● NV-03: God can't love us this much, can she? In the latest sign that state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson is worried about whether he can defeat wealthy perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian in Tuesday's GOP primary, he's running a new ad directly attacking Little Tark. The spot slams Tarkanian's six failed prior bids for office, suggesting that all those losses were due to "the $17 million judgment for his fraudulent development scheme," "the $35 million bankruptcy where he defrauded creditors and lied under oath" and "the telemarketing scheme that stole millions from seniors." The two financial implosions are too recent to have impacted most of Tarkanian's campaigns, but the telemarketing story has played a role in several of his losing efforts.
A new ad from a conservative super PAC, Ending Spending, also hit the exact same themes, and the group has now poured $1.2 million into the race. But both spots come awfully late, as many voters have already cast their ballots early in Nevada. We haven't seen a poll here in months, but the actions of Roberson and his allies don't signal confidence. National Democrats, who have rallied around synagogue president Jacky Rosen, would be thrilled if Roberson's fears proved well-founded and Tarkanian—a true loser candidate who's only lasted this long because his late father is a legendary basketball coach—won the nomination for this swingy open seat.
● CO-Sen: Maureen Moss, the signature-gatherer accused of falsifying dozens of signatures on petitions collected for GOP Senate candidate Jon Keyser, was arrested by Denver police on Wednesday and charged with 34 felony counts of forgery. Regardless of Moss' fate, though, it's not clear whether her case will have any impact on Keyser. In fact, a judge previously threw out a challenge to Keyser's signatures, saying it had been brought too late. So we could wind up with quite a spectacle: a candidate getting on the ballot even as one of his signature collectors goes to prison for fraud. Whatever happens, there's a good chance Keyser's opponents won't let him forget it.
Meanwhile, one of those opponents, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, just earned a somewhat notable endorsement. Tina Fey impersonator Sarah Palin gave Glenn her support this week, and while we haven't cared much about Palin's peripatetic political maneuverings for years, this primary is such a low-budget frick-and-frack affair that Mama Grizz might just be able to help Glenn stand out from the pack. Actually, the collective noun for a group of bears is a "sloth," which somehow seems perfectly appropriate.
● MO-Sen: The Karl Rove group One Nation is out with the first of what Politico says will be two ads from their new $1.5 million buy. The spot praises Republican Sen. Roy Blunt for his work on veterans issues, and features a speech by Blunt talking about the Military Family Stability Act.
● OH-Sen: Republican Sen. Rob Portman is spending $1.1 million on a new spot and once again, he focuses on drug addiction. The commercial features the mother of a 21-year-old who died from heroin praising Portman for caring about families like hers and working to reauthorize the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
● MO-Gov: Retired Navy SEAL Eric Greitens is out with his second ad ahead of the August GOP primary but this time, he doesn't blow anything up. The narrator instead promotes Greitens' military career and conservative credentials.
● AZ-05: GOP pollster OH Predictive Insights is out with a survey of the August primary for this safely red seat, and they give state Senate President Andy Biggs a clear lead. Biggs edges ex-Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley 21-10, with former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones and state Rep. Justin Olsen at 7 and 5, respectively. Another recent poll gave Biggs a smaller 24-18 edge over Stapley. OH Predictive Insights tells us via email that this poll was not commissioned by any campaign.
● CA-08: Ultra-conservative ex-Assemblyman Tim Donnelly launched a last-minute campaign against Rep. Paul Cook, a fellow Republican, but it unsurprisingly went nowhere. Cook easily grabbed one of the two general election spots on Tuesday, while Democrat Rita Ramirez leads Donnelly 21.4-20.2 for the other slot. There are still uncounted ballots and the AP has not called the race, but this looks like an embarrassing end for Donnelly. This San Bernardino-area seat is safely red.
● CA-17: Rep. Mike Honda narrowly defeated former Obama administration official Ro Khanna, a fellow Democrat, 52-48 in the 2014 general election, and both men easily advanced to November once again on Tuesday. However, Honda looks like he's in a much worse position than he was just two years ago.
Honda faces an ethics investigation about whether he improperly commingled campaign work with government business. Several local politicians who endorsed him in 2014 are either staying neutral this time, or are supporting Khanna. Even President Obama, who usually backs Democratic incumbents in competitive intra-party races, isn't endorsing Honda again. Khanna is also in much better shape financially this time. At this time two years ago, Honda and Khanna each had about $1 million on hand; now, Khanna holds a big $1.6 million to $767,000 cash-on-hand edge.
Khanna appears to have edged Honda 38.3-38.1 on Tuesday, though uncounted ballots could shift the margin. Khanna is the more conservative candidate, and since he'll have an easier time appealing to Republican voters, he likely has much more room to grow than the incumbent. Indeed, two years ago, Honda outpaced Khanna 48-28 in the primary, but the general election turned into a cliffhanger. It's too early to count Honda out, but the omens are not good for the congressman.
● CA-29: For some reason, ex-Los Angeles Councilor Richard Alarcon decided to launch a last-minute campaign against Rep. Tony Cardenas, a fellow Democrat. The good news for Alarcon is that he appears to have edged out Some Dude Democrat Joseph Shammas 13-11 to grab the second place general election spot (though the AP has not called the race). The bad news is that Cardenas took 62 percent, and Alarcon has raised very little money.
● CA-32: When Assemblyman Roger Hernandez launched his campaign against Rep. Grace Napolitano, a fellow Democrat, he hoped to frame this as a race between a local and an incumbent who doesn't actually live in the district she represents. However, Hernandez has raised very little money, and his estranged wife has testified in court that he abused her. On Tuesday, Napolitano took 52 percent in the top-two primary; Some Dude Republican Gordon Fisher currently leads Hernandez 24.3 to 24.0 for the second general spot, though there are still uncounted ballots. In any case, Napolitano should have little trouble against either of them in November.
● CA-49: Until a few days ago, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa looked as safe as always in California's 49th District, a San Diego-area seat that Mitt Romney carried by a 52-46 margin. However, in Tuesday's top-two primary, Issa only outpaced little-known Democrat Doug Applegate, a retired Marine, 51-45. Issa and Applegate will meet again in the November general election.
So is Issa vulnerable here? As we've warned before, it's risky to try and use the top-two primary as a predictor of what will happen in the fall. Interest was much higher on Tuesday for California's Democratic presidential race than it was for the GOP contest, and it's possible that Issa's 51 percent was just his low-water mark. And if Issa does feel threatened, he can easily respond. Issa is the wealthiest member of the House, while Applegate had just $14,000 on-hand at the end of May.
The big question will be if Applegate's unexpectedly strong performance encourages national Democrats to help him. If Democratic donors take an interest in this contest and groups like the DCCC and House Majority PAC start to make ad reservations here, then we'll know that they're taking the possibility of an Issa loss seriously. But if Applegate continues to bring in little cash and receives no air support, it's a good sign that national Democrats just see his performance as a top-two fluke and don't think Issa is beatable. Daily Kos Elections currently rates this seat Safe Republican, but we'll keep an eye out for developments.
● FL-10: In a brave move, former state Democratic chair Bob Poe announced on Thursday that he's HIV-positive; should he win election in Florida's open 10th District, he would become the first openly HIV-positive person to serve in Congress. Poe says he was diagnosed after experiencing "flu-like symptoms" in 1998, when he was married to a woman but having sex with men. Poe told Watermark magazine, which describes him as "healthy," that he decided to come out about his condition after meeting a woman on the campaign trail who told him (without knowing Poe's status) that she'd recently learned that she was HIV-positive and lacked health insurance. Poe didn't reveal his own diagnosis right then, but he explained:
"I just wanted to hug her and tell her that she wasn't alone, that I'm HIV and that I'm happy and healthy and she will be too. But I couldn't," Poe recalls, shaking his head. "I couldn't in that moment. Afterwards it became clear to me. I have an obligation to do this if I'm going to be a public servant. There's no one else in elective office, that I know of at least, with the same opportunity to talk about [HIV] from a personal perspective. My encounter with that woman, who was just looking for reassurance, took me over the edge."
Poe, who also released a video announcing the news directly, faces two notable opponents in the Democratic primary in this solidly blue district: former Orlando police chief Val Demings and state Sen. Geraldine Thompson. In an unusual move, the DCCC endorsed Demings, but Poe is independently wealthy and has loaned his campaign over $1 million. Poe, who is white, might also benefit from the fact that he's the only man in a race with two women, both of whom are black and could wind up splitting the district's sizable African-American vote. It's unclear how Poe's new revelation might affect the race, but he's already received considerable attention for his courage. The primary for this safely blue seat is Aug. 30.
● FL-11: Republican Rep. Dan Webster is running for a seat that's 82 percent new to him, and he's out with his first TV ad ahead of the August primary. Webster asks the audience, "Want to know why Washington is broken? Because it's blinded by power. Paralyzed by politics. And they put their needs over ours." (It's good to know that Webster isn't using this commercial to audition for a role as a political scientist.)
Webster goes on to brag that he "took on Speaker of the House John Boehner to get the House in order. By setting priorities, demanding transparency, and empowering every member to get things done." Webster doesn't mention that his 2015 speakership campaign against Boehner failed badly, or that his attempt to keep Paul Ryan out of the speaker's chair also went nowhere. Webster faces Justin Grabelle, the former chief of staff to retiring Rep. Rich Nugent, in the primary for this safely red seat.
● FL-13, Sen: GOP Rep. David Jolly still sounds ready to defer to Marco Rubio if Rubio decides he wants to run for re-election, and Jolly's also still thinking about running for re-election himself, though he says the two are "different decisions," and that's actually fair. In other words, Jolly has three choices: stick with his Senate bid, drop down to the House, or simply walk away from it all.
But whether or not Rubio runs for Senate, Jolly would have a better shot at seeking a second full term in the lower chamber, since he's unlikely to fare well in the Senate primary. A House campaign certainly wouldn't be easy, though, since Jolly's seat was made considerably bluer in redistricting and it's drawn the most popular Democrat possible, former Gov. Charlie Crist. But key local Republicans are pushing Jolly to go for it, and according to Marc Caputo, they're trying to lure him with polls that show he "could do well" against Crist.
Of course, no one's sharing those polls publicly, and that's one hell of a big "could." It's easy, after all, to say something could happen. Donald Trump could be our next president. It's not likely, thank god—we think!—but it could come to pass. So who knows what Jolly's chances really are? He did tell the National Review that he thinks it would be "fun" to run against Crist, but this is a guy who hates fundraising so much that he stopped doing it altogether, so color us skeptical when he says he thinks campaigning is "fun." Fortunately, the filing deadline is June 24, so this nonsense will all be over soon.
● IL-12: Freshman Republican Rep. Mike Bost sits in a St. Louis-area seat that narrowly backed Obama, but so far, national Democrats haven't taken much of an interest in attorney C.J. Baricevic. Baricevic's campaign is hoping to change that by releasing a poll that argues that he can make this a race if he can get his name out.
The May Garin Hart Yang poll gives Bost an big 50-37 lead initially, but the memo says that "when voters are given both positive and negative information about both candidates," Baricevic wins 48-40. The questions were not released, but Capitol Fax's Rich Miller writes that he's seen the whole poll and "[t]hey threw some very, very tough shots at their own candidate (including the issues that scared off the DCCC - mainly his criminal defense law practice)." The poll also gives Hillary Clinton a 47-43 lead here.
For most of the race, Baricevic had trouble fundraising. Baricevic's last quarter was much stronger, and we'll find out in mid-July if he can sustain the pace. If Baricevic can, national Democrats will likely take another look here. However, if they're not convinced he can run a strong campaign, they'll probably invest their resources elsewhere. Daily Kos Elections rates this seat as Likely Republican.
● MI-10: Rich guy Paul Mitchell is out with his second spot ahead of the August primary for this safely red seat. The narrator, who sounds like he just got off the set of a Western, touts Mitchell's humble origins and business background, saying he's "Michigan tough. So Washington, get out of his way." Hilariously, none the footage of the candidate they use makes Mitchell look like a tough guy, even in the part where he's holding a gun.
● NH-01: Having burned every bridge imaginable with his berserk attacks on the New Hampshire Democratic Party—even going so far as claim a restaurant owned by a party stalwart was infested by rats (!)—self-funding carpetbagger Shawn O'Connor has decided to take his proverbial ball and … well, unfortunately, he's not going home. Instead, he says he'll run as an independent, a move that would hand the Democratic nomination to ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. CSP was already the heavy favorite in the primary, though, so this might actually not redound to her benefit, since now theoretically O'Connor could take away votes she needs to defeat Rep. Frank Guinta or businessman Rich Ashooh in the general election. Hopefully, though, O'Connor's general election candidacy will prove to be as big a dud as his primary bid.
● NY-19: Law professor Zephyr Teachout continues to be that rare candidate who is popular both with the Democratic establishment and with more outsider oriented politicians like Bernie Sanders. On Tuesday, incoming Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer endorsed Teachout ahead of the June 28 primary for New York's 19th Congressional District. The Empire State's other senator, Kirstin Gillibrand, was already in Teachout's corner.
Siena College is also out with the first primary poll, and they give Teachout a strong 53-23 lead over Livingston Town Councilor Will Yandik. On the GOP side, ex-Assembly Minority Leader John Faso leads businessman Andrew Heaney by a 50-28 margin, similar to the 51-32 edge a recent Faso poll found. While the Democratic primary has been pretty low-key so far, the GOP race has been nasty, with both candidates and their allies airing ads attacking the other side.
Siena tends to be a very hit-or-miss pollster. In the last few months, they nailed one New York state Senate special election, but badly blew another; Siena also has the honor of posting one of the worst polling debacles we've ever seen. Faso's pollster, McLaughlin and Associates, just tends to miss: They're the group that infamously found Eric Cantor easily winning renomination weeks before his historic 2014 loss, and their track record before that was also bad. McLaughlin also recently was hired by Donald Trump to poll New York in the general election, which also speaks volumes about their quality. Still, just because two meh pollsters show Faso kicking ass doesn't mean that Heaney is actually within striking distance, especially since he hasn't released any contradictory data. Obama carried this upstate seat 52-46.
● OK-02: GOP Rep. Markwayne Mullin's primary got a little interesting last week when ex-Sen. Tom Coburn, angry that Mullin seems to be backing away from his term-limits pledge, endorsed veteran Jarrin Jackson. Mullin is still the clear favorite on June 28, but he's wisely making use of his huge financial lead to go up with a TV spot. Mullin blasts Obama over terrorism, while the incumbent stresses his own commitment to national security.
● WI-08: Former Scott Walker advisor Mike Gallagher is taking advantage of his large warchest to go up with his first TV spot ahead of the GOP primary. The narrator touts Gallagher's local roots and military record, and says he's running to "defeat America's greatest threats." The commercial briefly features a clip of Gallagher firing a gun at a gun range. Gallagher faces state Sen. Frank Lasee in August, and the winner will take on Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson in this competitive Green Bay seat.
● Fresno, CA Mayor: While Obama carried Fresno 57-41 in 2012, the nation's 34th-largest city hasn't elected a Democratic mayor since the 1990s. Team Blue may get the chance to change that in November, though. In Tuesday's non-partisan primary, Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea, a Democrat, grabbed 44 percent of the vote, while Republican City Councilor Lee Brand took the second-place general election spot with 32. Another Republican, pastor H. Spees, took third with 18.
● San Diego, CA Mayor: To no one's surprise, Mayor Kevin Faulconer won re-election on Tuesday, taking 58 percent against two underfunded foes; because Faulconer grabbed a majority, he gets to avoid a second round in November. Faulconer is the star of the California GOP's otherwise sad bench, and plenty of Republicans would love for him to run for governor in 2018. Faulconer said a few weeks ago that he'd serve out all four years of his second term, though he'd hardly be the first politician to back away from this kind of pledge.
● Bernalillo County, NM Commission: On Tuesday, Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education member Steven Michael Quezada, who is best known for playing DEA agent Steve Gomez on all five seasons of Breaking Bad, narrowly won the Democratic primary for the five-member Bernalillo County Commission. Bernalillo is New Mexico's largest county.
As the New Mexico Political Report's Joey Peters explains, the race turned expensive after a PAC financed by local lawyers and developers attacked another candidate, Adrián Pedroza, over his opposition to Santolina, a controversial planned living community. Quezada noted that he voted against Santolina on the school board, though he didn't rule out supporting the subsidies that Santolina's developers want. Quezada also got support from his former co-stars Bryan Cranston (it's unclear how many times Quezada needed to say Cranston's name to get that endorsement) and Dean Norris. Quezada outpaced Pedroza 35-32, with a third candidate taking 31. This seat is heavily Democratic.
P.S. Breaking Bad fans, you have to read this.
● L.A. County, CA Board of Supervisors: Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn decided to run for a seat on the powerful Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors rather than seek re-election, and she looks positioned to win in the fall. On Tuesday, Hahn took 47 percent of the vote in the non-partisan primary, a little less than the majority she needed to win outright. Hahn will face Republican Steve Napolitano, a former member of the Manhattan Beach City Council who took 37, in November; Ralph Pacheco, a Democrat, took 16. This will be an expensive race: So far, Hahn has outraised Napolitano $1.4 million to $310,000, but Napolitano self-funded another $790,000.
● Demographics: As a thought experiment, what comes to mind when you think "working class?" In all likelihood, you probably envisioned a white male (maybe, if you filled in some additional details, in the Midwest and working a manufacturing job). The Economic Policy Institute, however, is out with a new study that reminds us that the working class is very diverse, more so than the population as a whole.
They're estimating that the working class will cease to be majority-white in 2032, well ahead of when the Census Bureau projects the entire U.S. population will (in 2043). If you narrow the definition down a bit, the timeframe gets even more compressed; "prime age working class" (ages 25-54) will cease to be majority-white in 2029, and if you limit it to the 25-34 cohort within the working class, it's only five years away, in 2021. The vast majority of that growth is concentrated among Hispanics.
Bear in mind this is using possibly the broadest definition possible for "working class," which is working people without a college degree. There are other narrower approaches, such as looking at it in terms of income (i.e. something less than middle class, but more than poor), or occupation (production or transportation jobs, rather than creative class or service sector jobs). But the focus on education emphasizes that improving access to higher education for all races is one of the best tools we have for lessening income inequality.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and Stephen Wolf.