The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Daniel Donner, and Cara Zelaya, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
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● Demographics: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to present the 2022 edition of our comprehensive guide to every major-party candidate running for Senate, House, and governor in this November's elections, along with key statistics for the constituencies they're seeking to represent.
Our guide includes demographic data on candidates' age, gender, race or ethnicity, religious affiliation, LGBTQ status, and even name pronunciation for many candidates, including all incumbents and those running in the most competitive contests. We have also included Daily Kos Elections' calculation of the 2020 presidential election results for all of the new congressional districts following 2020’s redistricting, along with additional election results and statistics on racial demographics from Dave Leip's Atlas and Dave's Redistricting App.
We’ll be continually updating this guide as we come across new information, and it will form the basis for our comprehensive guide to the 118th Congress following the election. You can find similar data for the 117th Congress here, which includes all of the above data for every member of Congress, as well as additional electoral and demographic data for their states or districts.
As one would expect, Democratic House candidates are far closer to matching the demographics of Americans overall than Republicans are, with women making up 43% of Democrats but just 19% of Republicans, while one Democrat also identifies as nonbinary. Likewise, 40% of Democrats are people of color compared to just 16% of Republicans. (Click here for a larger version of the cartogram at the top of this post showing the race of Democratic candidates). In terms of religious affiliation, at least 34 Democrats are members of religious minorities compared to only seven Republicans for whom we have data, while at least 17 Democrats are LGBTQ versus just two Republicans.
- OH-Sen: J.D. Vance (R): $6.9 million raised, $3.3 million cash-on-hand
- CA-41: Will Rollins (D): $1.43 million raised
- KS-03: Sharice Davids (D-inc): $2.15 million raised, $1.5 million cash-on-hand
- MT-01: Ryan Zinke (R): $1.72 million raised, $525,000 cash-on-hand
- NV-03: Susie Lee (D-inc): $1.2 million raised, $1.2 million cash-on-hand
● AZ-Sen: The Washington Post reports that far-right billionaire Peter Thiel is planning to put another $5 million of his money into the race to support Republican Blake Masters, the Thiel protege whom his earlier $15 million in spending helped to win the August primary. The Post says this new money is in the works even after Politico reported that the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund informed Thiel that they somehow couldn't find the resources to match his investment. Just a day earlier, Axios had reported that Thiel had proposed jumping in on Masters' behalf to the tune of at least $10 million only if SLF would pony up half the amount.
Republicans are in this predicament thanks to Masters' weak fundraising and SLF canceling its remaining $9.6 million reservation last month, but even if Thiel does come to the rescue, the delay will cost Republicans a pretty penny because of the premium that super PACs pay for late ad purchases compared to candidates, who are guaranteed the lowest rate by federal law. Indeed, the New York Times’ Shane Goldmacher noted that "another late-reserving GOP super PAC" was paying roughly $1,775 per gross rating point, which is a measure of how many times an ad reaches viewers, while Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly was paying a mere $300 per point, roughly just one-sixth as much.
While Thiel has dragged his feet, however, his Saving Arizona PAC has dropped $2 million to fund a very cheap-looking ad that attacks Kelly on immigration, though the PAC told NBC that Thiel didn't fund this one and the money came from other donors.
● NV-Sen: Senate Majority PAC has reserved another $1.1 million for TV and radio ads supporting Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
● UT-Sen: Independent Evan McMullin's new commercial makes use of an infamous moment at a 2020 Trump rally where Republican Sen. Mike Lee pointed at the MAGA leader and told the crowd, "To my Mormon friends, my Latter-day Saint friends, think of him as Captain Moroni." The narrator is not happy, telling the audience, "Mike Lee compared Donald Trump to a hero in the Book of Mormon."
The ad cuts back to Lee, who paraphrases Mormon texts by saying of Trump, "He seeks not power, but to pull it down. He seeks not the praise of the world or the fake news." The narrator responds, "It's wrong to misuse scripture in the pursuit of personal power. Mike Lee's lost his way."
Over 60% of Utah's population, including both major Senate candidates, are Mormons, and Lee's 2020 comments caused a stir at home. "You don't take him before the Senate Ethics Committee because he invoked Captain Moroni, right?" one unnamed Utah political consultant sarcastically told Politico earlier this year of Lee, who was part of the failed effort to overturn Trump's defeat. The source added, "It doesn't rise to that level of inappropriate. But it just leaves people with a bad taste in their mouth."
● WA-Sen: The Republican-affiliated Evergreen Principle PAC has reserved an additional $1.9 million to boost Republican Tiffany Smiley.
AZ-Sen: InsiderAdvantage (R) for KSAZ-TV: Mark Kelly (D-inc): 46, Blake Masters (R): 42, Marc Victor (L): 5 (Sept.: 45-39 Kelly)
GA-Sen: Civiqs (D): Raphael Warnock (D-inc): 49, Herschel Walker (R): 46
IA-Sen: Change Research (D) for Mike Franken: Chuck Grassley (R-inc): 49, Mike Franken (D): 44 (Sept.: 48-44 Grassley)
UT-Sen: Hill Research Consultants (R) for Put Utah First (pro-McMullin): Evan McMullin (I): 49, Mike Lee (R-inc): 43, John Arthur Hansen (L): 4
AZ-Sen: Earlier this week, the local GOP firm OH Predictive Insights released numbers showing Victor snagging a massive 15% as Kelly led Masters 46-33. InsiderAdvantage is the first pollster to drop numbers since then, and while it has Victor performing relatively well for a third-party candidate, it doesn’t show him with anything resembling this much support.
IA-Sen: This survey was finished about two weeks ago on Sept. 28.
UT-Sen: This is the best showing that anyone has found for McMullin. Recent numbers from Dan Jones & Associates gave Lee a 42-37 advantage, which would still make this the first single-digit Senate race in Utah since 1974, when Republican Jake Garn won an open seat race 50-44.
Hill Research Consultants is run by veteran GOP pollster David Hill, though the firm itself has released few, if any, horserace numbers over the last decade.
● OR-Gov: Joe Biden will be making a campaign appearance on Friday to help support Oregon Democrat Tina Kotek. Biden has made relatively few campaign appearances for candidates nationally this year, though the unusual dynamic in Oregon, where former Democratic state Sen. Betsy Johnson's well-funded campaign as an independent is likely preventing Kotek from consolidating support among Democrats, could make a Biden appearance particularly helpful. Recent polls have found Kotek modestly trailing Republican Christine Drazan with Johnson much further behind but still taking a significant share of the vote.
The GOP firm Clout Research is responsible for one of those surveys, as its new numbers show Drazan leading Kotek 44-38 as Johnson takes 11%; last month it had Drazan up 39-35, with Johnson at 16%. This is the best showing for Drazan in any poll, but there are a few big caveats. Clout asked a few issue questions before the horserace it didn’t pose last time, including, “In a Post-Covid world, do you have more trust - or less trust - in Oregon state leaders and local leaders to make the right decisions to help the state grow and thrive, and to improve your life and your family's life?”
It then followed up, “If you learned that the candidate you were supporting for govenor [sic] of Oregon had no chance to actually win the election, would you change your vote to a candidate with a chance to win, or would you still support your chosen candidate, even if it means your vote might be wasted?" While respondents said they “would stick with loser” by a 66-34 margin, this might help explain some of the decline for Johnson between the two surveys.
AZ-Gov: InsiderAdvantage (R) for KSAZ-TV: Kari Lake (R): 49, Katie Hobbs (D): 46 (Sept.: 44-43 Hobbs)
GA-Gov: Civiqs (D): Brian Kemp (R-inc): 51, Stacey Abrams (D): 46
MI-Gov: EPIC-MRA for the Detroit Free Press: Gretchen Whitmer (D-inc): 49, Tudor Dixon (R): 38 (Sept.: 55-39 Whitmer)
NY-Gov: Marist College: Kathy Hochul (D-inc): 51, Lee Zeldin (R): 41
TX-Gov: Civiqs (D): Greg Abbott (R-inc): 52, Beto O’Rourke (D): 44
● FL-27: The Congressional Leadership Fund's opening commercial uses a tactic Republicans have deployed against Miami-area Democrats for decades and accuses Democrat Annette Taddeo of "huddling with the Miami chapter of a socialist group that supports the Cuban communist regime," an allegation that's accompanied by footage of Fidel Castro and an image of Che Guevara. After on-screen text warns that "Annette Taddeo supports Bernie's plan," the narrator warns, "The revolution won't be televised, but Taddeo's socialist ideas will." The commercial ends with a clip of Taddeo herself saying, "This election will determine if we become a socialist dictatorship."
Florida Politics' Jesse Scheckner writes that Taddeo and several other local Democrats took part in a 2018 "panel discussion on expanding state and federal health care access" that was hosted by the Miami chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Scheckner adds that the Bernie Sanders "plan" the ad refers to was an effort to expand Medicaid, an idea that Sanders was hardly the first politician to back.
Taddeo herself was an ardent critic of the Vermont senator when he said that not "everything" Castro did was bad. "Saying a murderous dictator wasn't so bad because of a literacy program is like saying 'there were very fine people, on both sides," she said during the 2020 presidential primaries.
Taddeo, for her part, recently ran a commercial against Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar where she compared the GOP's efforts to outlaw abortion to the laws communist dictatorships employed to restrict personal freedom. "This election will determine if we remain a beacon of freedom or we become a socialist dictatorship," Taddeo said in material CLF repurposed for its own ad, though it didn't include her next line, "MAGA Republican Maria Salazar supports government control over women's health care decisions, even in cases of rape or incest."
● IA-02: Rep. Ashley Hinson is the latest Republican to run a transphobic commercial in the general election, which opens with a local news anchor saying, "The district's new policy allows students to keep their transgender identity confidential even from their parents." Hinson jumps in, "Government employees helping kids change gender and keep it secret from their parents? That's what happens when no one stands up to the radical left." She continues by saying that Democrat Liz Mathis "supports this madness, I don't."
Hinson is one of several Iowa Republicans who have attacked the local Linn-Mar School District, which adopted policies this year designed to protect trans students. Iowa Starting Line's Nikoel Hytrek recently wrote that the district "allows students to create Gender Support Plans and go by their preferred name and pronouns and potentially to use the school facilities that match their identity." Hytrek continues, "For students in seventh grade and up, their privacy is prioritized, so a teen's decision on their gender identity is their own and does not have to be forcibly shared with their family, who in some cases may not approve."
While multiple trans students told Hytrek these policies helped them feel protected and accepted, they did not appreciate Hinson and her allies targeting the district. The congresswoman, who has two children in the district, isn't stopping, though, arguing at a recent debate, "I stand for parents. I'm one of you." Mathis, who argued that Linn-Mar is trying to protect students, responded by saying of the Republican, "She has taken this issue, and she has set fire to it. And it's just against any parental right that I have ever seen."
● House: Politico's Ally Mutnick reports that House Majority PAC has cut $435,000 in TV reservations in the Los Angeles media market as well as $300,000 in Tucson. It's not clear yet what race or races are impacted in L.A., which is home to several competitive House seats, but there's no question that the latter cancellation is for Arizona's 6th District.
Democratic groups have griped that they don't have the resources to match the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund, which has attracted far more contributions from mega donors than HMP has, and Mutnick writes that CLF this week added a total of $15 million to bookings across the nation; this figure includes previously reported reservations in Connecticut's 5th District and Rhode Island's 2nd. All the contests are in seats where the GOP is already airing commercials.
The Washington Post's Michael Scherer wrote last week that Democratic campaigns and committees had actually spent or reserved $330 million in ad time from mid-August through the rest of the campaign compared to $316 million for the GOP, though that doesn't account for more recent activity. Democratic candidates, Scherer said, were outspending their GOP counterparts $124 million to $56 million, while Republican outside groups held a $249 million to $202 million advantage.
Candidates, as we note in AZ-Sen, are entitled to far cheaper ad rates than super PACS, so Democrats likely are airing considerably more spots than the GOP overall. Still, Scherer says that Team Blue is frustrated by the GOP's outside group cash edge because super PACS "have the flexibility to move money around the House landscape strategically in the final weeks."
Attorneys General and Secretaries of State
● MI-AG, MI-SoS: The downballot portion of EPIC-MRA's new survey for the Detroit Free Press finds Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel up 43-39 over 2020 election-denying Republican Matt DePerno, which is a drop for Nessel from her 48-39 edge that the pollster found last month. Meanwhile, Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson holds a wider 47-37 over Republican Kristina Karamo, another Big Lie proponent, though that's also somewhat of a decline from Benson's 51-37 edge in September. Both Democratic incumbents have routinely led their far-right challengers in polls this cycle.
Dollar amounts reflect the reported size of ad buys and may be larger.