● IN-Sen: On Monday, the DSCC released a Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group poll giving Democrat Evan Bayh a massive 54-33 lead over Republican Rep. Todd Young in the Indiana Senate race. The poll was conducted July 12 to July 14, just after the news broke that Bayh would run to regain his old seat.
Voters give Bayh a strong 55 percent "excellent" or "good" rating, with 25 percent saying their view of him is just "fair" and only 7 percent saying they have a poor impression. (Young's numbers were not released.) The memo also says that even 47 percent of Donald Trump voters give Bayh positive marks. While Politico had reported that the DSCC showed Bayh polls giving him a double-digit lead over Young when the committee was trying to recruit him, this is the first actual poll we've seen of the race.
One thing the memo left out was the question of Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, leaving us with limited information for evaluating this poll; presidential results that can serve as a good sanity check to see if the rest of a survey makes sense. We know that GHY did in fact ask the question, though, since the firm's memo mentions that Trump leads by 5 points among undecided voters, which is meant to suggest that those who haven't made up their minds yet aren't even going to be an especially favorable group for Young.
But the actual statewide Clinton-Trump head-to-heads among all voters were not included, very probably because they show Clinton losing, perhaps by double digits. (After Barack Obama's shocking 1-point win in 2008, Indiana reverted to form four years later and voted for Mitt Romney by 10 points.) Since pretty much all of the other candidates the DSCC is backing in other races have their fortunes tied to Clinton's, it's not really in the committee's interest to release data showing the Democrats' presidential nominee faring poorly, especially when their Senate candidate is doing so well.
Indiana is a state that doesn't get polled very often, so it may be a while before we see some independent confirmation for these results. However, we'll want to see if the GOP releases its own poll showing Young doing much better, or if they let this 21-point Bayh lead go unanswered.
2Q Fundraising: In addition to the fresh numbers below, be sure to check out our complete chart of all Senate fundraising numbers to date.
● CA-Sen: Kamala Harris (D): $2.8 million raised, $2.75 million cash-on-hand; Loretta Sanchez (D): $608,000 raised, $918,000 cash-on-hand
● FL-Sen: Alan Grayson (D): $1 million raised
● IA-Sen: Patty Judge (D): $508,000 raised, $228,000 cash-on-hand
● NV-Sen: Joe Heck (R): $1.8 million raised, $4.8 million cash-on-hand
● AZ-Sen: Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick is going on TV for the first time this week, and she's out with the first spot in her six-week $1.5 million ad campaign. Kirkpatrick's first spot focuses on legislative term-limits, which really haven't been a big national election issue since the 1990s. Maybe this is Kirkpatrick's way to capitalize on the current wave of '90s' nostalgia without resorting to painful Pokemon jokes?
Kirkpatrick tells the audience that her dad was a Democrat and her mom a Republican, so she "learned that both parties have good ideas but that's not how Congress works anymore. The fact is, Washington changes people." Kirkpatrick then calls for term-limits because "[i]t's time to throw out the old and bring in new blood and new ideas." While Kirkpatrick doesn't mention GOP Sen. John McCain, clips of him appear on the screen as Kirkpatrick bemoans what Congress has become.
● IA-Sen, OH-Sen: On behalf of CBS, online pollster YouGov has new polls of three swing states, two of which also host Senate races (Michigan is the third). The numbers are below, along with the presidential results:
IA: Chuck Grassley (R-inc): 45, Patty Judge (D): 37 (Trump 40-39)
OH: Rob Portman (R-inc): 41, Ted Strickland (D): 40 (Clinton 44-40)
In Michigan, meanwhile, Clinton is ahead just 42-39; it would be unusual indeed for Ohio to be bluer than either of these other two states. In fact, Ohio hasn't voted more Democratic than Michigan since 1984 and Iowa since 1980. It's not impossible, certainly, but it's something to bear in mind when you consider the good (for Democrats) Senate numbers in the Buckeye State—though many other polls have issued similar findings. Conversely, it'd be hard to argue the presidential toplines in Iowa are too favorable for Democrats, which makes Grassley's relatively weak showing notable, particularly since a pair of recent polls from other outfits both put him in the low 50s.
● NH-Sen, NV-Sen: The group End Citizens United, whose name makes it pretty clear what they're all about, says it's reserved seven-figure blocks of TV time for the second half of August in two key Senate races. ECU is booking $1.4 million in New Hampshire on behalf of Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is trying to unseat GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and another $1.5 million in Nevada to help former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto beat Rep. Joe Heck in the race for Harry Reid's seat. The ads are not available yet. ECU was the subject of a critical piece earlier this year in the American Prospect, which called the group out for spending most of the money its taken in on operating expenditures.
● OH-Sen: If you've been following the Republican National Convention this week in Cleveland, one of the more delicious sub-plots revolves around the remarkable resistance of John Kasich, Ohio’s Republican governor, to participate in any way—not even to offer a perfunctory endorsement of Donald Trump—despite the fact that the quadrennial confab is taking place in his own home state. But Trump never handles vanquished foes gingerly, and so instead of attempting to foster some unity, his chief enforcer, Paul Manafort, kicked off the convention Monday morning by declaring that Kasich was "embarrassing his party in Ohio" for his "petulant" refusal to join the festivities. Kasich's political calculus, said Manafort, is "a dumb, dumb, dumb thing."
But ragging on Kasich was by no means enough to sate Manafort, who also declared that GOP Sen. Rob Portman, facing a tough re-election battle against ex-Gov. Ted Strickland, is "very upset" with Kasich because "Kasich is hurting him." A Portman spokesman denied the claim, calling it "totally false and insisting that Portman and Kasich are "working hand in hand." Not so, said Manafort, who retorted, "We"—meaning Donald Trump & Co.—"are working very closely with Rob Portman" and "we're running our campaigns together."
That is not exactly the message Portman wants to send to Ohio voters—quite the opposite, in fact. Portman has only tepidly backed Trump (making sure to avoid the dreaded "e word": endorse) and, like, Kasich, he’s doing his best to avoid the convention even though it’s right in his back yard. While many pundits have speculated that Trump's message might resonate in Rust Belt states that Democrats have traditionally carried, if that were so, then why are senators like Portman keeping their distance? Trump's attempt to bear-hug Portman will only be met with stiff arms, but that doesn’t mean Portman will be able to avoid the embrace. And Strickland and the Democrats will very much appreciate The Donald's efforts to make their case for them.
● IN-Gov: The state GOP's 22-member central committee will pick a new gubernatorial nominee on July 26 to replace vice presidential candidate Mike Pence. Because Indiana law prevents candidates from appearing on the general election ballot twice, anyone who was already the nominee for a different office needed to drop out by July 15 if they wanted a chance to be considered. However, anyone who wasn't already on the ballot has more time to consider their plans, and at least one more Hoosier Republican is expressing interest. State Auditor Suzanne Crouch, who isn't up this year, tells the Evansville Courier & Press that she's considering, but she hasn't made up her mind yet. Reps. Todd Rokita and Susan Brooks and Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb are currently seeking the governorship.
● IN-04, IN-05: When Gov. Mike Pence withdrew from the gubernatorial contest to join Donald Trump's presidential ticket, he set off a domino effect in Indiana. The state GOP's 22-member central committee will pick a new nominee on July 26, and since Indiana state law prevents anyone from appearing on the general election ballot twice, anyone who was the GOP nominee for a different office needed to give up their slots by Friday for the central committee to be able to legally consider them. Reps. Todd Rokita and Susan Brooks did just that, and while both their seats are safely Republican, it's far from clear who will be Team Red's standard bearer in each district.
In both congressional races, new GOP nominees will be chosen by a caucus of local precinct chairs, and there's nothing stopping them from just choosing the incumbents again, should the central committee pass either of them over for the gubernatorial nomination. However, it's not assured that either Brooks or Rokita will be able to get their nominations back if they want them, or that they'll even run for them again. Since the deadline to withdraw from the Indiana has passed, anyone who is seeking a different office cannot be considered for Congress.
Over in the 4th District, state Sen. Ron Alting (who is not up for re-election until 2018), says he's interested, but that he won't run against Rokita. Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer also says he's considering and while he didn't explicitly say he'd defer to Rokita, he praised the congressman as "outstanding," which isn't the type of thing you usually say about a possible foe. Roll Call also mentions ex-state Rep. Matthew Whetstone and Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles as possible candidates. They also say that Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is competing with Rokita and Brooks for the gubernatorial nod, may be interested in running for either seat if he doesn't get picked.
In Brooks' 5th District, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard says he's interested, but only if Brooks doesn't try to regain her seat. State Sens. Mike Delph and Jim Merritt have also been mentioned; Merritt said on Friday that he'd reserve comment for later, so he's not saying no right now.
● Honolulu, HI Mayor: On behalf of Hawaii News Now and the Star-Advertiser, Ward Research takes a look at the Aug. 13 non-partisan primary. They find ex-GOP Rep. Charles Djou taking 39 percent, with Mayor Kirk Caldwell, a Democrat, grabbing 30; if no one claims a majority, the top two vote-getters advance to the November general. Ex-Mayor Peter Carlisle, an independent, is taking a distant third with 15 percent. The poll finds that all three candidates are actually pretty well liked. Djou posts a 62-29 favorable rating, while Caldwell has a 53-41 score. While Carlisle is languishing in the polls, he has a strong 56-32 rating.
● Deaths: Over the weekend, ex-Minnesota Gov. and Sen. Wendell Anderson died at the age of 83. Anderson, a Democrat, was elected governor in 1970, and he managed to get a major school-funding bill through the conservative legislature. The plan, dubbed the "Minnesota Miracle," proved popular, and Anderson easily won a second term in 1974. Jimmy Carter considered making him his running mate in 1976, but Carter ended up closing Minnesota Sen. Walter Mondale.
After Mondale was elected vice president, Anderson resigned as governor and arranged to have his elevated lieutenant governor, Rudy Perpich, appoint him to the Senate. This proved to be a mistake: Anderson lost to Republican Rudy Boschwitz 57-40 in 1978, and Perpich also lost his bid for a full term. While Perpich was elected governor in 1982, Anderson was never to hold major elected office again.
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.