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.
- CA-22: Strategies 360 (D) for Andrew Janz: Devin Nunes (R-inc): 50, Andrew Janz (D): 44
- CA-39: Monmouth: Young Kim (R): 51, Gil Cisneros (D): 41
- FL-26: Siena for the New York Times: Carlos Curbelo (R-inc): 47, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D): 44
- VA-02: Garin-Hart-Yang (D) for Elaine Luria: Elaine Luria (D): 51, Scott Taylor (R-inc): 43
Last month, Janz's campaign released a poll from Tulchin Research that gave Nunes a similar 48-43 lead. So far, neither national party has made any moves to spend in this 52-43 Trump Central Valley seat, and Janz has not hidden his frustration with the DCCC.
Monmouth's poll is one of the worst results for a Democrat we've seen this year in a seriously contested House seat, but we don't have enough data yet to know how on-target it is. The only other poll we've seen in months was an early-August Tulchin Research survey for Cisneros that showed him up 53-42, which is almost the opposite of what Monmouth finds.
However, that poll was done before Kim's allies at the Congressional Leadership Fund ran a series of ads against Cisneros over allegations by a woman named Melissa Fazli, who claims Cisneros sexually harassed her. As we've noted before, Fazli first made her accusations in May, but even though Cisneros' primary opponents called attention to them, traditional media outlets all chose not to cover the story. However, it's very plausible that the ads are hurting Cisneros, and he'll need to find an effective way to respond before it's too late.
Still, even if Monmouth is right and Cisneros is down, there's one reason to suspect that their sample is a bit too conservative. The poll gives Donald Trump an even 47-47 approval rating with registered voters in a seat he lost 51-43.
Monmouth does indeed note that Cisneros could struggle to turn out anti-Trump voters who don't normally show up in midterms (the poll gives Young a much-smaller 46-42 lead among what they define as all potential voters), but it still feels unlikely that Trump is in relatively good shape with the entire potential electorate, especially since he's been so toxic in other well-educated suburban seats. However, as we noted above, there just isn't much other data to work with here, and we'll want to see if Team Blue releases better numbers in response.
By contrast, Siena's Florida poll is better for Democrats than what their own polling has shown: In July, a GBA survey for the DCCC gave Curbelo a 48-41 lead. Siena's poll also underscores why this race looks like it could go either way. On the one hand, they give Trump a 39-54 approval rating in a seat he lost by a similar 57-41 margin, and find that voters prefer a Democratic House to a GOP-led chamber by a 50-43 margin. However, the survey also gives Curbelo a strong 52-27 favorable rating, while Mucarsel-Powell is still largely undefined at 19-13.
This is the first poll we've seen of Virginia's 2nd District since April.
● TN-Sen: Republican Marsha Blackburn kicked off her Senate campaign last year with a web video where she called herself a "hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative" and declared that "the left calls me a wing nut, or a knuckle-dragging conservative. And you know what? I say that's all right, bring it on." However, she's presented a less-ideological image of herself in her general election TV commercials. Blackburn's latest offering features a narrator saying she "sold books door to door and became the first woman ever hired by the Southwestern Company," and plays up her fight to stop a state income tax in the legislature. The narrator declares that she "will never back down to Washington big spenders in both parties, because fighting against all odds is the story of her life."
Note that while the article for the Michigan poll does not include field dates, RealClear Politics says the survey was in the field Sept. 10-14.
This is Cruz's best showing in a poll in some time. While every poll that's been released has shown him ahead, a few recent surveys have given him just a 3- or 4-point lead. Note that Quinnipiac switched from using registered voters to using likely voters since their last poll in late July.
Marquette's last poll showed the Wisconsin Senate race unexpectedly tight, but national Republicans don't seem very optimistic about winning this one this year. The only other survey we've seen in the last month was a mid-August Suffolk poll that had Baldwin up 50-42.
● FL-Gov: Fresh off of recent revelations that Republican nominee Ron DeSantis repeatedly spoke at a conference organized and attended by notorious racists like Steve Bannon, the Naples Daily News reports that DeSantis spoke last October at a conference of an Islamophobic group called ACT for America, whose founder once said a devout Muslim "cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America." A recording revealed that DeSantis questioned the value of bringing refugees to the country as supposedly "providing entitlements to foreign nationals," and he talked about tightening already-stringent asylum rules despite a global crisis.
DeSantis has repeatedly been the subject of unsavory news stories after he used the racist phrase "monkey it up" shortly after last month's primary to describe how his black opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum, would supposedly screw things up if elected. Furthermore, DeSantis was previously found to have been a moderator of a right-wing Facebook group that trafficked in conspiracy theories and racist content.
● GA-Gov: Democrat Stacey Abrams' latest TV ad bemoans out-of-state Republican groups attacking her record, arguing it doesn't reflect how Georgia Republicans feel about her. The spot features quotes from state Republican officials praising her bipartisanship, including state House Speaker David Ralston touting her "ability to reach across the aisle." The ad lauds her for working with GOP Gov. Nathan Deal to enact a transportation bill and criminal justice reform, and it closes by highlighting a Time magazine clip on how she "stopped the largest tax increase in Georgia history."
Meanwhile, PowerPAC Georgia has launched a new ad that goes after Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp for his many failures as the state's top election administrator. The commercial takes him to task for purging 1.5 million voters from the rolls, eliminating 214 polling places, and allowing the exposure of sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers of 6 million voters whose records were stored on an unsecured server. Furthermore, it blasts him for refusing to replace Georgia's paperless electronic voting machines with more secure paper ballots; just on Monday, his office won a lawsuit against plaintiffs who had sought to force Georgia to make that switch this year instead of waiting until 2020.
● KS-Gov: Former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, a moderate Republican who left office in 1997, endorsed Democrat Laura Kelly on Tuesday. A few weeks ago, Kelly also picked up the support of former GOP Gov. Bill Graves.
● ME-Gov: The DGA-backed group A Better Maine has dropped another $344,000 in recent days, with $264,000 of that going to attack Republican Shawn Moody and $35,000 used for ads supporting Democrat Janet Mills (the other $44,5000 was for polling). That brings their total to more than $1 million for the entire race, and the Portland Press Herald reports that Democratic outside groups have spent a combined total of $1.8 million, which is five times more than Republicans have devoted so far to this small state.
- MI-Gov: Target-Insyght for MIRS: Gretchen Whitmer (D): 50, Bill Schuette (R): 41 (June: 42-37 Whitmer)
- OH-Gov: Baldwin Wallace University: Mike DeWine (R): 42, Richard Cordray (D): 37
- TX-Gov: Quinnipiac: Greg Abbott (R-inc): 58, Lupe Valdez (D): 39 (July: 51-38 Abbott)
- WI-Gov: Marquette: Tony Evers (D): 49, Scott Walker (R-inc): 44 (August: 46-46 tie)
Note that while the article for the Michigan poll does not include field dates, RealClear Politics says the survey was in the field Sept. 10-14.
Walker and his allies have been spending heavily on ads against Evers, but this Marquette poll indicates that the Democrat is withstanding the attacks. However, data is still pretty limited here. The only other Wisconsin polls we've seen over the last month were a mid-August Suffolk poll that gave Evers a small 46-44 edge and an early-September PPP survey for a progressive group that had him up 49-44.
● FL-06: Democrat Nancy Soderberg's first two TV ads of the general election (here and here) hit the ground running on affordable health care. The first spot shows the former ambassador recounting how she once helped bring peace to Northern Ireland and worked to get Osama bin Laden, but when she tried to get healthcare coverage, she was denied thanks to a pre-existing condition. Soderberg argues everybody deserves health care they can afford, but her second ad notes by contrast that Republican Michael Waltz's healthcare plan would kick 70,000 of the district's residents off their insurance, raise costs for everyone else, and remove protections for pre-existing conditions.
● MA-03: On Monday, Dan Koh conceded defeat in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary to business consultant Lori Trahan. Koh had successfully sought a recount after a very tight race, but Trahan's lead ended up expanding from 122 votes to 145. Final results show Trahan, who served as chief of staff to then Rep. Marty Meehan, defeating Koh 21.7-21.5, with three other candidates each taking 15 percent of the vote.
This open Merrimack Valley seat, which includes Lawrence and Lowell, went from 57-41 Obama to 58-35 Clinton. While this district has backed Republicans down-ballot before, it's very tough to see wealthy businessman Rick Green pulling off an upset in a year in which the GOP is in such bad shape nationally. We rate this contest as Safe Democratic.
● MI-08: The NRCC recently went up with a commercial featuring 2014 footage of the late Sen. John McCain criticizing Democrat Elissa Slotkin while she was testifying before the Senate, and Slotkin is rolling out a response ad starring retired Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute.
Lute, who went on to serve as the Obama administration's representative to NATO, tells the audience that "[a]ttacking Elissa Slotkin with video taken out of context is deceitful and wrong." He praises Slotkin and says he served alongside her in both Democratic and Republican White Houses, and she "always spoke truth to power, doing what's right for country, not party."
● NE-02, IA-03: Roll Call reports that the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund previously reserved a hefty $1.6 million in the Omaha media market, which contains the entirety of Nebraska's 2nd District and about one-fifth of Iowa's 3rd District, and the Democratic-affiliated House Majority PAC has also deployed a sizable $896,000. Putting that money to use, CLF debuted another TV ad on Tuesday that will run for about two weeks to attack Nebraska Democrat Kara Eastman over her support for “Medicare-for-all,” which they don't mention by name.
Just like their previous ad, this one deceptively blasts her for supporting a supposed "$32 trillion government takeover of health care," even though the Koch-funded study they rely on regarding Bernie Sanders' “Medicare-for-all” proposal found it would save Americans $2 trillion over a decade because they would no longer have to pay private insurance premiums. Furthermore, “Medicare-for-all” isn't a "government takeover" of health care in the way they're implying, since the government wouldn't be taking over doctors' offices or hospitals and dictating how actual services are provided, but would simply be giving everyone health insurance, just like regular Medicare does for eligible recipients.
● NJ-03: Andy Kim is one of several Democrats who are talking about their own experiences in health care-related spots. Kim tells the audience that, before his son August was born, "doctors told us he was dangerously underweight and at real risk," and "no family should have to go through a health crisis while also worrying about how they'll pay for it." Kim pledges to work with both parties to "protect Medicare and make health care and prescription drugs more affordable for New Jersey families."
● NM-02: The NRCC has jumped into New Mexico's 2nd District with their first TV ad opposing Democrat Xochitl Torres Small. Their cheap-looking spot rushes to cram in as many dubious "radical socialist" associations as they can with national progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. They falsely imply that Torres Small would be a stooge for Nancy Pelosi's supposed "total government takeover of health care," which couldn't be further from the truth, since Torres Small hasn't even come out in support of “Medicare-for-all”, let alone the actual government provision of healthcare services that the ad fearmongers about.
● NY-22: The Congressional Leadership Fund has two new TV and digital ads (here and here) as part of its $2 million ad reservation to save vulnerable Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney. The first spot repeats a familiar line of attack that falsely claims Brindisi would devastate Medicare by expanding it to everyone, even though he has only advocated for universal coverage and doesn't support a federal “Medicare-for-all” plan as a congressional candidate.
The ad incoherently claims “Medicare-for-all” would "nearly double the national debt" yet still result in huge tax increases, which would work in contradictory ways. It furthermore repeats the $32 trillion price-tag figure without noting the $34 trillion in savings in that same conservative think-tank study that it relies on to hide the fact that “Medicare-for-all” could save a net $2 trillion.
The second ad accuses Brindisi of supposedly being a stooge for Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted of corruption, claiming he'll do the same for Nancy Pelosi. The narrator also blasts him for previously voting for single-payer bills in the state Assembly, recycling the same misleading statistics from the first ad.
● VA-02: Politico reports that House Majority PAC has put $418,000 behind their first ad buy in this race. Their opening ad argues that GOP Rep. Scott Taylor is in the pocket of special interests that want to cut Medicare and Social Security, and it mentions the petition scandal and investigation that's been dogging his campaign.
● WI-01: The Congressional Leadership Fund's second spot against Randy Bryce stars the Democratic nominee's brother, local police officer James Bryce, who declares his support for Republican Kevin Steil. James Bryce tells the audience that he thinks "cop-hating rhetoric" has led to a huge spike in attacks against officers.
The screen then highlights a 2012 tweet from Randy Bryce that reads, "When police become the terrorists" and links to an article in the Progressive about people who were arrested while protesting at the state capitol. James Bryce declares that "when people refer to police officers as terrorists, that hits a little close to home."
James Bryce doesn't mention his brother by name, but the spot also features a headline declaring that the Democrat was arrested nine times; as we noted about the CLF's first ad, Randy Bryce's most recent two arrests in 2011 and 2018 were for civil disobedience at political protests; but he pleaded guilty in 1998 to driving while under the influence of alcohol, and was arrested three more times over the next few years for driving with a suspended license. The ad also shows an old mugshot of the candidate, and a more recent picture of him being arrested at a protest.
● House: The Democratic groups House Majority PAC and Priorities USA have launched a $10 million digital ad campaign across more than 40 House districts.