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.
● Race Ratings: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to announce our first set of Senate race ratings for the 2018 election cycle. Republicans currently hold the Senate by a 51-49 margin, meaning Democrats would need to pick up two seats to gain control of the chamber. Thanks to their strong performance the last two times this Senate class was up for election (2012 and 2006), Democrats are defending 26 seats, including two seats held by independents who caucus with the party. Republicans, by contrast, are defending just nine seats. (These figures include two special elections created by vacancies, one in Minnesota and the other in Mississippi.)
Our full chart rating the competitiveness of each contest is below, with Democratic seats in blue and Republican seats in red:
These ratings represent our attempt to forecast the outcomes of this November's elections, using the best information we have available. We've also put together brief explanations for each of our ratings, as well as descriptions of what each rating category means, all of which you can find here.
As circumstances warrant, we'll issue changes in these ratings from time to time. To keep up with any changes, please subscribe to our free newsletter, the Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest, which we send out each weekday. You can also keep track of all of our race ratings by bookmarking this post. And for a comprehensive overview of how our ratings work, please check out our detailed methodology statement.
● AZ-Sen, AZ-06: The conservative nonprofit One Nation has launched what Politico reports is a $500,000 buy. Their spot beings with some old-fashioned fear mongering, as the narrator declares that "criminals, violent gang members, and drugs" are coming across the border. The spot then oddly praises both Rep. and Senate candidate Martha McSally and Rep. and not-Senate candidate David Schweikert for supporting Trump's proposed border wall.
● FL-Sen, NV-Sen: Are you ready for some football … the other kind of football, that is? Both Florida Republican Rick Scott and Nevada Democrat Jacky Rosen are up with Spanish-language ads themed around the World Cup. Politico reports Scott is putting $350,000 behind his commercial, while the Nevada Independent says Rosen's buy is for five figures.
● MO-Sen: Politico reports that the conservative One Nation is spending an additional $600,000 on advertising here, taking their total investment to $2 million so far.
● MT-Sen: Senate Majority PAC has launched a $600,000 buy against Republican Matt Rosendale. Their commercial hits Rosendale's Maryland roots, with the narrator declaring that while he "likes to dress up as a Montanan, he's really an East Coast millionaire developer."
The spot also says that Rosendale declared he was a Maryland resident to get a special tax break just a few years ago, something his title company says was their mistake. The commercial also accuses Rosendale of supporting "transfer of public lands, helping developers and hurting us." Democrats repeatedly accused Greg Gianforte of wanting to restrict access to Montana's public lands and waterways during his unsuccessful 2016 gubernatorial campaign, and we're likely to see this theme pop up a lot this year.
● MD-Gov: Rep. John Delaney, who considered running for governor before he launched his longshot presidential bid, endorsed Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker in the June 26 Democratic primary. Meanwhile, a group called Friends of Earth Action has launched what the National Journal says is a six-figure buy for former NAACP head Ben Jealous. Their spot argues Jealous has a long history of protecting the environment and will stand up to Trump's dangerous policies.
● MI-Gov: Rep. Tim Walberg has endorsed Attorney General Bill Schuette in the early August GOP primary.
● PA-Gov, PA-Sen: Franklin & Marshall gives both Democratic incumbents clear leads over their GOP rivals. Gov. Tom Wolf leads former state Sen. Scott Wagner a 48-29 edge, while Sen. Bob Casey leads Rep. Lou Barletta 44-27. As usual, F&M has a ton of undecided voters.
● SC-Gov: On Thursday, defeated GOP primary candidates Catherine Templeton and Kevin Bryant endorsed wealthy businessman John Warren for his June 26 runoff with Gov. Henry McMaster. The incumbent led Warren 42-28 in the first round of the primary on Tuesday, while Templeton and Bryant took 21 and 7 percent, respectively. (The remaining 2 percent went to Yancey McGill.)
Warren would be a huge threat to McMaster if he took the lion's share of Templeton and Bryant's supporters in round two, and the governor and his allies are spending big to make sure that doesn't happen. On Wednesday, McMaster launched what his campaign says is a six-figure TV buy. McMaster tries to cram a lot into 30 seconds, saying that on his watch, "jobs hit record highs, we've stood up for the rule of law and for the lives of unborn children."
The camera then pans in slow motion through a room full of smiling people pointing upward with McMaster in the middle as he declares that "[w]e have faith in God and in our nation, and we support our president," all of which makes for kind of a unnerving visual. The spot ends with a clip of Donald Trump praising McMaster, which also is an unnerving visual.
While McMaster's spot is positive, his allies at Palmetto PAC have launched what the Post & Courier says is a $1 million buy hitting Warren. Their minute-long spot beings with an angry narrator accusing Warren of not being "100 percent pro-life. In fact, he brags about abortion exceptions." He continues by saying Warren is weak on guns rights, has "made millions as a predatory lender," and "didn't stand with Trump" in 2016.
The rest of the ad praises McMaster for being "pro-life" and NRA-endorsed, and for having a long career in public service that began as a U.S. attorney under Ronald Reagan; the ad even rolls out a vintage clip of Reagan and McMaster walking together. It ends with a clip of Trump endorsing McMaster in person (not on Twitter!).
● CO-03: EMILY's List has endorsed former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush in the June 26 Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Scott Tipton.
● FL-05: On Wednesday, the state AFL-CIO endorsed former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown over incumbent Al Lawson in the late August Democratic primary.
● MD-06: State Sen. Roger Manno is out with a TV spot ahead of the June 26 Democratic primary that begins with him describing how his father died "alone on a cold floor" after an emergency room refused to help him because he had no health insurance. Manno declares that "it's time to end the American nightmare that my mother and I went through," and says he's running to expand Medicare to every American.
● ME-02: Conservationist Lucas St. Clair hasn't conceded the Democratic primary to take on GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin yet, but he said Wednesday night that it was "unlikely that the election results will change." St. Clair also congratulated state Rep. Jared Golden "for his strong performance on Election Day.” With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Golden holds a 49-41 lead over St. Clair, with bookseller Craig Olson at 10. The Sun Journal writes that it appears that one in ten voters didn't make a second choice in the instant runoff primary, so Golden would probably win a majority no matter how Olson's voters break.
● NY-24: Siena is out with the first poll of the June 26 Democratic primary to face GOP Rep. John Katko, and they give former Syracuse Corporation Counsel Juanita Perez Williams a 45-32 lead over Syracuse University professor Dana Balter. Perez Williams is the preferred candidate of national Democrats, while the local county parties are backing Balter.
● PA-10: PPP is out with a poll for Democrat George Scott that gives GOP Rep. Scott Perry a small 45-41 lead. This redrawn Harrisburg seat went for Trump 52-43, but national Democrats haven't shown an obvious interest in Scott since he won the May 15 primary in a surprise. Scott hadn't raised much money though the end of April, and he's likely hoping that good polling numbers could get him some attention from national donors.
● PA-16: Democrat Ron DiNicola is out with a poll from Normington Petts that gives GOP Rep. Mike Kelly a 50-44 lead. DiNicola's team released a PPP survey at the end of May that found Kelly ahead by a similar 48-43 margin in this 58-38 Trump seat. So far, major outside groups haven't purchased fall TV time in the Erie media market, which takes up about half this seat.
● San Francisco, CA Mayor: On Wednesday, former state Sen. Mark Leno conceded defeat to Board of Supervisors President London Breed in last week's ranked-choice special election to lead San Francisco. While Leno led for days after Election Day, Breed had a 50.5-49.5 edge on Wednesday. Her victory makes her the first black woman to be elected mayor here, and it also makes San Francisco the largest city in America to have a woman as its elected mayor (in Phoenix, Thelda Williams became interim mayor after incumbent Greg Stanton resigned in May to run for the House). Breed will be up for a full four-year term in November of 2019.
While all the major candidates in this officially nonpartisan race identified as Democrats, this contest was an expensive battle between the city's moderate faction, which supported Breed, and Leno and his progressive allies. (The two wings tend to be divided on the issues of land use, taxation, and regulation.) Breed became acting mayor in December following the sudden death of Mayor Ed Lee, but progressives on the Board of Supervisors refused to vote to make her interim mayor a month later. These progressives wanted to prevent Breed from having the advantages of incumbency on Election Day, and they even chose a different moderate, Supervisor Mark Farrell, to be interim mayor in order to do it.
Leno and another progressive candidate, Supervisor Jane Kim, endorsed each other and asked their supporters to list the other as their second choice. In the end, their alliance wasn't quite enough to overcome Breed, who had the support of much of the city's business and political establishments.