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 Tom 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
Congress House Leadership: The Republican House leadership is spreading the cash around to ensure the party expands its majority in the House and expand the good will the leadership has among members and future members.
AR-Sen: RRH favorite Congressman Tom Cotton outraised Senator Mark Pryor by a near 2 to 1 margin. Cotton also has a 3 to 1 margin in the last month.
Crystal Ball: Larry Sabato has made many rankings changes in his latest update. All but one of the rankings, GA-Sen, favors the Republicans and are very similar to our ranking changes.
Ebola/Wall Street/Gloom: The sense that the world is falling apart cannot be good for the Democrats. With the public hysteria over Ebola and the markets reacting to a general sense of gloom and economic fears, things are not shaping up well for the Democrats.
More Ebola: While the issue is fueling the sense of doom around the President, it is also filtering its way down to the individual races with candidates trying to position themselves as taking harder lines against the virus. I am waiting for a candidate on the fringe to say something stupid like ordering the nuking of Liberia to kill the virus.
Campaign Cash: The Hill has a breakdown of the campaign cash winners and losers for the 3rd quarter and how it could impact races down the stretch.
Hispanics: A continuing mantra that I am not sure will play out, but it appears more likely to play out is Hispanics souring on the President and Democrats for not being able to deliver anything over the last 6 years.
IA-Sen: Senator Tom Harkin continues to sit on $2.4 million of campaign funds and will not transfer them to the DSCC to aid in the defense of his former Senate seat as Congressman Bruce Braley (D) continues to flail in the wind. Instead Harkin is giving the money to charity.
States CO-Gov: Unaffiliated candidate for Governor, Mike Dunafon, is receiving support for his pot loving campaign from Bill O'Reilly's favorite rapper of all time, Snopp Dog. Dunafon is the only candidate running who supports the voters decision to legalize pot in Colorado. I am surprised Snopp Dog has not relocated to Colorado yet!
PA-HD-158: The Commonwealth Court has upheld its own initial plan for permitting Chester County Republicans to substitute current State Rep Chris Ross for Republican nominee Cuyler Walker on the November ballot. Democrats have challenged the initial Commonwealth Court ruling permitting Ross to be placed on the ballot after the deadline. Not surprising as the Commonwealth Court has pretty much taken the loosest interpretation of ballot access rules as of late. FYI this is my legislative district.
PA-Supremes: State Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCafferty has admitted to sending pornographic emails and has said sorry, but he took his apology as a chance to further his feud with Chief Justice Ronald Castille. In case you did not now, Castille and McCafferty will not be sharing Christmas cards and probably have never shared such warm pleasantries.
Very slow polling day today... but we have a big announcment: RRH will be poling AZ-2 next week. Results will be out a week from this Monday, on October 27.
CO-Sen: Quinnipiac has Cory Gardner (R) up 49-44 on Mark Udall (D), or 47-41-8 when the third party candidate is included. Gardner has clearly pulled into a lead here.
CA-52: A weird SUSA poll does not test the horserace but finds Carl DeMaio's (R) favorables slipping to 34/38 with "adults" (not even RV's) in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
MN-07: An internal for Torrey Westrom (R) has him up 44-43. Dem internals have Collin Peterson (D) well ahead, but both parties are spending like this is a tight race.
NJ-02: Monmouth has longtime Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R) up 56-35. There had been some weird rumors that perennial overperformer LoBo was vulnerable in his swing district, but it looks to be more of the same this fall.
MA-Gov: Rasmussen has Baker (R) up 48-46. Polling continues to be all over the place on this race.
AR-Sen: Rasmussen has Cotton up 47-44, though they don't have it as a seperate page yet (Their "read more" link takes you to their Septemeber poll of the race) They now have the correct page up.
Congress Ebola: The Hill does not use the dramatic language I have been using, but the Ebola crisis has the ability to be President Obama's Iraq and Katrina wrapped up into one vicious package that forever undermines his presidency.
NY-24: Republicans have turned their attention to a race that was largely off the radar a month or two ago, NY-24. National Republicans are touting the chances of John Katko and are infusing cash into his effort to unseat Congressman Dan Maffei.
PA-6: Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello raised over $500k in the 3rd quarter and has $725k cash on hand heading down the home stretch. Soon to be 3 time PA-6 loser Manan Trivedi has not released his report. RRH ranks this race Safe R.
PA-8: Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick has $2.1 million COH going into next month's election. His opponent, Kevin Strouse, has not released his numbers yet, but Fitzpatrick had a significant advantage going into the 3rd quarter already. RRH rates this race Safe R.
POTUS/States Warren-2016: The Hill gives 5 reasons that Senator Elizabeth Warren might run for President in 2016. I expect her not to run unless Hillary runs. If Hillary does not run, every Democrat available will be running.
FL-Gov: Former Governor Charlie Crist and Governor Rick Scott almost did not debate last night as Scott refused to take the stage initially as Crist had a fan at his feet. Scott eventually took the stage though. These guys are just not the most likable people.
MA-Gov: Former Democratic Attorney General Tom Reilly has came to the defense of Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker on claims he outsourced work to India as CEO of Harvard Pilgrim. Reilly says Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley is taking cheap shots against Baker, who Reilly worked to save Harvard Pilgrim a decade ago. Martha is just not a bright person when it comes to angering fellow Democrats.
PA-House Mugging: Typically our coverage of the PA House of Representatives is limited to crimes committed by members, but today we have crimes committed against members. Two members of the Democratic caucus were attacked by a pack of muggers in Harrisburg with one getting into a gunfight with the pack. State Reps Marty Flynn and Rep. Ryan Bizzarro excaped without injury as Flynn returned fire.
PA-Supreme Court: Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCafferty sent over 200 pornographic emails and had over 1500 pornographic emails in his account. McCafferty is now under investigation by the Supreme Court and the Judicial Conduct Board, which have the power to suspend him.