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.
● Primaries: Tuesday brought us primaries or runoffs in seven states—Colorado, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah—and we'll cover the outcomes the next Digest, but in the meantime, you can find the raw results here.
In a shocking upset, New York Rep. Joe Crowley, who is the fourth-highest ranking Democrat in the House and had been considered a possible future speaker, has lost his primary to challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A community activist, Ocasio-Cortez is a shoo-in to represent this heavily Democratic and Latino district that spans Queens and the Bronx.
As an avowed democratic socialist, Ocasio-Cortez ran a challenge from the left against Crowley, who has been in office for two decades and is chairman of the Queens Democratic party. Crowley had access to immense resources, and in the final months of the campaign, he outspent Ocasio-Cortez $1.1 million to just $127,000.
The 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez is a first-time candidate who was working as a bartender just last year. But she ran an aggressive campaign centered on progressive policies that included expanding Medicare to all and a call to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, better known as ICE. With her army of enthusiastic supporters, she may have benefited from low turnout due to the fact that Tuesday’s primaries in New York were only for federal races. (The state holds a separate primary for state-level races in September.)
Crowley is the highest-ranking House member to lose a primary since Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fell to to tea partier Dave Brat four years ago, and it’s a sign that Democrats, especially Democrats of color, are eager for a new era of leadership.
● MS-Sen-B: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is redeploying Brett Favre, who played football at the University of Southern Mississippi before he went to the NFL, in its latest commercial supporting appointed GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.
Favre, who starred in a Chamber ad for then-Sen. Thad Cochran during the 2014 GOP primary, begins by insisting he doesn't "like to talk politics, but I love Mississippi way too much to stay quiet in this election." Favre goes on to extol Hyde-Smith for "doing what's good and what's right" for the state, declaring she's a "fifth generation farmer [and] a proven conservative." There is no word on the size of the buy, but the Chamber has already spent $750,000 for Hyde-Smith ahead of the November special election.
● ND-Sen: Senate Majority PAC has deployed another $167,000 (here and here) on media buys to help Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. SMP told the National Journal that they've using this money to expand their recent TV buy.
● NV-Sen: Senate Majority PAC has launched their first TV spots against GOP Sen. Dean Heller, which the Nevada Independent reports are running for $1 million.
Their first spot argues that Heller is a hypocrite on healthcare, with the narrators declaring he's voted to defund Planned Parenthood nine times despite saying he supports funding it. They also say that, while Heller claimed he'd listen to GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval and oppose repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act, he voted to repeal it anyway. They then tell the audience that the senator received over $800,000 from the insurance industry and ask if that's why he's "not with us on healthcare." SMP's other ad hits Heller on similar lines, though this commercial features several constituents making the arguments instead of unseen narrators.
● Senate: The Senate Leadership Fund, which is the GOP leadership's allied super PAC, has announced the first three of its fall TV reservations. The group has invested $10.5 million in Missouri against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill; $11.2 million to defend Nevada Sen. Dean Heller; and $2.3 million to target North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
● CT-Gov: On Tuesday, businessman Guy Smith announced he was ending his campaign for the Democratic nomination after he failed to turn in enough signatures to make the ballot. The Aug. 14 primary is now a two-way race between businessman and 2006 Senate nominee Ned Lamont and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim. Lamont automatically made the ballot when he won the state party endorsement, while the state has verified that Ganim has turned in enough valid signatures.
While Lamont is the heavy favorite to win his party's nod, things are much more unsettled on the GOP side. Wealthy businessman David Stemerman, however, has announced that he's investing another $10 million into his campaign on top of the $3 million he's already provided. Stemerman declared that he'll immediately expand his TV campaign into the expensive New York City media market, which covers about a quarter of the state (the balance is in the Hartford market).
● MI-Gov: With a little more than a month to go before the Aug. 7 Democratic primary, former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer is up with her first TV spot.
Whitmer tells the audience how her early jobs were at a lumber factory, Target, and a restaurant, and how she went on to become the first woman to become a Senate leader. She continues by saying that in the legislature she "took on the tough fights, like expanding Medicaid and increasing the minimum wage," and that she's running now because she's "had it with Republicans like Donald Trump blowing up health care while your costs go up." Whitmer concludes that it's also "about time we fix the damn roads."
● NM-Gov: SurveyUSA takes a look at the general election for the NBC-affiliated KOB-TV Albuquerque and gives Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham a 51-38 lead over Republican Steve Pearce. The only other recent poll we've seen was a Carroll Strategies survey that had Lujan Grisham ahead 51-43. Pearce's campaign pollster put out a statement arguing the SurveyUSA poll was wrong, and we'll see if they release contradictory numbers.
● WI-Gov: In an article published on Tuesday in the Capital Times, Wisconsin state Reps. Chris Taylor and Melissa Sargent both called for former state party chair Matt Flynn to drop out of the Aug. 14 Democratic primary over his past work representing the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in sexual abuse cases. Flynn served as the archdiocese's counsel from 1989 to 2004, and the Capital Times writes that documents released during its 2013 bankruptcy proceedings revealed that Flynn "played a central role developing and administering a system where priests known to have abused children were kept in ministry, transferred to other parishes or paid off rather than reported to police."
Flynn insists that his firm only served as the archdiocese’s outside defense counsel in lawsuits and wasn't involved in the church’s administrative matters. In somewhat contradictory fashion, though, Flynn simultaneously claimed that he helped put new procedures in place requiring the archdiocese to immediately report all abuse claims to the police. He also said he would not quit the race.
● FL-27: Former journalist Matt Haggman has rolled out his second spot ahead of the August Democratic primary, and he once again goes after the Trump administration on immigration. The ad features Haggman's wife, Danet Linares, speaking in Spanish (with English subtitles), saying that her parents arrived from Cuba on Freedom Flights, but Trump is now destroying families. She then pledges that Haggman will "do everything possible to eliminate ICE." Florida Politics says the commercial is set to air on English TV stations.
● KS-03: On Monday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed former labor attorney Brent Welder in the crowded early August Democratic primary. Welder was a Sanders delegate from Missouri at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
● OH-12: The GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund is up with two new ads (here and here) that National Journal says are part of a $1 million buy for the August special election, which includes the $204,000 we reported them spending last week. The first commercial features a woman who describes herself as a mother and teacher touting GOP nominee Troy Balderson's record on education.
Their second spot attacks Democratic nominee Danny O'Connor as "dishonest," claiming he bemoaned corruption and cronyism yet "skipped nearly half the board meetings" for the Franklin County Automatic Data Processing Board in his capacity as county recorder. However, state law does allow the recorder to send a representative to board meetings. Finally, CLF also alleges he gave taxpayer-funded jobs to "cronies, donors, and friends."
Meanwhile, O'Connor's latest ad features him relaying the story of how his mother was diagnosed with and ultimately survived having cancer when he was in college. He argues no one should have to worry about not having access to life-saving health care.
● VA-10: Monmouth's new poll of Virginia's 10th Congressional District finds gives very bad news to GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. Democratic nominee Jennifer Wexton holds a wide 49-39 lead over Comstock among what Monmouth refers to as "potential voters," which includes anyone who has voted at least once since 2010 or has registered since 2016. Both Monmouth's other two models (which we explain here) give Wexton an almost identical margin of victory.
This is the first poll we've seen of this race for this seat, which went from 50-49 Romney to 52-42 Clinton, in months. The only other general election poll that's been released at all was a March DCCC poll that gave Wexton, who had not yet won the Democratic primary, a smaller 46-43 edge. The silver lining for Comstock is that neither party is acting like they think she's doomed. The Democratic groups House Majority PAC and the DCCC have reserved a total of $2.6 million in fall TV time in the Washington media market, while the NRCC has invested a hefty $6.4 million here.