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9:05 AM PT: AK-Gov: There's not a whole lot on the Alaska Democrats' bench right now, but it looks like one of the most prominent members of that crew will be running for Governor: Anchorage-based state Senator Hollis French has filed to start exploring the race. French, who has been in the Senate since 2003, also ran for Governor in 2010, but lost to former state House minority leader Ethan Berkowitz in the Democratic primary.

When PPP polled the race in July, Republican incumbent Sean Parnell led French 54-33, so this race is still very much a long shot. However, one thing that has changed since that poll was taken is that former Valdez mayor Bill Walker, who'd been running in the GOP primary against Parnell, instead switched over to running an independent campaign. A split in the Republican vote might give French more of an opening, along the lines of how Democrat Tony Knowles managed to win office in the 1990s. Walker, however, seems to be running toward the middle instead of the far-right and may get some union support, which might just hurt French more than it'd hurt Parnell.

French may not have the Democratic primary to himself, either. Both 2010 nominee Berkowitz and another Anchorage-area Senator, Bill Wielechowski, have been expressing interest in the race, so we'll need to see if they get behind French or not.

9:27 AM PT: MT-Sen: The first Democratic Senate candidate in Montana has bubbled up, where so far all credible Dems have been going out of their way to avoid the open seat. Unfortunately, he seems to come from the Some Dude end of the spectrum: Dirk Adams is a rancher from Wilsall who hasn't run for office before. It's possible he has connections (state Superintendent of Education Denise Juneau touted him on Twitter, which is how I know of his existence) and/or money, but this sentence from the Billings Gazette doesn't bode well:

Adams declined to say yet why he’s running or how he plans to introduce himself to Montana voters.

11:25 AM PT: NC-Gov: I can't say that Wednesday's approval numbers for Republican Governor Pat McCrory from PPP grabbed my attention much; yes, he's suddenly (but predictably) down to an unhealthy 39/51 approval in the wake of signing controversial voter suppression and abortion legislation, but he's barely settled into his job and won't face voters again until 2016.

Maybe he's sweating the numbers a lot more than I thought he'd be, though, because he responded by dropping his own approvals-only internal poll to say "nuh uh!" (which seems pretty unprecedented for someone who won't be facing voters for another three years). The poll from TelOpinion Research on behalf of McCrory-allied Renew North Carolina Foundation, puts his approvals at 48/22. Somebody's clearly worried about a new narrative taking hold!

11:28 AM PT: San Diego mayor: One more sexual harassment accuser on the list (to bring number up to at least 15) doesn't seem like it'd change mayor Bob Filner's fortunes much, but I'm wondering if, given the specifics, if it's the bridge-too-far that serves as a tipping point for him:

In a news release, Allred described the woman as a great-grandmother and senior citizen who works at the Senior Citizens Help Desk at San Diego City Hall. The woman alleges that Filner made "continuous inappropriate sexual advances" while she tried to do her job.

11:40 AM PT: IL-Gov: With Attorney General Lisa Madigan's surprise decision not to wade into the Democratic gubernatorial primary against weak incumbent Pat Quinn, that's left only Bill Daley the only major primary opposition to Quinn. That may change, though, with increasing rumors that state Sen. Kwame Raoul will jump in. The Chicago Sun-Times says that Raoul has "quietly been positioning himself the past several weeks for a potential run," and also hints that he may be drawing support from state Senate president John Cullerton.

It's not clear whether Raoul has the statewide profile to get over the top; he'd previously been planning to run for Attorney General when it looked like Madigan would run for Governor, but with no stepping-stone position available any more for the 48-year-old Raoul, he might have the incentive to roll the dice on a higher-profile run. He may still wind up being a difference-maker without winning, though; Quinn counted heavily on African-American support in the 2010 primary, and if Raoul grabs most of the black vote, that would probably improve the odds for the more moderate Daley. (Raoul has represented SD-13 in Hyde Park since 2004, when he was appointed to succeed some guy named Barack Obama.)


12:41 PM PT: LA-Sen: Republicans have been pretty good about putting a unified face forward in Louisiana, where Rep. Bill Cassidy seems to have a lock on the GOP nod. (He has some opposition in the form of retired AF Col. Rob Maness, but Maness has almost no money and not a lot of vocal support outside of Red State's bubble.) However, the Times-Picayune points to unnamed figures in the GOP establishment still casting about for another option, not necessarily a more conservative option but just a more compelling one than the low-key Cassidy:

Of late, there are some top Republicans who think that person is Scott Angelle, the public service commissioner and former cabinet officer in both the Blanco and Jindal administrations. He is an electrifying speaker, a hot-damn, lapel-grabbing campaigner and the Cajun heir apparent, one who could take away votes from Landrieu where she usually runs well, in Acadiana.
Unfortunately for his nameless fanboys, Angelle sounds more interested in the potentially-crowded 2015 Governor's race (which could include Republicans Sen. David Vitter, Treasurer John Kennedy, and/or Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne). One other name, though, from lower down the totem pole who is floating at least some interest in the 2014 Senate race is state Sen. Elbert Guillory, who recently flipped from Democrat to Republican (not that notable in Louisiana -- it's something that both Angelle and Kennedy have done in the past -- though it's noteworthy he was the first African-American to do so in the state Senate). However, Guillory also mentions the 2015 Lt. Governor race, which might be a likelier target for him.

1:00 PM PT: NJ-Sen: As the vote counting winds down from Tuesday's special primary election, here are some specifics on just how big Cory Booker's win was. For starters, he got more votes than Rush Holt did in Holt's own NJ-12 (17.8K-16.8K), though at least Frank Pallone managed to win Pallone's own NJ-06 (13.8K-11.3K). Booker also swamped Sheila Oliver in her town of East Orange (4,223-940) and even doubled up on Republican nominee Steve Lonegan in his home town of Bogota (233-118).

And if you're wondering what Republican is up to the thankless task of taking on Booker in the regularly-scheduled 2014 election, don't worry! Alieta Eck -- who barely managed to get 20% of the vote in the Republican primary against the already-doomed Steve Lonegan -- is on it.

1:15 PM PT: TN-Sen: So this is really the best they can do? Twenty Tea Party groups wrote to not-insane-enough Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander "urging him to retire." Interestingly, they do a better job of putting their particular pathology into words than I ever could:

"Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous."
If you're wondering why they simply urged him to retire instead of getting specific about a primary, well, that's because the cupboard seems to be entirely bare of credible primary challengers. (That isn't stopping the Senate Conservatives Fund from at least "talking to a lot of people" in search of someone.)

1:35 PM PT: PA-13: Seems like it's Everybody Gets a Trophy Day in the race for endorsements in the Democratic primary in the open (but safely blue) 13th. State Sen. Daylin Leach may have scored the biggest one, from Joe Hoeffel, who represented a more purely suburban version of the 13th from 1998 until 2004 (and who more recently was a Montgomery County Commissioner, and a losing candidate in the 2010 gubernatorial primary).

State Rep. Brendan Boyle got the backing of Philadelphia's city council president, Darrell Clarke. (Boyle's support is primarily in the Philly portion of the district, maybe most importantly Bob Brady, who is Philly's chief string-puller as city Democratic party chair and, in his spare time, Rep. from PA-01.) Meanwhile, city councilor Cindy Bass is backing ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies. Neither Clarke nor Bass have districts that overlap the 13th, though.

1:44 PM PT: KY-Sen: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is going on the air in the Kentucky Senate race, with a 30-second spot hitting Mitch McConnell on Social Security. The buy is apparently only $21K, for a week in the Louisville market.

2:02 PM PT: GA-Sen: There's been plenty of debate in recent months between members of Team Georgia and Team Texas over where to focus efforts in the next decade to move a big red state into the purple column, but a somewhat parallel debate has formed in the last week over a race with a narrower timeframe. It's about where to best pick up a Senate seat in 2014, and now it's Team Georgia vs. Team Kentucky.

New Republic's Nate Cohn new piece puts him pretty squarely in the Georgia camp, and he makes a good case that Georgia's rapidly-changing demographics are what's at stake: since 2000, the non-white population in Georgia has grown by 1.4 million, while the white population has only grown by 300K. Even allowing for midterm turnout dropoff, the 2014 electorate is on track to be as diverse as the 2008 general election voters.

Of course, there's still the issue of candidate quality, as Team Kentucky members would point out; Kentucky has Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has won statewide and convincingly, while Michelle Nunn is untested beyond her famous last name. It's not clear that ALG could get to 50%+1 even if she does everything pitch-perfect, though, given Kentucky's mostly-white electorate and recent further drift to the right. A strong campaign from Nunn isn't a given, either, but one other factor in her favor is that she might get an assist from the GOP, who might wind up nominating one of the lesser lights in their overcrowded primary.

3:44 PM PT: NYC mayor: We've gotten some confirmation that Tuesday's Quinnipiac poll of the New York City mayoral race -- which had one-time afterthought Bill De Blasio surging into an unexpected lead -- was no fluke. Thursday's new Marist poll of the race (on behalf of the Wall Street Journal and NBC) finds similar numbers, although they see a tie between De Blasio and Christine Quinn rather than an outright lead.

The new poll finds De Blasio, the city Public Advocate, and city council president Quinn tied at 24 each, with ex-Comptroller Bill Thompson at 18, ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (who now has 63% unfavorable among Democrats) at 11, and current Comptroller John Liu at 5. Compared with the previous poll, Quinn is down by 2 points, while De Blasio is up by 7. De Blasio's gains are coming mostly within the African-American community, as he moved up from 10% to 20% support among blacks; that's probably thanks to his stance against the city's stop-and-frisk policies, which became much better known in recent weeks thanks to this ad starring his son. Most observers consider De Blasio as generally the most progressive member of the mayoral field (though Thompson would take issue with that).

Unlike the Quinnipiac poll from earlier this week, though, Marist finds Quinn still competitive in a runoff, which will happen if no candidate breaks 40% in the primary. De Blasio beats Quinn in a head-to-head runoff by only 44-42; similarly, Thompson beats Quinn 44-43. In a De Blasio/Thompson contest, De Blasio prevails 44-36.

Finally, Marist also has data about the downballot races. Ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer leads Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer 54-36 in the Comptroller primary, while the Public Advocate primary is led by city councilor Letitia James at 16, followed by Catherine Guerriero and Dan Squadron at 12, and Reshma Saujani at 3. And while it's easy to forget, there's still a Republican mayoral primary, too: former Metropolitan Transit Authority president Joe Lhota leads John Catsimatidis and George McDonald, 33-22-12.

3:54 PM PT: Site news: Seeing as Friday may be a contender for the Slowest News Day of the Year, and we'd all like to get out and enjoy August while it lasts, there will be no Daily Kos Elections Live Digest on Friday the 16th. This also means no Morning Digest/newsletter on Monday the 19th.

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