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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● Santa Clara, CA Mayor: The San Francisco Chronicle brings us the bonkers story of how two NFL owners, the San Francisco 49ers' Jed York and the Miami Dolphins' Stephen Ross, are supporting rival candidates in what's now an expensive race for mayor of Santa Clara, a Silicon Valley community with a population of just under 130,000.
York's team has so far contributed $368,000 to an independent committee supporting City Council member Anthony Becker's campaign to unseat his fellow Democrat, Mayor Lisa Gillmor, in November; the 49ers, which play in Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, have also deployed a comparable amount to help two Becker allies with re-election to the Council. On the other side, Related, the massive real estate firm chaired by Ross, has donated $100,000 to the group it set up to help the incumbent.
The paper explains that York's tensions with Gillmor go back years. She was originally a prominent supporter of the plan to build the stadium complex, which passed in 2010 after the team spent close to $5 million to win over voters. Gillmor, though, says she became furious because of the team's "broken promise" to build new youth soccer fields where her children played, arguing, "I put my name on the line for the stadium, and the Niners didn't keep their promise to the soccer community."
Gillmor was appointed mayor in 2016 after the incumbent, who was a 49ers' ally, abruptly resigned, and she's been a vocal opponent of some of the team's major plans since then. The new mayor notably was on the winning side in arbitration that stopped the team from getting the $4 million rent reduction it wanted. The Chron adds, "Three years later, Gillmor and the City Council terminated the team's agreement to manage the stadium, sparking back-and-forth lawsuits.”
Gillmor, though, lost her Council majority in 2020 when a PAC sponsored by York deployed a massive $3 million to aid Becker and other like-minded candidates. She denounced the spending spree by saying of York, "It's shocking and obnoxious … He's unhappy with the way Santa Clara is holding him accountable and he seems to figure it's cheaper to buy the city-council seats. Money seems to be no object."
Ross, who is a prominent national Republican donor, has a far different relationship with Gillmor. The paper explains that the mayor, who is an executive at her family's real estate firm, has been a key ally in Related's project to develop city-owned land near the stadium. Related, though, hasn't emerged as a major fault line in local politics the way the 49ers have, nor has it tried to reshape local politics. Instead, San Jose Insider notes that the company gave to all the council candidates in 2020.
● AZ-Sen: Republican Blake Masters has spent his campaign railing against the country's military leaders, and Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly is using some of his comments against him in a new ad.
The spot features footage of the Republican declaring, "I hate to say it, but our military leadership is totally incompetent," before a veteran recounts that Masters is "the guy who said Al Qaeda wasn't even a threat, and our involvement in World War II was unjust." The commercial goes on to play another clip of Masters declaring, "No active-duty American general has ever won a war," which another veteran says is "spitting in our faces."
FL-Sen: Sachs Media for Florida Politics: Marco Rubio (R-inc): 49, Val Demings (D): 46 (Aug. 45-43 Rubio)
WI-Sen: OnMessage Inc. for the NRSC: Ron Johnson (R-inc): 49, Mandela Barnes (D): 45
● CO-Gov: While Republican Heidi Ganahl faces a massive financial deficit against Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, the Colorado Sun reports that a wealthy rancher named Steve Wells has thrown down $11 million so far on a super PAC called Colorado Wells to help her. The group, writes reporter Jesse Paul, had $9.3 million on-hand as of Thursday.
However, not everyone in the GOP is happy that this is the race Wells is getting involved in. Paul relays, "Republican insiders are privately grumbling about Wells because they think his money would be better spent on races that appear more winnable, like the very competitive battle for control of the Colorado Senate." He adds, "One GOP operative in Colorado privately groused that having a lot of money means you don't have to make a lot of sense."
● FL-Gov: The Forward's Jacob Kornbluh reports that a recent commercial for GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis featured a prominent testimonial from a pastor with a long history of antisemitism.
Larry Jinks, who says of the governor, "You protected our right to worship together in person," wrote back in April on Facebook, "It's a shame that the Jews, who should know better, reject their own Messiah (who fullfilled [sic] everyone of their prophecies) still believe that they need sacrifices and the Temple to sacrifice them in. Nonetheless, because of their rejection they will move forward with that plan." Jinks also has gone after Pope Francis for promoting interfaith ties between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, declaring, "We are called to be at odds with any religion that does not acknowledge Jesus as the Prince of Peace and the only way to the Father."
Democrat Charlie Crist, for his part, is also out with an ad taking DeSantis to task for flying dozens of Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard without informing them of their actual destination; Crist, who faces a massive cash deficit, only appears to be running this message online so far. The Democrat proclaims, "Lying to migrant children to lure them onto a plane to God knows where, treating families fleeing brutal socialist regimes like cattle, mocking their fight for freedom—it makes me sick—but sadly it's not surprising. It's who he is."
These developments come around the same time that the local firm Sachs Media released a poll for Florida Politics showing DeSantis ahead 51-45, which matches his 50-44 margin in FiveThirtyEight's average.
MD-Gov: Goucher College for the Baltimore Banner and WYPR-FM 88.1: Wes Moore (D): 53, Dan Cox (R): 31
MN-Gov: Mason-Dixon for the Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, and KARE: Tim Walz (D-inc): 48, Scott Jensen (R): 41
TX-Gov: UT Tyler for The Dallas Morning News: Greg Abbott (R-inc): 50, Beto O'Rourke (D): 39
This is the first poll we've seen of the general election in Maryland, and it confirms Gov. Larry Hogan's assessment of his fellow Republican's prospects.
A recent Minnesota poll from SurveyUSA gave Walz a considerably larger 51-33 lead, and we haven't seen any other numbers from a reliable firm in months.
These numbers from UT Tyler use the school's likely voter model, while it showed Abbott ahead 47-38 with registered voters. In such cases when a pollster reports both numbers, we always report data for likely voters (or whichever model comes closest to approximating a traditional definition of likely voters).
● OR-06: Democrat Andrea Salinas' newest commercial tries to get ahead of any Republican attempts to attack her on crime by highlighting her GOP opponent's 2016 arrest for drug possession and drunk driving. The narrator opens, "The truth about Mike Erickson and law enforcement? Erickson was charged with felony drug possession for illegal oxycodone, pled guilty to drunk driving at nearly twice the legal limit."
The commercial goes on to praise Salinas, who is the daughter of a police officer, for having "voted to increase funding for the Oregon State Police by tens of millions to fight violent crime." The narrator adds, "Because she believes defunding the police is wrong."
IA-03: Impact Research (D) for Cindy Axne: Cindy Axne (D-inc): 47, Zach Nunn (R): 47
MI-07: Target Insyght: Elissa Slotkin (D-inc): 56, Tom Barrett (R): 38
PA-08: GQR (D) for Matt Cartwright: Matt Cartwright (D-inc): 52, Jim Bognet (R): 44 (Aug.: 52-46 Cartwright)
This is the first survey we've seen in over a month in Iowa's 3rd District, which would have backed Trump by a tight 49.3-48.9 according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. A Nunn internal from July also had things tied 43-43, while an early August poll from Nunn's allies at U.S. Term Limits showed him up 49-41.
The last poll we saw of Michigan's 7th was a mid-June GOP internal that put Barrett ahead 46-44. However, as you can see in this week's update of our House independent expenditure tracker, each party so far has spent more money in this 49.4-48.9 Biden constituency than in any other House race in the country, so neither side seems to agree that Slotkin is far ahead.
Indeed, the NRCC and Congressional Leadership Fund have so far deployed a total of $2.6 million in the 7th, which is over $900,000 more than they've used against Jared Golden in Maine's 2nd. The DCCC and House Majority PAC, meanwhile, have spent $1.4 million, while Golden's race is also number two on the list at $1.1 million.
Cartwright released this survey shortly after Bognet publicized an internal showing a 48-48 tie.
Attorneys General and Secretaries of State
● MN-AG, MN-SoS: Mason-Dixon finds Attorney General Keith Ellison only edging out Republican Jim Schultz 46-45 even as his fellow Democratic incumbent, Secretary of State Steve Simon, outpaces election denier Kim Crockett 48-40. A recent SurveyUSA poll put Ellison and Simon ahead 46-40 and 42-38, respectively.