● CO-Sen: Besides Nevada, Colorado offered Republicans their only realistic shot at a Senate pickup this cycle. However, Team Red hasn't sounded enthusiastic about this contest for ages, ever since their top-tier options all declined to run, and nothing changed as a result of last week's GOP primary. El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn won the right to face Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, but national Republican groups don't sound particularly interested in helping him, and with good reason.
Indeed, Morning Consult's Eli Yokley reported last week that the NRSC "has been mum" about Glenn ever since his victory, and the Senate Leadership Fund, another well-funded Republican group with close ties to the establishment, has refused to comment on the race. Unnamed GOP sources have privately told Politico that it's "possible" they'll invest in this race but emphasize that any involvement is "unlikely." Given Glenn's hyper-partisan brand of conservatism (he's said he'd refuse to work with Democrats if elected), he's simply not a good fit for purple Colorado.
As a result, Glenn, who refused to hire paid staff during the primary—and raised so little that he probably couldn't have even if he'd wanted to—will have to look to outsider-oriented groups for any aid. The Senate Conservatives Fund, which aired ads for Glenn during the primary, says it will do "everything we can" to help Glenn win the general. But so far, SCF claims it has raised $750,000 on Glenn's behalf, which for expensive race in a hotly contested swing state won't go very far. SCF also says it has a poll showing Bennet up just 47-42, but it didn't even bother releasing the name of the supposed pollster. That makes it hard to take this survey very seriously, especially since other GOP organizations aren't acting like this is a close race.
Colorado remains a competitive state, and there hasn't been any reliable polling here in over a year. The DSCC also reserved $5 million to help Bennet a few months ago, so Team Blue doesn't see this contest as safe. But the GOP establishment's reluctance to help Glenn is telling: It's all but unheard of for a Senate seat to change hands without major party involvement. As a result, Daily Kos Elections is changing our rating from Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic.
2Q Fundraising: It's that time again!
● FL-04: Hans Tanzier III (R): $556,000 raised (in eight weeks)
● KY-06: Nancy Jo Kemper (D): $225,000 raised
● NH-Sen: Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is out with her second TV spot, which her campaign says is running for six-figures. Hassan talks about innovation and says she froze tuition at state universities, lowered it at community colleges, and started a program to help small businesses. Hassan concludes by saying that "when it comes to innovation and job creation, we need to spark something in Washington, the way we have here in New Hampshire."
● OH-Sen: GOP Sen. Rob Portman is up with another ad, which his campaign says is running for two weeks with $1 million behind it. The spot features the owner of a local steel company, who says that "China is doing things to create an unfair playing field. The threat to American manufacturing is real. Rob Portman gets that." He goes on to praise Portman for helping put in tariffs that kept his company in business.
● IN-Gov: Donald Trump is reportedly vetting GOP Gov. Mike Pence as a possible running mate, and if Pence gets picked, it would upend this year's Indiana gubernatorial race. State law prevents Pence from appearing on the ballot twice, so he would need to drop his re-election campaign if he joined Trump's ticket. The deadline to withdraw from Indiana's ballot is July 15. If Pence exited the gubernatorial contest, the state party central committee would choose the new nominee.
But this uncertainty isn't stopping Democrat John Gregg from launching his first negative TV spot against Pence. The commercial features footage of Carrier, a large air conditioning company, announcing that it would shift thousands of jobs from Indiana to Mexico. The narrator than argues that Pence was "asleep at the switch," before Gregg shows up and says he has a plan to keep jobs in the state.
● NC-Gov: Democrat Roy Cooper is going positive for his first TV spot. The narrator praises Cooper's record as attorney general, saying he went after meth dealers and displayed "steady and thoughtful leadership on school violence," and took on scam artists and predators who target children online.
● VT-Gov: Peter Galbraith, a former state senator and ex-diplomat, has joined his Democratic primary rivals on TV with what his campaign says is "a planned six-figure media buy." Galbraith tells the audience that in the legislature, he stood up to special interests and "made Vermont the first state to ban fracking." Galbraith pledges that as governor, he'll institute a $15 minimum wage and free college tuition, "and I'll pay for it by ending special interest tax breaks, so they pay their fair share." The primary is Aug. 9.
● CA-32: Los Angeles County finished counting its primary ballots on Friday, and Assemblyman Roger Hernandez learned that he would join Rep. Grace Napolitano, a fellow Democrat, in the general election. However, that was about the only good news Hernandez got last week. That same day, a judge sided with Susan Rubio, Hernandez's ex-wife, and issued a three-year restraining order against the assemblyman. The judge said she found Rubio's accusations that Hernandez had physically abused her to be credible, and Hernandez was stripped of all his committee assignments later that evening. Daily Kos Elections rates the all-Democratic contest between Napolitano and Hernandez as Safe Napolitano.
● FL-02: Physician Neal Dunn is out with yet another ad ahead of the three-way primary for this safely red seat. Dunn picks up a musket, which he says was surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown and has been in his family for generations. Dunn pledges that when he gets to DC, he'll "hang that gun in my office as a constant reminder of the freedoms our founding fathers embedded into our Constitution." Dunn continues by saying, "Like you, I'm fed up. And, I've decided to do something about it." It seems a little weird that Dunn's promoting himself as just one of the people just after bragging that he owns George Washington's old gun and showing off his many other antique firearms, but whatever.
● FL-09: Biomedical researcher Dena Grayson is out with her first TV spot ahead of the three-way primary for this safely blue seat, and she's brought in her husband, outgoing Rep. and Senate candidate Alan Grayson, to narrate.
Alan, who is never mentioned or shown in the ad, tells the audience that the candidate is "a doctor who's treated poor people for free, and devoted years to developing cures for cancer." The congressman goes on to say that Dena is running to make sure all Floridians have access to healthcare, and to "expand Medicare to cover eyes, ears, and teeth, to give Florida seniors peace of mind." The spot ends with a shot of someone stuffing money into a politician's jacket, as Alan pledges that Dena will make a sick political system better.
● FL-19: While the primary for this safely red seat is almost two months away, businessman Francis Rooney is airing ads like there's no tomorrow. Rooney, a major GOP donor and a former ambassador to the Vatican, is up with two new offerings. In his first spot, Rooney appears in a hardhat and tells the audience that, as someone who works in the construction industry, he knows about building walls. Rooney then pledges to build a wall with Mexico, "stop illegal immigration, and end sanctuary cities."
Rooney's second commercial is actually a bit different than the usual conservative GOP fare. The narrator bemoans that "[o]ur way of life is threatened by excessive water releases and poor planning by incompetent bureaucrats." She then calls for a "strong leader to protect our waterways and restore the Everglades." Shockingly, that strong leader is Rooney, not Captain Planet. Rooney appears and tells the audience that "[n]ext to our kids, water is our most precious resource in Southwest Florida." (Wait, more important than coal?) Rooney finishes by calling for ending pollution, which isn't a normal line in GOP ads.
It looks like local TV watchers will need to gird themselves for many more Rooney ads for the next two months. Rooney's campaign says he's raised $500,000 in the four weeks he's been in the contest; it's unclear if any of this was self-funded. Chauncey Goss, the son of ex-Rep. Porter Goss, and former Maryland congressional candidate Dan Bongino have not announced their totals yet, but they'll likely have a tough time competing with the wealthy and well-connected Rooney on the airwaves.
● KS-01: On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz endorsed Rep. Tim Huelskamp ahead of the Aug. 2 GOP primary. Cruz defeated Trump 48-25 in 1st District in March's presidential caucus, so he's not a bad get for the incumbent. Huelskamp, a tea partier who has a bad relationship with the House GOP leadership and local agriculture interests, faces a well-funded primary challenge from physician Roger Marshall in this safely red seat.
● NE-02: While retired Army Brig. General Don Bacon has not been an impressive fundraiser so far, he still has a good shot against freshman Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford in this 53-46 Romney seat. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the NRCC has reserved $1.3 million in fall airtime to help Bacon. The DCCC had already made a $1.7 million reservation, while House Majority PAC has booked another $380,000.
● Deaths: Abner Mikva, a former Illinois Democratic congressman and mentor to President Obama, died Monday at the age of 90. Mikva famously recalled trying to volunteer for his first Illinois political campaign in 1948 and being asked by the Chicago ward committeeman who sent him. After telling the committeeman that "[n]obody sent me," the man replied, "We don't want nobody that nobody sent." Eight years later, despite the wishes of the Chicago Democratic machine, Mikva won a seat in the state legislature.
In 1968, Mikva unseated longtime Rep. Barratt O'Hara in the Democratic primary in the South Side of Chicago. Mikva had a reputation as a liberal, and he served as the House floor manager for the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. But Mikva's rivalry with Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley proved costly in 1972, when Mikva's district was redrawn. Mikva ended up running for a different seat in Chicago's northern suburbs, but narrowly lost to Republican Samuel Young. However, Mikva narrowly won their 1974 rematch, and he won two more tight general election contests before Jimmy Carter appointed him, despite NRA opposition, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1979.
Mikva ended up leaving the court in 1994 to serve as White House counsel for Bill Clinton. (Mikva was replaced by Merrick Garland, Obama's current Supreme Court nominee.) In 1995, Mikva resigned and took a job at the University of Chicago law school, where he met and served as a mentor for Obama; the future president launched his own political career the next year. Obama later consulted Mikva shortly before running for president, and Mikva advised him that 2008 was the right time. Obama awarded Mikva the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.
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.