• MT-Sen: Denny Rehberg had better look in his "Rearviewmirror," because Jon Tester is getting some big-name fundraising help in the Montana Senate race from Pearl Jam. The legendary band is providing VIP status and an onstage seat at their Sept. 30 concert in Missoula for one lucky Tester contributor. (If you're wondering why I didn't go with a more obvious joke about Jon Tester still being "Alive" or being the "Better Man," Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad already beat us to the punch on both of those.) The Jon Tester/Pearl Jam partnership goes way back to Tester's previous Senate campaign in 2005, when they played a similar benefit concert for him; bassist Jeff Ament is, in fact, a neighbor of Tester's, having grown up in Tester's small farming community of Big Sandy.
Along these lines, there's also a benefit concert on tap in IL-08, to help out the Democratic candidate there, Tammy Duckworth. The featured entertainment? Joe Walsh! That's right... apparently the former Eagles guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer doesn't take kindly to seeing his name hijacked by a right-wing loudmouth. (David Jarman)
• AZ-Sen: Huh, this is pretty interesting. GOP Rep. Trent Franks will make an appearance at a campaign event for self-funding businessman Wil Cardon, who's challenging Franks' House colleague, Rep. Jeff Flake, in the state's open seat Senate primary. While Franks' office is declining to say whether or not this constitutes a formal endorsement, the congressman did allow the Cardon campaign to put out a rather glowing press release that suggests that an endorsement is surely imminent. (A sample of the language attributed to Franks: "Wil Cardon understands what Arizona needs in Washington.")
If you recall, though, this isn't the first time that Franks has shown his face at a Cardon event; back in May, Franks was billed as a "special guest" at one of Cardon's D.C. fundraising events. This story is noteworthy not necessarily because it will move many votes for Flake, but because it hints at some level of acrimony between the two House Republicans—and makes you wonder if Flake has pissed off other members of the establishment who might be tempted to side with Cardon. I'd love to know what the backstory is here. (James L)
Mazie Hirono (D): 46 (39)
Ed Case (D): 46 (41)
Undecided: 8 (12)
Mazie Hirono (D): 49 (46)So, there's one weird thing about Merriman's new Hawaii poll: Even the general election portion is a test of likely primary voters. That's really a no-no, as we've discussed elsewhere recently, particularly with regard to a very dodgy North Dakota survey we dissected last month. The bottom line is that the composition of the electorate for a November general election always looks different than the makeup of voters who show up for primaries. The former draws in many more voters; the latter, only the most active and committed. So you can't get a good read on what will happen in the fall by talking only to those planning on casting a ballot in the dead of summer.
Linda Lingle (R): 44 (39)
Undecided: 6 (9)
Ed Case (D): 52 (46)
Linda Lingle (R): 36 (33)
Undecided: 12 (9)
That said, when conservaDem Ed Case produced a similar-looking poll of the primary in May, the DSCC's executive director, Guy Cecil, responded by saying "everything I have seen suggests that Hawaii voters are strongly supporting Mazie Hirono by double digits in the primary and that she has the strongest chances of winning the general election." At this point, I think the onus is on the DSCC to produce some results which in fact show Hirono leading Case "by double digits" and also show her performing better against Lingle.
• ND-Sen: Hmm. This seems like an odd move. North Dakota Democrats just released an internal poll taken for them about three weeks ago by their usual pollster, DFM Research, showing Heidi Heitkamp up 45-44 over GOP Rep. Rick Berg. I'm not sure why they'd do this, though, because Mason-Dixon just released an independent survey that had Heitkamp leading 47-46, so wouldn't you rather those results stay most fresh in the political world's consciousness, rather than those from an internal? What's more, an April poll from DFM (also for the ND Dems) gave Heitkamp a gaudier five-point lead, so what's to be gained from releasing a poll that in theory shows the race tightening? I'm a little confused.
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov: Not much new to see in PPP's latest Nevada poll: GOP Sen. Dean Heller leads Dem Rep. Shelley Berkley 44-43. In April, it was 46-43 Heller. Tom Jensen also threw in a look ahead to the 2014 gubernatorial race:
Brian Sandoval might wish he could go ahead and run for reelection this year.• PA-Sen: Quinnipiac's new poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race, which is actually their first to offer a direct head-to-head between Dem Sen. Bob Casey and Republican Tom Smith, shows Casey leading by a wide margin, as pretty much all reputable pollsters have. Casey's up 51-32 and demonstrates some healthy crossover appeal, pulling in 19% of Republicans while just 5% of Democrats defect to Smith. Casey's overall job approval remains good at 51-29, up slightly from 46-27 in March.
He continues to be a very popular Governor with 52% of voters approving of him to 28% who disapprove. Independents approve of him by a better than 2:1 margin (53/26) and a much higher than normal 35% of Democrats approve of him, almost as many as the 45% who don't.
We tested Sandoval in hypothetical match ups against Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller. He leads Cortez Masto by 18 points, 51-33, and has a 22 point advantage over Miller at 50-28. Cortez Masto (47% name recognition) and Miller (36%) are relatively unknown to voters in the state. 2014 is a long ways off and it's impossible to say what the political climate or Sandoval's popularity will look like by then, but for now he's in a strong position.
• NH-Gov: Though Ovide Lamontagne has done a good job of converting himself from "teabagging outsider" to "establishment insider" since his 2010 Senate run, here's one former congressman who isn't taking his side: Ex-Rep. Bill Zeliff just announced that he's endorsing conservative activist Kevin Smith, who is to this year's GOP gubernatorial contest what Lamontagne was to the Senate primary last cycle. It turns out, though, that Zeliff has quite a bit of history with Lamontagne: In 1992, when Zeliff was a freshman member of the House, Lamontagne unsuccessfully tried to primary him out of his newly-won seat. Four years later, though, Lamontagne managed to beat Zeliff for Republican nod in the governor's race, which Lamontagne later went on to lose to Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, who is now a senator.
• CT-05: When I saw that Rep. Carolyn Maloney had endorsed Dan Roberti in the CT-05 Democratic primary, I vaguely wondered what that was all about. After all, why would some random congresswoman from New York City stick her nose into a Connecticut congressional race, and why would Roberti even court her support? Well, here's the answer: Less than a week earlier, "Roberti's father, Vincent Roberti, held a fundraiser for her in Manhattan." Vincent Roberti co-sponsored the event hedge fund manager Jim Chanos at Chanos's home.
• NY-13: A new PAC called "Campaign For Our Future", which The New York Daily News says is "spearheaded by the New York-based marketing group Protagonist," is dropping some serious coin against embattled Dem Rep. Charlie Rangel. The group just put out their first wave of a planned series of 100,000 mailers targeting Rangel in the Democratic primary while simultaneously boosting the candidacy of former White House aide Clyde Williams. (You can view a copy of the mailer, which plays up the fact that Obama declined to endorse Rangel, at the link.) The group is also planning a batch of Spanish-language mailers and robocalls, and says it will spend "hundreds of thousands of dollars" on the race.
The PAC also claims that it polled this race in May and found that "only 35% said Rangel's done a good enough job to deserve to stay in the House," though any other details on the poll were lacking. Pretty thin. (James L)
• OK-02: This ad from Democrat Rob Wallace (which actually came out a couple of weeks ago) is the latest in the genre of "politician blasts inanimate object standing in for something they hate with gun." In Wallace's case, it's a map of Texas taped to a water cooler bottle. Why? Because there are "special interests trying to give away" Oklahoma's water to Texas.
Meanwhile, Republican Markwayne Mullin is out with yet another ad, though I can't figure out if he's doing an unusually heavy amount of advertising or if he's just particularly good at getting his spots places in Politico's newsletters. The narrator explains that Mullin's "top priority in Congress will be stopping Barack Obama's socialist agenda."
• WI Recall: The Racine County Clerk just certified the results of last week's recall election in Wisconsin's 21st state Senate district, confirming Democrat John Lehman's win over Sen. Van Wanggaard. The final margin was 36,351 to 35,517, a difference of 834 votes. (It was 779 on election night.) Wanggaard is apparently still considering whether to request a recount, but Lehman's up by 1.2%, which is a very hard gap to overcome, especially since there were no reports of widespread voting problems. Once Lehman is seated, Democrats will formally take back control of the Senate.
• Fundraising: This could be big: The Federal Elections Commission just authorized the use of text messages to make campaign contributions. In recent years, charitable donations via cell phones have become increasingly popular due to their extreme ease, so campaigns which adopt mobile contributions could potentially do very well.
• Polltopia: PPP's opened up voting once again. I'm thinking either Connecticut (to check on that Quinnipiac poll that had some funky results) or Maine (where the primaries are now over, so we know both parties' nominees).
• Redistricting: With Kansas having finished its redistricting, Daily Kos Elections is happy to provide geographic redistricting data for all 50 states in one single file. If you're a GIS user, you can download the shapefile version (48MB). Otherwise, if you use Google Earth, you can download the KML version (32MB). Using the KML version is fairly resource-intensive, so loading and panning may be a bit slow. If that doesn't work, you can always use the state-by-state versions located with our complete redistricting resources. We'll update both the shapefile and KML with additional data as time goes on, but for now, the base geography is there. (We'll also release a .png/raster version shortly, for those of you who like to color along at home!) (jeffmd)