● Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff: Former Phoenix police Sgt. Paul Penzone is waging a rematch against notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio after losing by a surprisingly close 51-45 margin four years ago, by far the worst showing of Arpaio's decades-long career. Now Penzone has released an internal poll from Strategies 360 that has the challenger leading the incumbent by a 48-44 spread, which KPNX's Brahm Resnick says "might be the first time any candidate has topped Arpaio in a public opinion survey in recent memory."
Penzone's poll also asked about Arizona's presidential and Senate races within the confines of Maricopa, the state's largest county and home of almost 60 percent of its population. Maricopa tends to vote similarly to the state as a whole, so Donald Trump's 44-39 lead on Hillary Clinton and GOP Sen. John McCain's 50-35 advantage on Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick suggest that this poll is by no means too favorable too Democrats. If anything, the opposite is true, as the Huffington Post Pollster average has Clinton ahead 42-40 statewide.
Arpaio's response is also telling. His campaign manager declared that Penzone's poll was "completely fabricated" and "phony," claiming that Arpaio "ha[s] internals that tell a much, much different story." But you know what we're going to tell you next: At no point did this staffer actually provide any details on those supposed internal polls. If you're going to question someone's numbers, you have to provide contradictory data of your own. Otherwise, you're the one who winds up looking like the phony.
● CO-Sen: The Senate Conservatives Fund is running a new ad touting El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn as a very conservative conservative.
● FL-Sen: Wealthy businessman Todd Wilcox, who never had much of an impact on the race, just dropped out of the GOP primary and endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio. Wilcox's supporter will be very sad. That just leaves another rich businessman, Carlos Beruff, in a one-on-one matchup with Rubio. Polls have show Rubio with huge leads, but Beruff has reportedly expressed an interest to spend big, and he's definitely shown a willingness to punch Rubio in the nose.
● NH-Sen: With a name like Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, you'd think it'd probably be a Democratic group, but actually, CRES is pro-Republican, and it's running a new ad on behalf of vulnerable GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte. The spot features a bunch of supposedly reg'lar folks praising Ayotte in vague terms for her leadership, particularly on the environment, but everyone in the ad is a Republican of one stripe or another—even though none are identified as such. There's Lisa Bass (wife of ex-Rep. Charlie Bass), Scott Hilliard (Merrimack County sheriff), Mike Castaldo (state representative), and Gary Lambert (state senator). The best, though, is Dominic LeBel, whose LinkedIn profile identifies him as a "field representative" for … Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. That's one way to pad out your list of validators! The ad is backed by a reported $450,000 buy for two weeks.
Meanwhile, the (unambiguously) pro-Democratic Senate Majority PAC is running a new spot of its own, praising Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan for keeping New Hampshire taxes low and balancing the budget while hitting Ayotte for "vot[ing] four times to turn Medicare into a voucher program" and supporting "tax breaks for the wealthy."
● NV-Sen: The Karl Rove-linked group One Nation is running a new ad touting GOP Rep. Joe Heck's support for veterans (he's one himself), as part of a pre-existing $2.3 million month-long TV buy.
● OH-Sen: Like their friends at conservative super PAC Fighting for Ohio, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is deploying that clip of Hillary Clinton saying "We're gonna put a lot of coal miners … out of business" to slam Democratic ex-Gov. Ted Strickland in a new TV ad. Says the narrator: "Ted Strickland stands with liberal politicians who are trying to destroy our way of life." But as we noted previously, that way of life is already gone in Ohio, as the coal business employs just 3,000 workers in the whole state. Unless "coal" is being used as a means to invoke some sort of prelapsarian paradise that exists in the minds of far more voters than actually have any connection to the industry, then pursuing this topic is a total waste.
● NH-Gov: Two Democrats running for New Hampshire's open governorship voluntarily filed fundraising reports two months early, prompted by Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern's pledge to do so back in May. Van Ostern reported raising $793,000 and has $533,000 in cash-on-hand. (He also transferred $62,000 from a prior campaign account.) Former state securities regulator Mark Connolly, the only other candidate to join Van Ostern's call for early filing, raised $312,000 and loaned himself another $100,000, leaving him with $243,000 in the bank.
The third Democrat in the race, former state No Labels chair Steve Marchand, declined to participate, as did the four Republicans running: state Rep. Frank Edelblut, state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, and Executive Councilor Chris Sununu. Under state law, they aren't obligated to file any financial reports until the end of August, which is just a few weeks ahead of the Sept. 13 primary. New Hampshire's infrequent deadlines also mean that candidates can campaign for almost a year before having to publicly disclose their donations and expenditures, which is ridiculous.
● AK-AL: Two key maritime unions that had long backed GOP Rep. Don Young previously expressed their sharp displeasure over the congressman's refusal to intervene to save 250 union jobs connected to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. But Young didn't budge, and now the two labor groups, which together represent some 10,000 workers nationwide, have endorsed Young's Democratic challenger, Steve Lindbeck, the former CEO of Alaska's public radio and television networks.
Given Young's relationship with organized labor—uncommonly friendly for a Republican—this development creates an unusual chink in Young's ancient armor. (Interestingly, Young himself used to be a tugboat captain on the Yukon River.) The question now is whether this defection is limited to the specific grievances of these two unions, or whether others will follow suit and abandon Young as well.
● FL-04: Former Navy intelligence officer Julia Fletcher has dropped out of the GOP primary to succeed retiring Rep. Ander Crenshaw in this dark red district, citing her obligations to her 10-month-old son. Several other Republicans are still running, though, including attorney/wannabe cowboy Hans Tanzler III, who has a new ad out that's once again set on his ranch. Tanzler tries to argue that politicians "could learn some things on my farm," like not eating your seed corn or using "a strong fence to keep out trespassers."
● FL-07, NV-04: Just a day after recruiting her into the race against veteran GOP Rep. John Mica in Florida's 7th District, the DCCC has added former Defense Department official Stephanie Murphy to their Red to Blue program, signaling the committee's belief that she's a top challenger. And over in Nevada's 4th District, the D-Trip has also added state Sen. Ruben Kihuen to the list; he's trying to unseat freshman Rep. Cresent Hardy, one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House.
● FL-09: Two unions have issued new endorsements to different candidates in the Democratic primary for Florida's open 9th District in the Orlando area. UNITE HERE, which represents hospitality workers at Disney World, has endorsed former congressional aide Susannah Randolph, while LIUNA, a construction workers union, is backing state Sen. Darren Soto.
● NY-01: Venture capitalist Dave Calone now has a second ad hitting his Democratic primary opponent, former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. Calone once again references Throne-Holst's multiple donations to "the far-right Conservative Party," but this time, he ups the charges, claiming that Throne-Holst "sought the Conservative Party nomination to run for office." (A recent Newsday article backs up that claim with regard to Throne-Holst's bids for supervisor.)
Meanwhile, EMILY's List has thrown in another $250,000 to keep running a positive ad for Throne-Holst, bringing the group's total expenditures on the race to $720,000. The winner of Tuesday's primary will take on freshman GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin.