8:05 AM PT (Darth Jeff): FL-Gov: A new poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. on behalf of the News Service of Florida shows things all tied up. The survey gives both Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic rival former Gov. Charlie Crist 42 percent each. Almost every single poll of the race has shown at least a small Crist lead.
This appears to be Mason-Dixon's first poll since 2012. That election cycle was not kind to the company: They botched a number of key races, including in Florida. Mason-Dixon's final poll of the state gave Mitt Romney a 51-45 advantage, seven points redder than the actual results a few days later. The group also had an embarrassing incident in Utah's 4th District that year. As Steve Singiser recounted in a 2012 polling postmortem:
The firm made a huge splash in the final week of the campaign when they released a media-sponsored poll in Utah showing veteran Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson losing by double digits to Republican upstart Mia Love. With that poll release (and a subsequent release by local pollsters Dan Jones and Associates showing Love up by a more modest 5 points), House pundits began to shovel dirt on the prospects of the sole Democratic member of the delegation.Ouch. Hopefully Mason-Dixon has used the last year to take a serious look at what went wrong in 2012 and fix it. Only time will tell though.
But then, in the final hours of the campaign, Mason Dixon offered differing numbers on the race. It was an almost unprecedented step: a revision of a previously released poll. Apparently, M-D had weighted the poll using a statewide assumption of party ID, when the 4th district (centered largely in Salt Lake County) was quite a bit more Democratic than the state at-large. Thus, they recalibrated, and found Mia Love up by seven points (50-43) instead. She wound up losing by a single point, meaning that even in their final, last-ditch attempt at "unskewing" themselves, M-D still fell way off.
Rick Scott's camp also has a new ad out framing Crist as someone who abandoned the state in 2010 to run for the Senate rather than fix the state's considerable economic problems. The size of the buy is a monstrous $6.5 million.
8:16 AM PT (Darth Jeff): GA-12: Republican John Stone has a new ad out in the crowded primary to face Democratic Rep. John Barrow. Stone, a former Congressional aide and the party's 2008 nominee, opens the ad by firing a Revolutionary War-era cannon. Stone is pretty unsubtle with the imagery, saying an ancestor fired a similar cannon at the British and, "As the only licensed firearms dealer in America running for Congress, I'm willing to do the same if we have to."
Seeming to recognize that these days it'll be pretty hard to overthrow the government with 18th century weaponry, Stone says it'll be a whole lot easier to vote in people like him, "new House Republican leaders who will stand up to Obama and defend our Constitution." No word on the size of the buy, though given that Stone began April with only $55,000 in the bank it's probably not much.
10:14 AM PT: CA-Gov: There are two polls in California's gubernatorial race from the last few days, and they both tell the same story: Jerry Brown is already near 50%, and Neel Kashkari, the GOP establishment's preferred candidate, is stuck in the low single digits and unless he can break through the clutter, unlikely to make it out of the primary. The first poll is from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC); as usual, their poll is mostly on policy preferences, but if you scroll down to p. 23 of their pdf, they've buried some toplines in there: Brown 46, Tim Donnelly 9, Andrew Blount 3, Kashkari 2, and someone else 2.
The other poll is by Clear Path Strategies for a private client which got leaked to Carla Marinucci, who didn't beat around the bush with the headline "Neel Kashkari trails registered sex offender in new governor poll." The sex offender in question is Glenn Champ, who's somehow in third place, maybe simply because he has a cool-sounding name. This poll read the names all the Some Dudes in the race and identified their professions; also, this poll doesn't seem to have any undecideds, as all 15 candidates' totals add up to 100%. Regardless of weird methodology, this poll has Brown in about the same position as every other pollster: he's at 46, with Donnelly at 18, Champ at 7, Blount at 4, Alma Marie Winston at 4.1, and Kashkari at 3.8.
10:40 AM PT: HI-Gov: Some things never change, like Neil Abercrombie running against Mufi Hannemann. (It first happened in a House special election in 1986, and its most recent occurrence was the 2010 gubernatorial Dem primary.) Hannemann announced on Thursday that he'll run against Abercrombie again in the 2014 gubernatorial race ... except there's an interesting twist; he's doing it as an independent this time.
Hawaii is, as you've probably seen written dozens of time, a notoriously difficult state to poll, and while we haven't seen a poll of the race with an Abercrombie/Hannemann/Duke Aiona matchup, we did see a poll from February with the surprising result of Abercrombie (the Democratic incumbent) trailing Aiona (the Republican whom he beat by a wide margin in 2010). So, does the entry by the more conservative Hannemann (who'd considered running in the Republican primary this time, too) save Abercrombie's bacon, by splitting the anti-Abercrombie vote and the anti-same-sex-marriage vote? Or does the better-known Hannemann vacuum up most of Aiona's support and become the principal challenger? We'll have to wait for another poll to see, although, this being Hawaii, we won't have much confidence about the state of the race even then.
10:53 AM PT: WV-Sen: The first poll offering from Vox Populi (the new Republican polling firm on the block, with Mary Cheney as one of its partners) is in the West Virginia Senate race, where they find Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito leading Democratic SoS Natalie Tennant by a 49-33 margin. It's a woefully underpolled race, but the result is pretty similar to PPP's last poll here (from September 2013), where Capito led Tennant 50-36.
11:05 AM PT: WV-03: On Thursday, the House Majority PAC rolled out an anti-Evan Jenkins with the Koch brothers as primary boogeymen, and they referred to them in passing as "New York City billionaires." That ritual invocation of meddling outsiders in ads in rural states is something we at Daily Kos Elections have, in the past, dubbed the "Pace Picante effect."
Well, the Nick Rahall campaign is out with their own ad now, and it moves the Pace-ism to front-and-center in the ad (suggesting the meme has been focus-grouping especially well). It features a group of old-timers sitting in front of the general store, bemoaning the tenor of the campaign; when one of them points out that New York billionaires are behind it all, the whole group angrily exclaims "New York City?!?" in what has to be a direct callback to those Pace ads. (Roll Call's Abby Livingston helpfully includes a link to one of the original Pace ads for comparison purposes.)
11:34 AM PT: KY-Sen: The DSCC has been trying fighting the Koches an issue in Senate races this year, but in the Kentucky race, it looks like cockfighting that's becoming an issue instead. The issue briefly surfaced in early April when it was reported that Bevin had attended a pro-cockfighting rally, though Bevin contended it was actually a "states-rights rally." Additional reporting this week by local TV station WAVE, however, makes it clear Bevin would have to be completely oblivious to not have known what kind of rally he was attending; the speaker right before Bevin, American Gamefowl Defense Director Dave Devereaux, said at the rally it was for "the sole purpose of legalizing gamecock fighting at the state level." Bevin's defense? "I honestly wasn't even paying attention. I was thinking about what I was going to say."
This time, the controversy was enough to prompt Bevin to issue a statement in response, on Friday. Again, it sees him trying to pivot back to state's rights, to the extent that he invokes the 10th amendment.
The Bevin fail concerning cockfighting, in fact, threatens to overwhelm a potentially bigger screwup from Mitch McConnell that was reported on Thursday. At an earlier meeting with business leaders in Kentucky's Lee County, McConnell said in response to a question about economic development, that it wasn't his job to bring jobs to Kentucky.
“Economic development is a Frankfort issue,” McConnell said. “That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet."There's more nuance to the quote than just that, but given those raw materials, the next Alison Lundergan Grimes negative ad essentially writes itself. It definitely has shades of the quote that helped sink Sharron Angle in 2010 ("Once again, Harry Reid: It's not your job to create jobs."), though, of course, Angle gave oppo researchers a lot more to work with than just that.
On top of all that, we have a poll from the GOP-friendly Gravis Marketing, on behalf of Human Events magazine, of both the primary and general. McConnell leads Bevin 51-34 in the primary; McConnell leads Grimes 43-36 in the general, while Grimes leads Bevin 37-32. (For what it's worth, Gravis and Wenzel Strategies are the only pollsters in the last year to find anything more than a one-point lead for McConnell over Grimes.)
12:10 PM PT: CO-Sen: Adding a new wrinkle to the Colorado Senate race is the entry by a third-party candidate, Steve Shogan. Ordinarily some random independent showing up in a race isn't news, but Shogan is a locally prominent neurosurgeon, who, if he puts more effort into the race than the usual vanity run, may have the money and connections to make a wave or two. Complicating matters is that he's a former Democrat, though he's more of the 'radical centrist' variety and working an anti-Obamacare line, so he seems likelier to pull away Chamber of Commerce types from Cory Gardner.
12:27 PM PT: NY-13: The Bill Clinton press-release-only endorsement may be getting more space in the headlines, but here's an endorsement for Charlie Rangel in the NY-13 Democratic primary that has some actual numbers behind it. He's gotten the backing of DC 37, the city's AFSCME affiliate and largest municipal employees' union, which has 120,000 active members.
12:36 PM PT: PA-Gov: Plagiarism seems to be all the rage on the GOP side of the aisle this year, to the extent that some random candidate cribbing a few grafs from Rand Paul or Justin Amash's website isn't really even newsworthy anymore. So it's not surprising to see some of that on the Dem side, too, though probably not too many people had Tom Wolf in the 'most likely to plagiarize' pool. The source is a little odd, though: the gubernatorial candidate had to admit that parts of his "Fresh Start" platform (mostly just platitudes like "Energy efficiency has been called the 'fifth fuel'") were lifted directly from two research papers by energy equipment company Johnson Controls.
12:49 PM PT: IA-Sen: Bruce Braley's campaign is out with its first ad in the Iowa Senate race; it's a 60-second long bio spot featuring Braley and his mother talking about his up-by-the-bootstraps story. It's a nice humanizing ad, but it's also pretty clearly an attempt to clear up any post-gaffe sense that he's a trial lawyer who hates farmers, saying "hey, I used to be some schmoe working in a grain elevator, too!" Size of the buy is $241k over two weeks.
There's also an ad from yet another mysterious Republican outside group, called Trees of Liberty. The ad isn't anti-Braley, though, but rather targeted toward the GOP primary, hitting Mark Jacobs for being inadequately anti-cap-and-trade (they aren't clear about which candidate they'd prefer). It's a $257k buy.
Finally, the Senate Conservatives Fund weighed in on the race, endorsing Joni Ernst, whom they apparently feel is the more conservative than Jacobs, the other candidate who can lay claim to partial-front-runner status in this fractured field.
12:56 PM PT: AK-Sen: Dan Sullivan takes a page from Scott Brown in his newest ad, breaking out the barn coat as adornment for his message that "hey, I'm all about the blue-collar energy production jobs!"
Also, if you've been wondering about who's funding the Put Alaska First PAC, which has aired a number of pro-Mark Begich ads lately (including the notably pro-ACA ad featuring a cancer survivor), well, there's mostly just one source: the Senate Majority PAC. SMP just gave another $265K to Put Alaska First; 82% of Put Alaska First's receipts have come from SMP.
1:00 PM PT: MS-Sen: Incumbent GOP senator Thad Cochran's newest ad hits Chris McDaniel on meth ... not for doing it, but rather for voting against legislation in the state legislature in 2010 that cut the number of meth labs in the state by 93%.
1:07 PM PT: IA-03: Hey, it's not hiding behind your children; it's using a credible third party validator. In this case, it's businessman Monte Shaw, one of the many Republican candidates looking to succeed Tom Latham in the 3rd, who uses his elementary-school-age daughter to score some points about the national debt in his newest ad.
1:11 PM PT: CA-15: Eric Swalwell, who faces a challenge from state Sen. Ellen Corbett for his first re-election, is out with an ad promoting the link between clean energy and job creation. It's not clear yet where the ad will actually run, given the sheer expense of buying time in the Bay Area market.
1:16 PM PT: VA-10: Here's a reminder of an upcoming primary election tomorrow that may not be on your radar, since it's on a Saturday and not really part of the regular election rotation. The Republican nominee in VA-10, open for the first time in decades thanks to Frank Wolf's retirement, is a "firehouse primary," with only 10 locations around the district, open for only five hours. State Del. Barbara Comstock is heavily favored to win, given her financial advantages, though you have to wonder if the nature of the "firehouse primary," likely only to attract the most motivated and most attention-paying voters, is a boost to her far-right challenger, state Del. Bob Marshall.
1:26 PM PT: UT-04: Hatch Act violations in campaigns, like unpaid property tax liens and Ethics Committee investigations, are one of those things that tend to get "oooh, game changer!" stories on the day they're first revealed and then promptly disappear down the memory hole forever. Nevertheless, it looks like Mia Love has fallen victim to this common bane of candidates, courtesy of a Huffington Post open-records investigation that found her using her official e-mail (in the capacity of mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah) to handle campaign correspondence.
1:31 PM PT: SC-Sen-A: Lawyer-turned-pastor Det Bowers seems to have risen to the top of the heap of the various small-time challengers trying to hold Lindsey Graham to a runoff in the Republican Senate primary in South Carolina (thanks to a big fundraising haul last quarter). However, a podcast from a sermon (apparently in 2001), as flagged by Politico, reveals Bowers might have some Todd Akin-sized skeletons lurking in his closet; quotes from the sermon have him more or less blaming women for their husbands' adultery: "It is an abominable idolatry to love your children more than you love your husband, and it will ruin your marriage. And yet you blame it on him because he ran off with some other woman!"
1:50 PM PT: Religion: If you're interested in the intersection of religion and politics, here's a fascinating chart from Brookings, showing the religious components of the Obama and Romney coalitions in 2012, as well as how those religious breakdowns compare to those in different age cohorts. The Romney coalition, on the other hand, was similar to the 65+ cohort: 7% unaffiliated, 40% white evangelical, 17% white mainline Protestant, 18% white Catholic, 2% Hispanic/other Catholic, 1% black Protestant, 12% other Christian, and 3% non-Christian religious.
The Obama coalition is on the other hand, is more diverse and pretty similar to the overall 18-29 cohort: it's 25% unaffiliated, 8% white evangelical, 13% white mainline Protestant, 13% white Catholic, 10% Hispanic/other Catholic, 16% black Protestant, 9% other Christian, and 7% non-Christian religious. In fact, the 18-29 set is even heavier on the "unaffiliated" (35%), showing that trend is likely to grow further in the future.
1:54 PM PT: NY-11: Well, this is quite the Friday afternoon news dump ... oh, by the way, Republican Rep. Michael Grimm is expected to be indicted, according to Grimm's lawyer. And no, it's not about threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony; it's about the Justice Department's long-running investigation into his campaign finance practices, especially about his relationship with Ofer Biton, who helped him raise $500k from Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto's followers. That seems like all the information we'll get for now, but obviously this will be a big story in the coming days.
2:25 PM PT: 1Q Fundraising:
• OH-Gov: John Kasich (R): $2.1 million raised, $8.5 million cash-on-hand; Ed FitzGerald (D): $662,200 raised, $1.5 million cash-on-hand
• RI-Gov: Angel Taveras (D): $500,000+ raised; Gina Raimondo (D): $1.1 million raised
• MN-Sen: Julianne Ortman (R): $373,069 raised, $233,248 cash-on-hand
• NC-Sen (pre-primary numbers): Mark Harris: $44k raised, $75k cash-on-hand
• NC-02 (pre-primary numbers): Clay Aiken (D): $53k raised, $74k cash-on-hand; Keith Crisco (D): $204k raised, $2k cash-on-hand
• NC-03 (pre-primary numbers): Walter Jones (R): $53k raised, $79k cash-on-hand; Taylor Griffin (R): $32k raised, $34k cash-on-hand