But the Washington Post's Greg Sargent took a closer look using Christopher Newport's crosstabs and notes that Gillespie's lead with college-educated white voters is just 47-44. Trump carried this constituency 49-45 last year—and he lost Virginia, so by this measure, Gillespie's not doing well enough with this group to reverse Trump's outcome. And nor does Gillespie appear to be making up the ground with non-college whites. Trump won them 71-24 while Gillespie is winning them 64-22.
Gillespie, though, is mucking about in this trash heap to the very end, with yet another bullcrap ad that misleadingly claims Northam supports "restoring the rights of unrepentant sex offenders." That's a nice little elision: Northam believes in allowing those who have served their time to regain their right to vote. The way this overwrought narrator makes it sound like it's about "restoring their right" to engage in sex crimes!
Of course, just because it's infuriating and ridiculous and base doesn't mean it's ineffective, so it's good to see Northam push back forcefully in his own new TV spot. This time, Northam doesn't make the mistake of repeating any of the attacks against him—a narrator just calls them "false" and "absurd" before switching gears to remind viewers that Northam attended the prestigious Virginia Military Institute "and was an Army doctor for eight years," then went on to help pass "mandatory life sentences for violent sexual predators." Northam himself narrates the final segment direct to camera, noting that he's a pediatrician and saying, "For Ed Gillespie to say I would tolerate anyone hurting a child is despicable." Northam has a fantastic bio—he should be deploying it at every opportunity—and he delivers the last line with authentic scorn. More like this, please.
● AZ-Sen: No notable Republicans have jumped into the race to succeed Sen. Jeff Flake since his surprise retirement announcement on Tuesday, but one did the next best thing. Wealthy attorney Jay Heiler, the founder of a charter school franchise and a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, announced on Thursday that he had formed an exploratory committee. Heiler is an ally of ex-Gov. Jan Brewer, who served from 2009 to 2015, and she's chairing his new committee. Also at the helm is ex-Gov. Fife Symington, whom Heiler was chief of staff to in the 1990s. Heiler had been mulling a primary bid against Flake before he announced he was leaving the Senate.
A few past and present GOP House members are also eyeing this seat. Rep. Martha McSally, a strong fundraiser who represents a swing seat around Tucson, was immediately mentioned as a candidate after Flake bailed. McSally has said little publicly, but U.S. News' Dave Catanese reports that she's "taking steps toward launching" a campaign. An unnamed Arizona source told Catanese that McSally wanted to "lay down a marker immediately," adding, "She hates the House." A nameless congressional aide also said that, while McSally hasn't made her decision, she's expected to run for the Senate. McSally's chief consultant Jeff Roe also acknowledged she was considering, though he said neither he nor McSally knows what she's going to do.
McSally, a retired Air Force officer, would likely be the GOP's strongest candidate in a general election. However, she's close to the Republican establishment and was a vocal Trump critic during the campaign, which could cause her problems in a primary. But it's very possible that if too many anti-establishment candidates run, McSally could slip through with a plurality of the vote. It won't be easy for her, though: The powerful anti-tax group the Club for Growth is hoping to dissuade McSally from running and declared on Friday that she "masquerades as a conservative on the campaign trail."
McSally also has at least one big potential liability in a general election. In May, McSally not only voted for the House version of Trumpcare, she reportedly rallied her colleagues with a cry of, "Let's get this fucking thing done!" That vote and quote could come back to haunt McSally no matter what office she runs for.
Another member of Arizona's House delegation also seems interested in a bid. While Rep. Paul Gosar, who represents a conservative seat in the northern part of the state, quickly announced he would run for re-election on Wednesday, azcentral.com reports that he told his colleagues on Thursday that he was considering the Senate races.
Gosar, a former dentist who won in the 2010 tea party wave, is a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus. He also made news earlier this month when he basely suggested that liberal megadonor George Soros, who survived the Holocaust in Hungary as a young Jewish boy, was the secret financer of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville this summer that resulted in the murder of protester Heather Heyer. Gosar went on to say that Soros, who was all of 14 when World War II drew to a close, "turned in his own people to the Nazis."
Last week, the Kingman Daily Miner published a letter from all seven of Gosar's siblings taking him to task for his "deceit and anti-Semitic dog whistle." When CNN asked Gosar about his smear the next day, Gosar told reporter Randi Kaye, "You're not real news, you're fake news" and hustled down a stairway as an aide chanted, "Fake news, fake news, fake news."
One former House member is also reportedly looking at this seat. Ex-Rep. Matt Salmon, who retired at the start of this year, has said little himself, but an unnamed advisor told Catanese that he is considering, and on Friday, McSally's critics at the Club for Growth publicly urged Salmon to swim into the race. BuzzFeed's Alexis Levinson also relays that at a closed-door meeting of the Republican members of the state's congressional delegation on Thursday, Rep. Andy Biggs said he'd back Salmon if he ran, while Reps. David Schweikert and Trent Franks suggested they would as well.
Salmon served two different stints in the House a decade apart. Salmon won in 1994 but bowed to self-imposed term limits and left in 2000. He was then the GOP nominee for governor in 2002 but lost to Democrat Janet Napolitano by a narrow 46-45 margin. Salmon made a comeback in 2012 when none other than Jeff Flake ascended to the Senate, and he quickly began making trouble for GOP leadership. Notably, Salmon helped pressure John Boehner to leave the speakership, and he also spent last cycle considering a challenge Sen. John McCain in the GOP primary. In the end, Salmon decided to just retire from the House after just two terms back.
Right now, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, whom polls showed decisively beating Flake, is the only Republican actually in the race.
● NV-Sen: Republican pollster JMC Analytics is out with another look at the GOP Senate primary in Nevada, and they give wealthy perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian a 44-38 lead over Sen. Dean Heller. In August, JMC found Little Tark up 39-31; back then, Heller's team quickly released their own poll giving the senator a 55-33 edge.
In August, JMC gave Heller a horrific 34-48 favorable rating with GOP primary voters, but their new survey shows him improving, though his 51-43 score is still terribly weak. Meanwhile, Tarkanian, who most recently lost a tight race for the swingy 3rd Congressional District last year, jumped from a 42-23 favorable rating to 59-24. Freshman Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen, who beat Tarkanian in his last race, faces little opposition in her primary.
● WI-Sen: While the GOP isn't going to have a nominee against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin for the better part of a year, that's not stopping the Koch brothers' political network from going up on TV against Baldwin now. Freedom Partners is up with a $1.6 million TV and digital ad campaign arguing Baldwin has voted time after time for more taxes.
● FL-Gov: Philip Levine, the wealthy mayor of Miami Beach, has been talking about running for the Democratic nomination for a long time (and briefly flirted with an independent bid), and he now says he'll make an "important announcement about the future of Florida" on Nov. 1. Either Levine is about to announce he's running, or this is some "Sweet Home Cedar Rapids"-grade trolling.
● MN-02: After narrowly losing this open seat race to Republican Jason Lewis last year, former healthcare executive Angie Craig announced in July that she would seek a rematch. However, Craig didn't open a fundraising committee until October, though she brought in plenty of cash during her last campaign and should be able to once again. Craig's only opponent for the Democratic nod is high school football coach Jeff Erdmann, but he had only $7,000 on-hand at the end of September.
Lewis, a former conservative radio loudmouth with a penchant for sexist and racist ranting, had trouble raising money during his last campaign, but he won anyway. Lewis took in $235,000 for the third quarter, notably better than his previous efforts, but not incredible for an incumbent in a swing seat; he now has $583,000 on-hand. This suburban Twin Cities seat narrowly backed both Obama and Trump.
● MN-03: Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen decisively beat a touted Democratic opponent last year 57-43 even as his affluent and well-educated suburban seat shifted sharply from 50-49 Obama to 51-41 Clinton. Democrats hope that things will be different with Trump in the White House, and businessman Dean Phillips is raising a credible amount of money here. Phillips, who entered the race in May, took in $261,000 in the third quarter, and he had about $500,000 in the bank at the end of September.
However, Phillips may have a well-funded primary opponent. Adam Jennings, a city councilor from the small community of Tonka Bay, raised very little from donors, but he self-funded $231,000, and he had $214,000 on-hand. Minnesota's convention system (which we previously explained here) also adds some unpredictability to the nomination process. Paulsen has always been a strong fundraiser, and that hasn't changed at all: He raised $419,000 for the quarter and had $1.3 million on-hand at the end of September.
● MN-07: While it sure seems like Republicans ought to be able to give Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson a major challenge in this conservative seat in rural northwestern Minnesota, none of their candidates are raising much money at all. State Rep. Tim Miller, who announced in April, raised just $15,000 during the third quarter, and he had only $31,000 in the bank at the end of September. David Hughes, a Some Dude who held Peterson to a 52-47 win last year as Trump was carrying the seat 62-31, had about the same amount of cash-on-hand, while trucking company owner Matt Prosch didn't report raising anything.
Peterson himself took in $188,000 for the quarter and had $926,000 on-hand. Team Red will need to find a stronger candidate if they want to seriously go after this entrenched incumbent, because none of the current crop is putting a credible campaign together.
● MN-08: Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan pulled off two straight tight wins in this sprawling northeastern Minnesota seat, and Team Red once again plans to seriously target him. The good news for Nolan is that St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber, a highly touted GOP recruit, raised only $136,000 during his opening quarter and had $117,000 in the bank, not a great showing for such a competitive seat. The bad news is that Nolan took in only $121,000 himself, which is also not a great showing for an incumbent in a tough seat, and finished with $446,000 on-hand.
Nolan also faces an intra-party challenge from former FBI analysis Leah Phifer, who announced in October and therefore hasn't filed any fundraising reports yet. Phifer says she won't proceed to the primary if someone else received the endorsement at the party convention. Rich guy Stewart Mills, who lost to Nolan in 2014 and 2016, is also talking about mounting another bid for the GOP nod but now says he won't decide until mid-February. This seat, which includes the ancestrally Democratic Iron Range, swung from 52-46 Obama to 54-39 Trump.
● MO-02: This suburban St. Louis seat got a little bluer last year, shifting from 57-41 Romney to 53-42 Trump, but GOP Rep. Ann Wagner remains a longshot Democratic target. Still, law professor Cort VanOstran managed to narrowly outraise Wagner in his first quarter in the race, something not very many of her opponents have ever been able to brag. VanOstran edged Wagner, who was gearing up to run for the Senate until the summer, $219,000 to $211,000. However, all the money Wagner raised earlier this year for her Senate bid that never was can be used for her re-election campaign, leaving her with a massive $3.3 million to $182,000 cash-on-hand advantage at the end of September. Another Democrat, Army veteran Mark Osmack, had only $27,000 in the bank.
● MT-AL: On Thursday, ex-state Rep. Kathleen Williams announced that she was joining the Democratic primary to take on freshman GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte. Williams, who chose not to seek re-election to her Bozeman-based seat last year, is the second former legislator to announce in the last few days. Ex-state Sen. Lynda Moss, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Public Service Commission in 2012, also confirmed she would run after previously setting up a campaign committee with the FEC. Attorney John Heenan, former nonprofit head Grant Kier, and state Rep. Tom Woods are also challenging Gianforte, who won a May special election 50-44 the day after he physically assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.
● NE-02: Last year, Republican Don Bacon narrowly unseated Democrat Brad Ashford 49-48 as Trump was carrying this Omaha seat 49-47, and now Ashford is back for a rematch. But so far, the former congressman's fundraising hasn't been incredible. Bacon outraised Ashford $251,000 to $125,000 in the third quarter, and he held a $488,000 to $104,000 cash-on-hand edge at the end of September. Nonprofit president Kara Eastman, who is also seeking the Democratic nod, had $48,000 in the bank.
Last cycle, it was Bacon who struggled with fundraising for months while Ashford, after a weak start, dramatically improved. But this seat is competitive enough that both parties may get involved again here no matter how meh the challenger's fundraising starts out.
● NJ-05: Democrat Josh Gottheimer ended Republican incumbent Scott Garrett's odious reign in this North Jersey seat last year even as Trump was narrowly winning 49-48 here, and Republicans very much would like this district back. But perhaps because the GOP is still focused on next month's state elections, only one notable Republican has announced that he'll challenge Gottheimer so far. Steve Lonegan, a former mayor of the community of Bogota and a far-right perennial candidate, only raised $73,000 from donors during his first quarter in the race, but he also threw down $507,000 of his own money. Gottheimer raised a giant $635,000 over the quarter, and he led Lonegan $2 million to $564,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of last month.
● PA-18: Pennsylvania Republicans have announced that they will select their nominee for the March 13 special election for the state's 18th Congressional District on Nov. 11 (Veterans Day, which seems like an oddly disrespectful choice for a partisan political gathering), eight days before the Democrats will choose theirs. Under state law, there will not be a primary. Instead, local party officials will select 215 representatives, who will in turn gather to choose the GOP's standard-bearer in a meeting that will not be open to the public. This Western Pennsylvania seat, which was held until recently by disgraced Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, backed Trump 58-39, but Democrats have still done well in some local races.
● NJ-07: Several Democrats are challenging GOP Rep. Leonard Lance in this suburban seat that straddles North and Central Jersey and swung from 53-46 Romney to 49-48 Clinton, but none raised much more than the low six figures in the third quarter. Teacher Lisa Mandelblatt led the field with $118,000 raised and $235,000 on-hand, which isn't all that much for a seat located in the ultra-expensive New York City media market.
Bank executive Linda Weber took in $105,000 and had $150,000 to spend, while attorney Goutam Jois, who announced in mid-September, raised about $100,000 and had $101,000 in the bank. 2016 nominee Peter Jacob, who lost to Lance 54-43, and attorney Scott Salmon had $14,000 and $58,000 on-hand, respectively. Former State Department official Tom Malinowski entered the race after the quarterly filing deadline, so we'll need to wait a while to see if he can bring in more money than the rest of the pack.
The good news for Democrats is that Lance isn't exactly bringing in the big bucks either: He raised $182,000 for the quarter and had $463,000 on-hand. Lance, who is one of the more moderate members of the GOP caucus, also took less than 55 percent of the vote against weak challengers in his last two primaries, so we wouldn't be surprised if someone steps up to challenge him again.
● NJ-11: Like the neighboring 7th District, GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's North Jersey seat moved a bit to the left last year, going from 52-47 Romney to 49-48 Trump. But unlike in the 7th, Democrats have several candidates raising a good deal of money against the GOP incumbent. Mikie Sherrill, a former federal prosecutor and Navy veteran, took in an impressive $442,000 from donors in the third quarter and an additional $45,000 from supporters via a special vehicle called the Serve America Victory Fund from a fundraiser organized by Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton (we explain why we categorize that donation separately here). She had just shy of $500,000 on-hand at the end of September.
Meanwhile, Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett raised $230,000 during his opening quarter and self-funded another $30,000, leaving him with $247,000 on-hand. Businesswoman Tamara Harris, whom we'd not mentioned before, raised $157,000 in her first quarter and self-funded another $300,000, and she ended September with $448,000 on-hand.
Frelinghuysen, who hails from a very old political family (to take just one example: His great-great-great-uncle Theodore Frelinghuysen was Henry Clay's running mate in the presidential election of 1844, when the Whig ticket lost to Democrat James K. Polk) has never had a tough re-election campaign since he arrived in the House in 1994. And in addition to being personally wealthy, Frelinghuysen also leads the powerful House Appropriations Committee, so he should have all the money he'd need.
That background makes it quite a surprise to see that Frelinghuysen raised only $154,000 for the quarter, and while his $971,000 war-chest isn't small, it's fairly modest for such a senior member of Congress. It's possible Frelinghuysen will ramp things up later, though over the years, we've seen all sorts of incumbents who've gone a long stretch without facing a competitive campaigns screw up when they finally get a stiff challenge. See Florida Republican John Mica for one very vivid recent example. Democrats would be thrilled if Frelinghuysen follows suit.
● NM-02: Back in 2008, the last time Republican Rep. Steve Pearce gave up this conservative southern seat to run for statewide office, Democrats unexpectedly won the general election to replace him. However, a repeat is not looking like a good bet right now, since none of the Democrats campaigning for this 50-40 Trump seat had so much as $25,000 in the bank at the end of September. Attorney David Baake, whom we hadn't previously written about, led the way with just $45,000 raised and $22,000 on hand.
On the GOP side, former state party chair Monty Newman led the field with $311,000 raised and had that same amount on-hand at the end of September. State Rep. Yvette Herrell, who has a reputation as one of the most conservative members of the legislature, was a distant second with $121,000 raised for the quarter and about that in the bank, while former Eddy County Commissioner Jack Volpato barely brought in anything. Andrew Salas, who stepped down as commander of the New Mexico National Guard in July, entered the race after the filing deadline.
● NV-02: Sharron Angle's 15 minutes of fame ended about seven long years ago, but she's still chasing dreams of glory. Angle, whose disastrous 2010 Senate campaign helped secure Democratic Leader Harry Reid one crucial last term, badly lost a 2016 Senate primary to then-Rep. Joe Heck. Despite that underwhelming performance, she decided to challenge Rep. Mark Amodei this year. So far, Angle has not reported raising so much as a pfennig against Amodei, who has not committed to seeking another term in this 52-40 Trump seat.
Ironically, Angle raised $14 million in one quarter during her notorious campaign against Reid. Less ironically, much of that money came in only because Angle fundraised through direct mail, a scammy tactic that often brings in loads of cash but is so expensive to implement that candidates end up burning through most of it.
● NV-04: Democrat Ruben Kihuen unseated freshman Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy last year 49-45 as this suburban Las Vegas seat went from 55-44 Obama to a tighter 50-45 Clinton win, and Team Red is hoping to get it back. Las Vegas City Councilor Stavros Anthony, who lost a 2015 bid for mayor, jumped in over the summer and raised $141,000, and he had $122,000 on-hand. Kihuen took in $218,000 during this time, and he had $486,000 left.
● NY-01: This eastern Long Island seat swung from 50-49 Obama to 55-42 Trump, and unseating sophomore GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin won't be a cheap affair. A few Democrats entered the race before the Sept. 30 deadline, but only one of them had more than $100,000 in the bank by then. Businessman Perry Gershon raised a hefty $441,000 from donors in his opening quarter and self-funded another $65,000, leaving him with $411,000 on-hand. But Gershon only changed his voter registration from Manhattan to his summer home in the Hamptons a few months ago, so his opponents may try to cast him as an outsider.
However, two of Gershon's Democratic rivals may not have the resources to go after him in this seat, which is located in the expensive New York City media market. Physicist Elaine DiMasi had only $52,000 on-hand, while ex-Suffolk Legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher had $93,000 to spend. Termed-out Suffolk Legislator Kate Browning entered the race after the deadline. Zeldin raised $577,000 for the quarter, and he had $1.2 million on-hand at the end of September.
● NY-02: Businessman Tim Gomes has a tough road ahead of him in his quest beat longtime GOP Rep. Peter King, but it looks like he'll at least have more money than anyone King has faced in a very long time. While Gomes only announced he was running for the Democratic nod earlier this month, he quietly threw down $1 million of his own money before Sept. 30 and he had about that much on-hand. King only raised $139,000 for the quarter, but he had $2.7 million on-hand. This central Long Island seat has swung all over the place in presidential races, most recently going from 52-47 Obama to 53-44 Trump, but King has never had a close campaign since his initial 1992 win.
● NY-19: Last cycle, it took Democrats a year to find a viable candidate for what was an open seat, but this time … well, let's just say that's not a problem. Two Democrats, attorney Antonio Delgado and businessman Brian Flynn, had more cash-on-hand than freshman GOP Rep. John Faso at the end of September, while former Army intelligence officer Pat Ryan wasn't too far behind.
Flynn only raised $111,000 from donors in the third quarter, but he self-funded another $180,000. However, thanks in part to some generous self-funding in past quarters, Flynn had $911,000 in the bank. Delgado raised the most money from outside contributors, bringing in $401,000 for the quarter, and he had $881,000 on-hand. Ryan meanwhile raised $331,000 from donors, another $45,000 from supporters into a special vehicle called the Serve America Victory Fund from a fundraiser organized by Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton (we explain why we categorize that donation separately here), and he finished with $522,000 in the bank.
Much further back was Gareth Rhodes, a former aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who raised $162,000 for the quarter and had $256,000 in the bank. David Clegg, an attorney and deacon, took in $96,000 but self-funded another $121,000, and he had $180,000 available. At the back of the pack money wise was former diplomat Jeff Beals, who raised $55,000, self-funded $56,000, and had $82,000 on-hand.
Faso brought in $275,000 for the quarter and had $572,000 in the bank. But unlike a number of his fellow Republicans, Faso doesn't have a competitive primary ahead of him that will eat into his money, though you can never really rule that out in this day and age. This Hudson Valley seat swung from 52-46 Obama to 51-44 Trump, and Faso won his seat 54-46 in a very expensive general election fight.
● NY-21: Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik flipped this rural upstate seat without much of a fight in 2014 and easily held in as the district swung from 52-46 Obama to 54-40 Trump. But perhaps there is hope that Democrats can once again put this ancestrally red seat into play in a good year. Attorney Don Boyajian, who had not previously crossed our radar, raised $203,000 in his opening quarter, leaving him with $188,000 on-hand. Businesswoman Tedra Cobb also took in $126,000 during this time, and she had $111,000 on-hand at the end of September.
Stefanik raised $264,000 and ended the quarter with $1 million in the bank. Unlike most potentially competitive New York districts, this seat, which sprawls across the North Country along the border with Vermont and Canada, is not located in the incredibly expensive New York City media market, so Democrats here need to raise less than their counterparts to the south to get their messages out.
● NY-23: There are many surprises in politics. The fact that Democrat John Hertzler, an actor who played Klingon General Martok on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and entered this race saying he'd be campaigning both as himself and in character as Mark Twain, did not report raising any money is not one of them. Unfortunately, none of the, uh, more conventional Democrats challenging GOP Rep. Tom Reed, including teacher Rick Gallant, had much money at the end of September either.
This upstate seat, which includes blue Ithaca and nearby conservative areas, went from 50-48 Romney to 55-40 Trump. In 2012, Reed won re-election by a surprisingly close 52-48 margin against a candidate with little national support, and Democrats made a more serious effort to take him out over the next two cycles. However, Reed decisively won during the 2014 GOP wave, and he had little to worry about as Trump was romping to victory here.
● NRCC: The NRCC has released its first round of endorsements in its "Young Guns" program for 2018, which is embarrassingly named not just because of all the not-remotely-young dudes they've got on there (hi, Kansas state Sen. Steve Fitzgerald) but because it was created by none other than Eric Cantor, whose name is now synonymous with failure. Anyhow, the list is a mishmash of 31 candidates in 24 districts, some of whom are running for seats the GOP shouldn't have to worry about (like SD-AL) and some that are basically hopeless (such as CA-31). In some races, they've tapped multiple contenders while in others, they appear to be taking sides in contested primaries. Most represent offensive opportunities, though a handful are defensive holds, but with the way 2018 is shaping up, the latter are likely to get much more attention from the NRCC than the former.