• AZ-Sen: Rich Carmona fans, your wait is over: Multiple media outlets are reporting that the DSCC is going up with their first ad buy on his behalf starting this week, for a total of $526K. Carmona, of course, is the Bush-era surgeon general who was recruited by Democrats in an attempt to pick up this GOP-held seat left open by the retiring Jon Kyl. There hasn't been a ton of polling here, but of late, it's tended to show Carmona in a surprisingly close race with Republican Rep. Jeff Flake. And based on this move, you have to figure the DSCC's own internals look at least as good. Of course, this is only a single week's worth of ads (and we haven't seen the spot yet), but a pickup here for Team Blue would be amazing.
• NC-Gov: Pat McCrory (R): $3.1 mil raised, $2.3 mil cash-on-hand.
• FL-18: Rep. Allen West's absurd burn rate continues. Though he raised an absurd $4 million in the third quarter, he finished with "only" $3 million in the bank. Seeing as he had $3.7 mil on hand at the end of 2Q, that means he spent more than he took in (almost $5 million!)—and almost certainly the bulk of that went to expensive direct-mail fundraising. Still, $3 mil in cash for the stretch run is quite a lot.
• IN-Sen: A new super-team of Majority PAC, Center Forward, and AFSCME are join powers to summon Captain Planet and... uh, I mean, they're going in on a joint $1 million buy to boost Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly in the now-tossup Indiana Senate race. The ad hits hard, and I think it's a good one. The spot starts by citing a deadly Richard Mourdock quote—"I didn't take a pledge that I would support every job in Indiana"—then tars him for "hiring a New York law firm" to "stop the Chrysler rescue that saved a hundred thousand Indiana jobs." Various shots of the city are accompanied by the narrator accusing Mourdock of "costing taxpayers over two million in fancy meals, cabs, and legal fees."
• MO-, NV-Sen, NM-Sen: We Ask America, the robopolling arm of the conservative Illinois Manufacturers' Association, is out with a bunch of new polls in various swing(-ish) states. In Missouri, they show Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill edging Todd Akin 46-45, while in Nevada, GOP Sen. Dean Heller and Shelley Berkley are tied at 45 apiece. Their New Mexico numbers (like everyone else's) are much wider, with Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich beating Heather Wilson 52-41.
• NJ-Sen: Well, this sure is odd: Majority PAC, the biggest outside spender in Senate races on behalf of Democrats other than the DSCC, is chipping in $150K on "voter outreach and printing" for... New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez. Devoted election watchers know that the Garden State has long been fool's gold for Republicans, who haven't won a Senate race here since 1972. Most cycles, though, it seems like Jersey Senate contests get juuust close enough to convince the GOP to play here, but that really hasn't felt like the case this time. (Just check out the polling.) So is this expenditure just a display of excessive caution? Or could Majority PAC be trolling Republicans, hoping they make the mistake of diverting resources to state Sen. Joe Kyrillos in a desperation move? Keep an eye on this one just in case.
• OH-Sen: There's no real change in PPP's latest OH-Sen poll, and that's good news for incumbent Dem Sherrod Brown, who leads Republican Josh Mandel 49-41. Early in September, Brown also led by eight points (48-40), so as we get closer to election day, it's Mandel who needs things to change. It's also just amazing to sit back and think about the insane amount of cash third-party groups have shelled out on attack ads against Brown for well over a year now—latest reports place the total at more than $19 million, almost all of it from the Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS. Money well spent!
Unfortunately, on the redistricting front, the numbers are pretty discouraging. The measure to institute an independent redistricting commission is now failing by a terrible 26-49 margin, a drop from an already bad 33-38 mark a month ago. Republican groups have been airing misleading ads for a few weeks now, and unlike in the Senate race, it appears that they've been having an effect. As far as I know, the coalition supporting the measure, Voters First Ohio, isn't on the airwaves.
• WI-Sen: It's hard not to view this as just plain sad: Paul Ryan is taking a break from the (vice-)presidential campaign trail to headline a fundraiser for Tommy Thompson back home in Wisconsin. I'm sure it'll bring in plenty of money for Tommy, but the salient point is that he's so desperate for help. Here's a good question, though: Who's more likely to win, Romney-Ryan or Tommy the Thompson?
• FL-Sen: American Crossroads (R)
• HI-Sen: Mazie Hirono (D)
• IN-Sen: Club for Growth (R)
• IN-Sen: NRSC (R)
• MT-Sen: Crossroads GPS (R)
• ND-Sen: Crossroads GPS (R)
• NM-Sen: Heather Wilson (R)
• NV-Sen: Dean Heller (R)
• OH-Sen: Josh Mandel (R)
• VA-Sen: Crossroads GPS (R)
• WI-Sen: SEIU (D)
• WI-Sen: Tammy Baldwin (D)
• WI-Sen: Tammy Baldwin (D)
• NC-Gov: Yep, it's pretty much over for Walter Dalton. PPP finds Republican Pat McCrory with his biggest lead—47-37—since Dalton won the Democratic nomination in May. That confirms recent polling from other outfits which have also seen double-digit McCrory leads. Seeing as Obama's tied with Romney at the top of the ticket, Dalton is evidently suffering from an insurmountable association with outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue, who remains extremely unpopular. (McCrory is also viewed less negatively than Romney.) Fortunately, Democrats are doing well in other statewide races (such as Secretary of State), though their 46-44 edge on the generic legislative ballot won't be enough to overcome the extreme gerrymander wrought by Republicans.
• NH-Gov: UNH has always been one of my least-favorite pollsters, and here's a good example why: On Monday, they released new numbers showing Barack Obama with an absurd 15-point lead in New Hampshire. Now they're out with the gubernatorial portion of the same poll... and they find Democrat Maggie Hassan up just 42-40 over Republican Ovide Lamontagne. I'm not even going to bother trying to figure out how they could come up with such bizarrely divergent results.
• WA-Gov: Back in the spring or even the early summer, a poll with Dem Jay Inslee leading Republican Rob McKenna by 6 would have been nothing short of astonishing; nowadays, it's getting kind of mundane. SurveyUSA's newest poll of the race finds Inslee leading 48-42 (up slightly from their previous poll one month ago, where Inslee led 49-44—and it's also improved from the super-duper-poll that is the August top-two primary, which Inslee "won" 47-43). As with other recent polls, Inslee is crushing McKenna on the likeability question, leading that one by a 14-point margin. (David Jarman)
• AZ-02: I thought the writing was on the wall after this summer's special election, but just to be sure, the DCCC is now trying to trace over it in permanent ink. Their new poll, from Grove Insight, shows Rep. Ron Barber beating Republican Martha McSally by a score of 54-40, putting the GOP in an impossible place. Since the special, there's been zero outside spending here, and that makes sense: Barber won by seven points in the old 8th District, a seat about five points redder than the redrawn 2nd. If the GOP couldn't beat him then... well, you catch my drift. Speaking of which, the polling memo says that Obama "leads by seven points." Grove doesn't provide the actual numbers, but that margin is actually considerably more optimistic that Obama's one-point loss here in 2008. Then again, John McCain's not on the ballot and, of late, Democrats appear to be doing better in Arizona this cycle.
• CA-31: As we expected, the Realtors are back to finish the job for GOP Rep. Gary Miller. After spending three-quarters of a million to help him finish in the top two in June's primary, the National Association of Realtors have now thrown down another $360K on his behalf for the general. Due to a massive failure on the part of Democrats, Miller faces a fellow Republican, state Sen. Bob Dutton, even though this district went 56-41 for Obama.
• FL-18: Personally, I think this is a fight Democrats need to have: Now that Allen West has re-opened the door to discussing what exactly he was up to back in 2003, Democrat Patrick Murphy is going at him—and hard. You'll recall that last week, West started airing a nasty ad comparing Murphy's arrest for public intoxication in 2003 (when Murphy was just 19) to West's deployment into Iraq around the same time. But that year also saw the end of West's military career. Jennifer Bendery summarizes what happened:
West was a U.S. Army Lt. Colonel when, in 2003, he shot his gun next to the head of an Iraqi detainee to try to scare him into giving information about a plot to attack West and his troops. He was later charged with assault in a military court and faced up to 11 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. Ultimately, he was fined $5,000 and retired with full benefits.Murphy's new spot leaves out any mention of the underlying act but describes the charges West faced, quoting a "final Army report" that said West "performed illegal acts... merited court martial... faced 11 years in prison." Other than whining about Murphy, I'll be very curious to see how West responds.
• FL-26: According to a new report in the Miami Herald, local Republicans are now pegging Rep. David Rivera as a goner and are already discussing possible 2014 candidates who could take on Democrat Joe Garcia. Here's the early, early list, courtesy the Great Mentioner:
Jeb Bush Jr., son and namesake of the popular former governor, and state Sen. Anitere Flores. Other names include Marili Cancio, a lawyer who challenged Rivera in the 2010 GOP primary; former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, who's running for state House, and Miami-Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo.How excited would Democrats be to run against a Bush? Also remarkable are the comments from Dario Moreno, the poli sci professor who just conducted a poll for Rivera claiming to show him up by six, in the face of a ton of polling showing the opposite. Now Moreno is furiously back-pedaling from his garbage numbers, in amazing fashion:
"David faces a real Herculean task to keep his campaign together," said Dario Moreno, a Florida International University political science professor who polls for Rivera. [...]I've never seen one pollster genuflect before another like that (McLaughlin is the GOP firm which put out numbers the other day showing Garcia up 10). And an early version of the story (since edited) even quoted Moreno as saying "It's bad at this point." No kidding! But it's also bad for Dario Moreno, who really has no business in this business.
"McLaughlin is the pollster for the Republican Party and is very well-known and respected," Moreno said....
• GA-12: In recent years, the NRA has endorsed tons of Democrats (mostly to cement their hold on both parties), so it's not really against-type for them to back Dem Rep. John Barrow in his uphill re-election battle. The real question is whether they'll actually lift a finger to help him, or if they're content with just shooting out a press release. (And if you want to feel particularly good about this one, note that they specifically cite Barrow's vote in favor of holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress as a reason they're supporting him.)
• RI-01: WPRI's new poll of the RI-01 congressional race (from Fleming & Associates) is more bearish for Dem Rep. David Cicilline than the recent trio of Democratic internals—but it's also plagued by a problem that WPRI often seems to suffer from. In particular, WPRI tries to conduct its polls on the cheap, sampling a mere 250 likely voters, which is less than the 300 most reputable shops consider the absolute minimum for a legitimate survey. (And honestly, even 300 is pretty weaksauce, though mostly I'm surprised that Fleming is willing to go below that number.) In any event, the trendlines, if you're willing to go all the way back to February, actually are quite positive for Cicilline, who now leads Republican Brendan Doherty 44-38 (with independent David Vogel taking 6 percent), as opposed to trailing 49-34 last time. Still, I'm not keen on this poll's methodology.
• UT-04: Ruh-roh. Local pollster Dan Jones, surveying on behalf of some local media outfits, does not have good news for Dem Rep. Jim Matheson. Jones now has Republican Mia Love beating the incumbent 49-43, a major turnaround from his June numbers, where Matheson led 53-38. That's actually a bit better than a recent Love internal showing her up 51-36, but not by much. There are no presidential toplines included with the new Dan Jones poll, but with the peripatetic Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket in what's his closest thing to a home state, it's hard to compare this year's race for the White House with 2008 results.
• WI-08: It's not clear to me why we're only seeing this Normington Petts internal from Democrat Jamie Wall now: The memo is dated Sept. 20, and it seems that The Hill even gave it a quick mention last week. But perhaps the Wall campaign didn't publicize it very well the first time, because local tipsheet WisPolitics only posted the poll on Monday. Anyway, the toplines aren't all that terrific for Wall, who is trying to unseat freshman GOP Rep. Reid Ribble: He trails 47-41. The good news, such as it is, comes in the trendlines, because in an unreleased June poll, Ribble had a much wider 48-33 lead. But while Wall is inevitably catching up, Ribble remains within striking distance of the 50% mark. (And even though this poll is already a touch dusty, it doesn't seem that he's bothered to respond to it.)
Part of the difficulty for Wall may lie in Wisconsin's closeness at the presidential level, compared to four years ago. While Obama won this district by nine points in 2008, he's actually trailing 47-46 in this survey, a pretty sizable swing to the south. That, however, is actually an improvement from that earlier June survey, when Romney led 49-44. But the person who's surged the most is Dem Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is now pounding Tommy Thompson 50-42—up all the from a 52-36 deficit. I don't know that a lot of people expected Baldwin to out-perform the POTUS in the Badger State, but it sure has been a weird election cycle here.
• CA-07: DCCC (D)
• CA-10: DCCC (D)
• CA-30: Brad Sherman (D)
• CA-30: Brad Sherman (D)
• CA-30: Brad Sherman (D)
• CA-36: DCCC (D)
• CA-52: DCCC (D)
• CA-52: DCCC (D)
• CT-05: DCCC (D)
• FL-10: SEIU (D)
• FL-22: Lois Frankel (D)
• IA-01: Ben Lange (R)
• IA-04: Steve King (R)
• IL-10: DCCC (D)
• IL-11: Bill Foster (D)
• IL-11: DCCC (D)
• IL-13: DCCC (D)
• IL-17: DCCC (D)
• MA-06: Richard Tisei (R)
• MT-AL: Kim Gillan (D)
• MT-AL: Steve Daines (R)
• NC-07: DCCC (D)
• NC-11: Hayden Rogers (D)
• NC-11: Hayden Rogers (D)
• NH-01: DCCC (D)
• NH-02: DCCC (D)
• NV-03: DCCC (D)
• NV-03: John Oceguera (D)
• NY-11: Mark Murphy (D)
• NY-18: AFSCME/SEIU (D)
• NY-21: DCCC (D)
• OH-06: DCCC (D)
• OH-06: DCCC (D)
• TX-23: Pete Gallego (D)
• WA-01: DCCC (D)
• WI-07: Sean Duffy (R)
• HMP: House Majority PAC is out with new ads targeting Republicans in half a dozen districts: AZ-02, FL-10, IA-01, IL-17, MI-01, and MN-08. (SEIU is partnering in Florida and Minnesota.) The total buy across all six seats is $1.2 million, and you can find all of the ads at the link.
• SC Redistricting: Not too surprisingly, the Supreme Court summarily affirmed a lower court ruling on Monday which upheld the validity of South Carolina's new congressional lines. Plaintiffs had argued that the new map discriminated against minorities under the Voting Rights Act but met with no success in the courts. The SCOTUS also affirmed an Illinois decision upholding that state's map; opponents claims there, however, rested on arguments about partisan unfairness, an argument the high court has never accepted.