● OR-Gov: Republican Bud Pierce needed a lot to go right this year if he wanted to unseat Gov. Kate Brown in Democratic-leaning Oregon. But it's just hard to sum up how awful Pierce's comments at a Friday debate were. After Brown disclosed that she had been a victim of domestic violence, Pierce declared, "a woman that has a great education and training and a great job is not susceptible to this kind of abuse by men, women or anyone." Pierce was roundly booed by the audience, and rightly so.
Pierce soon issued a non-apology statement. While he said that "I know that any women, regardless of economic status, can be subject to domestic violence and sexual abuse," he finished by saying, "I apologize to Governor Brown and anyone else who may taken my comments the wrong way." In other words, sorry to Brown and anyone else who just couldn't tell what he actually meant when he said that "a woman that has a great education and training and a great job is not susceptible to this kind of abuse by men, women or anyone."
However, Pierce's press secretary did not put up with his bullshit. Stacey Kafka resigned from the campaign and sent out a statement saying that, "this isn't about politics, it's about my moral values." On Wednesday, Pierce put out a video that featured him standing with his wife and several other women and expressing remorse for "my ignorant and potentially dangerous statement." Pierce concluded by insisting that, "My eyes have been opened, and I join the battle against domestic violence." Hopefully he's telling the truth and actually will be committed to combating domestic violence as a private citizen after he loses next month.
3Q Fundraising: Be sure to check out our third quarter Senate fundraising chart, which we're updating as new numbers come in.
● NV-Sen: Catherine Cortez Masto (D): $5.2 million raised, $2.2 million cash-on-hand
● PA-Sen: Katie McGinty (D): $5.2 million raised
● CA-52: Scott Peters (D-inc): $545,000 raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand
● IL-10: Bob Dold! (R-inc): $1 million raised, $2.2 million cash-on-hand; Brad Schneider (D): $1 million raised
● PA-08: Brian Fitzpatrick (R): $740,000 raised
● PA-Sen: Sometimes, an ad should do nothing but stand back and just show its target saying all the wrong things. The DSCC does just that, featuring clips of Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey proclaiming, "I'd like to defund Planned Parenthood," and "You know, I would support legislation in Pennsylvania that would ban abortion, and I would suggest that we have penalties for doctors who perform them."
When Toomey is asked by host Chris Matthews if he would put people in jail for performing abortions, the senator is shown responding, "At some point, doctors performing abortions I think would be subject to that sort of penalty." Besides featuring some on-screen text between the Toomey clips, the DSCC does nothing but let Toomey do the talking, which is the right approach: There's pretty much nothing that a narrator could add that would make Toomey sound worse than he sounds in this commercial.
● Polls: So, you like polls, eh? Well, have all the polls in the world!
● FL-Sen: Quinnipiac: Marco Rubio (R-inc) 48, Patrick Murphy (D) 44 (46-41 Clinton) (Sept.: 50-43 Rubio)
● NC-Sen: SurveyUSA: Richard Burr (R-inc) 46, Deborah Ross (D) 44 (46-44 Clinton) (March: 48-41 Burr)
● NC-Sen: Quinnipiac: Burr (R-inc) 46, Ross (D) 46 (46-43 Clinton) (Sept.: 49-43 Burr)
● NC-Gov: SurveyUSA: Roy Cooper (D) 48, Pat McCrory (R-inc) 44 (46-44 Clinton) (April: 47-43 Cooper)
● NC-Gov: Quinnipiac: Cooper (D) 48, McCrory (R-inc) 46 (46-43 Clinton) (Sept.: 51-44 Cooper)
● OH-Sen: Monmouth: Rob Portman (R-inc) 54, Ted Strickland (D) 39 (44-42 Clinton) (Aug.: 48-40 Portman)
● OH-Sen: Anzalone Liszt Grove (D) for the Ohio Education Association: Portman (R-inc) 51, Strickland (D) 39 (46-44 Clinton)
● OH-Sen: Quinnipiac: Portman (R-inc) 55, Strickland (D) 38 (47-42 Trump) (Sept.: 51-40 Portman)
● PA-Sen: Quinnipiac: Pat Toomey (R-inc) 50, Katie McGinty (D) 42 (45-41 Clinton) (Sept.: 46-45 Toomey)
We don't understand. James Coco went mad in 15 minutes.
The weird poll in the bunch is Quinnipiac's survey in Pennsylvania, which gives Toomey the largest lead that anyone has found since… well, since Quinnipiac gave him a 49-39 lead in July. In fact, the Daily Kos Elections polling average, which does not yet factor in this survey, has McGinty up 43-41.
It's also odd if Toomey is actually running 12 points ahead of Trump in the Keystone State. Our polling average has Hillary Clinton up 46-42 here, so while the incumbent probably is a bit ahead of Trump, it's very unlikely that he's anywhere near that far ahead. A few days ago, a Monmouth poll also had Toomey doing much better than Trump, though they had him tied with McGinty 46-46 while Clinton led 50-40.
By contrast, the 48-44 deficit that Quinnipiac gives Murphy in Florida is actually one of his better polls lately, though a few other groups have also shown Rubio with a 2 to 4 point lead. However, several other pollsters have shown Rubio doing much better, and our polling average has Rubio leading 46-40. The DSCC cancelled more planned spending here as recently as Monday: Senate Democrats still have reservations in the Sunshine State, but they're not acting like Murphy is down "just" 4.
As for Ohio… what else can you say?
● MO-Gov: The GOP pollster Remington Research offers up some truly baffling numbers in their new survey for the Missouri Times. They give Democrat Chris Koster a 44-41 lead over Republican Eric Greitens just one week after they showed Koster up by a massive 51-36 margin. Just the week before, they gave Koster a 47-38 edge.
Last week, we thought it was strange that Remington found the race swinging 6 points in Koster's favor in such a short amount of time, and we find it even stranger now that they have the contest moving 12 points towards Greitens. There just aren't any good explanations for either event and unfortunately, polling has been infrequent in the Show Me State. Presidential and Senate numbers were not included in this release.
● CA-07: On behalf of Republican Scott Jones and the NRCC, Public Opinion Strategies is out with a survey giving Jones a 47-42 edge over Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, while Hillary Clinton leads 43-39 in this suburban Sacramento seat. Two months ago, POS released a poll showing Bera up 46-45 while Clinton led by a similar 41-38.
Obama won this seat 51-47 and this is an affluent and well-educated area that probably won't favor Donald Trump, so those presidential toplines feel a bit too red. Still, both parties have made huge reservations in the Sacramento area, so even if Bera isn't trailing, there's little doubt that this is a competitive race. However, even this poll gives Bera a 46-38 favorable rating; while that's down from the 49-35 score POS gave him in August, it still indicates that voters aren't itching to oust him. The memo did not include Jones' favorability score, though they say that 61 percent approves of his performance as Sacramento County sheriff.
● LA-04: This week, the Club for Growth joined several other national tea party-friendly groups and endorsed state Rep. Mike Johnson's campaign for this safely red Shreveport seat. The Club tends to spend heavily in races they care about, so this is a very good get for Johnson. As we've noted before, Johnson is a natural fit for anti-establishment groups. Last year, Johnson pushed for a bill modeled on Indiana's infamous anti-LGBT Religious Freedom Restoration Act; while then-Gov. Bobby Jindal enthusiastically backed it, Republican state legislators wanted to avoid the boycotts that were hitting Indiana, and they killed Johnson's bill in committee.
Louisiana will hold its jungle primary next month and, in the very likely event that no one takes a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face off in December. Johnson's main Republican foes are Trey Baucum, a physician, and Shreveport City Councilor Oliver Jenkins. Democratic attorney Marshall Jones is Team Blue's only candidate, so he has a good chance to consolidate enough support to take one of the two runoff spots, though he'd face long odds in December in this 59-40 Romney seat.
● ME-02: Normington Petts is out with another poll for Democrat Emily Cain and this time, they give her a 46-45 edge over Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin. That's almost identical to the 45-45 tie they found two weeks before, but there's one big change. While their last poll had Donald Trump carrying this rural Maine seat 44-40, they now have Hillary Clinton up 44-40.
A few pre-debate polls showed Trump doing well in Maine's 2nd Congressional District, but we don't have any other post-debate surveys to say if Clinton has surged here. It's also a bit odd if there's been an 8-point swing at the top of the ticket but almost no effect in the House contest. Cain will have a much easier time unseating Poliquin if Clinton does end up carrying this 53-44 Obama seat, but we just don't have enough other recent polls to say if Clinton has actually taken the lead here.
● MT-AL: A week ago, Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke got our attention when he launched a very defensive commercial in response to a spot from Democrat Denise Juneau that accused him of wanting to sell off Montana's public lands. Juneau has raised a credible amount of money, but Zinke has the luxury of running for re-election in a conservative state that Donald Trump is likely to carry.
However, Zinke seems to be taking Juneau quite seriously, since he's going negative again in another new ad. The commercial starts with the narrator accusing Juneau of supporting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's agenda, including Obamacare. Zinke's voice is then heard interjecting, "Obamacare? With a new 50 percent rate increase in Montana?" Zinke goes on to denounce the Affordable Care Act before the narrator comes back and declares, "Vote Juneau to expand Obamacare. Or Zinke, to fix healthcare." A few weeks ago, Zinke ran a similar ad arguing that Juneau and Clinton want to kill coal jobs.
It's tough to know what's going on, especially since no one has released any polls of this race. No major outside groups from either party appear to have reserved any ad time here, which indicates that both national parties think Zinke is in a good position. However, Zinke's decision to go negative, and to go on the defensive over Juneau's land ad, suggests that things are a bit more competitive than they seem. Zinke is a potential challenger for Sen. Jon Tester in 2018, so it's very possible he's just trying to run up the score in his re-election campaign now to help scare off any potential primary rivals. Still, Zinke's actions make this race worth watching.
● IN-Sen: One Nation praises Republican Todd Young and retiring GOP Sen. Dan Coats for opposing what they say are the Obama administration's dangerous Medicare changes.
● LA-Sen: Ending Spending, which backs GOP state Treasurer John Kennedy, targets his two main intra-party rivals, Reps. John Fleming and Charles Boustany. They argue the two members got rich in Congress while voting to raise the debt limit. The group recently spent $233,000 on media placement.
● MO-Sen: Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is out with two new spots (here and here). In his first, Blunt talks to the camera and says that he taught at the same high school where his grandfather worked as a janitor. Blunt goes on to say that Democrat Jason Kander is a liberal on a bunch of different issues. Blunt's other spot features the mother of a Special Olympics athlete praising the senator for getting to know families like hers. The DSCC argues that, while Blunt says there's no conflict of interest even though members of his family are lobbyists, he "snuck favors into bills that benefited his family's clients."
● NH-Sen: The Senate Leadership Fund argues that Democrat Maggie Hassan can't keep the country safe from ISIS.
● NV-Sen: VoteVets stars a local Marine veteran, who argues that Republican Joe Heck voted to shut down the government, which risked veteran's services. He concludes by alluding to Heck's military background, saying that, "His military record deserves respect, but back in D.C., Joe Heck is putting politics before Nevada, and that doesn't work for me."
● WI-Sen: Republican Sen. Ron Johnson goes after Democrat Russ Feingold for no longer following though on his 1992 pledge to take a majority of his campaign contributions from Wisconsin citizens.
● IN-Gov: Democrat John Gregg bemoans that while Hoosiers work hard, wages aren't keeping up and the cost of living is too high.
● MT-Gov: A few weeks ago, Republican Greg Gianforte featured a woman from the small town of Colstrip (population 2,214) in an ad saying that Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock hadn't done much to stand up for her community. Now, Bullock is out with a spot starring a different Colstrip resident praising the governor for listening to energy workers like him, and for standing up to President Obama to defend local coal jobs.
● NH-Gov: In his first general election ad, Democrat Colin Van Ostern talks about his work launching College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, a program that partners with businesses to help their workers get degrees.
● VT-Gov: While the RGA has run plenty of TV commercials for Republican Phil Scott, this is his first general election spot. Scott pledges to create new jobs and "make sure the state budget and taxes stop growing faster than your paycheck." Scott's buy is for a reported $80,000.
● IA-03: The NRCC's new ad is titled "Syrians," so you probably guess exactly what it's about. The GOP argues that Democrat Jim Mowrer wants to allow in unscreened Syrian refugees, and also backs the Iran nuclear deal.
● IN-09: Democrat Shelli Yoder goes right for Republican Trey Hollingsworth's weak spot. The spot features a clip of someone on a local news program calling Hollingsworth "a carpetbagger," before featuring a reporter describing how "Hollingsworth moved to Jeffersonville in September [of 2015] and declared his candidacy the next month." The narrator goes on to note that Hollingsworth's wealthy father started a super PAC to help him win, before featuring another clip from a news show where a man agrees that there's quite a bit of evidence that Hollingsworth moved from Tennessee to Indiana to run for Congress.
● ME-02: Democrat Emily Cain is out with two spots (here and here). Her first features a single mother who was diagnosed with cancer praising Cain for making "insurance companies cover oral chemo therapy just like other cancer treatments."
The second ad is a response to a recent NRCC commercial that framed Cain's support for a bill to weigh school children as Cain trying to weight-shame girls. Cain argues that "the special interests bankrolling [GOP Rep.] Bruce Poliquin would rather talk about women's weight than Congressman Poliquin's ties to Wall Street." Cain goes on to say that the GOP twisted a bipartisan public health policy, and she goes on to say, "Like a lot of women, I've struggled with my weight. It's hard. It's very personal. So for the special interests backing Bruce Poliquin to exploit the insecurities of teenage girls, it's just a new low."
VoteVets is also out with a $500,000 campaign against Poliquin. It features a local retired Army major general arguing that Poliquin voted to give Wall Street huge tax breaks but denied the VA the $1 billion it needed.
● NH-01: The NRCC must have decided that if they have to help Republican Rep. Frank Guinta, who paid a huge FEC fine last year for an illegal 2010 six-figure donation from his parents, they'll run the most generic ad they possibly can. The narrator argues that while Guinta has voted to cut taxes and spending, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter has voted to tax and spend. They even reference the stimulus bill, an attack that would have been right at home in a 2010 campaign ad.
● NV-02: Democrat Chip Evans ties Republican Rep. Mark Amodei to Donald Trump. The ad is also running in Spanish.
● NV-04: Democrat Ruben Kihuen features a clip of GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy proclaiming, "I do not believe in any sort of gun control," and the narrator eviscerates him standing with congressional Republicans to oppose background checks. The spot was partially paid for by the DCCC.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, and Stephen Wolf, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, and James Lambert.