● CA-Sen: SurveyUSA takes a look at the all-Democratic general election and gives Sen. Dianne Feinstein a 46-24 lead over state Sen. Kevin de Leon. The only other poll we've since the June 5 top-two primary was a Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California survey that found the incumbent up 36-18.
● NV-Sen: Democrat Jacky Rosen is up with another health-care themed TV spot, which her campaign says is part of a six-figure buy. Rosen bemoans how congressional Republicans keep voting to repeal Obamacare rather than fix the healthcare system, and would end protections for pre-existing conditions and let insurance companies overcharge people over 50. Rosen then pledges to work across party lines to fix Obamacare and bring down costs.
● WI-Sen: Rep. Sean Duffy, who was once the national GOP's top choice to run for this seat, endorsed state Sen. Leah Vukmir on Thursday ahead of the August GOP primary. Vukmir picked up support from Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner earlier this week.
● WV-Sen: The Democratic firm PPP has released a poll of this contest for an unidentified client for the first time, and they give Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin a 49-42 lead over Republican Patrick Morrissey. In a three-way race with disgraced coal baron Don Blankenship, who is trying to get on the ballot as a conservative third-party candidate (but may not be able to), Manchin's lead over Morrissey expands to 46-35, with Blankenship at 11. A recent independent poll from Monmouth also gave Manchin a similar lead, while the Democrats' allies have also released polls showing him well ahead.
However, this PPP survey does have one big warning sign for the senator. They give Manchin an upside down 39-48 favorable rating, a very scary number for a Democrat in a red state. That's better than Morrissey's 30-44 score, but Manchin could have a tough time getting voters who dislike both candidates to pull the lever for a Democrat over a Trump ally (Trump posts a 64-30 approval rating here).
However, we've noted for years that PPP often finds politicians more unpopular than most other pollsters, so it's possible Manchin's in better shape with voters than this survey indicates that he is. Indeed, Monmouth's poll gave Manchin a stronger 44-35 favorable rating, while Morrissey also posted a less-bad 25-30 score.
● GA-Gov: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's newest spot for the July 24 GOP primary runoff argues that, like Trump, he "gets things done," while Secretary of State Brian Kemp is a complete disaster who "mucks things up."
The narrator claims that Cagle and Gov. Nathan Deal together have passed tax cuts, overseen record job growth, and "outlawed Sanctuary Cities." The narrator then turns to Kemp and declares he "stiffed farmers for millions, personally defaulted on loans, personally released our Social Security loans … twice." The spot then shows a split screen image of Kemp and Hillary Clinton as the narrator argues that Kemp "wiped the server clean … like Hillary did." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Cagle has put $2 million into TV ads so far compared to Kemp's $1 million.
● MD-Gov: Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker had the support of almost the entire Maryland political establishment, but in one of Tuesday's more surprising outcomes, he nevertheless lost the Democratic primary for governor by a 40-29 margin to former NAACP president Ben Jealous. Why did he fall so far short? The Washington Post's Arelis Hernandez takes a close look and points to a number of factors that led to Baker's downfall.
Theses included his refusal to heed advice that he campaign more visibly, Jealous' aggressive courting of unions and stronger fundraising, and the fact that Baker didn't jump on developments coming out of the Trump White House in the way that Jealous did. One telling moment: When rolling out the endorsement of former Gov. Martin O'Malley, the campaign "buried the news inside a press advisory about the candidate's education plan." Jealous faces a difficult race against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, but Democrats may be better off in the fall with his more energetic campaign exciting progressives at the top of the ticket.
● MI-Gov: Attorney General Bill Schuette's newest TV spot ahead of the August GOP primary hits both primary foe Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and former state Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer. The 15-second spot argues that both of them voted for then-Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm's business tax, which the narrator argues led to "15 percent unemployment." Apparently, Schuette is such a dedicated Granholm-hater that he thinks she caused the worldwide Great Recession.
Meanwhile, wealthy businessman Shri Thanedar has unveiled three 15-second TV spots for the Democratic primary. One commercial features Thanedar declaring that some potholes in the state are so big you can see them from space, and he radios an astronaut orbiting the Earth to confirm he can view them. Another has the candidate pouring chemicals into a replica of the state capitol building as the narrator argues that big money on the left and the right has poured into state politics and done nothing. She then describes Thanedar, who is mostly self-funding his bid, as "a change agent," and the substance he pours in leads to a fizzle covering the dome.
The third Thanedar commercial bemoans how each election cycle "the Democratic machine tells you who to vote for. Don't think for yourself," only fall into line. She then says maybe this is the year "we burst their balloon," as Thanedar appears and pops a balloon.
● TN-Gov: Rep. Diane Black is up with her first negative TV spot with a little more than a month to go before the Aug. 2 GOP primary, and she targets businessmen Randy Boyd and Bill Lee. The narrator starts by reminding viewers that the NRA is supporting the congresswoman and says she "helped write Trump's tax cut" as footage shows the two together. The narrator goes on to rhetorically ask, "Is Diane Black too conservative? Randy Boyd says she is."
The commercial then argues that Boyd disavowed Trump in 2016 and that he supported a tax hike in Knoxville. The ad also quotes Boyd in 2015 describing himself as "the most hated political entity … a moderate." The commercial goes on to accuse Lee of also being a moderate, declaring he "pushed for a liberal Nashville mayor who tried to make Nashville a Sanctuary City." The ad notably does spend far less time hitting Lee than it did Boyd, and state House Speaker Beth Harwell goes unmentioned.
● MT-AL: EMILY's List has endorsed Democratic nominee Kathleen Williams in her bid to unseat GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte.
● NJ-07: Democrat Tom Malinowski has released a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll giving him a narrow 47-45 lead over GOP Rep. Leonard Lance. This is the first poll we've seen of the general election in this competitive seat.
● UT-04: The University of Utah is out with a poll for the Salt Lake Tribune that gives GOP Rep. Mia Love a 45-39 lead over Democrat Ben McAdams. (8 percent of respondents favor another candidate, even though the Tribune's writeup notes there are no other candidates on the ballot). The local firm Dan Jones & Associates has released several polls over the last few months giving Love a similar edge, with their June survey finding her ahead 47-43.
● Prince George's County, MD Executive: Former Rep. Donna Edwards lost Tuesday's Democratic primary to lead this very blue suburban Washington county by a 62-24 margin against State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks.
Edwards represented much of Prince George's in the House from 2008 until she ran for the Senate in 2016, where she lost the primary to eventual winner Chris Van Hollen. She was badly outraised in this campaign by Alsobrooks, who also had the support of much of the local establishment. State Sen. C. Anthony Muse, who badly lost his longshot 2012 primary campaign to Sen. Ben Cardin, took a distant 10.
● Statehouse Action: This Week in Statehouse Action: Jurassic Whirled edition is full of Indominus rex-sized news: everything from the impact of Janus v. AFSCME on state politics and what Justice Kennedy’s retirement could mean for existing state-level abortion restrictions to North Carolina GOP shenanigans and Oklahoma primaries!
Don’t miss a moment of evolving state political news—sign up here to get This Week in Statehouse Action delivered hot and fresh to your inbox each week!