if you're wondering are Maizie Hirono (Japan), Raul Ruiz (Mexico), Ted Lieu (Taiwan), Norma Torres (Guatemala), and Albio Sires and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Cuba). The list excludes members who were born abroad, but to U.S. citizens, like, notoriously, Calgary's Ted Cruz, as well as Tammy Duckworth (who was born in Thailand).
• Demographics: Here's an interesting follow-up to that Wonkblog post earlier in the week about the dominant housing types (and, thus, density) in the nation's major cities. Instead of using city limits—which is problematic, because some older cities like New York are surrounded by almost-equally-dense suburbs, while other newer cities like Phoenix have boundaries that stretch out into vast emptiness—this analysis uses the Census-defined urbanized area within each metropolitan area.
Still, though, the rankings change only slightly: New York City moves into Philly's slot as the metro area with the fewest single-family-detached homes, as Philadelphia has less dense suburbs. Compared with the previous list, Atlanta seems to fall down the list more than anyone else, thanks to the endless sprawl ringing it.
And here's some more food for thought on why it's better to think holistically about an entire metro area, rather than relying on where city limits arbitrarily fall. We've commented before on how the congressional districts that have the highest levels of inequality (as measured by their Gini coefficient) tend to be the most heavily Democratic ones, because they also tend to be in the central part of our older cities.
Here's a more thorough explanation from City Observatory on why that's the case: Cities, by virtue of their mixed uses and block-by-block variation, tend to be where both the richest and the poorest residents of a metropolitan area congregate. Exclusionary zoning and poor public transportation tend to keep the suburbs "equal"—simply in the sense of being uniform in terms of who can afford the cost of entry, though, rather than by providing equality of opportunity.
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.