We have a number of changes from our pre-Labor Day rankings from early August with 9 of the top 15 ranking slots changing hands and 5 of the top 15 races shifting in partisan advantage.
Favorable changes for the Republicans:
West Virginia moves from Likely Republican to Safe Republican
Louisiana moves from Tossup to Lean Republican
New Hampshire from Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic
Favorable changes for the Democrats:
South Dakota moves from Safe Republican to Likely Republican
Kansas moves from Likely Republican to Tossup
Here are our rankings from August. With the addition of Tilt categories, RRH is currently projecting a net shift of R+6 in the Senate, for a 51-49 GOP majority, with Republicans picking up MT, WV, SD, LA, AR, and AK, and losing none of our existing seats. Our broader projection calls for a net shift of between R+3 and R+9.
It is Friday, and Scotland remains oppressed by the yoke of English tyranny. We must all drink some single malt scotch to console ourselves.
If that's not your thing, you can also distract yourself with our newest Senate Rankings post coming out this weekend.
Here are some questions to get the conversation started over the weekend.
1. Should Republicans compete in dark blue states by backing independents instead of running their own candidates? Can we mirror the Alaska and Kansas races in any states of our own?
2. Whether or not Wisconsin will have voter ID this November is up in the air. Link here. The law has been ruled constitutional but because there are only 7 weeks left before the election, Democrats are trying to stop the law from going into effect before this election in particular.
More broadly, are voter ID laws good politics? Is it worth the reduction in voter fraud to give the Democrats a wedge issue with minorities and/or the poor?
Scotland and the United Kingdom In case you have not heard, Scottish voters rejected independence by a 10 point margin yesterday. Click here for the results based on council districts.
Cameron/Johnson: London Mayor and Tory leadership hopeful in waiting, Boris Johnson, is leading the angry Tory/English mob who thinks Prime Minister David Cameron gave too much away in the final days of the referendum campaign without the consent of Parliament. If Cameron does not come up with good answers to several questions regarding powers of English MPs and handouts to Scotland, his days are doomed.
United States IA-Sen: Senator Chuck Grassley has played a leading role in helping Iowa Republicans in statewide and congressional races. Grassley's hands on involvement in Iowa politics seems in contrast to some senators, i.e. Pat Roberts, which leads to problems at home that can fester and cause problems for them when they run for reelection.
KS-Sen: The Kansas Supreme Court has overturned the Kansas Secretary of State and will allow Democrat Chad Taylor to withdraw his name from the ballot. Kansas Democrats have 10 days to name a new candidate if they choose. While I pretty skeptical of how Kansas handles such things, considering the prior behavior of the SoS and the vague statute, this probably the ruling you would get from any court with these facts.
MA-Sen/POTUS: Senator Elizabeth Warren is opposing action in Syria, which gives her some breathing room between herself and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary world.
PA-8/PA-GOV: Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords PAC has released an ad supporting Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick for reelection. In addition, her PAC has released a poll showing Fitzpatrick crushing Kevin Strouse by 30 points. The most interesting part of the poll is that Governor Corbett only trails Tom Wolf by 3 points in PA-8. If true, that would bring into question the polling showing Corbett down 20%+ statewide.
LA-5: Scumbag Congressman Vance McAllister's chief of staff Gregory Terry has been arrested for DUI in Louisiana. From the sounds of it, Terry takes after his boss as he lied to the cops about his drinking while having alcohol in the vehicle.
WI-Gov: Democratic candidate Mary Burke has been caught stealing the campaign platforms of three previous Democratic candidates for Governor in other states. One must wonder if the public cares and if they actually expect politicians to have original ideas.
Today is Scotland's Independence Referendum. Polls have shown the two sides neck and neck, though in recent days "NO" has held a tiny lead in most surveys. A "YES" vote means that Scotland will break away from the United Kingdom. Polls are closing at 5PM Eastern and full results are likely to come by around 2AM tomorrow. Here is an open thread to discuss the results.
Today's polling roundup includes the first batch of Fox News "Battleground" polls of the cycle. This year, Fox (which had previously used Rasmussen) has hired client pollsters Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), who have teamed up to produce bipartisan polls.
CO-Sen: Quinnipiac: Cory Gardner (R) 52, Mark Udall (D-inc) 42. This is from the same sample that had Beaupez +10 in CO-Gov yesterday.
GA-Sen: Rasmussen: David Perdue (R) 46, Michelle Nunn (D) 41.
IA-Sen: Fox News: Joni Ernst (R) 41, Bruce Braley (D) 41. The polling has been all over the place here of late; it's really a matter of what firm you believe.
LA-Sen: Fox News: Bill Cassidy (R) 35, Mary Landrieu (D-inc) 31, Rob Maness (R) 7. Runoff: Cassidy (R) 51, Landrieu (D) 38. This is by far the worst poll we've seen for Landrieu.
KS-Sen: Fox News: Pat Roberts (R-inc) 40, Greg Orman (I) 38, Chad Taylor (D) 11. Without Taylor: Orman (I) 48, Roberts (R) 42.
NC-Sen: Fox News: Kay Hagan (D-inc) 41, Thom Tillis (R) 36. This polling has stabilized, to a degree.
NH-Sen: New England College: Jeanne Shaheen (D-inc) 51, Scott Brown (R) 40. See below for NH-Gov, NH-01, and NH-02 numbers from NEC.
CA-07: The Tarrance Group (R) for Doug Ose: Doug Ose (R) 48, Ami Bera (D-inc) 44. Let's see if we get a response from Bera today.
CA-52: SUSA: Scott Peters (D-inc) 47, Carl DeMaio (R) 46. SUSA has had some weird outliers in this district before but if this is true, Peters has made a surprising comeback after a dismal June showing.
NH-01: New England College: Carol Shea-Porter (D-inc) 46, Frank Guinta (R) 42.
NH-02: New England College: Annie Kuster (D-inc) 50, Marilinda Garcia (R) 36.
NH-01, 02: Normington Petts (D): Shea-Porter (D-inc) 45, Guinta (R) 43. Also, Kuster (D-inc) 47, Garcia (R) 42. Normington polled on behalf of a gun control PAC, which just went on the airwaves with buys supporting CSP and Kuster. It's helpful that they polled on the same day as NEC, and interesting that they give the GOP better numbers than the nonpartisan pollster.
NY-01: Siena: Tim Bishop (D-inc) 51, Lee Zeldin (R) 41. FWIW, Siena had Bishop up by double digits as well at this point in both 2012 in 2010. He won both years, but by much smaller margins.
IA-Gov: Quinnipiac: Terry Branstad (R-inc) 60, Jack Hatch (D) 37.
IA-Gov: Fox News: Terry Branstad (R-inc) 50, Jack Hatch (D) 37.
KS-Gov: Fox News: Paul Davis (D) 45, Sam Brownback (R-inc) 41.
NH-Gov: New England College: Maggie Hassan (D-inc) 51, Walt Havenstein (R) 36.
Scotland Programming Note. We will be running an open thread this evening as results become available.
Live Feed: The Daily Telegraph is running a feed now of the events as Scotland decides if it wants to undo the Act of Union or not.
Congress AR-Sen: The Atlantic has a profile of Congressman Tom Cotton, his rise to stardom in conservative circles, and the reaction to his career trajectory in Arkansas.
KY-Sen: Warren Buffet backed out of a video appearance at a fundraiser for Democratic nominee Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Some are speculating the appearance was cancelled due to Buffet's role in a recent corporate inversion of Burger King and closing down a Fruit of the Loon plant in Kentucky. I just think he did not have time for a losing Senate candidate.
OK-Sen: Retiring Senator and RRH favorite Tom Coburn is having a good old time highlighting issues with the legislative process in his last days in the Senate. Coburn, whose retiring in part due to the Senate being dysfunctional, is holding up a travel promotion bill due to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid holding up a number of other bills and the Senate's inability to debate President Obama's decision to use force in Syria.
NY-11: Many of us on RRH had wrote off Congressman Michael Grimm, but it appears he might be rising from the depths of the political dead. Public and private polling have him in the lead with less than 2 months to go.
PA-6: The NRA is playing an active role in aiding Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello against two (soon to be three) time loser Democratic nominee Manan Trivedi. The fact the NRA is playing in this race shows the complete lack of activity in other districts, the rural nature of large swaths of the district, and how most of the suburban areas of the district are pro-gun.
Campaign Themes: As Congress wraps up work before heading to the campaign trail, Republicans and Democrats are honing in on what issues are important to them on the campaign trail. Republicans are working on a number of jobs bills that the Senate has stalled while Democrats seem focused on pushing a minimum wage hike and a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United.
States CO-Gov: What is going on in Colorado? National Review examines some of the polling and tries to put it in context. Nothing really surprising here.
Other Philly-Mayor: Former District Attorney Lynne Abraham has thrown her hat in the ring for Mayor. Abraham might be competing against her successor, Seth Williams, for the Democratic nomination as well.
DNC: Politico has published its semi-annual article stating Democrats want to toss DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The fact DWS has held on this long shocks me.
AK-Sen: An AFL-CIO Poll has Begich up by 4, but with high undecideds.
CO-Sen: A new group, Project New America, is out with a poll showing Incumbent Senator Udall up 2 points on his challenger Cory Gardner. The group looks like a Left-wing advocacy group, so we can probably treat their polls as D internals.
CO-Sen-2: Suffolk is out with a poll showing Republican Cory Gardner up by 1.
LA-Sen: Gravis has 43-30-14 Landrieu-Cassidy-Maness.
WI-Gov: Marquette is out with a poll that shows Walker and Burke tied amoung RVs, with Walker nabbing a narrow 3-point lead amoung LVs. This makes more sense than their last poll, with Walker leading RVs but losing LVs.
WI-Gov-2: Ras is also out with a poll showing Walker up 2 with Likely Voters.
IL-12: Republican Mike Bost (Of Springfield Rant fame) has decided to embrace the label the Democrats are trying to put on him in his latest ad. He’s angry—he’s angry about what Pat Quinn has done, what Obama has done, and what National Democrats have done. All in all this is a pretty good ad for this sort of district.
NC-Sen-2016: Burr has officially denied all the rumors of a potential retirement, and has said that he’s planning on running for re-election in 2016. That’s good for us, as we want to lock down as many 2016 Senate seats as we can early, and Burr is decently popular in the state. Also, the Democrat’s top potential recruit, former Charlotte mayor and current Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, has privately and publicly denied interest in running for the seat, citing Burr’s support of his nomination.
NY-11: Well, I have to admit I didn’t see this coming. Michael Grimm, the Staten Island congressman currently indicted for fraud, is leading his opponent, New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia 44-40. Grimm was considered the most vulnerable Republican incumbent of the cycle (and second to only CA-31 in likelihood of a Democratic pickup), so this is a rather remarkable comeback for the Congressman. It’s also the latest in a string of good congressional news for us from New York State (R’s on the offensive in NY-24, great polling from NY-21 and NY-19). Here’s to hoping that continues in the Siena NY-1 poll that will be released today.
MI-1: The NRCC is spending $1 Million here defending Republican Dan Benishek. Benishek had a surprisingly close race in 2012, but this seems unusual as I figured we put away this district when the generic ballot swung 5 points or so our way. The in-house polling here must be bad for us for the NRCC to drop that much on it.
Money: Democrats are outspending Republicans in almost every competitive Congressional and Senate race lately. The map in the link does a pretty good job showing the extent of the gap, with Republicans only up in New Hampshire and some of the states the Democrats have all but conceded.
WV-3: Nick Rahall has (well, now "had") a staffer with a very anti-Israel facebook page. This goes beyond the normal pro-Palestine boilerplate stuff and includes a picture of him posing with an AK-47 wearing a keffiyeh that he claims identifies him as an “enemy of Zionism”. This is latest in a new kind of scandal, the “Staffer doing something stupid on social media” category that has popped up over the last few cycles.
IL-Gov: In case you were wondering why Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) was polling so terribly, this is a good example. Quinn’s 2010 anti-violence program is under federal investigation for inappropriate use of funds, and Republican candidate Bruce Rauner has accused the Governor of using it as a political slush fund to pay backers to boost turnout in downtown Chicago in his initial 2010 re-election. This hits particularly hard since a big part of Quinn’s 2010 platform was to fight corruption in Illinois after the Blago fiasco.
MA-Gov: The only way Republicans can win in Massachusetts is by peeling away parts of the D base, and it looks like Baker is doing just that. He’s gotten an endorsement from the D mayor of Quincy, along with a non-non-endorsement from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, which are the sort of things Republicans need to win statewide. Combine that with Coakley’s unimpressive primary win and her 2010 loss weighing down her expectations, and you have the making of a winnable race for the Republicans.
Early Voting: This is a great site to keep track of each state’s early voting returns and data.
CA-Sos: Well this was unexpected. The LA Times has endorsed the Republican running for this office, Pete Peterson. Peterson is up against Democrat Alex Padilla, who the paper thinks is more interested in using the office as a stepping stone to something else. The LA Times mentions Peterson's past efforts to increase voter engagement in their endorsement, and claims that he’s got the better non-partisan credentials for the office.
Republican Branding: Stu Rothenberg takes a look at how the Republican Party’s national image has improved since last year’s shutdown.
Oakland-Mayor: Jean Quan, the incumbent mayor, is down 39-61 to challenger Rebecca Kaplan in a head-to-head election. Quan is most famous for taking a hard line against the Occupy Oakland protesters back in 2011, which made her a persona non grata in a city that’s even more Liberal than San Francisco. The city uses a ranked system, so the field of 14 candidates will eventually get thinned down to 2, though Kaplan isn't necessarily guarenteed the 2nd spot.
Pres-2016: John Hunstman is rumored to be considering an Indy bid for president.
Senate: Politico takes a look at which Republican senators would likely lead committees if the party takes the majority.
IA-Sen: Bill Clinton came to campaign for Bruce Braley (D) over the weekend, but ended up getting more press for his rambling range of topics including marijuana, Woodstock, Haiti and cattle, and for calling Braley "Bruce Bailey" at the end of the speech.
CA-26: Democrats are apparently becoming increasingly worried about this seat. The DCCC is increasing their investment in the district and privately Democrats are saying Rep. Julia Brownley (D) is in a dead heat with state Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R). Although Brownley has a big cash advantage over Gorell, Democrats are concerned because a large percentage of Democratic voters in the district often stay home in non-presidential election years.
MI-11: Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R), who lost to David Trott in the Republican primary by almost 2-1, is considering filing as an official write-in candidate for the November election. Bentivolio is rejecting calls for unity saying he has no loyalty to the party and doesn't seem concerned about splitting the vote and giving Democratic candidate Bobby McKenzie a chance to win and actually sounds like he would welcome it. Considering his lackluster primary campaign though, his impact as a write-in candidate would probably be minimal.
PA-6/PA-8: Democrats' failure in these two seats is being seen as a sign of their problems nationally. They are the type of moderate, suburban seats that the party needs to be able to win to do well nationally, but their candidates in the two seats had difficult primary races, trail badly in fundraising and are fighting headwinds with President Obama's poor poll numbers. The party's chance in both seats have recently been downgraded by analysts with Charlie Cook moving PA-6 from lean to likely R and Stuart Rothenberg moving PA-8 to safe R.
NE-Gov/LG: Libertarian candidate for governor Mark Elworth is challenging in court the ruling of Secretary of State John Gale in allowing State Auditor Mike Foley to replace now ex-LG Lavon Heidemann as Pete Ricketts' running mate on the ballot. Elworth said he initially did not expect to file a challenge because he expected the Democratic Party to do so. For their part, state Democratic Party chairman Vince Powers said they didn't file a challenge "because Chuck is going to win".
NY-Gov: Political insiders are saying that New York Mayor Bill De Blasio (D) could challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) if he runs for a 3rd term in 2018 and would likely beat him. De Blasio is said to be very ambitious and expressed an interest in being governor, and his ambition is being compared to Cuomo's father Mario, who as LG in 1982 forced Gov. Hugh Carey (D) to retire by threatening to run against him in the primary.
WI-Gov: Democrats have outspent Gov. Scott Walker (R) on broadcast TV over the summer, a change from the 2012 recall campaign when Walker outspent his opponents on broadcast TV by about 2-1. Although the Walker campaign has spent more on broadcast TV than the campaign of Mary Burke (D), spending by a group funded by organized labor has allowed the combined forces to outspend Walker.
KY-Gov 2015: Unsuccessful Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin is strongly considering a run for governor next year. For now, Bevin appears to be trying to curry favor among Republican voters by attending fundraisers for Republican state House candidates. If he gets in the race, he would join state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner in the GOP primary.
Pres. 2016: Here's a name hardly anybody would have expected to hear connected to the race for the Republican presidential nomination: Bob Ehrlich. The former Maryland Governor and congressman was in New Hampshire over the weekend, appearing at several events. Ehrlich appeard at the events at the invitation of a New Hampshire businessman who says he thinks Ehrlich could be a dark horse candidate.
TN-AG: Herbert Slatery (R) has been appointed Attorney General for an 8 year term by the state Supreme Court, becoming the first Republican ever to hold the post. Slatery was chosen in a unanimous vote over 5 other candidates, including current AG Robert Cooper. Slatery was seen as a compromise choice between Cooper and another candidate favored by LG Ron Ramsey (R).