A Major Announcement About RRH Programming This Fall:
Long-time readers may recall that RRH ran two roundups a day through the height of the 2012 election cycle. RRH is pleased to announce that the twice-daily schedule of updates will resume, in a slightly different way. Starting this coming Monday, August 4, and going through Election Day, we will begin running a roundup of current relevant public polling for the midterm elections. These updates will run at 3PM Eastern Time Monday through Thursday, except on primary election days when they will be superseded by our normal primary preview and liveblog. Ideally the comments section of these roundups will be dedicated to poll-related discussion, with general news and discussion remaining in the regular morning roundups (which will continue as usual). We're excited about this new format and looking forward to kicking it off next week!
Unrelatedly, we will have another edition of our House Ratings out at Noon tomorrow. Please check back for those this weekend.
(1) Which fundraising solicitations have you have found the most persuasive, in light of the desperate emails that have been going around from the political committees?
(2) Which statewide race do you think has an incumbent down that is most likely to recover?
Please email us at redracinghorses at yahoo dot com if you would like this exact same information in PDF format.
One week ahead of the Tennessee Senate Republican Primary, a Red Racing Horses (RRH) survey of the race shows incumbent Lamar Alexander with a solid, but not insurmountable, lead over his principal challenger, State Rep. Joe Carr. Alexander takes 41% to Carr's 29%, while former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn trails with 5%, and a scattering of other candidates take 5%. A surprisingly high 20% of the voters in the survey are still undecided at this late date. The survey also found that the state's other Senator, Bob Corker, would have lukewarm support for a presidential run in 2016 from his home state. The IVR survey of 400 likely voters was conducted from July 28-30 by Red Racing Horses using calls from PMI inc. of Marianna, Fla, and has a 5% margin of error. All survey design and data analysis is the sole responsibility of RRH. The poll was funded with generous donations from RRH readers; Red Racing Horses has no connection to any candidate or organization active in this race. For inquiries about this poll, please visit redracinghorses.com or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout his presidency, August has been the cruelest month for Barack Obama. What's in store this year?
ALSO: Our Tennessee poll will be published at 11:00 ET this morning.
KS-Sen: It's a good thing RRH's donors chose TN-Sen, because as it turned out someone else was already in the field in Kansas this week. That someone was our dear friends at the SCF, whose internal has their endorsed candidate Milton Wolf down 41-32 to Sen. Pat Robers (R-NoVa).
NC-Sen/Gov: This Senate race hasn't moved for a while, and Gravis' latest numbers (44-41 Hagan) reflect that both candidates are still polling right around their floors. Things should start to move soon, with the legislative session finally over, Tillis free to campaign, and Hagan ready to start flexing her cash advantage (which is the largest of any red state Democrat this year).
AK-AL: Rep. Don Young, the runaway winner of RRH's "Least Favorite House Republican Who Didn't Force His Patient/Mistress To Abort Their Love Child" award, apparently got physical with a young GOP aide who tried to direct him toward the right door for a meeting. It's sad to think about how close we were to getting now-Gov. Sean Parnell (R), who lost a primary to Young by about 500 votes in 2008, in this seat.
AR-02: A batch of Arkansas House polls from local firm Talk Business includes a big surprise in this Little Rock-based seat: banker French Hill (R) is only up 44-43 on North Little Rock mayor Pat Hays (D), in a race most of us have considered a likely GOP hold. Urban minorities do give Dems a fairly high floor here, so perhaps Hill's lead will grow as his name rec expands. Elsewhere in the state, Bruce Westerman (R) has a much better grip (48-34) on open AR-04, and the two GOP incumbents are cruising.
MI-03: The Club for Growth is running two more ads in this district--one supporting Rep. Justin Amash and one attacking GOP primary foe Brian Ellis--upping their total investment in the district to $500K. In Ellis' corner, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce (which has long quarreled with Amash) has spent $100K.
MI-04: Two new polls show a dead heat in the GOP primary between self-funder Paul Mitchell, who had opened a big early lead, and State Sen. John Moolenaar, who has rapidly closed the gap. Strategic National (not to be confused with defunct fraudster Strategic Vision) has the pair tied at 35, and Steve "Not related to Paul" Mitchell has them tied at 38. The Mitchell poll has a treasure trove of crosstabs, including the geographical breakdown.
MI-14: A poll for Rep. Sandy Levin's PAC, which isn't affiliated with any candidate in this Democratic primary, has State Rep. Rudy Hobbs up 38-25-22 on a pair of better names, ex-Rep. Hansen Clarke and Southfield mayor Brenda Lawrence. This is the VRA seat that stretches from Detroit to Oakland County's Pontiac, and is being vacated by Gary Peters.
VA-07: Yeah, politics can change in the blink of an eye: Eric Cantor, finding little to do as a backbencher, announced that he will resign from Congress on August 18. Cantor's move will trigger a special election concurrent with the general on November 4. That will give both Cantor and Dave Brat a leg-up on the competition as they enter their new roles this winter.
AR-Gov: Ex-Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) continues to poll strongly, leading ex-Rep. Mike Ross 46-41 one the gubernatorial side of the aforementioned Talk Business poll. (The Senate numbers, which dropped Tuesday, had Tom Cotton up 2, so this is more confirmation that Hutchinson is running ahead of Cotton.)
FL-Gov: Charlie Crist wants to run through the halls of his high school, but yesterday he found out there's such a thing as the real world, and that laws prohibit him from appearing on the grounds of his old high school in political ads. The Crist campaign had to pull the offending ad after the Pinellas school district complained.
IL-Gov: After a string of polls showing their man Pat Quinn taking a double-digit thumping from Bruce Rauner (R), the Illinois teachers' union put out a rebuttal internal showing Quinn...only down 46-42. I'm smelling a move to Lean R.
MI-Gov: Rasmussen has Gov. Rick Snyder up 45-42, about the same margin that respected local pollster Steve Mitchell found for him over the weekend.
NV-Gov/Sen: Harper finds Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) on cruise control, up 56-34 (and more impressively, 54-39 among his fellow Hispanics). More importantly, Sandoval also leads Harry Reid 53-43 in an early test of this expected 2016 clash of the titans. With or without Reid, Nevada is clearly our ripest target of the 2016 cycle.
State and Local
NYS-Senate: As expected, the IDC is already balking at its agreement to rejoin the regular Democrats, citing the primary challenge to their leader, Jeff Klein. The real question with the Prize Patrol is whether the GOP can pick up enough seats to render the IDC's support irrelevant.
WA-SD-35: In the other Senate chamber where renegade Democrats have delivered the GOP a majority, the last renegade standing finds himself in the hottest race of the cycle. Sen. Tim Shelden is being challenged by both a Democrat and Republican in the Top Two in this Dem-leaning Olympic Peninsula seat, and he (or the Republican) needs to win to keep the coalition in power. Obviously, things will be all academic if Sheldon and the Republican are the two that advance to November.
Wow it is July 31... where did July go? Polling is complete for our Tennessee Republican primary poll. Results will be appearing soon.
Congress House/Senate Republicans: With the momentum, Senate Republicans are warning their House counterparts to not screw up before election day. Seeing the antics Republican Senate candidates did in 2010 and 2012, Senate Republicans really have no room to talk.
TN-4: It appears embattled sleezebag Congressman Scott DesJarlais has a fighting chance to remain in Congress. Although he has drawn a strong primary challenge from State Senator Jim Tracy, it appears DesJarlais' voting record and recent cancer diagnosis are helping his chances to hold onto this ruby red seat.
KS-4: Former Congressman Todd Tiahrt is being pushed to the left in his bid to unseat incumbent and Tiahrt replacement Congressman Mike Pompeo. Tiahrt, whose previously been in bed with groups like the Club for Growth, is being attacked by them.
PA-Sen (2016): Senator Pat Toomey has opened up a 5 to 1 COH advantage over 2010 challenger and former Congressman Joe Sestak. Considering Sestak will likely face a primary, Toomey could enter the general election with a 10 to 1 COH advantage.
NRCC: Congressman Roger Williams is testing the waters to see if he could launch a challenge to NRCC Chairman Congressman Greg Walden. Walden is in his first term and has made it known he plans to run again for the NRCC Chairman spot. Williams appears to be getting the backing of people opposed to Walden's support for openly gay candidates.
NRSC: NRSC Chairman and Senator Jerry Moran claims the playing field has expanded to at least 12 seats as Republican candidates are gaining strength across the country. If Moran could pull in 2/3 of those seats, I hope everyone of us who was skeptical of his NRSC role admits we were really wrong.
KS-Sen: Senator Pat Roberts' tea party challenger doctor Milton Wolf might be dealing with a wounded group of supports who are enraged, but disheartened from the debacle that became the Mississippi US Senate primary. Wolf appears to be down by about 20 points with the election being Tuesday.
Authenticity: Red state Democrats are having a harder time winning over the necessary votes as they are being lumped together with national Democrats, but National Journal states the obvious and explains how candidates in states against their political grain can make successful careers.
POTUS Christie: Is Governor Chris Christie a political dead man walking or can he make a comeback and be a strong presidential candidate? I tend to think the later. Christie has shown some strong fundraising prowess with the RGA and has built a good network of contacts.
Clinton: Hillary Clinton is obviously making sure to hit every identity politics issue on the Democratic side by demanding the Washington Redskins change their name.
Stay tuned later this week for the result of the RRH TN-Senate GOP Primary Poll!
AK-Sen: Senator Mark Begich (D), who is high on the Republican’s target list, released a new radio ad touting how he is working together with fellow Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski (R). Murkowski has refused to play along, and has stated that Begich should run on his own record and that she’ll support the Republican nominee so long as it’s not Miller. Someone should ask her to put that into an ad.
AZ-7: Phoenix Pastor and Democratic congressional candidate Rev. Jarrett Maupin has received an unusual endorsement in his attempt to replace outgoing Congressman Ed Pastor. The Great Alaskan Bush Company of Phoenix, which is a strip club, has given him a public endorsement on the front of their establishment. According to Maupin, the club employees voted to endorse him due to his support for affordable student loans and all-day kindergarten, though he denies every visiting the establishment.
GA-Sen: Michelle Nunn’s (D) internal campaign strategy memo leak just got a lot more interesting. It reveals that as part of a non-profit organization, she helped validate a charity that was tied to a group secretly funding Hamas. There are plenty of fuzzy parts to the story relating to how connected the groups involved were, but expect to see more about it as David Perdue (R) ramps up his general election campaign.
TN-Sen: Joe Carr (R), the Republican challenging incumbent Senator Lamar Alexander in the primary, has been paying his daughters out of his campaign account. Carr claims there’s nothing wrong with this, and points out that he had to build his campaign from the ground up, so hiring family members was natural.
IL-Gov: Bruce Rauner (R) has posted a massive 14-point lead in a new poll commissioned by reboot Illinois, a group backing his candidacy. Rauner leads 47-33 statewide and posts absolutely crushing margins everywhere outside of Cook County. The Raunder campaign is also reportedly spending massive amounts of money on absentee ballot voting, which should both boost his chances and help create some coat-tails downticket.
IA-Gov: Jonathon Narcisse, a former Democrat who made an independent bid for this office in 2010 and got over 1%, is filing to run again as an Indie. Narcisse tried to run for the D nomination, but was rejected when the court said he didn’t file his paperwork correctly.
KY-2015: Despite all the early positioning for this off-off-year governor race, a new poll shows that less than half of Kentucky voters have formed definite opinions of the 3 most likely candidates. Attorney General Jack Conway (D) polled 22-17 favorably, while Republican Agricultural Commissioner James Comer polls 15-8 and Republican Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner polls 11-12. Given the massive amounts of money being pumped into this year’s Senate Race, it will be hard for any of these candidates to raise their statewide profile before November.
PA-Gov: Tom Corbett (R), facing massive deficits in the polls, is trying to run against Harrisburg culture like he did in his original 2010 campaign. At this point Corbett needs a miracle to win, but this is probably his best strategy since he can use it to blame the legislature for his failed legislative priorities (much of which is rightly deserved). Still, running against a political body your own party controls isn’t going to be easy.
Dirty Politics: Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame is running for county judge of Lafayette County Arkansas, after apparently being badgered into running by his fans. The job title is misleading as it doesn’t actually involve presiding over trials or anything legal, but rather being the defacto CFO of the county. Rowe starts off with some of the best available campaign slogans imaginable (Politics is the dirtiest job after all), and expect a lot of late-night talk show puns to come from this campaign.
Fontana-Mayor: Joe Baca just doesn’t want to give up, despite losing D "primaries" twice in less than 2 years. He’s now filing to run for mayor of Fontana California against incumbent Republican Acquanetta Warren. Fontana is pretty friendly territory for a Democrat (D+15-ish presidentially due to it being ~70% Hispanic) and Baca represented most of it during his congressional tenure, but he’s proven to be a less than stellar candidate lately, and has made no friends with local Democrats after he almost blew CA-31 for them again.
WA-St. Sen: Republicans are taking a page from the Democrat’s playbooks, and are accusing a Democrat in the 45th State Senate district of secretly being a Bush-loving Conservative. Welcome to the new normal people.
WATN: Dan Halloran has been convicted of bribery relating to the effort to get Malcolm Smith on the Republican NYC Mayor ballot.
Fundraising reports for the April 1-June 30 period were due on July 15th, and now that all the stragglers (except serial offender Michelle Nunn and first-time offender Milton Wolf) are in, it's time for our giant quarterly cash-tracking chart. The second quarter contained the majority of primaries, so many campaigns spent significantly more than they took in. By the time third-quarter reports are due in mid-October, candidates will be well into the process of draining their accounts, so this is the last substantive fundraising roundup of the cycle.
On the Senate side, it was a good quarter for challengers in most of the highly competitive races (exception: North Carolina). Alison Lundergan Grimes led all candidates with a $3.9 million haul and Republicans in several key states posted their best quarters to date. The House picture is more muddled, with primaries creating large cash disparities in several races, and post-primary unity allowing several challengers to ourtraise their incumbent foes for the first time.
Incumbents outraised in Q2: Mark Pryor, Mitch McConnell, John Walsh, Tom Udall, Lamar Alexander*, Ron Barber, John Garamendi, Mike Coffman, Steve Southerland, John Barrow, Bill Enyart, Vance McAllister*, John Tierney**, Justin Amash*, Kerry Bentivolio*, Rick Nolan, Renee Ellmers, Mike Grimm, Sean Patrick Maloney, Chris Gibson, and Scott DesJarlais*.
Incumbents trailing in cash on hand: Walsh, Coffman, Southerland, Steve King, McAllister*, Bentivolio*, Grimm, Gibson, and DesJarlais*.
(* indicates the candidate trails a primary challenger, ** indicates that he trails both a primary and general election challenger.)
Fiorina: Some people reading the tea leaves think former HP CEO and former 2012 US Senate candidate from California Carly Fiorina wants to run for president. With her Super PAC spending in Iowa and New Hampshire while bringing Dave Carney's wife onto her organization, there is certainly some posturing going on.
Kentucky: The big number for the day is 47%-45%: Mitch McConnell's newfound lead over Allison Lundergan Grimes, according to SurveyUSA. Previous polls showed Grimes with a lead, albeit with more undecideds in play back in May and February. It looks like Republicans may be coming home to McConnell after a contentious primary, and the gender gap between him and Grimes among women is no longer daunting.
Hawaii: A PPP poll for the League of Conservation Voters (D) appointed incumbent Brian Schatz leading Rep. Colleen Hanabusa 49%-39% in the Democratic primary. Schatz sports 62%/24% favorable ratings as well, looking pretty solid here.
Iowa: This is a pretty lame hit from the Daily Beast. Accusing Joni Ernst of being a "Tenther," the author accuses Joni Ernst of endorsing nullification (which is given a pretty lazy treatment) when Ernst never explicitly says she supports the idea. The Braley campaign is even given a softball moment to clarify it thinks nullification is illegal, which doesn't really make up for Braley horrible press throughout much of the last stretch of this campaign.
More Iowa: In a healthy bit of news for the state party, recent Senate candidate and wealthy businessman Mark Jacobs has signed on to co-chair the Iowa GOP's finance committee and cut the affiliate a five-figure check.
Louisiana: Buried in Joe Nocera's pontification against the partisanship of the Chamber of Commerce is news that the cash-laden group plans to support Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) for re-election.
More Louisiana: Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is endorsing Rob Maness, the conservative alternative to Rep. Bill Cassidy. This race is on auto-pilot, since Maness will probably claim enough support to force a post-November runoff.
North Carolina: After a longer than expected battle with the state Senate, Assembly speaker and Republican Senate nominee Thom Tillis is back on the campaign trail. He leaves the battle with two prizes: a budget deal and a legislated increase in teacher pay, neutralizing an attack that had been lodged against him.
New York: Oddly enough, there is a (very unlikely universe) where Andrew Cuomo wins the Democratic nomination but his runningmate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, loses her spot to Columbia professor Tim Wu, who is receiving big checks and support from prominent academics and others. Much of his support is thanks to his work pushing net neutrality, a term he coined years ago.
Massachusetts: Treasurer Steve Grossman's Super PAC is attacking Martha Coakley's for not supporting gun control strong enough, specifically sitting governor Deval Patrick's proposed plan on the issue The ad is backed by $250k with more to come.
Hawaii: The results are flipped in the gubernatorial primary, with incumbent Neil Abercrombie trailing state Senator David Ige 39%-49%. A split division for the ongoing factional and racial divide in Hawaii politics.
MI-03: David Weigel looks at the Amash-Ellis Republican primary battle through the lens of the Chamber of Commerce, whose favored candidate looks poised to go down in defeat. But part of Amash's appeal may be his accessibility rather than ideology (although money from AFP and the Cfg certainly helps!).
TX-23: Rep. Pete Gallego (D) is already favored for re-election. It's hard to beat this kind of press:
So there was Congressman Pete Gallego, a Democrat from Alpine, flying back to Texas Friday evening when a small child next to him started chocking on his chicken nuggets. The 3-year-old’s mother, Paige Hoch Flippen, from Helotes, appeared in a panic.
Gallego, a dad, had done the drill before. As he recounted on twitter when it was all over and the American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth finally landed in San Antonio:
“3yr old on flight was choking. Mom panics-but I did same thing I did for Nicolás yrs ago. Young man is safe. I have chicken nuggets all over.”
National: YouGov has done an online panel of every Senate race in the country and find Republicans doing well, although several races are within 2 points. Nate Cohn has an analysis of YouGov's methodology and how their online panels work.
AK-Sen: Will Republican Senate candidate Dan S. Sullivan benefit from having the same name as Anchorage Mayor(and candidate for Lieutenant Governor) Dan A. Sullivan? It may be different in the primary and general election. The Anchorage Mayor(who is likely better known than the Senate candidate) is popular among Republicans and especially conservatives, but not as popular among the general public.
MT-Sen: If Sen. John Walsh (D)'s plagiarism on his thesis from the Army War College wasn't bad enough, he made the problem even worse by blaming PTSD for it, an explanation which did not fly with local veterans. Also Glenn Kessler in the Washington Post's Fact Checker gave Walsh 4 Pinocchios(the worst rating) for his claim that it was an unintentional mistake or just using incorrect citations.
GA-Gov: Rasmussen has released a new poll of the Georgia governor's race, and finds state Sen. Jason Carter (D) with a slim 1 point lead, 45-44 on Gov. Nathan Deal (R). The poll, which may appear to be bad news for Deal, is actually an improvement for Deal since their last poll of the race in May, which showed Carter with a 7 point lead.
NY-Gov: For a longshot candidate with virtually no chance of winning, Zephyr Teachout, primary challenger to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), is certainly attracting a lot of attention from a group of protesters. The protesters have been showing up at Teachout campaign stops with signs criticizing her for her background in Vermont, particularly for using a Vermont address in a 2012 campaign contribution. The protesters have resisted questions about why they showed up to protest and have tried to hide their faces and avoid being photographed.
CA-25: Even though local Democrats don't have a candidate in the general election for this open seat, they are still trying to have their influence felt. The Democratic Club of the High Desert is holding a debate Aug. 1 between former state Sen. Tony Strickland (R) and current state Sen. Steve Knight (R), who finished 1st and 2nd respectively in the top two primary.
MI-11: Has Rep. Kerry Bentovlio (R) given up hope of being renominated in the August 5 primary against David Trott? Based on what the candidate has done recently, it would appear so. With less than 2 weeks to go before the primary, the congressman has not aired a single ad or appeared at a candidate forum. He has only spent $75,000 compared to Trott's $1.3 million. Bentivolio says he will spend "every dime" of his campaign fund focused on winning, but there appears to be little to show for his efforts.
NE-2: Former state Sen. Chip Maxwell, who switched from Republican to independent at the latest possible moment in order to run an independent campaign against Rep. Lee Terry (R), has chosen not to run depsite getting the necessary signatures to get on the ballot. Maxwell acknowledged that local Republicans pressured him to get out of the race so as not to split the vote against state Sen. Bard Ashford, the Democratic nominee. Maxwell also strongly hinted that he would challenge Terry in the Republican primary in 2016.
NY-21: Republican Matt Doheny, who lost the Republican primary to Elise Stefanik, has abandoned his 3rd party bid under the Independence Party line and will do what he can to get his name removed from the ballot. Doheny acknowledged that he was angry with the Republican Party but said he felt compelled to "do the right thing" and drop out so as to not split the Republican vote.
VA-10: The Clinton wars of the 90s may be replayed in this race. State Del. Barbara Comstock (R) was a congressional staffer charged with digging up dirt on the Clintons. Democrats, including Clinton loyalist Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) have lined up behind Democratic candidate Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust in order to try to stop Comstock, fearing that if Comstock makes it to Congress, that she could reprise her role as Clinton investigator-in-chief.