My Gubernatorial/Senatorial Projections (09.16.2014)
- Safe D: IL, OR, others that are currently Dem-held
- Likely D: CO, IA, MN, NH
- Lean D: NC
- Tilt D: AK
- Tossup: AR, LA (Runoff Likely), KS (Orman-I)
- Tilt R: KY
- Lean R: GA (Runoff Possible)
- Likely R: SD (gain)
- Safe R: MT (gain), VW (gain), others that are currently GOP-held
- Safe D: HI, PA (gain), RI (gain), others that are currently Dem-held
- Likely D: ME (gain), MN
- Lean D: CO, CT, FL (gain)
- Tilt D: IL, KS (gain)
- Tossup: MI, WI
- Tilt R: AR (gain)
- Lean R: AZ
- Likely R: AK, GA (Runoff Possible), NE, NM, SC
- Safe R: IA, OH, OK, TX, others that are currently GOP-held
A GOP Senate means Obama’s executive branch nominees could face major hurdles if McConnell or his members don’t like them. Some nominees may be nonstarters; others may be subject to negotiations with McConnell. You want that nominee? Give me this.
"That’s going to create a dilemma for Obama even on executive nominees," said Ornstein. “Even for people he’d like to see leave, he will probably have to convince them to stay because there won’t be much of an opportunity to replace them. … It’s always tough in the final two years of an administration.”
The stakes rise enormously if a Supreme Court seat were to be vacated in Obama’s final two years. A Republican majority would have a big incentive to run out the clock on any Obama nominee and wait until after the 2016 election to confirm the next justice.
"A Republican Senate would complicate President Obama’s ability to fill a Supreme Court vacancy should one occur, and likely hinder him in winning confirmation of his chosen appellate court nominees," said Judith Schaeffer, vice president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a progressive legal advocacy group.
Progressive legal advocates worry that a McConnell-led Senate would spell problems for Obama to confirm his picks for judges.
"While the progressive base is not as fervent over the courts and judicial nominations as is the conservative base, Majority Leader Harry Reid has demonstrated his understanding of the importance of these matters, and has used the last two years to help bring about a dramatic reduction in the number of vacancies," said Schaeffer. "Obviously, his power to continue in this direction would be drastically reduced if the Senate were to change hands."
h/t: Sahil Kapur at TPM
Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel is somehow still appealing his election loss to Sen. Thad Cochran, insisting that according to his magic math he was the real victor of June’s Republican primary run-off.
In an appearance on the Tea Party News Network’s “The Capitol Hill Show with Tim Constantine” this weekend, McDaniel said “we are fighting for our lives now as conservatives.”
“They need to order a new election, at the very least,” he said.
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
BREAKING: Democrat Chad Taylor drops out of #KSSen race
Orman’d caucus with whoever offers him the most. But it’s harder to go R after a fall of hammering Roberts & getting help from DSCC. #KSsen— Nathaniel Rakich (@baseballot) September 3, 2014
BREAKING: Mississippi judge throws out Chris McDaniel's lawsuit against election result, says he missed deadline
A Mississippi judge on Friday dismissed Tea Party-backed Senate candidate Chris McDaniel’s lawsuit, in which McDaniel has been attempting to overturn his narrow defeat in the Republican primary against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran — on the grounds that McDaniel missed the deadline to even file his challenge. Judge Hollis McGehee agreed with the Cochran campaign’s contention that under a 1959 state Supreme Court ruling, there is a 20-day deadline to file an election challenge. By contrast, McDaniel filed his challenge 41 days after after the June 24 Republican primary runoff, which Cochran won by about 7,000 votes. McDaniel’s lawyer told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that McDaniel wants to decide over the weekend whether he will appeal McGehee’s ruling up to the state Supreme Court; McDaniel will announce his decision on Tuesday. McDaniel previously requested that the state Republican Party executive committee simply declare him the winner by about 25,000 votes, which the state GOP chairman declined to grant. McDaniel has been defiantly seeking to overturn the primary result, ever since the election night. Among other things, he has charged that Cochran’s campaign strategy — which involved reaching out to the (usually Democratic) African-American community to cross over into the Republican primary — had fraudulently overturned the will of genuine Republican voters.
A new television ad by the Nunn campaign targeting businessman David Perdue, the Republican nominee Nunn is facing in the Georgia Senate race, hits the former CEO for his time as the head of Pillowtex in North Carolina. The company went bankrupt soon after. The ad features people in neighboring Salisbury, N.C., many of them elderly, describing how the bankruptcy devastated many of the employees while Perdue “walked away with his $1.7 million.”
"Just months after David Perdue abandoned Pillowtex, the company went bankrupt," the ad said.
"All we were was people to make money off our backs," one of the people in the video, Cynthia Hanes, who the ad said worked at Pillowtex for 31 years, said near the end.
The one-minute ad is actually similar to the anti-Romney ads the pro-Obama Democratic super PAC Priorities USA made in 2012 that hit the former Massachusetts governor for his time at Bain Capital, painting him as a cold businessman who was willing to cut jobs as long as he made a profit. National Journal points out that Nunn has actually got Schor Johnson Magnus, the same strategists who made the Romney ads for Priorities USA, working for her campaign.
National Journal also notes that one of the anti-Romney ads, “Stage” was the “single most effective” ad of the entire campaign cycle, according to television analytics company Ace Metrix.
Watch Nunn’s new ad:
And compare it to the ad “Stage,” below:
Below is the TPM Polltracker average of the Georgia Senate race.
(Photo credit: Youtube)
In a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, the Kentucky Democratic Party is calling for an investigation into whether Mitch McConnell used official government resources to solicit contributions to his reelection campaign.
The letter reads in part:
Mitch McConnell is no stranger to unethical behavior. In 2013,CREW summed up McConnell’s ethical issues, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is a five-term senator from Kentucky. His ethics issues stem from his possible use of Senate staff and resources to conduct opposition research for his campaign. He was included in CREW’s 2007, 2008, and 2009 reports on congressional corruption for unrelated matters.”
Kentucky Republicans launched their own complaint against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes with the FEC that accused her of renting her campaign bus from her father at a below market rate. If this is true, the bus would be an illegal campaign gift.
Selling access to the Senate Dining Room is felonious degree of corruption. The fact that Republicans can only answer this serious charge by talking about a bus demonstrates the severity of the potential offense. None of this will be settled before Election Day, but it is extremely doubtful that the Senate Ethic Committee will get involved before November.
The Kentucky Senate race has gotten very ugly. Mitch McConnell has been corrupt for decades, but he has become so safe in his incumbency that he confidently flaunts his crimes out in the open. Republicans call President Obama a dictator and a king. They talk about impeachment for fantasy offenses, but it is their own Senate leader who is abusing his office and public resources to stay in power.
Instead of measuring the drapes in the Majority Leader’s office, Sen. McConnell deserves to be fitted for an orange jumpsuit.
Curtis’s selection on Saturday follows Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) dropping out of the Senate race following a plagiarism scandal centered around Walsh’s master’s thesis.
Democrats, as a result, had to hold a special convention to pick a new nominee to race Daines.
Curtis is a high school math teacher with strong support from Montana unions, according toThe Los Angeles Times.
Curtis beat rancher Dirk Adams in the nominating convention to get the Democratic nomination. She’s expected to face an uphill battle to beat Daines with just a few months before the general election.
In an interview with The Daily Beast Curtis said if she won the Senate seat her first priority would be campaign finance reform. But, the Daily Beast notes, Curtis still has to figure out a number of positions, including on recent events in Iraq.
"I’m still studying a lot of these issues," Curtis said. "I’m planning to listen to all sides and make these decisions listening to regular Montanans."
BREAKING: Brian Schatz has won the #HISen Democratic Primary
An inflammatory mailer sent to Anchorage, Alaska residents over the weekend by an anti-immigrant, Tea-party backed Republican primary Senate candidate features shirtless, tattooed men making gang signs with their hands, and a message that condemns the Democrat primary opponent for wanting “20 million illegals” to vote. Candidate Joe Miller’s mailer comes at a time when he’s a distant third in Republican primary polls and his state’s three Republican Senate candidates are emphasizing immigration to win their party’s nomination ahead of next week’s GOP primary election.
Tying the issue of immigration reform and gun rights, the mailer quotes Miller as saying, “And if 20 million illegals vote, you can kiss the 2nd amendment goodbye. I am the only candidate who favors the Voter ID.” The back of the mailer features photos of “Miller firing a handgun and teaching shooting to a boy and girl identified as his children,” the Alaska Dispatch News stated.
During a heated televised debate over the weekend, Miller defended his mailer, stating, “There’s a clear correlation, and the clear correlation is this: If you end up granting amnesty to those who don’t value gun rights, who have not been raised in an environment where the Second Amendment is cherished — is considered to be a God-given right — the reality is over a generation or two, the likelihood is very strong that the Second Amendment will not be here.” The Alaska Dispatch News reported that Miller stated, “We have violent thugs coming across our border and doing violent things.”
What’s more, at least one of the pictures depicted in the mailer isn’t even of gang members within the United States. The top photo featuring five men making hand gestures can be found on a book cover about life in a Mexican drug cartel from 2007.
Miller won the 2010 Republican Senate nomination, but lost to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in a general election write-in campaign. Despite refusing to indicate whether he would back Murkowski should he lose in the GOP primary, he recently stated that he has no plans to run as a third-party candidate. Murkowski and the Democrat incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) both voted for the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform last year, but the bill prohibits gang members from qualifying for any kind of earned pathway to citizenship.
Miller has challenged two Republican candidates, former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan and Lt. Gov Mead Treadwell, to sign a “no-amnesty” pledge, which asks candidates to promise to oppose legislation that would grant any form of work authorization to undocumented immigrants and to oppose legislation that increases the overall number of immigrants and guest workers. Both refused. At least 67 percent of candidates who signed the pledge, created by the immigration-restrictionist group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), have lost their primaries.
Miller has espoused other anti-immigrant sentiments, including touting his endorsement by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is known for his harsh treatment of immigrant prison detainees. Miller is currently running an ad that states his support for eliminating “foreign aid to countries that encourage illegal immigration.”
President Barack Obama hinted at the possibility of an upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court Monday during a fundraiser for Senate Democrats.
Speaking to a group of donors to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on a break from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Obama said he needs Democrats to hold a majority this year to fill vacancies to the high court.
“What’s preventing us from getting things done right now is you’ve got a faction within the Republican Party that thinks solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power,” Obama said. “And that’s a problem. And that’s why I need a Democratic Senate. Not to mention the fact that we’re going to have Supreme Court appointments, and there are going to be a whole host of issues that many people here care about that are going to be determined by whether or not Democrats retain the Senate.”
It was not the first time Obama has tied the Supreme Court to the midterm elections, but it was the first time Obama has explicitly suggested there would be a vacancy in his final years. Two of the Court’s left-leaning justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, 81 and 75 respectively, have been facing calls from Democrats to step aside before Obama leaves office in 2017 to ensure that their seats remain occupied by liberals in the event Republicans regain the White House.
Ginsburg brushed aside calls for her retirement last month in an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric. “All I can say is that I am still here and likely to remain for a while,” she said. Ginsburg has twice been treated for cancer while on the bench.
Obama successfully nominated Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court in his first two years in office. If Democrats lose the Senate this November, Obama would find it nearly impossible to get a Supreme Court nominee with a liberal bent confirmed.
A White House spokesperson said Obama did not have a specific vacancy in mind Monday. “The President’s comments were meant to convey the important role the Senate would play in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy,” the spokesperson said. “They were not in reference to a specific vacancy.”
A Republican congressman and his party’s nominee for Iowa Secretary of State are accusing Democrats of a secret plan to rig the upcoming election. But rather than take this warning of impending election fraud to the police, they took it to their fundraising email list.
Democrats and Republicans have paid close attention to Secretary of State campaigns, especially in swing states, ever since the disputed presidential election of 2000. After all, Secretaries of State from Katherine Harris in Florida 2000 to Ken Blackwell in 2004 showed just how influential the office can be in close races.
That’s why Republicans in Iowa are pulling out all the stops to keep control of the Secretary of State seat, especially in advance of the 2016 presidential election.
In an email sent on July 28th on behalf of Republican Secretary of State nominee Paul Pate’s campaign, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) accused Democrats of rigging Minnesota’s 2008 Senate election on behalf of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), using their control of the Secretary of State office. The result was razor-thin, with Franken ultimately topping then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) by just 312 votes. Though King didn’t make a specific accusation, Politifact has rated similar claims of fraud as “false.”
“This wasn’t a fair recount,” King wrote Pate’s supporters. “This was a democrat plan put into action two years in advance of Coleman’s re-election campaign.”
However, rather than just re-litigating a close election in the past, King used the episode to warn about Democrats’ supposed intentions for Iowa’s upcoming elections. “There is an important U.S. Senate race in Iowa this year, and Senator Grassley will be up for re-election two years from now,” King wrote. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see what they are up to.”
Read an excerpt of the email here:
Ironically, the most pernicious developments in election law over the past few election cycles haven’t been organized election fraud like King describes, but Republican-led efforts to suppress votes. These measures have ranged from requiring photo identification to vote to rolling back state laws that permit voter registration on Election Day. While supporters of these voting restrictions often argue they are necessary to prevent voter fraud — a virtually nonexistent crime — the laws tend to make it harder for minorities, seniors, students, and poor people to vote. After the 2012 election, Republican officials in Florida admitted that their slew of election law changes were intended to target Democrats.
Pate said he supports bringing voter ID to Iowa, a move that could disenfranchise thousands of Iowa voters, but said he hopes it will be a bipartisan initiative. Implementing voter ID has long been a goal of Pate’s; in 2010 he endorsed (and chaired) current Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s (R) campaign by noting that “He will stop voter fraud by instituting a photo ID, reforming same-day registration, and creating a crime stoppers hotline for voter fraud in Iowa.”
Nationwide, a conservative PAC was recently formed to boost conservative Secretary of State candidates. The organization, SOS for SoS, is preparing to spend $10 million in nine states this year, including in Iowa. A liberal PAC, SoS for Democracy, is looking to provide a counterweight this year.
Have you noticed that Obamacare hasn’t been the big campaign boost wingers were hoping for? Like it or not, it’s not 2010 all over again, at least not with Obamacare leading their wave midterms.
It turns out people actually like Obamacare as long as you don’t call it that. Don’t call it the Affordable Care Act, either. But if you ask them about whether they like getting health insurance at subsidized rates, you get overwhelming approval. Ask them about whether they’re glad there are no more pre-existing conditions exclusions and they like that too.
That sad fact of life means Scott Brown’s entire reason for running for office in New Hampshire is a solid bust. Polling has him way behind Jeanne Shaheen, Tea Party groups aren’t really active in New Hampshire, and he’s on his way to remaining a former Senator from Massachusetts.
But wait! There’s a knight in shining armor out there. Roger Ailes, realizing Brown is probably doomed, called for an hour-long special on Obamacare, featuring…New Hampshire! No mere coincidence, that.
Fox News basically handed Scott Brown an hour-long free TV ad, not to mention all the promos their hosts had to do pimping the special.
In the course of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign, he has relied on two lines of attack: Trying to convince voters that Alison Lundergan Grimes is a black man from Kenya and accusing her of being a foot soldier in the so-called “war on coal.” But as it turns out:McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, sits on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has plunged $50 million into the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” initiative, an advocacy effort with the expressed goal of killing the coal industry.Oops. And there’s more:
In 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies teamed up with the Sierra Club to target coal plants for closure in an effort to “end our nation’s reliance on dirty coal, plant-by-plant, community-by-community, and state-by-state,” according to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ website … The organization boasts that it has “prevented 150 coal plants from being built,” and has taken direct action against 16 plants in McConnell’s homestate of Kentucky, arguing that coal production is a health hazard and is harmful to the environment.Chao’s relationship with Bloomberg Philanthropies isn’t the only group she represents that has taken a stand against the coal industry. She also sits on the Board of Directors at Wells Fargo, which in 2013 announced that it would divest from surface mining of coal in Appalachia due to environmental concerns.In a recent ad, McConnell said:"I will be the leader of the forces that take on the war on coal. We’ve got to fight back in this war on coal. Damn right. We’re not going to sit there and take it, I can assure you that.”Yeah, Mitch isn’t going to just sit there and take it. But the McConnell family’s bank account is going to sit there and take in the hundreds of thousands of dollars that his favorite campaign surrogate is raking in for waging that “war on coal.”
Democratic Sen. John Walsh, who was just appointed to the post earlier this year, has decided not to run for a full term this fall in the wake of a devastating plagiarism scandalunearthed by the New York Times. Walsh was already the decided underdog to Rep. Steve Daines, given Montana’s traditionally red lean, but revelations that he plagiarized large portions of his 14-page master’s thesis at Army War College made a difficult race nearly impossible.
Walsh will serve out the rest of his term, but Democrats must pick a new nominee at a party convention by Monday. A dream candidate would be ex-Gov. Brian Schweitzer, but he previously declined to run for this seat after Sen. Max Baucus announced his retirement. (Baucus later resigned to accept an ambassadorship to China, opening the way for Gov. Steve Bullock to tap Walsh, who was then his lieutenant governor, as a replacement.) Other possibilities include former NARAL president Nancy Keenan, EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock, and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger, who took 23 percent in the Democratic primary against Walsh earlier this year.
Whoever gets tapped won’t have Walsh’s baggage, but he or she will have precious little time—just three months—to put together a full-blown statewide campaign. And that person will be facing the same demographic challenges Walsh was. Montana Democrats have done an excellent job sailing against the prevailing winds for many years now, electing guys like Bullock and Sen. Jon Tester even as Republican presidential candidates regularly carry the state. But it looks like their luck may have finally run out, and John Walsh’s quick fall hasn’t helped matters.