The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
● Puerto Rico: The Puerto Rico Herald has released a survey from the Democratic firm Beacon Research that finds Puerto Rico's statehood referendum passing 70-24 this November. This plebiscite is nonbinding, but proponents hope that a strong showing for the yes side would encourage Congress to take action to make Puerto Rico a state, especially if Democrats control both chambers.
A number of statehood opponents say that they don't plan to vote in this referendum at all, though. Beacon finds that only 57% of respondents "plan to vote in the plebiscite," while 32% say they will not and an additional 12% are unsure. By contrast, only 3% of respondents say they would not vote in the gubernatorial race taking place the same day. In 2017, opponents of statehood boycotted that year's referendum in order to deny it legitimacy, and it seemed to work: A near unanimous majority backed statehood, but only about a quarter of the voters turned out.
Opponents of the referendum may be attempting a similar tactic. Of the people who say that they're not currently planning to vote on this question, 49% say they would vote no if they did decide to take part in this contest, while only 31% say they would choose yes. Altogether, Beacon found that 56% of respondents favored statehood even if they didn't all plan to vote in the plebiscite, while 34% were opposed.
● FL-15: Alan Cohn (D): $1 million raised
● FL-16: Margaret Good (D): $1.1 million raised
● MI-03: Hillary Scholten (D): $1.5 million raised; Peter Mejier (R): $1 million raised
● SC-01: Nancy Mace (R): $2.3 million raised
● SC-02: Adair Ford Boroughs (D): $800,000 raised
● TX-25: Julie Oliver (D): $900,000 raised
● KS-Sen: Politico reports that the Senate Leadership Fund has reserved an additional $7.2 million in ad time to help Republican Roger Marshall, a move that comes about three weeks after the group launched a $5.2 million buy.
IA-Sen: No other firm has found Democrat Theresa Greenfield ahead by more than 4 points, so this RABA Research poll is her best result by far. No other firm has yet to show Ernst running dramatically behind the top of the ticket either.
● PR-Gov: We have our first two polls of the race for governor of Puerto Rico since the primaries concluded in August, and they each find a very tight contest between the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP) and the pro-commonwealth Popular Democratic Party (PPD).
The Democratic firm Beacon Research's survey for the Puerto Rico Herald shows PNP nominee Pedro Pierluisi, who previously represented the island in the U.S. House as its resident commissioner, edging out Isabela Mayor Carlos Delgado 29-27. Another 8% goes to Alexandra Lúgaro of the Citizens' Victory Movement, a party that NPR describes as "promoting anti-colonialism and a constitutional assembly to make a final decision on Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States," with 17% undecided and the balance going to other contenders.
The newspaper El Nuevo Día also released a survey from the local firm The Research Office that showed Pierluisi leading Delgado by a similar 38-37 margin, with 13% going to Lúgaro. Just like in almost all of the 50 states, it only takes a plurality to win the governorship. Indeed, PNP nominee Ricardo Rosselló prevailed 42-39 in 2016, a victory that came three years before he would resign in disgrace.
● FL-15: Democrat Alan Cohn's opening general election ad begins by saying of the GOP nominee, "Multi-millionaire Scott Franklin won't fight for Middle Class families. He supports tax cuts for corporations and fellow millionaires, increasing taxes on 86 million Americans." Cohn then appears and says that during his career, "I uncovered Democrats and Republicans failing taxpayers and vets, and exposed corporations harming our troops."
● GA-14: Republican Rep. Tom Graves announced last month that he would resign, and he said Friday that his departure would take effect Oct. 4.
● IA-01: The conservative Congressional Leadership Fund has unveiled a poll from Basswood Research that shows a 45-45 deadlock between freshman Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer and Republican Ashley Hinson; CLF, unsurprisingly, did not mention any presidential results. The only other poll we've seen here in the last several months was an early August Monmouth survey that had Finkenauer ahead 51-41.
● NM-02: The Tarrance Group's new poll for the NRCC finds Republican Yvette Herrell edging out freshman Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small 48-47, which is a very small shift from the 46-46 tie the firm found in July. It will probably not remotely shock you to learn that the release did not include presidential numbers.
We've seen just one other poll of this southern New Mexico seat in the time between those two Tarrance polls. In early September, Research & Polling Inc. found Torres Small up 47-45 in its survey for the Albuquerque Journal.
● NV-03: Democratic Rep. Susie Lee and her allies have run commercials focusing on the multiple times that Republican Dan Rodimer has been accused of assault, and Rodimer is now airing a response ad starring his wife, Sarah Rodimer. She tells the audience, "What happened between Dan and I was a verbal argument, plain and simple. Dan has never laid a hand on me, then or ever." Sarah Rodimer goes on to talk about how she and the candidate have gotten married since the incident and are raising several children, and she expresses her disgust "that Susie Lee is exploiting our family."
In July, the Associated Press also reported that police responded to two 911 calls in 2018 from Sarah Rodimer (née Duffy), who was the candidate's girlfriend at the time, against him. The AP says that Duffy's first call accused Rodimer of domestic violence. No one was charged, though, and the police responding to the incident wrote afterwards, "there was no crime, just a verbal argument and we did not want to embarrass them or make them any more upset."
Later that year, Duffy told the 911 dispatcher that Rodimer had stolen $200,000 in jewelry, firearms, and cash from her days ago and had sent her photos of what he'd taken. The officer wrote, "I advised (Duffy) to give a 1 week ‘cooling period' to see if male returns home and they can resolve this matter without police involvement as this is largely a civil matter." No charges were filed in this matter, either.
Democrats have been airing commercials reminding the viewer that the police have been called on Rodimer "for a domestic disturbance, and stealing," but this isn't the only allegation that Team Blue has focused on. Rodimer pleaded guilty to battery after a 2010 altercation and was later accused of, but never charged with, assault two additional times, and Lee and the DCCC have been going after his "alarmingly violent rap sheet."
● NY-01: Democrat Nancy Goroff's new commercial reminds the audience that, as a member of the White House coronavirus task force, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin "flew across the country for a political rally and promoted unproven cures." The narrator continues, "Congressman Zeldin even voted 15 times to repeal healthcare, which would have left thousands defenseless during a pandemic."
● SC-01: Republican Nancy Mace has decided to resort to transphobia with a new commercial that claims that freshman Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham put the local Parris Island Marine training base in jeopardy by joining with Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass "a law requiring transgendered [sic] equality in the military."
As The State‘s Caitlin Byrd explains, Cunningham joined both of South Carolina's Republican senators, as well as four of its five GOP House members, last year in supporting the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which among other things requires the Marines to have gender-integrated boot camps. The legislation, which gave Parris Island five years to institute this policy, also included a provision written by Cunningham that secured over $37 million for the base to modernize its live-fire training range.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger recently said the service was considering closing Parris Island and a California base in order to create a new co-ed training location because it might make more sense than upgrading the aging facilities currently in use, but that no decisions had been made. Berger also said nothing about transgender recruits when he talked about why it may make sense to stop using Parris Island.
Byrd also pointed out the NDAA was not a vote to close Parris Island at all, and Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott told the paper as much. Rep. Joe Wilson, a Republican who represents South Carolina's 2nd District and voted for the bill, agreed, saying the requirement "to fully gender integrate boot camp at the platoon level within five years should have no bearing on any potential decision to close Parris Island."
● Portland, OR Mayor: Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler barely fell short of capturing the majority of the vote he needed to win outright in May when he outpaced urban policy consultant Sarah Iannarone 49-24 in the nonpartisan primary, but he looks to be in for a difficult second round this November.
Iannarone, who calls herself an "everyday anti-fascist" and has said, "I am antifa," has taken issue with Wheeler and the local police's handling of the last several months of largely peaceful protests in Portland. She memorably tweeted in July, "Goddamn tired of watching reporters, medics, legal observers, peaceful protesters, and, yes, vandals getting targeted, arrested & assaulted by Portland Police. F*ck you, Ted Wheeler, seriously."
Iannarone has also unsuccessfully called for Wheeler to step down as head of the Police Bureau, which has authority over the city police chief. In Portland, the mayor and the four elected city commissioners (a post comparable to a city councilor elsewhere) each lead different city bureaus; the assignments are given out by the mayor, who almost always takes the police commissioner spot. Portland is the last major city in America to still use this commission-based system in city government.
There haven't been any horserace polls released since June, when a Public Policy Polling internal for Iannarone showed Wheeler ahead just 33-32. However, a late August survey from the Democratic firm FM3 for the group promoting a November ballot measure that would set up a new police oversight system gave Wheeler a terrible 26-63 favorable rating.
The incumbent may also end up getting outspent. Wheeler has raised $300,000 this year and self-funded another $150,000, and he had $169,000 on-hand in late September. Iannarone, though, has taken in $617,000 by participating in the city's public financing program, and she had a stronger $213,000 war chest.
However, the Willamette Week recently wrote that Iannarone has struggled to win over endorsements from prominent progressive groups. Notably, a local voter engagement organization called Next Up Action Fund is backing the write-in campaign of Teressa Raiford, who took third place in the primary with 9%, instead of Iannarone.
City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty also recently announced that, while she was withdrawing her support for Wheeler "because of his non-response around the police violence," she would not be taking sides in the contest. Hardesty's neutrality came even though Iannarone has pledged to put Hardesty in charge of the Police Bureau; Hardesty said of Iannarone, "I like her as a person, but I don't know her policy chops and whether or not she's going to be able to galvanize the city to come together to do the hard work we have ahead."