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The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
● Polls: Today's batch of Senate polls. As a reminder, you can click each race tag below to see the latest Daily Kos Elections polling average, as well as our current competitiveness rating for each race.
- AZ-Sen: Siena for the New York Times: Martha McSally (R): 48, Kyrsten Sinema (D): 46
- FL-Sen: OnMessage (R) for Rick Scott: Rick Scott (R): 51, Bill Nelson (D-inc): 46
- FL-Sen: Quinnipiac: Bill Nelson (D-inc): 52, Rick Scott (R): 46 (Sept.: 53-46 Nelson)
- FL-Sen: SEA Polling (D): Rick Scott (R): 47, Bill Nelson (D-inc): 45
- FL-Sen: SSRS for CNN: Bill Nelson (D-inc): 50, Rick Scott (R): 45 (early Oct.: 48-45 Nelson)
- FL-Sen: St. Pete Polls: Rick Scott (R): 49, Bill Nelson (D-inc): 48 (mid-Oct.: 49-47 Scott)
- IN-Sen: American Viewpoint (R) for Mike Braun: Mike Braun (R): 44, Joe Donnelly (D): 40 (early Oct.: 44-40 Braun)
- IN-Sen: SurveyUSA for Purdue University Fort Wayne: Joe Donnelly (D-inc): 41, Mike Braun (R): 40, Lucy Brenton (L): 8
- MN-Sen-B: Mason-Dixon for the Star Tribune: Tina Smith (D-inc): 47, Karin Housley (R): 41 (Sept.: 44-37 Smith)
- MO-Sen: Remington Research (R) for Missouri Scout: Josh Hawley (R): 48, Claire McCaskill (D-inc): 47 (Sept.: 48-46 Hawley)
- ND-Sen: Strategic Research Associates for Gray TV: Kevin Cramer (R): 56, Heidi Heitkamp (D-inc): 40 (Sept.: 51-41 Cramer)
- WV-Sen: Strategic Research Associates for Gray TV: Joe Manchin (D-inc): 52, Patrick Morrisey (R): 36 (Sept: 46-38 Manchin)
It's a veritable poll-a-palooza in Florida, which has seen a ton of polling in general thanks both to its size and to the fact that it's the only state hosting both Senate and gubernatorial races this year that look like toss-ups (and in fact, that's exactly how we rate them). Perhaps most notable is the fact that Scott decided to release an internal, almost certainly to counter the numbers from the likes of Quinnipiac and SSRS, which show Nelson ahead by 5 to 6 points.
However, there's one good reason to be skeptical of this poll: It also purports to show Republican Ron DeSantis leading 48-45 in the governor's race. That'd make it the first survey pretty much since forever to find DeSantis up, but more on that in our gubernatorial polling section below.
In Indiana, Braun's memo says that two previously unreleased polls gave him 4-point leads earlier this month. FiveThirtyEight has the sample size and field dates for each.
Almost every poll we've seen in October out of Missouri has given Hawley a 2- or 3-point edge. The only big exception was an early-October survey from the disreputable GOP firm McLaughlin & Associates that had him ahead 52-44.
The only other North Dakota poll we've seen in October was a Fox survey from the start of the month that showed Cramer up by a similar 53-41 spread.
In West Virginia, this is by far the best poll we've seen for Manchin this month, though even GOP pollsters have usually given him a small lead.
● FL-Sen: Republican Rick Scott has worked hard to appeal to Puerto Rican voters angry with Donald Trump and his handling of Hurricane Maria, and Senate Majority PAC is up with a Spanish-language spot tying Scott to the White House. The commercial features footage of Trump callously throwing paper towels into an audience in Puerto Rico alongside footage of Scott saying he doesn't know what he'd have done differently.
● IN-Sen: A super PAC called Vote For Hoosier Values has launched a $623,000 TV, digital, and mail buy for Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly. Bloomberg's Greg Giroux says the group shares the same Indianapolis address as the local United Automobile Workers.
● WV-Sen: Republican Patrick Morrissey's new TV spot argues that a vote for him is a vote to protect Donald Trump from impeachment. The ad begins with a clip of Democrat Joe Manchin telling an audience he voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, and a narrator then declares that voting for Manchin gives liberal Democrats "impeachment power." The commercial doesn't actually outright accuse Manchin of wanting to remove Trump, saying just that he'll somehow "empower the liberals" to do it.
● Midterms: BlackPAC, which played a key role in boosting African-American turnout in last year's special election for the Senate in Alabama, is hoping to do the same this year by spending $8 million on radio ads and direct mail across a number of Senate, gubernatorial, and House races. The group's targets include Senate contests in Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, Indiana, and Nevada; the governor's race in Georgia, where Stacey Abrams is trying to become the nation's first black woman governor; and an unspecified number of House races, including California's 25th and Illinois' 14th.
● GA-Gov: Termed-out Gov. Nathan Deal stars in a commercial for Brian Kemp where he declares that his fellow Republican is "the only candidate who will keep Georgia moving forward." Democrat Stacey Abrams and her allies have also tried to tie her to Deal, with ads highlighting past praise for her from the governor.
● IA-Gov: Campaign finance reports are in from the period of July 15 to Oct. 14, and Democrat Fred Hubbell outraised GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds $4.9 million to $4.5 million, and self-funded an additional $3.5 million. Reynolds held a small $1.3 million to $1.1 million cash-on-hand edge for the final weeks of the race.
We haven't seen much, if any, outside spending here from either the RGA or DGA, but that seems to be because they're just contributing directly to their candidates. The RGA gave Reynolds $2 million, which makes up nearly half of her haul, while the DGA gave Hubbell $550,000.
● NV-Gov: Democrat Steve Sisolak is up with a new spot staring Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, a registered independent. Schieve pitches Sisolak as someone who can work with Republicans, Democrats, and "independents like me."
● RI-Gov: WPRI reports that the RGA-affiliated group Rhode Island Forward has been canceling TV reservations, and they now appear to be off the air on most of the state's broadcast stations. The group's leader wouldn't say Friday if they'd go back on the air, saying, "We are evaluating what we do next." However, an unnamed source tells WPRI they still have reservations booked for the final week just in case the situation changes.
This is unwelcome news for Republican Allan Fung, who has trailed Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo in the few polls we've seen and had a wide $1.4 million to $824,000 cash-on-hand deficit on Oct. 8. The DGA has also directed $2 million to its state affiliate so far.
● SD-Gov: It's been 4 1/2 months since Attorney General Marty Jackley lost the GOP primary to Rep. Kristi Noem, and Jackley still isn't ready to get into the unity-breakfast spirit of forgiveness. On Friday, Jackley told the Rapid City Journal that he hadn't yet decided whom to vote for in the general election. When Jackley was asked if he was considering voting for Democrat Billie Sutton, all he would say is he was "focusing on being the best attorney general I can be, which has lately been a lot of hours."
Jackley also admitted he was still upset with Noem for an ad she ran in the final days of the primary accusing him of retaliating against a former Division of Criminal Investigation agent named Laura Kaiser who reported being sexually harassed at work by a member of her team. That commercial featured Kaiser telling the audience that Jackley shouldn't be in a position of power "when he can't be trusted to follow the law."
● Polls: Today's gubernatorial pile awaits.
- CO-Gov: YouGov for University of Colorado Boulder: Jared Polis (D): 54, Walker Stapleton (R): 42
- FL-Gov: OnMessage (R) for Rick Scott: Ron DeSantis (R): 48, Andrew Gillum (D): 45
- FL-Gov: SEA Polling (D): Andrew Gillum (D): 48, Ron DeSantis (R): 42
- FL-Gov: SSRS for CNN: Andrew Gillum (D): 54, Rick DeSantis (R): 42 (early Oct.: 48-40 Gillum)
- FL-Gov: St. Pete Polls: Andrew Gillum (D): 47, Ron DeSantis (R) 46 (mid-Oct.: 47-46 Gillum)
- ME-Gov: Pan-Atlantic/SMS: Janet Mills (D): 44, Shawn Moody (R): 36, Terry Hayes (I): 8
- MN-Gov: Mason-Dixon for the Star Tribune/Minnesota Public Radio: Tim Walz (D): 45, Jeff Johnson (R): 39 (Sept.: 45-36 Walz)
- VT-Gov: Braun Research for Vermont Public Radio: Phil Scott (R-inc): 42, Christine Hallquist (D): 28
So down in Florida, there's that OnMessage poll from Rick Scott, which, as we alluded to in our Senate polling section above, is the first poll since the late-August primary to find DeSantis leading. In fact, it's only the second poll ever that's had DeSantis ahead, and the only other such survey was from the execrable Gravis all the way back in July—and that's out of 28 public polls total. That gives us good reason to think OnMessage's numbers aren't accurate.
More to the point, DeSantis himself barely seems to believe them. His campaign purported to release an "internal poll" over the weekend that had him up two points, but click the link and you'll see what a joke it is. There's no polling memo, no field dates, no exact sample size, and, most importantly, no pollster. If someone doesn't even bother to tell you who their pollster is, you should pay very little heed to their alleged polls.
Meanwhile, we have a rare poll out of Maine, though it was finished in the first week of October. This marks the third survey in a row to find Mills ahead.
● CO-03: GOP Rep. Scott Tipton is launching a negative spot at Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in a race that hasn't attracted much outside spending. The narrator accuses Mitsch Bush of having "helped fund a leading socialist magazine." Mitsch Bush, who does not identify as a socialist, was a subscriber to the magazine In These Times, which called itself an "Independent Socialist Newspaper" for the first 13 years of its existence but hasn't used that identifier since 1989.
● FL-18: Advertising Analytics reports that the NRCC has reserved $600,000 in TV time to aid GOP Rep. Brian Mast in the final two weeks of the race. The DCCC recently began advertising in this coastal seat for the first time.
● GA-06: It looks like we once again have a real race on our hands in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, where last year's special election set the record for the most expensive House race of all time. Roll Call reported on Monday that the NRCC has bought $1.4 million in airtime on Atlanta broadcast TV to boost GOP Rep. Karen Handel, whose opponent, Democrat Lucy McBath, just got her own $1.8 million infusion of support from Everytown for Gun Safety, for whom she used to be a spokesperson. The DCCC and House Majority PAC have yet to make a move here, but thanks to Everytown's involvement, they might not need to.
There hasn't been any polling here in months, though the GOP firm JMC Analytics has promised a new poll of the race (jointly conducted with Bold Blue Campaigns, a Democratic firm) on Tuesday. However, the sums getting poured into this district, while not at the level of Handel's barnburner with Jon Ossoff, suggest a contest that has recently grown more competitive.
● KS-03, MI-11, VA-02: Advertising Analytics reports that Independence USA, which is former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's gun-safety super PAC, has reserved $330,000 for a TV buy to aid Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids. FEC reports also reveal that they spent a hefty $1.9 million on a TV buy to help Michigan Democrat Haley Stevens, as well as $248,000 in support of Virginia Democrat Elaine Luria.
● MI-06: The super PAC Change Now has launched a $220,000 TV buy against GOP Rep. Fred Upton.
● NC-13: The NRA has not spent nearly as much money on ads this cycle as it has in the past, but it’s launched a $179,000 TV buy in support of GOP Rep. and former gun range owner Ted Budd.
● NY-22: The League of Conservation Voters has announced a $710,000 TV buy against Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney; you can find their ad here.
● OH-12: Major outside groups on both sides have stayed away from this seat since Republican Troy Balderson narrowly won the early-August special election, but Politico reports that the conservative America First Action is starting a $1 million TV, digital, and mail campaign.
● PA-01: Planned Parenthood has launched a $312,000 digital ad against Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
● TX-31: Democrat MJ Hager's new spot stars her mother, Grace Jennings. Jennings tells the audience that she was in a physically abusive marriage, and she takes GOP Rep. John Carter to task for voting against the Violence Against Women Act.
● Independent Expenditures: Our newest weekly roundup of independent expenditures made by the "Big Four" House groups (the DCCC, House Majority PAC, NRCC, and Congressional Leadership Fund) is now available for you to pore over. Over the last week, these organizations dumped another $41 million into House races nationwide, with $18.6 million from Democrats and $22.3 million from Republicans. You can see these newest expenditures in columns N through V in our spreadsheet.
For the most part, the major groups continued to spend in races where they'd already done so. The one notable exception came in Florida's 18th, where reports last week said the DCCC was newly getting involved (so far, it’s spent $307,000). Now the NRCC is following suit, with a reported $650,000 ad buy, though that hasn't yet shown up in its independent expenditure filings. (See our separate FL-18 item for more.) The House Majority PAC also began spending modest amounts (between $53,000 and $61,000) in three other Republican-held districts (Indiana's 9th, Ohio's 7th, and Texas' 21st) on mailers.
Meanwhile, the district with the most new spending over the last week was California's 25th, with $2.4 million in total, $2.1 million of which was from CLF, the single-largest Republican expenditure. The biggest Democratic spending spree came in Florida's 26th, where HMP spent $1.1 million.
You can also find a summary of all spending to date in columns D through L. The seat that's seen the biggest flood of money so far is Washington's open 8th District in the Seattle area. Overall, the two Republican groups have outspent the two Democratic groups $128 million to $92 million, but don't fret. Democratic candidates have vastly outraised their Republican counterparts, and importantly, campaigns are entitled by law to much-cheaper ad rates than outside organizations. So for the NRCC and CLF to make up the difference in candidate fundraising, they have to spend far more—and even then, they may not be making up the gap.
- AR-02: Hendrix College for Talk Business: French Hill (R-inc): 52, Clarke Tucker (D): 40 (Sept.: 50-41 Hill)
- AZ-01: American Viewpoint (R) for Arizona Grassroots Action: Tom O'Halleran (D-inc): 46, Wendy Rogers (R): 46
- FL-15: Remington Research (R) for Ross Spano: Ross Spano (R): 47, Kristen Carlson (D): 41
- FL-15: Siena for the New York Times: Carlson (D): 43, Spano (R): 43
- FL-27: Siena for the New York Times: Donna Shalala (D): 44, Maria Elvira Salazar (R): 37
- GA-07: JMC Analytics (R) & Bold Blue Campaigns (D): Rob Woodall (R-inc): 49, Carolyn Bourdeaux (D): 43
- GA-07: McLaughlin & Associates (R) for Rob Woodall: Woodall (R-inc): 59, Bourdeaux (D): 32
- NY-19: Siena for Spectrum News: John Faso (R-inc): 44, Antonio Delgado (D): 43 (Aug.: 45-40 Faso)
- PA-08: Siena for the New York Times: Matt Cartwright (D-inc): 52, John Chrin (R): 40
- WA-03: Siena for the New York Times: Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-inc): 48, Carolyn Long (D): 41
Hendrix is the only pollster who has released numbers out of Arkansas' 2nd since the spring. National Democrats have spent a combined $587,000 here so far, but major GOP groups haven't invested anything to defend Hill in a 52-42 Trump seat.
Arizona Grassroots Action is a super PAC that aided the late Sen. John McCain during his 2016 GOP primary battle with Kelli Ward. Rogers had previously released polls showing her ahead of O'Halleran, including a survey in early October that gave her a 44-38 lead. However, major national Republicans haven't gotten involved in this contest at all, so if they're seeing polls showing a tight race, they have a funny way of showing it. The DCCC did spend $1 million against Rogers after she won the late-August primary, but it hasn't reported spending anything since Oct. 5.
Spano's internal is similar to the 46-39 lead his allies at the Club for Growth found in early October, while Siena is the second independent pollster to find a tie in the space of a week.
Siena is out with the best numbers for Shalala that anyone's found in Florida's 27th, and it's even slightly better than a recent Democratic internal that found her up 44-39. However, outside groups are now acting like it's very much in play. The DCCC spent $448,000 here in the last week, and while the Congressional Leadership Fund has deployed just $108,000 so far, its allies at the NRCC reportedly have reserved $1.5 million here.
These are the first polls of Georgia's 7th since mid-August, when a Bourdeaux internal gave her a 46-44 lead. However, while major outside groups are starting to invest serious money in the nearby 6th District (see our GA-06 item), they've stayed away from this contest so far.
This is the first poll we've seen out of Pennsylvania's 8th, a Scranton-area seat that swung from 53-43 Obama to 53-44 Trump. The NRCC spent a little more than $500,000 against Cartwright in early September but it hasn't returned since then.
A recent Long internal out of Washington's 3rd gave her a 45-43 lead in a race that also hasn't attracted much outside spending yet.
● Where Are They Now?: Four years after he lost the race for governor of Maine 48-43 to Republican incumbent Paul LePage, former Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud is seeking elected office again. Michaud, who represented northern Maine in the House for 12 years, is running for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen in his hometown of East Millinocket.