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Leading Off:

ME-Gov, -02: Aww yeah! Rep. Mike Michaud, the strongest possible Democratic candidate for governor, just launched an exploratory committee, something I have to say I really didn't think he'd do. If he runs, Michaud would face a doubly tough race because he'd have to beat both GOP Gov. Paul LePage and independent attorney Eliot Cutler, a former Democrat who is eager to play spoiler once again and divide the left-leaning vote. But Michaud, a formidable campaigner who has held a light-blue congressional seat with ease for years, must think he's capable of smacking both opponents down at once. If he can do it, victory would taste twice as sweet.

And assuming Michaud goes for it, interest in his 2nd Congressional District will be high on both sides. Barack Obama carried this seat by a 53-44 margin, so Democrats would have a slight advantage, though the race would definitely be competitive. Last year, after Sen. Olympia Snowe retired and it looked like Michaud might run to replace her, several names popped out of the woodwork. Undoubtedly more will do so again, and as always, we'll be keeping track.

Senate:

FL-Sen: Hahah! After Arizona Rep. Trent Franks contracted a case of Akin's disease, fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tried to play dumb and said of Franks: "I don't know who that is." Busted:

Photo of Marco Rubio with Trent Frank, illustrated for news purposes
Well done, Dan Amira.

MA-Sen: Oh god, this is just too awesome:

"It might as well have been written in crayon," Dayspring said of the poll. "Ed Markey and his Democratic friends in Washington aren't outspending Gabriel Gomez 7:1 because they are confident. Ed Markey isn't begging Bill and Hillary Clinton to save him because he thinks he's doing well."
That's hapless NRSC spokesbot Brad Dayspring, and the poll he's referring to is, hilariously, from hapless Republican pollster Harper Polling. Harper's new survey actually shows Markey with a 49-37 lead over Gomez, which is pretty rough news for Republicans, seeing as it comes from a conservative outfit that has in the past shaded results in favor of the GOP, and even apparently put its thumb on the scale on one occasion. But it also happens to be in line with other polling, so who knows? Maybe Harper got it right this time.

So you can understand why Dayspring, desperately pacing in his bunker of denial, is lobbing Crayolas right back at an erstwhile ally, and it's immensely enjoyable. But the best part is that Dayspring's counterparts at the NRCC have started relying on Harper lately, even releasing a strategy memo touting the results of several new polls they recently commissioned from the firm. That means every time the NRCC touts a new Harper survey, Democrats can retort that the NRSC thinks the results "might as well have been written in crayon." That prospect is so delicious, I can practically taste the burnt umber.

And even if Harper happened to hit the mark on the toplines, how is it possible that they have Barack Obama with a job approval rating somewhere in the low 40s—and probably under water—in Massachusetts? That would be considerably lower than his national average, which is just impossible, especially with Markey up 12. Annoyingly, it isn't even possible tell what Obama's score is exactly in Harper's survey, since they only provide crosstabs, not the actual numbers, and they also don't provide the sample composition. If you assume a 50-50 male-female split, though, that would give Obama 43-45 job approvals. No way, no how.

P.S. And as for that questionable new group that supposedly was planning to back Gomez with a $700,000 ad buy, it turns out that Americans for Progressive Action has only bought $127,000 worth of air time so far. It's possible they'll spend more, but they haven't filed any independent expenditure reports yet. And with Election Day on June 25, time is running short.

NJ-Sen: Another day, another poll showing Newark Mayor Cory Booker crushing in the Democratic primary. Monmouth's sample (PDF) is unacceptably small (just 205 respondents), but Booker's performance is so far outside the margin of error that it doesn't really matter, and the results are in line with numbers earlier this week from Quinnipiac and Rutgers-Eagleton. Booker leads with 63 percent, while Rep. Rush Holt takes 10, Rep. Frank Pallone 8, and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver brings up the rear with 6.

Monmouth also checked in on the general election and found Booker dominant there as well. He leads former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan 53-37 while the other three Democrats all have narrower leads (Pallone 45-40, Holt 44-41, Oliver 44-42). Lonegan has a surprisingly good 34-20 favorability rating, but he, like everyone but Booker, is largely unknown. Given his extreme conservatism, the exceptionally short timeframe for this race, and Booker's popularity, it's hard to see Lonegan gaining traction.

SD-Sen: Oy.

Gubernatorial:

CO-Gov: Oof. A new Quinnipiac poll of Colorado offers some very tough numbers for Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, but there are a number of reasons to treat them cautiously, which I'll get to shortly. Hickenlooper sports a narrowly positive 47-43 job approval rating, but he barely edges three different Republicans in head-to-head matchups:

• 42-41 vs. ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo

• 42-40 vs. SoS Scott Gessler

• 43-37 vs. state Sen. Greg Brophy

On their face, those are some pretty "ouch" results, but there are a few odd things about them. For one, why does Hick perform worse than his job approvals—and worse than his re-elect figure, which stands at 45 percent (versus 44 percent who do not want to see him re-elected)? By contrast, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett performs better than his re-elects, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich performs identically. Usually if you think someone deserves to be re-elected, you'll also actually say you'll vote for them.

For another, these numbers are very different from PPP's April survey, which showed Hickenlooper up 50-40 over Gessler and 52-41 over Tancredo. Now, there have been some newsworthy developments in Colorado since that time, in particular Hickenlooper's decision to offer an indefinite reprieve to convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap, who is on death row. By a 67-27 margin, respondents say they disapprove of the governor's choice, and Quinnipiac is convinced the issue has become a major negative for him.

But Quinnipiac hasn't polled Colorado all that much, and their work there last year left something to be desired. In August, they found Mitt Romney up 50-45, which not only was one of very few public polls to give Romney the lead in Colorado, but in fact was the most optimistic poll he ever saw in the state. And their final poll had Romney +1, while PPP had Obama +6; the president carried Colorado by 5.4 percent.

In fairness, they did much better in 2008 (though again, in the summertime, they were one of the only pollsters to find a lead for John McCain). So perhaps Quinnipiac is right. But unless and until we see confirmation from another pollster, these results should be viewed with the same skepticism you'd give to any data that differs so sharply from everything seen to date.

NV-Gov: Jon Ralston reports that Nevada AG Catherine Cortez Masto will not run for lieutenant governor (something she's said on the record), and likely will not run for governor, either (according to Ralston's sources). Given her high profile, Cortez Masto likely would have made a strong candidate in either race, and seeing as she's term-limited, it seems plausible she'd want to run for another office, but it looks like it's not to be. That apparently leaves Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak as the only Democrat eyeing a bid against GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval, whose standing appears quite solid despite Nevada's bluing trend in recent years.

House:

AL-01: Could Regina Benjamin actually be preparing for a run for Congress? Benjamin announced on Wednesday that she would step down next month as U.S. Surgeon General, a post she has held since 2009. Her name came up as a possible Democratic candidate for the special election that will take place after GOP Rep. Jo Bonner resigns this summer, but given the district's sharp red bent, the idea seemed like a pipe dream. But given the timing of Benjamin's departure, and the fact that she so far has refused to comment on whether she might seek the seat, it seems like a bid could be a possibility. It's also worth noting that she said she's return to Alabama after she leaves D.C., so she's someone to keep an eye on.

CA-07: Elizabeth Emken, the California GOP's failed 2012 Senate nominee, has been sniffing around the 7th Congressional District since wintertime. Now she's gone ahead and formed a campaign committee, though she isn't officially declaring her candidacy against freshman Democratic Rep. Ami Bera. Other Republicans are also still considering the race, including ex-Rep. Doug Ose.

FL-26: I just noticed something about that NRCC memo touting a whole bunch of recent internal polling, most of it conducted by Harper Polling. The NRCC said they commissioned surveys in five districts, but only released toplines in four: CA-36, IL-10, IL-12, and UT-04 (the last of which looks to be very sketchy indeed). The seat they left off was Democrat Joe Garcia's FL-26. About that, all they revealed is that Garcia has a 38 percent approval rating, which they call "low" but I call "misleading" because Garcia is a freshman and likely isn't well-known. (Note how they left off his disapproval score.)

Now, Garcia suffered some very bad news recently with the resignation of his chief of staff amid voter registration fraud allegations, and as the NRCC notes, their poll was in the field before that story hit. But the lack of any ballot tests pitting Garcia against actual Republicans is notable.

MN-06: Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah just became the second Republican to announce a run for Michele Bachmann's open seat, joining ex-state Rep. Tom Emmer. One thing to bear in mind is that Minnesota uses a caucus system to pick its nominees, which would tend to favor the crazier options. But the conventions aren't binding, so a primary by disgruntled candidates is always possible. And sometimes, they fail to produce a nominee altogether (as happened in MN-01 last year), making a primary necessary.

As almost everyone has acknowledged, without Bachmann seeking re-election, this seat is well-nigh unwinnable for Democrats. But the GOP could very easily wind up picking the next Michele Bachmann, which means there could potentially be an opportunity here somewhere down the line. At the very least, though, a contest like this ought to be fun to watch.

Grab Bag:

Demographics: There's already been a lot of good ink spilled about the new slew of Census Bureau data on race that was released on Thursday, but let's unpack the details a little.

First off, the nation's non-Hispanic white population has entered the realm of "natural decrease"; in other words, deaths now exceed births. This came about sooner than expected, attributed by researchers primarily to the recession and the resulting drop in birth rates. The number of non-Hispanic whites, nevertheless, still increased, thanks to immigration: 188,000 non-Hispanic whites immigrated between July 2011 and June 2012, a much greater number than the 12,000 net deaths among the same demographic. Asians were the fastest-growing group by percentage (up 2.9 percent) while Hispanics had the largest numeric gain (1.1 million, with 76 percent of that coming from natural increase, not immigration).

In another first, the Census Bureau reports that among the 5-and-under set, non-Hispanic whites will, within the next year, no longer be the majority. Within five years, that should extend to the entire 18-and-under set. Thirteen states (plus DC) already have an under-5 population that's majority-minority, up from only five at the 2000 Census. In addition, 343 of the nation's counties are now majority-minority overall (not just among the wee ones), with six counties newly added to that list. Four are dinky, but two are very large: Mecklenburg in North Carolina (location of Charlotte), and Bell in Texas (location of Temple/Killeen and Ft. Hood). Both did so thanks to Hispanic growth. (David Jarman)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

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

    by David Nir on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:00:18 AM PDT

  •  MI: Medicaid expansion and Common Core (8+ / 0-)

    So, Governor Snyder both knowing that he's trying to govern in a blue state and that Michigan has traditionally been a donor state when it comes to some federal programs, was finally able to cobble together a MI House majority for Medicaid expansion, last night.  

    He got it on a 76-31 vote, splitting the Republicans in half and carryng less than half the caucus.  The "no" was 30 Republicans and one Dem.  The "yes" was 28 Republicans, 47 Dems, and 1 left-leaning independents.  This was after an all-out offense by Americans for Prosperity, which culminated in dozens of tea party and conservative activist  drawing a line in the sand and telling conservatives not to vote for Snyder's re-election.

    The governor did have one loss, last night, and it was his push to get funding to implement the national Common Core standards.  The recently passed budget specifically bars him from spending money for it without the legislatures approval, so the conspiracy theorists won that battle.

    All and all, a busy, weird week, but that's  true of about every week when you have to navigate a tea party legislature and a not-so-tea-party governnor in a historically blue Rust Belt state.  You don't even know how eager I am for November 2014.

  •  any chance of Dems knocking off Trent Franks? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, JBL55

    or is his Arizona district VERY red....

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:40:48 AM PDT

  •  I have long had this fantasy that the President (11+ / 0-)

    woke up one day and decided to help Maine elect a Democratic governor to replace LePage, so he appointed Eliot Cutler to a diplomatic post he might be marginally qualified for and which Cutler could not refuse. It's about the only way I can think of to remove him from Maine gubenatorial politics any time in the foreseeable future.

    Michaud, however, does have a good chance gaining enough of the independent vote to beat both Cutler and LePage and the Democrats have a decent chance of holding on to ME-02. I'm glad to see him seriously thinking about running. I would gladly vote for a Blue Dog Dem challenging LePage, and as far as I can tell Michaud is the only Maine Democrat with the statewide recognition of both name and record we have to run besides Pingree and she's not going anywhere.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:09:52 AM PDT

    •  I've had the same fantasy. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, mayim, Onomastic

      And I'm uneasy about the prospect of losing Michaud in the House w/o gaining him in Blaine House.

      But if he decides to take the plunge, I'll work my tail off to get him elected.

      "War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate." ~ Al Cleveland & Marvin Gaye (1970)

      by JBL55 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:46:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  nice fantasy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Onomastic

      but even if it doesn't happen, anti Le Page Mainers will not wait until election day to go Independent or Dem. They saw what happened last time  and won't do it again. Michaud is stronger than Libby Mitchell and if Cutler is portrayed early on as a spoiler  who had his chance the dynamics next time will be much different.

      •  If Mike runs the dynamics will be different anyway (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic

        He's not just stronger than Libby Mitchell, he's Mike Michaud. He's someone everyone in Maine knows even here in the first district. Libby wasn't even close to his class of politician. But it will still be a hard race no matter how unpopular LePage seems to be right now.

        The only thing that concerns me about a Michaud candidacy is that thing Mike keeps in his closet. Ifyouknowwhatimean.

        I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

        by commonmass on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:14:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agree. (0+ / 0-)

        I'd work my heart out for Mike. Don't think most Mainers have lost the lesson of what happened the last time Cutler ran.

        I just don't see Cutler doing nearly as well as he did last time.

        "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

        by Onomastic on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:07:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Shifting mental gears... (5+ / 0-)

      First off, I am very surprised that Mike would consider running.  I have always considered him a "legislative" personality rather than an executive one, much in the mold of John Balldacci, a rather poor governor in my estimation.  I watched Mike serve on Gov. Angus King's 1995-96 Productivity Realization Task Force and it was a gut-wrenching experience for him.  He staggered around the statehouse dragging this enormous briefcase of Task Force documents, practicly muttering to himself in the corners, and reacted as if every union job eliminated had been cut from his own hide.

      Be that as it may, I was becoming sadly reconciled to another 4 years of Lepage.  Cutler still sees himself on election night of 2010, realizing that another 48 hours or so of campaigning could have made him governor.  I don't believe that is transferable to 2014 - the lightning failed to strike and it's not coming back for him. I also despaired of a viable D on the ballot.  

      Mike won't be a great governor, but he'll be light-years better than Lepage.

         

    •  Not a fan of Michaud, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Onomastic

      but I hate Cutler on a weird, visceral, fact-free level. I actually hate him more than LePage, though LePage still wins the 'utter revulsion' competition.

      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:33:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An interesting and useless fact about Maine Gov: (13+ / 0-)

    LePage was Maine's first Franco-American governor (about one-fifth of Mainers speak French at home and for more it's the first language) and were Michaud to run and win, he would be the second.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:14:06 AM PDT

  •  MN-06- Conventions don't pick nominees (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55, commonmass, Amber6541, Gygaxian

    Under Minnesota's unique caucus/primary system, conventions do not pick nominees.  The district convention makes an endorsement, but it is the primary that chooses the nominee.  While the endorsed candidate has certain advantages (party resources most especially), primaries are quite common and the higher the profile of the race the greater the chance that an unendorsed candidate wins the primary.

    •  On the Republican side, its rare (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass

      On the DFL side, occasionally you'll get someone who bucks the system, but they usually get steamrolled. Mark Dayton is a notable exception, but he had unique name recognition, and personal wealth. I can't imagine that here will be anything more than a formality primary for the Republican mayor in MN-6. The race really is Emmer's to lose.

      I am a Tom Rukavina Democrat

      by OGGoldy on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:51:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not so rare on DFL side (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass

        You are correct-- it is more rare on the Republican side.  Though there was the time Arne Carlson lost the gubernatorial endorsement to Alan Quist, but beat him in the primary. That was a special case, though

        It happens pretty often on the DFL side in statewide races.  Mike Freeman, Jerry Janezich, and Margaret Anderson Kelliher were all endorsed candidates who lost in the primary.  I agree that it is less frequent in House races, though if I recall correctly, in Oberstar's first race he beat the endorsed candidate in a primary.  And last year's MN-08 DFL primary was quite competitive.  If Taryl Clark hadn't been such an awful candidate, she might have beaten Nolan in the primary.

        Given just how much damage the Tea Partiers are doing to the Republican Party in Minnesota, I am wondering if the moderates will start running well-funded primary campaigns to try to knock off the zany endorsed candidates.

        Oh, and the first time Mike Jaros was elected to the state house, he defeated the endorsed candidate in a primary.

        •  Retort (0+ / 0-)

          Carlson on 94 didn't even need to run in a convention, or primary for the matter. He could have left the Independent-Republicans (as the party was then known) and won as a 3rd party candidate. Quist is and always been a nut job, but he has a loyal harem of followers. But yes, it is an exceptional case.

          As for MAK, she had the misfortune of running against Dayton, who forwent the convention all together. Also, remember that she was trailing on precinct level caucuses fairly soundly against Rybak. It wasn't until it went up to the state convention that her better organized followers overpowered Rybak's more numerous followers. So it wasn't exactly a united party going into the primary, even though there was an official endorsement.

          I didn't know about Oberstar not getting the party endorsement either. I haven't seen this confirmed anywhere before, bit it would be very interesting if true. Either way, he had institutional backing by his boss (Oberstar was the COS for his predecessor).

          The Nolan race is one I am intimately familiar with. Nolan was a weak candidate, and would be been an afterthought If someone like Ness, Rukavina, Sertich etc had gotten in. Clark herself was astoundingly bad for the district, but she did as well as she possibly could have in the primary, which her ceiling was ~1/3.  

          I am a Tom Rukavina Democrat

          by OGGoldy on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:37:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

      I was eliding a bit, but I did note that the conventions "are not binding." Oftentimes, though, as you know, candidates agree to abide by the conventions and there is no primary.

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

      by David Nir on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:29:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Virginia news (7+ / 0-)

    1. Virginia GOP AG candidate Mark Obenshain is lying about his bill to criminalize miscarriage, which DFA/netroots heroine Maura Keaney helped derail in its earlier incarnation (in 2005).

    2. Ken "Corruptinelli" strikes again. Freedom of Information Act Request Filed in Corrupt Cuccinelli Gas Royalties Case

  •  Regina Benjamin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Gygaxian

    Would be wasting her time running for AL 01, which is the district that includes Mobile. Even though she is from Mobile, she'd have a better shot at AL-03, which is less red and has a surprisingly high percentage of union households.

    If Terri Sewell moves on to something else, Benjamin would have a good chance in AL-07, the black-majority district.

    Of course, Jeff Sessions is up for re-election in 2014. And Richard Shelby is up in 2016, when he will be 82 years old.

    •  I agree that Benjamin's shot at AL-01 (3+ / 0-)

      Would be very small, barring some brutally insane GOP primary that produces someone worse than Todd Akin. But according to the 2008 and 2012 presidential vote, AL-01 is actually a touch bluer than AL-03. The old AL-03 was definitely bluer, but the GOP made sure to rectify that in redistricting.

      Also, to the extent Benjamin would have any chance, it would be in an open seat, not against an incumbent. Mike Rogers is no Michele Bachmann.

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

      by David Nir on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:32:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  About those census figures on race (6+ / 0-)

    1. All the hand-wringing about the "white minority" sounds very similar to the "nativist" rhetoric of 1880-1925. (Solutions then: restrict immigration from China and southern/eastern Europe, and hammer on white women to have more babies and stop all that nonsense about voting and jobs and stuff. Oh, and prohibit abortion and birth control at least for white women.)
    2. "Race" is such a socially constructed category. It always has been; I'm aware from my historical/genealogical research (pre-1940) that the same person is often categorized differently on different census tallies. Now that people can pick more than one category, people formerly categorized as "white" can choose to acknowledge their non-white grandparent, their 1/8 Cherokee, or whatever. In other words, maybe some of the shift is that people haven't changed, but the boxes they've checked on the form may have, and likely in the direction of more not-white check-marks. Like any poll, you can tweak the results by changing the wording of the question. Just a theory.
    3. The fear (just below the surface) of OMG what will happen if whites become a minority reflects, IMO, a not-very-well-buried legacy of several centuries of hysterical fear of slave insurrections, which were more common in places with a higher ratio of blacks to whites. Next step: NRA tries to figure out some constitutionally permissible way to keep guns and ammo away from young black males, while arming young white males to the teeth.  

  •  Hickenlooper is getting a ton of poo.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChadmanFL, commonmass, askew

    from rural Coloradoans that already hate him after a huge ad saturation campaign by coal/oil lobbyists (it was like campaign season) for Hick to veto a renewal energy requirement. His signing of the law prompted the secession proposal.  

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:39:27 AM PDT

  •  Thank you Michaud. But I've never understood (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ChadmanFL, Gygaxian, abgin

    why his district is always considered light blue? Really? Obama won it by 9 pts. Rural New England doesn't vote like most of the rest of rural America. I mean Vermont is rural!

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:05:17 AM PDT

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