● NC-Gov: State Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democrats' nominee for governor in North Carolina, just turned in an absolutely gangbusters fundraising quarter, pulling in an enormous $5.1 million and finishing with a hefty $9.4 million in the bank. Making these numbers even more impressive is the fact that Cooper ran far ahead of the man he's trying to beat, GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who only raised $3.2 million and has just $6.3 million in the bank. Not only is it very rare for a challenger to have more cash than incumbent, this is now the fourth reporting period in a row where Cooper's taken in more donations than McCrory.
It's also the first period since McCrory signed the state's instantly notorious anti-LGBT law known as HB2, which Cooper has called "unconstitutional" and demanded be repealed. There's a good chance that the intense backlash over HB2 has helped fill Cooper's coffers, which would make it a double-whammy for McCrory, since the law itself is generally unpopular.
2Q Fundraising: In addition to the fresh numbers below, be sure to check out our complete chart of all Senate fundraising numbers to date. A House chart will follow after the quarterly reporting deadline on July 15.
● AR-Sen: John Boozman (R-inc): $595,000 raised, $2 million cash-on-hand
● LA-Sen: Foster Campbell (D): $496,000 raised, $250,000 self-funded, $868,000 cash-on-hand
● MO-Sen: Roy Blunt (R-inc): $2.3 million raised, $6.3 million cash-on-hand; Jason Kander (D): $1.75 million raised, $3.8 million cash-on-hand
● NC-Sen: Deborah Ross (D): $2.1 million raised
● NV-Sen: Catherine Cortez Masto (D): $3 million raised, $3.4 million cash-on-hand
● PA-Sen: Katie McGinty (D): $2.9 million raised
● WI-Sen: Ron Johnson (R-inc): $2.8 million raised, $6.3 million cash-on-hand; Russ Feingold (D): $4.1 million raised, $7.2 million cash-on-hand
● CO-Sen: The GOP firm Harper Polling gives us our first look at the general election, and they find Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet leading El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn 46-40. Glenn posts a 24-14 favorable score, while Bennet has a 40-27 favorable rating. A 6-point deficit for the little-known Glenn isn't horrific news for him, but influential Republican groups sound very reluctant to spend on his behalf, so they may be seeing worse numbers. This same sample gives Hillary Clinton a 45-38 edge in the state.
● IA-Sen: A new poll from Monmouth offers some welcome news for longtime GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, who leads his Democratic challenger, former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, 52-42. That's a rather different picture from the tenuous 46-45 edge Loras College found recently, though we were skeptical of those numbers. But there are reasons to wonder about Monmouth's, too. In particular, the crosstabs show that voters under 50 favor Donald Trump 51-32 while those 50 and up prefer Hillary Clinton 50-38.
Monmouth itself described these finding as "unusual," and indeed they are. In 2012, younger voters in Iowa tended to vote more Democratic than their older counterparts, and as Monmouth notes, the school's other national and state polls this year have shown the same thing. The presidential toplines stand out a bit, too, as Trump leads Clinton 44-42 overall; the Pollster average has Clinton up 4, and she's led in every poll taken in the Hawkeye State this year.
In between Monmouth and Loras has been PPP, whose late June poll had Grassley ahead 46-39. Just because those numbers are in the middle, though, doesn't necessarily mean they're right. But with two outfits showing the incumbent below 50 and one placing him just above, Grassley is still in weaker shape than we've ever seen him.
● IL-Sen: Last month, Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth reached a $26,000 settlement with two former Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs employees over a long-running lawsuit, a settlement that did not include any findings or admissions of wrongdoing. Republican Sen. Mark Kirk was hoping that Duckworth's case would go to trial and at least yield some damaging testimony, but he's still hoping he can draw some blood from what seems like a pretty boring story.
Kirk's new TV ad labels his opponent "Blagojevich's Tammy Duckworth," so you can probably guess where this is going. The narrator accuses Duckworth of retaliating after her employees "blew the whistle on her shoddy veteran's care." The commercial goes on to argue that "[f]acing trial, Duckworth settled, refusing to testify," and frames the $26,000 settlement, which the state attorney general's office called a "nuisance value," as "your tax dollars" that "the Democratic machine" spent defending Duckworth and "hiding the truth." It's a really weak and desperate attack, but with both parties acting like Kirk is dead in the water, he doesn't have much of a choice but to throw everything he possibly can at Duckworth and hope that something sticks. There is no word on the size of the buy.
● KS-Sen: A day after reports emerged of a big Senate recruitment coup in Indiana, Democrats are looking to expand the map further … into dark red Kansas. According to an unnamed "Democratic official with knowledge of the deliberations," Team Blue is hoping to convince businessman Greg Orman to once again run as an independent, as he did in 2014. That year, Democrats pushed out their own candidate to set up a one-on-one matchup between Orman and GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, but while polls showed an Orman victory was possible, he wound up losing by a dismaying 10 points amidst the Republican wave.
Were Orman to try once more, he'd wind up facing off against Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, who last cycle was chair of the NRSC and would be a far more formidable opponent than Roberts, who limped out of the GOP primary after getting hammered for spending more time in DC than in his home state. But Orman would at least have a couple of advantages he didn't have last time: presidential-year turnout and Donald Trump.
However, Orman already spent some money "testing the waters" for a possible bid earlier this year before apparently deciding against the idea, so he knows the odds would be very steep. And for Orman to have any hope as an independent, Democrats would once again have to get their own nominee to drop out. (Orman would have until Aug. 1 to submit signatures to get on the ballot, the day before the Kansas primary.) But perhaps Trump's flailing campaign and even the Evan Bayh news might change Orman's mind. It would still be the longest of long-shots, but Orman may never have another shot worth pursuing.
● NH-Sen: EMILY's List and AFSCME have teamed up to launch a joint two-week $2.5 million TV buy in support of Democrat Maggie Hassan. Also on the Democratic side, Americans for Responsible Solutions is returning to the airwaves with a new TV spot that argues that GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte has voted against background checks for gun purchases while claiming to support them. There is no word on the size of the buy.
● PA-Sen: Two environmental groups, the League of Conservation Voters and EDF Action, are going up with a joint $1.5 million TV buy in support of Democrat Katie McGinty. Their ad calls GOP Sen. Pat Toomey a friend of oil companies, arguing that he's voted to give them tax breaks and got contributions from them. It's one of those ads that would be better if it were more specific: If the commercial actually identified a company that damaged Pennsylvania and explained how Toomey helped it, it would be more interesting than an attack on general "big oil polluters."
● MT-Gov: The DGA is up with a new spot going after Republican rich guy Greg Gianforte on stream access laws, which allow the public access to most waterways for fishing, floating, and swimming. The narrator argues that, despite Gianforte saying he welcomes people on his property, he once "sued to eliminate a popular access spot next to his riverfront mansion," and posted intimidating signs to keep people out. This is certainly not the type of attack ad you see in most other states. There is no word on the size of the buy.
● CA-46: Ex-state Sen. Lou Correa looks like the clear favorite against Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen, a fellow Democrat, in the November general election. Unsurprisingly, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Correa's campaign.
● FL-19: Businessman Francis Rooney, a former ambassador and a major GOP donor, has collected most of the notable endorsements in this campaign, and he recently added another two. Ex-Sen. Connie Mack III and Connie Mack IV, who represented this area from 2005 to 2013 and briefly flirted with running again this year, have both thrown their backing behind Rooney. The primary for this safely red seat is Aug. 30.
● GA-03: With two weeks to go before the July 26 GOP runoff for this safely red seat, the Club for Growth is up with another spot. The commercial, which the National Journal says is running for $80,000, argues that dentist Drew Ferguson is too liberal. The narrator says that as mayor of West Point, Ferguson "supported millions in new debt," as well as "higher taxes and fees on Georgia businesses and families." The Club is backing state Sen. Mike Crane.
● WA-07: King County Councilor Joe McDermott is joining his two main rivals on the air ahead of the Aug. 2 top-two primary for this safely blue seat. The ad features several women praising McDermott for protecting county health services at a critical time, before McDermott calls gun violence a public health crisis. McDermott says that on the council, he helped create a program to buy gun safes and keep children safe. McDermott then pledges to fight to ban assault weapons in Congress.
● WI-01: A month ago, two polls showed Speaker Paul Ryan with massive leads against Paul Nehlen, his little-known GOP primary foe. Nehlen's team is pushing back with a poll from PMI conducted last Thursday and Friday that gives Ryan "just" a 43-32 edge in the Aug. 9 primary.
PMI is a pollster we rarely see numbers from, but their few polls from 2014 on behalf of the conservative blog Red Racing Horses were pretty good. They gave Republican David Jolly a 46-44 lead in the FL-13 special election a week before he won 48-47. A poll shortly before the Tennessee GOP Senate primary had incumbent Lamar Alexander up 41-29 over Joe Carr; Alexander won 50-41, a similar margin to what PMI found. In late 2014, their poll gave Democratic incumbent Ron Barber a 48-46 edge in AZ-02; Barber lost by 0.1 percent. It's very tough to see Ryan losing but if he feels like he's in the least bit of danger, the incredibly well-funded speaker will have the resources to defend himself.
● WI-08: Retired Marine Mike Gallagher, the former foreign policy advisor to Gov. Scott Walker, is out with another TV spot ahead of the Aug. 9 GOP primary. Gallagher appears in a factory and says that "[i]n Wisconsin, we make things, but Washington makes things harder!" (What a clever and original turn of phrase!) Gallagher then appears with an elderly couple's house whom he says live on a fixed income and can't afford higher taxes. Gallagher then pledges to oppose tax increases that will hurt Wisconsin families and says Congress shouldn't get paid if they haven't balanced the budget. Gallagher faces state Sen. Frank Lasee next month; the winner will take on Democrat Tom Nelson in this 51-48 Romney seat.
● DCCC: On Tuesday, the DCCC added five candidates to their Red to Blue program, which promises to help Democratic candidates the committee regards as its strongest recruits in the seats it considers its top priorities:
● IN-09: Shelli Yoder
● NY-01: Anna Throne-Holst
● NY-03: Tom Suozzi
● NY-19: Zephyr Teachout
● NY-21: Mike Derrick
Anna Throne-Holst, Tom Suozzi, and Zephyr Teachout only won the Democratic nod late last month, so it's not a surprise that the DCCC waited until now to add them to Red to Blue. All three are running in competitive seats that Obama carried, though the open 3rd District is Democratic-held.
The other two additions are a bit more notable. Mike Derrick has been languishing on the DCCC's lower-tier Emerging Races list for months, and he's finally been upgraded. Derrick, a retired Army colonel, is challenging freshman Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in a rural upstate seat that backed Obama 52-46, but where Republicans usually do well downballot. Stefanik is well-connected and at the end of June, she held a $1.4 million to $450,000 cash-on-hand edge. So far, neither the DCCC nor their allies at House Majority PAC have reserved any fall airtime in the 21st, though the DCCC's move signals that they're taking Derrick seriously.
The most surprising move is adding Shelli Yoder, a Monroe County councilor, to Red to Blue. Yoder is running in an open southern Indiana seat that backed Romney 57-41; even 2012 GOP Senate nominee Richard Moudock narrowly carried the 9th while he was losing statewide 50-44. However, Republican nominee Trey Hollingsworth only moved to the state just before launching his campaign last year, which could give Yoder an opening in this tough area.
A month ago, Yoder released a poll showing her tied with Hollingsworth, and the DCCC seems to agree that this contest is competitive: Interestingly, they added her to Red to Blue without sending her through the lower-tier Emerging Races first. Neither major Democratic group has reserved any fall airtime here yet, but that may change now that the DCCC is taking a clear interest in the contest.
The DCCC is also restocking their Emerging Races list, which essentially serves as the farm team for Red to Blue:
● AK-AL: Steve Lindbeck
● AZ-02: Matt Heinz
● CA-21: Emilio Huerta
● CA-49: Doug Applegate
● KS-03: Jay Sidie
● MI-06: Paul Clements
● MI-08: Suzanna Shkreli
● PA-16: Christina Hartman
● SC-05: Fran Person
● VA-05: Jane Dittmar
The only Emerging Races candidate who faces a competitive primary is Matt Heinz, who faces fellow ex-state Rep. Victoria Steele on Aug. 30. Steele has had trouble raising cash, which may explain why the DCCC is playing favorites here. Freshman Republican Rep. Martha McSally is defending a seat that backed Romney just 50-48, but McSally has a huge warchest. National Democrats also have yet to make any reservations in the 2nd, though maybe that will change if Heinz makes it though the primary.
● House: The pro-Democratic House Majority PAC revealed a new round of fall TV ad reservations in eight media markets covering six different House seats. Here's how they break down by district, with markets listed in parentheses:
FL-07: $810,195 (Orlando)
FL-13: $1,473,268 (Tampa)
ME-02: $895,736 (Bangor and Portland)
NY-23: $241,945 (Buffalo and Elmira)
MN-03: $573,656 (Minneapolis)
UT-04: $383,085 (Salt Lake City)
While both HMP and the DCCC have booked time in Minneapolis previously, this is the first reservation that's specifically earmarked for the 3rd District, where Democrats landed a strong recruit in state Sen. Terri Bonoff, who is hoping to unseat GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen. This is also the first time that outside groups on either side have made reservations in NY-23 and UT-04, two other offensive opportunities for Team Blue, and FL-13, the one worrisome note for Democrats. There, former Gov. Charlie Crist had appeared to be on a glide path to Congress in what had been an open seat, but GOP Rep. David Jolly abandoned his Senate bid to seek re-election, and polls show a tight race.
We've added all of these reservations to our tracker, which you'll want to keep bookmarked, since the House landscape is only getting busier and busier.
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.