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Leading Off:

Virginia: In Tuesday's Democratic primary in Virginia, state Sen. Ralph Northam defeated former White House technology chief Aneesh Chopra by a 54-46 margin, earning him the right to take on the GOP's already infamous nominee for lieutenant governor, E.W. Jackson. And in the race for attorney general, state Sen. Mark Herring held off attorney Justin Fairfax 52-48; he'll face Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain in November. With Terry McAuliffe unopposed for the gubernatorial nod, the Democratic ticket is now set, and Virginia will face a very competitive set of elections this fall.

Meanwhile, further down the ballot, Delegate Rosalyn Dance, who had made local Democrats unhappy thanks to her coziness with the GOP, narrowly turned back a challenge from first-time candidate Evandra Thompson, 53-47, in the 63rd District. In her concession, Thompson, who is just 30 years old, says she plans to run again in 2015.

But on the other side of the aisle, two veteran Republican incumbents lost renomination to conservative challengers incensed at their support for a new transportation funding law that included some tax increases. Delegates Beverly Sherwood and Joe May were both unseated, the former by a tight 51-49 spread, the latter by a humbling 57-35. Three other delegates prevailed, though: Bobby Orrock survived his scrape 57-43, while Todd Gilbert and House Speaker Bill Howell both won with over 90 percent of the vote.


IA-Sen: Ordinarily, I'd be apt to dismiss a conservative radio host who wants to "get rid of the federal personal income tax and freeze federal spending" as more or less a Some Dude, especially for a statewide race. But given the poor shape of the Republican field that's come together for Iowa's open seat Senate race, I figure Sam Clovis merits a brief mention. Who knows? Maybe he has a big audience on the airwaves.

MA-Sen: MassINC's new survey of the Massachusetts Senate race fits right in line with a large chunk of recent polling, putting Dem Rep. Ed Markey up 46-39 over Gabriel Gomez. That's also very similar to their poll from a month ago, which had Markey ahead 46-38. Assuming Markey does indeed have a 7- to 8-point lead, does Gomez really have a prayer of making up that gap in a blue state with just two weeks to go?

What's more, while Republicans have spent some $800,000 putting Gomez on the air, Democrats have more than responded in kind. The DSCC's initial TV buy, which reportedly was going to clock in at half a million bucks, wound up weighing in at $681,000, and apparently it's set to reach $750,000 all told, spread over the final fortnight. Even if the MA GOP coughs up some more scratch, Gomez would only be playing catch up. And when you're this far back with this little time left, that's not where you want to be.

MI-Sen: GOP Rep. Mike Rogers says he'll announce his electoral plans for the coming cycle on Friday, though pretty much everything he's said and done so far indicates he will not seek Michigan's open Senate seat. And as Tim Alberta notes, if you're launching a campaign for statewide office, you don't typically do so at the very end of the week.

MN-Sen: Republican state Sen. Julianne Ortman, who previously refused to answer questions about whether she was interested in running for Senate, now says she is "seriously considering" a bid against Sen. Al Franken. The only declared challenger to Franken so far is finance executive Mike McFadden.

SD-Sen, -AL: Ah, bummer. Rep. Kristi Noem, who was almost certainly the most daunting potential opponent for ex-Gov. Mike Rounds in the GOP primary, will not run for Senate and will instead seek re-election. As they have in other states like West Virginia, conservatives have been casting about for someone who might prove to be a more suitable standard bearer for their causes; Rounds they despise as a "moderate." But with Noem saying no, the pickings get a lot slimmer.

Democrats would have benefited twice over had she made a go of it, since a nasty Republican primary might have improved our chances a bit in the general, and we'd also have had a shot at Noem's open House seat. Noem never sounded particularly eager to make any of that happen, though, and alas, it's not to be.


IA-Gov: State Rep. Tyler Olson is stepping down as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, a move that may be a prelude to a gubernatorial run, something Olson's reportedly been interested in for a while.

IL-Gov: I guess Bill Daley really is moving ahead with his oft-talked about plans to run for governor, at least sort of. On Tuesday, Daley said he was creating an exploratory committee, though the description just beneath his welcome video says he's "announc[ing] his campaign," so I don't really understand what that whole "exploratory" distinction is supposed to mean. Polls have shown Daley, a former chief of staff to President Obama, in third place in a hypothetical Democratic primary with state AG Lisa Madigan and Gov. Pat Quinn.

Meanwhile, on the GOP, venture capitalist Bruce Rauner is making the most of his personal wealth, launching two new ads focused on taxes and unemployment. There's no word on the size of the buy, however.

MA-Gov: UMass Amherst also included a number of different gubernatorial matchups with their new Senate poll, though most voters remain undecided, and several candidates they tested don't appear to be all that interested in running. Helpfully, though, they've compiled everything into a neat little table:

Table of results of June 2013 UMass Amherst MA-Gov poll
Democrats are in blue across the top: Rep. Mike Capuano, state Treasurer Steve Grossman, and ex-Rep. Joseph Kennedy II. Republicans, meanwhile, are in red and listed along the side: 2010 nominee Charlie Baker, ex-Sen. Scott Brown, and ex-state Sen. Richard Tisei. Kennedy performs the best for Democrats, almost certainly due to his family's residual name recognition, while Brown would be the strongest on the GOP side. But as far as I can tell, Kennedy hasn't actually said he's looking at the race, and Brown is spending his time cashing in as a lobbyist (and FOX News contributor).

As far as the numbers go, I can't really say I understand why Brown does so much better against Grossman than Capuano, a finding not echoed by PPP last month. Ultimately, though, this is a very undefined race with only one declared candidate (unpolled Democrat Joseph Avellone), and it will likely be a while before the contest begins to take a clearer shape.

PA-Gov: State Treasurer Rob McCord has gone ahead and created a gubernatorial campaign committee, a move that's somewhat unexpected since he said just last month he planned to make an official entry into this race this fall. Perhaps McCord regrets saying that "[s]omeone can afford to announce later if they're already taken seriously," given that Quinnipiac's new poll showed him in third place with just 4 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.


GA-01: State Rep. Jeff Chapman just joined the race for Georgia's open 1st Congressional District, making him the fifth Republican to do so. Chapman ran in the GOP primary for governor in 2010, taking a woeful 3 percent of the vote.

MN-01: Republican state Sen. Jeremy Miller says he's considering a run against Rep. Tim Walz, and adds that he'll decide in the next two to three weeks. He did note, though, that he has a young child and is expecting twins this summer, so I'd have to imagine that augurs against making a bid. Archer Dem, though, offers some good insight on what a Miller candidacy might mean:

Miller, 30, first won his seat in the GOP wave of 2010, knocking off freshman DFL Senator Sharon Erickson-Ropes by about 400 votes. In 2012, he won by over 14 percent while Obama carried his district by over 10 points, Walz by almost 21 points, and [Sen. Amy] Klobuchar by 26 points. Miller is the son of the former mayor of Winona and is CFO of his family's scrap metal recycling company.

[...] Miller is probably the strongest candidate the GOP could field but would still have a tough time beating Walz, who is becoming entrenched after hanging on by 5 points in 2010 against state Rep. Randy Demmer. This is a free shot for Miller, as his state Senate seat isn't up until 2016. He has got to realize how difficult this race will be and it could tarnish his rising star status if he were to lose badly.

I'd also add that Walz took a position as the director of the DCCC's Frontline program to help vulnerable incumbents. Presumably he feels pretty solid in his own seat, since you can't spend time protecting other districts if you haven't already protected your own.

UT-04: In response to the NRCC's recent poll of UT-04, the DCCC has released its own in-house robopoll, finding Rep. Jim Matheson with a healthy 54-40 lead over Republican challenger Mia Love. The NRCC survey, from Harper Polling, had Matheson ahead just 44-41, but this detail from the Salt Lake Tribune just blew my mind:

That [topline] question came right after one where the pollster asked if respondents wanted "A Republican who will be a check and balance to President Obama or a Democratic candidate who will help President Obama to pass his agenda?"

Not surprisingly in conservative Utah, that 56 percent said they wanted a Republican check and balance and only 27 percent said a Democratic ally of the president.

Wow! So not only is the NRCC uninterested in objective information but they're also trying to juice their own poll numbers and sell them as legitimate reads on the race to the media. I mean, it's one thing to use a junky, juiced poll like this for fundraising purposes. But to try to smear Matheson by tying him to Obama and then claim you're engaged in honest research is absolutely bogus. (Also hilarious: Matheson still held the lead!) Even more pathetic is Harper's willingness to get used in this manner. For a brand-new firm that set out with the ambitious goal of becoming the GOP's PPP, Harper sure has done an excellent job in failing at every turn.

Grab Bag:

DCCC: Our very best wishes and sympathies go out to DCCC communications director Jesse Ferguson, who was just diagnosed with cancer at the age of 32. Ferguson is keeping people updated on his situation on his blog. Needless to say, here's hoping for a speedy recovery.

Deaths: Former Republican Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, who was the first woman to represent Nevada in Congress, has died at the age of 91.

TX Redistricting: When Gov. Rick Perry called a special session of the legislature late last month to work on redistricting, the general expectation was that he wanted lawmakers to ratify the interim maps a federal court in San Antonio authorized for last year's elections. From a GOP perspective, those maps were not perfect, but they were pretty good, and importantly, they carried a legal imprimatur. And in a recent op-ed, Perry did indeed confirm his desire to see those maps made permanent.

But as Texas Monthly's Paul Burka notes, there's a serious problem with Perry's argument. (Not really a surprise, though; this is Rick Perry we're talking about, after all.) In his op-ed, Perry claimed that the interim maps "corrected for every meaningful allegation of illegality," but the San Antonio court itself acknowledged that it was authorized "to order or to permit elections to be held pursuant to apportionment plans that do not in all respects measure up to the legal requirements, even constitutional requirements." In other words, it's not just plaintiffs who claim that the interim maps are flawed—even the judges themselves recognize their maps may not be up to snuff.

Burka then goes on to make a very astute observation:

If the Legislature attempts to proceed with ratification of the maps, I would think that minority groups and organizations would object. Further, they might pursue in court a claim that the attempt to re-ratify the maps could be regarded as additional evidence of intentional discrimination by the State—an effort to gain an advantage by making permanent the maps adopted by the Legislature, effectively legitimatizing fragmenting and other tactics used by the Legislature in the interim maps.
Indeed, you have to wonder who is advising Perry. Publicly claiming that potentially infirm maps are in fact flawless does indeed see like further evidence of discrimination, as Burka suggests. That might be why there's now some talk that the legislature might tweak the lines to respond to some concerns that minority groups have, but as always, redistricting is a fast-moving target. What's more, Republicans are still in charge, and in a situation like this, they'll always try to do less than the law requires.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    Get the Daily Kos Elections Digest in your inbox every weekday. Sign up here.

    by David Nir on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 05:00:11 AM PDT

  •  Dang we should have worked harder for Thompson. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christopher Walker

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 05:02:17 AM PDT

  •  brief bios for VA LG and AG nominees? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, JamieG from Md

    For those of us not following closely the VA down-ballot races, could someone please provide brief bios of the LG and AG Dem nominees?  I donated to the losing Evandra Thompson campaign, but have not followed the other races too closely.

  •  Question about the Dance-Thompson race (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, VirginiaBlue

    What exactly was Dance's base? And why did they vote for her over Thompson? I don't want to sound bitter, but presumably the primary voters knew what Dance had done, and I can't imagine a reason why they'd prefer her to Thompson.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 06:18:03 AM PDT

  •  I hate how low turnout is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary J, Odysseus

    for things like yesterday's primary.

    Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer other than simply telling people to vote.  And that's not good enough, because voting is making an active decision (rather than a passive one), and people often feel like they don't know enough about the candidates or don't have good enough of a reason to do so.

    I also wonder how many Republicans (since Virginia has an open primary system AFAIK) voted for Northam and Herring for tactical reasons.

    •  Preferential voting? (0+ / 0-)

      Perhaps you could improve turnout by collapsing the primary and general election into a single vote. Preferential voting (like Australian House of Representatives elections) would give voters more choices and avoid the vote splitting problems you get with the Louisiana or California type top two from whatever party runoff elections.

      Virginia might also consider scheduling its elections to coincide with Presidential elections, instead of one year into a Presidential term.

      I doubt that the people who write Virginia election laws are interested in obtaining the maximum possible turnout.

      There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

      by Gary J on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:02:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I WONDERED THE SAME THING! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JamieG from Md

      I voted in yesterday's primary here in Virginia and I very much liked all of the candidates. It was a very tough choice. However, one big reason I voted for Aneesh Chopra and Justin Fairfax (who both poll very tightly against the GOP nominees in the general election, as much as the primary winners) is that I was very worried about losing their Senate seats if these two nominees, Senators Mark Herring and Ralph Northram win in November, which I certainly hope they do.

      But these Va. state senate is tied 50-50 with the lieutenant gov. casting the deciding vote. The House of Delegates is dominated by Teabaggers so our State Senate is our last firewall besides the Governor. We cannot afford to lose these otherwise safe Senate seats. I wondered myself if GOP voters voted in our Democratic primary to create this result. If I were a GOP voter, I would have seriously considered it.

      If Not Us, Who,..... If Not Now, When?

      by VirginiaBlue on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:51:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Don't Understand Why Fairfax (0+ / 0-)

        I get the logic of not wanting to lose Herring's seat, but it's almost like punishing Herring for having a valuable seat. He's the much more qualified candidate. Granted, Mr. Fairfax's resume is impressive but it kind of bothered me that people wanted to give a political newcomer a shot over Mark Herring. Again, I get the logic in voting for Fairfax, but kind of unfair to Herring. Furthermore, it would have damaged Herring politically if he ever wanted to to run again because people could point and say he lost to this new guy. I was almost sick yesterday seeing Joe May lose and then Herring almost lose. I am not a GOP voter and I think the only reason Fairfax had a shot might  have had to with Eric Holder or Obama. He was an AUSA Furthermore, I am the same age as Fairfax. I have a law degree, am licensed to practice but work for $5.30 an hour. Couldn't really justify voting for someone not much more experienced than me to be the attorney general of my entire state when I'm scrounging for peanuts.

  •  I turned out and voted (0+ / 0-)

    Got one of my choices but not the other - oh well.

    And did Bad News Beverly get teabagged from the right, or did this area have a sudden attack of sanity?

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 06:28:05 AM PDT

  •  Avellone is NOT the only declared MA-Gov... (0+ / 0-)


    Also declared is Dr. Don Berwick,  pediatrician and former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, as well as Obama's Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. On December 2, 2011, he resigned because of heavy Republican opposition to his appointment, and his potential inability to win a confirmation vote.

    Dr. Don declared his possible interest in running for governor back in January, and I for one am currently supporting him. Anyone in healthcare administration whom the Republicans hate that much just HAS to be good!

    NEW PALINDROMIC METAPHOR MEANING TO MAKE A PREDICTION THAT IS ASTOUNDINGLY OFF TARGET: "Pull a Gallup!" As in: "The weatherman said yesterday would be sunny and mild, but we got a foot of snow! Boy, did he pull a Gallup!"

    by Obama Amabo on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 06:28:51 AM PDT

  •  Update: Sherwood got Teabagged (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, VirginiaBlue

    I wasn't paying attention to that race, since she usually runs unopposed all the way. But the guy who grabbed the nomination away from her is more extreme than she is.

    Do we even HAVE a Democratic candidate for the 29th, or was everyone expecting Sherwood to coast to another term? We need somebody on that like NOW!

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 06:34:35 AM PDT

  •  Jerome Lau (D) lost FL-2 special election (5+ / 0-)

    It's the Florida Panhandle, folks.
    Mike Hill, local Teabagger Party president who skipped 5 debates, didn't live in the district, and was supported by massive funds from the insurance lobby. won 58%-42%.

    There is no fucking way a Democrat will ever win office here.

  •  A pity that Dance won, (5+ / 0-)

    but I hope that Evangeline Thompson is at least going to be treated as a "credible candidate" going forward after this narrow contest. That way, Dance is out of a job two years from now.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 07:14:35 AM PDT

  •  I have Tea Party envy (3+ / 0-)

    the right wingers knocked of two incumbents in VA, and made others sweat.

    We need to do the same in our own party.

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