1Q Fundraising: Be sure to check out our first quarter Senate fundraising chart, which we'll be updating as new numbers come in. We'll also have our House fundraising chart out in the coming days.
● IA-Sen: Chuck Grassley (R-inc): $992,000 raised, $5 million cash-on-hand
● LA-Sen: Rob Maness (R): $300,000 raised; Foster Campbell (D): $250,000 self-funded; Caroline Fayard (D): $183,000 raised, $150,000 self-funded, $250,000 cash-on-hand
● NV-Sen: Joe Heck (R): $1.7 million raised, $3.8 million cash-on-hand
● PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D): $640,000 raised, $1.7 million cash-on-hand
● WA-Gov: Jay Inslee (D-inc): $1.9 million cash-on-hand; Bill Bryant (R): $700,000 cash-on-hand
● AZ-Sen: The Behavior Research Center continues to find a tight race between Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. This time, the two are tied 42-42; in late January, McCain led 38-37. No numbers were released for the August GOP primary, where McCain is trying to fend off ex-state Sen. Kelli Ward.
The poll's demographics don't make any sense though. BRC has McCain leading with Hispanics by a 50-37 margin. In 2012, Obama carried Arizona Hispanics 74-25: Needless to say, it's extremely unlikely that McCain could be winning this group while only being tied statewide. The geographic breakdowns are also strange. BRC has McCain leading 46-36 in Pima County, the home of Tucson and the second-largest county in the state. When McCain was winning re-election 59-35 in 2010, he carried Pima 51-43, and it's extremely unlikely that he's racking up a similar margin there this cycle while only being tied statewide. The two are also deadlocked 42-42 in Maricopa, the state's dominant county. You would need to look very hard to find a statewide election where Maricopa was more Democratic than Pima.
Unfortunately, we don't have many other polls here. The only other pollster to release general election numbers in 2016 is the Merrill Poll, which showed McCain ahead 41-40 in March. (Bruce Merrill, the longtime Arizona pollster who conducted that survey, recently died.) Hopefully, some other groups will take a look at Arizona soon to give us a better idea of what's going on. Daily Kos Elections rates the general as Lean Republican.
● CO-Sen: While none of Sen. Michael Bennet's potential GOP foes look incredibly impressive, national Democrats aren't leaving much to chance. Smart Media Group notes that the DSCC recently reserved $2.3 million in ad time for the final month of the general election. Ad buys of course can be canceled, but it sounds like Team Blue is preparing for a real fight here. Daily Kos Elections rates this seat as Lean Democratic.
● IA-Sen: National Democrats hope that ex-Lt. Gov. Patty Judge can do what none of Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley's other foes have done over the last few decades and give him a real race, but it's far too early to call this a top-tier contest. Judge raised $215,000 during the first month of her campaign, and she has $209,000 on hand. Judge was only running for a third of the fundraising quarter, so we still don't have a good read on her capabilities. Democrats hope that Grassley's prominent role in the Supreme Court blockage will give them a chance to paint the longtime senator as a petty partisan, but Judge will need a lot more cash, plus a lot of luck, if she's going to pull off a win.
Judge faces state Sen. Rob Hogg in the June primary. Hogg only hauled in $58,000 during the first three months of 2016, and he has $41,000 on hand. However, a number of Iowa politicians, including most Democrats in the legislature, are supporting Hogg over Judge. Daily Kos Elections rates the general as Likely Republican.
● IN-Sen: With less than a month to go before the May 3 GOP primary, Marlin Stutzman is tying fellow Rep. Todd Young to the hated Republican establishment as closely as he can. Stutzman's new spot has some of the most entertaining visuals we've seen in a campaign commercial in a while. The ad is set in a factory that's assembling copies of Young robots, with the narrator accusing Young of just doing what Mitch McConnell says.
The narrator goes on to say that Young "does as he's told. He voted to raise the debt limit over $2 trillion dollars, and voted to fund Obamacare and Obama's amnesty plan." The commercial ends with several Todd Youngs in action figure boxes labeled "Todd Young Edition Sellout Politicians," with "realistic parade waving action!!!" Whoever made this spot clearly was having fun.
● NV-Sen: National Republicans were not happy when Sharron Angle, the party's disastrous 2010 nominee, launched a bid against Rep. Joe Heck. The Senate Leadership Fund has released a late March Public Opinion Strategies poll that shows Heck destroying Angle 67-11 in the June primary. The poll argues that both candidates are already well-known and that Republican primary voters have already decided that they like Heck and hate Angle. In short, they're telling Angle that her new campaign is the least-welcomed sequel since Highlander II: The Quickening.
● OH-Sen: The Democratic group Hart Research recently surveyed Ohio about the fight to fill the vacant Supreme Court spot, and they included a question about the Senate race. They give Republican incumbent Rob Portman a 47-45 lead over Democrat Ted Strickland; most polls have also shown a tight race. It appears the horserace question was asked after a few Supreme Court ones, which could have influenced respondents.
● PA-Sen: EMILY's List launched a $1 million ad campaign in support of Katie McGinty in the April 26 Democratic primary a little while ago, but her campaign has been making it clear that they want them to drop more. Well, they're getting their wish: EMILY has added another $750,000 to their buy.
● IN-Gov: Four years ago, Democrat John Gregg had problems fundraising against Republican Mike Pence, but that's not going to be an issue in their rematch. Gregg outraised Pence $1.9 million to $1.5 million during the first three months of the year, though Pence has a $7.7 million to $5.1 million cash-on-hand edge. Daily Kos Elections rates the general as Lean Republican.
● ND-Gov: On Thursday, Gov. Jack Darlymple and Sen. John Hoeven endorsed Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, the GOP establishment's preferred candidate in this open seat race. Rich guy Doug Burgum, who is facing Stenehjem in the June primary, served as a co-chair for both Darlymple and Hoeven. Many of Burgum's ads have decried the state of North Dakota's economy though, which probably didn't sit well with Darlymple or with Hoeven, who served as governor until 2010.
Burgum is out with another TV ad and for the first time, he goes negative. The narrator bemoans Obamacare and calls Stenehjem "the only Republican attorney general to support Obamacare," and says that he sided with 21 Democratic attorneys general to defend it. As the local blog Say Anything explains, Stenehjem did sign onto a class action lawsuit to try and overturn the program. However, Stenehjem joined Democrats in signing a 2014 amicus brief in King v. Burwell; last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a conservative attempt to cripple a major part of Obamacare in that case.
Stenehjem says that he sided with Democrats because the court's actions would have negatively affected North Dakotans since the state didn't have its own healthcare exchange. Of course, that explanation isn't going to do anything to stop Burgum from continuing to paint Stenehjem as an Obama minion.
● WV-Gov: The RGA recently announced that they were spending $600,000 in the lead up to the May 10 primary and, at least for now, they're staying positive rather than trying to meddle in the Democratic contest. The RGA's first ad promotes state Senate President Bill Cole, who has no intra-party opposition. The spot features various people saying incredibly generic nice things about Cole, with some clips from a Cole speech interspersed.
● CA-32: It doesn't look like Assemblyman Roger Hernandez's campaign against Rep. Grace Napolitano, a fellow Democrat, is in much danger of succeeding. Hernandez raised just $2,548.00 during the first three months of the year, a sum even the Some Dudiest of Some Dudes can usually exceed. And on Wednesday, a judge issued a temporary restraining order to Hernandez's estranged wife, who says that the candidate shouted at her after a divorce hearing earlier this month; she has previously accused Hernandez of domestic violence. The top-two primary for this safely blue seat is in June and just one Republican is running, so it's likely that only one of the two Democrats will advance to June. Barring a massive surprise, that Democrat will be Napolitano.
● CA-48: A few months ago, ex-Orange County Republican Party Chair Scott Baugh filed with the FEC for this safely red seat, but it quickly became clear that he wasn't trying to unseat Rep. Dana Rohrabacher this cycle. Rohrabacher is running for re-election without any credible opposition (the California filing deadline has passed, and Baugh will not be on the ballot), but he's admitted that he's not sure how long he wants to be in Congress. Baugh hasn't done anything to hide the fact that he's raising money now so he can hit the ground running when this seat opens up, and he's off to a very strong start. Baugh raised a hefty $500,000 without any self-funding. Baugh claims he started raising money with Rohrabacher's permission, and the congressman didn't deny it.
Rohrabacher has made it clear that he wants a presidential appointment if the GOP retakes the White House this year, but it sounded like he's not planning to stick around the House much longer no matter what. Baugh says that Rohrabacher told him he'd leave by 2018 at the latest, though Rohrabacher recently told the Orange County Register that he "might not be leaving." Baugh's early fundraising success is certainly unusual, but it doesn't sound like it will scare off all his potential opponents. The Register says that Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel might be interested in running for an open seat, and she can self-fund; Baugh also notes that there are other wealthy politicians in the area.
But Baugh may have made a serious mistake when he told the Register that "I’m not going to engage in speculation" when they asked if he might run against Rohrabacher if he doesn't retire. On Friday, Rohrabacher put out a statement saying that Baugh "represented to me and many of my supporters/donors that he would never run against me and was only raising money for when I retire. Baugh now seems to be evolving out of that commitment," and told him to return the donations. If Rohrabacher remains pissed with Baugh, it could make it very difficult for Baugh to keep raising money.
● FL-04: On Friday, ex-Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford announced that he would seek this safely red seat, making him the first credible contender to get in. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Peter Rummell, a major GOP donor, pledged to support him while he was still mulling the contest. A number of other local Republican office-holders are considering a bid for this Jacksonville-area seat, but Rutherford may be formidable enough to scare many of them out of the race. St. Johns County Commissioner Bill McClure has also filed with the FEC, but he has yet to make any sort of announcement yet. (Hat-tip Politics1)
However, another prominent Florida conservative is getting some love as well. A few weeks ago Tim Tebow, the former Florida Gators quarterback, expressed some vague interest in running for office someday. And sure enough, speculation began to mount that Tebow would run here after Rep. Ander Crenshaw announced his retirement on Wednesday. Politico's Marc Caputo writes that Republicans "are hoping to have the home-schooler-turned-Heisman-winner run." However, we don't know if these Republicans want Tebow to run as an "oh, that would be kind of cool" thing, or if there's an actual organized push to get him into the race. Tebow himself has not said anything publicly about his interest.
● IA-04: On Friday, Sen. Chuck Grassley endorsed Rep. Steve King ahead of his June GOP primary with state Sen. Rick Bertrand. While some members of the ethanol industry are furious with King for backing Ted Cruz in the presidential contest (Cruz has been reluctant to promote the bills they support), other state GOP power players don't seem to want the congressman ousted. Steve King may be a bigoted pain-in-the-ass, but he's their bigoted pain-in-the-ass.
● MD-04: Glenn Ivey is out with another spot ahead of the April 26 primary for this safely blue seat. The ad features family photos as the narrators (who are his kids) describe his family history and pledge that he'll fight for jobs and protect Social Security and Medicare.
● MD-08: Former hotel executive Kathleen Matthews is out with another commercial in this safely blue suburban DC seat. Matthews speaks to the camera and says that she doesn't "believe money can buy votes," as a Washington Post headline flashes by that describes how one of her primary opponents, rich guy David Trone, dumped $9.1 million of his own cash into the campaign.
Matthews also says that she won't "won't claim to have singlehandedly passed just about every single bill in Annapolis," as another headline goes by saying that her other main foe, state Sen. Jamie Raskin, "overstated [his] environmental record." Instead, Matthews says she'll stand up to bigots like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Interestingly, a Matthews poll from last month showed Raskin leading her 31-28 with Trone at just 13; the fact that she's attacking Trone, however briefly, indicates that she thinks he's doing a lot better now. The primary is April 26.
● WI-07: Republican Sean Duffy hasn't had much trouble holding onto this 51-48 Romney seat in the northwest corner of the state, but a few Democrats have entered the race against him. Marathon County Board Supervisor Joel Lewis recently kicked off a bid here; about 19 percent of the seat is in Marathon, so it's not a bad base of support. Phil Salamone, who spent decades as a labor representative, is also in, and he has the support of two state legislators. It's unclear if either Democrat is capable of putting up a serious fight against the well-funded Duffy or if national Democrats are interested in either contender. Daily Kos Elections rates this seat as Safe Republican, though we'll keep an eye out for any developments.
● Demographics: Old-school conventional wisdom would suggest that the city is a polluted, crime-ridden, stressful place full of obesity-inducing desk jobs, and the countryside is where you find a clean environment and virtuous people engaged in hard physical labor, and from there, you might expect lifespans to be longer in rural areas. However, a new study (with Stanford economist Raj Chetty as the lead author) finds the exact opposite. Income is the strongest determinant for lifespan and since incomes tend to be higher in cities, city folk tend to live longer. But even when you focus entirely on lower-income people, there's still a lifespan bonus for people living in larger cities.
Chetty's study finds that lifespans for the poor are longest in cities like New York, Miami, and the Bay Area. It's not simply a case of greater income enabling people to purchase more and/or better health care services; it suggests some of that bonus may be policy-related. For instance, New York has taken some of the hardest lines against smoking and trans fats, as well as having a higher rate of social spending for low-income residents.
The flip-side is that there's an increase in unhealthy behavior in rural areas, and among the adult white population (which is disproportionately found outside the nation's cities). Susan Case and Angus Deaton's study about the increasing death rate among middle-aged whites is the one that gets the most attention concerning this trend. Increasing opioid abuse and cirrhosis in rural areas is a big part of this, but the increases are most pronounced among white women and substance abuse isn't necessarily at the root of all of it. For instance, there is the higher proportion of "lung ailments (not cancer)" among rural women than in cities.
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.