Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest 2/4/14

Posted by admin on February 4, 2014

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest
Leading Off:


  • Fundraising: In case you haven’t seen it yet, Daily Kos Elections’ massive fourth quarter House fundraising chart is now available. We have listings for over 300 candidates in more than 120 different races, ranging from longshots to top-tier battles, with plenty of hotly contested primaries thrown in as well. You won’t find a more comprehensive—and more succinct—roundup anywhere else. 

    You should also check out our companion chart featuring challengers who have pulled off the difficult feat of outraising incumbents, and the even rarer group of those who have more cash in the bank than the office-holders they’re looking to unseat. Lots of data for election junkies to pore over at both links!


4Q Fundraising:




    • MT-Sen: John Walsh (D): $583,000 raised, $436,000 cash-on-hand; Dirk Adams (D): $103,000 raised, $69,000 cash-on-hand; John Bohlinger (D): $20,000 raised (incl. $10,000 in self-funding)


    • TX-Sen: John Cornyn (R-inc): $1.5 million raised, $6.5 million cash-on-hand


  • TX-Gov: Greg Abbott (R): $3.1 million raised (in January), $29.4 million cash-on-hand




    • KY-Sen: Rasmussen: Alison Grimes (D): 42, Mitch McConnell (R-inc): 42; Grimes 36, Matt Bevin (R): 40.


    • NH-Sen, -Gov: UNH has some new numbers for New Hampshire’s races for Senate and governor this fall. Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen leads all comers: 
      • 47-37 vs. ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown


      • 47-36 vs. ex-Sen. Bob Smith


      • 46-32 vs. ex-state Sen. Jim Rubens


      • 48-29 vs. conservative activist Karen Testerman


      Weirdly, UNH doesn’t seen any electability gap between Smith and Brown, which is very different from what most other polling has found. This is also the first time UNH has tested any of these candidates except for Rubens, who trailed by a winder 53-28 back in October. Other pollsters have also found slippage for Shaheen, though UNH is notorious for gyrating numbers. 

      UNH also finds Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan on top, leading Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas 45-34 and conservative activist Andrew Hemingway (her only declared opponent so far) 48-27.


  • OK-Sen-B: A new poll from Harper Polling of the still-developing GOP primary to replace Sen. Tom Coburn finds Rep. Jim Lankford crushing state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, 54-18. It would be a very different story if ex-Rep. J.C. Watts entered the fray, though, as he’d narrowly lead Lankford 40-37, with Shannon at 8. Shannon, though, used to work for Watts, so there may be a relationship there that might dissuade Watts from making a bid. Watts has also been out of office for over a decade and retired voluntarily, so who knows how interested he is in getting back in the game.




    • GA-Gov: This new report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution is just an absolutely brutal dissection of GOP Gov. Nathan Deal’s leadership—or rather, extreme lack thereof—before and during the recent ice storm that utterly crippled the Atlanta region, with devastating effects that included thousands of children stuck in schools overnight, and even some trapped on buses. Unfortunately, the piece now appears to be locked behind a paywall, but Better Georgia has a run-down of some of the key excerpts

      Perhaps most symbolic: As the storm began moving in, Deal was busy participating in a “Gone With the Wind”-themed event to promote tourism, and even “posed for a photo with Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler.” Later that same day, he attended a luncheon where Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was receiving an award for “Georgian of the Year.” It’s a safe bet that neither man will be in the running for that honor next year, but these little vignettes only tell a tiny part of the story. The full extent of the debacle, which included Deal failing to declare a state of emergency until five hours after snowfall began, is just extraordinary.


    • IL-Gov: Though they’ve surveyed the GOP primary countless times, conservative pollster We Ask America hasn’t actually polled the general election, until now. And their numbers are absolutely brutal for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who trails the entire Republican field: 
      • 39-48 vs. state Sen Bill Brady


      • 37-46 vs. state Sen. Kirk Dillard


      • 37-46 vs. state Treasurer Dan Rutherford


      • 39-47 vs. venture capitalist Bruce Rauner


      Quinn’s standing is not too different from where the only other recent poll found him; PPP placed Quinn between 39 and 41 percent in November, truly awful for an incumbent. The real difference is that WAA sees the various Republican contenders reaching for the top half of the 40s. Even if you think PPP’s numbers deserve greater respect, neither set is remotely good for Quinn. 

      One thing we want to note, though, is that WAA had a very Republican-leaning track record in 2012. We’ve put together a chart of all the final polls they released from October onward, and if you click through, you can see a clear pattern. WAA didn’t have a ton of awful misses (like, say, St. Pete Polls or McLaughlin & Associates), but 17 of their 22 end-of-cycle polls tilted in the GOP direction, several by double digits. This chart also leaves out a lot of weirdness, like the fact that WAA’s penultimate IL-08 poll (taken just a couple of weeks earlier in October) found Duckworth trailing Walsh by 3 points. 

      If you’re a very keen follower of We Ask America, this probably doesn’t surprise you, since they are, after all, the polling arm of the extremely right-wing Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. But the IMA goes to great lengths to mask their stewardship of WAA, so it’s important that all analysts are aware of this relationship. None of this is to say, though, that Quinn isn’t in a ton of trouble. He certainly is. But polling on this race has been very scarce, and you shouldn’t rely overmuch on the likes of We Ask America.


    • MI-Gov: During the Super Bowl, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled one of the strangest television ads I’ve seen this so far this cycle. The 60-second spot features Snyder surfacing from a pool wearing a mask, snorkel, and full wetsuit as a narrator intones: “Some call him a nerd. But Michigan now calls him the comeback kid.” There’s so much weird about this whole ad that I hardly know where to start. 

      First off, the pool imagery is just bizarre in its own right. What on earth is it supposed to mean? Secondly, the narrator has trouble enunciating his Rs, so “nerd” actually comes out sounding like something halfway between “ned” and “newd.” Thirdly, “comeback kid” makes no sense. Maybe Detroit is the “comeback city,” but the phrase “comeback” implies that you’re, you know, coming back from something. It does not mean you assisted in a comeback for someone or something else. So what the hell is Snyder “coming back” from? Bill Clinton earned the nickname because he finished a respectable second in the 1992 New Hampshire primary after polls showed him getting trounced. Is Snyder trying to say he’s rebounding from his own crappy polling numbers? 

      As a slow jazzy tune plays throughout the rest of the ad, the narrator keeps calling Snyder a nehd and rattles of a litany of supposed achievements, though at least from here on out, the camera pans across the Michigan landscape and not the pool at the YMCA. Until the very end, that is, when Snyder’s visage, half cast in shadow, glowers out of the gloom as the narrator informs us that he’s Batman. Well, maybe Aquaman, anyway. 

      Meanwhile, the DGA has a new ad of its own that takes direct aim at Snyder’s long-since worn out “one tough nerd” shtick. Here, the narrator says that a “it doesn’t take a much brainpower to see Rick Snyder’s economic policies are failing the middle class,” then criticizes Snyder for cutting school funding and raising taxes on seniors to give tax cuts to businesses.


    • NE-Gov: State Sen. Charlie Janssen is bailing on the Nebraska GOP primary for governor, and in a bit of candor rare for most politicians, he actually admitted it’s because he realized he had no hope. “The way the field was shaping up,” said Janssen, “I didn’t see a clear path to victory.” Gotta respect that. Janssen did say he might run for state auditor, a position that’s open because the current incumbent, Mike Foley, is one of the heavyweights who pushed Janssen toward the exits in the gubernatorial race.


  • OH-Gov: In an incredibly un-shocking move, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has announced that he won’t oppose Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald for the Democratic nomination for governor. Portune thought he could take advantage of FitzGerald’s stumble over his initial selection for a running-mate (since dropped from the ticket), but Portune never seemed serious about running, wasn’t able to garner any establishment support, and had no money. With the filing deadline on Wednesday, it looks like Fitz will now have a clear shot at Republican Gov. John Kasich.




    • CA-33: Break out your Drudge sirens, kids, because Richard Simmons is not—I repeat, NOT—running for Congress! Actually, his response on Twitter to Roll Call‘s Abby Livingston (who cleverly thought to ask) was pretty funny: “i think not lol.” Meanwhile, the two actual Democrats running each announced endorsements from a member of Congress: Rep. Karen Bass for state Sen. Ted Lieu and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard for former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel.


    • FL-13: Say what

      “Republican David Jolly said he supports a minimum wage, but doesn’t think politicians should set it.”


      Sounds like someone needs a Schoolhouse Rock refresher! Either that, or Jolly believes in the magic of the invisible hand with the fervor of a four-year-old who still hasn’t learned that Santa [spoiler alert] isn’t actually real. The rest of Jolly’s explanation doesn’t make much more sense: 

      “Minimum wage should be indexed to inflation or subject to a cost-of-living adjustment like any other federal income program …” Jolly said in an email. “That means some years it may go up, other years it may stay static. Barack Obama is not an economist, neither is the Congress.”


      First off, indexing the minimum wage to inflation is exactly what Obama called for in his most recent State of the Union address. Second off, who exactly would establish this regime? You guessed it: politicians. Someone needs to tell this guy how government actually works. 

      Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Times takes a detailed look at David Jolly’s lobbying work on behalf of an obscure but wealthy businessman, James MacDougal, who founded a conservative advocacy group called Free Enterprise Nation. The entire piece is full of denials by Jolly that he actually lobbied for anything, including privatizing Social Security, increasing health care costs for veterans, expanding oil drilling off the coast of Florida, and opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act to fight income inequality between men and women—even though he listed these topics on his disclosure forms. You sort of wonder what MacDougal was paying Jolly for, since he apparently can’t remember doing much of anything. 

      What’s also amusing is that Jolly has been whining about Alex Sink not wanting to debate him—never the hallmark of a winning campaign—but he insists: “I’m not going to confront these questions about lobbying that much further.” Guess he doesn’t want to debate, either (though the two did in fact go head-to-head Monday night).


    • FL-19: Gov. Rick Scott has scheduled the dates for Florida’s second special election this year, to fill the seat of ex-Rep. Trey Radel. The all-important primary in this heavily red district will take place on April 22, while the general is set for June 24. To serve a full term, the winner would then have to run again in the state’s regularly scheduled Aug. 26 primary, followed by the November general election. 

      Meanwhile, state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, who’d already been running ads to boost her name recognition, has finally made the obvious official: She’ll run for Radel’s seat. However, attorney Chauncey Goss has decided against a bid. Two other Republicans are already in the race, businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel.


  • IA-03: Attorney Brenna Findley, legal counsel to Gov. Terry Branstad, is saying no to a bid for Congress, even though the NRCC had prodded her toward a run. Plenty of Republicans are already in this open-seat race, but presumably establishment types aren’t thrilled with the field since they were hunting for an alternative.


Other Races:


  • New Orleans Mayor: On Saturday, the Big Easy went to the polls and easily re-elected incumbent Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu defeated former judge and fellow Democrat Michael Bagneris 64-33. In 2010’s open seat race, Landrieu won a very similar 66 percent. New Orleans has a long tradition of reelecting its mayors: The last incumbent to be tossed out of office was Robert Maestri in 1946. 

    Despite some early speculation that Republicans would open their wallets for Bagneris to try and wound the Landrieu family (Mitch’s sister Mary is, of course, running for reelection to the Senate in November), this does not appear to have happened. Instead, Bagneris received the backing of many of the city’s once-influential African American political organizations. These groups were very powerful during and in the decades after the Civil Rights Movement but have fallen on hard times recently. 

    Bagneris also had the endorsements of both the city Democratic and Republican parties. However, given Landrieu’s personal popularity and the general sense that the city is moving in the right direction, they were not nearly enough for Bagneris. (Jeff Singer)

Last modified on February 4, 2014

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