● AZ-Sen: A Republican firm called Data Orbital has released a new poll of the Aug. 30 GOP primary that finds Sen. John McCain with a wide 50-29 lead on his challenger, former state Sen. Kelli Ward. Data Orbital says it did not conduct the survey on behalf of any particular client, but the firm's president, former state GOP political director George Khalaf, included a very laudatory statement about McCain, so we know where his preferences lie.
Ward responded by dismissing the poll, claiming instead, "We are winning on the ground"—loserspeak, more or less. And it's especially hard to wave away the results when a late June poll from NMB Research for Arizona Grassroots Action, a super PAC supporting McCain, found a very similar 47-22 lead for the incumbent. Interestingly, NMB mentions some previously unreleased numbers from January that had McCain up just 47-40, which suggests his attacks on Ward have been effective.
● CO-Sen, FL-Sen, NC-Sen: Marist released a second batch of swing state polls on Friday, and boy are they gaudy for Democrats. Here's how the Senate races shape up, along with trendlines and presidential results:
CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc): 53, Darryl Glenn (R): 38 (July: 53-38) (41-29 Clinton)
FL-Sen: Marco Rubio (R-inc): 49, Patrick Murphy (D): 43 (July: 47-44) (41-36 Clinton)
NC-Sen: Deborah Ross (D): 46, Richard Burr (R): 44 (July: 48-41) (45-36 Clinton)
Marist also put Hillary Clinton up 43-31 in Virginia, capping off just how eye-popping these results are. But the one that really stands out is North Carolina. You could believe that Colorado and Virginia, where the Clinton campaign has (at least for now) stopped advertising, are turning into routs. But a 9-point advantage in the Tar Heel State? That seems impossible. It would also represent the first independent poll to give Ross a lead; aside from a late June survey from Democratic pollster GQR that also found Ross up 2, Burr has always been in front. That doesn't mean things haven't changed, but it does mean we should await further confirmation.
Florida's Senate race is the one dark spot for Democrats, but just as it's hard to credit those North Carolina numbers, it's likewise difficult to imagine that Rubio will run 11 points ahead of the ticket, especially since other polls don't show anywhere near that kind of separation. While you may be sick of hearing us say this, this is all a good reminder of why you should always check out the averages of all available polling, rather than rely on one single data point.
● CO-Sen: Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet's newest ad features a corn farmer praising the senator for working with Republicans to pass a farm bill.
● IN-Sen: The other day, the Senate Leadership Fund said it would soon launch a $1 million campaign against Democrat Evan Bayh, and now we have a copy of their ad. The message is exactly the same as the one deployed by the NRSC in a recent spot: Bayh only pretends to be bipartisan; in fact, he's an Obama stooge who "cast the deciding vote for Obamacare." It's probably the right line of attack, but the question is whether it can actually overcome Bayh's considerable reputation.
● NV-Sen: The NRSC is running another ad attacking Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto over her support for the Iran nuclear deal. The committee ran an ad on the same topic last year. Meanwhile, AFSCME is tossing a new ad into their reported $1.4 million buy targeting GOP Rep. Joe Heck. Like their prior spot, it goes after Heck for wanting to privatize Social Security.
● MO-Gov: In his second TV ad, Democrat Chris Koster talks about how he prosecuted "crooked Wall Street banks and Medicaid fraud" as attorney general, "returning over $500 million" to Missourians.
● NC-Gov: A new RGA ad whales on Democrat Roy Cooper for failures at a state crime lab, which it says fell under his purview as attorney general and led to "wrongful convictions and criminals going unpunished." It might be the first time we've ever seen Republicans worry about anyone getting wrongfully convicted.
● NH-Gov: Executive Councilor Chris Sununu rolled out his first ad of the GOP primary just the other day, but it turns out that it's backed by a piddly $14,000 buy. By contrast, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who also released an introductory spot, claims he's going to spend $500,000, but we'll see. No other Republicans appear to have started advertising yet, Meanwhile, Democrat Colin Van Ostern, who also serves on the Executive Council, has reserved $212,000 in airtime ahead of the Sept. 13 primary.
● FL-10: Michael Bloomberg's super PAC, Independence USA, is running a new ad on behalf of Val Demings, featuring footage of her speaking at the Democratic National Convention last month where she described her background as Orlando's first female police chief.
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.
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