Republican Matt Bevin
• KY-Gov: Ah, yes. We can now add Matt Bevin to the rarefied Hall of Shame for candidates who release internal polls showing them trailing their opponents. Bevin's new survey, from Republican pollster Fabrizio Lee, finds him losing to Democrat Jack Conway by a 44-41 margin, with left-leaning independent Drew Curtis taking 11. This means that Bevin would have to scrape up all the remaining undecideds—all 4 percent of them—just to eke out a win.
Even sadder, Fabrizio's poll included some axe-grindy message-testing questions along the lines of, "Would you rather vote for a Republican who opposes Obama's policies or a Democrat who would be a rubber stamp for the president?" This kind of stuff might be helpful early in a campaign, but Election Day is just two weeks away. Does Bevin really think he can persuade voters to view Conway as a "rubber stamp" if he hasn't managed to do so already? (And despite this ridiculous wording, 39 percent say they'd prefer the rubber stamp!)
Fabrizio's topline numbers are actually quite close to what we've seen from the only two public polls published recently: SurveyUSA had Conway ahead 42-37 and Mason-Dixon had him up 43-41. Both, however, had Curtis at roughly half of where Fabrizio sees him, but if Bevin's poll is right about Curtis' standing, that's actually even worse for him, since Curtis voters are more likely to cotton to Conway in the end.
And while Bevin continues to flounder, it doesn't look like the cavalry will be showing up any time soon. According to Nathan Gonzales, Democrats are still badly outspending Republicans on the airwaves, and the RGA is still refusing to help Bevin. It's amazing to behold, but Republicans really just might lose this thing.
• CA-Sen: To no one's surprise, Attorney General Kamala Harris once again decisively outraised Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a fellow Democrat. Harris took in $1.8 million over the last three months, and she has $3.3 million on hand. Sanchez only hauled in $400,000 and lent her campaign $300,000, giving her a $1.6 million warchest. Sanchez only raised $618,000 last time: Her net worth is worth about $5.68 million so she can do some more self-funding, but not enough to offset weak fundraising.
Sanchez's path to victory almost certainly depends on the three Republicans splitting Team Red's vote in the June top-two primary, allowing her and Harris to advance to the general election. Sanchez is the more conservative of the two Democrats and if she can win over enough Republicans without alienating Democratic voters, she could pose a threat to Harris.
But it's possible that former state party chair Duf Sundheim will emerge from the obscure Republican field as the party's frontrunner. Sundheim raised $241,000 over the quarter for $130,000, which looks weak... until you see the other two GOPers' hauls. Assemblyman Rocky Chavez took in $94,000 for $9,500 on hand (no, I didn't leave off a zero), and former state party chair Tom Del Becarro raised $49,000 and has $55,000 in the bank.
It's unclear if the GOP will consolidate behind Sundheim, but if they do, it could give him a boost. 2012's top two primary featured 14 Republicans competing for the thankless task of taking on Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and with the exception of birther queen Orly Taitz, all of them were no-names. The state party backed Elizabeth Emken, whose claim to fame was taking 17 percent in a 2010 House primary: Emken beat her nearest opponent 13-7 to advance to the general against Feinstein. If something like this happens next year for Sundheim, that's good news for Harris.
• FL-Sen: I'll take "Quarterly Reports That Won't Make the NRSC Happy" for $750,000, Alex. The GOP establishment would prefer that Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera or Rep. David Jolly takes the nomination over tea partying Rep. Ron DeSantis, but DeSantis decisively outraised each of them over the last three months. DeSantis took in $750,000 and has $2.5 million in the bank, while Lopez-Cantera raised just $462,000 for $380,000 on hand.
As we recently noted, Jolly also had a sucky quarter, raising only $378,000 for $658,000 on hand; Jolly transferred more money from his House account, a trick he can only pull once. A fourth candidate, businessman Todd Wilcox, has a comparable $684,000 in the bank, but that's mainly due to self-funding.
While anti-establishment groups like the Club For Growth love DeSantis, he'd almost certainly have a tougher time in the general against the DSCC's preferred candidate Patrick Murphy than Lopez-Cantera or Jolly. However, he seems to be the only GOP candidate who actually has the resources to run a viable campaign in this massive state.
However, it's possible that the establishment's travails will encourage someone else to get in. State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater ruled out a bid in April but he has been reconsidering, and these reports may convince him to give it a shot. Atwater could pose a much bigger threat to DeSantis, though he could also split the establishment-flavored vote even more. Ex-state Attorney General Bill McCollum has also been eyeing this race for months, though there doesn't seem to be much excitement for him in GOP circles.
• IN-Sen: When former non-profit executive John Dickerson jumped into the Democratic primary, we wondered if he had the connections to raise a credible amount of money. The answer is no: Dickerson only brought in $34,000 since he announced in mid-August. Former Rep. Baron Hill's own $270,000 wasn't good either, but his status as the presumptive Democratic nominee is safe. Team Blue's chances at flipping this seat aren't great, though things could get interesting if tea partying Rep. Marlin Stutzman beats the more conventional Rep. Todd Young for the GOP nod.
• MD-Sen: A new poll from the Washington Post and the University of Maryland shows Rep. Donna Edwards leading fellow Rep. Chris Van Hollen 38-28 in the Democratic primary for retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski's open seat. That's actually a gaudier margin for Edwards than what she found in her own internal poll, which put her ahead 42-37. (Should Rep. Elijah Cummings also run, he'd take 33 while Edwards and Van Hollen would be tied at 20 apiece, according to U.Md./WaPo.)
But while Edwards is faring well in the polls, she's still trailing badly in fundraising. She managed to raise $638,000 in the just-concluded third quarter, which is better than her prior efforts, but in a troubling sign, she actually spent more ($688,000) than she took in. That's left her with just $369,000 in the bank; meanwhile, the thriftier Van Hollen raised $950,000 during the same timeframe and increased his available cash from $3.5 million to $4.1 million. Unless Edwards turns things around, Van Hollen will be able to make up his polling gap once the paid media portion of the campaign arrives.
• NV-Sen: Joe Heck (R): $1.3 million raised, $1.4 million transferred from other committees, $2.29 million cash-on-hand
• PA-Sen: Democrat Joe Sestak has spent a lot of time during the campaign on the road—literally. Earlier this year, he made a big deal out of his 422-mile march across Pennsylvania on foot, and lately he's been taking shorter jaunts in parts of the state he missed his first time around. As we've noted previously, though, these kinds of publicity stunts don't tend to, well, generate much publicity: The only mention on Google News of Sestak's latest walkabout comes in the 22nd paragraph of a piece in the Indiana Gazette—the 10,390th-most popular site in the country.
And a new PPP poll confirms just how slight an impact Sestak's adventures have had on the public. Only 4 percent of voters say they've heard "a lot" about Sestak's march, 13 percent say "some," 26 percent say "a little," and 57 percent say "nothing at all." With numbers like this, it's unlikely that Sestak's peregrinations have boosted his name recognition much, and even if people view the whole thing positively (though who knows if they do?), memories of it are likely to fade quickly. Sestak would probably be better served spending his time on traditional fundraising activities. Speaking of which, as of Friday afternoon, he still hadn't released his third-quarter fundraising totals.
• LA-Gov: Someone finally found a way to make David Vitter sympathetic! The Humane Society is up with a TV spot praising the Republican's work protecting animals. And of course, the ad features a cute dog who is supposedly narrating, completely ignoring the fact that polls show Scott Angelle has the canine vote locked up.
• MO-Gov: Third quarter fundraising reports are in for Missouri, and we've summarized them below:
• Attorney General Chris Koster (D): $1.5 million raised, $5 million on hand
• Businessman and 2012 Senate candidate John Brunner (R): $277,000 raised, $257,000 on hand
• State Sen. Bob Dixon (R): $29,000 raised, $83,000 on hand
• Retired Navy SEAL Eric Greitens (R): $1.4 million raised, $2.28 million on hand
• Ex-U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway (R): $166,000 raised, $1.5 million on hand
• Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R): $267,000 raised, $276,000 on hand
Koster is in an enviable position: He has the most money by far, and he doesn't need to spend it on a primary. The well-connected Greitens has also once again demonstrated that he'll have the resources he needs to get his name out.
Brunner and Hanaway didn't bring in much, but they may be able to fix that. Brunner is wealthy and spent millions on his 2012 Senate bid, and he's likely to open his wallet again. Hanaway is close to conservative zillionare Rex Sinquefield, who can write her a massive check at a moment's notice (Missouri has no contribution limits). Kinder's haul isn't particularly good, though he did just snag a useful endorsement from former Sen. John Danforth. Dixon, whose campaign launch was overshadowed by stories about his personal life, doesn't look like he's going anywhere though.
• WA-Gov, 08: Republican Rep. Dave Reichert's latest flirtation with a statewide bid has ended the same way it always ends. On Friday, Reichert announced that he would seek re-election to the 8th District rather than challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee. Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant has the GOP field to himself, and no one has shown any interest in opposing him. In any case, Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell is up in 2018, so Reichert will have another statewide post not to run for soon enough.
• AZ-02: Republican Rep. Martha McSally once again pulled in an eye-popping quarterly haul, but don't be fooled: She may have raised $788,000, but she also spent $557,000 in the same time period, giving her an exceptionally high burn rate of over 70 percent. If you're a regular reader of the Digest, though, you can probably guess that a heavy reliance on direct mail fundraising is the explanation for this phenomenon, and you'd be right.
Raising money via direct mail is incredibly costly, for a variety of reasons. You're generally reaching out to people who've never given to you before, a difficult practice known as "prospecting," so your conversion rate is always going to be much lower than when you contact existing donors. That means you have to send out a lot of mail to cold targets in order to bring in cash, and postage and printing quickly add up. Indeed, McSally's biggest expense was $270,000 spent on postal costs, and it looks like at least three quarters of all her expenditures in the third quarter went to her direct mail operation.
As a result of these steep expenses, McSally's cash-on-hand only increased by a relatively small sum, from $1.43 million at the end of June to $1.67 million now. All that said, that's a rather healthy bankroll, but as a vulnerable incumbent who won the tightest House election in the country last year, she'll need every haypenny.
• FL-06, 07, 10: Back in August, Democratic pollster David Beattie speculated that the state's court-ordered round of redistricting would lead to a game of Republican musical-chairs in Central Florida. As things stand under the new congressional map (pending final court approval), Dan Webster is stuck in the safely Democratic 10th District, John Mica is in the swingy 7th District, and the Republican-leaning 6th District is open. However, Beattie noted to Politico that Mica could just relocate to the 6th and allow Webster to ran in the 7th.
Well, that may end up happening. The local Jacksonville station News4Jax reports that Mica is considering making the switch to the 6th. Mica himself spoke on Friday, but he didn't exactly end the speculation. Mica declared, "I intend to continue representing and am actively seeking re-election to only district seven." There are ways to make your plans clear, but phrases like "I intend to" and "actively seeking re-election" are good ways to sound decisive without actually being decisive. If Mica really wants to remove all doubt about his plans, there's nothing stopping him from saying "I won't run for any district but FL-07." It's possible that Mica is waiting for things to play themselves out in the courts before making a final decision.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is leaving the 6th behind to run for the Senate, thinks the switch is a bad idea since it would undercut up-and-coming local politicians, but it's not like there's much he could do to stop Mica. Two Republicans, ex-Rep. Sandy Adams and ex-New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer, are already running in DeSantis's Daytona-area seat, and it's unclear what they'll do if Mica ends up getting in. Adams is undoubtedly experiencing some severe déjà vu here: In 2012, she and Mica were thrown into the same House seat, and Mica easily beat her.
Matthew Isbell of MCI Maps estimates that the new 6th backed Romney 52-47, and it could go blue in a good Democratic year. And sure enough, state Rep. Dwayne Taylor has announced that he will run here. If Mica wound up here, he would not be easy to beat: Mica has had no trouble holding down his current Romney 52-47 seat, and he'll have no trouble raising money. However, Adams and Barringer aren't nearly as intimidating.
If Webster ends up in the 7th, that may not be such great news for Team Red. The district was almost evenly divided in 2012 between Obama and Romney, and Webster almost lost that year in a much redder seat. Webster's quixotic speakership campaign has helped him with the far-right but he hasn't exactly endeared himself to the GOP establishment, would could cause him problems if he winds up in a competitive race. More than a few Republicans wouldn't shed any tears if Mica stayed and defended this district, or if another Republican ended up beating Webster in a primary.
• FL-13: Way back in July, former Gov. Charlie Crist said he'd run for this seat as a Democrat if redistricting moved his home from the 14th District into the 13th. There was never any doubt that Crist would wind up as a denizen of the 13th District, and it's no surprise that he's reportedly announcing his bid on Tuesday.
Obama won the redrawn 13th 55-44, and Team Blue is favored to take it. The GOP's hopes rest on former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, but he hasn't said anything about his plans in months. Crist will need to get through the Democratic primary with former Obama administration official Eric Lynn, who has made it clear that he won't be leaving the race. Lynn got into the race before redistricting made this seat bluer, and his head start has allowed him to amass a $500,000 war chest. However, Lynn's fundraising took a hit after Crist started making noises about running, and he only brought in $150,000 over the last three months.
• MN-02: Former state Sen. Ted Daley, who Roll Call reported was the top choice of Republican operatives, announced on Friday that he would not run for retiring GOP Rep. John Kline's swingy House seat. A few other Republicans are running, but none are as appealing as Daley, an Iraq and Gulf War vet: former talk radio host Jason Lewis, former state Sen. John Howe, and former state Rep. Pam Myhra. Democrats, meanwhile, will choose between two candidates: health care executive Angie Craig and physician Mary Lawrence.
• NH-01: Former business school dean Dan Innis, who filed paperwork with the FEC back in July, now says he "intends" to officially launch a second bid for Congress "within the next two weeks," per John DiStaso. Innis ran against now-Rep. Frank Guinta in last year's Republican primary and lost 50-40, but the GOP establishment would badly like to see him vanquish the badly damaged Guinta this time, since Innis would give his party a much batter chance of holding this volatile seat next year. Democrats are likely to nominate ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter once again, though she faces a primary with businessman Shawn O'Connor.
• NV-04: Sen. Harry Reid's endorsement seems to have encouraged other Democrats to back state Sen. Ruben Kihuen. Former DCCC chair Steve Israel is in his corner, as is state Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford. Ex-Rep. James Bilbray is also with Team Kihuen but given how many people have moved to the Las Vegas area since his 1994 defeat, Bilbray's probably doesn't have much juice.
• PA-06: Physician Joe Denham never announced that he would challenge Republican Rep. Ryan Costello, and now he never will. Denham opened a campaign account with the FEC in July, but he recently terminated it. Denham's decision leaves businessman Mike Parrish as the only Democrat running for this Romney 51-48 seat. National and state Democrats have wanted Parrish as their nominee here for a while. He ran in 2014 with DCCC support, but he dropped out after two-time nominee Manan Trivedi entered the race. (Parrish only recently left the GOP, and he evidently decided his chances were not good in a primary.)
Well, this may be a be-careful-what-you-wish-for scenario for Team Blue: Parrish is out with his first fundraising report, and it's horrible. Parrish brought in just $29,000 over the last three months, and he trails Costello $739,000 to $26,000 in cash on hand. It's unclear if Parrish is able to self-fund, but so far he hasn't invested any of his own money into the campaign. Unless a better candidate gets in or Parrish dramatically steps up his game, this race is going to fall off the radar very quickly.
• Houston, TX Mayor: Well, it looks like we have a real race on Nov. 3. SurveyUSA takes a look at the non-partisan primary and finds that while state Rep. Sylvester Turner is well positioned to advance to the runoff, there's a tight battle for the second place spot:
State Rep. Sylvester Turner: 20
Ex-Kemah Mayor Bill King: 14
Ex-Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia: 13
Ex-Rep. Chris Bell: 12
Councilor Stephen Costello: 11
Ex-City Attorney and 2013 candidate Ben Hall: 4
Businessman Marty McVey: 1
Every released poll shows Turner taking first place, but there's a lot of disagreement about who will meet him in the December runoff. A recent poll from the University of Houston and Rice University also showed King and Garcia competing for second
, and a pro-King poll had him edging Garcia 18-14 to reach the runoff; a recent survey on behalf of the Houston Association of Realtors had Turner and Garcia easily advancing to the runoff
. This poll also shows Bell and Costello within striking distance of making it to the runoff instead, something other polls haven't seen yet.
Turner is a longtime Democratic state representative with a strong base of support with African Americans. However, he's had trouble picking up enough support with other groups in his last two mayoral races. King is the most conservative major candidate, and he's probably Turner's preferred opponent in this Democratic-leaning city.
Garcia is a moderate Democrat and he would be Houston's first Hispanic mayor, and he'd likely give Turner more trouble. Bell, who was Team Blue's 2006 gubernatorial nominee, has a base of support with white progressives, but he's struggled with fundraising. Costello identifies as a Republican, but he's had a bad relationship with the local party over his support for a drainage fee.
SurveyUSA also asked about the referendum for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). They give the pro-HERO yes side a 45-36 lead: Both UH/Rice and the Houston Association of Realtors have yes ahead, while the pro-King poll gives the edge to the no side.
• Canada: Our neighbors to the north are holding federal elections today for the first time since 2011, and a decade of Conservative rule in Canada might finally come to an end. Polling shows the historically centrist Liberal Party with the lead, while the Tories are in second and the left-wing New Democratic Party has dropped to third. But given how close things are, combined with the difficulty of turning national polls into firm seat projections, it's still hard to say who will wind up on top and by how much.
To get fully up to speed, you'll want to read David Beard's detailed analysis, which takes a look back at recent history to see how Canada's gotten to where it is, and a look forward at what might happen on Election Day. And join us at Daily Kos Elections when polls close at 7 PM ET tonight for our liveblog—it'll be an exciting one!
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.