● FL-02: Attorney and Club for Growth favorite Mary Thomas is out with yet another ad ahead of the August primary for this safely red seat. Thomas seizes on a favorite conservative trope and tells the audience, "Obama won't say it, but I will: Radical Islamic terrorists are killing Christians in Syria." The commercial is also probably the first (but not last) political ad to feature footage of the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, as Thomas proclaims, "In Orlando, ISIS has brought their war to America."
Thomas, a first-generation child of immigrants from India, further brags that she "led the fight against Obama's plan to bring dangerous Syrian refugees to Florida." Thomas' last job in government was serving as general counsel to the state department of elders affairs so it's incredibly unlikely she did anything to lead many fights, but GOP primary voters probably won't care. Thomas then goes full nativist as she calls for stopping "all immigration from countries that harbor terrorists," as text flashes by proclaiming that she "Agrees with Trump," concluding with her pledge to "put America first." Is no one in today's Republican Party aware of the origins of that phrase?
● CO-Sen: The GOP Senate primary to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is on June 28, and it has been a low-energy affair. Jack Graham, the former athletic director of Colorado State University, seems to have spent the most cash thanks to his $1.5 million in self-funding, dropping $684,000 from April 1 to June 8. But we can't be certain if Graham is the biggest spender because another rich guy, businessman Robert Blaha, has not publicly released his totals even though the pre-primary filing deadline was Thursday night.
However, none of the other three Republican contenders have spent anything close to Graham's shelled out. Ex-state Rep. Jon Keyser tried to pass himself off as the GOP establishment favorite when he entered the race, but he spent just $189,000 during the pre-primary period. Ex-Aurora Councilor Ryan Frazier deployed a similar $228,000 during this time while El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn spent a mere $70,000. However, Glenn does have the high-profile support of Sen. Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, which could help him stand out in this anemic field. Early voting has already started.
Whoever emerges with the GOP nod won't have an easy time against Bennet, who has $5.7 million in the bank. Graham or Blaha could be able to self-fund enough to get their message out in the general election, but Keyser, Frazier, and Glenn just look too weak.
● FL-Sen: President Obama endorsed Patrick Murphy over fellow Rep. Alan Grayson in the August Democratic primary a while ago, and Obama has now recorded a 30-second radio spot for Murphy. According to Politico, the commercial will run for the next few weeks on stations with predominantly African-American listeners, with whom Obama is, of course, extremely popular.
● NH-Sen: Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun safety group founded by ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords, began running a spot here last month hitting GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte for opposing legislation that would have made it tougher to buy a gun without a background check. Now the organization is out with a poll from Global Strategies Group that gives Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan a 49-45 lead; a GSG poll conducted last month before their ad campaign began had Hassan ahead by a slightly smaller 45-43 edge.
Meanwhile, the conservative group One Nation has launched a $1.5 million spot targeting Hassan. The narrator argues that Hassan has proposed huge spending increases while charging taxpayers "tens of thousands of dollars for state troopers to travel with Hassan to non-official, out-of-state, political events and fundraisers." The narrator then asks viewers to urge Hassan to "propose legislation to stop taxpayer dollars from being spent on political events."
● IN-Gov: The Republican Governors Association is continuing their offensive against Democratic nominee John Gregg with another TV commercial. Once again, the RGA accuses Gregg of "doing side work for corrupt energy company Enron while collecting a state paycheck." The RGA also claims that Enron got a tax break while Gregg wanted to hike taxes for Hoosiers. The Enron scandal has largely been out of the headlines since the early 2000s, but this is the second time in recent years that we've seen a campaign ad utilize it: In the 2014 Virginia Senate race, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner hit Republican Ed Gillespie for lobbying for the defunct company.
● MO-Gov: Ex-U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway is out with her second spot, and she blows several conservative dog-whistles as she pledges to restore order to Missouri. The narrator bemoans "[r]iots in Ferguson, lawlessness at Mizzou, murder rates climbing," before Hanaway appears. Hanaway, one of the four Republicans competing in the August primary, blames "career politicians" for crime and promises to "strength community policing," support the Second Amendment, and impose "harsher penalties for shooting at a police officer." Regardless of who takes the GOP nod, we're likely to see Team Red deploy this kind of "law and order" argument against presumptive Democratic nominee Chris Koster in the fall.
● NC-Gov: The North Carolina Association of Educators is out with a TV spot against at GOP incumbent Pat McCrory. The commercial hits McCrory for problems in public schools, as well as the lost revenue from the backlash over HB2, the state's new anti-LGBT law. There is no word on the size of the buy.
● NH-Gov: Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, one of three notable Democrats running in the September primary, recently earned the backing of the National Education Association-New Hampshire , which has 17,000 members and is the state's largest teachers union.
● VA-Gov: Democratic Sen. Mark Warner has made it no secret that he has some nostalgia for the good old days when he was one of America's most popular governors, and he spent a while flirting with a 2013 bid before deciding to seek re-election to the Senate the following year. This time, Warner is ending talk of another gubernatorial campaign early: Warner, along with fellow Sen. Tim Kaine and Gov. Terry McAuliffe, endorsed Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam's 2017 bid over the weekend. While Virginia Democrats have consolidated behind Northam early, we won't know the GOP nominee until next year's state party convention.
● UT-Gov: Next week's GOP primary continues to look like a snoozer. A new Dan Jones & Associates poll for UtahPolicy.com gives Gov. Gary Herbert a 66-28 edge over businessman Jonathan Johnson. It's worth noting that the poll has a small 291 sample size and was conducted over a long 10-day period, but with all signs pointing to a Herbert blowout, it's not like Johnson can just sit back and hope this survey is very wrong.
● FL-06: Sen. Marco Rubio will headline a Wednesday fundraiser in D.C. for Navy veteran Brandon Patty, and former RNC chief Ed Gillespie, who employed Patty at the committee, will also be there. Patty faces state Reps. Fred Costello and David Santiago, as well as political consultant Pat Mooney (the brother of West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney), in the August GOP primary. None of the candidates have brought in an incredible amount of cash so far.
● FL-09: Biomedical researcher Dena Grayson, the wife of departing congressman Alan Grayson, is out with a poll giving her a huge lead in the August primary for this safely blue seat … but the poll is from Gravis Marketing.
Gravis' independent polls are awful enough, but the firm is particularly infamous for showing crazy results for their clients. Case in point: Back in January, Gravis claimed ex-state Del. Mike Smigiel was beating Rep. Andy Harris 58-29 in the GOP primary for Maryland's 1st District; neither Smigiel nor Gravis bothered to mention that this Smigiel lead came after Gravis asked several favorable questions about Smigiel. Three months later, Harris obliterated Smigiel 78-11. This wasn't Gravis' only big miss this year alone. In a February poll for a conservative website, Gravis showed ex-state Rep. Matt Lynch leading Rep. David Joyce 37-29 in the GOP primary for Ohio's 14th District: Joyce won 65-35.
So yeah, Grayson shouldn't take too much comfort in the 31-11 edge Gravis gives her against state Sen. Darren Soto (former Alan Grayson aide Susannah Randolph takes 4). Gravis usually works for Republican candidates and conservative media organizations, but the Grayson family has been among the (thankfully) few Democrats to hire them: Alan Grayson himself used the firm back in 2012.
● FL-13: Last year, Republican Rep. David Jolly declared that "virtually every person in the political sphere will tell you no Republican can win" the redrawn version of Florida's 13th District. But now that Jolly is running for that very same seat, which backed Obama 55-44, he's crooning a different tune, sung in the key of a McLaughlin & Associates poll giving him a wide 50-38 lead over Democrat Charlie Crist.
Now, McLaughlin is one of the lousiest pollsters there is, and as community member KingofSpades points out, the firm's survey has Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump just 44-43 in the 13th, which is incredibly hard to believe.
But Crist's own team is confirming that the general election is, at best, close. Crist has released a PPP survey giving him just a 46-43 edge over Jolly; the only independent poll that's been released, a St. Pete Polls survey, showed things deadlocked 46-46 earlier this month.
However, Jolly is a notoriously lousy fundraiser and his nominal allies at the NRCC hate him, perhaps enough to even cut him loose, so Crist should have an advantage in getting his message out. Crist also earned an unsurprising but still welcome endorsement from Barack Obama on Monday. But with even Crist's poll showing things tight, Democrats can't treat this as an automatic pickup.
● FL-19: On Monday, ex-Secret Service agent Dan Bongino confirmed that he would seek this safely red open seat. Bongino doesn't exactly have solid roots in the Cape Coral area: Bongino ran for Congress in Maryland in 2012 and 2014, and when he moved to Florida last year, he relocated to Palm Beach, which is three hours away on the other side of the state. Bongino is a minor celebrity in conservative circles for a book he once wrote criticizing Barack Obama, whom he used to protect, so maybe he can harness some anti-establishment rage. Businessman and GOP donor Francis Rooney and Chauncey Goss, the son of ex-Rep. Porter Goss, are also running in the late August primary. The candidate filing deadline is Friday.
● FL-26: While businesswoman Annette Taddeo has the support of the DCCC, her primary campaign with ex-Rep. Joe Garcia has not been sure-footed. A little while after Taddeo released a poll showing her badly trailing Garcia, she replaced most of her senior campaign team. However, Taddeo did just pick up a useful endorsement from the AFL-CIO, which gives her some much-needed good news. The Democratic nominee will face freshman GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo.
● GA-03: Dentist Drew Ferguson recently earned the support of eight county sheriffs in his late July GOP primary with state Sen. Mike Crane, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jim Galloway gives us an interesting look at why Crane has such a poor relationship with local law enforcement. Back in 2014, a special ops team burst into a northeast Georgia home unannounced in search of a drug dealer. Their target wasn't there, but police threw a flash-bang grenade that inflicted severe injuries on a 19-month-old toddler. Afterward, Crane backed legislation that would have curtailed the kind of "no-knock" warrants cops relied on in this case; however, the bipartisan proposal failed after prosecutors and law enforcement groups came out against it.
Crane didn't help his relationship with these groups earlier this year, when he was caught on camera saying, "You come to my house, kick down my door—if I have an opportunity, I will shoot you dead. And every one of you should do the same. It is the only area where the law enforcement community and I differ." The clip didn't get much play during the May primary, where Crane narrowly outpolled Ferguson in this safely red seat, but Galloway hints that voters will "see much more of it in the next five weeks."
Crane also didn't make friends with business conservatives when he unsuccessfully pushed for "religious liberty" legislation, and Galloway reports that "[b]usiness-oriented forces may be lining up against him." The anti-tax group the Club for Growth is in Crane's corner, but they didn't spend much for him in the tight three-way primary, and it's unclear how much they'll go to bat for him in July. While Ferguson didn't start the contest with much name recognition, his ties to fellow dentists helped him to decisively outraise Crane; Ferguson also recently earned an endorsement from Jim Pace, who took a close third in the primary. It's tough to handicap low-turnout runoffs like this one, but it's very possible that Crane has just made too many enemies to beat Ferguson, who doesn't appear to have offended many people.
● IA-03, MI-01, WI-08: Democrats have made new fall ad reservations in a trio of GOP-held House seats in the Midwest. Per Morning Consult, the DCCC has booked $750,000 in airtime in Wisconsin's open 8th Congressional District, which comes on top of some $220,000 previously reserved by the House Majority PAC, a super PAC that supports Democratic candidates.
Additionally, HMP has reserved about $600,000 in Michigan's 1st District, which is also open, and a little over $200,000 in Iowa's 3rd. MI-01 is one of the few places where we know the NRCC has booked ad time (around $1 million worth), while this is the first reservation by either side in the Omaha market specifically aimed at IA-03, where Iraq vet Jim Mowrer just turned in an unexpectedly strong primary victory and hopes to unseat freshman GOP Rep. David Young. You can stay up-to-date on all fall ad reservations with our tracker.
● NE-02: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spends untold millions for Republicans in congressional races every cycle, but they occasionally lend their endorsement to some Democrats on the more conservative edge of the party. This time, the Chamber is backing freshman Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford, who is campaigning in a 53-46 Romney seat. At the very least, the Chamber's support for Ashford means that Republican Don Bacon, a retired Army brigadier general, won't be getting the Chamber's help, which is welcome news for the incumbent.
● NY-01, NY-03: With a week to go before the Democratic primaries for two swingy Long Island House seats, the union 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is making its endorsements. The group, which State of Politics describes as "powerful," is supporting Anna Throne-Holst over Dave Calone in the 1st; the winner will face Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin. In the open 3rd District, they're backing Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern, one of four notable Democrats running to succeed retiring Rep. Steve Israel.
● NY-22: While Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is getting badly outspent by businessman Steve Wells and the anti-Tenney PAC Grow the Economy, a new poll suggests she still has a fighting chance in next week's GOP primary. A Republican pollster that we've never heard of before, Liberty Opinion Research, gives Tenney a tiny 32-31 edge over Wells, with ex-Broome County Legislator George Phillips at 13. Interestingly, Tenney has a meh 42-43 favorable rating with primary voters while Wells is on solid ground at 44-25. LOR says it is "not affiliated or contracted by any campaign, candidate or outside entity involved in the race."
Tenney also received a potentially useful endorsement from the NRA over the weekend, though they're unlikely to spend much to help her this late in the game. Interestingly, the NRA backed retiring Rep. Richard Hanna in the 2014 primary over Tenney, and she responded by tweeting that "NRA proves they put politics over principles." Given that the conservative and underfunded Tenney is probably a weaker general election candidate in this competitive upstate seat than Wells, it's a lot harder to make that accusation in 2016.
● TN-06: Rep. Diane Black faces an August GOP primary challenge from ex-state Rep. Joe Carr, who carried this seat 49-44 in his unsuccessful 2014 primary campaign against Sen. Lamar Alexander. Black doesn't seem to have done much to upset Middle Tennessee conservatives, but she's taking Carr seriously enough to reserve $387,000 in TV time, and The Tennessean says she's prepared to spend a total of $493,000 from June 29 to the Aug. 4 primary. Carr only launched his campaign in April, so he's unlikely to have the resources to air many commercials. This seat is safely red.
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.