● UT-04: On behalf of the Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute, SurveyUSA takes a look at the rematch between freshman Republican Rep. Mia Love and Democrat Doug Owens in Utah's 4th Congressional District, and they have some very good news for Team Blue. SurveyUSA gives Owens a 51-45 lead, almost a complete reversal from Love's 51-46 win two years ago. However, this is the first poll of this contest we've seen all year, so we don't have a good sense yet for how close to the mark it is.
On paper, this Salt Lake City-area seat should be secure for Love. Romney carried it 67-30; John McCain won 56-41 here in 2008, so this area is still red even without Romney on the ballot. But national Democrats are encouraged by Love's surprisingly modest win during the 2014 GOP wave, and they're giving Owens much more support this time. In early April, Love held a $1.09 million to $766,000 cash-on-hand edge; two years ago, by contrast, Love led $614,000 to $118,000.
Donald Trump is also unlikely to be an asset to Love in Utah. While he's very unlikely to actually lose the Beehive State, Love would be in a lot of trouble if the GOP doesn't rack up its usual strong margins. And indeed, that's what seems to be happening right now. A separate SurveyUSA poll of the entire state (not just the 4th District) finds Trump and Clinton tied at 35 apiece, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 13. That's unlikely to hold through November, but considering how red Utah is ordinarily, those numbers reflect a remarkable level of distrust (or disgust) toward the GOP's presidential nominee.
And Love isn't the most impressive candidate in her own right. Last year, the congresswoman reimbursed the treasury for travel expenses improperly billed to taxpayers, and she compounded her errors by utterly failing to offer any sort of consistent explanations for her actions. Love also has a tendency to rely on scammy fundraising tactics that appear to bring in monster sums but actually cost so much to implement that candidates usually net very little cash. There's also the uncomfortable possibility that racism (Love is black), is hurting her here. This is just one poll, and the seat's red hue and Love's incumbency probably still make her the favorite. Still, this survey confirms that this will not be an easy re-election campaign for Love. Daily Kos Elections rates the race as Lean Republican.
● NC-Sen: While North Carolina's Senate battle between GOP incumbent Richard Burr and Democratic challenger Deborah Ross has all the hallmarks of a potentially competitive contest, it was missing an important one—until now. No outside groups had run ads here or made any TV reservations, but now the NRSC has jumped in with a new ad attacking Ross as a "radical" who "worked to prevent sex offenders from registering with local authorities." However, Capitol Tonight says the spot is backed by just "five figure[s]." Still, it's a sign that Republicans are preparing to take this race seriously, so even though it's the GOP who's spending money, since they're the ones on defense, it's actually a positive sign for Ross.
So, too, is the fact that Hillary Clinton's allies are already launching their own barrage in the Tarheel State—and since Mitt Romney won here in 2012, that means the Democrats are on offense. On Friday, Priorities USA announced it would be spending $9 million to start airing a devastating ad that lacerates Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter; if you haven't watched it yet, you should. The buy is part of a broader effort across a number of swing states, but Ross will be heartened to see that Clinton is already contesting North Carolina and presumably will do so right through Election Day. With strong enough coattails from the top of the ticket, a Ross victory would not be out of the question.
● CA-16: Last cycle, Democratic Rep. Jim Costa took his re-election for granted and only narrowly defeated Some Dude Johnny Tacherra. Tacherra will face Costa again, but his near-win doesn't seem to have inspired donors. Tacherra has brought in just $331,000 throughout the whole campaign, and he only had $22,000 on-hand at the end of May. Obama won this Fresno-area district 59-39, and Donald Trump won't make things any easier for Tacherra in a seat that's 59 percent Hispanic. If Costa runs for re-election in 2018, he could have a tough time once again against even a weak Republican. But this cycle, even he probably can't screw up, so we're changing our rating from Likely to Safe Democratic.
● CA-31: Freshman Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar narrowly defeated Republican Paul Chabot last cycle, and the two will face off again in November. But this is another heavily Hispanic seat where presidential turnout and Trump's negative coattails are likely to keep Team Red from having much of a shot. Chabot also hasn't raised much cash, and he only had $52,000 on-hand at the end of May. Obama won 57-41 here, and while weak midterm turnout could make Aguilar vulnerable two years from now, he looks secure this year. As a result, we're also moving this rating from Likely to Safe Democratic.
P.S. As weak as Chabot is, he did defeat two notable Republican opponents in Tuesday's top-two primary. Chabot took 24 percent of the vote, far ahead of the 12 percent won by ex-Rep. Joe Baca, who served in Congress as a Democrat but switched parties after a failed comeback bid last cycle. (It didn't help.) Chabot's haul was also better than the 11 percent reeled in by Economics for Dummies author Sean Flynn, who had actually earned a spot on the NRCC's Young Guns list. Hopefully, Flynn will not be contracted to write an edition of Politics for Dummies. Actually, though, maybe he'd be perfect for the gig.
● FL-13, Sen: Republican Rep. David Jolly has been flirting with pulling the plug on his Senate campaign and seeking re-election instead (though Jolly insists those are two separate decisions). If Jolly tries to stay in the House, he'll face Democrat Charlie Crist in a redrawn seat that backed Obama 55-44. Local Republicans say they've seen polls showing a competitive race between the two, but until Friday, we only had their word to go off of. Now, on behalf of the site SaintPetersBlog, St. Pete Polls is out with a survey that shows Jolly and Crist deadlocked 44-44.
St. Pete also tested the presidential race here and finds Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 47-37 in the 13th. We've had issues with St. Pete Polls' accuracy before, but the presidential numbers are plausible, so these numbers suggest that Jolly is actually capable of running far enough ahead of Trump to make things interesting.
What's a bit more surprising is that Crist posts a 43-46 favorable rating here. (Jolly has a much stronger 48-26 score.) In the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, Crist did very well in the St. Petersburg area even as he was narrowly losing statewide to Republican incumbent Rick Scott, and there's no reason to believe that an even friendlier presidential-year electorate has now turned on Crist. We still don't know what Jolly will do, though: He's still campaigning for the Senate far outside his district, and he has until the June 24 filing deadline to decide what he's doing.
● GA-03: Last month, state Sen. Mike Crane outpaced ex-West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson 26.9-26.8 in the GOP primary, with rich guy Jim Pace taking 23. Crane and Ferguson will meet again in the July 26 runoff for this safely red seat, and Ferguson earned Pace's endorsement on Friday.
● IA-01: Freshman Republican Rep. Rod Blum narrowly defeated Democrat Pat Murphy during the 2014 GOP wave, but he's not going to have an easy time holding this 56-43 Obama seat this year. Blum will face ex-Cedar Rapids City Councilor Monica Vernon, who decisively defeated Murphy in Tuesday's primary. Vernon, who has the support of national Democrats, has proven to be a good fundraiser. Blum's relationship with his own party, meanwhile, is not so great. Blum joined the failed effort to oust John Boehner from the speaker's chair in 2015, and the NRCC notably did not include him when it launches its Patriot Majority incumbent protection program earlier this cycle.
Blum seems to have a better relationship with Paul Ryan, who even headlined a fundraiser for him in February. However, while Blum recently told Roll Call that he's had "a new beginning with the NRCC," Blum acknowledges that he still has not been added to Patriot Majority. Blum is wealthy and can self-fund, but it's still notable that his own party still isn't helping him. It's too early to write him off, but between the Democratic lean of his district, a strong opponent, Blum's conservative record, and Blum's lack of support fellow Republicans, we're moving this race from Tossup to Lean Democratic.
● NY-01: Venture capitalist Dave Calone recently went up with an ad against Democratic primary rival Anna Throne-Holst, a former Southampton town supervisor. After reminding viewers that Throne-Holst only joined the Democratic Party when she kicked off her bid for Congress last year, the narrator noted that she made three separate donations to New York's Conservative Party, a group that now backs Donald Trump. Throne-Holst has now responded, speaks directly to the camera in a new TV spot of her own. Throne-Holst asks the audience, "Have you seen Dave Calone's TV ad saying that I support Donald Trump? Dave, if that were true, do you think Sen. Gillibrand and Congressman Bishop would be supporting me?" She goes on to denounce Trump and call herself a progressive.
However, Calone never accused Throne-Holst of backing Trump; rather, he pointed out that she gave money to the Conservatives, who in turn endorsed Trump. This is why, if you're a progressive, you don't donate to an organization like the Conservative Party, but this isn't something that should be hard to figure out. It's not like the Conservative Party tries to hide what its aims are—hell, it's right there in its name. In any event, the winner of the June 28 primary will face freshman Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who unambiguously supports Donald Trump.
● NY-13: On behalf of an unnamed super PAC backing state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Portable Insights gives us our first poll of the June 28 primary for this safely blue seat. They give Espaillat a slim 20-19 lead over Assemblyman Keith Wright, with ex-Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV at 13, the rest of the field taking single digits, and a 28 percent plurality undecided.
● SC-05: Biden Alert! On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden headlined a fundraiser for former aide Fran Person, who is running a long-shot bid to unseat Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney in a 55-44 Romney seat. At the end of May, Mulvaney held a fairly modest $295,000 to $139,000 cash-on-hand edge, so Biden's star power could be a big help here. Still, this upstate South Carolina seat isn't hospitable territory for Democrats these days, and Donald Trump is unlikely to be much of a liability here. Daily Kos Elections currently rates this seat as Safe Republican.