Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman
• CO-06: Republican Rep. Mike Coffman just experienced a fresh outbreak of Coffman's Disease, a dreaded affliction that the Daily Kos Elections Journal of Medicine defines as what happens when "a mouth-breathing movement conservative fails to remember that he's running in a very moderate district and lets his lizard brain do the talking."
I was speaking before a group the other day and said, "It's too bad we can't take VA leadership and export it and give it to some of our adversaries around the planet. Let them suffer under VA's leadership."
Can you imagine if the VA was in charge of ISIS? You know they would probably say, "Oh yeah, you know, it wasn't quite 2,000 that we beheaded. It was really—24 is the accurate number. And we're sorry, that, in fact, they were all our own terrorists that we beheaded because it got misclassified in the system as Christian." I mean, that would be the VA in charge of ISIS.
Some might think fewer beheadings would be a good thing, but then, we don't suffer from Coffman's Disease.
Despite this latest outbreak, Coffman has a reputation as a formidable campaigner and fundraiser. Coffman holds a suburban Denver seat that went for Barack Obama by a 52-47 margin, and he ran a disciplined race last year. National Republicans even worked hard to recruit him to run against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet this cycle, though he ultimately turned them down.
But Coffman had a few stumbles in 2012 when he questioned if Obama was born in the United States and wondered aloud if the president would try to pull off some sort of underhanded "October Surprise" to win a second term. Democrats are looking to put Coffman's seat back into play and they're trying to recruit state Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll, with Centennial Councilor Rebecca McClellan also a potential contender. Neither Democrat will have an easy time against the battle-tested Coffman, but if he continues to be this sloppy, he could end up spending the 115th Congress in exile with the Stone Men of Valyria.
• CO-Sen: Two weeks after Rep. Mike Coffman ruled out challenging Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, the GOP field remains as undefined as ever. The Denver Post mentions former state Solicitor General Dan Domenico as a possible candidate, and he didn't say no when asked. However, he didn't sound very interested, saying he has "no burning desire to run for office, and have a law practice and a family with young kids that I enjoy spending time with."
Businessman Robert Blaha seems a bit more keen, saying that he's "not actually pursuing it, but I am listening." Blaha spent big trying to unseat Doug Lamborn in the 2012 primary but lost 62-38, not incredibly impressive (especially since the underfunded Bentley Rayburn came a lot closer two years later). State Sen. Ellen Roberts is also considering, though her recent stumbles over her relatively pro-choice views don't inspire a lot of confidence.
• MD-Sen: On Friday, Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes announced that he would seek re-election to his safely blue House seat rather than try to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski. While Sarbanes initially sounded interested in a Senate bid, he'd been quiet over the last few months and gave little indication that he was seriously preparing for a statewide race.
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold has always had a reputation as a reformer—if not iconoclast—when it comes to money in politics: He was co-author of the McCain-Feingold bill that placed new restrictions on campaign financing, and he went one further, spurning outside spending that might have saved his bacon in 2010. That profile makes it all the more shocking that after he left office, Feingold created a PAC, Progressives United, that raised $7.1 million since 2011 but donated just 5 percent of its proceeds to actual candidates.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice, most of the group's money went to overhead, including $2.3 million direct mail. Feingold, who is making a comeback bid for Senate, and nine other former campaign and congressional staffers also received salaries or consulting fees. Feingold's current campaign defended Progressives United's work, saying that it had raised $1.6 million for other candidates via ActBlue, but that still means it generated under $2 million for Democratic campaigns compared to the $7 million it made for itself.
Feingold isn't commenting himself, but in a brazen move, his campaign almost immediately sent out an email trying to fundraise off this story, somehow trying to pin the blame for it on his opponent, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. But will it all matter? While this kind of inside baseball rarely registers with voters, especially with the election a full Kessel Run away, this isn't some random tax lien from a decade ago. All this activity was very recent, and it cuts directly against the image Feingold has always sought to project. Feingold's "not a typical politician" status has long been one of his strengths, and he can't afford to undermine himself.
• AZ-02: Despite meeting with national Democrats about a possible bid against Republican Rep. Martha McSally, state Rep. Randy Friese announced on Thursday that he'll stay in the legislature instead. Fellow state Rep. Victoria Steele already has an active exploratory committee and ex-state Rep. Matt Heinz is publicly considering, so Team Blue has some other notable options. Mitt Romney won this Tucson-area seat 50-48, though an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision could give the GOP legislature the chance to make it a lot redder.
• CA-26: Republican Jeff Gorell narrowly lost his bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley last year, but we won't be seeing a rematch next year. Instead, Gorell will serve as deputy mayor for homeland security and public safety for Los Angeles. Obama carried this Ventura County seat 54-44 and while both parties think that Brownley could be vulnerable, no notable Republicans have expressed interest in challenging her yet.
• CA-31: Back in April, we heard rumors that former Democratic Rep. Joe Baca would switch parties and face freshman Democrat Pete Aguilar as a Republican. Well, Baca registered as a Republican at the beginning of the month, and he says that he'd consider another bid for office. The head of the San Bernardino County GOP sounds excited about having Baca onboard, saying he'd like the former congressman to "participate at any level he'd like to."
Baca didn't specify any particular office or even mention Aguilar. Still, if Baca runs, he's going to have his work cut out for him. While Aguilar only narrowly won last year, this Redlands-area seat is much more friendly for Team Blue in presidential cycles. Baca's recent electoral history (albeit as a Democrat) isn't exactly anything to write home about either. After redistricting split his old seat in 2012, Baca ran for the new CA-35 and surprisingly lost to fellow Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod 56-44. Baca ran for CA-31 last year and took fifth place in the top-two primary with only 11 percent. Baca raised little money and only got any real attention after he called Negrete McLeod a "bimbo." Baca then found time to lose a race for mayor on Fontana (which is located back in CA-35) 61-19 that November.
It also wouldn't help Baca that Paul Chabot, the Republican who narrowly lost to Aguilar last year, is seeking a rematch. Chabot probably wouldn't hesitate to remind voters that while Baca was a conservative Democrat, he was still a Democrat. Or he can just read from Baca's website, which has yet to be updated to reflect his new party: "Former Congressman Joe Baca was the only Member of Congress from the Inland Empire who stood with President Obama's Stimulus Package and Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act." I doubt Republican primary voters will applaud that.
• CA-52: In an ugly end to an ugly affair, Todd Bosnich, a former staffer for Republican Carl DeMaio, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of obstruction of justice for forging emails that he claimed came from DeMaio, which contained (fake) threats against Bosnich for alleging that DeMaio had engaged in sexual misconduct. Last year, you may recall, Bosnich went to the campaign of Democratic Rep.
Gary Scott Peters claiming that DeMaio had sexually harassed him; Peters turned the matter over to local police, who ultimately did not file any charges.
But the matter played out publicly in the press and hurt DeMaio, particularly after Bosnich upped the stakes when he said DeMaio had threatened him. DeMaio wound up losing by a slim 3-point margin in what was a heavily targeted race, and he blamed Peters for "promoting Bosnich's smears and lies." It's a bit ridiculous—what are you supposed to do if someone comes to you alleging he or she is a victim of sexual impropriety? just remain silent?—but DeMaio is definitely very angry.
However, it's apparently not enough to motivate him to seek a rematch: According to the Daily Beast's Jackie Kucinich, DeMaio "has no plans to challenge Peters again." That's not a direct quote and that's not a no, but DeMaio has to know he'd face a much tougher time against Peters in a presidential year, no matter how aggrieved he feels.
• FL-13: This does not strike me as a good idea. Former Democratic Tampa Councilor Mary Mulhern says that she's considering moving across the bay into the 13th District to take on Republican David Jolly. However, there's a big stigma against Tampa candidates coming to the St. Petersburg area to seek office, something that local Democrats are quite aware of. And unlike last fall, it's not like Team Blue is desperate for a candidate: Former Obama Middle East policy aide Eric Lynn is already running, and he sounds well-connected enough to make this a race. Obama won this seat 50-49 and Democrats are going to want to beat Jolly before he becomes entrenched.
• NV-04: GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy, who already has a giant "D"-shaped target tattooed on his back, is now saying that GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy didn't say the things that GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy most definitely said:
I have three children. One of them is summa cum laude and two were magna cum laude. The other one, he didn't need an education. He works for Raytheon, smarter than all the rest. He works hard, he builds things that are genius. Some people have that ability....
But they all work hard. They are raising their own families. They will not be a drain on society, the best they can. Hopefully they will never have some disability that causes them to have to utilize that.
What is Congressman Cresent now claiming
, exactly? That he suffers from "brain fade
" and paranoid delusions:
Hardy, asked about the speech after a House vote Thursday in Washington, said he did not remember making the comment and suggested it was altered or taken out of context.
"I would like to have it analyzed," he said. "People try to manipulate things. I've seen that happen early on." Hardy was referring to the flap during the 2014 campaign when video surfaced in which he agreed with Mitt Romney's infamous comment about 47 percent of people living off the government.
Oh really? Because when Hardy got flayed last year after he declared
that "the 47 percent is true—it's bigger now," he didn't dispute that he'd said just that. In fact, he refused to back down and only offered that he'd "never been slick or polished." The only thing that needs analyzing here is the mind of a man who would declared the disabled a "drain on society."
• UT-04: Last year, Democrat Doug Owens lost to freshman Republican Mia Love only 51-46, a shockingly close result for a red district in a red year. Owens sounds ready to seek a rematch, with him asking the crowd at the state party convention, "If I ran again, would you help me out?"
If Beehive State Democrats are going to be beat Love, who has been criticized for running weak campaigns in the past, it's going to need to be now, before she secures her hold on this Salt Lake City-area seat. But it's definitely not going to be easy: While Romney's quasi-home state advantage helped him carry this seat by a massive 67-32 margin, McCain won it 56-41 in 2008. Love will also have the benefits of incumbency this time.
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.