• Crossroads: Karl Rove's American Crossroads just shared five new Senate polls with Politico, but the crosstabs are all behind their paywall at "Politico Pro," so all we have are summaries of the toplines. But the numbers (from Harper Polling) are instructive nevertheless, particularly when you examine the trendlines:
AR-Sen: Mark Pryor (D-inc): 39, Tom Cotton (R): 39 (Jan: 42-36 Cotton)So in four of five states, Democratic margins have improved since the last time Harper went into the field—and as Markos Moulitsas observes, this comes after the Kochs have spent many millions on withering attack ads in most of these races for months. Arkansas is perhaps the most notable of all: Following four straight positive polls for Democrats, the best that Rove can do is a survey showing a 6-point drop into a tie?
CO-Sen: Mark Udall (D-inc): 45, Cory Gardner (R): 43 (March: 45-44 Udall)
LA-Sen: Mary Landrieu (D-inc): 43, Bill Cassidy (R): 47 (Jan.: 45-44 Cassidy)
MI-Sen: Gary Peters (D): 40, Terri Lynn Land (R): 43 (Jan.: 42-37 Land)
MT-Sen: John Walsh (D-inc): 35, Steve Daines (R): 42 (Jan.: 43-29 Daines)
Certainly Pryor's far from out of the woods, and all of these races are tough holds for Democrats. But after a dark winter, the gloom may be lifting. Funny that Karl Rove, of all people, should be the bearer of such portents.
• MN-Sen: Mike McFadden (R): $600,000 raised, $1.8 million cash-on-hand
• SD-Sen: Annette Bosworth (R): $772,000 raised, $348,000 cash-on-hand
• CO-Sen: The League of Conservation Voters is unloading on GOP Rep. Cory Gardner with the first installment in what they say will be a $1 million ad campaign. Their new spot says Gardner "took over $450,000 in contributions from the oil and gas industry," and as a result, he's voted "to keep billions in handouts for oil companies, even as they made record profits."
• IA-Sen: The conservative Washington Free Beacon paid for a new survey from The Polling Company to tell them that state Sen. Joni Ernst and businessman Mark Jacobs are neck-and-neck for the GOP Senate nomination in Iowa—just like everyone else has shown. (Ernst is at 23 and Jacobs 20; everyone else is in single digits.)
They also included a bunch of almost comically axe-grindy questions, like: "After the statement was revealed, Bruce Braley's campaign misspelled a couple of basic, Iowa-farm-related words in his press release that tried to defend his work for Iowa farmers. Does this make you more likely or less likely to vote Bruce Braley U.S. Senate?" (Eighteen percent said more likely!) They did not, however, manage to test any actual GOP candidates against Braley, though they claim that good ol' generic Republican beats Braley 48-38.
• NC-Sen: Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis is lashing back at the Senate Majority PAC, which launched a new ad earlier this week lambasting Tillis over the fact that two of his staffers resigned after having affairs with lobbyists (and then got severance payments). In a spot of his own, Tillis complains that Harry Reid is behind the attacks, because he's "meddling in our primary to get a weak opponent for Kay Hagan." Very probably true! But Tillis also claims he "fired the staffers," which is not at all true. They resigned, and he went out of his way to be kind toward them while other state employees were getting laid off right and left.
• DE-Gov: It's early, but why not? Democratic attorney General Beau Biden says he won't seek re-election this year but will instead run for governor in 2016, when the current incumbent, Democrat Jack Markell, will be term-limited.
• NH-Gov: UNH's latest poll finds Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan swamping her newest would-be Republican opponent, businessman Walt Havenstein, 49-19. She also continues to lead conservative activist Andrew Hemingway by a similar margin, beating him 49-22 (compared to 28-27 in January). And in the unlikely event that Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas were to enter the race, she'd crush him, too, 50-27 (up from 45-34 last time).
• OH-Gov: PPP has always found a close race for governor in Ohio, and their latest survey, on behalf of the Ohio Democratic Party, continues the theme. Republican Gov. John Kasich is now tied at 44 with his Democratic challenger, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald; in a December poll (for a different client), Kasich had a slim 40-38 edge. Pollster's average (which didn't include this poll as of this writing) had Kasich up just 41-40, though only one other outfit has ever gone into the field here, Quinnipiac.
• SC-Gov: Rasmussen: Vincent Sheheen (D): 37, Nikki Haley (R-inc): 52.
• AZ-07: EMILY's List is endorsing Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, who faces state Rep. Ruben Gallego and state Sen. Steve Gallardo in the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Pastor.
• CA-33: Here's something you don't see often. Former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, who is seeking Rep. Henry Waxman's open seat, analyzed the first quarter FEC filings for every candidate in the race (including herself) to see how much money everyone can use for June's top-two primary, as opposed to how much cash-on-hand they've actually reported. What's the difference? Federal law allows campaigns to collect maximum contributions twice from each donor: once for the primary and once for the general. Money can be raised for the general before the primary, but it cannot be used for the primary.
Unfortunately, the only way to track these so-called "double-max" contributions is to laboriously pore through a campaign's FEC reports donor by donor—but Greuel has both the resources and a reason for doing so. That's because wealthy tech entrepreneur David Kanuth posted an eye-popping topline number of $800,000 raised for the quarter, but it turns out $275,000 of that is for the general election only. State Sen. Ted Lieu likewise has $138,000 he can't spend until after June, but only $10,000 of Greuel's haul falls into that category.
So looking at what Greuel calls "actual cash-on-hand," Kanuth has a much smaller edge of about $475,000 to Greuel's $450,000, while Lieu has $375,000 to spend before the primary. Whether this really matters a great deal is an entirely different question, though, since it's unlikely any candidate will have the resources to go up on broadcast television in the ultra-expensive Los Angeles media market before the primary. But nevertheless, this data provides a good lesson that cash-on-hand figures aren't always what they appear.
• IA-01, -02, -03: In addition to their Senate numbers, Loras College also has data on four different House primaries taking place in Iowa on June 3. Undecideds are very high in most of them, but here's how they break down:
|IA-01 (D)||IA-01 (R)||IA-02 (R)||IA-03 (R)|
|Pat Murphy: 30
Anesa Kajtozovic: 11
Swati Dandekar: 9
Monica Vernon: 9
Dave O'Brien: 6
|Rod Blum: 17
Steve Rathje: 12
Gail Boliver: 2
Mark Lofgren: 11
Matthew Waldren: 1
|Brad Zaun: 17
Matt Schultz: 8
Robert Cramer: 7
Monte Shaw: 5
David Young: 3
Joe Grandanette: 2
• WV-03: Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall is up with the first ad of his re-election campaign, and as Scott Bland notes, it may be the first general election ad of any House candidate anywhere (not counting Michele Bachmann, who ran some ads last year but then decided to retire). The spot features Cecil Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers Association, praising Rahall for his efforts on behalf of coal miners and railing against "billionaires" who are "spending millions of dollars" to tell "lies" about Rahall and "pick their own congressman."
Rahall's GOP opponent, state Sen. Evan Jenkins, is also running his first ad. The first half accuses Rahall of running "false" ads attacking Jenkins, though of course, those ads were independently run by the House Majority PAC. The narrator says that one ad was even "rejected" by TV stations, though that's not true either. After then calling Rahall "a lying politician, just like Obama," the ad sort of changes gears and starts praising Jenkins for having "the backbone to defend our way of life from Obama's war on coal"—then amusingly claims he'll "work with both parties." Usually if you want to claim the mantle of bipartisanship, you don't spend most of your ad flinging insults at the other side.
According to Roll Call, Rahall is spending $58,000 to air his ad while Jenkins is spending just $12,000.
• LA-Sen: Keep Louisiana Working (R) (anti-Mary Landrieu)
• MN-Sen: Mike McFadden (R)
• NE-Sen: Ensuring a Conservative Nebraska (R) (anti-Shane Osborn)
• OR-Sen: Monica Wehby (R)
• MD-Gov: Doug Gansler (D)
• GA-01: John McCallum (R)
• ID-02: Bryan Smith (R); Defending Main Street (R) (anti-Smith)
• NC-03: Emergency Committee for Israel (R) (anti-Walter Jones)
• OH-14: Chamber of Commerce (pro-David Joyce)
• Dark Money: This is quite the stat from the Center for Public Integrity: "Fewer than one in seven of the roughly 300 super PACs and 'hybrid' PACs that spent money in 2013 put funds toward calling for the election or defeat of a federal candidate." And they weren't stockpiling money for an election year, either, since these PACs spent over half of what they took in. Indeed, most are just grifty organizations helping political consultants to get fat. Click through for the center's full exposé.
• DCCC: The 2014 election cycle is still well underway, but Politico is already looking ahead to see who might run the DCCC in 2016. The three main names cited are Reps. Jared Polis (CO-02), Jim Himes (CT-04), and Donna Edwards (MD-04), though one unnamed former D-Trip staffer suggests that Rep. Steve Israel, the current chair, could conceivably want a third turn at the helm.
• Fundraising: On Wednesday, we unveiled our House fundraising chart for the first quarter of 2014.
There are a few totals worth noting. In the swingy NY-21, likely Democratic nominee Aaron Woolf entered this open-seat race largely unknown and untested. Woolf, who had been mostly invisible on the campaign trail, gave Democrats some good news with his fundraising haul, bringing in $206,000 and loaning himself another $200,000. Woolf still has a lot to prove, but this demonstrates he's actually running a campaign.
A few Republican House members facing potentially competitive primary challenges are also breathing sighs of relief after looking at their opponents' totals. In MS-04, Rep. Steven Palazzo outraised former Rep. Gene Taylor $165,000 to $83,000. The fact that Taylor, a former Democratic representative, posted such a weak total is a good indication that his campaign isn't taking off.
Over in OH-14, freshman Rep. David Joyce faces a primary fight with state Rep. Matt Lynch. The latter brought in a disappointing $79,000 and only has $49,000 on hand compared to Joyce's $1.2 million. With Ohio's May 6 primary right around the corner, it looks like Lynch is out of time to make this competitive.
One surprise is in the very competitive CA-52, where freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters is expected to face Republican former San Diego City Councilor Carl DeMaio. Both candidates had good quarters, but another candidate unexpectedly appeared on the scene. Republican Fred Simon hasn't been on many radar screens, but after loaning himself $900,000 he has a hefty $1,216,000 to spend. It remains to be seen if Simon has what it takes to beat DeMaio in the June 3 primary, but it looks like he can at least make things interesting. (Jeff Singer)
• NRCC: The NRCC just promoted another seven candidates to the middle rung of their (not necessarily) Young Guns program: Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (CA-26); former state Sen. Dan Debicella (CT-04); Miami Dade School Board Member Carlos Curbelo (FL-26); state Sen. Lee Zeldin (NY-01); Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello (PA-06); and former Microsoft executive Pedro Celis (WA-01).
• President-by-LD Stephen Wolf has another set of interactive maps out visualizing the results of the 2012 presidential election by state legislative district. This time we have Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. For previous editions in this series, see our first, second, and third installments. (Jeff Singer)