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Leading Off:

ME-Gov: Confirming recent Democratic internal polls, PPP's new survey of Maine finds Rep. Mike Michaud shooting into the lead in next year's gubernatorial race. In a three-way matchup, Michaud holds a 39-35 edge over GOP Gov. Paul LePage, with independent Eliot Cutler at 18. Cutler's fade has coincided with Michaud's surge: In January, PPP saw the race at 34 LePage, 30 Michaud, and 26 Cutler.

In the interim, Michaud has started to consolidate Democratic support, upping his share among members of his own party from 47 percent to 63 percent. Michaud wasn't a candidate the last time PPP went into the field, so his increased visibility has likely played a big role here. And while both Michaud and Cutler have seen their favorability ratings drop about a dozen points, but the former remains broadly popular at 53-30 while the latter is now underwater at 32-35.

There's also no doubt that Cutler is taking votes almost entirely from Michaud: In a direct head-to-head with LePage, Michaud beats him soundly, 54-39 (though that's actually down some from Michaud's earlier 57-36 advantage). Cutler's presence on the ballot is the only reason LePage has any shot at victory, but if Cutler can only reach the teens, as Tom Jensen suggests, that's not likely enough to save LePage's bacon. And obviously, it also means Cutler can't win. If he has any sense, he'll recognize that "at best" he'd be a spoiler and drop out instead.

Senate:

LA-Sen: Hah! Remember when Republicans nominated the least-credible critic of Obamacare they could possibly muster, Willard Mitt Romney? Looks like they're about to do something similar in Louisiana, because it turns out that back when he served in the state Senate, GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy authored a number of bills that contained striking resemblances to the key components of the Affordable Care Act. One piece of legislation would have even established a health insurance exchange!

Of course, once upon a time, the plan known as Romneycare was considered a conservative, "market-based" approach to insurance reform (authored by the Heritage Foundation, no less), but as soon as Barack Obama adopted it, it became Kenyan-socialist. Criticism of the implementation of the ACA seems to be the main issue Republicans are running on these days, but Cassidy just handed Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu a great way to defuse and parry his attacks on that front. (Click through for Cassidy's weak response to these revelations about his past legislative efforts.)

Gubernatorial:

IL-Gov: Local tipsheet Capitol Fax commissioned a survey from conservative pollster We Ask America to see how an entry into the Democratic primary by state Sen. Kwame Raoul might affect the two candidates already running, Gov. Pat Quinn and former White House chief of staff Bill Daley. The conventional wisdom says that Raoul, who is black, would hurt Quinn and hand the race to Daley, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

In a three-way field, where the contenders are identified by their profession (and Raoul is specifically described as "an African-American attorney from Chicago"), Quinn leads Daley 27-23 with Raoul taking 13. Last month, in a direct matchup, Quinn was up 38-33, a very similar spread, so it seems like Raoul takes from both equally. And if this poll is anywhere near accurate, it shows that even the little-known state senator could potentially win the Democratic nomination.

NC-Gov: Well, it's hella early, but I guess Republican Gov. Pat McCrory already has his first opponent for 2016. Former state Rep. Kenneth Spaulding, who is described as "a member of one of Durham's most prominent families" and whose father once ran one of the largest black-owned companies in the country, says he plans to run against McCrory and wants all this extra time to build up a campaign organization. Still, this kind of super-advance planning has a way of changing, so always view announcements made this far out with some skepticism.

House:

FL-15: Former television reporter Alan Cohn says he'll kick off a bid against GOP Rep. Dennis Ross this Thursday in Florida's 15th Congressional District. A career as a TV reporter can be a good launching pad for a run for office, since it guarantees you start with a measure of name recognition. But as a Democrat, Cohn will face stiff odds in this district, which went for Mitt Romney by a 53-46 margin in 2012.

GA-01: Former Jack Kingston staffer David Schwarz is abandoning (technically "suspending," he says) his bid to replace his old boss, who is running for Senate. Several other Republicans are still running, including state Sen. Buddy Carter, state Rep. Jeff Chapman, and surgeon Bob Johnson.

VA-02: Rep. Scott Rigell, one of just 17 Republicans who sits in a district carried by Barack Obama in 2012, just picked up a noteworthy Democratic opponent on Tuesday, retired Navy Commander Suzanne Patrick. Virginia's 2nd has a large military population, concentrated at Virginia Beach, so Patrick, who served as a deputy undersecretary of defense under George W. Bush, offers a good profile for this district.

Rigell, though, is very wealthy and has shown a willingness to spend a lot of his own money. And even though the president narrowly won here last year, this is not easy turf for a Democratic challenger. Still, it's the kind of seat Democrats have to contest to have any shot at winning back the majority.

Other Races:

CO Recall: In a last-minute decision spurred by a request from Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that voters do not have to vote on both questions on the two-part recall ballot in order to have their choices count. Colorado law had required voters to first say whether they wanted to recall the candidate in question, then separately choose a replacement (who would be elected if the recall succeeded).

But federal courts found this structure unconstitutional in California a decade ago during the recall of Gov. Gray Davis. That's because it precludes voters from casting ballots on part two if they didn't vote on part one, and Colorado's high court apparently agreed with that reasoning.

However, the practical impact of this ruling appears to be limited, if not almost nil. In California, Democrats had a backup plan, urging citizens to vote "no on recall, yes on Bustamante" (Cruz Bustamante, then the lieutenant governor)—a hedge in case Davis got recalled. Democrats have no such Plan B in either of the Colorado recalls.

What's more, aside from the two Republicans already challenging each state senator, it turns out that only one other candidate wound up taking advantage of an earlier court ruling that extended the filing period (and scotched all-mail voting). Libertarian Jan Brooks will appear on the ballot alongside Republican Bernie Herpin in state Sen. John Morse's SD-11, but in state Sen. Angela Giron's SD-03, only George Rivera will be listed.

All in all, I can't figure out why Hickenlooper rushed to court with just two weeks to go, to seek a procedural change that would have almost no impact on the outcome either way.

Meanwhile, Morse and Giron have demanded that an ad from an outside conservative group, Freedom Colorado, get taken off the air for containing falsehoods. The minute-long spot histrionically attacks both Democrats, Morse for quoting Bobby Kennedy on how violence is a "sickness" (which the narrator claims was a reference to gun owners), and Giron for allegedly paying "political thugs to harass recall supporters." Even in a straight news piece, reporter Eli Stokols calls the former claim "a misleading and context-free interpretation" that was simply "not the case." As for the latter, I have no idea where that even comes from.

NYC Mayor: It seems like stop-and-frisk—the controversial police tactic that involves stopping and searching tens of thousands of New Yorkers a year, most of them black or Latino, for contraband or weapons, and often without the "reasonable suspicion" required by the constitution—has emerged as the biggest issue in this fall's mayoral election. The actual battle lines over how to deal with the program, which a federal judge recently ruled unconstitutional as currently practiced, are fairly complex, though. Among the major Democratic candidates, only Comptroller John Liu wants to end stop-and-frisk entirely; the rest differ on how to how to fix it.

Helpfully, the Huffington Post has put together a chart outlining where each hopeful stands on the three main proposals to increase police oversight. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is the only contender who supports all three, which, combined with his public rhetoric and advertising, has anecdotally opened a "perception gap" between himself and former Comptroller Bill Thompson among black voters in particular (and, I'm sure, the electorate in general) as to which Democrat would most effectively reform stop-and-frisk.

It's an unusual situation because Thompson, who is black, is viewed as having the squishier position, while de Blasio, who is white but whose biracial son Dante has figured prominently in his campaign, is perceived as the sharper critic of the current regime. As we noted in the previous Digest, it's a state of affairs which has Thompson deeply frustrated (he's even accused de Blasio of telling "lies"), but it's a good illustration of how perceptions—and how you go about creating those perceptions—matters in politics.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hallelujah! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    donaurora, Aunt Pat

    If only Cutler would take the hint.

    Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

    by Alna Dem on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 06:10:17 AM PDT

  •  I'm wondering why Al D'Amato has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, rexxnyc

    chosen to endorse Thompson as opposed to CATSimatidis.

    (yup, that's snark).

  •  What's wrong with Maine? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    donaurora, Aunt Pat

    How is it that 35 percent of voters believe LePage is an OK guy who should be re-elected? Can we give all those people one-way bus tickets to Canada?

    •  Better yet give Lepage a one way ticket (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, seefleur

      outta the great state of ME. anywhere. Maybe relocate for good to his winter home in Florida.  Nothing is wrong with ME.  except the GOV. Fluke, perfect storm got LePage elected. He has proven himself to be a world class crude rude ignoramus.  That 35 percent voter support- complicated- but can only go down. LePage is an embarrassment for every voter in ME.

      Watch out for the UnderToad ~ The World According To Garp

      by donaurora on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 06:43:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The same thing that's wrong with other states (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen

      The presence of Republican voters. LePage was elected only because the Democrats nominated a monumentally weak candidate on the basis of party seniority (it was her turn), and then Cutler presented a more viable alternative AFTER a huge number of early votes had already been cast for the Democrat. At least we don't elect Republican idiots outright like other states do.

      •  His election was certainly a fluke (0+ / 0-)

        But after all the stupid and embarrassing shit that has spewed from his mouth since then, how can so many people still want him to be their governor?

        Is it just that Republicans love that shit whether they live in Oklahoma or Maine? I've always looked up to New Englanders as having more sense than to tolerate such BS.

    •  they're Republicans. (0+ / 0-)

      nuff said.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:19:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Canada doesn't need those people, thanks. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541
  •  Re: LePage (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    donaurora, Aunt Pat, Odysseus, seefleur

    I've been up at the easternmost town in the US for the past couple of weeks; let me add even VERY conservative folk up here are embarrassed by LePage's basic assholism.  They can't wait to get rid of him.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 06:21:19 AM PDT

  •  If that is indeed the case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    Then, as quaoar pointed out, who the fuck are these 35% that will still vote for him!?

  •  what's the deal with Cutler (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    donaurora, abgin, Aunt Pat

    He knows he has no chance of winning and is the only thing keeping Le Page from losing in a landslide. Makes me wonder if LePage isn't secretly supporting his campaign.

    •  Because in 2010... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      abgin, Aunt Pat, Odysseus, AUBoy2007, jncca

      Cutler was the 2nd place finisher, finishing just 2 points behind LePage, 38.33% to 36.49%.  Libby Mitchell, the actual Democrat in the race, could only get 19.12%.

      It's probably the residual effect of coming so close in 2010.  Hopefully he'll soon realize Michaud is NO Mitchell.

      •  How LePage could get 38% is beyond me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BruinKid, Aunt Pat

        The deep blue state of Maine surely doesn't have 38% idiots living there, does it?  I mean, really, are there percentages of people here who are rebelling against LePage or were the 38% who voted for him in 2010 truly LePage supporters for life.

        LePage shouldn't even get 20% in Maine.

        •  In 2010... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          many people who would vote Democratic simply didn't bother to show up and vote.  McCain got 295,273 votes in Maine in 2008, and Romney got 292,276 votes there in 2012.  So basically about 290,000 Mainers are hardcore Republicans.

          Paul LePage only got 216,761 votes, and won.

          Unfortunately, it seems young people and minorities don't bother voting in midterm elections.  Maybe these voter suppression efforts will finally wake them the fuck up, but I don't think that's happened in Maine.  (It helps that Democrats control both houses of the state legislature.)

          I've been tabling multiple times this summer for Bruin Democrats at UCLA for incoming freshmen.  This is a campus where exit polls showed 84.5% of the students voted for Obama, compared to only 11.1% for Romney.  But only a few students would come and sign up with our club.  Most just seem apathetic and/or disinterested.  And since we're in California, they don't feel their rights are being personally attacked by the state government, and so the apathy stays.

          Though also note that Prop. 30 got 89.1%, and only 8.5% voted no on that.  Prop. 30 raised taxes on millionaires here, and thanks to it, prevented UC students' tuition from going up yet again for this upcoming school year.  So when it affected them personally, students understood what was at stake, and voted accordingly.  Think about that, the No on 30 folks were MORE unpopular than even Mitt Romney was on our campus!

          •  Time to start waking folks at Maine up (0+ / 0-)

            Apparently there are 216,761 idiots in Maine.

          •  Voter registration is better near the election. (0+ / 0-)

            I sat in a mall in May for the Primary for 5 hours and registered 4 voters.  I sat in a restaurant advertised as supporting voter registration drives in October for 2 hours and registered 90 voters.

            A huge percentage of people are only marginally attached to the political system and pay a lot more attention "after Labor Day".

            Don't take it personally, just keep doing it.  Eventually, the flood will come.

            -7.75 -4.67

            "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

            There are no Christians in foxholes.

            by Odysseus on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 08:22:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Maine is a very rural state, and NOT Vermont. (0+ / 0-)

          Rural people tend to vote Republican in nearly every state in the nation. Look at upstate New York if you need evidence.

        •  Maine isn't "deep blue"... (0+ / 0-)

          or else we wouldn't have had two Republican Senators for so long.

      •  I totally agree. (0+ / 0-)

        Mitchell was a horribly weak candidate who had absolutely nothing to say about the state's economic problems. I myself voted for Cutler due to the passive and vacuous nature of Mitchell's campaign.

        Michaud is no such patsy. Cutler is likely to see that he has no chance, and will drop out early so he can keep his money.

    •  HA! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      seefleur

      Cutler is cut from the same cloth as Romney, Trump, and countless other rich power hungry egomaniacs.
      With no public service record or other political office, Cutler thinks based on his "brilliant" business acumen, he can ride his white/black horse into the Blaine House and save the state of ME.
      He came close the last time around because  Libby Mitchell, the Dem candidate was so weak. And LePage rode the tea party tide of "blunt" talk, pulled himself up by his bootstraps, hard life, hard scrabble, mayor of a central ME town.
      Cutler came close to winning in the 3 way race, but this time I believe Michaud, who has much stronger credentials than Cutler, will expose Cutlers weaknesses.
      Michaud has broad appeal throughout the state.
      Yeah, I wish Cutler would just go away, now.

      Watch out for the UnderToad ~ The World According To Garp

      by donaurora on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 06:55:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NC-Gov (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RoIn

    Fun fact, Kenneth Spaulding is in fact Pam Spaulding's uncle.

    Well, this should be interesting -- one of my uncles is going to run against Pat McCrory in 2016. No thumbs up or thumbs down here (I'm not close enough to weigh in politically other than to say McCrory's got to go.)
    Though, yeah, she's not endorsing him, nor not endorsing him.  Looks like Spaulding is going after Roy Cooper (D) first in the primary.  If he does enough damage to Cooper, could this be another self-inflicted wound where whoever wins the primary is damaged enough that McCrory actually survives re-election?
    •  At This Point... (0+ / 0-)

      ...Roy Cooper is probably the strongest candidate to take on McCrony.  He won reelection in 2012 with NO Republican opposition and has good name recognition.

      Of course he took a pass on running for governor in both 2008 and 2012, as well as a pass on running for the US Senate in 2010 against Richard Burr so who knows if he even has any interest but right he is probably the strongest opponent Democrats could run but who knows how things will like 2-3 years from now?

      Then again if McCrony's poll numbers keep cratering Mr. Potato Head could make a race of it.

      “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

      by RoIn on Wed Aug 28, 2013 at 07:32:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cutler (0+ / 0-)

    "If he has any sense, he'll recognize that "at best" he'd be a spoiler and drop out instead." Has any independent candidate ever recognized he's handing an election to someone he truly can't stand over someone he could live with? I've never seen one that didn't want every last vote regardless of who wins. In a instant runoff system that would be fine, but in a plurality election, it sucks.

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