Sep. 22

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New Senate: DEM 48     Ties 1     GOP 51

New polls: MI
Dem pickups: (None)

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RNC Outraised DNC in August

The national committees have now reported their August fundraising totals. The RNC raised $10.1 million in August and has $14.5 million in the bank. The DNC raised $7.4 million and has $11 million saved. For the entire cycle (from Jan. 2013), the RNC has raised $150 million and the DNC has raised $133 million. Of course,the Senate and House committees are another story, not to forget the numerous outside groups pouring money into the races. The RNC and DNC money is the most valuable since it can be used for just about anything. As reported earlier, the DSCC raised $7.7 million in August and the NRSC raised $6.1 million in that month.

The Dozen Most Competitive Gubernatorial Races

While nearly all the attention this cycle is on the 36 Senate races (well, actually, on about 6 of them), gubernatorial elections will be held in 36 states in November and many more of them are competitive than the Senate races. The Washington Post has compiled a list of the most likely to flip governor's mansions. Here is the list, from most likely to least likely

  1. Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is dead meat. Tom Wolf (D) will be the next governor
  2. Arkansas: (open, D) Two former congressman are facing off, but the state is too red for the Democrat
  3. Maine: Gov. Paul LePage is extremely unpopular but it is a three-way race; any of the three could win
  4. Connecticut: Gov. Dan Malloy is not popular and is running against a well-funded mini-Mitt, Tom Foley
  5. (tie) Illinois: Extremely unpopular Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is fighting for his life against a rich Republican
  6. (tie) Kansas: Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is as unpopular as Quinn and might actually lose in this red state
  7. Florida: Gov. Rick Scott (R) is running against a former Republican, Charlie Crist, now a Democrat. Close
  8. Michigan: Unpopular Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is in a tough battle against former congressman Mark Schauer (D)
  9. Wisconsin: Controversial Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall but may not survive bicycle exec Mary Burke (D)
  10. Colorado: Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) may be in trouble even though Colorado is sort of bluish
  11. Georgia: Gov. Nathan Deal (R) is facing Jimmy Carter's grandson, Jason; very tight
  12. Arizona (open, R) Doug Ducey (R) is barely leading Fred DuVal (D)

Tens of Thousands of Wisconsin Students May Be Turned Away at the Polls

When a panel of three Republican appointees on the 7th Circuit Court reinstated a Wisconsin law last week that restricts voting, it caused a major problem for about 32,000 out-of-state students who study in Wisconsin. The law prohibits the use of out-of-state drivers licenses as valid ID. It also prohibits the use of most student ID cards issued by Wisconsin universities because they do not bear the students' signatures. Many students have complained that they have a valid out-of-state drivers license and also a valid in-state student ID card, but that is not enough to vote. Some universities are scrambling to produce new ID cards that have signatures, but not all students know that they will have to get a new card. Furthermore, the law also specifies that in addition to a new ID card, students will have to bring proof that they are actually currently enrolled at a university in the state, for example, by bringing a tuition receipt. Very few students are likely to know this. The law was nominally an attempt to prevent in-person voter fraud, but there is virtually no evidence that such fraud exists to any measurable degree. The real purpose of the law is to make it harder for constituencies that tend to vote Democratic--such as students--to vote. The law does not address absentee-ballot fraud, which does exist, most likely because that might suppress Republican turnout (traveling businessmen, the elderly, etc.).

Candidates Court Uncle Scrooge

With the economy still not in tip-top shape and the federal deficit ranked as the third-most important issue in a recent Gallup poll, candidates want to make the point that they want the government to pinch its pennies. Since macroeconomics is way above the heads of most voters, a number of candidates are trying to make the point that they are personally cheapskates. In a new ad the wife and mother of Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) argue about whether Begich is cheap or frugal. Since Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is attacking his opponent, Mike McFadden, as being an out-of-touch plutocrat, McFadden is fighting back with an ad featuring his son, who says once when his father had stitches, instead of paying a doctor $100 to remove them, he grabbed a pair of scissors and did the job himself. This kind of stunt tends not work if it goes against the person's image. Begich is not rich, so a claim by his wife that he buys $10 shirts is plausible but when someone says the CEO of an investment bank risked an infection to save $100 on a doctor's bill it doesn't ring true.

Kentuckians Don't See McConnell as One of Them but Will Still Vote for Him

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is extremely unpopular in his state and is facing a fairly popular opponent and yet he is likely to win reelection to a sixth term. A new Ipsos poll shows that only 11% of the voters in his state see him as a real Kentuckian,yet he leads secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes 46% to 42% in the poll. Part of McConnell's success is that he has a huge amount of corporate money flowing in, in no small part because if he is reelected and the Republicans take the Senate, he will become majority leader. That plus the fact that Kentucky is a deep red state might be enough for McConnell to survive, even though his constituents really dislike him.

Gabby Giffords Enters Campaign Mode--for Other Democrats

Former representative Gabby Giffords recovered from a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head, which made her a heroine to many people. While she is not running for office herself, she has made attack ads against candidates who oppose gun control. In particular she is hammering Martha McSally, who is running for Giffords' old seat. The ads feature people whose daughters were killed by someone who probably couldn't have passed a background check, had one been required. McSally's opponent is Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), Giffords' former aide, who himself was also wounded in the attack on Giffords, so the ads are quite personal for him.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Michigan Gary Peters 42% Terri Land 39%     Sep 18 Sep 19 We Ask America

* Denotes incumbent

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