Morning Digest: RGA boot camp weigh-in: Matt Bevin almost misses his own fundraiser

Kentucky Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin

Matt Bevin has better things to do than show up at his stupid fundraiser

Leading Off:
KY-Gov: Here’s how the RGA’s plan to whip Matt Bevin’s campaign into shape is going: He showed up an hour late to a fundraiser that Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, as well as Kentucky’s entire GOP House delegation, hosted for him last week—just as guests were preparing to leave. And according to Politico’s Kevin Robillard, the RGA has no plans to go back on the air for Bevin unless he contributes more of his own money to his cause. He’s not, though, since Democrats are set to spend $1 million more than the GOP this week.

Bevin does have a new ad out, this one featuring his wife. Glenna Bevin declares that Democratic ads attacking her husband are “misleading” and “false,” without any elaboration—we’re simply supposed to take her

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Morning Digest: Florida Democrats stand to gain after judge rules for plaintiffs’ House map

Florida redistricting remedial map, plaintiff coalition 1 proposal.

Court-ordered Florida congressional map

Leading Off:
FL Redistricting: Redistmas came two months early for Democrats, as the judge overseeing the end stages of Florida’s long redistricting saga just recommended one of the plaintiffs’ proposed congressional maps over competing plans from the Republican-controlled legislature. Now Judge Terry Lewis’ recommendation will head to the state Supreme Court for further review. However, the high court previously ruled against Republicans, so there’s good reason to believe the GOP won’t have much luck getting anything changed in its favor.

The two sides were mainly squabbling over a handful of districts in South Florida. Fortunately for Democrats, the trial court’s ruling, if it stands up on appeal, means that vulnerable freshman Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s 26th District will not become redder as the legislature intended but will instead see Obama’s margin of victory expand from 6 points to 11.5 percent. While Republicans

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Morning Digest: With his speakership hopes dashed, Kevin McCarthy mopes back to Bakersfield

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), flanked by his wife Judy (L), explains his decision to pull out of a Republican caucus secret ballot vote to determine the nominee to replace retiring House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTS3LZW

Not Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Leading Off:
CA-23: On Thursday, Speaker-in-Waiting Kevin McCarthy pulled the plug on his bid to become Speaker-for-Real. McCarthy quickly announced that he would not be resigning from the House and would stay on as majority leader. McCarthy’s Bakersfield seat is safely red and no notable Republicans have ever tried to challenge him, and that’s unlikely to change even after this debacle.

Of course, it’s always possible that McCarthy changes his mind and exits the House a bit earlier than planned. It’s probably not going to be fun for McCarthy to try and enforce order among his chaotic caucus when he knows that his path to becoming speaker has been blocked by his own loose lips. It’s also possible that McCarthy will find he can’t do his job as majority leader as well now that he’s embarrassed himself so badly, and that he’ll leave

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Morning Digest: McGinty shows she’s for real with $1 million fundraising haul

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty

Leading Off:
PA-Sen: As far as fundraising goes, Katie McGinty’s gotten off to a good start: The former state cabinet official just announced that she raised $1 million in the two months since she entered the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 2016 Senate contest and has $900,000 left in the bank. Given her broad establishment backing and relatively late entry, McGinty definitely had financial expectations to meet, and this haul probably satisfies them.

McGinty’s take is also better than the best quarter her chief rival, ex-Rep. Joe Sestak, has put together ($728,000 in the April-to-June timeframe). Sestak hasn’t yet revealed his third quarter totals; instead, he launched another leg of his march across Pennsylvania, walking 18 miles from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton. The problem with activities like this is that few voters will even notice whatever positive press you might earn, and

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Morning Digest: Racist RNC committeeman hoping to embarrass GOP with congressional bid

RNC Committeeman Dave Agema

Apparently, RNC Committeeman Dave Agema hasn’t caused the GOP enough trouble yet

Leading Off:
MI-01: Several notable Republicans are considering a bid for this open Northern Michigan seat, and RNC Committeeman Dave Agema is the latest to express interest. Agema has a habit of drawing headlines, and not in a good way. Back in January, the RNC voted to censure the former state representative over his habit of reposting racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim content on Facebook.

Among many other things, Agema shared a post arguing that African Americans “are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.” Agema claims he didn’t necessarily agree with what he was sharing, though few people believe him. The RNC also demanded that Agema resign and encouraged the Michigan GOP to look for ways to get rid of him, but he remains at his post.

Agema’s old

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Morning Digest: Democrats land another top-shelf recruit as Hassan will run in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Bill Clinton

Newly-minted Democratic Senate candidate Maggie Hassan, with would-be colleague Jeanne Shaheen and a friend

Leading Off:
NH-Sen: The long-awaited duel between Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is on! On Monday, Hassan announced that she would challenge Ayotte in a contest that could very well determine control of the U.S. Senate. Independent polls have usually shown a tight race, with perhaps a small edge for the GOP.

Both parties agree that Hassan is the strongest possible Democratic challenger for Ayotte. Hassan has usually posted high favorable ratings, and she won re-election 52-47 even as the GOP wave was hitting New Hampshire last year. Ayotte’s allies spent millions airing ads against Hassan, hoping that they could deter her from running (or at least drive down her favorable ratings). Democrats also didn’t have a compelling fallback contender if Hassan said no. With Hassan’s entrance

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Morning Digest: Why is Rob Portman running on defunding Planned Parenthood? It might be helping him

Rob Portman announcing his son is gay.

Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman

Leading Off:
OH-Sen: GOP Sen. Rob Portman got a bunch of flak on Thursday, and rightly so, for saying that the public dollars that currently fund Planned Parenthood should instead go to “community health centers” that “provide the women’s health needs that are legitimate”—implying, of course, that Planned Parenthood’s services are not legitimate. Ridiculous, no doubt, but there’s something else worth analyzing here: the fact that a Republican senator facing a difficult re-election in a swing state is nevertheless running hard on defunding Planned Parenthood.

That might seem like a surprising move, given that polls consistently show Planned Parenthood is very popular with Americans. Indeed, no fewer than five polls released in just the last week have found opposition to defunding the group ranging from 52 percent to 65 percent, while support for the idea rests between 29 and 41 percent. Yet

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Morning Digest: David Vitter. Diaper. Attack ad. Click


Gumbo PAC ad attacking Republican David Vitter

Leading Off:

LA-Gov: Republican David Vitter’s foes have not been shy about invoking his 2007 prostitution scandal, but a new spot from Gumbo PAC goes where no ad has gone before. The commercial starts with the narrator decrying outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal before hitting Vitter’s record in Congress. The narrator then invokes the prostitution scandal, while the viewer hears the sound of a baby crying the whole time: We finally see the crying baby is wearing a diaper.

It’s not new for politicians to compare their opponents to babies: Georgia Republican David Perdue in particular made great use of this theme during his successful Senate race last year. But Gumbo PAC is making a very unsubtle reference to rumors that Vitter, ah, indulged in a diaper fetish while consorting with ladies of the night. While 2010 Democratic opponent Charlie Melancon

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Morning Digest: Democrats hold a 5-point lead heading into final month of Kentucky governor’s race

Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway

Democrat Jack Conway

Leading Off:
KY-Gov: While Republican money-men would like to stuff Matt Bevin in a barrel with a loosely fitting lid and launch him over the top of Niagara Falls on a stormy day, it doesn’t look like his gubernatorial bid is entirely hopeless. In fact, according to the first poll of the race we’ve seen since July, the contest is still pretty close: Democrat Jack Conway holds a 42-37 lead, with 7 percent of voters favoring independent Drew Curtis and 15 percent undecided, per SurveyUSA.

In fact, despite Bevin’s well-publicized failings (more on the latest in a minute), things haven’t budged at all in the last two months. When SUSA last polled Kentucky, Conway led by a 43-38 margin, with Curtis at 8—so, nothing doing. If anything, though, these latest results ought to be fairly positive for Bevin, since it’s likely that undecided voters

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Morning Digest: Democrats hold a 5-point lead heading into final month of Kentucky governor’s race

Kentucky Democrat Jack Conway

Democrat Jack Conway

Leading Off:
KY-Gov: While Republican money-men would like to stuff Matt Bevin in a barrel with a loosely fitting lid and launch him over the top of Niagara Falls on a stormy day, it doesn’t look like his gubernatorial bid is entirely hopeless. In fact, according to the first poll of the race we’ve seen since July, the contest is still pretty close: Democrat Jack Conway holds a 42-37 lead, with 7 percent of voters favoring independent Drew Curtis and 15 percent undecided, per SurveyUSA.

In fact, despite Bevin’s well-publicized failings (more on the latest in a minute), things haven’t budged at all in the last two months. When SUSA last polled Kentucky, Conway led by a 43-38 margin, with Curtis at 8—so, nothing doing. If anything, though, these latest results ought to be fairly positive for Bevin, since it’s likely that undecided voters

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Morning Digest: Coffman touts support from Planned Parenthood, votes to defund Planned Parenthood

Screenshot from 2014 campaign ad for Rep. Mike Coffman (R) featuring Planned Parenthood logo

Screenshot from 2014 ad for Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman (R)

Leading Off:
CO-06: Ever since the most recent round of redistricting, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman has repeatedly shown he’s confused about the kind of seat he represents. Rather frequently, Coffman seems to forget that he now serves a very swingy slice of suburban Denver that voted for Barack Obama twice—like the time he went full birther and declared, “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America.” Good one, bro.

Here’s another good one: Coffman, who faces a serious challenge from Democratic state Sen. Morgan Carroll, recently voted to defund Planned Parenthood—again, not exactly the right kind of move for this particular slice of Colorado. What makes this even better is that last year, Coffman ran an ad that featured PP’s logo on-screen while a narrator claimed that Coffman “was

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Morning Digest: What the what? RGA stops airing ads for Matt Bevin in Kentucky!

Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin

Kentucky GOP nominee Matt Bevin

Leading Off:
KY-Gov: Well, this is just absolutely nuts. With barely a month to go until Election Day, the Associated Press reports that the Republican Governors Association has stopped airing ads on behalf of businessman Matt Bevin—who is, you know, the Republican nominee in what’s supposed to be a hotly competitive race down in Kentucky.

Usually moves like this only come when a party committee is forced to triage a hopeless candidate in the midst of a big election cycle. But there’s almost no way that’s the case here: There are no other gubernatorial contests the RGA has to worry about this year, and what little polling we’ve publicly seen has netted out to a tossup between Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway, the state’s attorney general.

Now, there’s no arguing that Bevin’s run a shit campaign. He’s constantly alienated fellow Republicans,

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Morning Digest: John Boehner leaving Congress to spend more time with his caddy

U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner play golf together on the first green at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, June 18, 2011.        REUTERS/Larry Downing     (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT SPORT) - RTR2NT2H

Departing Speaker John Boehner

Leading Off:
OH-08: So yeah, that happened—John Boehner’s resigning. He’s the first speaker of the House to depart mid-term since Newt Gingrich successfully stoked the book-buying “scandal” that forced out Democrat Jim Wright in 1989, and the first ever, we believe, to quit mid-term for no reason other than to work on his golf game. While about 85 percent of the commentary so far has been just “holy #*$%!,” and most of the balance has focused on what will happen in the ranks of the House GOP leadership, there’s a tiny sliver of folks interested in the electoral ramifications of Boehner’s arrivederci maneuver. If you are, too, then you’re one of us.

Unfortunately for special election fans, Boehner’s congressional district—Ohio’s 8th, tucked into the southwestern corner of the state along the border with Indiana, just north of Cincinnati—is safely Republican, having gone

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Morning Digest: Can Democrats really beat David Vitter? We’re skeptical

GOP Sen. David Vitter

Louisiana GOP Sen. David Vitter

Leading Off:
LA-Gov: While state Rep. John Bel Edwards looks like a longshot to win this fall’s gubernatorial contest in dark red Louisiana, a new poll is arguing that he has what it takes to turn the governor’s mansion blue. On behalf of Gumbo PAC, PPP takes a look at a hypothetical Nov. 21 runoff between Edwards and GOP Sen. David Vitter and gives Edwards a shockingly strong 50-38 lead. Vitter posts a horrible 34-51 favorable rating while Edwards is on positive ground at 35-27.

PPP also finds Edwards competitive against two other Republicans, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle: Edwards is tied 40-40 with Angelle and trails Dardenne just 42-40. But according to this survey, a Vitter-Edwards runoff is the most likely outcome. In the Oct. 24 jungle primary, PPP sees Edwards and Vitter taking the first

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Morning Digest: Louisiana’s all-party gubernatorial primary is just a month away, but who’s winning?

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) (L) and Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL) hold a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington to

Republican Sen. David Vitter (at left)

Leading Off:
LA-Gov: If you’ve been waiting anxiously for new data in the forthcoming battle to determine the next governor of Louisiana, wait no more: In roughly a daylong span, we were treated to three different surveys of the October 24 primary down on the bayou. Two of the polls bear fairly close resemblance, in that they forecast the same “top two”—remember that the first round is merely an all-party primary, with the top two vote getters advancing to a runoff. They do disagree on the order of finish, however.

The Triumph Campaigns poll, which has been a regular fixture this cycle, has Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards out to a fairly decent lead over Republican Sen. David Vitter (36-29), with Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (12 percent) and Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne (11 percent) well behind. (Angelle and Dardenne

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Morning Digest: One Democrat is paying a price for opposing the Iran deal

Former Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider

Former Illinois Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider

Leading Off:
IL-10: Opponents of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran had hoped to make Democratic supporters of the agreement pay a price. But ironically, the only Democrat who’s suffered a concrete loss as a result of his views on the deal is former Rep. Brad Schneider, who came out against it. Ex-Rep. Abner Mikva, a revered liberal figure who had been the last Democrat to represent this suburban Chicago seat, pointedly switched his endorsement from Schneider to Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, and now former Sen. Adlai Stevenson III has followed suit.

Not only does Stevenson hail from one of Illinois’ most famous political families—his father, Adlai Stevenson II, served as governor and was the Democrats’ presidential nominee twice—but he also has deep ties to the 10th District. The Stevenson family home, which was designated a national historical landmark last

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Morning Digest: David Vitter tries to nuke his Republican foes as the jungle primary draws closer


David Vitter attack ad against fellow Republican Jay Dardenne

Leading Off:

LA-Gov: Well, maybe GOP Sen. David Vitter really is worried that he won’t take one of the top two spots in the Oct. 24 jungle primary. Vitter’s super PAC has been airing a few negative spots against his intra-party rivals, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, but Vitter and his allies turned the dial up to 11 over the weekend.

Vitter’s campaign is out with two new negative ads. Vitter portrays Dardenne as a liberal, arguing he voted for abortion and to raise taxes. The spot also accuses Dardenne of voting against preventing undocumented immigrants from coming into Louisiana. Vitter’s anti-Angelle spot links the public service commissioner to Obama: The narrator points out that Angelle used to be a Democrat (he formally switched parties in late 2010), and argues that

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Morning Digest: Virginia Democrats need just one seat to take back the state Senate. Can they do it?

Dan Gecker with his wife and four daughters

Democrat Dan Gecker with his wife and four daughters

Leading Off:
VA State Senate: This fall, Democrats are hoping to net the one seat in the Virginia state Senate that they’ll need to retake control of the chamber. Campaign finance reports are in for the period covering July 1 to Aug. 31, giving us a good look at both sides’ strengths in the critical races as we enter the homestretch. Below is a look at the six main seats to watch: Three are held by Democrats, and three by the GOP.

Team Blue’s best pickup opportunity is SD-10, an open Richmond-area seat that Obama won 50-48. Via the Virginia Public Access Project, Chesterfield County Supervisor Dan Gecker, the Democratic nominee, currently holds a wide $152,000 to $40,000 cash-on-hand edge against Richmond School Board member Glen Sturtevant, a big turnaround from the GOP’s $96,000 to $72,000

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Morning Digest: Democrats may finally have a candidate for must-win Nevada swing seat

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signs an incentive legislation aimed at securing the Tesla Motors Gigafactory, during a ceremony at the state capitol in Carson City, Nevada September 11, 2014. Nevada lawmakers on Thursday passed a package of bills to provi

Democrats may be close to landing a candidate against Republican Michael Roberson (behind chair) in swingy NV-03

Leading Off:
NV-03: Democrats have struggled to find a viable candidate in this open 50-49 Obama seat, but the DCCC hasn’t given up looking. National Democrats recently met with former Wall Street securities analyst Heather Murren, who co-founded the Nevada Cancer Institute. Murren has confirmed that she is “very seriously considering” and Sen. Harry Reid sounds excited about her, predicting that she will be a “tremendous and formidable candidate for Congress.” If Democrats are going to have any shot at retaking the House anytime soon, they absolutely need to win swing seats like this.

If Murren runs, she should have access to plenty of money and connections: She’s married to MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren, and Jon Ralston says she’s capable of self-funding. However, her role

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Morning Digest: Republicans on defense in Daily Kos Elections’ inaugural Senate race ratings

Map of initial 2015-16 Senate race ratings from Daily Kos Elections

Daily Kos Elections’ initial Senate race ratings for the 2015-16 cycle

Leading Off:
Senate: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to announce our initial set of Senate race ratings for the 2015-16 cycle. Republicans have a 54-46 advantage right now, so Democrats need to pick up four seats to regain control of the chamber (or five if they lose the presidential race). But the GOP is playing a lot more defense: We rate three of their seats as Tossups, while another four are in the Lean Republican category. Democrats, meanwhile, only have to protect two seats, Nevada and Colorado.

Ultimately, what happens at the top of the ticket will probably be the critical factor: If Democrats can hold the White House, there’s a very good chance they can take back the Senate, too. But individual races—and candidates—still always matter, and we’ve provided explanations for all 34 of our

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