● NJ-05: Democrat Josh Gottheimer's newest TV ad goes extremely hard at New Jersey GOP Rep. Scott Garrett over one of his most shameful displays of conservative extremism: his opposition to providing health care to 9/11 first responders. Gottheimer's spot stars the most effective advocate possible, retired New Jersey police chief Joe Zadroga, who talks about his son. James Zadroga was a New York City police officer who participated in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center following the September 11th attacks and became an icon after he died of respiratory disease in 2006 at just 34 years of age.
"My son was a New York City detective at Ground Zero. What he breathed in killed him. Scott Garrett was the only Jersey congressman to vote against health care for 9/11 responders. Prior to his passing, no one wanted to recognize that people were sick from 9/11. For the life of me, I could not understand why Scott Garrett turned his back on 9/11 responders."
The backstory here is even more damning. Thanks to Republican intransigence, it took years to pass the law described by Joe Zadroga, known as the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in memory of his son. In 2010, a bill that provided health care funds to Ground Zero first responders for five years only passed after Jon Stewart shamed the GOP into action, and a permanent version only became law last year.
Yet not long ago, a group of veterans who endorsed Garrett specifically praised him for co-sponsoring the Zadroga Act even though he voted against its final passage. Indeed, Garrett fought to block the very legislation he supposedly supported, blasting the appropriations bill the Zadroga Act was attached to as a "bloated $1.1 trillion spending bill doesn't do enough to address our nation's crippling debt, protect civil liberties, nor strengthen our national security." And in 2010, when the Zadroga Act first passed, he voted against it—twice.
Fortunately, despite Garrett's efforts to portray himself as an ardent supporter of a law he repeatedly opposed, New Jersey's police and firefighters unions have endorsed Gottheimer, citing the congressman's opposition to Zadroga. Now voters will learn more about exactly why first responders are eager to see Garrett go.
● NC-Sen: A new Suffolk poll gives Republican Sen. Richard Burr a 41-37 lead over Democrat Deborah Ross, with Libertarian Sean Haugh taking 4. This same sample gives Donald Trump a 44-41 edge. Most polls have shown a tight Senate race, and the GOP group Senate Leadership Fund recently reserved $8.1 million to defend Burr; we're still waiting to see if major Democratic outside groups will invest in this race.
● IN-Gov: Republican Eric Holcomb recently learned that he would only get $1.25 million of Gov. Mike Pence's $7 million warchest, but Holcomb will still have plenty of cash. Holcomb was awarded the GOP nomination in late July and since then, he raised $4.2 million in large contributions, which are defined as donations worth more than $10,000. Most of that money came from Pence or the Republican Governor's Association, which chipped in $2.3 million. During this time, Democrat John Gregg brought in $785,000 in large donations; however, unlike Holcomb, Gregg did not recently start fundraising from scratch. Small donations will not be reported until next month.
● OR-Gov: DHM Research takes a look at the infrequently-surveyed gubernatorial contest, and gives Democratic incumbent Kate Brown a 43-35 edge over Republican Bud Pierce, the former head of the Oregon Medical Association; the same sample gives Hillary Clinton a 38-25 lead. So far, neither national party has shown any interest in spending in this contest.
● CA-49: On Thursday, the DCCC added Doug Applegate to their Red to Blue program for top candidates. A few months ago, Applegate's campaign against Republican Rep. Darrell Issa wasn’t on anyone’s radar. However, Applegate held Issa to a surprisingly slim 51-45 margin in California's June top-two primary and a few weeks later, the DCCC released a poll showing the two tied in the general election. A little while ago, Applegate released his own survey giving Issa only a small 45-42 lead, and the GOP has yet to respond with their own numbers.
Red to Blue is meant to signal to donors and outside groups which candidates the D-Trip thinks are worthy of attention. However, there's no public indication that the DCCC has reserved any airtime in this seat yet. Issa, the richest member of Congress, can spend whatever he wants if he feels like he's in any danger. If Applegate is going to have a shot against him, he'll need outside help. Romney carried this suburban San Diego seat 52-46, but Donald Trump has been underperforming in affluent, well-educated areas like this.
● DE-AL: With days to go before the primary for this safely blue seat, former state Labor Secretary Lisa Blunt Rochester is up with another commercial. The spot features a diverse group of people praising Rochester for understanding them. Rochester faces former gubernatorial aide Sean Barney and state Sen. Bryan Townsend on Sept. 13; Barney has aired some ads and is getting help from VoteVets, while Townsend says that he's decided not to run commercials.
● Where Are They Now?: Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that overturned former Virginia GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell's conviction for bribery, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday that it will not seek to re-try McDonnell.
● AZ-Sen: Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick takes a page from her 2014 re-election campaign. Back then, she ran a commercial that used her old boots as a way to talk about her local background. This time, the narrator says the boots "remind Ann of her Arizona values. So it's no surprise that Ann's boots are catching on." As people are shown wearing similar footwear, the narrator pledges that Kirkpatrick will be an independent senator who won't go Washington, and will "put her foot down and put Arizona first."
● MO-Sen: The NRA argues that Democrat Jason Kander voted against people's rights to protect themselves. The narrator goes on to say that "Missouri's next senator will decide control of the Supreme Court," and goes on to hit Kander again on guns. The NRA recently reported a $641,000 TV/ internet buy in Missouri. The group Heartland Resurgence argues that Kander is a lazy, liberal bureaucrat.
● NC-Sen: Democracy for America has launched TV, radio, and internet buy targeted at Hispanics, and they say they'll spend at least $200,000 overall. Their spot, which is available in English and Spanish, argues that Democrat Deborah Ross will stand up to Donald Trump and his racism.
● NH-Sen: Senate Majority PAC once again goes after Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte on college debt.
● OH-Sen: The NRSC employs a fake news reporter who is "searching" for what she says are the jobs Democrat Ted Strickland lost as governor.
● PA-Sen: Michael Bloomberg's super PAC Independence USA praises Republican Sen. Pat Toomey for pushing for background checks on guns. There is no word on the size of the buy, but this is a group that likes to spend huge sums for its candidates.
● MO-Gov: Democrat Chris Koster highlights gun violence in St. Louis and pledges to tackle the issue head on. Koster, who is backed by the NRA, calls for protecting witnesses and tougher prison bail requirements "for criminals who carry."
● MT-Gov: The RGA ties Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock to Hillary Clinton.
● VT-Gov: The DGA is up with their first spot here. They argue that while Democrat Sue Minter wants to make college more affordable, Republican Phil Scott thinks the state already spends too much on education. The RGA praises Scott on jobs. According to Seven Days, the DGA is spending $150,000 on their ad through Sept. 19, while the RGA is spending $132,000 on TV time during the same period.
● AZ-02: Republican Rep. Martha McSally emphasizes her work on a bill to make female World War II pilots eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
● CA-36: Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz's Spanish spot features him talking about his family.
● FL-13: In his first general election ad, GOP Rep. David Jolly highlights how unpopular he is in Congress. As a framed copy of Harry Truman's famous "[i]f you want a friend in Washington, get a dog" quote flashes by, Jolly talks to his dog about how little Congress does to improve campaign finance, help veterans, or safeguard the country from terrorism.
● IA-01: Republican Rep. Rod Blum's first commercial features a veteran praising the congressman for finally getting him the medals he earned 61 years before.
● MN-03: The DCCC ties Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen to Donald Trump. The size of the buy is at least $270,000.
● NY-21: Democrat Mike Derrick highlights his military career and opposition to unfair trade deals.
● NY-23: Republican Rep. Tom Reed argues that Democrat John Plumb won't tell people about his real positions and is too close to national Democrats.
● NY-24: Both candidates are up with their first negative ads. Republican Rep. John Katko argues that Democrat Colleen Deacon will never break with the Democratic leadership. Obama won this seat 57-41, so this really doesn't seem like an area where being associated with national Democrats would be a serious liability. Deacon features a physician who says that Katko voted to defund Planned Parenthood funding despite pledging that he wouldn't.
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.