● FL-07: After redistricting transformed Florida Republican Rep. John Mica's suburban Orlando constituency from a district that Romney carried 52-47 to a seat that Obama took by the narrowest of margins, Mica had good reason to at least prepare for a competitive campaign. And after national Democrats reserved $3.8 million in late June to help first-time candidate Stephanie Murphy in the 7th District, Mica could have at least done something to gear up for an expensive race. But as a frankly shocking Politico article reveals, Mica still isn't behaving like he's in a tough race at all. In fact, Mica himself brags that he doesn't have a campaign manager and that he has a "terrible press operation," a reference to his part-time press secretary.
It's almost unbelievable how little Mica seems to care about his own campaign. After noting that Democrats have spent $3 million against him, Mica said that "we haven't had that kind of money … nor would we waste that kind of money." Mica's own poll showed him going from a 52-34 lead just as the Democratic ads were starting to a 47-42 edge in late October, so it's just delusional to argue Team Blue wasted their money. (Democrats have released polls showing Murphy narrowly ahead.) And as a senior member of the House, Mica would have been able to raise cash if he wanted to.
Mica may be fine sleepwalking through his campaign, but his allies aren't letting him flush a seat down the drain. The NRCC recently started a $1.4 million buy against Murphy, and Politico's Rachael Bade unsurprisingly reports that senior Republicans privately are quite pissed that Mica didn't take his opponent seriously months ago.
Meanwhile, Democrats continue to pull out all the stops to win. Murphy is out with a new ad starring Barack Obama, who highlights how her family fled communist Vietnam by boat when she was a baby, and how she became a Department of Defense analyst after September 11. It's a compelling story to anyone except John Mica, who derisively said that while people recognize him on the streets, "They wouldn't know her from Adam's house cat." It's still quite possible that the NRCC's late spending blitz save Mica. But if Mica doesn't lose next week, it won't be for lack of trying.
P.S.: If you have coffee with Mica, bring your own mug. Politico notes that Mica "obsessively hordes throwaway coffee cups in his office and home, insisting that his companions reuse the same paper or Styrofoam carries because 'it's recyclable!'" Is that what passes for Republican environmentalism these days?
● NH-Sen, NH-Gov, NH-01: Surprise of surprises! Just the other week, we told anyone who would listen not to believe the University of New Hampshire's new poll of the Granite State's Senate race, which implausibly gave Democrat Maggie Hassan a giant 48-39 lead over GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Guess what? UNH did us a solid and proved us right, because their latest survey now puts Hassan up just 46-44. This is par for the course with UNH: Post gonzo numbers in the middle of a race, but come back down to earth right at the very end. The Daily Kos Elections polling average, by the way, has this race tight as a tick, with Ayotte up 45.4 to 45.2, not including this latest poll.
For what it's worth (and you know we're going to say it's not worth very much), UNH also finds Democrat Colin Van Ostern beating Republican Chris Sununu in the governor's race 43-40, a tightening from Van Ostern's 44-38 advantage in mid-October. Hillary Clinton's margin over Donald Trump has also grown more realistic, clocking in at 46-39 versus her impossible 49-34 lead just two weeks ago. (Our average has Clinton up 46-39 and Van Ostern ahead just about a point, 43.6 to 42.4.)
As for the state's one competitive House race in the 1st District, UNH has Democrat Carol Shea-Porter winning 37-32 vs. GOP Rep. Frank Guinta, while Democrat-turned-independent Shawn O'Connor is taking 14 percent. Shea-Porter was up 44-32, with O'Connor at 10, in UNH's last poll, but as we recently reported, the NRCC effectively triaged Guinta when it pulled all of its remaining TV advertising for him last week ($2 million worth). An outsized showing by O'Connor, especially if he's clawing into Shea-Porter's base, could potentially throw Guinta a lifeline, but again, UNH is not a pollster you want to pin your hopes on.
● WI-Sen: The Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity is the latest group to launch a last-minute buy in the Wisconsin Senate race. Their $950,000 ad campaign argues that Democrat Russ Feingold's vote for Obamacare damaged the state. They feature footage of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton praising the program, and show a clip of Feingold expressing pride in his vote for it.
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has a very unusual joint TV ad with Rep. Sean Duffy, who is safe in his 7th District. The narrator says that while Johnson is a "businessman with a white board" and Duffy is a "lumberjack with an ax," both are "hardworking outsiders who tell it like it is." Roll Call says the ad is airing in the 7th, which includes the Wausau media market and stretches a little into the 3rd District. Johnson is certainly hoping to take advantage of Duffy's local popularity in the north, but the congressman may also have something to gain here. Duffy is a possible 2018 challenger for Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Simone Pathé speculates that this spot may also be about getting him some extra exposure.
● Polls: We pile, you decide.
● IL-Sen: Loras College: Tammy Duckworth (D): 42, Mark Kirk (R-inc): 34 (45-34 Clinton) (Sept.: 41-36 Duckworth)
● MO-Sen: Monmouth: Roy Blunt (R-inc): 47, Jason Kander (D): 46 (52-38 Trump) (Oct.: 46-44 Blunt)
● MO-Gov: Monmouth: Chris Koster (D): 46, Eric Greitens (R): 46, (52-38 Trump) (Oct.: 46-43 Koster)
● NC-Sen: Elon University: Richard Burr (R-inc): 44, Deborah Ross (D): 40 (42-41 Clinton) (Sept.: 44-43 Ross)
● NC-Sen: SurveyUSA: Burr (R-inc): 49, Ross (D): 43 (Trump 51-44) (Oct.: 45-43 Burr)
● NC-Gov: Elon University: Roy Cooper (D): 44, Pat McCrory (R-inc): 44 (42-41 Clinton) (Sept.: 48-44 Cooper)
● NC-Gov: SurveyUSA: Cooper (D): 48, McCrory (R-inc): 47 (Trump 51-44) (Oct.: 47-45 Cooper)
● OR-Gov: DHM Research: Kate Brown (D-inc): 41, Bud Pierce (R): 33 (41-34 Clinton) (Oct.: 46-33 Brown)
● PA-Sen: Franklin & Marshall: Katie McGinty (D): 47, Pat Toomey (R-inc): 35 (49-38 Clinton) (Sept.: 41-35 McGinty)
Monmouth's mid-October poll showed GOP incumbent Roy Blunt up 46-44 with Donald Trump carrying the Show Me State 46-41, and this survey finds that the Senate race has barely moved even with Trump more than doubling his lead. Maybe undecided Trump voters will end up breaking for Blunt in the end, but neither party is acting like they're confident that will happen.
Monmouth finds the gubernatorial race moving 3 points in Republican Eric Greitens' favor; that's not a huge shift, but this is the latest poll to show a tight contest.
The Daily Kos polling average gives Democrat Katie McGinty a 44-43 edge over Sen. Pat Toomey, very different than the 47-35 lead Franklin & Marshall gives her. F&M does "encourage readers to interpret these results with caution and in the context of other recent polling." That's always a smart practice for any poll, whether you like the result or not.
● CA-49: We've finally discovered that Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is an independent, bipartisan problem-solver. At least, you might mistakenly believe this if you bought Issa's latest ad message, where he bemoans both Trump and Clinton, promises he'll hold accountable whichever candidate wins, and absurdly claims he "stood up to Bush" as well as Obama. Of course, back here on Earth 1.0, Issa has been one of the very most partisan Republicans in Congress, leading witch-hunt investigations into the Obama administration, calling for Obama's impeachment, and labeling him one of the most corrupt presidents in history.
His ultra-partisan history hasn't stopped Issa from trying to pretend he hasn't bitterly opposed national Democrats at every turn now that he's in danger of losing and Clinton is poised to carry his well-educated suburban San Diego district. After Issa touted cooperating with the president in a recent mailer, Obama rightly condemned it as "the definition of chutzpah."
Issa's Democratic opponent, retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate, makes sure to remind viewers of the congressman's die-hard partisan nature in a new ad of his own. Applegate plays the infamous clip of Trump bragging about sexual assault, a news segment about actual assault allegations, and then hammers home the point that Issa called Trump "the obvious choice" and still supports him even after the groping scandal.
● IL-10: The NRCC runs a rare semi-positive new ad in this suburban Chicago district, where they contrast Republican Rep. Bob Dold! with Democratic ex-Rep. Brad Schneider. They call Schneider a partisan hack who wants to raise taxes and supports the Iran nuclear deal, while they praise Dold as an independent leader who opposes both.
● IL-12: There hasn't been much outside spending in this suburban St. Louis seat, but House Majority PAC is out with their first commercial. They quickly start with a clip of Republican freshman Rep. Mike Bost's 2013 rant on the state House floor, as the audience sees Bost yell and knock over a stack of bills. The narrator then attacks Bost on trade deals and calls him "a loser for southern Illinois jobs."
Obama narrowly carried this seat in 2012, but this district has a considerably lower median income than the nation as a while, so Donald Trump could do well here next week. HMP reserved $263,000 a few months ago to help Democrat CJ Baricevic. That's not a huge sum, but it's at least notable that while HMP has pulled out of some unfriendly seats like New York's 23rd and cut their buys elsewhere, they're still spending in this race. The Congressional Leadership Fund recently directed $200,000 to help Bost.
● NY-21: Despite most signs pointing to Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik being strongly favored for a second term representing New York's northernmost House seat, national Republicans apparently still feel the need to air attack ads against Democratic retired Army Col. Mike Derrick. The Congressional Leadership Fund tries to paint him as an out-of-touch wealthy carpetbagger from Colorado who just moved into the state and already wants to promote national Democrats' agenda. Of course, Republicans conveniently ignore that Derrick lived in Colorado because he was serving in the military and moved back to New York when he retired from a long career in national defense.
● NY-22: Republicans have been training their fire on both Democrat Kim Myers and wealthy independent Martin Babinec throughout the campaign, and Team Red still is taking Babinec seriously a week away from Election Day. The NRCC's new spot argues that both Myers and Babinec are Hillary Clinton supporters and Obamacare loving liberals, with the narrator insisting that Babinec's company even profited from the program.
Babinec himself is out with yet another ad that tries to appeal to both parties. It features various people saying that they've voted Democratic and Republican in the past, but that upstate New York's problems have only gotten worse. They then say that Babinec has a real jobs plan, so they're for him. For the most part, Babinec's ads have portrayed him as a common-sense businessman, but he's said that he'll caucus with the GOP if he wins. That helps explain why Republicans are going after him, and why Democratic ads are making him more appealing to GOP voters by portraying him as a conservative alternative to Republican Claudia Tenney.
● PA-16: The Democratic group House Majority PAC is out with a spot in Pennsylvania's 16th District, which is surprising because the most recent edition of our House reservations chart didn't have anything from them there. The commercial ties Republican Lloyd Smucker to Donald Trump. There is no word on the size of the buy. A little while ago, the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund directed $623,000 to defend this 52-46 Romney seat in the outskirts of the Philadelphia suburbs.
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.