Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest
Leading Off:
  • MN-06: One great thing about following politics is that you never stop encountering truly bizarre stuff. Take this stunning ad featuring former GOP state Rep. Tom Emmer, who is running for Michele Bachmann's now-open seat and was actually the Republican nominee for governor in 2010. In fact, I insist you watch it for yourself. If for some reason you can't view the video, it's an incredibly poorly produced spot for a home remodeling company that Emmer shills for after announcing that he's "running for Congress in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District," while standing in front of an "Emmer for Congress" sign. (I also love how the firm, Integrity Exteriors, substitutes a crucifix for a "T" in their logo.) The problems with this, uh, arrangement are many indeed, but let's leave aside how pathetic Emmer looks as a pitchman. How about the campaign finance issues? Integrity (an ironic name, it seems) must have paid to create and broadcast the ad, so is this supposed to be an in-kind contribution? Even after Citizens United, corporations are still forbidden from donating directly to campaigns, so that's a definite no-go. That might explain why Emmer woke up from whatever bender possessed him to start cutting ads for Christian-themed construction companies and comically disavowed the spot. Emmer's campaign claims they've asked Integrity to stop running the commercial because "[i]t was not Tom's intention for this testimonial to be used in a broadcast capacity or advertisement for the campaign." Then why on earth did he film it in the first place? Maybe Jeff Singer's right and Emmer just likes to stand around his campaign headquarters talking about businesses he likes while being secretly filmed. Fortunately, we only have to wait two weeks to see his next FEC report. Eager to see what happens "when the storm settles"!
  • MA-Gov: Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who has been looking at a bid for governor, now says he's just "days away" from deciding. If he runs, Somerville would enter a very crowded Democratic primary led by state AG Martha Coakley, who holds a commanding lead according to a recent PPP poll.
  • MD-Gov: In his quest to win the Democratic nomination for governor, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown just earned the endorsement of the Maryland and DC branch of the SEIU. The union represents 45,000 health care and government workers, though I'd imagine that a good chunk live in the District and not in Maryland, where Brown is running.
  • NH-Gov: Cross one more Republican name off the list: State Sen. Andy Sanborn has decided against challenging Gov. Maggie Hassan, meaning the GOP still does not have a single declared candidate in the race.
  • AL-06: A second Alabama Republican who successfully faced down a primary challenge last cycle is calling it quits. Rep. Spencer Bachus, the longest-serving member of the state's delegation, announced on Monday that he'd retire at the end of this term, his 11th. (Fellow Rep. Jo Bonner resigned in August, prompting a special election that's now underway.) The 6th District is one of the reddest in the nation, so all the action to replace Bachus will take place on the GOP side. And there will be action. State Sen. Scott Beason, Bachus's most prominent foe last year, is a possible candidate, though he acquitted himself poorly, even losing his hometown. (There's also the matter of his racism.) A stronger option would probably be state Sen. Cam Ward, whom Beason unsuccessfully tried to draw out of the 6th during a redistricting fight two years ago, and who was once Bachus' district director. Other possibilities include state Reps. Paul DeMarco and Jack Williams; state Sen. Slade Blackwell; conservative blogger Cliff Sims; tea partying surgeon Chad Mathis; and state GOP chair Bill Armistead. Not counting resignations or those seeking higher office, Bachus is only the third member of the House to announce that he won't seek re-election. But with the end of the third fundraising quarter upon us, we may now start seeing more retirements, and as always, we'll be following them all.
  • IN-09: Former Democratic state Rep. Bill Bailey announced on Monday that he'll run against sophomore GOP Rep. Todd Young in Indiana's 9th Congressional District. After Young defeated then-Rep. Baron Hill in 2010 by about 10 points, Republicans subsequently redrew the lines to make the seat redder, and it 2012, it went 57-41 for Mitt Romney after going just 50-49 for John McCain under the old lines in 2008. Democrat Shelli Yoder ran ahead of the president, but she still lost 55-45, indicating how tough a race this will be.
  • MA-05: A new internal from GBA Strategies for state Sen. Katherine Clark shows her with the widest lead of any poll released to date in the Oct. 15 Democratic primary for the special election to fill Ed Markey's seat. Clark takes 27 percent of the vote, with state Sen. Karen Spilka at 18, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian at 16, state Rep. Carl Sciortino at 15 percent, and state Sen. Will Brownsberger in the rear at 12. A recent Spilka poll had her just a point behind Clark, 19 to 18.
  • ME-02: The meddlers at FreedomWorks seem to be stepping up the pace lately, with their third House endorsement in a week. This time, they're backing ex-state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who is hoping to secure the GOP nomination in the race for Rep. Mike Michaud's open seat. The move is pretty unsurprising, given that FreedomWorks endorsed Poliquin last year in his failed bid for Senate.
Other Races:
  • Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso:
    South Carolina SD-42: This is a black-majority seat in the Charleston area, formerly held by Democrat Robert Ford. The candidates are Democrat Marlon Kimpson, an attorney, Republican Billy Shuman, a real estate agent, and Libertarian Alex Thornton, a professional photographer.
    Our preliminary calculations show that Barack Obama won SD-24 by a 78-20 margin last year, so this seat is safely Democratic.
  • VA-AG: Thanks to Ken Cuccinelli's well-publicized mis-steps and E.W. Jackson's flame-spitting tongue, the race for Virginia attorney general has attracted less attention than the contests for governor or lieutenant governor. But both sides are now up on TV, with Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring airing his first ad and Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain his second. Obenshain's first spot featured his daughter doing most of the talking, praising her father for supporting "mandatory life sentences for child predators and protecting families from abusive spouses." His latest hits similar themes. Herring, meanwhile, touts his vote in favor of a controversial transportation funding bill that passed the legislature earlier this year, and he offers a decently clever spin, saying he backed the legislation "to get folks out of their cars and home to their families."
Grab Bag:
  • Demographics: The blog Vizual Statistix offers some interesting maps by county showcasing which areas are full of in-state natives and which are full of newcomers. As you might expect, the East Coast has far more natives than the West Coast, though Northern Virginia and most of Florida outside the Panhandle are full of relative newbies. There's also a companion map showing people born outside the United States. Big cities stand out for their large concentration of foreign-born residents though there are some clear distinctions. For instance, Los Angeles has a far greater proportion of those born outside the country than nearby San Diego, but roughly the same as the San Francisco Bay Area. (Darth Jeff)
  • Votes: With a government shutdown looming, House Republicans again insisted on passing a stopgap funding measure on Friday that would thwart Obamacare. Only four lawmakers crossed the aisle: Democrats Mike McIntyre (NC-07) and Jim Matheson (UT-04) once again sided with the GOP, while two Republicans from swing districts in upstate New York, Chris Gibson and Richard Hanna, voted with the Dems. Just before that roll call, the House also voted in favor of a bill that would repeal the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax that was originally passed to fund part of the Affordable Care Act. Seventeen Democrats supported the bill, most of whom face difficult re-election campaigns next year.
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