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John Ellis: "President Barack Obama's re-election campaign has spent more than $100 million on advertising over the last 3 months. Much, if not most, of it has been produced to shred Mitt Romney's reputation and suppress turnout among white voters who might vote for Romney. The outlook for August is more of the same. The outlook for September and October is probably a lot more of the same."
"The 2012 president election, boiled down to its remaining variables, is about two things: (1) white voters who voted for Barrack Obama last time and have since grown disillusioned and, (2) white voters who stayed home in 2008 rather than vote for John McCain but may vote this time. The Obama campaign's goal is to make both groups stay home rather than vote. It's not a 'negative campaign' they're running. It's purposefully toxic."
Bottom line: "If President Obama gets 40% of the white vote, he has a chance to win re-election. If President Obama gets 35% of the white vote, he's finished."
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7:41 AM PT: TN-Sen: What a debacle in Tennessee. It's not like Democrats were ever going to have a shot at unseating freshman Sen. Bob Corker, but at least our preferred candidate, actress and activist Park Overall, is a real Democrat. The guy Dems did nominate seems to be anything but: Mark Clayton says he works at a "conservative activist group" called "Public Advocate of the United States," and, well, just check out their website. He doesn't even understand who he's running again, writing on his website that he hopes to unseat Tennessee's other senator, Lamar Alexander! How do you get that wrong??? Oy vey!
7:53 AM PT: So apparently the Lamar Alexander thing is because this guy also ran in 2008. Still, come ON.
8:01 AM PT: MI-11: It's awfully late to be lowering the boom on Nancy Cassis, seeing as the primary is on Tuesday, but Liberty for All just filed an IE report late on Thursday evening for a massive $358K television ad buy. (The spot is not available on their YouTube page.) The libertarian super PAC has been supporting Cassis's primary rival, Kerry Bentivolio, and previously had spent about $160K on phones and mail. We'll see if there's still enough time for them to make a difference on the airwaves.
8:28 AM PT: CA-Gov: California Republicans don't have a lot of good options when it comes to potential gubernatorial candidates in 2014, and even if he had been interested, I'm not sure Steve Poizner would have been among them anyway. But in any event, the conservative former state insurance commissioner who unsuccessfully sought the 2010 GOP nomination for governor says he has "no plans" to run for office again.
8:41 AM PT: FL-Sen: Now that's more like it! Dem Sen. Bill Nelson's first television ad of his re-election campaign was an anodyne positive spot. His second, though, is exactly what you'd hope for: a sharp negative attack on GOP Rep. Connie Mack in which, as the Tampa Bay Times' Alex Leary says, he throws the kitchen sink at his opponent. Rather than attempt to summarize, here's a transcript:
"Florida, meet Connie Mack IV, a promoter for Hooters with a history of bar-room brawling, altercations, and road rage. A big spender, with a trail of debts, liens, and unpaid bills. He has one of the worst attendance records in Congress this year?but he still voted to end Medicare as we know it. 'Questionable work habits.' 'A sense of entitlement.' Connie Mack. He thinks the rules are different for him."
9:02 AM PT: MO-Sen: The self-funding in Missouri's GOP Senate primary has reached some pretty intense levels. Wealthy businessman John Brunner has now given his own campaign over $7.5 million, while ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman just added another $400K from her own pocket for $800K in total. Obviously Brunner's contributions dwarf Steelman's, but if she's doubling down like that, then she must think she still has a decent shot at the nomination.
9:06 AM PT: Blue Dogs: Center Forward, the re-named PAC of the Blue Dogs, is also getting into the fall TV ad reservations game. They're reserving $1.3 mil worth of television time in three races: GA-12, KY-06, and UT-04.
9:24 AM PT: CT-Sen: Living in New York, there isn't much political advertising on TV, so I can tell you that this is the first time all year that I've encountered a campaign ad on television before seeing it on YouTube. And that's actually pretty scary, because it means Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon is spending so much of her bottomless wealth that she's able to advertise on NYC broadcast TV?during the Olympics no less. (Hey, I keep the games on in the background.) In any event, in the spot, the narrator praises McMahon as a job creator and also tries to portray Chris Murphy as a "career politician" who has "never created a single job." Sorry, but I just don't think trying to brand the youthful-looking, 38-year-old Murphy as a career pol is going to work.
10:16 AM PT: CT-05: There's a whole lot of self-funding going on on both sides of the aisle in the open 5th Congressional District. Democrat Elizabeth Esty just dropped a cool half-mil into her own campaign at the last moment, while Dan Roberti put in even more, $585K. (Chris Donovan, the article notes, "does not have the personal wealth of Roberti and Esty.") Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley has matched Roberti's total, while another GOPer, Mark Greenberg, has contributed vastly more to his own effort, some $1.8 million.
10:20 AM PT: WV-03: A new poll from Dem Rep. Nick Rahall (courtesy Anzalone Liszt) finds the incumbent beating Republican state Rep. Rick Snuffer by a meaty 62-34 margin, and also gives Rahall a gaudy 64-30 approval rating. This is Snuffer's second time trying to beat Rahall, and the poll numbers are eerily similar to the final tally in that first 2004 matchup, which went 65-35 for the Democrat.
11:22 AM PT: PA-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Casey hits a theme that's growing familiar in his first ad of his first re-election campaign: requiring the armed forces to use American products, in this case, U.S.-made steel for vehicular armor, rather than metal from China. What's odd is that Casey doesn't seem to explain whether he did anything to change this situation, but merely says that "'Made in America' should be stamped on all steel used by our military." PoliticsPA's Daniel Gleason notes that Casey does take credit for a reversal of Defense Department policy in an accompanying press release, but obviously no one is going to read that. Am I wrong to think he's underselling his own efforts?
11:47 AM PT: SD-AL: An independent poll taken by the local firm Nielson Brothers shows freshman GOPer Kristi Noem in a shockingly close contest with her Democratic challenger, Matt Varilek. Indeed, Noem's 47-46 lead seems simply too good to be true; you may recall a Nielson poll from October which had Noem losing a hypothetical rematch to ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin by an absolutely impossible 58-37 margin. So no, I don't think the race is as close as they say, especially since the presidential toplines seem too optimistic (49-43 Romney, in a state Obama was fortunate to lose by "only" 8). That said, I think Varilek remains a strong sleeper candidate, and I'll bet the contest is a good bid tighter than the GOP would wish.
11:56 AM PT: Ads: An interesting catch by Emily Schultheis: Google has now made it possible for advertisers using its AdWords system to target individual congressional districts. Schultheis says that the NRCC is already taking advantage of this feature, though I'm sure many more campaigns and third-party groups will follow suit.
12:16 PM PT: MA-Sen: If you're a Democrat and former mayor of one of the biggest cities in Massachusetts, what makes you wake up one morning and say, "I'm gonna endorse Scott Brown and cut an ad for him!" Well, that's what ex-Worcester mayor Konnie Lukes has done, following on the heels of ex-Boston mayor Ray Flynn, who did the same a week earlier. Flynn at least has a long history of being a bogus Dem (he's endorsed George W. Bush and Mitt Romney for president, and backed Brown in the 2010 special election, too). As for Lukes, though, I don't know what her deal is, though the Boston Globe called her a "conservative Democrat" back when she first gave her support to Brown in the spring.
1:31 PM PT: MO-Sen: Democrats have made no secret of their desire to face GOP Rep. Todd Akin in November, rather than Sarah Steelman or John Brunner?ironic, since Akin originally had to be begged to get into the race. Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill's run a TV ad that attacks Akin for being "too conservative," obviously designed to make him more appealing to Republican primary voters. Now McCaskill and the DSCC are airing a radio ad along the exact same lines, a pretty hilarious 60-second litany of all the right-wing lunacy Akin subscribes to. The primary is on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the pro-Steelman super PAC Now or Never just dropped in another $250K on their multi-ad buy that's mostly devoted to attacking Brunner. (In fact, it look like their new spending is entirely anti-Brunner.) That takes their total TV expenditures to about $638K. The Chamber of Commerce also re-upped their existing ad that goes after both Steelman and McCaskill to the tune of $93K. On top of that, they also cranked out a new last-minute pro-Brunner spot, but the buy seems to be small: Their IE lists
1:48 PM PT: MI-Init: In a huge and unexpected decision, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on Friday that a measure aimed at repealing the states controversial new "emergency manager" law must appear on the ballot this November. Amazingly, the case centered around whether organizers had used a sufficiently large font size on their petitions! Michigan's high court is filled with notorious Republican hacks who practically live to do the bidding of their political masters, but I guess knocking the measure off the ballot proved to be a bridge too far for one of those justices, Mary Beth Kelly, who sided with the court's three Democrats to preserve it.
In addition to giving voters the chance to veto the law at the ballot box this fall, this ruling also immmediately suspends the law pending the election. And if you aren't familiar with it, the emergency manager law is basically an end-run around collective bargaining rights, allowing managers to terminate such agreements in certain circumstances under the guise of helping fiscally troubled jurisdictions. A recent PPP poll found voters actually favor retaining the law by a 41-31 margin, but it can be a tricky thing to poll, since the good guys want a "no" vote (much like the SB5 fight in Ohio last year). But more importantly, neither side has really engaged on this issue yet because everyone was waiting on the outcome of this lawsuit. Now, it's game on.
2:03 PM PT: Florida Republicans must be pretty desperate: In response to Nelson's omnibus attack against Mack, they're going after Nelson's son, who was arrested for disorderly intoxication back in 2006. How is this not completely off-limits? Nelson's son isn't running for office, and in any event, he was 30 years old at the time. Pathetic garbage.
Politico: "Ever since his national debut at the 2004 Democratic convention, Barack Obama's calling card has been that he practices consensus-oriented politics that transcend traditional divisions. But four years after his historic presidential election, the country he sought to bring together is even more divided than when he launched his candidacy. And no place is more polarized than the South. Any hope that the nation's first black president would usher in a period of reconciliation in the old Confederacy has crashed on the rocks of a harsh reality: African-Americans overwhelmingly support him and whites make up much of the opposition. Far from being a transformational figure in the South, Obama has instead reinforced the region's oldest and sturdiest divide."
The South is "at once the heart of the Obama resistance but also a region that is crucial to his reelection hopes. If he loses Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, it's a virtual certainty that he'll be a one-term president."
White House regulatory chief Cass Sunstein is leaving his post this month to return to Harvard Law School, officials said.
Romney campaign officials were appalled when Obama?s deputy campaign manager suggested that the Republican presidential candidate perhaps had broken the law. Now they are returning the favor.
Peggy Noonan: "The oldest cliché in presidential politics is that no normal person cares about the election until after Labor Day, when the kids are back in school. It's a cliché because it's always been true. I've seen it. But I don't think it's true anymore, and in fact has been changing for some time."
"The cliché is replaced by a new one: The screens are everywhere. There's no place to hide from presidential candidates anymore. For a solid year they follow you from the TV monitor in the airport to the one in the taxi; you check your smartphone and they're in the inbox telling you their plans and asking for money. You get home, turn on the TV, fire up the computer, and they're there."
The perils of electronic stock trading are again in focus after a huge loss at Knight Trading, and more in our morning news roundup.
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Can you actually poll a write-in race? We'll soon see
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? MI-11, MI-06: EPIC-MRA has new polls of two Michigan GOP House primaries, conducted on behalf of a group of local media outlets. The 11th District contest is extremely hard to poll, though, since only one candidate, Kerry Bentivolio, is actually on the ballot, while his chief rival, Nancy Cassis, is waging a write-in bid. EPIC asked two different questions of respondents. First, they tried: "In the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District, who are you voting for: Kerry Bentivolio, someone else, or are you undecided?" That yielded just 21% for Bentivolio, while 40% said "someone else" and 39% were undecided.
Then they offered this twist: "In the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District, only one name appears on the ballot, Kerry Bentivolio, but Nancy Cassis is running as a write-in candidate. Knowing this, would you vote for Bentivolio or write in Cassis' name?" That led to Cassis beating Bentivolio 52-36 with just 12% undecided. Personally, I think the best approach is to do what Alaska pollster Ivan Moore did when Lisa Murkowski waged her write-in Senate bid in 2010: He started by asking an open-ended question that allowed interviewees to volunteer Murkowski's name, then prompted them with a question similar to EPIC's second query here.
There are also some numbers from the MI-06 race, where ex-state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk has been doggedly challenging Rep. Fred Upton from the right. But Hoogendyk never got quite the level of support from the Club for Growth that I figured he'd need to pull off the upset, so I'm not surprised to see him trailing by a 61-31 spread.
4 Ways Mitt Romney's Foreign Tour Was Actually a Success
The Week makes the counterintuitive case.
Open Secrets finds that candidates this cycle have collectively spent more than $130 million on their own campaigns ahead of the November elections.
Interestingly, just 11 of the 58 candidates in 2010 who spent at least $500,000 supporting their own campaigns won their general elections.
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