● PA-Sen: With Donald Trump far behind in Pennsylvania (the Daily Kos Elections polling average gives Hillary Clinton a 48-41 lead), both Senate candidates recognize that he can wreck Republican Sen. Pat Toomey's re-election chances. Toomey is out with a commercial that features him half-heartedly distancing himself from The Donald, but the whole production is just odd.
For some reason, Toomey's spot is staged pretty much the exact same way that Christine O'Donnell's infamous 2010 "I'm Not a Witch" ad was. Toomey, who is wearing a dark suit and standing in front of a black backdrop, tells the camera that "I have a lot of disagreements with Donald Trump. I've been very clear about that." Toomey continues by arguing that "what's important for Pennsylvanians is having a senator who will stand up to any president's bad ideas." A narrator jumps in and argues Democrat Katie McGinty is just a pawn of party bosses. Toomey comes back and as the camera abruptly zooms in on him, Toomey declares, "In Washington, if you don't have some independence, some backbone, you might as well not even be there."
Between all the dark colors, the awkward camera work, and Toomey just trusting the audience to believe him when he says he only has "lot of disagreements" with Trump without providing any examples (or even sounding like he views Trump as anything more than a minor irritant), the whole ad feels pretty strange. That may explain why the Pennsylvania Democratic Party was the one that uploaded this ad to YouTube, not Toomey's campaign. At least Toomey doesn't need to deny he's a warlock, though.
McGinty goes in the opposite direction and argues that Toomey and Trump are too similar. Most of this spot features a narrator summing up Trump's offenses. But at the end, the narrator declares, "On abortion," before the commercial jumps in with a clip of Trump telling an interviewer, "There has to be some form of punishment," and agreeing with the interviewer that he means for the woman. The spot then shows Toomey saying, "I would suggest that we have penalties for doctors who perform them." Despite his past running the far-right Club for Growth, Toomey has cultivated an image as a moderate in the Senate, and he can't afford to let McGinty define him as a Trump-like extremist.
McGinty is also out with another commercial starring Vice President Joe Biden. He tells the audience that they both have "Pennsylvania working class roots," and she hasn't abandoned them. Biden dismisses the ads attacking her as "a bunch of Malarkey," and says McGinty is a regular person who looks out for Pennsylvanians.
3Q Fundraising: Be sure to check out our third quarter Senate fundraising chart, which we're updating as new numbers come in.
● AR-Sen: John Boozman (R-inc): $569,000 raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand
● CA-Sen: Kamala Harris (D): $2.4 million raised, $4.4 million cash-on-hand
● CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc): $2.2 million raised. $3.6 million cash-on-hand; Darryl Glenn (R): $2.8 million raised, $1.9 million cash-on-hand
● IN-Sen: Indiana's Senate race doesn't get much pollster love, but Monmouth is out with a survey giving Democrat Evan Bayh a 48-42 lead over Republican Todd Young, very similar to the 48-41 edge they found in August. This same sample also gives Donald Trump a 45-41 lead, the tightest any independent pollster has ever found the presidential race in the Hoosier State.
Before Friday, the only other recent polls we've seen came from the GOP group Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of the political newsletter Howey Politics. In early October, they gave Bayh just a 42-41 edge, down from the small 44-40 advantage they gave him in mid-September. However, Young's camp dropped their own poll on Friday just before the Monmouth survey was released. Young's survey has him up 40-39, making this the first publicly released poll to ever show Young ahead. Young's memo also referred to four unreleased polls that gradually show him closing what was a 48-35 deficit in early August.
Strangely, though, Young's poll also came from Public Opinion Strategies. It's unusual to see a pollster simultaneously work for a political candidate and a non-partisan media organization because it creates the potential for an unwelcome conflict: What if the media client wants to release numbers that are unfavorable to the candidate client? For that reason, pollsters will often work with only one type of client on a particular race. Evidently, though, POS either had no such arrangement in this case, or Young didn't object to the results his pollster found for Howey.
● Polls: Thar be polls here:
● FL-Sen: PPP (D): Marco Rubio (R-inc): 44, Patrick Murphy (D): 38 (46-42 Clinton) (Sept.: 42-35 Rubio)
● NH-Sen: MassINC: Kelly Ayotte (R-inc): 47, Maggie Hassan (D): 47 (41-38 Clinton) (Sept.: 48-46 Hassan)
● NH-Sen: UMass Lowell: Ayotte (R-inc): 45, Hassan (D): 44 (45-39 Clinton)
● NH-Gov: MassINC: Colin Van Ostern (D): 47, Chris Sununu (R): 44 (41-38 Clinton) (Sept.: 47-44 Sununu)
● NH-Gov: UMass Lowell: Sununu (R): 41, Van Ostern (D): 39 (45-39 Clinton)
MassINC's poll is a bit odd: They give Hillary Clinton one of her smaller leads in recent weeks but at the same time, they have Van Ostern leading in the governor's race while Hassan is tied in the Senate contest. Don't think we've ever seen Van Ostern running ahead of Hassan before.
● IN-Gov: Monmouth is out with a rare poll of the Indiana gubernatorial race, and they give Democrat John Gregg a shockingly strong 50-38 lead over Republican Eric Holcomb. This is a huge change from the school's August poll, when Holcomb led 42-41. This sample also gives Donald Trump a small 45-41 lead over Hillary Clinton, the closest we've ever seen the presidential race in an independent survey. Holcomb proceeded to release a poll from BK Strategies that shows him tied with Gregg 42-42; the mid-October poll did not include any presidential toplines.
The only other pollster who has released numbers here in months is the GOP group Public Opinion Strategies, polling on behalf of the political newsletter Howey Politics. Earlier this month, they had Gregg up just 41-39, down from a 40-35 in mid-September. We just don't have enough data to say whether Monmouth or POS is closer to the truth. But as we note in our IN-Sen item above, POS has also been polling for Holcomb's ticket-mate, Republican Senate nominee Todd Young.
Indiana is a conservative state, and while Gregg came close to beating Mike Pence in 2012, we've given the edge to Team Red. However, the limited data we have, as well as Holcomb's own campaign, says that Gregg no worse than tied. Voters are also usually more open to splitting their tickets in gubernatorial races than in federal contests, so even if Trump takes the Hoosier State, Gregg still can win.
Pence, who dropped his re-election campaign to be Trump's running mate, also posts just a 47-44 approval rating in Monmouth's poll, about what POS found. Holcomb has served as Pence's lieutenant governor since March, but he seems convinced that his outgoing boss isn't an asset. Notably, Holcomb's ads have invoked the record of ex-Gov. Mitch Daniels, who left office four years ago, but have ignored Pence.
For his part, Gregg has run commercials telling voters that Holcomb would just represent a continuation of Pence's disastrous policies. The incumbent may not be unpopular, but after four years of Pence, which included the 2015 boycotts over the state's anti-LGBT Religious Freedom Restoration Act, neither side seems to think that Trump's VP will help the GOP hold this seat.
As we always caution, you should never let one poll determine your outlook on a race. Gregg may indeed be doing as well as Monmouth says he is, but again, we just don't have enough data to say right now. However, we know that Team Red is in for a difficult race, and Daily Kos Elections is changing our rating from Lean Republican to Tossup.
● OR-Gov: SurveyUSA is out with the first poll of this race in over a month, and they give Democratic Gov. Kate Brown just a 46-42 lead over Republican Bud Pierce.
We can't really call this poll an outlier with so little data, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical. To start with, Pierce attracted ugly headlines just two weeks ago at a debate when, 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."
National outside groups also haven't aired any ads here, and there's no indication that this will change. SurveyUSA's presidential sample gives Hillary Clinton a 48-38 lead in a state that Obama won 54-42 in 2012, which may be a little pessimistic given how badly Trump is doing in national polls. Maybe SurveyUSA is on to something and the gubernatorial race is tighter than it looks, but it's still tough to see a flawed candidate like Pierce winning without outside help in this blue state.
● WV-Gov: If you haven't seen it yet, you'll want to check out the Center for Public Integrity's invaluable new TV ad tracker for statewide contests in each state. This tool allows you see how much money has been spent and how many ads have been run in every race for governor and Senate, as well as who's been running them and when they've aired—all crucial information. But it's important to bear in mind that this data can be difficult to track, so the numbers you see here might differ from reported totals elsewhere.
Indeed, one of the most interesting and surprising figures comes from the West Virginia gubernatorial race. According to CPI's tracker, the RGA has spent just $406,000 on this entire contest as of Friday afternoon, even less than the $606,000 the DGA's front group, called "Good Jobs West Virginia," has shelled out. But back in September, the Charleston Gazette-Mail's Phil Kabler wrote that from April to May, the RGA spent a combined $1,100,000. However, CPI tells us that their tracker only takes into their estimate of account money spent on broadcast TV ads, and it doesn't include the cost of ad production, digital commercials, or local cable buys, which could account for the discrepancy, especially if the RGA has focused heavily on cable.
West Virginia is a very conservative place, and it almost certainly will be one of Donald Trump's better states. But while recent polling has been limited, the numbers we've seen consistently show Democrat Jim Justice leading Republican Bill Cole. Justice is an extremely unusual figure thanks to his close association with the coal industry, which makes him very different from standard-issue Democrats and may well explain his unusual appeal in a state that's turned sharply red in recent years.
And whether it's $400,000 or even $1 million, the RGA's spending levels simply aren't that impressive. Indeed, the relatively low totals suggest that Republicans aren't seeing anything different in their own polling, and that they more or less acknowledge that Justice is in a position to pull off what had once looked like a very unexpected victory.
● FL-13: GOP Rep. David Jolly is hopping mad about an otherwise fairly unremarkable new ad from the DCCC that ties the congressman to Donald Trump. The D-Trip's spot asks viewers to "[i]magine Donald Trump being sworn in as president—and imagine David Jolly in Congress supporting Donald Trump's dangerous agenda." A small disclaimer appears in one corner of the screen reading "DRAMATIZATION," and indeed, it is, as various photos flash by showing Jolly and Trump together, even though the two have never met.
Jolly has demanded that TV stations take the spot down, calling it "patently false," but so far, it doesn't appear that anyone's complying. And he might not get any joy: Unnamed "ad experts" cited by the Washington Post say that the D-Trip ad is probably just fine, because it's "framed as a 'What if' scenario." It's a frustrating place for Jolly to find himself in, because he's tried to distance himself from Trump, but isn't that how most Republicans feel these days?
And whatever distance he has managed to achieve apparently hasn't been enough. After a string of polls showing Democrat Charlie Crist with the lead, Jolly's now released his own internal … showing Crist with the lead. Jolly's survey, from Data Targeting, finds Crist up "just" 47-45, which at least is better than the punishing 54-36 margin a recent University of North Florida poll came up with. But Jolly didn't include any numbers on the presidential race, and even if his poll is accurate, undecided voters aren't apt to be friendly to him in this blue-tilting district.
● IA-03: In September, two independent polls and one survey for GOP Rep. David Young all gave him double-digit leads over Democrat Jim Mowrer, and Team Blue never offered up contradictory numbers. But on Friday, the DCCC dropped a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll showing Young up "just" 49-46, and giving Hillary Clinton a 47-36 lead in this Des Moines seat. The DCCC tells us the poll was done Oct. 10-12, just after the 2005 Donald Trump tape was released.
Obama won this seat 51-47, but polls have shown Clinton struggling in Iowa. We haven't seen much out of the state over the last week so maybe something has changed, but that Clinton lead just seems too good to be true. It's also not a great sign that even Team Blue's poll shows Young ahead and very close to taking a majority even under these favorable set of circumstances.
The good news is that so far, neither side is acting like this race is over at all. The conservative Congressional Leadership Fund is reportedly sending another $275,000 to this race, and our House ad reservations tracker doesn't show any groups making cuts here. Daily Kos Elections recently moved this contest to Lean Republican, and all the information we have indicates that Young is winning, but not unbeatable.
● MI-01: Republican Jack Bergman is out with a new Harper Polling survey showing him with a 42-37 lead over Democrat Lon Johnson. Meanwhile, Johnson responded with his own survey from Anzalone Liszt Grove placing him ahead by 43-42 instead. The Republican survey was conducted last weekend right between Trump's sex-assault tape surfacing and the second debate, while the Democratic poll was taken after the debate from Monday through Wednesday this week, so both could be factoring in Trump's immediate impact downballot, if there is one. Johnson's poll cites a previously unreleased August internal where he trailed Bergman 46-42 to argue that the race is trending his way, but the memo tellingly ignores his September internal, which had shown Johnson leading 43-41.
This district covers northern Michigan and supported Mitt Romney 54-45, but it has been friendlier toward downballot Democrats, who nearly won the seat four years ago. However, neither pollster included presidential numbers, and it's the type of heavily white seat with relatively lower education and income levels where Trump has tended to fare better than average. Although Bergman wasn't the preferred choice of national Republicans, they have nonetheless come to his aid with $1.6 million in ad reservations, while Democrats have placed $1.5 million of their own behind Johnson, who is also a prodigious fundraiser.
● NJ-05: A new in-house DCCC poll of this district along New Jersey's northern border finds Democrat Josh Gottheimer beating Republican Rep. Scott Garrett 47-41, with 3 percent going to the Libertarian. House Majority PAC found a similar 48-41 edge for Gottheimer last week, while previous Democratic internals had Garrett narrowly ahead in September. Republicans have offered no numbers of their own and aren't aiding Garrett with ads, while national Democrats have put $1.8 million behind Gottheimer. Mitt Romney won this seat 51-48, but it's a highly educated and wealthy district where Donald Trump has struggled. Indeed, the DCCC's latest numbers also have Hillary Clinton winning 46-41.
● NY-03: A week ago, the NRCC canceled most of their $1.8 million reservation in this Long Island seat, and a subsequent independent poll from Siena showed Democrat Tom Suozzi leading Republican Jack Martins 50-34. However, this contest may not be quite over yet. While national Democrats went most of this contest without airing any ads, House Majority PAC announced on Friday that they were launching a spot against Martins.
HMP says the ad is running on cable, which is far cheaper than broadcast TV, and they did not provide a size of the buy. The commercial argues that Martins' concrete company has been fined $24,000 for workers' safety violations, and doesn't pay them required benefits. It's not clear if HMP is trying to finish Martins off while he's weak, or if they think things are more competitive than they look. We'll see if any other outside groups from either side engage in this race.
● VA-05: Until recently, the race for Virginia's 5th Congressional District, an open seat that Romney carried 53-46, attracted little national attention. However, on Thursday evening, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC close to Speaker Paul Ryan, is now directing $400,000 to this race. This is the first significant outside spending we've seen here on either side.
Even before CLF made its move, there were signs that Democrat Jane Dittmar was making this contest competitive. From July to September, Dittmar outraised Republican Tom Garrett $470,000 to $319,000, and at the end of the last month, she held a $239,000 to $211,000 cash-on-hand edge. Garrett also seems to be taking Dittmar seriously. He recently went up with a contrast commercial arguing that, while Dittmar is weak on national security, he'll stand up to undocumented immigrants.
Even with Donald Trump's weak numbers in Virginia, this won't be an easy seat for Team Blue to flip. In 2013, while Republican E.W. Jackson was losing the lieutenant governor's race 55-45 statewide, he still took this central Virginia seat 52-48, so it will take a lot to move this district into the blue column. However, Republicans are definitely acting like they could lose here. If Democrats are winning seats this red, it means they have a good chance at taking the House.
● VA-10: Democrat LuAnn Bennett is out with a poll from Expedition Strategies that gives her a 48-44 lead over Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock. Last month, Bennett dropped a survey showing her down 47-45. Oddly, while the previous poll showed Hillary Clinton leading 49-35, this one left off presidential top lines altogether.
Romney won this Northern Virginia seat 50-48, but this very affluent and very well-educated area has been toxic for Donald Trump for a long time. Comstock is a fierce campaigner, but she's going to need a lot of Clinton voters to back her if she wants to win a second term. Both sides have committed millions to this seat, and the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund is now deploying an additional $1.2 million.
● Ad Reservations: The latest installment of our House ad reservations tracker is live, and there are a number of big updates to discuss. Let's get to it!
● AZ-01: House Majority PAC, the main super PAC helping out House Democrats, has cut its reservation here by $295,000, leaving it with $897,000. In all likelihood, that reflects growing confidence in Democrat Tom O'Halleran's chances, since the GOP has barely lifted a finger to help badly flawed Republican Paul Babeu.
● CA-07, CA-10: The DCCC continues to allocate money pretty evenly between these two districts in the Sacramento media market, spending $523,000 for Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in the 7th and $579,000 for Democratic challenger Michael Eggman in the 10th.
● CA-21: HMP has made a big new reservation on behalf of Democrat Emilio Huerta, to the tune of $636,000, the first major outside spending by either side. The NRCC's only response so far has been a small $46,000 joint buy with GOP Rep. David Valadao.
● CA-25, CA-49: Two huge moves here from the DCCC in these Southern California seats: The committee has earmarked over $2 million in each race, vastly ramping up its spending compared to last week. The GOP has yet to respond.
● CO-06: The GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund said last week it would spend $1.3 million here, and that's now shown up on our chart, more or less (we see about $1.2 million in media time booked). But CLF just announced a bunch more reservations, which you can read about elsewhere in this Digest.
● FL-18: HMP has chopped its reservation on behalf of Democrat Randy Perkins in half, from $949,000 to $474,000, leaving it with ad time for just the final week of the election. At the same time, the NRCC has upped its reservations by $633,000. Absent polling data, it's hard to know which side is feeling confident.
● IA-03, NE-02: The NRCC added $261,000 to its reservations in the Omaha media market, which covers a pair of competitive districts, but we don't know how this new batch of funds will be allocated between the two yet.
● KS-03: Here's another biggun' from the DCCC, which we wrote about in the previous Digest: a $1.1 million reservation in the Kansas City 'burbs to help Democrat Jay Sidie knock off Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder. The GOP hasn't responded yet, but Yoder has a big financial advantage.
● MN-02, MN-03, MN-08: While the DCCC has upped its Twin Cities reservation by $311,000, the NRCC has cut its back by over half a million. At the same time, they specifically earmarked some $535,000 on behalf of Republican Jason Lewis in the 2nd, the first time they've directed real resources his way. That's notable, because Democrats had been growing confident about Angie Craig's chances in this open seat, and last week, HMP even cut back its total bookings. It's hard to read a lot into the NRCC's move, though, because we don't know if they were ever intending to spend the half-mil they just took out of Minneapolis on behalf of Lewis, or if they now feel free to shift it elsewhere because the contest in MN-03 has grown less competitive.
Meanwhile, CLF moved $1.2 million into MN-08, drawing down on its overall Twin Cities pool by a similar amount.
● NH-01: Democrats have to be feeling very confident about ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, because the DCCC just cancelled its entire remaining $1.1 million reservation here, following on the heels of HMP, which also recently got out of this race. Less than a month ago, by contrast, Democrats had $3.7 million booked here; now they've got nothing.
Given Hillary Clinton's strong polling in New Hampshire, GOP Rep. Frank Guinta's serious baggage, and the fact that HMP released a poll putting Shea-Porter up 10 not that long ago, we can't possibly believe that Team Blue has simply given up on this race—the opposite has to be the case. The only odd thing is that that NRCC still has $3.1 million reserved here, but it's hard for a party committee to utterly abandon an incumbent, no matter how damaged.
● NV-03, NV-04: While it might look like big moves are afoot on both sides in both of these races, mostly it's a matter of reshuffling undifferentiated money booked in the Las Vegas media market toward specific contests.
● NY-19: While it had looked for a long time as though the DCCC was prepared to mostly let Democrat Zephyr Teachout stand or fall on her own, the committee has now deployed an additional $857,000 on her behalf, taking its total reservation up to $1.1 million. CLF added another $234,000 and now has over $2 million booked here.
● NY-22: The NRCC has added $506,000 to help Republican Claudia Tenney, who is struggling because wealthy independent Martin Babinec (who has promised to caucus with the GOP) has eaten into her base.
● NY-24: While the DCCC has only increased its reservation by $157,000, the fact that it's done so at all is noteworthy, because recent polling and "body language" has suggested that Democrat Colleen Deacon is really struggling, despite this district's blue lean. Overall, though, Democrats have just $608,000 booked here, versus $1.9 million for Republicans.
● PA-08: HMP quietly added a whopping $1.3 million to help Democrat Steve Santarsiero, which makes this the most expensive overall House contest by a nose. The four groups we track are on path to spending $10.9 million in this district, which is located in the Philadelphia suburbs, putting it in one of the most expensive media markets in the country. (The second-most expensive is FL-26, in Miami, and the third-most is in CO-06, in Denver; both are also above $10 million.)
● VA-10: Together, the DCCC and HMP have increased their combined bookings by $800,000, bringing the Democratic total to $4.3 million, very similar to the GOP total.
● WI-08: Democrats substantially cut their reservations for this open seat last week, reflecting worries that their candidate, Tom Nelson, doesn't have a good chance. Now the NRCC has followed suit, slicing its own reservation by $366,000. Overall, though, the GOP still has $1.6 million booked here, compared to just $470,000 for Democrats.
● Ad Reservations: In addition to all the new data on our chart, the Congressional Leadership Fund announced $10 million in new reservations across 15 House districts on Friday. Thirteen of these are in seats where CLF hasn't previously been involved, and some are very surprising:
● AZ-02: $700,000
● CA-10: $2,000,000
● CA-21: $750,000
● CO-03: $1,300,000
● IA-01: $250,000
● MI-01: $650,000
● MI-07: $350,000
● MI-08: $700,000
● NY-21: $500,000
● PA-16: $400,000
● UT-04: $500,000
● VA-05: $400,000
Three seats, meanwhile, are seeing additions to existing reservations:
● IA-03: adding $275,000, for a total of $1.5 million
● PA-08: adding $150,000, for a total of $2.2 million
● VA-10: adding $1,200,000, for a total of $2.2 million
A few of these contests are top-tier affairs where you expect to see a group like CLF spend money, such as the three seats where they're increasing their buys, as well as IA-01, CO-03, MI-01, and MI-07. And in CA-10 and CA-21, Democrats have recently started pouring in lots of cash, so a GOP response only makes sense.
But the rest of the list is fairly surprising, especially AZ-02, MI-08, NY-21, PA-16, and VA-05. No major groups on either side have booked time in any of these seats until now, which forces you to wonder: Are Republicans genuinely worried about these districts, or are they just trying to make sure they don't become competitive? (Or, perhaps, does CLF, which is closely linked to Paul Ryan, have more money than it knows what to do with and wants to win over allies to the speaker's cause?)
Without polling data for these races, we just can't say, and we aren't especially likely to get any. The main tell will be whether Democrats dig deep and start spending in these races as well.
● Honolulu, HI Mayor: On Thursday, Democratic Mayor Kirk Caldwell unveiled an endorsement from President Barack Obama. Next month, Caldwell faces an expensive challenge from ex-GOP Rep. Charles Djou. This race is officially non-partisan, and the candidates' stances on the controversial $8 billion Honolulu Rail Transit Project is likely to play a bigger role than their party affiliations. However, as Obama's endorsement demonstrates, there are plenty of benefits to running as a Democrat in this blue state.
● CO-Sen: Restoration PAC puts $500,000 behind an attack on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet over national security, hitting him for supporting the Iran nuclear deal and moving Guantanamo prisoners elsewhere. They praise Republican Darryl Glenn, noting he is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel.
● MO-Sen: The DSCC features several everyday American adults facetiously saying "When I grow up, I want to …" and then continuing with negative lines from Republican Sen. Roy Blunt's résumé, like being a Washington insider, having a family full of lobbyists, and taking trips to resorts paid for by special interests. They all finish by saying "When I grow up, I want to be Roy Blunt." On the other side, the Senate Leadership Fund disturbingly features Democrat Jason Kander's "fresh face" morphing into Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton in sequence, arguing that he stands with national Democrats on taxes, Obamacare, immigration, and supporting Clinton's presidential campaign.
● NC-Sen: The DSCC hits Republican Sen. Richard Burr for greatly enriching himself during his long tenure in Washington, excoriating him for being one of the few senators to vote against a ban on insider trading by members of Congress. They also attack him for wanting to privatize Medicare while taking over $1 million from the insurance industry.
● NH-Sen: Democrat Maggie Hassan continues to skewer Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte for calling Donald Trump a role model for children in an early October debate, only to finally abandon Trump after his latest implosion in a politically self-serving move. Hassan then hammers Ayotte for standing with the Kochs and the corporate special interests who have spent millions on her re-election bid.
The Senate Leadership Fund blasts Hassan for supposedly dishonestly claiming credit for a budget she vetoed, for raising taxes, and for wanting to cut millions in support for nursing homes. However, Hassan's camp notes that she had signed a broadly supported bipartisan compromise after vetoing the more partisan Republican proposal. The Republican claim that Hassan proposed raising taxes by $100 million of course ignores some of the taxes she proposed cutting as well. Finally, she didn't actually cut $7 million from nursing home services, but took that money from a planned increase in Medicaid provider rates and used it to cover other health care services.
● NC-Gov: The RGA continues Republican attacks on Democrat Roy Cooper over the state's crime lab failing to process rape kits in a timely manner, leading to cases falling apart. Several women castigate the attorney general for failing in his duties. Republicans have used this line of attack for weeks, but Cooper noted there have been significant improvements to the state crime lab under his 16-year tenure, but it often just lacks the resources it needs. That's particularly notable because Republican legislators have set the funding levels for Cooper's office since they won majorities in 2010.
● VT-Gov: In this cheap-looking spot, Republican Phil Scott features his two daughters praising their father and claiming he is pro-choice, supports same-sex marriage, and in favor of equal pay for equal work.
● AZ-01: Democrat Tom O'Halleran bemoans politicians who only serve their parties or themselves and lambasts Republican Paul Babeu for misusing taxpayer money as Pinal County sheriff.
● FL-18: Republican Brian Mast highlights his military service and valor, emphasizing that he is a double amputee. Democrat Randy Perkins speaks directly to the camera to hit back at Mast over what Perkins says have been unfair attacks on his stance toward veterans, claiming he strongly supports those who served. He then attacks Mast for wanting to privatize Medicare and Social Security.
● IA-01: Democrat Monica Vernon lambasts Republican Rep. Rod Blum for trying to defund Planned Parenthood and wanting employers to be able to fire single women just for being pregnant.
● KS-03: Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder speaks to the camera to highlight how he's not a career politician in the pocket of special interests or even his party, saying he turned down congressional perks and supported cutting congressional salaries.
● ME-02: Democrat Emily Cain features several blue-collar types bemoaning the false attacks from Republicans and claiming she has always had their backs when it comes to economic development and protecting Maine's jobs. They finish by hitting Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin over his ties to Wall Street.
● MI-01: Republican Jack Bergman says he supports free, but fair trade, saying we should penalize countries like China that don't play by the rules.
● MI-08: Democrat Suzanna Shkreli uses the infamous clip showing Donald Trump saying "Grab them by the [expletive deleted]" to say Republican Rep. Mike Bishop still stands by Trump even after the latter bragged about sexual assault. She even plays a radio segment where Bishop waves away Trump's behavior as just being a "raw candidate" who is "refreshing" to a lot of people. Shkreli contrasts that with her career as a prosecutor protecting families.
● NE-02: Republican Don Bacon touts his long military career, in contrast to supposed career politicians like Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford. Bacon says he will fight for term limits, protect Social Security, take on ISIS, balance the budget, and capture other generic political unicorns.
● NY-01: Democrat Anna Throne-Holst blasts Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin for being one of Donald Trump's strongest supporters even after the great orange menace was caught bragging about sexual assault, although Throne-Holst does not make use of the Trump clip itself. She claims we need to set an example for our children that enabling people like Trump is not okay.
● TX-23: House Majority PAC shows Donald Trump and Republican Rep. Will Hurd talking favorably about building a wall on the Mexican border. They then castigate Hurd for supporting deep cuts to programs that help veterans while Trump was insulting veterans like John McCain.
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.