We will be previewing competitive House Races in the Midwest and West today at Noon, with previews for House Races in the Northeast and South coming Thursday.
AR-Sen: Memo to all aspiring pols: be careful what you write in your college PoliSci thesis. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) is under fire for his 1985 college writings in which he called the 1957 desegregation of schools in his state "an unwilling invasion."
NJ-1, NJ-3: Rule #1 at La Cosa Norcross: You don't ever go against the family. The Democratic House Majority PAC has triaged Aimee Belgard (D) in the competitive NJ-3 to shift the funds to the bid of Donald Norcross (D), brother of all-powerful local Boss George, in the noncompetetitive deep-blue NJ-1. This is assuredly good news for ex-Randolph Mayor Tom McArthur (R), who now looks like an even more solid favorite to keep the seat in GOP hands.
CA-52: The FBI is investigating a convoluted story involving ex-SD City Councilman Carl DeMaio (R) and a former campaign aide who accused DeMaio of harassment. The aide alleges he was offered $50K in hush money, while DeMaio's camp believes he was behind a break-in at a campaign office that led to a campaign strategy book being turned over to Rep. Scott Peters's (D) camp.
IL-10: Though Michael Bloomberg usually supports Dems, he does have a soft spot for moderate Rs, and he is dropping nearly $2M in ads for ex-Rep. Bob Dold's comeback bid. Dold is thought to be in a very close race with Rep. Brad Schneider (D).
WV-3: Here's a weird one. Rep. Nick Rahall (D) is insinuating that his opponent, D-turned-R State Sen. Evan Jenkins, may not stay a Republican in the House. Why on earth Jenkins would switch to the minority in the House while sitting in a district and state that are stampeding to the right is probably unknown to anyone but Rahall.
NRSC: You'd think that in the 2014 cycle, with the prospect of major GOP gains in the Senate afoot, there would have bene intense competition for the NRSC Chair job. And you'd think in 2016, with oodles of seats to defend and the possibility of major losses, it would not be a hot gig. But yet the job that nobody wanted last cycle is now set to be the subject of a fierce showdown between Sens. Roger Wicker of MS and Dean Heller of NV.
Governor & States:
OH-Gov: Gov. John Kasich (R) is under fire from the right after he appeared to suggest that he would not support a repeal of Obamacare. Kasich has qualified that he supports a repeal of the law except its Medicaid Expansion provision. This answer may not hold water with the 2016 primary electorate though, potentially causing Kasich problems in a presidential run.
DE-Treas: The open-seat race between hotel exec Ken Simpler (R) and Markell aide Sean Barney (D) has turned nasty and personal on both sides, with the two sides trading barbs over Barney's recent attack ad barrage. Internal polling of the race on both sides shows Simpler up.
IA-SoS: Brad Anderson (D), an Obama campaign operative who is now in a tight race against ex-SoS Paul Pate (R) for the open seat, is adding a disclaimer to his YouTube videos. A GOP operative had filed a complaint with the state ethics commission that Anderson's YouTube videos did not include a "this ad paid for by" disclaimer.
NY-Comp: In the only debate between Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (D) and Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci (R), Antonacci attacked DiNapoli for signing off on a $103K secret settlement with victims of perverted ex-State Rep. Vito "Gropez" Lopez (D). DiNapoli is still the overwhelming favorite.
RI-LG: Here's an interesting CW recap of this race, which may be the only competitive one in the country with the Democrat running unambiguously to the right of the Republican on a major issue. Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee (D) is strongly pro-charter schools, and that position has caused most unions to back 2010 SoS nominee and Chaffee admin official Catherine Terry Taylor (R), who is known as a moderate.
NC-SoS '16: SoS Elaine Marshall (D) is appealing a $10K fine from the elections commission for not filing her campaign finance paperwork on time.
AL-State House: State House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) has been indicted on 23 felony corruption counts.
Stay tuned at Noon for Part 2 of our General Election Preview Series, statewide Row Officers.
CO-Sen: First Lady Michelle Obama will make two campaign appearances Thursday for struggling Senator Mark Udall (D).
More CO-Sen: The Ending Spending Super PAC, run by the Ricketts family, is spending $1.4 million to air an ad highlighting the recent Denver Post editorial against Udall.
MN-Sen/Gov: Hillary Clinton will appear Thursday at a rally at my ultra-liberal alma mater, Macalester College, which is probably the safest crowd she could find for her pre-presidential campaign midterm campaign swing. Governor Mark Dayton and Senator Al Franken will both appear.
More MN-Sen: The Alliance for a Better Minnesota (a DFL group financed by Alida Messinger)'s Super PAC is launching a "high six-figure" ad buy targeting Mike McFadden on Medicare and Social Security. Also, McFadden has a new ad of his own, a testimonial from his daughter.
AR-Sen: A new Crossroads ad targeting Senator Mark Pryor (D) is blistering. "There was a time when the Pryor name stood for independence. What happened?"
NC-Sen: The DSCC is back to its usual playbook running ads targeting Thom Tillis, accusing him of wanting to outlaw birth control.
NH-Sen: Whether ISIS or Ebola, the Scott Brown (R) campaign has been early to jump on issues dominating the news cycle. While this strategy can be risky, it makes sense in volatile and swingy New Hampshire politics.
More NH-Sen: Elizabeth Warren will campaign with Senator Shaheen (D) this weekend.
IL-Gov: Businessman Bruce Rauner (R) has gathered more endorsements beyond the Chicago Sun-Times, especially downstate.
OR-Gov: This article exploring how hard it is for Republcians to win statewide in Oregon feels more like an obituary than a serious question, especially with the cheap billboard featured at the end.
ME-2: The NRCC is cutting the last two weeks of its buy in this tough Democratic-held district. Maybe the internals took a dive here, because recent polling had shown this to be a competitive race. The NRCC is still finishing a buy with Poliquin this week, and the article does note Poliquin can self-fund.
VA-10: An interesting profile of Barbara Comstock (R), who has successfully shifted from a Republican attack dog to a candidate who can successfully make War on Women attacks work for her.
The NRCC did announce new buys in four seats, all Democratic held:
IA-1/IA-3: The best chance for our candidates in these seats, Rod Blum and David Young respectively, may be Bruce Braley. Democrats fear they could lose these seats on the waning chances of the Braley campaign. I'm not sure I buy that, but if it gets outside groups spending money then it probably becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
FL-2: When Rep. Steve Southerland failed to properly answer Gwen Graham's early ads and listen to House leadership, he let himself get drawn into a surprisingly competitive and expensive House contest.
AK-AL: A fun profile of Rep. Don Young, whose blunt style has gained increasing attention with the rise of social media and intensive campaign tracking.
TX-23: In some of the traditionally swingiest races in the country, debates follow familiar lines. Democrat Rep. Pete Gallego wants this race to be local in a midterm electorate that doesn't like the president much, while Republicans are quick to tie Gallego to Obama.
NC-2: Clay Aiken (D) is up with a 30-second television spot featuring him talking straight to the camera.
CA-17: Rep. Mike Honda (D) has launched a six-figure television buy attacking Ro Khanna in this intra-party fight.
Texas: A handy roundup of newspaper endorsements in Texas statewide races. Excepting the gubernatorial race (where Abbott is keeping pace with Davis), Democrats generally dominate among these endorsements where they have a candidate running a real campaign.
Kentucky House: A reminder that flipping a legislative chamber often has much bigger implications for voters than a high-profile race, even if they don't realize it. Of course, Republicans would need to pick up five seats to get there.
GA-Gov: The WRBL poll has Jason Carter and Nathan Deal tied in the Governor's race.
IL-Gov: Southern Illinois University has Bruce Rauner up 1 point.
MA-Gov: Buried in this Boston Globe poll about current Governor Deval Patrick is a poll of the upcoming Governor election, where Charlie Baker is tied with Martha Coakley 41-41.
MN-Gov: SUSA has Dayton up by 10 points for re-election.
PA-Gov: Magellan has this election much closer than anybody else, with Tom Wolf leading by only 7 points.
TX-Gov: Wendy Davis is up -15 points in a KHOU poll.
WY-Gov: Republican Governor Matt Mead is up 25 points on his challenger, Pete Gosar, according to a local newspaper poll.
AR-1: Talkbuisness has Rick Crawford up 22 points for re-election
AR-2: Talkbuisness also has Democrat Henry Hays up 5 points on Republican French Hill in the Little-Rock based 2nd district.
MI-11: Dave Trott (R) is up 12 points in a Fox/Mitchell poll.
MN-8: SUSA has R challenger Stewart Mills up 8 points over Rick Nolan.
MT-AL: That MSU-Billings poll also has Republican Ryan Zinke up 7 points for the open at-large seat.
NY-19: A Gibson internal poll has him up 26 points over challenger Sean Eldridge.
VA-10: A Citizens United Political Victory Fund (R Group) poll has Barbara Comstock up 51-35 in this NOVA district.
Oakland-Mayor: A poll from the Oakland Chamber of Commerce has incumbent Jean Quan polling terribly (57% Unfavorable rating), and down for re-election. Quan polls decently for the first vote, but her support trails off significantly for the 2nd and 3rd votes, which puts here in 3rd place behind city council members Rebecca Kapaln and Libby Schaaf, with Schaaf getting a recent boost from the endorsement of Governor (and former Oakland Mayor) Jerry Brown. The poll is on page 36/50.
UK-2015: A You Gov poll of the British electorate has Labor up 33-31 over the Tories, with the UKIP taking 19 % of the vote. The Tories are actually holding up quite nicely given that the UKIP was expected to be drawing most of its support from their ranks. With that topline and a significant rise in support for the SNP in Scotland, it's highly likely that the country is heading towards another hung parliament.
AR-Sen, Gov: Bill Clinton wrapped up a three-day campaign tour of his home state yesterday. Early voting starts today.
IA-Sen: "Some farmer from Iowa who never went to law school" has officially become the "legitimate rape" of 2014, as Bruce Braley's remarks from March continue to play on the airwaves in Iowa, this time in a spot narrated by two farmers who do not appear to have law degrees.
MI-Sen: The list of candidates who want Obama on the campaign trail with them this year is very short, and on the Senate side, it's only one: Gary Peters. The rest of Obama's very light campaign schedule is dominated by gubernatorial nominees in blue states (like Anthony Brown in Maryland, who appeared with Obama yesterday).
NC-Sen: A good attack ad from Thom Tillis calls out Kay Hagan for voting for the 2009 stimulus, which just so happened to include a $396K grant to her husband's business. In Hagan's defense she probably would have had to read the bill to find out what's in it.
Ebola Panic: Several candidates--including Scott Brown, Michelle Nunn, and Pat Roberts--made or reiterated calls for travel bans over the weekend. Most notably, Kay Hagan flipped her position from no to yes. Thom Tillis had a nice little strategic win with his very early call for a travel ban, which forced Hagan to get on the record as a "no" at a time when Democrats weren't yet giving the idea any credence.
CA-52: The staff of Scott Peters (D) admitted to having a campaign playbook very, very similar to one that was stolen from the office of Carl DeMaio (R) back in May...but denies ever looking at the book of secrets that apparently collected dust for 5 months. Something smells here.
NE-02: Is Rep. Lee Terry, in an R+5 district, really the GOP incumbent most likely to lose? Internals for both parties have him down, which we haven't heard about Michael Grimm. The NRCC is spending heavily on TV here and just made a carbon copy of H.W.'s famous Willie Horton ad, painting Brad Ashford (D) as soft on crime.
NV-04: Early voting suggests this may be a late-developing race to keep an eye on. Democratic turnout in Clark County, which is 80% of the district, has been abysmal, and a big in-state wave could sink freshman Rep. Steven Horsford. The GOP targeted this seat in 2012 and held Horsford to 50%, and is running an underfunded but credible candidate this year in State Rep. Cresent Hardy.
SuperPACs: AAN and the Congressional Leadership Fund, both well-funded GOP SuperPACs, are playing offense in the final weeks, investing $3 million on a group of mostly second-tier targets: IA-1, HI-1, MA-6, IL-12, FL-26, NY-18, and MN-7. Previously, no GOP groups were targeting the first three of those seats.
IL-Gov: The Chicago Sun-Times, traditionally the more liberal of the city's two major papers, broke its policy no-endorsements policy to back Bruce Rauner. That's a nice get for Rauner after a run of bad polling that has seen him fall a couple points behind odious Gov. Pat Quinn (D).
Texas: SCOTUS upheld the state's new Voter ID law (which includes a strict photo ID requirement). Early voting starts today, which explains why the court quickly churned out this opinion on Saturday morning.
This will be our last regular ratings post before the big pre-election extravaganza in two weeks. We have moved 17 races since we published our September ratings three weeks ago. This month, RRH is projecting a net shift between R+0 and R+12.
15 of our changes are in the GOP's favor:
CA-10 Safe R from Likely R || CO-6 Lean R from Tossup || IA-1 Lean D from Likely D || IL-12 Lean R from Tossup || MA-9 Likely D from Safe D || ME-2 Lean D from Likely D || MI-1 Likely R from Lean R || MI-7 Safe R from Likely R || MI-8 Safe R from Likely R || ND-AL Safe R from Likely R || NV-3 Safe R from Likely R || NY-23 Safe R from Likely R || VA-10 Likely R from Lean R || WI-6 Safe R from Likely R || WV-3 Lean R from Tossup
And just 2 are in Dems' favor:
GA-12 Lean D from Tossup || NE-2 Tossup from Lean R