Friday, September 27, 2013

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest
Leading Off:
  • VA-Gov: Is this really going to save Ken Cuccinelli's campaign? His newest TV ad highlights his opposition to Obamacare—including, a bit oddly, a reference to his rather unsuccessful lawsuit to block the law—while attacking Democrat Terry McAuliffe for supporting it. If this issue was genuinely damaging to McAuliffe, though, why wasn't Cuccinelli running ads on it earlier? It's not like the Affordable Care Act is some brand-new development. Speaking of ads, an out-of-state conservative group called Fight for Tomorrow ran a truly berserk spot during Wednesday night's gubernatorial debate, accusing McAuliffe of being a "stand-in for a national power-grab by the Gang of Five." Yeah, I mean, you don't know who the Gang of Five is? Well, DUH! Here they are, sheeple:
    Screenshot of ad from conservative group Fight for Tomorrow attacking Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe
    Right-wing paranoiacs simply can't believe that McAuliffe hasn't been rendered any more than a grease-stain by now, so this ad is their attempt to explain—both to themselves and ordinary voters—why he's still a viable candidate. And things really get going in the second half, where you can practically feel the conspiratorial froth emerging. The narrator brands McAuliffe a "New Yorker and left-wing embed" (!?) being "imposed" on Virginia. But oh no, he continues (to rising martial strains)—we're not gonna let that happen!
    Tell these McAuliffe puppeteers this is Virginia, and we won't let you "Detroit" us with taxes and debt. You will not "California" Virginia with regulations that kill jobs, or "Hollywood" our families and schools. You will not bring District of Columbia tax and spend to our state. Tell them: You can't have Virginia!
    If you've ever wondered what it felt like at the very bottom of the tea party rabbit hole, now you know.
Senate:
  • FL-Sen: Oh yes:
    He was certain about one thing: If Rubio runs for president, [Allen] West will go for the Senate seat. "If that became an open seat, of course I would run. I have a good statewide appeal and a lot of people would like me to get back on Capitol Hill."
    Now, we're talking about some very hypothetical stuff in the rather distant future, politically speaking. Under Florida law, Marco Rubio cannot simultaneously run for the White House and for re-election to the Senate, which might serve as a deterrent to his presidential ambitions. However, he could file for the Senate race and pursue a second term as a backup plan if he were to lose the GOP nomination for president. So West's open seat scenario only seems likely if Rubio actually winds up as the Republican nominee. But I'd add another wrinkle: If, in early 2016, Rubio finds himself seriously in contention for the GOP nod, and Democrats manage to find a strong Senate candidate, Rubio could face pressure to step aside and allow another Republican to seek his seat, lest he risk jeopardizing the Senate race by appearing to care more about the presidency. All of the people in recent years who sought re-election at the same time they were on a national ticket—Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman—didn't face serious contests back at home. There's a good chance Rubio would, which means West might get his shot. And Democrats can only hope.
  • MI-Sen: So there's a new conservative super PAC called "Pure PAC" which, despite its disturbing name, is ostensibly devoted to electing Republicans, not advocating Aryan supremacy. They've been running ads attacking Dem Rep. Gary Peters as a creature of Washington, apparently parodying a state-run tourism campaign known as "Pure Michigan." But according to the Detroit Free Press, they've only spent a pathetic $15,000 to air their spot, which is weird, given that they reported making a $65,000 expenditure to the FEC. (Someone must be raking off some money somewhere.) And like other GOP groups, they're keeping their distance from likely Republican nominee Terri Lynn Land, with the PAC's founder saying they haven't decided whether to endorse her yet. That's especially amusing since video just emerged of Land saying that she had "talked to" various unspecified super PACs and reported that they're "committed to Michigan." Since federal candidates aren't permitted to coordinate spending with super PACs, that makes Land's comments look rather fishy.
  • MS-Sen, -04: Most Mississippi Republicans are still waiting for veteran Sen. Thad Cochran to decide if he'll seek another term next year, but one state legislator may try to give Cochran a shove. Tea partying state Sen. Chris McDaniel says he's keeping his "options open" and may challenge the incumbent in the GOP primary. But as Abby Livingston alludes, tea party politics aren't quite so popular in poor and pork-friendly Mississippi, which is probably why ex-Gov. Haley Barbour says of McDaniel: "I think he will get his head handed to him." And it may be why McDaniel also says he's thinking about primarying Rep. Steven Palazzo in the 4th. The Club for Growth has it in for Palazzo, who rather visibly flip-flopped to support aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy earlier this year. Palazzo was savaged for initially voting against emergency funds, seeing as his district was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, then spoke out publicly in favor of disaster relief, so you can see why the Club would like to defenestrate him. But again, that may be easier said than done for movement conservatives operating in the Magnolia State.
  • NC-Sen: Even though a path had been cleared to him when his ally, state Senate President Phil Berger, decided not to run for Senate, state Sen. Pete Brunstetter has also opted against entering the GOP primary. That leaves just three Republicans in the race to take on freshman Sen. Kay Hagan: state House Speaker Thom Tillis, tea party activist Greg Brannon, and Baptist leader Mark Harris. And just about the only notable name still considering is former Ambassador Jim Cain.
  • WV-Sen: EMILY's List has endorsed Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant for Senate, as you'd expect, especially since they backed her when she ran for governor two years ago.
Gubernatorial:
  • CA-Gov: Former GOP Rep. George Radanovich, who retired from Congress in 2010, says he's considering a bid for governor. On the one hand, yeah, ex-LG Abel Maldonado certainly has no hope of defeating Gov. Jerry Brown next year. On the other hand, no Republican really does, so I'm not sure what Radanovich is thinking, but I guess he's looking to get back in the game and doesn't really have many options.
  • MA-Gov, -07: Despite a recent report that suggested he was gearing up for a run for governor, Rep. Mike Capuano has decided against the idea and will instead seek re-election. A recent PPP poll showing him trailing state AG Martha Coakley 41-21 in a hypothetical Democratic primary might have given him déjà vu: Capuano finished second behind Coakley in the primary for the 2010 Senate special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat, losing 47 to 28.
  • PA-Gov: Democratic state Treasurer Rob McCord has been in the gubernatorial race for less than a week, but he's already played what looks like one of his trump cards: an endorsement from the Teamsters. The Democratic primary's apparent frontrunner, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, already has her own high-profile union endorsement, from the United Mine Workers, but with at least 95,000 members in the state, there are nearly 10 times as many Teamsters in Pennsylvania as UMW members. (David Jarman)
House:
  • MA-05: Middlesex County Peter Koutoujian is now the third Democrat to hit the airwaves, with a reported "six-figure" buy. Koutoujian narrates his own spot, a little stiffly, in which he talks about his commitment to stopping gun violence, protecting Social Security, and ensuring equal pay for equal work, while sitting on a stoop surrounded by what I imagine is his family.
  • MI-03: Given his extreme lone wolf nature and his ceaseless urge to cause problems for party leadership, it was a bit surprising that GOP Rep. Justin Amash didn't draw a primary challenge last cycle. Now, though, in his sophomore term, he may. Businessman Brian Ellis will reportedly announce a bid against Amash next month. Earlier this year, Ellis penned an op-ed criticizing Amash for opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, and according to columnist Nolan Finley, Ellis has been saying that powerful interests will back his play. That's not hard to believe, but whether Ellis has the chops to take down Amash and his legion of Paulist fanatics is another question entirely.
  • TN-04: At least one establishment figure is stepping up to help unseat scandal-plagued Rep. Scott DesJarlais in next year's GOP primary. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says he's endorsing state Sen. Jim Tracy "as much as I can" and added that he recently held a fundraiser for him, too.
Other Races:
  • Boston Mayor: The blog Mass. Numbers has a fascinating interactive precinct map of the results from Tuesday's primary for mayor. It shows that most of the candidates had deep pockets of support. State Rep. Martin Walsh and city Councilor John Connolly appeared to have the most geographically diverse appeal, which helps explain why they were the night's winners. The analysis suggests that endorsements from the losing candidates could be vital for the November general election if they maintain their constituencies' loyalty. (Darth Jeff)
  • KS-SoS: This one is deep in the weeds, but kind of interesting. Former state Sen. Jean Schodorf, who served as a Republican and made a bid for Congress in 2010, will run for secretary of state next year as a Democrat. Schodorf lost in a primary last year after conservatives successfully targeted the moderate wing of the state GOP, ousting many. She changed her party affiliation shortly afterwards, and now she's taking one of the worst vote suppressers in the land, incumbent SoS Kris Kobach.
  • NYC Mayor: I haven't had the chance to watch it yet, but several people have told me that this new 30-minute documentary from the New York Times about City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's failed campaign for mayor is quite good. The Times says it features behind-the-scenes footage that Quinn allowed the paper to record on the condition that it wouldn't be released until after the election. Sounds like it's 
  • Hers to Lose
    Christine C. Quinn, once the front-runner in the New York mayoral race, lost in the Democratic primary. A behind-the-scenes film captures the final month of her campai
  • worth a look.
  • VA-LG: Oh boy:
    E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia, was accused in 2006 of threatening the life of his daughter's roommate, according to a Belmont, Mass., police report and a separate temporary restraining order filed in Middlesex County Court. Those two documents, shared with POLITICO by a source opposed to Jackson's election, detail the surprise GOP nominee's involvement in an explosive personal feud involving his daughter and two other women. The roommate took out restraining orders against both E.W. Jackson and a third party, while Jackson's daughter and the third party both requested restraining orders against the roommate. [...] In an interview, Jackson firmly denied that he had menaced his daughter's roommate, a denial he also gave to police in Belmont seven years ago. In his daughter's affidavit requesting a restraining order against her then-roommate, Ms. Jackson claimed that the woman had schemed to separate her from her family and friends and "threatened to kill my father."
Grab Bag:
  • Demographics: Almost 9 million people moved to a new state in 2012 and Governing has a fascinating new study on these migrants. There are a lot of interesting gems here: Massachusetts attracted the greatest proportion of new residents with a Bachelor's Degree or higher while West Virginia attained the least. New arrivals make up 6 percent of North Dakota's total population while only 1.8 percent of Michigan's. The newest New Jerseyans have the highest median income of new arrivals while Vermont's have the lowest, despite the Green Mountain State attracting the second greatest proportion of migrants with a graduate degree or higher. Governing offers a state-by-state profile so you can see how any state ranks in these and other categories. (Darth Jeff)
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