● PA-Sen: A presidential endorsement is a terrible thing to waste, so it's no surprise that Katie McGinty is already out with a TV spot highlighting Barack Obama's support for her campaign.
The commercial starts with the narrator reading some nice quotes from Obama about McGinty, before touting her biography. The commercial then hits Republican incumbent Pat Toomey and links him to Donald Trump. There's little doubt that McGinty really wants primary voters to see this spot: Politico's Elena Schneider says that the campaign is spending seven-figures to air it. McGinty faces 2010 nominee Joe Sestak in the April 26 Democratic primary, with Braddock Mayor John Fetterman also in the mix.
● MO-Sen: On behalf of the newsletter The Missouri Scout, the GOP pollster Remington Research Group takes a look at the Senate contest. Remington gives Republican Sen. Roy Blunt a 44-37 lead over Democrat Jason Kander, which is considerably closer than the 49-35 Blunt edge DFM recently found. We haven't seen any other Senate horserace numbers out of the Show Me State in months, so it's hard to know which pollster is closer to the mark. Daily Kos Elections rates this contest as Likely Republican.
● NH-Sen: The group End Citizens United recently aired an ad against Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte focused on the Supreme Court blockade, and they've announced that they're spending $425,000 on another one. The narrator tells the audience that the last time the Senate refused to vote on a nominee was 1875, and it encourages the viewer to call Ayotte to tell her to do her job.
● WI-Sen: On behalf of the liberal group VoteVets, PPP takes a look at the rematch between Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democrat Russ Feingold, and they give Feingold a 46-39 edge. This is very similar to the 47-42 Feingold lead that Marquette Law School recently found; no other groups have released numbers this year. For months, Marquette gave Feingold double-digit leads, and it originally looked like their recent poll was just an outlier. However, PPP's release also indicates that Johnson isn't dead on arrival, though he still can't be feeling great about his chances in what is usually a Democratic-leaning state in presidential cycles.
● NH-Gov, NH State Senate: This week, each party picked up a new gubernatorial candidate. Republican state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, kicked off her long-awaited campaign, joining Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, wealthy state Rep. Frank Edelblut, and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas in the September primary. Forrester's campaign opens up her 53-46 Obama seat, which Team Blue almost certainly needs to flip if they want to overcome the GOP's 14-10 majority.
On the Democratic side, ex-Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand has announced he's in; Marchand will face Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and Mark Connolly, the former head of the state Bureau of Securities Regulation. Marchand has a lot to prove here: Portsmouth is only New Hampshire's 14th largest city, and Marchand served just one two-year term before leaving for a brief Senate campaign in 2007. Marchand was also No Labels' state director, which is not a point in his favor. Marchand was the University of New Hampshire's director of corporate relations though, so he may know some rich people.
New Hampshire's filing deadline isn't until June but at this point, pretty much every notable politician who had expressed interest in the last year is either running or has made it clear that they won't get in. It's always possible that there will be a surprise candidate or two, but it looks like the field is pretty much set for both parties. Democrats have won nine of the last ten gubernatorial races, but neither side will be taking anything for granted in this swing state. Daily Kos Elections rates the general as a Tossup.
● VT-Gov: Rich guy Bruce Lisman starts out as the clear underdog against Lt. Gov. Phil Scott in the August GOP primary, and he's going to need to run a lot of ads to have a shot. Lisman is out with two new spots, and they both throw some punches at outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin but don't mention Scott.
Lisman narrates the first ad and typically, like basically every businessman-turned-politician before him, he argues he's not a typical politician. Lisman tells the audience that they shouldn't be "electing the same old people who would do the same old things," as an image of Shumlin as a ventriloquist dummy (and another guy lighting a $100 bill on fire like it's a cigar) appear on the screen. The commercial ignores Scott, but of course, Lisman is going to frame this primary as a battle between a politician and a business outsider.
The second ad goes after Shumlin more directly, though there are no ventriloquist dummies this time. The narrator decries Shumlin's record and promotes Lisman as a successful businessman. There is no size of the buy for either commercial, though Vermont Public Radio says that he'd spent $200,000 before he launched this new ad campaign.
● IN-03: Tea party friendly outside groups have consolidated behind state Sen. Jim Banks, and the House Freedom Fund is airing a spot for him ahead of the May primary for this safely red seat. The ad promotes Banks' military career and national security credentials. GOP sources tell Nathan Gonzales that the size of the buy is a small $82,000.
● NV-03: Wealthy perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian is out with a March survey from Chariot LLC (whom we've never heard of before now) that shows him ahead in the June GOP primary for this competitive seat. They give Tarkanian 37 percent of the vote, far ahead of gun-obsessed Assemblywoman Michele Fiore's 9; GOP establishment favorite Michael Roberson, who serves as state Senate majority leader, is all the way back at 7.
However, as Jon Ralston argues, this poll isn't necessarily great news for Tarkanian. Roberson isn't particularly well known right now, but he has the money and big-named support to get his name out in the next few months. By contrast, 93 percent of voters say they recognize Tarkanian, so he probably doesn't have much room to grow. However, the poll also shows that while about half of primary voters recognize Fiore, she's not well-liked; Fiore also doesn't have much money available to improve her image. Roberson's hope (and Team Blue's fear) is that Fiore will take some far-right voters from Tarkanian and allow the more-formidable Roberson to take the nomination with a plurality. If Fiore and former conservative think tank president Andy Martin (who barely appears to have registered in this survey) doesn't vacuum up too much support, it'll make things much easier for Tarkanian and Democrats.
Ralston also notes that Tarkanian usually polls well at the beginning of the race thanks to his name recognition from his last losing campaign, but his support drops once he gets attacked. Maybe this time will be different of course, and at the very least, Tarkanian will force Roberson to dip into his warchest. Democrats have their own primary between national party favorite Jacky Rosen and attorney Jesse Sbaih.
● NY-19: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has spent years raising money for women candidates around the country, and now she's helping one out at home. Gillibrand just sent out a fundraising email on behalf of law professor Zephyr Teachout, who is running to represent Gillibrand's old seat in the House. Teachout faces Livingston Town Councilman Will Yandik in the June Democratic primary, while Republicans have a hotly contested fight for their nomination. This swingy seat is open because GOP Rep. Chris Gibson is retiring.
● SC-01: Candidate filing closed Wednesday for South Carolina's June 14 primary, and the state has a list of contenders here. GOP Sen. Tim Scott and all seven of the state's House members (six Republicans and one Democrat) are running for re-election, including 4th District GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, who sounded interested in bailing back in October. Daily Kos Elections rates each seat as safe for the party that holds it.
Each incumbent only has token primary opposition, with one possible exception. Republican Rep. Mark Sanford faces a challenge from state Rep. Jenny Horne, who drew national attention last year when she called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the South Carolina state House grounds. Sanford, a former governor, himself made headlines in 2009 when infamously disappeared for several days to visit his mistress in Argentina. Sanford's old scandal caused him some problems during his 2013 comeback campaign, but it wasn't enough to stop him from winning the primary or the general in this coastal seat. Horne has also struggled with fundraising so far, so she may not be in a good position to capitalize on any lingering disgust with Sanford.
● SC-05: Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney is far from a top-tier Democratic target in this 55-44 Romney seat, but Team Blue does have two non-Some Dude candidates running here. Fran Person, who served as an aide to Joe Biden for eight years and was a football player at the University of South Carolina before working for the school, has been running for about a month, and it's possible his ties to the vice president will help him raise money. However, Person needs to get past state Rep. John King first. King represents a 67-32 Obama seat, so he doesn't have too much experience winning over conservatives. Daily Kos Elections rates this upstate seat as Safe Republican, though we'll be keeping an eye out to see if either Democrat catches fire.
● Time Machine: It all happened in 1994. Back then, Newt Gingrich was the right's great hope. America was still dancing to Ace of Base. And Republican Robert Terwilliger, a convicted attempted murderer also known as Sideshow Bob, was challenging Springfield's Democratic Mayor Joe Quimby for re-election. Journey back with us for this special Daily Kos Elections Time Machine focusing on this pivotal moment in American politics.
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.