• GA-Sen: The waiting is over for Georgia Democrats. Nonprofit founder Michelle Nunn, who has reportedly been considering a bid for Senate for several months, just told local political maven Jim Galloway that she will file paperwork to run on Tuesday. Nunn has never sought office before, but as the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, she sports a famous name and, thanks to her charitable work, has a broad network of connections (even going as far as the Bush family).
With Republicans locked in what is sure to be a nasty, multi-way primary battle, Nunn will also have time to raise money and make an effort to define herself before her opponents can. And while she has a lot to prove, it seems like she may have some political skills: In her interview with Galloway, for instance, she astutely noted that Georgia's refusal to accept Medicaid expansion under Obamacare meant that 25,000 veterans were being denied medical coverage. Make no mistake about it: Georgia is still a red state, and this will be an incredibly difficult contest. But things are trending the Democrats' way here, and if the stars align, Nunn might just be able to pull off an upset.
• AK-Sen: No wonder GOP Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell only released his second quarter fundraising numbers several days after the filing deadline, in an end-of-the-week news dump. In May and June, he pulled in just $170,000, with only $130,000 in the bank. Compared to 2010 Republican nominee Joe Miller, that was awesome, though, since Miller raised only $18,000, though he has $320,000 on hand. But as you'll recall, Democratic Sen. Mark Begich took in almost $1 million during the quarter and has double that figure in his war chest.
• HI-Sen: Not sure if this will be much of a difference maker, but Al Gore has endorsed Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. If Gore were to hold a fundraiser, though, that could be pretty big.
• KY-Sen: It looks like things may in fact get interesting in the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky. Hedge fund manager Matt Bevin, whose potential interest first bubble up all the way back in February, is reportedly set to enter the race on Wednesday. It seems like a sure bet, though, since he's already started reserving TV time according to those same reports, and what's more, Sen. Mitch McConnell immediately started attacking Bevin, calling him "an East Coast con man."
Bevin's family is indeed from the northeast, but he's lived in Kentucky since 1999. As jj32 points out, Rand Paul had been a Kentucky resident for 17 years when he won his Senate seat in 2010, so the carpetbagger claim may not carry much weight. The real question is just how wealthy Bevin is, and how much of his personal money he's willing to put into the race. If he's prepared to go in big, and if he gets help from the likes of the Club for Growth, Bevin could put a real scare into McConnell, who seems to upset movement conservatives just by drawing breath. But even if Bevin doesn't make a huge impact, anything that drives McConnell further to the right and forces him to spend money he'd rather save for a general election is good news for Democrats.
• NJ-Sen: We finally have a TV ad from a Democratic Senate candidate not named Cory Booker. Rep. Frank Pallone is on the air with a spot that's nowhere near as slickly produced as Booker's, featuring a lot of quick cuts and noisy background chatter while a narrator mentions that he's the "son of a cop" who "steered President Obama's healthcare reform" through Congress. Booker, too, has a new ad, in which he rattles off his list of priorities ("equal pay for equal work," "raising the minimum wage").
Oddly enough, a new conservative super PAC run by a former Americans for Prosperity staffer is also playing in the race. The American Commitment Action Fund says they're spending $100,000 on web ads to attack Booker over his record as mayor of Newark. Not sure what the point is, though. They could give me half that sum to tell them not to bother. I mean, are they hoping that a more liberal candidate gets the Democratic nomination?
• CO-Gov: State Sen. Greg Brophy kicked off his campaign for governor last week, making him the third Republican to do so. He joins Secretary of State Scott Gessler and ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo for the right to take on Gov. John Hickenlooper next year.
• MN-Gov: Rather unusually, Gov. Mark Dayton has taken to providing voluntary quarterly reports on his campaign fundraising; Minnesota law, it turns out, doesn't require gubernatorial candidates to make any public disclosures until next year. None of Dayton's Republican opponents have followed suit, so that means we don't really have any direct basis of comparison for the $217,000 Dayton says he raised in the last quarter. Notably, though, that sum doesn't include any of Dayton's considerable personal wealth, and he has promised not to self-fund this cycle. (Last time, he spent almost $4 million of his own money on the race.) Dayton also adds that he has $230,000 on hand.
• VT-Gov: Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is the only Republican holding statewide office in Vermont, but he says that "chances are pretty minimal" he'll seek a promotion next year. After a narrow win in 2010, Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin cruised to a 20-point win in 2012, so Scott's reluctance is quite understandable.
• WI-Gov: In a new interview, Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris says he expects to decide on whether to challenge GOP Gov. Scott Walker by Labor Day. So far, Democrats don't have a candidate in the race.
• AR-02: Little Rock School Board President Dianne Curry, who is currently running for lieutenant governor, says she might switch races and instead challenge GOP Rep. Tim Griffin instead. Curry told Roll Call she'd talked to EMILY's List, but it sounds like discussions are at a very preliminary stage.
• FL-09: Version 2.0 of Rep. Alan Grayson seems to be a decidedly different incarnation than the first, since he no longer seems to be interested in making headlines for the kind of incendiary remarks that once turned him into such a polarizing figure. Rather, says Dave Weigel, Grayson has been quietly convincing Republicans to support amendments that promote libertarian-ish values that Democrats can also get behind, getting many added to larger bills in committee. One, for instance, prohibited homeland security funds "from being used in contravention of the First, Second, or Fourth Amendments."
Weigel argues that Grayson has become unusually effective at this sort of thing, and says he's "getting... closer" to the title of "[t]he congressman who's passed more amendments than any of his 434 peers," but I'm not sure there are any statistics to compare Grayson's efforts to. And of course, most of his amendments are very narrow in scope and may not have a whole lot of practical impact. But with a GOP-controlled Congress, getting anything passed has to be considered an achievement for a Democrat—and these outreach efforts certainly represent a major turnaround for Grayson in particular.
• IA-01: State Rep. Pat Murphy just secured the endorsement of the local branch of AFSCME, which has 40,000 members in the state and which DesMoinesDem describes as Iowa's largest union. The group also endorsed Democrats in Iowa's three other congressional races, but the 1st is the only one with a contested primary.
• NY-07: One surprising line in our second quarter House fundraising roundup belonged New York City Councilman Erik Dilan, who raised $107,000 despite having gone quiet after his loss in last year's Democratic primary to Rep. Nydia Velazquez. But Dilan, who is termed out of the council this year, is indeed considering a rematch, despite his 58-35 drubbing. A Dilan advisor thinks Velazquez won't be able to spend as much this time (though that's not clear why), and he waves away any argument that the downfall of Vito Lopez, the disgraced former head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party and a patron of Dilan's, will diminish Dilan's chances. Consider me skeptical, though.
• SD Mayor: In the event that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigns due to the serious sexual harassment scandal that threatens to end his career, SurveyUSA tested some hypothetical matchups between candidates who might run in a special election. The two strongest, as you'd expect, are 2012 mayoral runner-up Carl DeMaio, a Republican who is now running for Congress in CA-52, and former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a one-time Republican who ran as an independent last year, finishing third in the primary, but who has since become a Democrat. In a direct head-to-head, Fletcher edges DeMaio 42-41, while each dominates against lesser-known candidates in other matchups.
• Blogtopia: Mazal tov to Daily Kos Elections' own Joseph Vogas (aka Trowaman), who just became a staff writer at the seminal Texas political blog Burnt Orange Report. Vogas's community membership dates back many, many years, to the toddlerhood of the Swing State Project, and his insights on the Lone Star state have always been valuable. You can bookmark him at his new digs—where he'll be focusing on elections, natch—right here, and you can also find him on Twitter at @Trowaman.
• Counties: Here's a simpler version of that crazy Sporcle quiz that wanted you to name all eleventy billion counties in the United States. This one just wants you to name the top 200 by population, and it even gives you the largest city in each county as a hint. In some big suburban counties, though, the largest city can often be quite small and anonymous, so it doesn't always provide a huge tip.
• EMILY: EMILY's List has added six new candidates to their lower-tier endorsement level: Alma Adams (NC-12), Staci Appel (IA-03), Erin Bilbray (NV-03), Pam Byrnes (MI-07), Emily Cain (ME-02), and Elisabeth Jensen (KY-06). Appel, Bilbray, and Byrnes likely have their primaries to themselves, but Adams, Cain, and Jensen will all face contested Democratic nomination battles.
• NRCC: The NRCC has added nine more names to its "Patriot Program," which is designed to help vulnerable incumbents, bringing the total list to 20. Here's the latest batch, in alphabetical order:
Dan Benishek (MI-01), Mike Grimm (NY-11), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Tom Latham (IA-03), Gary Miller (CA-31), Tom Reed (NY-23), Scott Rigell (VA-02), Keith Rothfus (PA-12), and Lee Terry (NE-02)There are no real surprises: All of these candidates either sit in swingy districts and/or faced difficult races last year. It also rectifies two surprising omissions from the NRCC's initial rollout, Miller and Benishek. And unlike last time, when all but one candidate were freshman, only one incumbent is a first-termer here, Rothfus, who may face a rematch from ex-Rep. Mark Critz.
• Pres-by-LD: We're adding Virginia, which will hold elections in November for its lower house, to our pres-by-LD database.
|State||CD||LD (Upper)||LD (Lower)||CD||LD (Upper)||LD (Lower)|
|VA||X||X||X||Pres.; Sen.||Pres.; Sen.||Pres.; Sen.|
Even though Democrats only hold 32 seats of the 100-seat House, Obama actually won 47 HDs. There are 16 Republicans sitting in Obama-won HDs (largely in Northern Virginia), though Democrat Joe Johnson holds a 68 percent Romney district in Southwestern Virginia. (Johnson, however, is retiring and Democrats don't even have a candidate on the ballot to replace him.) Interestingly, the line between Dem-held and Republican-held HDs is higher than we've seen in other states, at 54.5 percent Obama (Johnson's HD-04 is the only Dem-held seat on the other side of the line).
Democrats hold 20 seats in the 40-seat Senate. (Therefore, since Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling is a Republican, Republicans control the chamber. Die-hard electioneers will remember Democrat Edd Houck's painfully narrow loss in 2011 in SD-17, a swingy seat that voted for Romney but also Tim Kaine.) Obama won 21 districts, but Republicans hold two SDs that voted for Obama. Offsetting that is Democrat Phil Puckett who holds a 67 percent Romney seat (again in Southwestern Virginia). The line between Democratic and Republican seats sits again, around 54.0 percent Obama (with Puckett's SD-38 being the only exception).
While the Senate isn't even up for election this year, control of the chamber, paradoxically, is. A change in the Lt. Gov's seat could swing control, and three members of the Senate are running for statewide office. (Democrat Ralph Northam in SD-06 is running for lieutenant governor, while Republican Mark Obenshain in SD-28 and Democrat Mark Herring in SD-33 are facing off for attorney general.) Fortunately, this means Democrats can retake the chamber if Northam win the LG slot, and Democrats hold Northam's 57 percent Obama district. (If Herring were to win the AG slot, Democrats would also need to hold his NoVA SD that gave Obama 59 percent. Should Obenshain win, it's difficult to envision his 60 percent Romney SD becoming competitive.) (jeffmd)
• Site News: If you visit Daily Kos Elections on your mobile device, you can now access us using Daily Kos's stripped-down mobile interface (rather than via the full-blown site) by bookmarking m.dailykos.com/blogs/elections.