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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● Primary Night: America OldLine: July's only statewide primary takes place on Tuesday as Maryland voters go to the polls to select their nominees for November, and we've put together our guide for what to watch. But don't stay up to the wee hours of the morning for this one: State election officials aren't allowed to even start tabulating mail-in ballots until Thursday, so we're likely to end the evening with a significant number of votes still to be counted—and, very possibly, without knowing all the winners.
The main event is each party's primary to succeed termed-out Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who flipped this office in a big upset. Democrats have a crowded contest to take it back, but most polls show only three of the ten candidates on the ballot are in a position to win the nomination: state Comptroller Peter Franchot, former nonprofit head Wes Moore, and Tom Perez, the former U.S. secretary of labor and Democratic National Committee chair.
On the other side, national Democrats have launched a pricey campaign to try to influence Republican voters to nominate Del. Dan Cox, who earned Donald Trump's endorsement months after he organized a busload of people to attend the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol. Hogan, meanwhile, is all-in for former state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, who has characterized Cox as a "nut" who would cost the party the governorship.
We'll also be watching the expensive Democratic primary for the safely blue 4th Congressional District; the GOP contest to take on Democratic Rep. David Trone in the 6th; and the Democratic fight for attorney general, a primary that pits two well-known figures against one another. Check out our preview for more.
● Fundraising: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to present our quarterly fundraising charts both for the House and for the Senate. Both charts include all incumbents seeking re-election this fall, as well as any notable challengers or candidates seeking open seats. In total, we have data for 80 Senate contenders and more than 680 House candidates across the country.
● AZ-Sen: Wealthy businessman Jim Lamon tries to make the case that Republican primary voters should choose him on Aug. 2 over Trump-backed Blake Masters with a new ad where Trump fans lament how even their hero "endorsed Mitt Romney." The cast continues, "Trump made a mistake in Arizona. Fake Blake Masters is owned by California big tech." The Club for Growth tried this very same messaging strategy in the Ohio Senate race only to see their man, Josh Mandel, lose to Trump's pick, J.D. Vance. (The Club and Trump are on the same side in Arizona.)
● IA-Sen, IA-Gov: Selzer & Company's new survey for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom shows Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley leading Democrat Mike Franken 47-39, which longtime pollster J. Ann Selzer says is the incumbent's "weakest showing" since he was first elected in 1980. This is Selzer's first look at this general election contest, though Franken recently released his own internal from Change Research that found Grassley ahead by a slightly smaller 49-44 spread.
Selzer also takes a look at the race for governor and finds Republican incumbent Kim Reynolds beating Democrat Deidre DeJear 48-31, which is a big shift in the governor's favor from her 51-42 advantage in early March.
● AZ-Gov: Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson used the last few months to utterly demolish her Trump-backed primary rival, former TV news anchor Kari Lake, in spending, but new campaign finance reports reveal just how massive that gulf is. Taylor Robson deployed $10.4 million from April to June, which the Arizona Republic notes is about how much the RGA has reserved in general election TV time. (The RGA is run by termed-out Gov. Doug Ducey, who is supporting Taylor Robson in the Aug. 2 primary.) Most of this money came from Taylor Robson, who self-funded $9.4 million of the $10.1 million she brought in.
Lake, by contrast, raised $1.1 million and spent $1.4 million during these three months. And while Lake ended June with a $400,000 to $90,000 cash-on-hand lead, there's little reason to think that the wealthy Taylor Robson will allow herself to get outpaced during the final weeks. Lake, though, has still maintained her lead in recent polls despite her rival's spending spree.
The Democratic contest is also quite lopsided financially. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs raised $1.1 million for the quarter, spent $1.3 million, and had $1.5 million on hand. Former homeland security official Marco López, by contrast, took in $230,000, spent $420,000, and was left with $270,000.
● HI-Gov: While former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona arguably remains the frontrunner in the Aug. 13 Republican primary thanks to name recognition, the 2010/2014 nominee’s last-minute entry left him almost no time to rake in cash. Aiona, who unexpectedly filed to run just before filing closed on June 7, brought in $24,000 for the remainder of the month, and he records spending all of 85 cents during that period. (Civil Beat says this expenditure was for bank charges.)
Aiona, though, still ended June with more cash-on-hand than all but one of his intra-party rivals. B.J. Penn, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship champion who has been partially self-funding, led with $140,000 on hand. Contractor Gary Cordery, who we hadn’t previously mentioned, had $20,000 available after spending most of the $210,000 he brought in during the past six months, while Honolulu City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi had a similar amount in her war chest.
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Josh Green continued to far outpace his rivals:
- Lt. Gov. Josh Green: $1.5 million raised, $630,000 cash-on-hand
- Businesswoman Vicky Cayetano: $310,000 raised, additional $1.2 million self-funded, $60,000 cash-on-hand
- Rep. Kai Kahele: $110,000 raised, $40,000 cash-on-hand
Kahele kicked off his campaign in May by announcing that he wouldn’t accept contributions over $100 in an effort to qualify for public financing, but state officials later said he couldn’t obtain matching funds because he failed to file an affidavit committing to following the program's spending limits.
● NY-Gov: Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul ended June with a massive $11.7 million to $1.6 million cash-on-hand lead over Republican Lee Zeldin, who like the incumbent had to get past several notable opponents to win his June 28 primary.
● TX-Gov: Democrat Beto O’Rourke outraised Republican Gov. Greg Abbott $27.6 million to $24.9 million from Feb. 20 through June 30. Abbott ended last month with a $45.7 million war chest, but O’Rourke’s cash-on-hand figure was unavailable as of late Monday: The general counsel for the Texas Ethics Commission confirmed that the Democrat had submitted the information before the deadline passed the previous week, but that “the size of the report is pushing the limits of our technology.” O’Rourke, though, had only $6.8 million on hand in February, so there’s no question the incumbent remains well ahead in the money race.
● FL-04, FL-07, FL-13, FL-15: The state Republican Party has released surveys of a quartet of primaries in open seats from The Tyson Group in order to determine which candidates will be invited to its debates. (The party required contenders to take at least 5% of the vote and to raise $100,000 through July 13 in order to be included.)
Over in the 4th District in the Jacksonville area, state Sen. Aaron Bean outpaces Navy veteran Erick Aguilar 24-14 as 59% remain undecided. In the 7th around Orlando, Army veteran Cory Mills enjoys a 23-21 edge over state Rep. Anthony Sabatini; Navy veteran Brady Duke snags a distant third with 8%, while 40% don‘t choose a candidate.
In the 13th, which includes part of St. Petersburg, 2020 nominee Anna Paulina Luna beats attorney Kevin Hayslett 37-17; 2020 House candidate Amanda Makki is further back with 10%, and 33% are undecided. Finally, in the nearby 15th, state Sen. Kelli Stargel leads with 13% as former Secretary of State Laurel Lee and state Rep. Jackie Toledo are tied 10-10 for second; Navy veteran Demetrius Grimes snags 5%, with a 58% majority remaining uncommitted.
● FL-04: Last week, Politico reported that the GOP fundraising platform WinRed ejected Navy veteran Erick Aguilar for sending out deceptive appeals that appeared to be from better-known Republican contenders. One email, which did not even mention Aguilar, instead employed Gov. Ron DeSantis' logo and declared, "It is time to help America's #1 Governor. Can we count on you to support DeSantis?"
DeSantis himself wasn't happy, saying Monday, "If my name is being used to trick people into providing donations for something that they don’t necessarily want to do, that is definitely wrong." The governor has not yet taken sides in the Aug. 23 GOP primary, but he's been an ally of the frontrunner, state Sen. Aaron Bean.
● FL-07: Former congressional staffer Rusty Roberts has earned an endorsement from former Rep. John Mica, who is his old boss as well as the last Republican to hold this district—albeit two versions ago.
● FL-13: Former Department of Defense official Eric Lynn, who is the only Democrat running for this open seat, has released a poll from David Binder Research that gives him a 45-43 edge over 2020 GOP nominee Anna Paulina Luna, who is the frontrunner in next month's primary. The survey came weeks after Lynn publicized an internal from a different firm, Global Strategy Group, that showed Luna leading him 45-36.
● MO-01: The Republican firm Remington Research Group's newest poll for the local tip-sheet Missouri Scout gives freshman Rep. Cori Bush a 40-20 advantage over state Sen. Steve Roberts in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary.
● NY-03: DNC member Robert Zimmerman has earned Hillary Clinton's endorsement ahead of the Aug. 23 Democratic primary.
● NY-10: Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou and her allies at the Working Families Party are out with an internal from the Justice Research Group that shows her deadlocked with New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera in next month’s Democratic primary:
- Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou: 16
- City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera: 16
- Attorney Dan Goldman: 10
- Rep. Mondaire Jones: 8
- Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon: 6
- Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman: 4
- Former Mayor Bill de Blasio: 3
- Attorney Maud Maron: 2
- Undecided: 40
While we hadn’t previously encountered the Justice Research Group, the survey was directed by pollster Jonathan Chavez of SocialSphere, a well-known Massachusetts-based firm. A recent survey for Data for Progress, which polled the contest independently, had Rivera edging out Niou 17-14, with a smaller 27% plurality unsure of its choice.
● NY-23: Carl Paladino has dropped a GOP primary survey from WPA Intelligence that shows the 2010 gubernatorial nominee lapping state party chair Nick Langworthy 54-24. This is the first poll we've seen of the contest to succeed Rep. Chris Jacobs, who retired last month after coming out in support of gun safety following the mass shooting in nearby Buffalo.
● TN-05: The Tennessee Journal reports that outside groups are now airing ads against three of the leading candidates ahead of the Aug. 4 Republican primary for this newly gerrymandered seat. The top spender is the School Freedom Fund, which has dropped $450,000 so far castigating both former state House Speaker Beth Harwell and retired Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead as "too liberal for Tennessee."
A second group aligned with the Club for Growth, USA Freedom Fund, has used $400,000 so far to promote Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and attack Harwell for her 2001 vote "to give drivers' licenses to illegal aliens" months before the Sept. 11 attacks. Harwell, for her part, is running her own commercial touting her work three years later to repeal that legislation, though the narrator merely says she "stopped illegals from getting drivers' licenses."
Harwell's allies at Tennessee Conservatives, finally, have spent $130,000 so far going after Ogles for having "failed to pay his property taxes nine times" but "supported increasing the sales tax and didn't oppose a property tax hike or a marriage tax."
● WA-03: A newly formed organization called Conservatives for a Stronger America is spending $740,000 on an ad campaign that promotes evangelical author Heidi St. John as an ardent opponent of abortion, but plenty of observers are wondering if the effort is really intended to help a different Republican ahead of the Aug. 2 top-two primary. One of those skeptics is Trump's choice, Army veteran Joe Kent, who emailed supporters that this spending is meant to "prop up a spoiler candidate and split the vote so they can re-elect the Establishment's RINO incumbent, Jaime Herrera Beutler."
● WY-AL: The first media poll of the Aug. 19 Republican primary comes to us from Mason-Dixon on behalf of the Casper Star-Tribune, and it finds attorney Harriet Hageman demolishing incumbent Liz Cheney 52-30.
The Club for Growth, which has joined Trump in endorsing Hageman, quickly piled on with its own internal from WPA Intelligence giving her a larger 59-31 advantage, which is similar to the challenger's 56-26 edge in May. NBC says that this new poll assumes that 13% of the GOP electorate will be made up of Democrats, a group that Cheney is encouraging to temporarily re-register as Republicans in order to support her.
● Hennepin County, MN Attorney: Former Judge Martha Holton Dimick has earned an endorsement from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey ahead of the Aug. 9 nonpartisan primary to serve as the top prosecutor for Minnesota's most populous county.
Dollar amounts reflect the reported size of ad buys and may be larger.