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 Preview: Schmitt's Creek: Eye. Roll. Donald Trump must've thought he was being very clever when, on Monday afternoon—the day before Missouri's primary—he announced "that ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!" We're honestly so annoyed right now that we have to explain this, because, you see, one of the leading candidates for Senate is state Attorney General Eric Schmitt while another … sigh … is former Gov. Eric Greitens. And Trump really hates the third top contender, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, reportedly because she refused to "disavow her condemnation of his behavior on Jan. 6" on a phone call seeking his endorsement last month, according to political analyst Jeff Smith. So, ERIC, get it? Gawd.
That's just one of the many huge races topping the marquee when primary season returns with a vengeance tonight, but it's not even the only one where Trump made a last-second foray. On Friday night, he announced his support for Michigan gubernatorial hopeful Tudor Dixon, whom he'd previously praised as "very special" at a February fundraiser she shrewdly held at Mar-a-Lago (on her dime, of course). Between his dual endorsement in the Show Me State and his late move glomming on to Dixon's frontrunning campaign—polls have largely shown her in the lead, and Democrats have even started running ads attacking her—these moves may simply offer Trump an opportunity to pad his win-loss record.
But Trump has much more skin in the game beyond this pair of races. He's backing a Big Lie slate seeking to take over all three of Arizona's top offices that play a role in certifying election results—governor, attorney general, and secretary of state—while seeking to take revenge against a trio of House Republicans in Michigan and Washington who voted to impeach him, among others.
We've rounded up all of these contests, and many more, in our preview of Tuesday's primaries. Our live coverage will begin at 8 PM ET at Daily Kos Elections when polls close in Missouri as well as most of Kansas and Michigan. You can also follow us on Twitter for blow-by-blow updates, and you can track the outcomes of each of these key races with our cheat sheet, which we'll keep continuously updated throughout election night.
● FL-Gov: State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is launching her first TV ad ahead of Florida's Aug. 23 primary that goes after her chief rival, Rep. Charlie Crist, without ever mentioning him by name. Walking through a field of mannequins standing in for Florida's previous governors, Fried says, "Florida's had 46 Governors, some good, some bad—and one, depends on which way the wind's blowing"—a reference to the party-switching Crist, who was elected to lead the state as a Republican in 2006, became an independent in 2010, and joined the Democratic Party in 2012.
Fried goes on to describe herself as the "only statewide elected Democrat, only pro-choice Democrat, only Democrat to have never taken a dime from the National Rifle Association." Crist has said he supports abortion rights but has also called himself "for life," including in an interview this spring after the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe was leaked. Politico reports that Fried has booked a $1.5 million buy across the state.
● KS-Gov: Far-right state Sen. Dennis Pyle, who left the GOP and announced a bid for governor as a conservative independent in June, submitted almost 9,000 signatures in order to get on the November ballot on Monday—well above the 5,000 required by law. The Sunflower State Journal's Brad Cooper reports that officials do not appear to have a set deadline to review Pyle's signatures but say they intend to do so by Sept. 1.
Democrats are hoping that Pyle—who seems to hate the GOP's likely nominee, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, as much if not more than he does Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly—will siphon off votes from Schmidt and thereby boost Kelly during what will be a very difficult re-election campaign. Indeed, a Democratic state lawmaker and a union that supported Kelly in 2018 were among those who helped Pyle gather signatures. However, no polls have been made public since Pyle's entry, so there's no telling yet how much this gambit might or might not be helping.
● MN-Gov: A new internal poll from Cygnal for likely GOP nominee Scott Jensen finds him trailing Democratic Gov. Tim Walz by a 50-46 margin. However, the survey did not include any of the other candidates whose names will appear on the November ballot, including two different pro-marijuana parties that achieved "major party" status in 2018 and will choose nominees at the Aug. 9 primary. It also did not mention Hugh McTavish of the Independence Party, which is no longer recognized as a major party (meaning its candidates have to individually petition their way on the ballot) but has had an impact in previous years, sometimes scoring in the double digits.
● RI-Gov: Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who left office more than a decade ago but whose family remains one of the most famous in New England politics, endorsed former CVS executive Helena Foulkes in her bid for governor late last week. While Kennedy no longer lives in Rhode Island, WPRI's Ted Nesi describes Foulkes as a "longtime family friend whose uncle, former Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, was a close friend" of Ted Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy's father. At the same event, Foulkes also picked up the support of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who surprised Ocean State politicos last year when he opted to stay out of the governor's race.
● FL-14: A state court judge has booted wealthy businessman Jerry Torres from the Aug. 23 Republican primary ballot because Torres was in Africa when a Mississippi notary claimed he'd been physically present when signing a candidate oath required to file for office. Torres, who had pledged to spend as much as $15 million of his own money in an effort to unseat Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor, says he'll appeal the ruling. Florida's 14th District, based around Tampa and St. Petersburg, would have voted 59-40 for Joe Biden, per Dave's Redistricting App.
● FL-27: Floridians for Economic Advancement, a PAC that Florida Politics says supports candidates from both parties, has released a poll that finds Republican Rep. María Elvira Salazar leading Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo by a 39-34 margin, with a very large 27% of voters undecided. It's not clear what the PAC's rooting interest might be, and it didn't even mention its pollster by name in its slide deck detailing the results. However, FiveThirtyEight reports that the poll was conducted by Alvarado Strategies, a firm run by GOP strategist Alex Alvarado, who is a target of an investigation into a Republican scheme to promote fake "ghost candidates" to undermine Democrats in three key state Senate races in 2020.
● NM-02: Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez has released the first public poll of New Mexico's reconfigured 2nd Congressional District, and the poll, from Global Strategy Group, shows him narrowly edging past Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell by a 45-44 margin. Democrats shifted the 2nd dramatically in redistricting, transforming it from a seat that voted 55-43 for Donald Trump to one that would have backed Joe Biden 52-46.
● NY-03, NY-04, NY-16: 32BJ SEIU, which represents building workers and is one of the most politically influential labor unions in the New York City area, issued endorsements on Monday in a number of local races with contested Democratic primaries. In the open 3rd and 4th Districts on Long Island, 32BJ is supporting deputy Suffolk County Executive Jon Kaiman and former Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, respectively, while in the Bronx and Westchester-based 16th District, it's backing Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who faces a couple of challengers. The union did not take sides in the open 10th District or the member vs. member fight in the 12th between Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler.
● NY-10: While it's standard practice for Nancy Pelosi to support members of her caucus, Rep. Mondaire Jones' journey to New York's 10th District was anything but normal, so it's worth noting that Pelosi has given the freshman congressman her endorsement three weeks before the crowded Democratic primary gets resolved. Jones was squeezed out of the redrawn 17th District, which included his home base of Rockland County in the lower Hudson Valley well to the north of New York City, when DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney decided to abandon the 18th District to run one seat to the south instead. Jones decided to migrate to the 10th, a new district in lower Manhattan and northwestern Brooklyn that's open because Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney are squaring off in the revamped 12th on the Upper East and Upper West sides.
● VT-AL: A new poll from Data for Progress of Vermont's Aug. 9 Democratic primary finds state Sen. Becca Balint with a wide 59-27 lead on Lt. Gov. Molly Gray in the race for the state's open at-large House seat. That's similar to a recent survey from the University of New Hampshire, which had Balint ahead 63-21.
● Baltimore County, MD State's Attorney: Almost two weeks after the Democratic primary, incumbent Scott Shellenberger learned he'd defeated progressive challenger Robbie Leonard by a 51-49 margin for the right to seek a fifth four-year term as Baltimore County's top prosecutor. The race was the first time Shellenberger had faced a primary opponent since first winning election in 2006. He'll now square off against Republican James Haynes in November for this populous suburban county—which surrounds but does not include the city of Baltimore—that Joe Biden carried 62-35.