Guys, check out this Twitter stream for some great botched polling science. This is exactly the kind of misinformation we here at RRH Elections struggle against. Now that you have your morning warmup, let’s get to it.
Johnson: The Libertarian presidential coined his own tendency to make foreign policy gaffes last night, telling Chris Matthews during a town hall event that he was having an “Aleppo moment” while struggling to name a foreign leader he admired. On the other hand, at least he keeps scoring Republican editorial board endorsements (as does Clinton).
Trump: The strange way Trump campaign messaging can sometimes be decided (although this seems more Bannon and much less Conway’s work).
IL-Sen: Sen. Mark Kirk (R) is pulling out of two previously scheduled debates, which doesn’t make too much sense when you’re favored to lose reelection like we project.
WI-Sen: In our other US Senate race where a Republican incumbent is set to go down, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) in Wisconsin, an outside group is hitting his opponent and former Sen. Russ Feingold on partial birth abortion.
IN-Sen: We saw before that Democrats were shifting resources from Florida and Ohio into Missouri and Indiana. Here’s a big reason Indiana got such an influx in spending: Republicans see their best chance to shift the dynamics of a race in Indiana, where former Gov. Evan Bayh’s political persona doesn’t quite match his residency or post-legislative career choices in an already light-red state. That means millions in attack ads from Republican-aligned groups and millions in ads from Democratic groups to pivot, minimize, and other shore up Bayh’s double-digit lead.
FL-Sen: Sen. Marco Rubio has gotten a couple easy issues falling into his lap, calling for an investigation into the death of Cuban-born Marlins ace Jose Fernandez’s death a few days ago. He also continues to oppose appointing an ambassador to Cuba. Again, all of this helps Rubio 1) differentiate his race from the national scene and 2) shore up an important base for any Republican running statewide in Florida, the (at least older) Cuban vote.
OH-Sen: Google has highlighted the digital work of Sen. Rob Portman’s (R) campaign, who continues to pull away from former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in Ohio.
MO-Sen: The Springfield News-Leader recaps this race (sans ad buy discussion) ahead of a debate tomorrow between Sen. Roy Blunt (R) and SoS Jason Kander (D).
VT-Gov: The RGA is running an ad called “Minter’s Mentor” tying Democratic nominee Sue Minter to unpopular outgoing Gov. Peter Shumlin (D). Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R) has a solid shot in this race that we rate Tilt D.
MN-2/MN-3: House Majority PAC (D) has cancelled over $500k in ads for State Sen. Terri Bonoff (D) in MN-3, triaging her campaign against entrenched Rep. Erik Paulsen (R). Meanwhile, the other Minnesota suburban district, the 2nd, has HMP leaving the race because they are confident in Democratic nominee Angie Craig’s (D) chances in the swingy open seat.
ME-2: Fresh on the heels of good poll numbers for incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin, challenger and State Sen. Emily Cain (D) is hitting him over skipping debates (he’s doing two instead of five) in this race. Fine, but everyone knows when you’re winning the risk-averse will avoid debates as much as they can. Such are the contours of the modern campaign. Meanwhile, millions in outside spending have poured into the race, detailed in this article.
FL-18: A Republican in a competitive central Florida race supported by an anti-sugar group? That seems a bit off. Consider Marco Rubio, whose earliest and strongest backers were the Fanjul family sugar magnates in Florida. In contrast, Mast returned some donations from the family after he took some political hits for being in the pocket of big sugar. I guess we’ll see how this works out for Brian Mast (R) soon in this open seat.