Welcome back to the roundup this week! The DNC starts tonight, so keep an eye out for our continued convention coverage tonight. Further, say a prayer for Ft. Myers.
IL-Pres: In a Republican internal statewide Illinois poll discussed below, Hillary led Trump, Johnson, and Stein 46%-33%-5%-3%. In case you were getting any ideas.
UT-Pres: Crazy numbers from a congressional candidate’s internal poll on the presidential race in Utah’s fourth congressional district. Apparently Trump “led” with 29% over Hillary with 27% and Johnson (!!!) with 26%. Of course, this is one district in an abnormally Trump-hating area without any outside verification, but the article notes that an independent poll is incoming soon.
Cruz: The Mercers, some of the top donors to Sen. Ted Cruz’s super PAC network during his presidential bid, dropped some serious shade on the Texan for his refusal to publicly endorse Trump. They called his decision “both regrettable and revealing.” This probably makes it harder for those donors to hop back on board in 2020, eh?
Bloomberg: In case you somehow thought Bloomberg would support Trump, no, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is obviously supporting Hillary Clinton and even got a nice DNC speaking slot out of it.
IL-Sen: A new poll from Basswood Research for Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R) super PAC (so internal- salt!) finds the incumbent leading Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D) 42%-40%. We rate this seat Lean D, so movement like this toward the Republcian would be quite noteworthy. The article speculates the numbers may be due to an ad buy from Kirk earlier in the summer, but it could just as easily be that this is the only poll we saw among many the group conducted that fit the polling average better.
KY-Sen: Finally, we have a political campaign putting the popularity of Pokemon Go to work. The first is for Sen. Rand Paul, whose interns arranged the effort. Of course, most of the visiting voters were fairly non-political, but the free press alone made it worth it.
WA-Sen: A nice article on the Washington Senate race, where former state Republican Chairman Chris Vance has successfully laid claim to the moderate mantle. However, as of the last FEC report he had not yet cracked $300k in fundraising, compared to over $11 million for opponent and incumbent Sen. Patty Murray. Hard to come back from that mismatch. We rate this seat Safe D.
CA-17: Ro Khanna (D) had to walk a tightrope on this one. Locked in a same-party general election race with Rep. Mike Honda (D), Khanna has the problem of too much support. Specifically, it looks awkward to other Democrats when a major donor like Peter Thiel (who normally gives to Republicans but also supports Khanna) gets up at the RNC and proclaims his Republican-ness. However, Khanna’s press release to address critics is smart, praising progress for the LGBT community regardless of the party label and spinning it back to his opponent with some soaring rhetoric. He still might not be able to get away with this tactic if this were before the top two primary, but now Khanna can more openly leverage Republican support in the general election race between him and another Democrat.
FL-23: By now, I’m sure you have heard the news that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is out as DNC Chairwoman, taking a consolation prize on the Clinton campaign on the way out the door. She fell victim to Bernie Bros, who in their vindictive fury to take down “the establishment” probably didn’t realize the bigger fish have long been shopping for a way to get rid of her. Anyway, being forced to step down (in the wake of the DNC email hack being released, she was facing a Sanderista vote on the convention floor) is a really bad round of press that may embolden opponents in her own race, where she faces law professor and Sanderista Tim Canova. Canova, fwiw, will have Bernie come stump for him soon. More information on the race (pre-resignation) here.
MN-8: Apparently the change already happened a month ago, but Stewart Mills now has his third campaign manager of the cycle. John Eloranta, the new pick, was a staffer on the 2014 campaign. Switching teams campaign is never fun; however, a timely switch can salvage a faltering campaign (see Rep. Pete Gallego in TX-23 in 2012 for one good example). Anyway, we rate this seat Lean D at the moment.
TN-4: Always embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais is in the midst of a Republican primary fight with Grant Starrett. So what do you do when you’re Starrett and everyone knows you’re ethically challenged? Hit harder.
DesJarlais charges that Starrett is using his parents’ money to “buy” a rural Tennessee congressional seat. He began airing an ad this month that parodied the old TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” It labeled Starrett as “Mr. California” and a “California trust-fund millionaire” who is using “inherited fortune and out-of-state cash to join the club in Washington.”
In contrast, Starrett refuses to explicitly call out the incumbent for his past indiscretions. Instead, he seems to be trying to have his cake and eat it too, staying “above the fray” by focusing hard on abortion and, nudge nudge wink wink, look at Desjarlais’ personal record on abortion– it ain’t the votes that are the problem. Get too clever with your messaging and it may sail right over people’s heads.
UT-4: An internal from Mia Love’s (R) campaign (salt!) finds the incumbent leading repeat opponent Doug Owens (D) 51%-36%. Most polls show a much closer race though. As noted above, an independent poll coming soon may help clarify this race. We currently rate it Likely R.
State and Local
TX-Leg: The election of precinct chairs for HD-146 will occur Saturday, August 6th. The seat opened after State Rep. Borris Miles (D) won himself a state Senate seat at a similar meeting of Democratic precinct chairs.
Maricopa County Sheriff: An independent poll by Republican pollster Lincoln Media Group finds polarizing longtime Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) actually trailing Democrat Paul Penzone 42%-45%. The poll did come up with a sample of over 2,000 though in a one day sample, so caveats apply.
TX-Land Commissioner: With all the talk about Jeb possibly supporting Johnson and W staying out of it, it’s easy to forget only one Bush remains in office with a bright political future: George P Bush, Texas Land Commissioner. This article focuses on how no Bush family members attended the RNC for the first time in decades, including George P. However, George P could be inoculated by a marriage of convenience, considering Ted Cruz’s call for conscience votes at the RNC. George P continues to lead fundraising efforts for the Texas Victory program (the euphemistic title of Republican field efforts across the country, generally).